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There must be a better way

Solving the problems in the Middle East is a task we cannot achieve but we can certainly do better in Australia to protect our children from the harm others would try to inflict on them and to improve social cohesion by embracing diversity and tolerance.

What do our police hope to achieve when they send in hundreds of armed men to storm a few houses in the middle of the night screaming, searching as terrified families and neighbours watch on, dragging off teenagers, locking them up incommunicado, and then usually releasing them without charge?

Why are these raids filmed and the footage, if not captured by TV journalists along for the ride, immediately provided to the media? Is it a show of strength? Is it designed to terrify the Muslim community? Should we be using fear as a weapon?

The government argues that we must protect the privacy of tax evaders but they are very quick to show the homes of people who have not been charged with any crime, to show them being led off in handcuffs, to detail evidence in the media before any trial has taken place.

In most instances, these raids have been sparked by information from the community rather than intelligence gathered by security agencies. One wonders if the community will continue to be willing to pass on concerns if their children are subjected to such harsh treatment and penalties. These actions are far more likely to build resentment rather than co-operation.

How could we do things differently?

Intervention should be constructive rather than punitive.

If you become aware of teenagers posting inflammatory stuff on social media, or being contacted by people with possible bad intent, instead of being heavy-handed, why not get the family together with local Muslim leaders, psychologists and social workers, police trained in cultural awareness, mentors – a non-threatening support group who can try to help a young person through a vulnerable period.

We should listen to young people and learn about what they are looking for. Show them a way to a happier life, a different path. Help them know their own worth as a contributing member of our society with all of us working to make it a safe and tolerant place for our families to grow.

Rather than looking for solutions, the government is spending a fortune on how to spin its approach. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection and its agencies spend up to $9.2 million on communications staff salaries alone.

They have now hired a group called Talkforce Media and Communications Strategists to provide media training to its top executives. Talkforce trains clients to deal with “difficult media situations” and manage “controversial issues and close media scrutiny”. Its full-day workshops include mock television interviews that teach clients “how to take control of an interview, even when under pressure”.

“Talkforce Media and Communications Strategists can help you tailor and direct messages to your audience in order to be heard over all the competing noise that exists in this modern and technology-driven age.”

Managing the message has become on obsession. Whatever happened to telling the truth?

It comes back down to respect.

Do those who want to stop mosques being built and to ban halal certification of food want to impose their religious beliefs and dietary choices on us all? These people who live in irrational fear that Sharia law is about to be universally imposed cannot see they are trying to do the same thing. Security forces use fear and force to fight against those who use fear and force.

There must be a better way.


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  1. mars08

    “Whatever happened to telling the truth?”

    “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
    -George Orwell

    The ruling class doesn’t trust people to do the right thing with the truth. Fortunately for them, a huge slab of the electorate isn’t particularly interested in hearing it!

  2. Momo

    I think probably only 5% of the population think like you. We can see how many people have now the three French colours in the FB page and yet they don’t ask: ‘how about the other deaths? They don’t ask how are the 15 year olds in Afghanistan who have never seen peace?. Australians and many in the western world don’t question authority because most of them never had to. I’m finding that I’m alone except for these glimpse in articles like this one.

  3. Kaye Lee


    What a wonderful article from Malcolm Farr. Could it be possible that the excesses of Abbott and the deliberate fear-mongering and obfuscation of Morrison and Dutton and the demonisation by the Murdoch press have finally been recognised as going too far?

  4. Kaye Lee


    People’s opinions are easily manipulated. People can be taught. I do not think that the majority of Australians are bad people but they have certainly been duped by advertising. I believe the Aussie distaste for being lied to can be roused. All it would take is for Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten to agree to stop the hyperbole and use of national security as a political weapon.

  5. Kaye Lee

    For the most part, it is relentlessly difficult to get information from the minister on offshore detention. Questions are ignored or answered in a bureaucratic patois devoid of fact. Access is impossible. Secrecy is the cancer of this system.

    But on the question of rioting on Christmas Island this week, Dutton was everywhere.

    Much easier to talk about law and order, to demonise a population on a distant island, far from the scrutiny of the press. Much easier to release pictures of burnt-out rooms than to talk about the, in some cases, innocent people held in them.

    Once the federal police regained control of the centre, one of their first actions was to confiscate mobile phones. The brief flow of information again stopped.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Interesting article mars08. Perhaps I am naïve, though I do have a lot of experience of dealing with troubled and struggling youth here. People want to belong, they want to feel pride. Poverty can be a factor though less so here. Punishment rarely works in producing better citizens.

  7. Wally

    Kaye Lee

    “The government argues that we must protect the privacy of tax evaders”

    But they collect meta data with no regard for anyone’s privacy.

    “We should listen to young people and learn about what they are looking for. Show them a way to a happier life,”

    Without doubt education is the only way for society to improve, less violence and become more peaceful.

    “Managing the message has become on obsession. Whatever happened to telling the truth?”

    My generation was raised to trust and respect elders, in particular people with authority and politicians. The lies and deceit of our political leaders have played a big part in the general lack of respect and consideration people have for each other nowadays. Some level of dishonesty, broken promises and ulterior motives have always existed in politics but it was the Howard government that thrived on it.

  8. mars08

    The risk with the government telling us the truth is that they might not get the desired response…

    “In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this, but their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered their people. Those dreams failed and today people have lost faith in ideologies.

    Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life, but now they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us: from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism, a powerful and sinister network with sleeper cells in countries across the world, a threat that needs to be fought by a War on Terror.

    But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians.

    It’s a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media…”

  9. Aaron

    I think if you want to rant extremist views you deserve a full and heavy response. A bit like a person viewing child pornography. They dont deserve sympathy they need to be taken swiftly out of society and disciplined. This soft hearted view just lets people get away with more than they should. In some cases, people being murdered when they could have been protected.

  10. The AIM Network

    I think if you want to rant extremist views

    Such as yours, I presume.

  11. Wally


    Did you ever stop to think that many people in/from middle eastern countries think we are hostile extremists? We have invaded their countries, killed their people and taken or achieved what we wanted. To some extent we have created the terrorists and most likely given or sold them the weapons to do what they have done.

    The only right and wrong in this conflict is those who don’t (or don’t agree with) kill/murder people and those who do.

  12. mars08

    @Wally… just in Iraq…

    “A war of collective punishment, a war of mass destruction directed at the civilian population of Iraq. The UN, at the insistence of the U.S., and contrary to international conventions and treaties, has created, in Iraq, a zone of misery and death – with no end in sight… The toll of these sanctions on an entire generation of Iraqi children is incalculable. What are the implications of Iraqi children growing up traumatised by hunger and disease, if they survive at all? How can the deeds of one leader or even an entire government be used to justify this unprecedented, internationally sanctioned violation of human rights?… The devastating effects continue to harm the environment, agricultural production and health of the Iraqi people significantly.”

    (Catholic Worker Magazine, January/February 1998)

    According to UN studies… US and British driven sanctions were causing the preventable death of 4,500 children under the age of 5 per month.

    The destruction of Iraqi society started long before the illegal, needless ‘shock and awe’ reality TV show of 2003.

  13. Wally


    The leaders who cause these situations and cause the death of so many innocent people (in particular children) should be held accountable for their actions the same way they claim to be making others pay for what they have done.

    ““Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”
    ― Augustine of Hippo

  14. Wally

    s2hcK5KHrFbG – Thanks for the link.

    That is pathetic 13.92 innocent deaths for every bad guy killed.

  15. mars08

    Wait a minute, Wally. Are you using the conversion rate of 1:1…? Gosh, no! Don’t you realise they’re Muslims… and brown???? In which case 13.92 rounds down to about 0.3

    Now… explain to me again why we’re the good guys?

  16. Wally


    “Now… explain to me again why we’re the good guys?”

    Tony Abbott said we are.

  17. Jack

    More hand wringing and tears from Kaye Lee, who cries that the answer is to be more tolerant and embrace diversity. Well, most people are tolerant, and do embrace diversity, that is not the problem. The problem is when the media doesnt do its job and report facts, and is complicit in helping the powers that be construct the narrative that keeps people scared of concocted bogeymen, in order to let them get away with their stormtroopers kicking in our doors at night..

    Those that scream out “muslim terrorists” are the useful idiots of the program, same as those that yell out “conspiracy theorist” when faced with other unpleasant truths. It is easier to be fooled, than to admit you have been fooled.

    9/11 is but one example.

    Maybe there will not be the evidence for the Paris attacks, that the events of 9/11 reveal, that prove it is another false flag attack, but regardless, we can be sure of the outcome.

    The Matrix Extends Its Reach — Paul Craig Roberts

  18. Kaye Lee

    There is no hand wringing or tears from me. Nor is there hysteria about pointless conspiracy theories.

  19. Jack

    “pointless conspiracy theories.”
    still cant differentiate fact from theory? what is hysterical is your belief in your unqualified retarded opinion, in the face of irrefutable evidence that shows you to be wrong. Your articles are a waste of space.

  20. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    Jack maybe you should read more widely than that paranoid American stuff….there may be some truth in there which is why people get sucked in by it, but it is still ‘paranoid American stuff’. There are some interesting articles posted on the “You can’t fight an ideological war by shutting…” thread (some by me).
    Paranoid American stuff leads to crazy ‘Teaparty’ ideas and ‘preppers’ and ‘survivalists’. Even google suggests crazy videos on that for some reason……it is not information.
    You probably should not be so rude here, either. Why are conspiracy theorists often so rude ? That won’t convince anyone….I always tell them.

  21. Philb

    Yea we can do things differently alright, we can get out of their countries and stop bombing them. It is always conveniently forgotten notwithstanding 9/11 was no doubt an inside job, the west started this shit fight and the world is reaping the whirl wind. This is all about resources, nothing else. I will never forget a man in Iraq, loading his two disfigured dead daughters on the back of a truck. I mean, he is really going to be interested in all this academic mumbo jumbo. He will have hate in his heart like thousands of his country men. The Israeli’s are killing Palestinians wholesale every day of the week where’s the ire of the west over this? I feel I wanna puke thinking about it. Still not to worry the cricket has started and the footy is just around the corner. Mac Donald’s is open and after lunch I’m off to the bottlo. Mean while the government aided and abetted by the most useless opposition to come down the pike, is slowly dismantling our social welfare and health system. I despair.

  22. Kaye Lee

    Conspiracy theorists like Jack always resort to abuse because they can’t back up their hysteria with ‘facts’. They are like the worst of religious fundamentalists. You must believe or you are a waste of space. It wouldn’t matter what questions you ask, what proof there is to the contrary, they ‘believe’ that a new world order is being assiduously planned. Common sense has no place for conspiracy theorists and they certainly don’t want solutions. They want blame, and find it on increasingly bizarre websites written by a parade of ignorant paranoid people.

    Jack is welcome to believe what he wants but if he continues his rudeness he will have to find somewhere else to spout his rubbish,

  23. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    @Wally- thanks for the ‘Augustine of Hippo’ quote (or Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis if that is his real name…). A weird dude…but that probably applies to anyone who concentrates too much on St Paul stories. It is good that he was a Christian(convert) that could change his mind lots. Mostly that ability seems to have been lost.
    Byzantine is definitely back in fashion… ; )
    “He is considered the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses.” Wikip. LOL
    It’s a funny story. I’m not taking the piss out of you at all. Nice how ‘the Vandals’ didn’t even burn his library. Poor misrepresented Vandals….

  24. Matters Not

    still cant differentiate fact from theory

    If you haven’t got the ‘theory’ you won’t get the ‘facts’. Why, one can’t even count ‘red’ objects unless one has a ‘theory’ of the ‘red’ as differentiated from the ‘blue’, the ‘green’, the ‘yellow’ or whatever.

    ‘Theories’, defined in terms of ‘mental’ constructs’, are always a priori ‘facts’. This is not to say that ‘facts’ don’t modify ‘theories’. They do. They are never ‘polar’ opposites. Always intertwined.

  25. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    @Kaye Lee – ” They are like the worst of religious fundamentalists.” Exactly.
    Hunkering down in your bunker and telling everyone they need guns is never going to help anything. There is no ‘inequality’ equal to a person with a gun, when most people don’t or won’t.
    I know he didn’t mention them but those people and websites always do…..

  26. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    I heard this on the radio just before, a spokesperson for (the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF)) Give it a listen.
    This is what everyone needs to be doing. It is what many are doing here. I have given up trying to do it in the Guardian. They are all about sowing division and promoting agendas that can’t be discussed there. If anyone is interested in starting an affiliated organization in Australia, we should.

  27. jimhaz

    [Nor is there hysteria about pointless conspiracy theories]

    I only agree that conspiracy theories are pointless – mostly because it is simply too hard to determine fact from fiction. It becomes a case of who or what one wishes to believe.

    Problem is that empirical evidence of the past in the US particularly in relation to the US actions in the Vietnam war and things like the fake evidence used to go into Iraq, show that there are groups in power that will use all means to get to whatever point they wish. There is no evidence that sort of power seeking/holding people whom have existed over the whole of human history are no longer gaining power just because of democracy.

    Still I don’t believe in most theories belonging to 911, the theory I think has most potential is the “willful ignorance of intelligence” one. In terms of the Iraq WMD lies, well I supported the war in any case as I support the silencing of all power that is dictatorial. Still I do think the theory that Rumsfield deliberately lowered initial US troop numbers for the purpose of extending the war and the fear as more probable than not.

  28. Jack

    heres some more facts for you kaye.. you simply choose to ignore facts posted on .. how about you debunk some of them rather than lying and saying i dont supply any

    pick anything you want out of that article, prove it wrong beyond all reasonable doubt, and ill donate $100 to this dog and pony show of a news blog..

  29. Roswell

    Jack, take your conspiracy theories elsewhere. I believe in conspiracy theories too, but you may have noticed that this is not a post about 9/11 and I don’t intend to turn it into one. You clearly have different intentions. We’re not interested.

  30. Roswell

    Who is “we”

    Unlike you, I’ve been paying attention to what the authors of the posts have been saying, and they’ve been saying they’re not interested. I’m with them. That makes me one of the ‘we’, as I’m not interested either. And as far as wanting me to refute one of the facts Jack offered, perhaps I would if the article was about 9/11. But it’s not.

    And if this website would be $100 better off if I did refute the facts that Jack offered, then perhaps it would be $1,000 better off without me bothering to do so.

  31. Roswell

    Kaye Lee, can you please write an article supporting the 9/11 conspiracy theory? It might satisfy these annoying individuals, then they might go away.

  32. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    I think the biggest problem with suggesting a false flag attack is that it didn’t need to be planned as one. There are people willing to carry out such things without the illuminati planning it for them. It is possible that sometimes attacks are allowed to go ahead when they could have been stopped but you could never prove that was the case. Unless you know an intelligence agency whistleblower or have some classified documents…..there is no point talking about it.
    A relative, now dead, was a Catholic priest that many family members say was some sort of spy. He would be sent around the world to different places that strangely coincided with various types of political trouble (of the Cold War variety). I pointed out that he was probably ‘marking people for death’ in fact, probably whole families….That is not what my family members were wanting to imagine.
    “He was making a list
    and checking it twice
    Tryin’ to work out
    Who was commie or nice….
    An evil bastard, no doubt in my mind.

  33. Roswell

    Nomad, you missed two things:

    1. I said that I believe in conspiracies too, and I have said elsewhere on this site that I think there are a lot of unanswered questions about 9/11. So your suggestion that I ‘debunk away’ is ill-informed.
    2. That nobody is bothered with it on this thread.

    Please do try and keep up.

  34. Chris the Greatly Dismayed

    @Nomad72 Ok it doesn’t need to be IS it could be an Al Qaeda affiliate but the West is supporting some of those. Partly why the US won’t say who it is supporting.
    IS has claimed responsibility and IS trades on its honesty of claims. It attracts people by being ‘for real’. All the IS accounts on twitter accept that it was IS that was responsible and many of those accounts are now suspended. Some of those accounts were giving out information that seems to have turned out to be true before it was reported anywhere. Al Nusra is fighting IS and could have done it to cause trouble for IS but they don’t need to either….and them or closely associated group just got an ammunition delivery from the US according to PressTV.
    You should check out the twitter accounts of @Raqqa_sl1 , @Raqqa_SL or @tim_ramadan The last of which warned of a planned IS attack in Paris in February. They are anti-IS. Finding IS supporting accounts is not that hard either. I did a long post about that on the other thread on this kind of subject.

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