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June 18, 2009

Newspaper Ignites Hope, Announces “Civil Disobedience Database”

* Civil-disobedience database: http://BeyondTalk.net
* PDF of printed newspaper: http://iht.greenpeace.org/todays-paper/
– Online version: http://www.iht-se.com/
* Video: http://iht.greenpeace.org/video/ (coming soon)
In a front-page ad in today’s International Herald Tribune, the leaders of the European Union thank the European public for having engaged in months of civil disobedience leading up to the Copenhagen climate conference that will be held this December.

“It was only thanks to your massive pressure over the past six months that we could so dramatically shift our climate-change policies…. To those who were arrested, we
thank you.”

There was only one catch: the paper was fake.

Looking exactly like the real thing, but dated December 19th, 2009, a million copies of the fake paper were distributed worldwide by thousands of volunteers in order to show what could be achieved at the Copenhagen climate conference that is scheduled for Dec. 7-18, 2009.

At the moment, the conference is aiming for much more modest cuts, dismissed by leading climate scientists as too little, too late to stave off runaway processes that will lead to millions or even billions of casualties.

The paper describes in detail a powerful (and entirely possible) new treaty to bring carbon levels down below 350 parts per million – the
level climate scientists say we need to achieve to avoid climate catastrophe.

One article describes how a website, http://BeyondTalk.net, mobilized thousands of people to put their bodies on the line to
confront climate change policies – ever since way back in June, 2009.

Although the newspaper is a fake (its production and launch were coordinated by Greenpeace), the website is real. Beyondtalk.net is part of a growing network of websites calling for direct action on climate change, building on statements made in recent months by noted political

For example, in September Nobel laureate Al Gore asserted that “we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to
prevent the construction of new coal plants.”

Leading American environmentalist Bill McKibben was enthusiastic about the newspaper’s message and the methods BeyondTalk.net calls for.

“We need a political solution grounded in reality – grounded in physics and chemistry. That will only come if we can muster a wide variety of political tactics, including civil disobedience.”

“Non-violent civil disobedience has been at the forefront of almost every successful campaign for change,” said Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes
, who helped write and edit the newspaper and are furnishing the technology for BeyondTalk.net. “Especially in America, and especially today, we need to push our leaders hard to stand up to industry lobbyists and make the sorts of changes we need.”

“Roosevelt would never have been able to push through the New Deal if people hadn’t taken to the streets, occupied factories, and demanded
it,” noted newspaper writer/editor and University of California professor Lawrence Bogad.

“Segregation, British rule in India, and apartheid wouldn’t have ended without a lot of people being creatively uncooperative – even if that meant getting arrested. Nonviolent civil
disobedience is the bread and butter of progress.”

The fake newspaper also has an ad for “Action Offsets,” whereby those who aren’t willing to risk arrest can help those who are.


Today’s fake International Herald Tribune is part of a rash of recent publications which mimic prominent newspapers. Last November, a fake edition of the New York Times announced that the Iraq War was over. A few days earlier, a hoax USA Today featured the US presidential election result: “Capitalism Wins at the Polls: Anarchy Brewing in the Streets.”
And this April 1st, a spoof edition of Germany’s Zeit newspaper triumphantly announced the end of “casino capitalism” and the abolition
of poor-country debt.

The rash of fakes is likely to continue. “People are going to keep finding ways to get the word out about common-sense solutions those in
power say are impossible,” said Kelli Anderson, one of the designers of the fake International Herald Tribune and co-designer (with Daniel
Dunnam) of BeyondTalk.net.

“We already know what we need to do about climate change,” said Agnes de Rooij of Greenpeace International. “It’s a no-brainer. Reduce carbon emissions, or put the survival of billions of people at risk. If the political will isn’t there now, it’s our duty to inspire it.”

– The Yes Men, mailto:press@theyesmen.org
– Mark Breddy (Greenpeace), mailto:mark.breddy@greenpeace.org,
(+32) (0)2 2741 903, (+32) (0)496 15 62 29 (mob.)
– Lawrence Bogad, mailto:l.m.bogad@gmail.com,
+1-212 300 7943

Written by typingisnotactivism

June 18, 2009 at 10:16 pm

Great newly free Aussie media

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Just a quick note to say that New Matilda, a young but plucky independent outlet of commentary and analysis, has just made a fairly major policy revision. From now on, all content will be freely accessible. They are shifting to an advertising-sponsored rather than a subscriber-funded model. This, they say, reflects the global trend for online publications.

It’s a bit of a funny thing, independent media. What is, or is not, independent? For example, if a zine runs paid advertising, perhaps even for horrific products – like shampoo, phone sex, and the government – but seems to clearly have an editorial policy where anything goes and nothing is sacred… technically it would be regarded by many as far less independent than a privately owned publication with no advertising and a very clear editorial ideology of the ultra-anally left-wing comrade-cockspank variety.

So what’s the measure of independence? Is there some kind of rule or measure? For example, I write for a paper which I used to think of as independent but now think of as a pit of fecal disrepute. In part, this is hormonal, but it is also because the publisher – as far as I can tell – now sees the ads as content and the content as filler. Although we can and do cover all manner of topics and have quite a free rein in what we say, the fact that news and features now make up less than 12% of the paper and paid ads make up anywhere from 50 – 85% is… well…. utterly debilitating… very dispiriting… as fucked as Paris Hilton in a camera store.

In Australia, the pluralist media model – one similar to the soapbox in the park where the revolutionary, captain of industry, and drooling scabbed loony (a la Miranda Devine) all get their turn – is disappearing up its own arse with a flashlight in search of buried treasure. See any Fairfax paper for proof of this objective observation. Meanwhile, News Limited – the most appropriately named media outlet in the entire history of the world. ever. – is behaving like a Gremlin in a swimming pool, spawning filthy, drooling, rabid green sheets of Glenn Milne’s bog roll all over the place with Melbourne’s Herald-Sun being the latest fanged and slimey shit-wrap to show up on the network news “someone-we-trust-says” radar.

Personally, I’m a big fan of zines that stay out of the writers’ way, don’t give money to douchebags like Gerard Henderson, and get their ad revenue from ethical companies. But it’s also a pipe dream. Invariably such publications run really pretentious ads for the latest opera and leave you feeling like the editors must be wankers. So the bottom line really seems to be financial survival without compromising content.

One thing is certain about “independent” media – whatever it looks like, there’s a hell of a lot more in Australia now than there was a few years ago. Whether it’s risen in response to the absolute betrayal of the public by previously credible media sources, or in a Newtonian response to the nastiest little Australian dictator ever to fart between publicly funded sheets, I don’t know.

But I do know that it’s a bloody lucky thing that we have a bunch of reliable media-louts like Tasmanian Times, New Matilda, Black Inc. Books, The Monthly, The Chaser, Shaun Micallef, National Indigenous Times, Crikey!, homepagedaily, and others. . . because however the election turns out – and I’m hoping to Hell that Hotwad gets his tackle smashed – we’re going to need them.

Written by typingisnotactivism

November 9, 2007 at 12:56 am

Newsworthiness – Beyonce, racism, or World War?

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They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. . .

. . . like ‘excessive’, ‘hair product’, ‘Iron Cross’, ‘shloop’, and ‘sadist’.

This is Debra Cagan. She’s a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs to US Secretary for Defence Robert Gates. There is a great little newsbreak here in the Daily Mail about how she told a group of visiting British MPs that “I hate all Iranians“. Strangely, this hasn’t received the coverage and twisting that might happen if, say, an Iranian official commented that the current regime in charge of Israel should be removed from the pages of history.

“She seemed more keen on saying she didn’t like Iranians than that the US had no plans to attack Iran,” said one MP. “She did say there were no plans for an attack but the tone did not fit the words.”

Another MP said: “I formed the impression that some in America are looking for an excuse to attack Iran. It was very alarming.”

Also amusing is the observation that

Tory Stuart Graham, who was on the ten-day trip, would not discuss Ms Cagan but said: “It was very sobering to hear from the horse’s mouth how the US sees the situation.”

I would suggest that he actually is discussing Ms Cagan, but he would have surely referred to ‘the horse’s ass’. . . and even then that would still be an insult to horses.

And although some people complain that mainstream media really have their priorities wrong, I’m glad that this time – in australia at least – that has not been the case.

Because it is far more important to damn Beyonce for ‘snubbing’ Malaysia by cancelling her concerts because of Islamic fundamentalists intent on regulating her clothing and choreography choices . . . than to report that US military operations on the Iranian border are being run by a sociopathic bigot.

And although I’ll obviously be one of squillions of Australians voting in almost any manner likely to eject our current Board of Detractors and install a government more closely resembling a group of people with souls, Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has really done damage to his credibility today for anybody willing to really think about it.

The Oz reports that while campaigning in a heavily Jewish Sydney electorate, Rudd committed to trying to bring charges of incitement to genocide against the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if Labor is elected at the next election.

This is the most outstandingly stupid thing that Rudd has yet committed to.

1. it’s obvious pandering to a boutique interest group

2. it displays a lazy attitude toward fact-gathering (maybe he should consider this reportage of what Ahmadinejad actually said about Israel, this Islamic discussion of what he said in Farsi, this detail of the use of bogus human rights groups to generate anti-Iranian propaganda, this detail of how America is gearing up for another slaughter, or even just Wiki it)

3. any serious legal action against Iran will undo much of the good work that Rudd could achieve through aggressive diplomacy with China because of the Iran – China oil relationship.

4. this legitimises rather than challenges the current US propaganda line which is in effect for no other reason than justifying another illegal attack that has already been planned.
5. it suggests that some important lessons made available by decades of globally disastrous Western policy on Middle Eastern affairs really haven’t been learnt.

6. and the idea of Australia pointing the genocide stick at anybody is a stretch, but at somebody who hasn’t actually committed or actively encouraged genocide is just tragic.

Perhaps the final wonderful words should go to Professor Gary Leupp in his clarifying discussion of US foreign policy, media, and political values.

If you hate all of them (and are grotesquely ignorant of their vast contribution to human civilization), why not nuke them, and their monuments and treasures, and destroy their 3000 year history, and “wipe them off the map”? Why not prepare public opinion for that shattering scenario, and grind those boot heels into the brains of any sympathizers of those you call “sand-niggers” as you try to spread Bush’s gospel of hate?

Thank the Lord for our free trade deal with Uncle Spam – we get ‘gospel of hate’ at 22% off!

Written by typingisnotactivism

October 3, 2007 at 4:42 pm

Us Air Force – suiting up for Holocaust via Tehran?

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Part of the beauty in the writing at Counterpunch and perhaps even moreso at Harpers is that it really cuts through the static on issues that are actually submerged rather than clarified by saturation media coverage.

More particularly, I remember a string of nights late last year when I tracked Middle Eastern news coverage and commentary late into the night expecting to see “The Inevitable Iran Incident” which would set off all the dominoes put in place for just such an event. The wind was taken from U.S. sails setting course for a bloodied Persian shore and regional apocalypse by an Iraq failure that seemingly could no longer be spun into anything but that – a failure, a badly planned and fatally unsuccessful war launched from a platform of deliberate deceit and achieving the exact opposite of all stated intentions, but perhaps most unstated goals: privatization, deregulation, and seizing of strategic territory and resources by lethal and toxic force.

But I digress. It was a few months into the year before US Bush-it artisans were able to keep a straight face while blaming US deaths and failure in Iraq on, not the fuckheads who launched the war from Washington, Texas, but on Iran. Incredibly, some of this shit does seem to have stuck.

Alexander Cockburn has just filed this article, “Will the U.S. bomb Iran?” at Counterpunch. In his typically straight-up-the-middle style, Cockburn eviscerates the forthcoming peachy Iraq outlook by 2-star trainer-come-George’s favourite 4-star general Petraeus.

Amid the disaster of their Middle Eastern strategy Bush and his advisors may hype themselves into one last desperate throw, emboldened by the fact that the selling of the surge has been a success even though all the Democrats need to do is cite the UN, which says the number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has gone from 50,000 to 60,000 a month. Or quote Associated Press which counted 1,809 Iraqi civilians killed in August, compared with 1,760 in July. The Sunni split in Anbar province is not one likely to be replicated in Baghdad or elsewhere and anyway had nothing to do with the hike in US troop levels. Bush didn’t dare go to Baghdad.

But he also relays Noam Chomsky’s latest outlook on the US position on Iran, and it’s very worthy reading.


More alarming perhaps than informed speculation are the nuggets of info which fall from the pages at Harpers like a piano from a monorail. The current commentary from a former CIA official outlining why he now believes that an attack on Iran is not just probable, but highly so, is nerve-tingling.


It looks like a military strike is in the works and I base that on two things: observable fact and the rhetoric emanating from the White House. There’s a lot of movement of troops and materiel into the region–it’s stuff the United States can’t hide. It’s a huge expense to put Navy battle groups in the Gulf and we’ve got three of them there. We’ve also moved new fighter planes to Guam amidst much public fanfare. You can plainly see the upturn in US Naval activity in and around the Norfolk Naval installations. The movement of ships, re-supply, ammunition loading and general level of activity is high.

The Naval facilities and the ammunition loading areas are well known, and the activity is readily visible, especially at night. There’s a stream of ships coming in to load up and when they take off new ones come in. There’s only one part of the world where all that stuff is heading. Also, everyone I know who would be involved in an attack on Iran–pilots and other air assets–is gone. Normally some of them are around but now all of them are away at the same time.

The insight sits well amongst a survey from February of this year of attitudes and observations by independent security and foreign policy analysts, and another of former CIA officials.

It is insane, but the Doctrine of Preemptive Defence – as illegitimate as it may be – has enough credibility now within the realms of those likely to unleash it – America, Israel, Britain, and associated toadying client states – that we may very well wake up soon and find that this war going on around the world has truly become a World War.

Written by typingisnotactivism

September 11, 2007 at 1:43 am

Aussie PM John Howard Announces Federal Electro Campaign

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pssst. . . . . . down here.
MixMaster Melvin & The Morons

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August 15, 2007 at 4:35 pm

Read this, you ignorant bitches!

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Do you sometimes feel that weblicated feature titles lack a bit of ‘zazz? Yeah. Me too. In the latest instalment of ‘Australia? Who gives a fuck?’ (you’re reading it) a whole bunch of the big funnies have happened and we might finally see He Who Would Be Furor (not a typo) out on his bitter little arse.

John Howard has to call a federal election some time in the next few months and everything that has kept him in power is fading like the last off-key screech in an ad for Australian Idol bloopers. It is funny to think that Britons, for example, complain about the British parliamentary process. Sure it’s not transparent, sure the media let them get away with shit. But there is at least argument between and within parties and lying to Parliament is close to a hanging offence. Here? Forget about it.


Johnny-intolerant-bastard-climate-denialist-corporate-bumpuppet-Howard has kept his hold on power for the last 10 years with three main devices. Read the rest of this entry »

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August 8, 2007 at 12:31 pm

Tassie’s Pulpgate: Senator Christine Milne ups the ante

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This is the month it has to turn around. The Federal Greens have their hands full, given that Australia’s run by ecological nonces, but this month is going to be a parliamentary, judicial, and media battlefield.

What a great start from one of my favourite Senators, and that’s globally.

Adam Hill – Indigenous Freak Activartistusician; the man, the legend, the world premiere documentary in Sydney next Monday.

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Documentary World Premiere at Carriageworks

Between the Lines: The Initiation of Adam Hill

Monday August 6 at 7:00pm

When I Graduate by Adam Hill

After two years following Aboriginal urban artist Adam Hill, Spanish film-makers Esther Lozano & Monica Garriga premiere their long awaited documentary which will be presented by Performance Space at Carriageworks next Monday 6 August.

Defined by a mixed indigenous and white origin, Adam Hill goes on an artistic and personal journey of identity through his music, paintings and political activism.

In what is a unique and intimate glimpse into Australia’s identity through the critical eyes of the art activist, this documentary shows Hill confronting his frustrations and his commitment towards his own Aboriginality while struggling with the views held by the society around him and the people closest to him.

“By exploring Adam’s personal history, this documentary highlights the controversy around Australian identity and suggests it is an open concept,” says film-maker Esther Lozano. “It is not defined by the place where one comes from but by what one identifies most strongly with. Adam’s contradictions and frustrations are not unique to him, or to Aboriginal Australians, or to Australians. They are universal.”

Bob his father, was brought up with his white cousins after his mother died, never having any contact with his aboriginal family. The stark contrast between Adam and his father’s social identity is a moving insight into the individual’s search for meaning in a world dictated by imagery and stereotypes. It is a documentary that hits a raw nerve for us all.

About the film-makers:

Monica Garriga is the foreign correspondent for the Spanish News Agency EFE in Australia and has a post-graduate degree in Australian Studies from RMIT.

Esther Lozano, prior to starting this documentary worked for the Spanish TV network Localia where she was a director of current affairs.

Performance Space @ CarriageWorks 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh

7pm Monday 6th August, 2007 – FREE

A racist and politically convenient land grab? In Australia?

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First posted this with Mask of Anarchy a couple of days ago, as part of the ongoing grouse bonzer kulcherool exchange blogram.

However Australia is perceived globally at the moment I can only guess. I would assume that our identity is something in the order of cricket, racism, rugby, climate change denial, shane warne, big eyebrowed dickhead little sycophant Prime Minister mopping up White House jism, more rugby, kangaroos, beer, and cricket. Did I mention racism?

What we have going on right now is quite astounding. The quality of our domestic racism has really taken a battering. We have been shipping it, or intercepting shipping with it, globally but we’re finally getting back to basics at home. Thank goodness! I’d hate to think that yellow, black, and brown people outside Australia are feeling more persecuted or stereotyped than our own people of colour. The poor ones, that is. We’d never consider Ehud Olmert a murderer any more than we’d consider Mumia Abu Jamahl a scholar or Alberto Gonzales the bit his mama should have thrown away.

Quick Australian history – White Australia policy in effect until late 1960s. Aware of Aboriginal family groups and nations being connected by relationship to blood and to land, children are separated from families and brought up as servants or on missions hundreds or thousands of kilometres from both. A national referendum in 1967 sees Australians vote in favour of changing the Constitution to recognize Aboriginal Australians as human, rather than fauna. Seriously. Revolutions of sorts through the 70s – land rights, womens rights, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, all that good stuff.

As we moved through the ’80s toward the Bicentennial in 1988, more and more questions were asked about national identity, values, direction. Unfortunately a lot of unquestioning flag waving and firework shows drowned most of this out. Still, the idea of a Treaty was finally before the nation – acknowledgment that wrongs had been done, war had been waged, and healing and recognition could only happen through real commitment to make them happen. At this time, the leader of the federal opposition in Parliament kicked up quite a stink.

In fact, when the issue of a Treaty was raised he made a vow – a vow that if such a Treaty was ever made between the indigenous and non-indigenous people of Australia, the first thing that he would do if elected would be to tear it up. His name was John Howard. Yes. That one.

When he was eventually elected, he really delivered. Native Title legislation was amended to offset the pro-indigenous impacts of a significant court ruling. Howard attended the landmark national summit on reconciliation in 1997. Before the most significant gathering of indigenous leaders in Australia in well over a hundred years he praised Australia’s history. He acknowledged the ‘blemish’ of genocide, but made it clear that there would be no ‘Sorry’ – the one word for which so many people had campaigned. And just to rub glass in the haemorrhage, ATSIC – the only directly elected representation for indigenous Australians – has also been disbanded and abolished under Howard.

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Written by typingisnotactivism

July 30, 2007 at 12:23 pm

Japan’s reactor and what will surely follow: New Clear Dangers in the Spinformation Age

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Those bloody greenies just won’t give the nuclear industry a chance. As Dr. Helen Caldicott and Professor Ian Lowe were on ABC TV tearing Ziggy Switkowski and a generic uranium lobbyist a new one, a major nuclear reactor was being shutdown following an earthquake and prolonged fire in Japan.

It has so far emerged that several thousand litres of radioactive water escaped into the environment when stored barrels fell over, and that other radioactive isotopes may have escaped through cracks in cement.

The location of a faultline near the reactor was known at the time of building, but the earthquake was twice as intense as any for which the housing was prepared. As a result of the reactor being shut down, Japanese industry has been warned to use less power to avoid an overburdened power grid blacking out. Read the rest of this entry »

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July 21, 2007 at 2:20 pm