Climate Alarmism of the Greenest Hughes

For a lot of my lifetime Macquarie University’s Distinguished Professor Lesley Hughes has been an activist scientist running a jihad against the planet’s life-affirming CO2 emissions. Old hands might remember her on Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Climate Commission from 2011, which morphed into the crowd-funded Climate Council two years later, Dr Hughes morphing with it.

Our big three warming warners have long been Hughes, the false climate prophet Tim Flannery and the not-always-right ANU doom-crier Will Steffen.[1] In 2014 Hughes trumped both of them, winning the Australian Museum’s Eureka Prize for 20 years’ worth of science (read ‘global-warming’) communication.[2] The museum’s CEO, Kim McKay, noted in passing that climate change science was “settled”. That was a brave call as no other scientific issue is settled yet. Even less likely, Macquarie University claimed that one alarm course by Dr Hughes “even received praise from climate sceptics—for them, what had been lacking was a clear explanation of the science.” Oh really?

Five years later she collected the same museum’s lifetime achievement award. Any time anyone has a climate-alarm prize to hand out, expect Hughes to be on the short list.[3]

I don’t want to carp, but climate-alarm “science” is all about what will happen in the future, as foreseen by the modellers’ crystal ball. Doom-criers like Hughes and Steffen might be right about 2050, though we oldies will all be dead. Or they might be wrong and that big sun overhead with its sunspot cycle might cool planet earth a bit and force the next ice age. In that case, people would look back on Hughes, Flannery, Steffen et al as a bit weird and their science as junk. So I’m not a fan of Hughes’ innumerable (60, 100, 200?) futurist papers about future warming impacts.

What I do admire is her early career as entomologist. From her student days she was fascinated by insects. If you wanted to know about aphids, grasshoppers, Christmas beetles, lantana leaf-miners, Hemiptera (“true bugs”), thrips, or ant-tended butterfly ejaculations,[4]young Lesley provides her tour de force. But in the 1990s, her focus changed from studying actual bugs to studying what hypothesised global warming might do to them in 2050 or 2100 or whenever, and I rather lost interest in her stick-insect papers. But it’s this later line of work – future impacts of imagined warming on plants and bugs – that has given Hughes so many clouds of glory to trail.

If you intuit that I’m peeved with Distinguished Professor Hughes, you’re right but for the wrong reason. My big beef is that she was one of the earliest, if not the earliest, agitators to re-christen global warming (latterly “climate change”) into “climate emergency” cum “global heating” cum “climate crisis” cum “climate breakdown” cum “climate disruption”.

This inane warping of the English language is now standard among second-rate environmental journalists and mock-scientists in academia. Just for starters, the UAH satellite-based global temperature readouts now show no warming – indeed a little cooling- for the past six years and two months. Maybe someone should tell the climate scientists! And that’s despite two big recent and natural El Nino warming bursts.

The only place you can find a climate “emergency” is in the dud computer-based forecasting relied on by Hughes et al. The IPCC itself in 2013 said 111 of 114 tested model runs overshot actual warming.[5] Real-world studies show that climate sensitivity to CO2 is only a half or a third of early IPCC estimates. The IPCC even today can’t make up its mind whether CO2 doubling will create 1.5degC of warming or 4.5degC of warming or somewhere in between — the same uncertainty range it started with 30 years ago – and that’s despite academics wasting taxpayer billions on climate research. The empirical (i.e. real world) studies these days put the sensitivity at a harmless 1 to 2degC tops.

I DISCOVERED Hughes’ seminal role in the Western media’s “climate emergency”while idly reading annual reports of Future Earth , whose recent follies include certifying that pseudo-Aboriginal Bruce Pascoe is the real deal. Hughes helps run Future Earth, which is a satrap of the green-left Australian Academy of Science. In Future Earth’s 2018 report, you can read (emphasis added):

Professor Lesley Hughes, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Macquarie University, a climate change researcher for 25 years and climate science communicator for the last 15 years, professed shock at the level of ignorance of basic climate science. She pointed out the importance of using strong enough language—not using ‘change’ but words such as ‘disruption’, ‘emergency’ and ‘crisis’. In her view, the problem is that not everyone cares about the environment, but they care about other factors such as their own quality of life.[6]

Her crusade against sane language was endorsed a few months later by the United Nations avowedly-socialist secretary general, António Guterres, who talked of the “climate crisis” , adding for good measure: “We face a direct existential threat.” Among Dr Hughes’ other language crusaders is pint-sized seer Greta Thunberg, who a year after Dr Hughes’ rallying cry said:

It’s 2019. Can we all now call it what it is: climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis and ecological emergency?

Little wonder Hughes describes Greta as her “fellow Cassandra!”

Hughes’ and Thunberg’s verbal pyrotechnics were soon after picked up by the UK Guardian. Its environment editor, Damian Carrington, headlined, “Why The Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment”. He quoted the editor-in-chief Katharine Viner,

The phrase ‘climate change’, for example, sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.

Carrington announced that The Guardian‘s style book for its reporters now recommended such “scientifically precise” terms as climate ‘crisis’, ‘heating’ or ‘breakdown’. No, I’m not making that up. The new style guide also rules out use of “climate sceptic” in favour of “climate science denier”, and advised its “journalists” against ever again seeking comments from sceptics. Such sceptics would include Professor Judith Curry, who has published 200 papers on atmospheric physics compared with, say, climate scientist Dr Hughes’ zero in that field.

The call to arms by Dr Hughes, Greta Thunberg and The Guardian has been further taken up by more than 400 unprofessional and partisan news outlets globally, with an alleged reach extending to two billion people. They’ve all signed on to a “climate emergency pledge” to ratchet up the warming scare (truth and the scientific method be damned!) and suppress any contrary scientific views. This shameful group includes (at last count) seven Australian media outlets and eleven in New Zealand. The ABC, while not a signatory, by policy ignores climate sceptic’s views and research.[7]

When I was young and naïve, like Julia Gillard during her liaison with light-fingered beau Bruce Wilson, I thought all the scientists on the IPCC were conscientiously objective about their deliberations. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, bless him, viewed them as “humourless people in white coats”. Dr Hughes was a lead author for both the fourth and fifth IPCC reports.[8] Yet she and her acolytes have never made a secret of her activism and in 2013, the same year she signed off on her pages in the IPCC’s Fifth Report, she stepped up to join the board of green-Left lobbyists WWF Australia. (Barrier Reef doom-crier Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who sometimes co-authors papers with Dr Hughes, is another IPCC Australian scientist with WWF Australia connections). If you lift up any rock at the IPCC headquarters in Geneva, you’re likely to find green lobbyists wriggling about.

Hughes was well-known to WWF for years. In 2009 WWF and Earth Hour cited her as a reviewer of their 30-page report on cute animals like penguins and orang-utans at risk from global warming. (The apes are actually endangered by palm oil expansion to make supposedly greener fuels). Polar bears got a guernsey too – and contrary to World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) doom-crying in 2009 reviewed by Dr Hughes et althey’re absolutely thriving today.

Maybe you think WWF does only pure good in the world, so what doess it matter if it gets a few things wrong for the right reasons? Well, our WWF is a loose affiliate of the global WWF or World Wildlife Fund. “Fund” is right – the WWF’s US boss Carter S. Roberts draws pay of $US1.4 million and 20 per cent of the fund-raising is leached off just in fund-raising expenses. These do-gooder groups include the Red Cross, which disappeared $US500 million for Haiti earthquake relief in 2015. It claimed to have resettled 130,000 Haitians when the number of permanent homes it built was six.

That was just a peccadillo compared with what cuddly-panda WWF (not the Australian arm) got up to in the Congo, funding and equipping anti-poachers in Salonga. The rangers whipped and raped four women carrying fish by a river. Two of the women were pregnant and one later had a miscarriage. The eco-guards tortured male villagers by tying their penises with fishing lines.

WWF commissioned an independent review by a UN human rights bigwig who reported late last year that WWF did “especially weak” oversight in the Congo, fearful of Congo government backlash and ignoring horrifying allegations even by its own low-level officials.WWF in response expressed “deep and unreserved sorrow for those who have suffered,” and said that abuses by park rangers “horrify us and go against all the values for which we stand.”Conveniently, the review did not review the culpability of top WWF officials.

I’m not of course suggesting that our WWF and Dr Hughes were implicated in torturing Congolese – just that scientists seeking public trust ought to keep activist lobbies at arm’s length. Au contraire, Dr Hughes actually shared the “Activist of the Year Award” from the Ngara Institute in 2019, jointly with diagram-challenged Will Steffen. What the dickens is the Ngara Institute? “A not-for- profit activist think tank which puts people, communities & the planet before increasingly predatory capitalism.” Karl Marx would be disappointed that, rather than destroying capitalism, the Institute was destroyed by capitalism, or anyway, “Ngara Institute anti-liberal think tank has sadly now closed.” Locally, WWF Australia is merely striving to destroy the beef and sugar cane industry, as Queensland growers’ group Agforce has demonstrated.[9]

DID I mention disturbed teen Greta Thunberg? Well Dr Hughes is more than happy to be mentored by Greta, whom she calls “a beacon of light”. Dr Hughes was out on the Sydney streets with her offspring in 2019 during the Greta-inspired School Strike 4 Climate. From the horse’s mouth:

I was there in Sydney, with my own two kids. Listening to the speeches triggered two very different emotions – deep shame for my own generation, and enormous pride for theirs.

I have since had the privilege of working with several of the rally organisers and they are some of the brightest, most mature, and most committed people I have ever met. If there is such a thing as passion bringing about change, we are in good hands, at least, just as soon as they are old enough to vote.

That’s not all on the Greta-Lesley Nexus to Reform the World. Way back in 2013 a climate fringe-dweller at the ANU called Joe Duggan of Science Circus Program at ANU/Questacon solicited hand-written missives from 40 of the usual climate-alarm suspects, including Dr Hughes, about their inward agonies researching the impending death of the planet. It backfired because Duggan managed to traumatise himself as well:

The results upset and unsettled Duggan whose partner was expecting a child. He withdrew into himself and put the project on hold for about three years. Recently, however, he returned to the project and asked the scientists to write again: had their feelings changed during the intervening years?

Dr Hughes rose to Duggan’s challenge:

My emotions haven’t really changed since I last wrote one of these letters, but things around me have. The beacon of light that is Greta Thunberg, speaking truth to power. Our own wonderful, passionate school kids taking to the streets, making me cry with pride. The only way to cope with all of this is to focus on what I can do, what I’m best at…

Does she mean stick insects? Probably not.

…and hope like hell that enough people, doing what they do best, can overcome. I have some very dark moments, but more than ever before, I feel wrapped in a blanket of collective determination. Hope is a necessary emotion, but more than that, it must be our fundamental strategy to keep us going. Lose it, and we are lost.

Lesley, I at Quadrant Online feel your pain. Talking of pain, Dr Hughes has no qualms about the extermination of the global methane-belching beef and dairy herd, maybe by 2025. She’s an enthusiast for artificial milk which makes Daisy the dairy cow unnecessary. In an over-long piece for The Monthly, she says detractors call this product “frankenmilch”. She writes,

But what if that two-litre container of white stuff looked like milk, tasted like milk, was chemically identical to milk without the bad bits, was cheaper, made a great cappuccino, came without most of the land, water, climate issues, and nothing had to die to produce it? Would you buy it? I would. In a heartbeat. Sorry, Daisy.

Dr Hughes is quite a comedian, not necessarily intentionally. Here she is in July 2019:

But there’s many other ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, even machines to basic[ally] vacuum it out of the air and convert it into something that doesn’t warm the planet. In 2007, Sir Richard Branson decided to do something serious about this by offering a $US25 million prize in the Virgin Earth Challenge to promote greenhouse gas removal technologies. To date, no one has actually taken out the prize, but currently there are 11 finalists. Our own Tim Flannery is one of the judges, and I have to say that lately he has been giving out hints that perhaps the prize might soon be awarded – we may have to torture him to find out.

Sadly, I didn’t get to torture Tim “Perth Ghost Metropolis” Flannery to find out – I just looked up the wiki. It turns out that finalists were announced by Branson in 2011 and kept on hold for eight years while the self-promoting tycoon harassed them with technical demands rather than paying up. One finalist was finally told the $US25m prize was “on hold indefinitely” and at end 2019, a few months after Dr Hughes laudatory comments, Branson dumped the prize and its website went offline. One finalist who had raised $US60 million investments told a Dutch journal, “”If you want to encourage scientific progress with a prize, it’s not enough to open your mouth and say ‘25 million dollars.’”

Dr Hughes cited Branson’s prize in her speech, Six reasons for hope in the face of climate change.” Her stated goal was to “remove one trillion tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the planet’s atmosphere this century.” She concluded with a fond quote “from the 19th century Italian Marxist politician Antonio Gramsci, who wrote about the tension between the ‘pessimism of the intellect versus the optimism of the will’” — whatever that might mean.

I could go on but it’s called beating a dead horse. Instead, here’s an intellectual challenge for you all. Which of these quotes is from Dr Hughes, and which from Greta Thunberg. I offer the winner a prize of up to $US25 million (Terms and conditions apply).

1/ “Emissions reductions over the next decade [are] absolutely critical … because they will determine what happens in the second half of this century and will absolutely determine the nature of climate change as an existential threat to humanity… This is the absolute critical most necessary transformational decade that the human race has probably ever faced.”

2/ “Every year we kill more than 60 billion animals, excluding fish, whose numbers are so great that we only measure their lives by weight. What about their thoughts and feelings?”

3/ “So how to go forward? My emotions haven’t really changed since I last wrote one of these letters, but things around me have. The beacon of light that is Greta Thunberg, speaking truth to power. … I have some very dark moments, but more than ever before, I feel wrapped in a blanket of collective determination. Hope is a necessary emotion, but more than that, it must be our fundamental strategy to keep us going. Lose it, and we are lost.”

4/ “It’s overwhelming to sit at home feeling worried, alone and frustrated. So join Extinction Rebellion, become a Climate Council supporter, join your local climate action group or join the Greens – find the right group for your level of comfort.”

5/ “You say nothing in life is black or white. But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie. Either we prevent 1.5C of warming or we don’t. Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control or we don’t. Either we choose to go on as a civilisation or we don’t. That is as black or white as it gets. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival.”

6/ “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

Postponement: The launch of Tony Thomas’s next book from Connor Court, Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars, has been COVID-postponed from June 16 to the new date of June 30. The launch is at il Gamberos, 166 Lygon St, Carlton Vic at 6.30pm. All welcome, contact tthomas061@gmail.com.

Answers to Quiz: Macquarie’s Distinguished Professor Lesley Hughes, 1,3,4. Troubled teenager Greta Thunberg, 2,5.6.

[1] A recent Nature paper co-authored by Steffen included,

Correction 09 April 2020: The figure ‘Too close for comfort’ in this Comment incorrectly synthesized and interpreted data from the IPCC. The graph labelled the temperatures as absolute, rather than rises; misrepresented the levels of risk; misinterpreted data as coming from a 2007 IPCC report; extrapolated the focus of a 2018 report; and was not clear about the specific sources of the data. The graphic has been extensively modified online to correct these errors.

[2] “From a research background—predicting and then observing the effects of a changing climate on biodiversity— Professor Hughes moved to communicating beyond her scientific peers. Her goal is to translate the science of climate change in all its breadth and complexity to the wider public.”

[3] Last year she won the Tertiary Educator of the Year Award and Overall 2020 NSW Environmental Educator of the Year Award.

[4] Effects of mating history on ejaculate size, fecundity, longevity, and copulation duration in the ant-tended lycaenid butterfly, Jalmenus evagoras

[5] IPCC AR5: “… an analysis of the full suite of CMIP5 historical simulations [computer models] reveals that 111 out of 114 realisations show a [temperature] trend over 1998–2012 that is higher than the entire HadCRUT4 trend [actual temperatures] ensemble. This difference between simulated and observed trends could be caused by some combination of (a) internal climate variability, (b) missing or incorrect radiative forcing, and (c) model response error.” [chapter 9, text box 9.2, page 769]

[6] Hughes was at it again in July 2019: “I strongly believe that moving from the benign phase “climate change” to words that embody the urgency of the action needed, is nonetheless powerful.”

[7] ABC reporters are to maintain “a balance that follows the weight of evidence”. These guidelines for ABC staff lump climate sceptics with anti-vaccination nutters and 9/11 “truthers”.

[8] Lead authors cobble together IPCC sections and chapters from raw material from many contributing authors.

[9] AgForce: “WWF is using tactics that force industries and individual producers to use expensive third-party auditing and certification schemes controlled or manipulated by WWF itself to prove sustainability.”

The Pascoe Stain on the Academy of Science

Tony Thomas

Britain’s science reputation took a blow in 1953 when the fossil of the famous Piltdown Man turned out to be bits of an orangutan glued to a small-brained human skull. Let’s hope the Australian Academy of Science doesn’t come a similar cropper for tying its reputation to self-described Aboriginal Bruce Pascoe, author, seer and would-be overturner of the entire corpus of Aboriginal historiography. Of course, the Academy will be in the clear the minute Pascoe names his Aboriginal forebear, thus smiting us doubters with his irreproachable Aboriginality.

Future Earth is a woke subsidiary of the woke Academy.[1] Future Earth and the Academy hosted a three-day “summit” about Reimagining Climate Adaptation on zoom last April. Its opening plenary speaker was Pascoe, giving what co-sponsor, the loopy Sydney Environment Institute, called a “perfect introduction” to the gabfest.

Pascoe’s nonsense, as uttered:
read a partial transcript here

I’ve often wondered what flights of rhetoric Pascoe delivers at his innumerable speaking events. Future Earth has obliged by posting its Pascoe recording here – see my part-transcript here pro bono. It includes the following gems from this Aboriginal shaman:

# “We” were camped on Bass Strait until a whale warned us circa 12,000BC to scamper to higher ground north and south, and “we” took our language and culture with us

# In Australia “we” were made welcome by our peace-loving southern “cousins”, demonstrating for today’s Western nations how wars are unnecessary. (Someone please let Xi Jinping know).

# “Our” cultures have always eschewed organised violence (I assume the shields to be found everywhere in museums were to ward off enraged wombats)

# Australia’s irresponsible white farmers should cease emitting CO2 in ploughing for wheat and cotton, and instead plant roo-grass and murnong yams. (Mmm. Delicious).

# These farmers should also run kangaroos as livestock on fenceless expanses – sharing the profits in ways that do not actually involve Communism.

# He intends to do some “illegal” shooting of tender young male kangaroos as an improvement on his classic dish, roast lamb with sage and herbs (Aborigines like Pascoe are, apparently, above the white man’s law).

# It would be useful to overturn “contemporary political and economic systems” in favor of Aboriginal ways and Aboriginal sexual mores.

This nonsense was brought to you by the Academy’s Tim Flannery and his 550 brainiac colleagues, who “support excellence in Australian science”. It was also brought to you by the Academy’s Future Earth, with its 10,000 scientists wedded to the crooked UN’s 17 “Sustainable Development Goals”. Future Earth, I read, is “the largest organised group of universities, industry and government in the world working towards achieving global sustainability … to accomplish societal transformation.” Funny, I thought we elected governments to do the societal transformation: wankademics and corporate CEOs can get the hell out, I say.

Pascoe’s opening words, possibly protesting too much, was that he is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man. Genealogist Jan Holland has found that every one of Pascoe’s ancestors on both sides of his family was of British descent. Pascoe is yet to name an Aboriginal forebear who can be checked out.

He’s Yuin? Josephine Cashman, an inaugural member of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, has tweeted: “Pascoe is not Aboriginal. My son is Yuin and his father doesn’t know who [Pascoe] is.”

He’s Bunurong? Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council says it does not accept Professor Pascoe “as possessing any Boonwurrung ancestry whatsoever”

He’s Tasmanian? Michael Mansell, chair of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, says Pascoe’s not one of theirs: “For political reasons, journalists of the left wanted to believe Pascoe was genuine and put up the blinkers to any contrary view. Now they must eat humble pie and admit they got it all wrong,” Mansell told the Tasmanian Times.

Pascoe told the larger New York Times last August he is both “solidly Cornish” and “solidly Aboriginal”. I hope you can make sense of that. He’s now upped the ante by telling the Future Earth followers he’s more Cornish than Aboriginal.

Pascoe gained fame in our Marxist-minded education establishment for claiming Aborigines lived in towns of 1000, sowed, harvested and stored their crops, and kept their livestock in pens (Wallabies? Koalas? Dingos?). My fellow Quadrant Online contributor Peter O’Brien has dismantled all those claims in his magisterial Bitter Harvest, which can be ordered here. Pascoe, meanwhile, has moved on to a newer shtick: how peaceful Aboriginals were towards tribes around them.

How does he know they were so peace-loving? It’s because of his blood-memory of Aboriginal lore of millenia ago. Trigger warning! After describing his talk, I’ll provide examples of not-so-peaceful pre-contact Aboriginals.

Pascoe claims Aborigines have been in Australia for 120,000 years – mere Pascoe hot air, but a claim now believed by millions of schoolkids whose teachers are thrusting Pascoe profitable fantasies down their young throats. He cites archaeological research from Warrnambool, but even those research leaders tell the ABC that it’s inconclusive.

Pascoe continues that Aborigines have survived in situ through many cycles of genuine climate change, from desertification to glaciation (as distinct from that past century’s beneficial 1degC warming).

As for the whale that recommended “we” depart Bass Strait, this must have been before the seas rose, since otherwise they’d all be in the swim together.

 The academic community, he complains, has yet to “engage” with this impeccable sourcing. Anyway, the Atlantis-style languages of Bass Strait-land blended with mainland Victorian languages of the northern “cousins”, and this proves that Aboriginal tribes were welcoming to new arrivals and didn’t do horrid warlike things like bashing their heads in with nulla nullas. Drawing the longest bow imaginable, he rhapsodises,

[Thus] humans can cooperate. It is not absolutely necessary for us to go to war, we should be able to conduct ourselves to meet adversity such as climate change and do so without another group losing. In our adversarial political system, our adversarial economic system and social media system, we presume we have to fight each other. Aboriginal life is telling us that is not the case, we can cooperate. Human has proven that she can cooperate with other humans. I should have said ‘he’, because in the past it would be ‘he’ who chose war or peace.”

The academics glued to their zoom screens must have squirmed with pleasure over his gendered correctness.

Anyway, Pascoe says this whale-led peaceful immigration from Bass Strait is a “hugely important indication of diplomacy — diplomacy that should be manna for the world.”

Drawing an even longer bow, he fantasises that the sea level rises following the last ice agewould have driven “massive” numbers of land dwelling Aborigines off the North-West Shelf to inland and, again, the incoming tribes blended amicably with local tribes, languages and cultures intact.

When I was last up on the Kimberley coast (about 2010), the cave art fell into two types – “Bradshaw” or Gwion Gwion art involving delicately drawn figures and animals, and cruder Wandjina art by people of more recent origin, involving stylised crowned “god”  figures. Our guides were certain that the newly arriving Wandjina artists and culture wiped out the older Bradshaw artists and culture – Bradshaw figures were defaced or demolished many millennia ago. As usual, the truths are concealed within that vast expanse of time. Pascoe is just trying to wow his pals on zoom. His conclusion is the need to overturn “contemporary political and economic systems” along with Australian agricultural know-how that has helped feed the world for a century.

Pascoe, Melbourne University’s enterprise professor in indigenous agriculture, went into Rousseau-like rhapsodies:

Aboriginal people believe earth is our mother. The British adversarial system and economic system which is profit at all costs, mean that we would indicate to people from outer space, ‘These people despise their grandchildren: they don’t care what the planet will look like in another generation’s time, they don’t care what they do to the country as long as they make profit’. And as long as they get their huge ugly house, their huge ugly car, and then everything will be OK. We can do better than that and Aboriginal Australia has shown that humans can operate in better way.

He also banged his kangaroo drum – thanks to Pascoe, credulous kids at Williamstown High near Melbourne are convinced “soft-footed” roos are the future of the Australian livestock industry. As he told his Future Earth acolytes:

I am suggesting we eat roos instead of cattle and sheep, which are incredibly destructive of soil. I personally bought a lamb roast because I know how to cook it, I have sage and herbs making it beautiful. I also eat roo. People argue against (killing) roos, saying they are beautiful and very soulful. The sight of a female roo nurturing her young, both asleep in the sun in my front yard really warms my heart. It is not disturbing to think at some stage I will shoot a young male roo illegally to get meat. [Tut tut: TT]. A young roo is only as beautiful as a young lamb, they are still animals.

Capitalist accounting systems legitimise tax avoidance in the Bahamas, so it’s no worse to shoot roos broad-scale and share the roo dividends equitably among the farm-holders, he says, venturing into the field of what might be dubbed Pascoenomics:

I don’t see that sharing the dividend of the country is descent into Communism, it’s asking us to cooperate. We should not allow some of our right wing politicans to say it is Communism and Socialism, it is co-operation because we don’t despise our grandchildren. We sensibly start looking at those things that would allow us to continue as a species.

He’s been reading some book called Sapiens[2] and was profoundly shocked that the author predicted our probable extinction in a thousand years from planetary neglect.

I am not pretending Aboriginal people are all good and all wise, what I am insisting on is to look at the longevity of Aboriginal cultural advance and see the cultural, political and economic stability and see that is a good model for the human race.

He scoffs at criticisms that we – i.e. Pascoe and “his” fellow Aboriginals – didn’t invent the wheel, but he points out that roos can’t pull carts and, anyway, nasty Westerners hooked the wheel to cannons and, with the help of wheels, are sending rockets into orbit and further and “destroying outer space”. But back to Pascoe’s favourite subject, himself:

I can’t think of another civilisation which managed the human spirit and problems of geography, economics and cultural life as successfully as the Australian Aboriginal people. My attachment to Aboriginal life is fine, I am more Cornish than Aboriginal, but investigation of my background dragged me into contemplation of these things.

He exampled the Yuin and Gunditjmara, insisting they eschewed being warlike or being ambitious to get other people’s land. The land owned the people not the other way around [blah blah for another sermon]. He claimed that, although “we” Aborigines might be individually violent, “we” didn’t do warlike violence. This leads him to suggest human society re-organise itself to divide labor between the sexes in a civilised, Aboriginal-style way, along with sexual relations.

Like any good speaker, Pascoe’s has learnt to end on a high note, like a tenor hitting that high “C” in Nessun Dorma. Pascoe: “It is not an irrational wish, not beyond the human soul, reimagining our future. I think our species is capable of enormous cooperation and, dare I say it, love.”

David Schlosberg, director of the Sydney Environment Institute, went beyond normal “thank you” to Pascoe and said his talk was “beautiful, really amazing and a perfect introduction” to the conference about adapting to climate change. He’s spot on, there. Just so you know, Schlosberg’s fortes are “Enviro justice, just adaptation, sustainable materialism.”

I HATE to rain on Pascoe’s “peaceful Aborigines” parade but I warned you earlier and here ares some extracts.

Historian Geoff Blainey concluded that annual death rates from North-East Arnhem Land and Port Philip, were comparable with those of countries involved in both world wars, although some might say Blainey’s estimate could be somewhat on the high side. Many such violent incidents are in a peer-reviewed 2015 paper, Proving communal warfare among hunter-gatherers: The quasi-rousseauan error,  by Profess Azar Gat of Tel Aviv University. Some extracts, starting with escaped convict William Buckley, who lived from 1803-35 among Port Phillip Aborigines.

Buckley recounts some dozen battle scenes, as well as many lethal feuds, raids, and ambushes, comprising a central element of the natives’ traditional way of life. There was fighting at all levels: individual, familial, and tribal. Some of the intertribal encounters that Buckley recorded involved large numbers: five different tribes collected for battle; a battle and raid against an intruding enemy tribe, 300 strong; several full‐scale intertribal encounters, the last one a raid with many dead; two other encounters, the second against a war party of 60 men. Ceremonial cannibalism of the vanquished was customary. Buckley reported that the large‐scale raid was the deadliest form of violence and often involved indiscriminate massacre:

The contests between the Watouronga, of Geelong, and the Warrorongs, of the Yarra, were fierce and bloody. I have accompanied the former in their attacks on the latter. When coming suddenly upon them in the night, they have destroyed without mercy men, women and children.

In the 1870s, Lorimer Fison and Alfred Howitt studied the Kurnai tribe in southern Australia, specifically in Gippsland, Victoria. They described feuds and whole groups’ fighting. In one episode, fresh tracks indicating trespassing into the tribal territories were revealed and a spy was sent to reconnoiter. He found the intruders, with “lots of women and children.” The Kurnai men “got their spears ready…in the middle of the night they all marched off well armed.” After several marches, “when near morning … they got close to them …. The spies whistled like bird, to tell when all was ready. Then all ran in; they speared away, and speared away! They only speared the men, and perhaps some children. Whoever caught a women kept her himself. Then they eat the skin of the Brajeraks [the trespassing tribe].” The native informants told of other episodes that ended in ceremonial cannibalism of the vanquished.

Gerald Wheeler in The tribe and intertribalrelations in Australia(1910) cites different observers’ reports from all over Australia. According to one such report, after “march by night in the most stealthy manner … then follows a night attack and a wholesale extermination.” According to another report, “A common procedure in such warfare is to steal up to the enemy’s camp in the dead of night and encircle it in the earliest dawn. With a shout, the carnage then begins.”

The most lethal and common form of warfare among the Murngin was the surprise night raid. This could be carried out by individuals or small groups intending to kill a specific enemy or members of a specific family. But raids were also conducted on a large scale by war parties coming from whole clans or tribes. In such cases, the camp of the attacked party was surrounded and its unprepared, sleeping dwellers were massacred. It was in these larger raids that by far the most killings were registered: 35 people were killed in large‐scale raids, 27 in small‐scale raids, 29 in large battles in which ambushes were used, three in ordinary battles, and two in individual face‐to‐face encounters.

Arnold Pilling wrote about armed conflict among the Tiwi of northern Australia: ‘The night raids were effectively terminated, about 1912, when Sir Baldwin Spencer was inadvertently injured by a Tiwi during a spear‐throwing demonstration.” In fact, however, death‐causing battles with clubs occurred there as late as 1948.

One major action in Arnhem Land is described by Ted Strehlow.

To punish Ltjabakuka and his men meant the wiping out of the whole camp of people normally resident at Irbmankara, so that no witness should be left alive who could have revealed the names of the attackers. A large party of avengers drawn from the Matuntara area along the Palmer River, and from some Southern Aranda local groups, was accordingly assembled and led to Irbmankara by Tjinawariti, who was described to me as having been a Matuntara ‘ceremonial chief’ from the Palmer River whose prowess as a warrior had given him a great reputation . Tjinawariti and his men fell upon Irbmankara one evening, after all the local folk, as they believed, had returned to their camps from their day’s quests for food. Men, women and children were massacred indiscriminately.

Arthur Chaseling, too, mentions the whole spectrum of violence, from frequent individual fights to regulated battles between clans to raids. “Entire hordes have been exterminated,” he notes.

Ted Kimber cites evidence of some such major conflicts, including the one described by Strehlow:

In about 1840, at a locality called Nariwalpa, in response to insults, the ‘Jandruwontas and Piliatapas killed so many Diari men, that the ground was covered with their dead bodies”… Strehlow gives the most dramatic account of a major arid‐country conflict. He estimates that 80–100 men, women, and children were killed in one attack in 1875 at Running Waters, on the Finke River. In retaliation, all but one of the attacking party of ‘perhaps fifty to sixty warriors’ were killed over the next three years, as were some of their family members. This indicates that some 20% of two identifiable tribes were killed in this exchange.

Kimber adds,

The red ochre gathering expeditions … involved travel from the eastern portion of the study area to the Flinders Ranges … One entire party, with the exception of one man, is recorded as having been ambushed and killed in about 1870, whilst in about 1874 all but one of a group of 30 men were ‘entombed in the excavations’.

He concludes,

Although exact figures will never be known, a low death rate of possibly 5 per cent every generation can be suggested for the regions of least conflict, and a high death‐rate of perhaps 20 per cent every three generations elsewhere.

Warfare was not confined to water‐rich northern and southern Australia, but was evident in every climatic zone throughout the continent. (End of Gat extracts).

THE  reality of Aboriginal division of labor and treatment of women, vaunted by Pascoe, is horrific and  requires a trigger warning.

First Fleeter Watkin Tench noticed a young woman’s head “covered by contusions, and mangled by scars”. She also had a spear wound above the left knee caused by a man who dragged her from her home to rape her. Tench wrote,

They (Aboriginal women) are in all respects treated with savage barbarity; condemned not only to carry the children, but all other burthens, they meet in return for submission only with blows, kicks and every other mark of brutality.

He also wrote,

When an Indian [sic] is provoked by a woman, he either spears her, or knocks her down on the spot; on this occasion he always strikes on the head, using indiscriminately a hatchet, a club, or any other weapon, which may chance to be in his hand.

Marine Lt. William Collins wrote,

We have seen some of these unfortunate beings with more scars upon their shorn heads, cut in every direction, than could be well distinguished or counted.

Governor Phillip’s confidant, Bennelong, in 1790 had taken a woman to Port Jackson to kill her because her relatives were his enemies. He gave her two severe wounds on the head and one on the shoulder, saying this was his rightful vengeance.

Phillip was appalled that an Eora mother within a few days of delivery had fresh wounds on her head, where her husband had beaten her with wood.

In 1802 an explorer in the Blue Mountains wrote how, for a trivial reason, an Aboriginal called Gogy

took his club and struck his wife’s head such a blow that she fell to the ground unconscious. After dinner … he got infuriated and again struck his wife on the head with his club, and left her on the ground nearly dying.

In 1825, French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville wrote “young girls are brutally kidnapped from their families, violently dragged to isolated spots and are ravished after being subjected to a good deal of cruelty.”

George Robinson in Tasmania said in the 1830s that men courted their women by stabbing them with sharp sticks and cutting them with knives prior to rape. The men bartered their women to brutal sealers for dogs and food; in one case, such a woman voluntarily went back to the sealers rather than face further tribal violence.

Also in the 1830s, ex-convict Charles Lingard wrote:

I scarcely ever saw a married woman, but she had got six or seven cuts in her head, given by her husband with a tomahawk, several inches in length and very deep.

Explorer Edward John Eyre, who was very sympathetic towards Aborigines, nevertheless recorded:

Women are often sadly ill-treated by their husbands and friends…they are frequently beaten about the head, with waddies, in the most dreadful manner, or speared in the limbs for the most trivial offences…

…few women will be found, upon examination, to be free from frightful scars upon the head, or the marks of spear wounds about the body. I have seen a young woman, who, from the number of these marks, appeared to have been almost riddled with spear wounds.

Louis Nowra visited outback communities and found them astonishingly brutal:

Some of the women’s faces ended up looking as though an incompetent butcher had conducted plastic surgery with a hammer and saw. The fear in the women’s eyes reminded me of dogs whipped into cringing submission.[6]

Nowra quotes Walter Roth (1861-1933) a doctor, anthropologist and Chief Protector of Aborigines in Queensland. Roth described at the turn of the 20th century how, when a Pitta-Pitta girl first showed signs of puberty,

several men would drag her into the bush and forcibly enlarge the vaginal orifice by tearing it downwards with the first three fingers wound round and round with opossum string. Other men come forward from all directions, and the struggling victim has to submit in rotation to promiscuous coition with all the ‘bucks’ present.

Even worse was his description of practices around Glenormiston:

A group of men, with cooperation from old women, ambush a young woman, and pin her so an old man can slit up the shrieking girl’s perineum with a stone knife, followed by sweeping three fingers round the inside of the virginal orifice. She is next compelled to undergo copulation with all the bucks present; again the same night, and a third time, on the following morning.

In Birdsville, a hardwood stick two feet long with a crude life-sized penis carving at the top, was used to tear the hymen and posterior vaginal wall.

In the Tully area, a very young man would give his betrothed to an old man to sleep with and train her for him. The idea was that the elder would ‘make the little child’s genitalia develop all the more speedily’. There was no restriction on age or social status at which the bride would be delivered up. As Roth observed,

It is of no uncommon occurrence to see an individual carrying on his shoulder his little child-wife who is perhaps too tired to toddle any further.

This has not been a pleasant piece to write. First, there is the sponsorship of “Aboriginal historian” Pascoe by Australia’s most eminent scientific body. Then there is the nonsense Pascoe spouts about supposedly peaceful and gender-harmonious pre-contact society. Finally, there’s the reality as observed in early white contacts with authentic Aboriginal culture. This essay package could be summed up, as per Xavier Herbert, “Poor fellow my [woke] country.”

Tony Thomas’s next book from Connor Court, Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars, will be launched at il Gamberos, 166 Lygon St, Carlton Vic on Wednesday June 16 at 6.30pm. All welcome, contact tthomas061@gmail.com

[1] The Academy’s CEO Anna-Maria Arabia’s pre-appointment roles included adviser to Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese. Her philosophy is “Scientists can be politically active without politicising their science.”

A job ad for an Academy researcher read: “Candidate applications from a range of diverse and inclusive groups of the community including applicants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent are encouraged to apply.”

[2] I’m making an educated guess the book Pascoe is referencing is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.Show your support

Cool the Planet or We Kill the Dog


My spaniel, Natasha, has outworn her welcome at our house. According to apex climate scientists doing their peer-reviewed work at universities, dogs and cats are harming the planet with their substantial carbon footprints (make that pawprints). I should replace Natasha, they say, with more climate-friendly pets like galahs, edible hens and rabbits, hamsters, and tortoises. If anyone’s got cause for climate grief, it’s Natasha.

They calculate that Natasha’s emissions stem largely from growing the meat in her pet food. There’s  also  the plastic poop bags that I sneak into other people’s red bins during her walks. Her CO2 emissions are about 30kg a year. That’s not counting her direct emissions while we’re trying to watch Kate Winslet slumming it in Mare of Easttown.

The tipping point to ditch the bitch and cull the kitten could be as early as 2023, a mere two years hence. That’s according to Harvard Professor Naomi Oreskes, a doyenne of the catastrophist community. No-one can doubt her credentials. Wiki lists her latest award as the Medal of the British Academy (2019) amid 27 climate honors, such as “Ambassador and Fellow, American Geophysical Union” and “Francis Bacon Award in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Caltech”.

In 2010 she wrote the solemn book Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. She’s followed up with an even scarier tract, The Collapse of Western Civilisation. In this book she says global warming will “wipe out” every Australian man, woman and child. Only a few scattered communities — some mountain people in South America, for instance — will survive the killer heating.

More importantly, she prophesises the agonising climate deaths of those puppies and kittens. One reader, she says,

started crying when the pets die, so I didn’t mean to upset people too much … I was just trying to come up with something that I thought people wouldn’t forget about, and I thought, well, Americans spend billions of dollars every year taking care of their pets, and I thought if people’s dogs started dying, maybe then they would sit up and take notice.

I looked up that bit in her book, and found the Kitten and Puppy Mass Extinction occurs in 2023, along with the climate deaths of 500,000 people and $US500 billion financial damage. Oreskes writes, in bold type no less:

The loss of pet cats and dogs garnered particular attention among wealthy Westerners, but what was anomalous in 2023 soon became the new normal. A shadow of ignorance and denial had fallen over people who considered themselves children of the Enlightenment. 

She was interviewed by the ABC’s science guru Robyn Williams AO AM, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and also showered with awards and three honorary doctorates.[1] He enthused with her:

Yes, not only because it’s an animal but it’s local. You see, one criticism of the scientists is they’re always talking about global things … And so if you are looking at your village, your animals, your fields, your park, your kids, and the scientists are talking about a small world that you know, then it makes a greater impact, doesn’t it.

 Oreskes responded:

Well, exactly. It was about bringing it literally home, literally into your home, your family, your pet, the dog or cat that you love who is your faithful and trusted companion.

But surely Oreskes’ pet doom forecast isn’t (trademarked) Peer-Reviewed Science? Yes, her book is kosher, she verifies.

Well, it’s all based on solid science. Everything in this book is based on the scientific projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. All we did was to add to the social and human aspects to it.

Back in the real world, the ABC introduced the Oreskes episode on its Science Show with a typical lie: “The Earth’s climate is changing at the highest of predicted rates.” Fact: The past 40 years’ warming to date is barely half of what the orthodox modelling predicted.[2]

This ABC wallow was all a while back, but there’s now a veritable industry of scholarship damning our pets’ CO2 emissions. Tax-funded full-time climate scientists have assessed the climate impact of St Bernards vs labradors vs Jack Russells. But two studies on dogs’ climate footprints are at loggerheads – one from Australian researchers, the other from Arizona. As a patriot, I support the Australian results showing the CO2 emissions as St Bernard, 90kg; Labrador, 60kg and Jack Russell 20kg. The Arizonans plumped for 20-30 times higher emissions: this is not yet settled science.

The assault on our four-legged friends hit Code Red last month, with Vox magazine USAheadlining, “Are our pets gobbling up the planet?” It’s sub-headed, ominously: “Pet care is unarguably bad for the environment. What can we do about it?”

The piece, copiously illustrated, noted that during COVID lockdowns lots of households acquired new pets, aggravating the global heating emergency. It quoted Gregory Okin, a geography professor at the University of California, Los Angeles: “Reducing the rate of dog and cat ownership, perhaps in favor of other pets that offer similar health and emotional benefits, would considerably reduce these impacts.”

One learned estimate is that a medium dog needs 0.84 hectares of arable land for its pet food. That’s more than the ecological footprint of a Fourth World citizen, and twice the ecological footprint of a 4.6 litre LandCruiser doing 10,000km a year.[3] Even a cat’s ecological pawprint equals that of a VW Golf, or so said a pair of British academic pet specialists, lately educating New Zealanders from Victoria University, Wellington.[4]

Professors Robert and Brenda Vale wrote a book, Time to Eat the Dog? Responding to a public outcry, Robert said, “We need to know what we’re doing when it comes to the environment. We can’t go blind into this debate. Nothing should be off limits no matter how uncomfortable it is to discuss it.” Their book title was deliberately provocative: don’t expect breast of kelpie from Coles. They didn’t want pups and kittens culled, let alone eaten, but they’d have no problem with tinned rats for cats, or dog-owners switching to pet rabbits and boiling the bunnies’ offspring for lunch. The smaller the pet, they say, the better for the planet. I think it was Woody Allen who claimed his parents gave him ants for pets. If bikie gangs had any climate conscience, they’d use chihuahaus and Pomeranians to guard their clubhouses instead of mastiffs and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

 A 2019 study reported that the average Dutch dog’s carbon emissions just for food were up to 1.4 tonnes and cats were up to 0.25 tonnes. (Cats win again). This is nearly double the annual electricity carbon emissions for the average UK household just for dog food and about a third of household electricity emissions for the average cat’s food.

The 160-odd million pets in the US create 64 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions, equal to 13 million cars, says one of those sciency papers in PLOS ONE, which boasts “rigorous peer review”.

Moreover, humans and their pets are getting obese at similar rates. People replicate their food fads with pet foods, with about a year’s lag. Thus we get “No Carb” and Paleo Diet pet foods. Fido’s tin of lamb hotpot may now include rice, pearly barley, broccoli, spinach, blueberries, flaxseed, marigold petals, burdock root and alfalfa. That certainly sounds better on a label than cheaper pet food’s “hydrolysed feathers”, horse, Skippy and “animal derivatives” like hair, teeth and bowels.

Some climate scientists have flogged the reverse narrative that pets are victims rather than culprits of the global heating emergency. They scare the punters with tales that warming will worsen pets’ ticks, fleas and heartworms.

The climate scientists now want legal limits on the type and number of our pets. Although I am older than 17 and not as learned as Greta Thunberg, I still intend to mobilise schoolchildren the world over (except China) for a School Strike for Labradoodles. We march on Federal Parliament next week with our Staffies, groodles, spoodles and cavoodles, and your Siamese, Persians, Abyssinians, Maine Coons and Ragdolls. Cavalier King Charleses, united, will never be defeated.[5]

Further Reading: 7 signs you love your pet more than your partner. For example: You return from grocery shopping with a basket of treats for your dog and forget the one thing your partner asked for.

Tony Thomas’s next book from Connor Court, Foot Soldier in the Culture Wars, will be launched at il Gamberos, 166 Lygon St, Carlton Vic on Wednesday June 16 at 6pm. All welcome, contact tthomas061@gmail.com.

[1] His partner, Jonica Newby, is both an ABC veteran and a veteran veterinarian. Last March she published Beyond Climate Grief. It’s about “How do we find courage when climate change overwhelms us emotionally?”

[2] I forced the ABC to add the following to its iview page:

[Editor’s note: The original introduction stated that “Earth’s climate is changing at the highest of predicted rates, scientists have given up on the much talked about two degree ceiling …” In context these words telegraphed the premise on which Prof Oreskes’ work of fiction is based; however, it has been interpreted as a statement of incontrovertible fact and has therefore been removed to prevent any further misunderstanding.]

[3] The ecological footprint means the amount of land needed to support the pet.

[4] Robert Vale’s retired, his wife Brenda is a Professorial Research Fellow.

[5] Cavalier King Charles 1, admittedly, lost his head.

The Write Stuff

Tony Thomas

Invited to a War is  Air Vice-Marshal Alan Reed’s memoirs of a 37-year RAAF career, spanning what he calls “a fortunate life”. The war was Vietnam and the “invitation” was from the US government.

Reed, now 87, retired in 1990, but in 1967 he was on exchange and training USAF pilots in Phantom fighter-bomber reconnaissance roles. He felt inadequate without Vietnam experience but the Pentagon couldn’t order a foreign national to go. Hence the “invitation” to which Reed responded, in effect, “Yes, please”.

On his first night bunking down at Tan Son Nhut airbase with his “Blackbirds” group, the Viet Cong sent in a rocket salvo, burning a C130 transport. Kitted with his shoulder-patch “Alone Unarmed and Unafraid”, he was told that over-flying Cambodia was taboo but by omission, it was OK to over-fly North Vietnam and Laos, where the locals were known to skin captured pilots alive.

He did ten “out-country” sorties, winning two Distinguished Flying Crosses. The first was for photographing a surface-to-air missile site under construction and heavily defended. The citation said, “Despite intense and accurate automatic weapons fire and antiaircraft artillery fire, he made multiple passes over his target to ensure complete photographic coverage.” The second DFC was for spotting a Phantom crash site. A total of some 761 Phantoms — US Air Force, Navy and Marines —  were lost during the war. In one loss in Reed’s group, Major General Bob Worley was consumed by fire before he could eject, becoming the only USAF General lost in combat.

In contrast, Reed was always lucky. He was one of 13 pilots graduating from No 13 Course at Archerfield base, Qld, in 1954. Against the odds, none died in action. Curiously, Reed’s steed was the only Wirraway ever to shoot down a Japanese Zero – by Pilot John Archer above Gona in 1942.

On Good Friday 1955 Reed was rostered second pilot for a Lincoln bomber making a midnight dash from Townsville to Brisbane with a blue baby and nurse. He did the pre-flight checks and strapped in the bassinet, but then was ‘bumped’ by a squadron leader keen to visit Brisbane. Reed declined an offer to sit in the back of the plane. The skipper mistook Toowoomba’s lights for Brisbane and all died in the crash 100ft below the top of Mt Superbus.

Later, flying an F111 at Mach 2.4 or 3000km an hour, an intake vent problem caused an engine to stall and surge. It felt like he’d hit a brick wall, but he was able to regain control. (The F-111’s top speed was Mach 2.5). His nearest-miss, ironically, was in retirement as co-pilot of a Tiger Moth in peaceful Wooloomanata, near Lara, Victoria. The pilot stalled the left wing at 50 feet and Reed grabbed control a second before the plane was about to cartwheel into the dirt. Strangely he’d learnt the “unload to live” manoeuvre flying a Phantom.

His career ranged from command of Australia’s No 6 Phantom squadron to leading our first F-111 squadron at Amberley and high-level staff work. Indeed he signed the RAAF’s final recommendation for F-111s rather than more Phantoms, against spirited opposition from Russell Offices. Later an F-111 pilot sent a recalcitrant deputy secretary an F-111 photo with the bureaucrat’s office window marked with target cross-hairs. F-111 “Pigs” or “Aardvarks” served Australia well from 1973 to 2010.

With some trepidation, Reed included in his book his flights photographing Indonesian air bases during “Konfrontasi” in 1959-60. It was also 1960, when Russians caught spy pilot Gary Powers after downing his U2 with a missile the Americans didn’t believe was capable of reaching such a high-flier. The big risk was from contrails alerting MIG15s and 17s. Reed’s role as “Little Reed” was to fly half a mile behind the lead bomber piloted by “Big Read” – Group Captain Charles Read – and alert him with VHF “clicks” to switch altitude if contrails formed.

The pair of intruders avoided Java but inspected bases at islands including Ambon, the Celebes, and Lombok. Reed doesn’t know if they were detected. At the time he was sanitising his logbook with official cover stories about “contrail research” so he’s short on remembered detail. Reed and Read were awarded Queen’s Commendations, without specifics mentioned. Today Reed thinks his memoirs are the first public disclosure.

Two years’ later Reed’s flight of five Butterworth-based Canberras had just finished war games with USAF F-100 Super Sabres when the Cuban missile crisis hit. Reed writes that the same F-100 base-buddies were on the tarmac readying for a one-way flight to Chinawith a nuclear weapon apiece.

His Biggles-like yarns are a constant delight. In a 1980 war game, his F-111s’ job was to hit the carriers USS Constellation and HMAS Melbourne before their planes could attack Hawaii. The “Pigs” dealt with HMAS Melbourne but the formidable Constellation, with its 80 interceptors and two Hawkeye early-warning aircraft, was coming in undetected from the north, with more strike-power than the whole Australian Defence Force. When it was spotted, the admiral in Hawaii ordered Reed to attack it with four F-111s – suicidal against the carrier’s radar coverage and F-14 defenders. Weirdly, still without opposition 200 miles from target, the F-111s split up and at 100 feet, surged over the carrier from the four points of the compass at 600 knots. It turned out that one of the carrier’s two Hawkeyes had just landed with a fault, and the second hadn’t yet taken off. Next day, with both Hawkeyes vigilant, Reed was once more coming in at 100ft when a defending F-14 streaked underneath him and pulled up ahead in a victory roll.

Reed has no embarrassment recounting his early love life – they called the Townsville nurses’ quarters “the bulk store”. With superb candour he relates how he teetered on a third-floor balcony to jemmy the shutters of his irate wife’s locked bedroom at Butterworth. Instead he fell off and broke two arms, one wrist and pelvis, and when just recovered and running Point Cook, got his sound left leg broken playing rugby.

His ultimate embarrassment was in the late 1980s at Laverton, between Melbourne and Geelong, when taking a lady on a joy flight in an antique Tiger Moth. He’d misjudged his fuel, the engine cut out and he glided to a landing in the Werribee sewage farm. They were rescued by old lag with a rowboat. Reed and his PR flacks managed to hide from the curious media that an Air Vice-Marshal was the shitty pilot.

Invited to a War
Air Vice-Marshall Alan Reed. 
Altech International 2020, 314pp.
Amazon $43.73

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come To Think Of It – essays to tickle the brain, is available here  as a book ($34.95) or an e-book ($14.95)Show your supportDonate Now

4 comments
  • Peter OBrien – 9th May 2021What an fascinating life of active service. Hate to pick you up on a pedantic point Tony but Konfrontasi was between 1963 and 1966. I know this because my father was the Met Officer at Butterworth air base during this time and we Aussie kids were evacuated from the RAAF School Penang one morning under threat of a bomb having been planted in the school. Turned out to be a hoax.
  • Harry Lee – 9th May 2021Always good to hear of the exploits of outstanding members of the Australian military.
    For many generations now, they have done excellent work, and made many sacrifices on behalf of Australia and Western Civ generally.
    Now the Left is now working hard to feminise the ADF and emasculate it.
    And advancing mightily in this regard -see the current assaults by the marxist/ people and agents of Islam and China on the SASR and the Commando Regiment, and members thereof.
    Of course, the present greatest threats to Australia is here at home -by way of infiltration of all of our institutions by agents of various anti-Western foreign and transnational political forces.
    And of homefront warriors who might resist and destroy these internal enemies, there are precious few.
    Maybe none.
  • Tony Thomas – 9th May 2021Peter, pedants don’t hate what they do, they enjoy it immensely 🙂
    I’ve checked the book, it is curious because according to Alan Reed, he got a medal for the overflights in 1960. Either he’s made a date mistake, or stuff was going on pre-1960 that we don’t know about:
    “While we photographed several airfields, I did not get to see the photographs in detail so I am not sure what we actually found. Thankfully, no Migs were sighted and I am not even sure whether any of our flights were ever detected. Naturally, my log book refers to these missions as contrail research so that is why I am a bit vague about the details. I am sure that a few people at
    109
    PROOF
    Darwin and in our squadron realised that there was something funny going on when Big Read and Little Reed went off together to Darwin for several days at a time. After one of these operations, Frank and I delivered the film to the intelligence centre at the barn in Canberra. The barn was a photographic interpretation centre built during the war to actually look like a barn on what was allegedly a farm not far from the Fairbairn Air Force Base. In recognition of our work on this task, but without formal acknowledgment, Frank and I were both awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air in the 1960 Queens Birthday Honours List: so much for my venture into the arcane world of intelligence gathering.”
  • joe.moharich – 9th May 2021Following that very embarrassing Tiger Moth“landing” at the sewerage farm, Alan was summoned to appear before the the Department of Civil Aviation’s Examiner of Airmen who took delight in tearing strips off Alan.It appears to have bee a great opportunity for “payback
    “ for a roasting handed out by Alan , to that Examiner, when the Examiner was in the RAAF serving under Alan.

The Australian Academy of Drama Queens

The green-left Australian Academy of Science has produced another outburst of climate doomism: “The risks to Australia of a 3 degC warmer world.” Nearly 50 years ago the same Academy was assessing the risks to Australia of a cooling worldthat climate scientists feared might nip crops and leave us shivering under our Doonas. Who would deny that climate science is a slave to fashion? [1]

The Academy report of last March opens and closes with scary pics of fire-blackened bushland. It’s a vanity project, with the authors citing their own works multiple times, especially chair Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (16 self-citations), Mark Howden (11 times) Lesley Hughes (10 times), Will Steffen (10 times), and David Karoly and John Church (8 times). Even Sarah Perkins-Kilpatrick, who is supposed to be reviewing the document, is reviewing herself as she’s cited seven times in the references.[2] Reviewer Jason Evans is cited nine times. Another reviewer is Martin Rice, who works for Tim Flannery’s propaganda outfit Climate Council, but he features only four times in the body of the report.

Perkins-Kilpatrick is convinced by her climate models that warming is turbo-charging everything (but apparently not our cool summer of 2020-21, nor the current deep freeze in the Northern Hemisphere).[3] She’s so confident about the modelling that she’ll mortgage her house and happily bet her kids lives on it.[4] I will necessarily win this bet as the RCPs (Representative Modelling Pathways or official scenarios) she uses are discredited and climate models have overshot actual warming to date by a factor of at least two.[5] I’ll enjoy her house but I promise not to slay her kids.

The above-mentioned Will Steffen’s co-authored piece on “climate tipping points”, was headlined, “The growing threat of abrupt and irreversible climate changes must compel political and economic action on emissions.” The Nature paper included political rodomontade like:

In our view, the consideration of tipping points helps to define that we are in a climate emergency and strengthens this year’s chorus of calls for urgent climate action — from schoolchildren to scientists, cities and countries.

The Australian Academy’s 3deg scare paper in March, also co-authored by Steffen, draws on that Steffen et al Nature article and re-produces its text and graphics of tipping point “domino effects”. Five months after the Nature paper was published, the journal had to grovel horrifically because the seven apex climate scientists had screwed up.[6] Here’s the grovel – try to restrain your mirth (emphasis added):

Correction 09 April 2020: The figure ‘Too close for comfort’ in this Comment incorrectly synthesized and interpreted data from the IPCC. The graph labelled the temperatures as absolute, rather than rises; misrepresented the levels of risk; misinterpreted data as coming from a 2007 IPCC report; extrapolated the focus of a 2018 report; and was not clear about the specific sources of the data. The graphic has been extensively modified online to correct these errors.

Mercifully, Hoegh-Guldberg, Steffen et al have pasted the corrected graphic into their Academy report, not the discarded FUBAR version.[7] Maybe climate science isn’t so “irrefutable” after all.

Just in case, the Academy has given itself a free card to exaggerate and scaremonger:

We adopted the precautionary principle: if a potentially damaging effect cannot be ruled out, it needs to be taken seriously.

The Academy’s authors failed to heed the devastating critique of their scenario methods in a paper last May led by Roger Pielke of University of Colorado, titled “Systemic Misuse of Scenarios in Climate Research and Assessment.”  The Academy paper has about 20 mentions of official but discredited scenario RCP8.5 and about 50 mentions of other RCP scenarios. Typical:

RCP8.5 assumes little mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and is associated with global warming of 4°c or more above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Up to now, anthropogenic emissions have tracked the RCP8.5 pathway most closely…

Graphics misleadingly show the various scenarios as consistent and comparable. And RCP8.5 is used in the body of the report to imagine horrible warming outcomes, e.g. hailstorms, p32.

Pielke, who is not a climate sceptic, says that, at worst, the extreme and implausible projections of RCP8.5 are touted as “business as usual”. He wrote:

The misuse of scenarios in climate research means that much of what we think we know about our collective climate future may be incomplete, myopic or even misleading or wrong, and as such, ‘uncomfortable knowledge’.

Pielke tracked 4,500 scientific papers misusing the most extreme scenario RCP8.5. The dud scenario featured in 16,800 scholarly articles since 2010. In January-February 2020 alone, more than 1300 studies quoted RCP8.5, at the rate of about 20 per day, with serious misuse at the rate of two studies per day.

The consequences of RCP scenario misuse include a myopic perspective on alternative futures and a correspondingly limited view on policy alternatives, the creation of a vast academic literature with little to no connection to the real world, and an unwarranted emphasis on apocalyptic climate futures that influences public and policy-maker perspectives.

The objective of understanding scenario misuse is not to apportion or assign blame, but to understand how such a pervasive and consequential failure of scientific integrity came to be on such an important topic, how it can be corrected and how it can be avoided in the future.

Pielke and co-author Ritchie sheet some blame home to the incestuous connections among prominent climate scientists.

The IPCC scenario process has been led by a small group of academics for more than a decade, and decisions made by this small community have profoundly shaped the scientific literature and correspondingly, how the media and policy communities interpret the issue of climate change.

 The Academy paper, with its incestuous group of self-citing authors-cum-IPCC-contributors, could be a case in point.

Their chair Hoegh-Guldberg is a climate activist par excellenceAs the ABC put it in a fawning interview in 2009 “Hoegh-Guldberg’s work has been embraced by the likes of Al Gore and David Attenborough” and “his mission now is to travel the globe as he fights to raise awareness of what we stand to lose.” He’s been forecasting the bleaching death of the Great Barrier Reef from climate change since 1998, when his modelling put the Reef’s demise as early as 2030 – less than a decade from now. He lamented that his science peers were giving his research bad reviews: “They were meant to be anonymous but someone slipped them to me, and they were very scathing …” Climategate’s cynical emails of 2009threw plenty more light on this “anonymous” and gamed peer-review system.

In the same 2009 interview Hoegh-Guldberg forecast the disappearance of Arctic sea ice by 2019. He argued with Andrew Bolt: “This is four million kilometres square of ice that’s disappearing. It’s not a tiny thing! But wouldn’t you say that’s a bad sign?” Fact Check: Hoegh-Guldberg confused square miles with square kilometres – but in any event the ice extent last month was 5.7 million square miles or 14.8 million square kilometres. (Hoegh-Guldberg’s “This is four million kilometres square of ice” could not be more wrong. What he said, but doesn’t mean, is a square with sides of 4 million km to give a total area of 16 trillion sq km.)

 The ABC interviewer spliced in tape of Hoegh-Guldberg addressing a conference in Saudi Arabia (of all places) and saying, “Let’s now change the world.”

Canadian investigative journalist Donna Laframboise has provided detailed history on Professor Hoegh-Guldberg, under the header, The WWF Activist in Charge at the IPCC(March 30, 2014). Among other things, she accuses him of using “drama queen language”,such as this (you be the judge):

The world is currently facing the greatest challenge of all time … Humanity is at the crossroads. The message is quite simple and the choice stark: act now or face an uncertain, potentially catastrophic future … World leaders can change the history of the planet and directly influence the survival of millions upon millions of people … Basically, the future is looking very gloomy unless we act immediately and decisively.

Laframboise wrote,

The fact that he has spent his career cashing cheques from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) was no impediment to him participating in the latest [Fifth] IPCC assessment. The geniuses there decided he wasn’t merely lead-author material, but that he deserved to be placed in charge of a chapter it’s called  The Ocean.

WWF Australia published a spiffy, 16-page brochure titled “Lights Out for the Reef”. Hoegh-Guldberg’s photo and biographical sketch are one of the first things you see. In the foreword, he says that unless we “increase our commitment” to caring for the Great Barrier Reef, it “will disappear.” He knows what the future holds – and he knows it’s apocalyptic. Not content to merely express his own opinions, he presumes to lecture the rest of us. We need to “take action” and “act now.” We need to “deal decisively with climate change.” Behind all of this, of course, lurks a threat: if we don’t follow his advice, we’ll be really, really sorry.

Hoegh-Guldberg’s Queensland University biography lists four reports he did for Greenpeace from 1994-2000. After Laframboise’s post, Hoegh-Guldberg penned yet another tract for WWF, “Reviving the Ocean Economy – the Case for Action – 2015” and the following year he conducted a WWF seminar. The president and CEO of WWF (US), Carter Roberts, recalled schmoozing with him on a diving trip and:

Ove showed us maps tracking elevated levels of CO2 in the oceans, and how those levels corresponded with the declining health of the world’s coral reefs. If current trends continue, he told us, we will watch corals around the world wink out year after year until the only reefs left alive are found in a small remote spot in the South Pacific…

James Cook University’s Professor Peter Ridd was sacked in 2017 for demanding audits of alleged systemic flaws in Barrier Reef scientists’ methodology. He’s now taken his case to the High Court. As a further example of contested reef science, researcher Dr Jennifer Marohasy has challenged the standard methodology of assessing GBR coral die-back from the window of an aeroplane overflying at 120 metres. She says this is too high to give realistic results and when she has dived or used a drone on the same reefs, she’s found the corals perfectly healthy.

None of the Academy folk doing the 3deg report noticed that they were reinventing the (square) wheel. In 2007 climate guru of the era Dr Barrie Pittock wrote a 16,000-word tract for WWF headed: “Dangerous Aspirations: Beyond 3degC warming in Australia”. It’s full of the same guff and doomism as that of the Academy’s folk, who toiled a year over their “Risk to Australia of a 3degC warmer world” lookalike.[8]

The supposedly dispassionate Academy paper makes no mention whatsoever of nuclear power, and just one passing mention of China – whose emissions will swamp whatever cuts Australia tries to make.[9] The Academy paper appears even more ridiculous when set against the views this month of Obama’s chief scientist of the Energy Department, physicist Steven Koonin, who is by no means a sceptic. He expects only 1degC more warming this century – hardly worth spending trillions to combat and easy to adapt to. Further, he says the scientists, politicians and the media have generated a narrative that is absurdly, demonstrably false. That includes the “extreme weather” meme which the IPCC itself rates as “low confidence” – and which the Academy paper touts at least 27 times. The models can’t even agree on the current actual global temperature to within 3degC while claiming 1 per cent precision on key variables. The modellers’ guesses on the temperature impact of doubled  CO2 have not improved in 40 years and are now diverging even more widely, Koonin gripes.[10] The darling of catastrophists circa 2019 was David Wallace Wells with his scare book The Uninhabitable Earth. But even he is calling on fellow activists to revise their advocacy “in a less alarmist direction.”

The Academy – its members are overwhelmingly taxpayer-funded – wants to force Australia’s blue-collars, tradies and non-public servant middle classes into unpalatable and dark-green lifestyle changes. One example: “large-scale adoption of EVs [electric vehicles].” Let’s check the data (the report does not).

EV sales last year were just 6,900, up a mere 182 cars on 2019. That 6,900 total was not even 1 per cent of car sales. To date in 2021, EV sales (excluding Teslas at $73,000 upwards but including hybrids) are just 0.6 per cent. Last year 50 per cent of sales were fat gas-guzzling SUVs, up from 45 per cent in 2019. The Academy wants to push us into EVs via government subsidies and by penalties/restrictions on normal cars.

Ponder the  EV handwaving by the Academy, as evident in the passage below, taken from Academy paper March 31, 2021 (emphasis added):

On current estimates, lifetime costs of electric vehicles (EVs) are similar to those of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles and are likely to fall further.

Now check back into the real world, as described in a Federal Department of Industry, Science and Energy paper published last February:

Currently, closing the total cost-of-ownership gap with battery electric vehicle subsidies would not represent value-for-money. Analysis shows that this would be expected to cost the taxpayer $195-747 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, depending on the vehicle type and usage. This is high when compared to the Emissions Reduction Fund price of $16 per tonne of carbon emitted. This translates to around $4,500 to $8,000 over the life of the vehicle, or around 10-40 cents per kilometre over a 10 year vehicle life.

The Academy leaves it to the omniscient government to fix the “adjustment challenges” to jobs and industries arising from its pro-EV policies. Otherwise, “Australia will be left with an inefficient car fleet, dependent on mostly imported oil, for many years to come.” What’s “inefficient” about my little family car Hyundai i30 (price new, $23,000)? It carries us like a charm on a whiff of petrol.

The Academy calls for “an immediate halt to new thermal coal mines and coal-fired power stations” and expects the bureaucracy to somehow find coal workers better jobs or earlier retirement. But anyway, it cites its own author, economist John Quiggin,

Thermal coal mining is not a major employer in Australia’s overall labour market and most employees in the industry have skills that make them employable in a wide range of industries. Only a small number of communities, mostly in central and northern Queensland, depend critically on coal mining…

Those thermal coal miners whom the Academy is happy to disappear, number about 20,000,out of about 40,000 coal miners in total, plus, of course, their household and commercial dependents. Nevertheless, the Academy continues:

Many coal-dependent workers and communities will be better off under a compassionate, pro-active transition program than by simply carrying on with ‘business as usual’ (Wiseman et al. 2017).”

Professor John Wiseman works at the dark-green end of Melbourne University at its Sustainable Society Institute. The title of one of his co-authored publications, “The Degrowth Imperative: Reducing energy and resource consumption as an essential component in achieving carbon budget targets” gives the flavour. “Degrowth” means reducing living standards like GDP per capita. As Wiseman’s co-author, Samuel Alexander, puts it, “And can we come together to build resilient, relocalised economies as globalised, carbon capitalism comes to an end in coming years and decades?” Wiseman’s also a writer on climate change and mental health, e.g. “And while many people feel grief and despair about the prospects of climate change, others see transformational hope…”

The Academy report starts with a full-page 230-word kow-tow to Aborigines, including a homily by Aboriginal Dr Emma Lee, one of the 15 members of the expert panel of authors. (The Academy signed up to a “Reconciliation Action Plan” in August 2019 to burnish its woke credentials). Dr  Lee told a conference in March about living in Country with ancestors “every day watching our midden sites along the coast getting washed away with increasing tides.”[11] One of the oldest-tide gauge benchmarks in the world is at Port Arthur in south-east Tasmania. CSIRO says it shows 160 years of sea rise there totalling a mere 13.5cm, or about two-thirds of my palm and fingers. A more precise study put the rise there at 1mm a year or 10cm per century. I had no idea that modern Tasmanian Aboriginals could so closely detect the tides increasing.

I checked other recent Academy reports for apologies for squatting on Aboriginal land, without success. One report reviewing “Decadal plans for Australian Astronomy” has 90 words of acknowledgements to whites but not one mention of Aborigines or the pioneering work of Aboriginal astronomers , now being dinned into Australian schoolkids by the ABC and officialdom.

How left can the Academy get? Last November it bagged President Trump and threw in its lot with the doddering fraud Joe Biden:

He will restore funding to environmental and climate programs and, most importantly for Australia, pressure other nations to raise their emissions reductions ambitions…

The [Trump] administration has also harmed the free movement of scientists and ideas. Travel restrictions have made it more difficult for foreigners from different countries to work or study in the US… Rising concerns about Chinese technological advancements have resulted in investigations into links between US-based scientists and China, leading to Chinese claims of McCarthyism—a claim familiar to Australians (My emphases).

What? Why is the Academy recycling propaganda from China intended to minimise the Communist Party’s wholesale stealing of Western know-how? I sought clarification from the Academy but got no response. [12]

And what’s behind the Academy saying that the China-alleged “McCarthyism” is a “claim familiar to Australians”? That comment appears to derive from a Senate committee hearing last October. Liberal Senator Eric Abetz asked three Chinese-Australian researchers whether they were prepared to “unconditionally condemn the Chinese Communist Party dictatorship”. One of them, a Labor candidate for Melbourne’s deputy mayor, later called the question “race-baiting McCarthyism.” [I make no suggestion that the three witnesses are in any way disloyal]. The Venona code-breaking transcripts proved that in the US, Senator McCarthy was not just imagining nests of traitors within the post-war establishment.

The Academy’s climate doomism is squandering prestige built over half a century. Someone there should have run a check on its 3degC warming nonsense before the Academy does any more damage – to itself.

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come To Think Of It – essays to tickle the brain, is available here as a book ($34.95) or an e-book ($14.95)

[1] The fourteen Academy people wrote sagely in 1976, “We conclude that there is no evidence that the world is now on the brink of a major climatic change. There is ample evidence that the world’s climate has changed widely during the geological past, and while there is every expectation that it will continue to change in the future, the time scale of these changes is in the range of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years rather than decades or centuries.” (My emphasis).

[2] There is scientific etiquette that a reviewer does not review his/her own prior publications, yet here we see senior climate scientists doing just that.

[3] The UK is copping its frostiest April in at least 60 years, CO2 notwithstanding, according to its Met Office.

[4] At 1.10.00secs in the video.

[5] IPCC’s Third Report 2001: “In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” (Chapter 14, Section 14.2.2.2. )

IPCC’s Fifth Report, 2014: 111 out of 114 model runs showed temperatures above actual data. [chapter 9, text box 9.2, page 769]

[6] “The Australian Academy of Science comprises 550 Fellows whose common link is their exceptional scientific achievement.

[7] Fouled up beyond all recognition.

[8] The Pittock biography incorrectly credits him with a share in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, which the ABC’s Sophie Scott elevated even further to describe Pittock as a “Nobel Prize winner”.[8]

[9] China, pretending at the Paris talks to be a less-developed country, intends to reach peak emissions only in 2030. It’s burning more than half the globe’s thermal coal consumption and is planning or starting 247 gigawatts of new coal-fired power, six times the total coal-power use of Germany and equal to about 80 Loy Yang power plants.

[10] The last official IPCC statement was a footnote in IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. SPM page 16. It reads ‘No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.’

[11] at 1.24.40sec.

[12] In a marvellous each-way bet, the Academy’s anti-Trump document says

  • This analysis has the endorsement of the Secretary for Science Policy, President and Chief Executive of the Australian Academy of Science.
  • “Views expressed in this feature remain those of the authors.”

BLM: Black Landlords Matter

Tony Thomas

Some of us, or lefties anyway, imagine Black Lives Matter (BLM) to be a charity something like the Red Cross or Brotherhood of St Laurence but without the op shops, its founders akin to Florence Nightingale or Albert Schweizer. As Wikipedia puts it with a typical Left narrative slant, “The movement comprises many views and a broad array of demands but they center on criminal justice reform.”

Actually, the founders are Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, all by their own description “trained Marxists” and . [1] Sydney University’s affiliate foundation awarded them its Sydney Peace Prize a few years back, which should tell you something. Ms Cullors was educated for years by Eric Mann, a member of the domestic terrorist organization Weather Underground. She has named wanted cop-killer Assata Shakur (real name: Joanne Chesimard) as a “leader” who “inspires” her.

I don’t know about other states but the sort of Victorians Premier Dan Andrews’ indulges to express their views took to the streets en mass to love-bomb BLM last June. Unlike pregnant mums in their kitchens and old ladies on park benches, Andrews’ personal Praetorian Guard, aka VicPol, made no arrests for violating the state-of-emergency lockdown. (VicPol later issued three organisers with $1652 infringement notices).[2] BLM must indeed be a noble cause if even the corono-virus respects it.

One of the BLM’s founders in 2013, 37-year-old Ms Cullors, has been in the US news lately – but certainly not in the news filtered for us by Their ABC. I see Ms Cullors has been quoted or mentioned in 14 ABC stories from 2017, so the current blackout on ABC news is unusual.

The BLM news coverage in the US has been a bit lively – so much so that Twitter and Facebook felt it their civic duty to shut down any adverse coverage to the best of the unelected tech giants’ ability.

The story was broken by the New York Post a week ago, the same newspaper that disclosed the lewdly corrupt contents of the laptop owned by Joe Biden’s son and randy grifter and crackhead Hunter Biden. Twitter, backed by Facebook, viewed the Hunter Biden story as unfit for consumption by the US electorate, and locked out the New York Post’s twitter account. Remember when the Left was against censorship and the Establishment? Big Tech would you prefer if you wiped all that from memory.

All of the above is my typically long-winded preamble to what BLM’s co-founder, Ms Cullors, has been up to. While her myrmidons were torching and looting city blocks or smashing statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and others, Ms Cullors was investing on her personal account in four homes worth at least $US3.2 million. The homes were in exclusive white neighborhoods, such as Topanga Canyon, just down the road from ritzy Malibu. Topanga has a white population of 88.2 per cent and a black population of 0.4 per cent, according to the 2010 census. She was sniffing around for properties in the Bahamas but the four US homes are the only confirmed investments. She already owned two other homes in Los Angeles.

A celebrity real estate website wrote of her LA investment:

A winding 15-minute drive from The Commons at Calabasas and a slightly longer and somewhat less serpentine drive from Malibu’s Getty Villa, the pint-sized compound spans about one-quarter of an acre. The property’s not-quite 2,400 square feet is divided between the three-bedroom and two-bath main house and a separate one-bed/one-bath apartment capable of hosting guests long term with a private entry and a living room with kitchenette.

The Post reported Ms Cullors had also been prospecting for Bahamas property at an ultra-exclusive resort where Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods both have homes. Luxury apartments and townhouses at the beachfront Albany resort, outside Nassau, start at $US5 million and range up to and above $US20 million.

BLM supporters donated $US90m to the international BLM foundation last year alone. Did any of that leak into Ms Cullors’ bank accounts? There’s no evidence that it did or didn’t. Unlike the white policemamn she and her mob target, she’s entitled to the presumption of innocence. Meanwhile, Michael Brown Sr., the black father of the 18-year-old killed by a Ferguson police officer in 2014, has enjoyed just $US500 from BLM affiliates. Brown Sr. asked: “Why hasn’t my family’s foundation received any assistance from the movement? How could you leave the families who are helping the community without any funding?” (For some perspective, 511 US cops were feloniously slain on duty in the decade to 2019, including 48 in 2019, plus a luckier 56,034 officers merely assaulted that year).

Accounts filings show that the BLM foundation committed $US21.7 million in grants to official and unofficial BLM chapters and black groups. It ended 2020 with a balance of more than $US60 million, after $US8.4 million expenses.

BLM, whitewashing (or blackwashing) Cullors, said that the criticism “continues a tradition of terror by white supremacists against Black activists.”

Patrisse’s work for Black people over the years has made her and others who align with the fight for Black liberation targets of racist violence. The narratives being spread about Patrisse have been generated by right-wing forces intent on reducing the support and influence of a movement that is larger than any one organization.

This right-wing offensive not only puts Patrisse, her child and her loved ones in harm’s way, it also continues a tradition of terror by white supremacists against Black activists.

Fundraising for Black Lives Matter has been conducted by the left-wing group Thousand Currents, which has a convicted terrorist on its board of directors.

Ms Cullors’ personal net worth has risen sharply in line with the global enthusiasm for her cause. Her earnings have arisen from her 2016 book When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, speaking fees and, last year, a multi-year contract with Warner Bros to produce multi-platform content. The contract value is undisclosed.

It’s interesting that she chaired the “Reform LA Jails” group in 2019. The group paid her firm, Janaya & Patrisse Consulting, $US191,000 that year, at the rate of $US20,000 a month. She’s the sole owner. Reform LA Jails defended its payments, saying her remuneration was “market rate compensation” for running a $US5 million campaign.

Obviously her concern for LA’s jail victims merited some emoluments. However the rate seems a bit high. For example, Claire Rogers, when CEO of World Vision Australia in 2019, was paid $A375,000  ($US290,000) for running a group with revenue of  $A583m ($US450m). Reform LA Jails said

It is hard to comprehend why Black women get scrutinized for being successful and entrepreneurial despite their enormous personal and financial sacrifice and commitment to justice, while white men and others receive accolades for making their millions. It is sexist and racist to expect an executive level Black woman to not be paid for their work.

Twitter is anything but racist, and has demonstrated as much by shutting down whites and blacks alike who disparage Ms Cullors. One critic muzzled by Twitter was black sports journalist Jason Whitlock, who had tweeted sarcastically in her persona, “Black Lives Matter but I don’t wanna live around you.” He also posted: “Black Lives Matter founder buys $1.4 million home in Topanga, which has a black population of 1.4%. She’s with her people!” Twitter said it would unblock him if he deleted his posts, but he replied that he’d stay in “Twitter jail” because he’d done nothing wrong. He added that Ms Cullors in her white neighborhood “will have plenty of “white cops and white people to complain about.”

What’s with BLM in general? It’s not so nice. The president of Greater New York Black Lives Matter, Hawk Newsome, has warned that “if this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.” The fact of the matter is that more than 90 per cent of black violent deaths – especially of kids and teens — are black-on-black mayhem, but BLM’s website instead focused (the text was recently removed) on how to destroy the nuclear family:

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

BLM co-founder Opal Tometi in 2015 tweeted,

Currently in Venezuela. Such a relief to be in a place where there is intelligent political discourse.

She wrote of its murderous Marxist dictator Nicolas Maduro:

In these last 17 years, we have witnessed the Bolivarian Revolution champion participatory democracy and construct a fair, transparent election system recognized as among the best in the world.

It pains me to be so negative about BLM. Thousands of BLM enthusiasts in Melbourne alone can’t be wrong, can they?

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come To Think Of It – essays to tickle the brain, is available here as a book ($34.95) or an e-book ($14.95)

[1] Cullors said in 2015: “The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia (Garza, BLM co-founder) in particular are trained organizers.” Cullors also said: “We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories.”

[2] “Police said no other fines would be issued in relation to the rally in Melbourne’s CBD last Saturday, which was calling for an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.”

Tim Flannery’s Latest Climate Triumph

Tony Thomas

Congrats to paleontologist Dr Tim Flannery for new international recognition in the peer-reviewed global climate literature. Dr Flannery is head of Australia’s Climate Council, a Fellow of the deep-green Australian Academy of Science, and previously federal Labor’s Climate Commissioner on a modest $180,000 a year for a three-day week. Now his credentials have been further burnished, having just been prominently cited in a peer-reviewed paper in the International Journal of Global Warmingthis week. The paper is itself extolled in a press release from the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Timbo, congratulations!

I thought I’d have to pay $US40 for the full paper – not that I’d grudge it for Tim – but chanced on a copy here. It’s by David C. Rode and Paul S. Fischbeck, both professors at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They’re heavy hitters in the maths/engineering world of operations research, and believe in the orthodox human-caused catastrophic warming hypothesis. One of Professor Fischbeck’s earliest papers was as the co-author of “Risk Management for the Tiles of the Space Shuttle” (1994). That appeared midway between the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters. Co-professor David Rode has been an energy/electricity policy researcher for 20 years.

The paper’s title is “Apocalypse Now? Communicating extreme forecasts”. The authors are fed up with their climate mates dogmatically forecasting climate doom. Moreover, these forecasts typically lack uncertainty bands, which are the essence of real science. The professors complain that the dud doomism by 2000, 2020, 2030 or whenever generates disrepute and mockery of real scientists:

Recent evidence has also suggested that certain commonly accepted scientific predictions may indeed be exaggerated.

Rode and Fischbeck collected 79 “apocalyptic” disaster projections since 1970. They found that, in 48 cases, the predicted disaster dates have passed into history and it seems no doom occurred. The other 31 predictions are still in the future. As the authors say, “The apocalypse is always about 20 years out.” For example, the father of global warming scares, James Hansen, and fake Nobel Prize winner Michael Mann have catastrophic predictions maturing in the 2030s, although their forecasts for earlier dooms were all duds. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has already had one forecast of cataclysm fail but it has more cataclysms on the cab rank for 2029 and 2050, the paper says.

The authors warn that crying wolf undermines trust in the underlying science. But they say that it’s likely that their own warnings against exaggeration will be ignored, because

making sensational predictions of the doom of humanity, while scientifically dubious, has still proven tempting for those wishing to grab headlines.

So where does our Dr Tim fit in all this? Well he’s cited no fewer than three times by the study for his climate armageddons. No, make that four because his unlamented former Climate Commission is also cited. The only other forecasters to crack four mentions are scientist/agitator James Hansen and the IPCC itself.

Paul Ehrlich, who forecast that England would be underwater from rising seas by 2000, gets three guernseys.[1] So does loopy monarch-to-be Charles, Prince of Wales.

The other 70-odd doom specialists cited include six-mansion-owning tycoon Al Gore, the late sex-harassing grub and 13-year IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, ex-UN climate tear-jerker Christiana “Tinkerbell” Figueres, Joe Biden’s far-left muse Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and my least-impressive journo-turned-climate-guru mate David Spratt.[2] As his other pal, Potsdam climate wunderkind Hans Joachim Schellnhuber has put it,

It is all the more important to listen to non-mainstream voices [namely Spratt] who do understand the issues and are less hesitant to cry wolf. Unfortunately for us, the wolf may already be in the house.

I also spotted Democrat Senator Tim Wirth on the list. Wirth organised for James Hansen’s 1988 testimony about global warming to be on Washington’s hottest day and also sabotaged the air-conditioning of the hearing rooms to make everyone sweat for the TV cameras. Yet another climate clown cited is Cambridge physics professor Peter Wadhams, who has never given up predicting an ice-free Arctic even when his earlier predictions (like, by 2015) failed miserably.[3]

A few spectacularly cracked forecasts are cited, such as this one by former catastrophist James Lovelock, Fellow of the Royal Society and developer of the Gaia Hypothesis, “Before this (21st) century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.” Lovelock is not wholly green these days, much to greenies’ chagrin.[4]

Other than Flannery, Australian sources given dishonorable mentions are the Academy of Science’s Frank Fenner, who was a great virologist but an over-the-top climate hysteric; and our very own former Chief Scientist Penny Sackett, famous for her prediction in 2004 that the world had only five years left to avoid disastrous global warming. Reading from the authors’ table, we find Flannery predictions dating from 2004 (for 2054), 2008 (for an immediate tipping point), and 2009 (for 2029). All his forecasts involve alarms about it being “too late to act” at that date to save the planet.

The paper’s authors check to see if their cited doom-criers would be alive when their forecast dates arrive. Flannery was born in 1956 so when his furthest-out apocalypse arrives, he’ll be 98 and either enjoying his vindication or explaining through toothless gums how he was misquoted.

Flannery’s copious earnings from warmist campaigning have financed a home “with environmental features at Coba Point on the Hawkesbury River, accessible only by boat.” Given the Hawkesbury  floods last month, the boat must have had a good workout. In 2005 Flannery was forecasting “permanent drought” for NSW: “If the computer models are right, then drought conditions will become permanent in eastern Australia … Water is going to be in short supply across the eastern states.” His other famous quote is about “the rain that comes won’t fill our dams” but being Perth born, I most love his forecasts about climate change turning Perth into a ghost city. (Perth median house price last year, $790,000).

Getting back to the Rode and Fischbeck paper, they’re warmist believers and their critiques are more in sorrow than anger. They want doom-forecasting to be

# more nuanced and with uncertainty bars

# progressive in the sense of a series of short-term ‘building block’ forecasts leading to the long-term doom date, enabling frequent checks on forecasters’ accuracy. This will “better motivate a public acceptance of climate science that has been plagued with growing scepticism,” they write.

# less group-think among climate communicators, such as always picking round-number dates like 2030, 2050 and 2100.

The paper begins with a delightful quote from climate scientist Greta Thunberg (then 17):

I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do, but don’t worry – it’s fine – I’ve done this before and I can assure you: it doesn’t lead to anything.

They also quote an aphorism (attributed to Carl Sagan) that “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence’ and re-work it as “extraordinary predictions require extraordinary caution in communication.” They also note that doom forecasting is generally not done in a spirit of objective inquiry but to jab the authorities into action to shut down fossil fuels and destroy coal-fired power or whatever. For example, the lead-ups (should that be leads-up, by the way?) to the Copenhagen (2009) and Paris climate summits (2015) saw a surge in doom crying, serving

as focal points for the issuance of apocalyptic forecasts. For these ‘must act’ forecasts, the intent may not be literal, but emphatic, in order to encourage a belief in fear over rational scientific discourse. These apocalyptic forecasts may be issued specifically to apply political pressure to policymakers to take action on the meetings’ agendas.

Our shoals of environment reporters get beautifully slapped down. We learn that the reporters are mostly innocent of knowledge about uncertainties in science, and gravitate to quoting doom-criers who emphasise certainty that their disasters will arrive.[5] (The Australian’s Graham Lloyd always an honorable exception).

Doulton and Brown (2009) performed a study of UK newspaper articles on climate change between 1997 and 2007 and found that ‘potential catastrophe’ was the most common discourse in news coverage, concluding that the media were prone to ‘attention cycles’ that tended to be self-amplifying, and led to the news provoking a ‘rising sense of impending catastrophe’ from climate. This type and frequency of media coverage tends toward sensationalism and an increased (but unjustified) certainty in reporting.

The authors say a study of newspaper articles on climate change in six countries showed that ‘disastrous consequences’ was the most common frame in the stories, while references to risk or likelihood was the least common frame.

Much of the media operates with an express intent to do what Taubes (1997) refers to as ‘consciousness-raising’. In doing so, the media tends to sensationalise the consequences and suppress references to uncertainty in reporting apocalyptic climate-related forecasts…When the presentation of risks is ‘sensationalised’ through the media, non-scientists are apt to perceive a risk as a greater, more immediate threat. 

The salaried Rode and Fischbeck produce memes and insights that climate sceptics like Anthony Watts and Joanne Nova have long provided for free. Namely, that the IPCC and orthodox climate scientists might make respectably cautious forecasts, but the media’s idiots beat up the stories to boost their disaster narrative. Why then do the orthodox scientists never demand or issue corrections? (To me, it’s obvious that the orthodox scientists don’t care because (a) they get the fame and (b) they inwardly agree with the media’s agenda). Now, the new paper’s professors say,

The authors of the forthcoming Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC should be encouraged to tone down ‘deadline-ism’ Forecasters should make an effort to influence the interpretation of their forecasts; for example, by correcting media reporting of them. The sequential releases of the IPCC’s Assessment Reports, for example, should consider calling out particularly erroneous or incomplete interpretations of statements from previous Assessment Reports. 

The authors also swipe the desperate attempts by warmist propaganda outfits like the Climate Council to link climate forecasts with horses of the apocalypse like floods, bushfires, storms, and hot and cold days or weeks.

Extreme caution should be used in extrapolating from forecasts of climate events (e.g., temperature or CO2 levels) to their social and physical consequences (famine, flooding, etc.) without the careful modelling of mitigation and adaptation efforts and other feedback mechanisms. While there have been notable successes in predicting certain climate characteristics, such as surface temperature (Smith et al., 2019), the ability to tie such predictions to quantitative forecasts of consequences is more limited. 

 The authors do betray occasional glimpses of humor:

Each study of apocalyptic prediction shares one common element: as far as we can tell, the apocalypse has not actually occurred (yet). What Festinger et al. noted, however, was that receipt of disconfirming evidence (the apocalypse not occurring as scheduled), did not diminish belief in the prediction. Rather, it tended to strengthen it – at least for a time. 

In their academic obtuseness, Rode and Fischbeck don’t understand that sceptics have built the coffin for climate scaremongering and their own peer-reviewed paper hammers down the lid on it. Thanks, guys!

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come To Think Of It – essays to tickle the brain, is available here as a book ($34.95) or an e-book ($14.95)

[1] In 1969 Ehrlich was predicting disastrous global famine by 1975 that would require compulsory birth control via sterilising agents in food and water. He forecast that 65 million Americans would die of starvation in the Eighties, and that the US population would decline by 1999 to 22.6 million.[14] Today’s US population is 330 million. Another Ehrlich climate forecast, from 1971: “If I were a gambler, I would take even-money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

[2] Spratt is described as “policy analyst”. That’s also what I am, if you stretch the definition to cover both of us. David Spratt is research director for the Melbourne-based Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration and co-author of the book Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action (Scribe, 2008). 

[3] Wadhams has given his name to a measure of Arctic catastrophism, e.g. ‘Currently the ice area is well over 4 Wadhams (1 million sq kilometers) thick. A reader suggested using “Wadhams” as a unit for sea ice area in order to honor Peter Wadhams’s spectacularly failed prediction of an ice free Arctic by now.’

[4] Lovelock: “I bow my head in shame at the thought that our original good intentions should have been so misunderstood and misapplied. We never intended a fundamentalist Green movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable, nor did we expect the Greens to cast aside our priceless ecological heritage because of their failure to understand that the needs of the Earth are not separable from human needs. We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation.”

[5] “ It will come as no surprise that a headline of ‘humanity doomed in ten years’ will get more prominence than a headline of “negative event of unknown severity might occur in the next ten to one hundred years.”

Abe Saffron and the Man From ASIO

QED
Tony Thomas

The ABC series on the Ghost Train fire in Sydney’s Luna Park was great TV. Congrats to Caro Meldrum-Hanna and her ABC team’s 18 months of investigation of the fire. That’s right, you’re reading this in Quadrant Online, but praise where praise is due.

What a parade of crooks helped in the sleazy cover-up of undoubted arson on June 9, 1979: Inspector Doug Knight, who bulldozed the burnt site within half a day and stymied any forensic work, and his mafia-linked Deputy Police Commissioner Bill Allen who resigned in disgrace three years later.[1] Then we go one step up to the premier who appointed Allen, Neville Wran, and then even higher to Mr Justice Murphy on the High Court. They were all in thrall to NSW’s crime czar and mobster Abe ‘Boss of the Cross’ Saffron.

The ABC program provides evidence that Saffron organised bikies to light the ghost train fire that incinerated one father and six schoolboys. Saffron then secretly acquired the Luna Park real estate, with help from Wran and Lionel Murphy.[2]

One player in the tawdry NSW scene wasn’t mentioned in the series: the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Through much of Saffron’s career, a top ASIO operative, Dudley Doherty, was Saffron’s best mate and actually did the mobster’s secret accurate accounts, as distinct from the tax accounts. Doherty, when not mole-hunting or spying on communists and their associates, was enjoying Abe’s prostitutes in Abe’s brothels. As foreplay, he fed the ladies plates of oysters. Doherty died in office in 1970, long before the Ghost Train fire, while Saffron died at 87 in 2006.

Doherty’s long-time boss was ASIO chief Sir Charles Spry, who left office the same year Dudley died. His successor was the randy and hopeless Peter Barbour (1970-75) followed by Frank Mahony and Justice Sir Edward Woodward.[3] Did ASIO post-Doherty continue its intimacies with Saffron? Who knows?

Was Doherty a rogue ASIO operative moonlighting for a mobster? Or was his decades-long intimacy with Saffron in the line of ASIO duty? We all know how J. Edgar Hoover controlled US presidents Truman, Nixon and Kennedy through his blackmail-worthy files on their peccadilloes. ASIO’s Doherty must have collected for Spry a heap of dirt on top NSW and federal figures, including long-serving and corrupt NSW Premier Robert Askin. (Saffron had been paying Askin and his equally corrupt police commissioner Norm Allen $5000-10,000 a week, in return for protecting his illegal liquor, brothel, loan sharking and gambling activities across mainland Australia. That’s as much as $70,000 a week in today’s money in 1975, Askin’s last year in office). Doherty also winked at Saffron’s thuggery, crimes, and tax evasion.

You can read the sanitised account of Dudley Doherty and his wife Joan (also an ASIO agent) scattered through the pages of David Horner’s 2014 official history of ASIO — Volume 1, The Spy Catchers. Horner celebrated the Dohertys chiefly for the family’s role in harboring the Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov defectors when they were at maximum risk from Soviet assassins during the 1956 Olympics. Joan had also toiled at early and primitive intercepts of Soviet spies’ conversations.

Paul Monk: Soviet Moles in Australia

Dudley Doherty was also ASIO’s lock-picker extraordinaire. Horner relates that Doherty, to pass a special lock-picking course, had to choose an apparently un-pickable lock. He picked the personal safe of ASIO boss Spry and left a note in it, “which did not go down well with Spry”.[4] However Sandra Hogan, quoting the family, says the safe belonged to Director-General Justice Geoffrey Reed, not Spry.

Another evening, according to Doherty’s kids, Mark and Sue-Ellen, they got themselves locked into the subway under the Anzac memorial in Brisbane, behind heavy iron bars. Their father, rather than go through the rigmarole of calling the city council, instead paid the gates a visit with his lock-pick kit and the kids were free immediately. The kit? It was “in a leather roll, like a jewellery roll, only with little pockets. And the triangular tools inside. They got narrower and narrower and narrower. They had points and hooks of all different shapes”[5]

In ASIO’s three-volume official history there is no mention of Saffron.[6] The ASIO/Saffron revelations are in a new and extraordinary biography of the Doherty family by journo Sandra Hogan, With my Little Eye: the incredible true story of a family of spies in the suburbs.[7]

Dudley and Joan educated their three kids about their ASIO jobs from the time they left their cots. The Dohertys taught them tradecraft against Communists and spies, such as memorising number plates and learning to accurately describe a suspect’s clothing, manners and behaviour. They also trained the kids to keep silent on all the secrets of ASIO spying – even from each other, let alone from other family, school — friends and acquaintances. The kids’ childhoods were spent in a maze of mirrors where all their bits of ASIO knowledge had to be secretly compartmentalised. For example, the kids must never remark to a Croatian contact about a Serb contact who had dropped in to dinner the night before. Or mention their frequent visitor “Uncle Mick”, an ASIO boss.

The Doherty spies used their kids as props. The kids would pose for street photos while Dudley actually focused on suspects behind them. Or Dudley would drive around the block, past Trades Hall or a private house, to monitor suspects. First time, three kids in the front seat. Second pass, two in the back and one hiding on the floor. Further times, they changed clothing and kept popping up and down: “They looked so average they were invisible. They were right there but no one noticed them.”

I thought my own childhood was tough growing up as a primary-school Stalinist in a household of Communist Party executives. But my opposite-number kids in their ASIO household had it far tougher.

Brisbane journo Hogan interviewed the Doherty kids as middle-aged adults. At last they could take some family jigsaw pieces out of their brain compartments and fit them together. But none could create a coherent picture of Dad Dudley … and especially not of Dudley’s dealings with Saffron.

That connection began during the war, when Dudley graduated from the Salvation Army (playing the euphonium) to the real army at Moorebank depot in southwest Sydney, rising to warrant officer second class. One of his corporals and (literally) procurement specialists was Saffron. But his friendship with Saffron became life-long.  Hogan writes,

The wartime period was the only time that Abe worked for Dudley. Later on, the relationship was reversed. Abe served in the army for less than four years before he left to set up Staccato, the first of his strip clubs in Kings Cross, offering a welcome service to the American GIs looking for fun in Sydney. 

“He never wasted an opportunity and, while he was in the army, he spotted Dudley’s talent for bookkeeping. Abe hired him to do the stocktakes for his clubs, a role Dudley continued to do for the rest of his life, even while he worked for ASIO. Dudley’s books were the real ones, which were hidden, while somebody else prepared a different version for the taxation department. 

“It would be interesting to know whether Dudley told ASIO about these extra-curricular activities, and how they viewed his work for Abe, but that is one of the many secrets Dudley took to his grave. 

It’s obvious that Saffron’s army “procurements” were lucrative enough to finance his Staccato nightclub.

Mother Joan Doherty was always an upright and loyal citizen. Hogan writes that she always insisted that, whatever Abe was, Dudley wasn’t a criminal—he just liked to stretch things to the limit. ‘He was a rogue, but he was a good person,’ she said…  

Rather improbably, Hogan says Dudley might have swallowed Abe’s persona

as a family man and a philanthropist and it is possible that Dudley did not know the extent of Abe’s crimes. Joan knew from the beginning that Abe was Dudley’s friend, but they did not discuss Abe’s business life. By the time Abe had become notorious, Joan would have guessed, perhaps even known, that Abe’s hospitality to Dudley included the use of the ‘girls’ in his brothels; she may have suspected that Dudley knew Abe’s books were rigged. But she never believed Dudley knew about the possible murder, drugs and extortion. It probably took a long time for her to believe those things of their old friend, as she was highly sceptical of what she read in the newspapers… 

The bond remained when the Doherty family moved to Brisbane. Joan always put Abe’s Christmas cards featuring snow and angels at the front and centre of their collection on the best dresser. Dudley and Joan sometimes holidayed in Sydney at Abe’s digs, with treats “on the house” as thank-you’s for Dudley’s book-keeping.

“Every year, he went down for a few days and helped Abe do his stocktake. It was hard work and he always came back exhausted,” the family recalled.

Dudley gave his lad, Mark, at 16 a card for Abe’s Pink Pussycat club and told Mark to see Abe in Sydney and get a good time. But Mark “chickened out” of that thorough-going sex education.

 Joan was a trained observer and no fool, so she must have kept quiet about some of the things she suspected or knew. In an expression from her youth, she ‘put up with things’. Secrecy and containment were features of their marriage from beginning to end … He was away so often from Joan. And there were the prostitutes he visited with oysters, and the girls at Abe’s clubs. He said he was working. She kept asking if he was sleeping with other women and he finally admitted it … He said it was separate, it was work, it didn’t have anything to do with them and their undying love. Joan thought about leaving, but what would become of her and the children? She would wait. She was a perfect ASIO wife, supporting Dudley in every way.”

Dudley did, however, get the silent treatment for hours or days.

Joan knew that if she spoke, she might say things that could never be taken back. So she simply took away the warmth of her regard and let him shiver. Despite Dudley’s faithlessness, Joan liked to believe that they were equal partners, that she wasn’t submissive like her mother, or her sister Clair who was married to a bully.

The kids realised that Dad might mix with criminals and villains, but that was ‘work’. But when Sue-Ellen fell in love with an older man, “suddenly she couldn’t help wondering what it actually meant that Abe Saffron was Dad’s best friend and that Dad took oysters to visit brothels. Who was her father, really?

Sue-Ellen eventually met with Dudley’s long-time ASIO boss Mick (known to the kids as “Uncle Mick”) to seek the truth.

‘But how could you be the director and not know what was going on?’ she asked him, frustrated. ‘That’s how we kept secrets,’ he said. ‘Well, I think there were things about Dad you didn’t know,’ she told him. ‘I just don’t know if he was everything we thought he was,’ she continued.

‘Sue-Ellen, do you think your father was a double agent?’ he asked her. ‘No. No. But why was he friends with Abe Saffron?’ she blurted out.

‘Ah,’ he said. ‘I can see that would worry you. Well, don’t worry too much about it. Your dad served our country well.’ There was something those ASIO men did—she didn’t know what it was—but people always ended up telling them everything and they never revealed anything.

The Dohertys were ASIO key workers almost from its inception. Dudley was one of three ASIO eavesdroppers – I won’t call them ‘buggers’ – who bugged a flat above a NSW Communist Party meeting room. Dudley also picked the locks to let them break in.

Joan, too, was an ASIO pioneer, specialising in telephone tapping Soviet MVD/KGB operatives like “Tass correspondent” Fedor Nosov. She worked ‘behind a green door’ in a basement in ASIO headquarters typing up recordings made on a Pyrox wire recorder. She kept this work secret even from her fellow spy and husband Dudley, little knowing that Dudley himself had helped install the taps.

Joan left ASIO when her first child was born, but the Dohertys continued living in a flat alongside Nosov in Darlinghurst, assisting the phone taps. It must have been a crowded flat with ASIO officers also there working in shifts round the clock monitoring the devices.

“She recalled that she tiptoed around the flat and her children wore slippers so that the ASIO officers could listen to what was happening without hearing thudding in their headphones. She made coffee and fed the officers on duty,” Horner writes.

Later the Dohertys ran a house for the Petrovs in Northcliffe, Qld. The Petrovs were not trouble-free boarders. One night Vladimir was arrested while drunk after he tried to enter a residence at Surfers Paradise that he mistook for his flat. He got into a fight with the residents, which destroyed his trousers. (Malcolm Fraser would sympathise.) Police took him to the Southport Police Station, charged him with drunkenness and released him the next morning on ten shillings’ bail (forfeited, says Horner).

Harry Blutstein: Vladimir Petrov in Surfers Paradise

I happened to read Sandra Hogan’s book With My Little Eye and its ASIO/Saffron revelations mere days before watching the ABC’s Caro Meldrum-Hanna’s expose on police and other corruption concerning the Ghost Train arson and Abe Saffron. What value was ASIO boss Spry getting from Saffron? I asked myself, What was ASIO’s relationship with Saffron  from 1970 (Doherty’s death) to 1979 (the Ghost Train fire) and thereafter? It’s obvious that ASIO senior spy Doherty was personally corrupt. How corrupt was ASIO?

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come To Think Of It – essays to tickle the brain, is available here as a book ($34.95) or an e-book ($14.95)

[1] Commissioner Mervyn Wood, scandal-plagued, stepped down four days before the Luna Park fire.

[2] Luna Park’s new lease-holder was run by Saffron’s two cousins and nephew, while he installed 100 gaming machines there.

[3] Molly Sasson, long-time UK and Australian intelligence agent with ASIO from 1969-83:

[Barbour] was a tall male with heavy-lidded eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses, often described as having “bedroom eyes”. His conduct did not befit his position. He certainly was not the gentleman that his high office demanded. He was a creepy individual whom I instinctively avoided … He was a very complex character with airs and affairs. He betrayed his office by chronic mismanagement and exploitation of his position for sexual favours. He had a voracious sexual appetite which offended many people’s moral and professional perceptions …

Whitlam sacked Barbour after Barbour returned from a lengthy but unproductive overseas trip reviewing counterpart agencies, accompanied by his beautiful Eurasian secretary.

[5] From Sandra Hogan’s biography

[6] The later volumes were The Protest Years and The Secret Cold War.

[7] Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2021.

Making Kids Shrill, Scared and Stupid

Oh my goodness! Australian schoolkids by the million are being saturated with actor and climate hysteric  Damon Gameau’s ridiculous climate-zealotry film 2040[1]

“By the million”? I’m scrupulous with facts and Gameau’s actual quote on a marketing video was “reaching as many as 948,400 students”. But the video was made a year or so back. Since then his total of “lesson plans downloaded” has almost doubled, from 23,684 to 42,696, by this week. So a million brainwashed kids looks like an under-estimate.

The video also says more than 550 schools have been “activated” by teachers to promote Gameau’s green brainwashing. Let’s update the school numbers by 50 per cent, which is the corresponding increase in “Action Plans” run by Gameau since he did the marketing video.[2] That suggests over 800 schools – and there’s only 9000 schools in all of Australia.

For The Greens, schools are the bulk store for its recruits. No wonder, since kids in class are swamped with greenwash that teachers download from Cool Australia[3] [4]Scootle, an alphabet soup of green lobbies like WWF, ACF, AYCC (Youth Climate Coalition, which runs the kids’ climate strikes), the AAS (Academy of Science), the Tim Flannery-led Climate Council, Greenpeace and, I suspect, here and there, Extinction Rebellion. All lessons scrupulously tied to federal and state curricula under the Trojan horse of “Sustainability” mandated as one of three “cross-curriculum priorities”.

Speaking of Tim Flannery, the Academy’s Fellow has been paired with Gameau on climate gabfests. Gameau has also shared platforms with Extinction Rebellion co-founder and ibogaine drug-tripper Gail Bradbrook and he comes recommended by would-be revolutionary Noam Chomsky and the bonkers climateer Christiana “Tinkerbell” Figueres, who led the Paris climate schemozzle in 2015. Another panegyric for 2040 is from the SMH’s kookiest columnist Elizabeth Farrelly, famed for charging her peons $25 a month to build fences and dig holes on her Southern Highlands hobby farmlet. Her take on 2040: “Engaging persuasive and urgent. It’s an exercise in what you might call muscular hope.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/p-rTQ443akE?feature=oembed

Gameau, who gets around unshaven in jeans and old flannel shirts, is not only saving the planet but running a nice little earner out of his doco. A US blog-site called “Net worth post” puts his net worth at $US13 million (AUD 17 million). Maybe that’s nonsense[5] but he’s turned 2040 into an international industry. A US speakers’ bureau has him listed, and its clients’ charge-out is from $US5000 to $US200,000-plus. Local corporates can become a Gameau “Climate Guardian” for A$7500-$10,650 which entitles them to toolkits, marketing, film licence, virtual workshop, and guest appearance by a 2040 big-shot. In a raft of optional extras are a tailor-made PR movie about the corporate’s “climate action journey” and a “Tailored C-Suite Engagement” with guru Damon himself. (I had to look up “C-Suite”. It means only for executives with titles starting with C for Chief). You can become a Gameau cut-price “Climate Advocate” for $3900. He claims personally to have a low carbon footprint, although he criss-crossed the globe by air making his film about low emissions. IMDB says the film itself grossed $US1,363,654 worldwide but I don’t know how current that figure is.

The premise of his film fantasy is that he time travels to 2040 and discovers that all his green solutions have been a brilliant success. He helps his real-life four-year-old daughter, Velvet, to navigate through climate perils to 2040’s nirvana. The movie closes with rapturous music and vision of youngsters of all colors and creeds dancing through a forest to celebrate low CO2 levels. One 20-something gal in a white frock grows from her shoulder-blades giant butterfly wings that actually flap. This must be the cheesiest movie clip ever made or even imaginable.[6] He doesn’t actually tell kids, “Vote Green”, but calls for strong new political leadership. “Wouldn’t it be terrific if new leaders emerge who could navigate us to a better 2040,” he says. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge.

Somehow Australian schoolkids (as distinct from Singaporean kids) no longer just learn stuff; they’re incited to change the world green-wards.[7] Political activism is now mandated by the curriculum. A typical Cool/2040’s lesson opens with a “Thought starter: “What excites you about the future” and kids are then exhorted to discuss the merits of “Carbon sequestration” and “Sustainability”. Never mind that carbon sequestration is just another ruinously expensive and futuristic “solution” to harmless CO2 emissions, and “Sustainability” is an undefinable feel-goodism.[8] Kids obviously will parrot that “the environment” is their future concern (notwithstanding that our air has never been purer and we’re putting out up to five colored bins weekly). Kids must then scrawl on their workpads answers to “What is one possible solution” and “Who is responsible for this solution and why?” Thus kids who have trouble solving 9×13=?, are coached to guide our planetary destinies. The 2040“Factsheet”, by the way, finishes by telling kids to send letters to politicians and join the school-strike manipulators Youth Climate Coalition. They are also to run around ordering adults to cut their emissions. It’s the strangest “Factsheet” ever compiled by homo sapiens.

Education authorities bemoan that curricula are crowded with extraneous content. But they have endorsed prodigious school time being spent on 32 lessons about a woke fantasy film. Dig this 2040 lesson plan of 70 minutes –and this is before kids waste another 92 minutes seeing the film:

Work through this resource material in the following sequence:

10 minutes – Part A: Activating Prior Knowledge – OPTIONAL
20 minutes – Part B: Concerns For The Future – Barometer Activity
15 minutes – Part C: Thinking About The Solutions
25 minutes – Reflection

 The lesson templates would do credit to Soviet-era indoctrination. Boggle your mind on these:

Part C: Testing Out Tone

 Step 1. You are now going to create a climate change message for school students younger than you. You might want to warn students about some of the dangers relating to climate change, give them actions to take, or include other information that you find important or interesting. It’s up to you. You simply need to create three messages with three different intended tones.[For whom? Six-year-olds?]

Some intended tones you could use might be: angry, sad, positive, hopeful, anxious. Example –

Angry. “Adults are ruining the world that we have to grow up in. Act now!” TIP: Show your three messages to someone in your house. Ask them which message they think is the most effective, and why.”

Sample – I saw: – Huge wind turbines with beautiful green background.

Tone – Positive

This made me feel – That the future could be like that.

A further Soviet-style technique pits the majority in class against any child with non-conformist views, such as “My parents say zero CO2 by 2050 is total b/s”. (Dissent is encouraged over orthodox detail like whether we should give up meat or how soon the planet risks frying up). Kids are paired and one writes down the other’s ideas about renewables. Then the ideas are “shared” with the class.

Clarify any questions or key points raised by students, including the following:

Sunlight – The sun is always shining somewhere. Renewable! [In reality, Unreliable!]

# Coal – Coal is formed from the remains of ancient organisms and can take millions of years to develop. Non-renewable! 

Given Victoria alone has supply of brown coal till about AD2400, running out of it isn’t urgent.

The teaching materials claim, “Most forms of renewable energy generally have a much lower environmental impact.” Sure, take a squiz at any wind farm stretching to the horizon, and scores of thousands more would be needed for “zero” emissions. I have found no mention of where electricity is to come from at night during a wind drought, although I find stray and misleading references to batteries.[9] Frankly, if teachers want to teach kids about electricity grid optimisation, let the teachers first swot up via electrical engineering textbooks (Caution, teachers: maths are involved).

The brain- and green-washing is having serious impacts on kids’ positive attitude to life and mental health. Hardly surprising when teachers confront kids with rubbish like:

In the IPCC’s most pessimistic scenario, where the population booms, technology stagnates, and emissions keep rising, the atmosphere gets to a startling 2,000 ppm by about 2250. That gives us an atmosphere last seen during the Jurassic when dinosaurs roamed, and causes an apocalyptic temperature rise of perhaps 9 degrees C (16°F)… If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted… CO2 will need to be reduced… to at most 350 ppm,” Columbia University climate guru James Hansen has said. We sailed past that target in about 1990, and it will take a gargantuan effort to turn back the clock.

Kids are even told air travel must cease:

Flights need to stop, or at the very least, be reserved only for emergency situations. 

Similarly,

You can take a positive step right now and Pledge to never buy another gas powered vehicle again and get the “Last Gas Car” bumper sticker.

Gameau says he had climate scientists fact-check his masterpiece. They’re all obviously crap at maths. Gameau in the film quotes that “Governments spend $10 million a minute subsidising fossil fuels.” That would be $A5.3 trillion a year. Australia’s total GDP is only $2 trillion.

The Cool/2040 crowd also spruiks WWF’s insane “Earth Hour” which sees kids and adults turn off lights for an hour to virtue-signal for the planet. It’s a pity the lessons don’t include info about the 800 million  peasants without electricity, and the life-threatening discomforts involved. Instead, and incredibly, 2040 promotes Bangla Desh as the energy model the rest of the world should emulate. Remember, maybe a million schoolkids in 500-1000 schools are being bombarded with these dark green fantasies.

The zealots throw science and truth out the window. They lie to kids that CO2 caused episodic warmings in the paleo-climate when ice cores show that warming preceded CO2 rises. They lie that warming causes droughts, even after Professor Andy Pitman has contradicted that. The warmist materials cite the 2011 Texas drought to prove their point – never mind that Texans lately have been freezing and flooded.

Even more ludicrous is the teachers’ notion that 11-year-olds can do field experiments demonstrating climate-change inter-relationships of food, transport and energy. “Develop a plan for research (what would happen and why this approach has been chosen). Use the Experiment Proposal Template provided by your teacher to record your ideas.” Someone should submit that Template for a Nobel.

Gameau is more catspaw for the Greens than even a rudimentary authority on global warming.

Interviewer: How much did you know about the specifics of climate change prior to making the film?

Gameau: Absolutely nothing. I found myself struggling to connect with it.

He claims he did homework for eight months before starting the shoots. This involved briefings from the usual pack of academic alarmist shills posing as “scientists” and offering their faux “solutions”. He’s candid that his forte remained the cinematic arts of emotion: “It’s really important that all artists get involved and disseminate the messages but also use evocative language that people can connect to.” His USP (unique selling proposition) is optimism, e.g. that growing and eating lots of seaweed will make life gay in 2040. He originally injected 45 minutes of politics into a three-hour filmic marathon – one can guess what partisan line he took. But luckily most – but far from all – of the politics fell on the cutting room floor. He still imagines Left and Right can unite to fight CO2. Perhaps, if one assumes Malcolm Turnbull represents the “Right”.

+Cool’s lessons on 2040 excoriate “climate deniers”. For example, kids can click on Cool’s link to Melbourne University’s Dennis Muller, who rants that the climate peril is worse than nuclear war. Muller says, “Media ‘impartiality’ on climate change is ethically misguided and downright dangerous.” Muller, who remarkably is Senior Research Fellow in the so-called Centre for Advancing Journalism, writes to laud our universities’ Conversation editor Misha Ketchell for his “zero tolerance” against any readers’ deviation from the party line on global warming. Ketchell was so troubled by commenters taking his academic catastropharians to task he banned comments on the site. Ironic, no? A ‘conversation’ in which only one party is allowed to be heard!

The green-brained Gameau has set up something called the Regeneration Group to help solve the “climate crisis”, adding, “We won’t tolerate posts or comments disputing the legitimacy of climate disruption.”

Because the Murdoch press hosts some sceptic and right-of-centre information (unlike Their ABC), kids’ lessons include anti-Murdoch propaganda. Says the class material:

Rupert Murdoch owns almost 70% of the newspapers that are read daily in Australia. He is the prominent ‘narrative gatekeeper’ in our country … 55% of stories that accepted the science contained incorrect facts or impacts.

Talking of “facts”, the Cool/2040 Factsheet[10] admits that recent warming is merely “believed” to be from human’s CO2 emissions, and that dire forecasts of warming are the mere product of “a range of models”. The fictive “facts” then arrive in legions. They include that sea ice in the Antarctic is “frequently at record lows” (record highs more like it) and that hotter weather is harming quality and availability of crops and foods. Not so. Recent bleaching supposedly harmed 93 per cent of the Barrier Reef. (Not so, but auditing that figure will get you fired, like Peter Ridd). Plants, fish and animals are scampering from the equator towards the poles. “Facts” include “Other impacts we might see…” such as species’ extinction, weather extremes[11] and worse diseases.

The doozy of all the Factsheet “Facts” is that “Sea-levels are expected to rise approximately 2.3 metres for each degree Celsius of temperature rise.” For starters, sea rise for the 20thC global warming of 1degC was about 20cm not 230cm. Second, the IPCC forecasts sea rise for the next century of under a metre. If Cool/2040 think we’re in for at least 3degC of warming by 2100, that implies 7m of sea rise, nearly twice the height of my townhouse. I fear for Tim Flannery’s waterfront mansion on the Hawkesbury

In a decade of googling Cool and other class materials, I have not once come across any reference to world-reputed sceptics like Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova or Ian Plimer. Rightists like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones are sometimes cited but only as Aunt Sallies for kids to mock, while Gameau’s materials push kids to videos by “woke” oracles like “Bill Nye, the Science Guy”, a mechanical engineer turned actor-comedian-propagandist.

Gameau’s material for kids blithely advocates overturning Western civilisation:

Tackling climate change requires large-scale, systemic changes across all aspects of society. Simply aiming to reduce our C02 emissions is not enough: we need to rapidly decarbonise our planet. While this might sound challenging, the good news is we already have the knowledge and tools to do it…

Warmist dogma has been failing at federal elections for the past decade. The green-left’s strategy is to use schools as battering rams into office. I must say it’s “progressing” well.

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come To Think Of It – essays to tickle the brain, is available here as a book ($34.95) or an e-book ($14.95)

[1] A full account of barmy material in 2040 can be found here.

[2] 20,500 Action Plans when the video was made, today 29,652 Plans.

[3] Cool Australia operates in 8400 primary and secondary schools — 90 per cent of all schools. Nearly half our teachers use the lessons, downloading them 2.1 million of them in 2019.[i]

[4] herehere, here

[5] Another US celebrity site puts Gameau’s age at 62, noting that he is “still alive”. But considering he graduated from NIDA in 1999, around 40 seems nearer the mark.

[6] Australian actress, Davini Malcolm, plays a shaman in the film. She was born “Lindy” but received the name “Davini” from her Indian spiritual teacher, Osho, in 1994. She went on to help produce and write the 13-part children’s TV Series Teenie Weenie Greenies and do a film, Lotus Birth, of her experience having twins in the bath. The births were preceded by her partner, Peter, and their two boys around the piano singing what the DVD notes call their famous and delightful “fart song”.

[7] “Our units follow the narrative of the film encouraging students to discover information, identify and solve problems, students then make plans to take action.”

[8] “Perhaps the most significant new weasel word to have emerged from the UN’s equivalent of the Ministry of Truth is “sustainable.” Commitment to sustainability is now mouthed by every politician, bureaucrat, marketing executive and media hack on Earth. It sounds so benign, so reasonable, but what it actually means is “bureaucratically controlled and NGO-enforced within a UN-based socialist agenda.” Like most aspects of socialism, it is based on incomprehension and/or hatred of the nature and function of market capitalism, not least because markets — which signal scarcity, reward economy and promote profitable innovation — are the only true source of sustainability.” – Peter Foster, Jan 5, 2021. 

[9] Gameau claims that somehow we will get solar household batteries “so cheap you are not even going to notice”. The cost of a battery system is currently between $2000 and $20,000, which are certainly numbers large enough to be noticed.

[10] Much Cool/2040 material is password protected so not linked here

[11] Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore bluntly states: “The fact is there is no hard evidence that any of these things have been or will be triggered by human-caused emissions of CO2. It is all conjecture based on the hypothesis that carbon dioxide controls temperature, which itself has never been determined as fact.”

Of Ratbags, Protests and Selective Policing


Tony Thomas

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Victoria’s bold gendarmes in Ballarat last September arrested and handcuffed a 28-year-old pregnant woman in her kitchen in pyjamas for anti-lockdown “incitement” on a Facebook post., which she described as a “bit of a bimbo moment”. Yet somehow Dan Andrews’ police were impotent for nearly two hours after two Extinction Rebellion activists parked their hired truck across the tramlines by Flinders Street Station last Friday. Trams and traffic jammed up for a kilometre with tens of thousands of commuters disrupted.

The two activists locked themselves on the top of the cabin. Their truck’s planetary caption read, “I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” (For “fire”, now substitute “flooded”).

Eventually the coppers marshalled the mojo to arrest them and shift the truck. One activist was fined $5000 for forcing half of Melbourne to a standstill. Compare that with $440 I myself was fined a while back for scooting with one foot (not riding) my pushbike through the same intersection against the pedestrians’ green light.

The fined truck bloke personifies the nuttery embodied in Extinction Rebellion. He wrote to fellow-zealots 18 months ago:

Thank you from our mother earth for being receptive to the pain of our times, and for taking on so much responsibility as part of the rebellion to try and amplify the earths (sic) painful sorrow till it can’t be unheard.

Thank you so much for the hours and hours of your brilliant vision, your brain and body power that you put into this movement. We are a multi-million-dollar organism now, comprised of some of the best and bravest… 

I’m grateful to you for letting me know that I’m not alone. And that if I’m mad, then I’m among the most beautiful and kind and lovely people there are and I’ll take that madness with a smile. (And obviously, the world is madder.)

On Saturday he disclosed that coppers had fed him toast with butter and Vegemite in the City West Watchhouse, where he spent 12 hours. The cops dropped nearly all of a bucketload of charges except committing “public nuisance” (once a euphemism for urinating in alleys). The magistrate, he said, wanted to jail him as a “ratbag” but refrained because he had no priors. After a rant about fictions like Pacific islands drowning (they’re expanding, even the ABC agrees about that), the “nuisance” said he’d send the notice re his “small fine” to Scotty from Marketing in Canberra.

The mad people and useful idiots of Extinction Rebellion are illegally disrupting cities all around Australia this week, except it’s been too rainy for them in Sydney and Brisbane:

 Extinction Rebellion Victoria will be disrupting Melbourne as part of a coordinated national Rebellion in all state capitals. This is a critical act of non-violent civil disobedience, to disrupt business as usual, and draw attention to the climate and ecological emergency we are facing and that the government is ignoring – endangering the lives of all of us, and all future generations of life.

Melbourne is saturated with XR material: yesterday, when my wife went to the butcher in Union Road, Ascot Vale, right outside was a poster in pink and blue: “March 22 – Rebel against climate chaos”.

In Victoria at least, XR knows the Andrews government will treat them with kid gloves, just as VicPol allowed thousands to parade for Black Lives Matter last June at the height of the pandemic lockdown. But VicPol brutally cracked down on mask offences and anti-lockdown rallies held in parks that didn’t involve disrupting other citizens. You can see this video of them brutalising a 69-year-old grandmother into hysteria.

VicPol is so politicised that in 2018 it billed Canadian anti-multi-culturalism speaker Laura Southern $68,000 for protecting her audience against Antifa and other left thugs.[1] “As per the Victoria Police (fees and charges) Regulations 2014, Victoria Police has the right to charge any event organiser for the use of police resources,” a spokesman explained. Southern, as an ideological foe of Premier Dan Andrews, declined to be blackmailed by VicPol. The plod buckled after belatedly getting legal advice that their charge was illegitimate. Basically, the law allows VicPol to bill for, say, traffic control outside Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup day, but not if a riot were to break out in the Birdcage, the keeping of public order being a fundamental obligation of the constabulary.

XR’s Melbourne calendar for this week includes two “optional arrestable actions” on four days and one of them on each of two days. As the XR Yarra group emailed members this month (my emphasis),

Immediately after the meeting we’ll head out for a practice action at a prominent location nearby (very low risk of arrest).

Another event: “Plot the mass civil disobedience needed in response to the climate and ecological emergency.” A bit to the north of the CBD, XR Darebin every Friday “is swarming roads…” XR signs off confusingly: “XR VIC acknowledges that we rebel on the stolen land of the Indigenous people of Australia.”

XR solemnly assures recruits that it is a “politically non-partisan movement” but strangely, one Melbourne event is titled, “Scott Morrison BBQ the planet”.[2] Another is “March Against Murdoch”. The XR acolytes are finishing the week with workshops on “White Privilege Training – Cultural Inheritance”, whatever on earth that signifies.

Thankfully, and unlike Melbourne, not all world cities have capitulated to XR.

The Amsterdam police were ready and waiting at the first major crossing. They blocked off the procession and proclaimed that anyone who stayed put would be arrested. Around two-thirds elected to ignore this warning and were carried by police into waiting buses, which then drove them to the outskirts of the city where they were dumped and told to walk home.”

This pick up and dump tactic is a new and mutually beneficial arrangement for all parties. Images of rebels being arrested make it into the media, but the rebels don’t take up any cell space which is now severely limited thanks to covid restrictions. While protests of any size are legal in the Netherlands, social distancing still applies, and there is a strict 9pm curfew.

The rebels who escaped the police buses proceeded to the Museumplein, a large public square, blocking streets with ‘mini-swarms’ along the way. After a few hours they were re-joined by their bussed off comrades, who had walked back into the city centre. But they did not remain united for very long. 

As the parade headed for the National Opera house, a protest space prearranged with authorities, the police cornered them again, and another 40 rebels were loaded into the buses and deported to the suburbs.

In Oslo, during a blockade of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy last autumn, police arrested nearly all the rebels who had taken part, kept them in solitary confinement overnight, and then fined them [each!] 1 million Norwegian kroner, around 100,000 euros or $A155,000. XR bleats that “the thorough police response and crippling fines are making civil disobedience very difficult in Norway.”  In Daniel Andrews’ Victoria, by contrast, flying squads of ratbags get police escorts.

In Melbourne, GoPro video-blogger Bill Thompson, 71, was caught by Friday’s truck blockaders and in his role as Everyman, reported the event to Youtube.[3]  Bill’s clip begins with a couple of XR stalwarts. One is a matron about 55 in a high-viz vest holding pamphlets about the global-heated end of the world.

Bill: “There’s a kilometre of traffic blocked because you people think you have a right to do this to other Melbourne people. I think it is absolutely disgusting. Why not demonstrate in Fed Square so you don’t upset other people’s lives?

Woman: We are trying to raise attention…

Bill: Meanwhile the Chinese are polluting the atmosphere to their heart’s content. Are you Marxists by any chance?

Woman: No

Bill: Well why not go on to Fed Square so you don’t upset other people? The Chinese are a bigger threat to the world than global warming…

Woman (anticipating her martyrdom a la St Catherine): I am a white heterosexual privileged woman and I am going to be fined…

Bill (unfeelingly): Well what about all the other people waiting in line while you are screwing them around?”

Bill, a mate, explained to me later that he didn’t see much point in further discussion with the white heterosexual privileged XR lady. Later in the clip, Bill arrives at the Flinders and Swanson streets intersection, where the truck occupies centre stage, but coppers block him from approaching it in order to GoPro the occupants.

Bill: I’d like to talk to these people.

Copper: No no no, sorry sir. Jump off the road.

Bill: They can stand here but I can’t?

Copper: You have a direction to move on.

Bill: What about them? Have they been directed to move on?

Copper: We are organising it now, sir. [The truck has been in situ an hour or so]. Come on, sir, please.

Bill: This happens on a regular basis here. People get disrupted all the time…

Copper: For your safety…

Bill: There’s a kilometre of trams and traffic. Get them (XR) out of here!

Copper: That is what we are trying to do.

Bill: You move me on, let’s move them on.

Copper: Thank you, sir. For your own safety…

Bill (to camera): I’ve had a gutful of what’s going on around here.

The quality of our life under the Andrews socialist government is captured by last week’s bland report on the truck snarl-up in the Herald Sun.

Police will allow a series of climate protests to take place across Melbourne next week but have vowed to ensure citizens will be allowed to go about their daily lives.

Thousands of people from the Extinction Rebellion movement are gearing up for seven days of planned [illegal] “disruptive action” starting on Monday at 7.30am.

Extinction Rebellion activist Violet Coco said the group had a “big week of action” planned.

 “Our demands are to declare a climate ecological emergency, zero emissions by 2025 and democracy is f..ked so we need citizens’ assemblies.”

Victoria Police said it had “undertaken extensive planning” to ensure the protests next week were safe.

“There is expected to be traffic disruptions at different locations and times throughout the week, and we plan to provide relevant updates to ensure those in the city are aware,” a spokeswoman said.

“We will have a highly visible presence in the area to maintain public safety.”

Talking of safety and XR protests, in London last year Extinction Rebellion protests caused the death of a man because an XR-created traffic jam meant his ambulance didn’t get him to hospital in time. According to Sky News host Rowan Dean, “The head of that protest, a woman, said that death was absolutely, perfectly excusable because what they were doing was in the greater good of saving the planet from climate change… when specifically asked whether she would do it again, she said yes.”

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Description automatically generated with medium confidenceXR neatly wedged Melbourne’s wokely Lord Mayor Sally Capp, who has overseen every variety of climate stupidity and green nonsense at city ratepayers’ expense. If she really believes the planet is doomed, she should be on the street with XR rather than wringing her hands at XR’s damage to the city’s nascent recovery from the gross economic damage inflicted by the COVID lockdowns.

Melbourne has been the focus of XR, being the sucker city of the south as far as police pushback is concerned. In November, XR blocked a major CBD intersection: “The emphasis was on exposing the planet killing lies of the Murdoch press.” A few days later four “rebels” glued themselves to the entrance of the Health Department while a dozen staged a corny ‘die-in’ to represent “symbolic victims of the climate and pandemic crises.” The campaign was capped with a ‘Festival of Love and Rage’ that “disrupted the city by land and sea.” (Nine festival goers were arrested).

On Monday of this week, XR’s corny red-garbed cultists blocked Spring and Bourke streets near Parliament by playing dead on the road. The ever-helpful VicPol thoughtfully diverted traffic. “The protesters have pledged to wreak havoc every day this week in the city as they call for climate intervention,” said the Herald-Sun.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius proclaimed that his troops “would not hesitate to make arrests”. This, after they hesitated for an hour and a half around the Flinders Street truck on Friday! There were a few arrests on Monday, but not anywhere near enough, as fuming drivers sitting idle in the resulting St Kilda Road traffic jam would have thought.

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Gutted by Daniel Andrews’ lockdowns, Melbourne’s CBD is awash with empty office space and shuttered stores.

VicPol has diverted 2000 police from local stations to ensure the XR law-breakers do not “unduly” inconvenience others, a police statement explained, as distinct from keeping the suburban communities safe from drive-by shooters and ethnic gangs of home-invaders. Melbourne’s media is so averse to getting on the wrong side of VicPol they describe toothless police leaders as “slamming” the XR mob. That doesn’t mean whipping out the handcuffs and truncheons but, rather, denouncing them to chatty radio hosts and concocting cuddly press releases. It doesn’t do to alienate the boys, girls and otherwises of VicPol. The next time they set out to frame a cardinal, they might do their leaking to another news organ.

In Brisbane things aren’t much better on the policing front. The ‘Defy Disaster’ protest by 250 XR dolts disrupted the CBD for two days. “In an effort to stop the reclaiming of the roads, police arrested 10 marchers,” XR noted. Wow! Less than a dozen arrests despite two days of chaos inflicted on millions of law-abiding residents.

XR’s PROSE forever strives for new heights of hyperbole.

We need immediate action to avoid unspeakable human suffering and irreversible damage to the natural world… this climatic and ecological nightmare that worsens with every passing day. This leaves all of us – and the planet we call home – in a desperate and dangerous position … a terrifying new reality…business-as-usual-profit-at-any-cost suicide mission. A terrifying new reality … we are in the midst of the Sixth Mass Extinction.

To inject a touch of realism, there’s been a levelling off of global warmingin the past half decade (despite huge growth in CO2).[4] After about 1degC of warming in the past century, agricultural production continues to smash records. CO2 is greening the planet and many types of extreme weather are reducing.  As usual, the official XR press is too busy sounding the tocsin to check facts. Thus Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland pollutes the planet in “Western Australia”.

XR’s climate caper involves out-doing every other left group in global warming hysteria and the urging of draconian “solutions”. For example, XR’s policy is for net zero in Australia by 2025, never mind 2050. Any engineer can calculate that zero-2025 involves us building a Hazelwood-sized nuclear power plant every 11 days from now until January 1, 2026, or 33 per year. Do-able? I don’t think so.

To by-pass their fringe-minority status, XR advocates “citizens assemblies” involving “sortition” or sampling the population. Once isolated, this group is force-fed XR propaganda and its conclusions then pushed to parliamentarians.

New XR tactics include

# Rebellion of One: a single person becomes a roadblock, holding an emotively-worded sign. “They sit in the road alone until they choose to move or are moved. But they have an incognito support team hiding in plain sight nearby.” A thousand such solos can cause traffic chaos.

# Naked protests: For clickbait and pics in the compliant media.

# Lawfare: From last year, XR began diversifying from law-breaking to “lawfare” – using existing ‘green’ laws to sue and harass those keeping society running. For example, Portuguese youth activists – one about ten years old– are taking their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

 # New Laws: XR’s international lawyers are promoting new laws, such as creating the climate crime of “Ecocide” analogous to a crime against humanity. These laws are leveraged into play at the UN via climate leeches such as the Maldives and Vanuatu. “One day soon,” enthuses XR, “negligent politicians and polluting CEOs could find themselves in the dock of the International Criminal Court!”

# Money Rebellion: Now launched in the UK involving tax strikes. Good luck with those — regardless of country, the taxman is infamously keen to enforce the law, unlike VicPol.

Typical of XR’s vandal mindset was their attacks last year on Cambridge’s Trinity College. They arrived with spades and wheelbarrows, chanting, ‘This is what democracy looks like’, and dug trenches through its ancient lawn to excoriate “digging for oil”. The supine Trinity College authorities made no complaint to police, who in any event were busy diverting traffic to assist the lawn diggers.

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XR’s real agenda is to by-pass the political process where the dark Greens seldom get more than 8 per cent of the vote. They have discovered, as did Lenin before them, that revolutions can be achieved with as little as 3.5% support, providing the 3.5% make enough racket and knows how to leverage its strengths.[5] Nicolle Flint, the Liberal South Australian MHR being driven from politics by a vile and sexually-abusive leftist campaign to destroy her sanity, is proof of that. She cites XR among her tormentors.

A UK founder of XR, Rupert Read, co-authored a tract “This Civilisation is Finished” with Melbourne University’s anti-growth guru Dr Sam Alexander. Read writes,[6]

It is just-about conceivable that this civilisation might survive by adopting an extremely disciplined eco-fascism.” Read says of the Covid epidemic that it’s a huge opportunity for XR … ‘It is essential that we do not let this crisis go to waste.’ The pair would also like to return Western civilisation to horseback.

As UK author Ben Pile describes XR,

They may call themselves ‘protesters’ and ‘rebels’, but the police treat them with kid gloves for a reason – their demands resonate with the authorities much more than they do with the public, who are largely fed up with all the pointless disruption. Even in this era of self-identification, Extinction Rebellion has as much chance of becoming a genuinely popular movement for change as I have of being the next leading ballerina at the Royal Ballet. 

The political class would gladly and immediately implement XR’s demands. What stops them is the very real possibility that imposing such draconian cuts to living standards would quickly unite the public once and for all on the issue of climate policy… against it. Thankfully, democracy is not dead yet.

If you’re keen on XR, you’d better give up your lamb chops, because you’re also rebelling against “speciesism”. As the Czech XR crowd puts it,

We were busy linking the climate crisis with other systems of human oppression – the crises of Capitalism, and Colonialism, and the Patriarchy. But one oppressive ideology was not being mentioned. Speciesism – the belief that one species of animal can be morally superior to and so dominate another.Quite simply, farming animals is one of the most ecologically destructive, oppressive and wasteful activities our civilisation does, and it is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions.

XR thinks ending animal farming would please the planet. Local Melbourne groups week of rage was fuelled by toasted tofu sandwiches.

I’ll round off this critique with some spicy XR history. XR’s UK founders Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook have championed XR’s “plane truth” fight against CO2-intensive aviation tourism. Hallam for example was arrested and jailed for flying a drone by Heathrow Airport two years ago, claiming Heathrow expansion was “a crime against humanity”. Bradbrook championed the Keep It Grounded “mass civil disobedience” campaign at City Airport. The XR website proclaimed: “Scientists make it crystal clear that without rapid reduction of passenger numbers and flights, the goal of limiting global heating cannot be achieved. One of the greatest beneficial environmental impacts we can have as individuals is to reduce the number of flights we take.”

But Gail Bradbrook (below with Hallam), who has been on an anti-CO2 campaign since 2010, is a hypocrite. In 2016 she loaded up her Facebook with pics of her 11,000-mile air trip to Costa Rica where she stayed at the $A4500 per week New Life Iboga Retreat. She explained that her holiday of self-discovery included taking hallucinogenic drugs that inspired her “to get with the spirit of the otter”. She also gushed that she wanted to use her visit to “express my most passionate self” in “the most filthiest, animal way”. She contacted a spirit known as Grandmother Ayahuasca and got a “kick up the a*** on negative habits”.

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She claimed the West African hallucinogenic shrub ibogaine “rewired” her brain, giving her “the codes of social change”. She had a “mystical experience” — explaining: “I lay down and a voice that felt very external to me said, ‘Gail, you create your own reality’. When I got home I ended a marriage and separated my family. It was a huge decision but it was the right thing to do.”

Bradbrook is an adult version of Greta Thunberg, spouting even purer weirdness. In a speech sponsored by HSBC Bank, she began,

I am speaking to you as a rebel, as a mother, and more than anything, a mother of life on earth … We are f***ed. Humanity is f***ed. It [climate] is a disaster of Biblical proportions. We have to let in that feeling of grief. This is a feminine peace for all of us, men, women and other genders, to feel the grief …

Co-founder of XR Roger Hallam is relatively level-headed compared with Bradbrook. He’s an organic farmer-turned-civil disobedience expert based at King’s College London. Among his writings were “Escape from the Neoliberal Higher Education Prison: A Proposal for a New Digital Communist University.”

Hallam met Bradbrook while he was busy spraying greenist graffiti on King’s College gates and in its Great Hall. He possessed the supposed globe-changing codes for rebels sought by Bradbrook (no, this is not the script for another Da Vinci Code movie).

But his more recent mouthings have been catastrophic for XR. Interviewed by weekly Die Zeit , Hallam rated the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews was “almost a normal event … just another f***ery in human history.” He said: “The fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in vicious circumstances on a regular basis throughout history.” In the interview he repeated calls for the climate crisis to be treated with as much emotion as the Nazis’ Auschwitz, where 1.1 million people were murdered.

XR’s PRs went into meltdown trying to wish away their founder’s despicable comments. The trauma within XR UK was so great that it had to set up “Care Councils to care for individuals, teams and the movement.” XR flaks said,

We would like to recognise again how painful this situation has been for so many and to let you know that we have given everything we can to hold it for the organism … As a new and rapidly growing movement, XR UK did not have clear systems and processes set up to respond to the challenging situation where an individual made comments that were polarising and which caused harm to individuals, the movement and the wider public.

XR UK eventually sacked Hallam as spokesman for three months, a very light flagellation.

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