Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Day In the Life of The Herald

February 22, 2011

In one and the same editorial, Democracy genie out of the bottle (22/2/11), the Sydney Morning Herald refers to "Gulf fiefdoms," some of which, like Bahrain, are "home to large numbers of Shiites under Iran's influence," while agreeing with foreign minister Rudd that "blaming protest on external interference is a 'tried but predictable script' in the Middle East."

In fact, as the Herald itself had reported only days earlier: "The US has repeatedly dismissed claims by the Bahraini government that Shiite unrest in the Persian Gulf island state is backed by Iran. Us diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show the accusation made by the government - which is facing street protests demanding political reforms from an opposition inspired by the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings - is not backed by hard evidence." (Cables show no sign of Iranian meddling, 17/2/11)

And how's this for an anodyne description of the entirely dependent (for arms, money and diplomatic backing) relationship between the dominant imperial power and its client collaborator regimes, as James petras calls them: "America has relied on regimes now facing popular uprisings." (Democracy genie)

Was 'propped up' deemed too harsh or is the author just plain clueless?

Then there's stuff and nonsense from Herald pundit Gerard Henderson who complains that "[t]he [global BDS] campaign does not distinguish between Israel's pre- and post-1967 borders..." (Don won't, but Libs can stop left)

For Christ's sake, does Israel? Give us a break!

Still, the cake must surely go to yesterday's Herald for an op-ed by Mirko Bagaric, Not having a whale of a time behind farm fence. Introduced in a footnote as "the author of a coming book Humanising Animals - Civilising People, funded by a grant from Voiceless, the animal protection institute," Bagaric wrote:

"Suffering is suffering. It is always ugly. It is always unwelcome. It always needs to be stopped. There are no exceptions. A person with the capacity but not the inclination to cease suffering is morally incomplete... Mahatma Gandi noted: 'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated'. What he did not observe was that there is normally a direct correlation between human prosperity and animal welfare."

Fine words! And who could possibly disagree?

Except that the same Mirko Bagaric, footnoted as "professor of law and head of the Deakin Law School," wrote a piece for The Age back in 2005 called A case for torture. In it he wrote:

"The belief that torture is always wrong is... misguided and symptomatic of the alarmist and reflexive responses typically emanating from social commentators... Torture is permissable where the evidence suggests that this is the only means, due to the immediacy of the situation, to save the life of an innocent person." (17/5/05)

That kind of doo-doo, of course, was what was circulating in the heyday of Dubya's so-called War on Terror, and provided the rationale for what was going on in Mubarak's prisons, to cite but one example. It might've helped if Bagaric had sorted this contradiction out in the first few paragraphs of his piece, but maybe he just assumed readers had forgotten. Not only, therefore, is his credibility in question, but so too is that of the opinion editor for failing to host a more deserving voice.

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