If you asked any normal person to describe the September 11 terror attacks, the word “unbelievable” would be one of the first adjectives to spring to mind. Unbelievable, as in defying comprehension.

Picture: Gary Ramage

For a small but loud group of people – people I am somewhat reticent to write about for fear of inviting a deluge of emails from wackos – the September 11 terror attacks are unbelievable in a different way. They are unbelievable because, they argue, terrorists did not hijack planes and fly them into the Twin Towers. Instead, they believe the whole thing was an elaborate hoax, either a controlled detonation or a joint operation masterminded by the United States itself to justify a war against Islam. Some of them argue that Osama bin Laden didn’t exist, or was not behind what happened, despite his appearing in a film claiming full responsibility. 

It is not so much an opinion as a diagnosable mental illness, but there you go. They think it’s the truth, and that’s why they give themselves the silly name of “truthers”.

Bizarrely, and probably also worryingly, Australia has among its federal MPs a person who has cuddled up to these loonies and has herself expressed doubts about the veracity of al Qaeda’s responsibility for 9-11. She is someone I kind of like, even though I can’t cop her politics, but someone with whom I always had cordial dealings while working as a political reporter in the NSW Parliament for what she likes to call the Murdoch hate media.

Just to be clear I don’t hate Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon at all. But her behaviour over the past week has given a telling insight into the minds of the rattier members of the Australian Greens, the way they behave when they are caught playing fast and loose with the truth, and the way they believe the media should be restricted from holding them up to scrutiny. They are the most rabid exponents of the types of media restrictions envisaged by the Convergence Review and the Finkelstein Inquiry into newspapers.

And this week we saw how their reasons for being so gung-ho about the media have less to do with a desire to ensure responsible conduct by the press, than to cover their own behinds when they are caught out doing something irresponsible or foolish.

The Australian newspaper’s Christian Kerr wrote a good story earlier this month revealing that three years ago Lee Rhiannon attended a meeting with a prominent “truther” called John Bursill.

Despite her left-wing convictions, Rhiannon went ahead and held a meeting with Bursill at the same time he had given an address to another meeting of right-wing extremists to push his truther views. The meeting was called the Sydney Forum and was a gathering of Far Right activists organised by a lapsed Nazi called Jim Saleam, the former head of the cheerily named National Socialist Party.

In her speech after her meeting with Bursill this is what Rhiannon had to say about September 11.

“Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the USA, we have been subjected to a propaganda bombardment such as no other that I can recall.

“We were told that our governments had incontrovertible evidence that Osama bin Laden, holed up in an Afghanistan cave, had ordered the attacks. But no such evidence was produced. What the public have been subjected to is a patchwork of a few facts, propaganda, prejudice and conjecture.’‘

The comments were quite weird given Osama’s boastful video saying it was all his own work, and sounded pretty much identical to the ravings of the truther movement.

Rhiannon tried to wriggle her way out of strife by taking to Twitter this week to disown her former absurd remarks and state unequivocally that it was the work of Al Qaeda. “Bin Laden behind 9/11 terrorist attacks that are rightly condemned,” she tweeted.
However she then continued that she was the victim of what she regards as a “trolling” exercise by News Limited and The Australian and had been fitted up – rather than simply being on the receiving end of accurate reportage of a matter which is in the public interest.

She followed up her indignation on Twitter by using the time of the Federal Parliament to mount another tirade against us evil so-and-sos in the mainstream press. She said she had been “vilified” and that the coverage was “guilt by association smear tactics reminiscent of McCarthyism”.

This is just total rubbish. It is also interesting rubbish coming from the mouth of one of the most impassioned supporters of media regulation, which would replace the independent Press Council with a powerful body called the News Media Council, its 20 members selected by a five-member committee comprising people who are themselves members of the government or appointed by the government. This outfit would be able to hold news organisations in contempt of its rulings.

It would obviously suit Lee Rhiannon if such a body existed because then she wouldn’t have to suffer the irritation of accurate reporting pointing out the dumb things she has said and the strange people she has associated herself with. 

The more we see of the calibre of person who is backing this crackdown on free speech, the more apparent it becomes that it has nothing to do with the public good and everything to do with stifling scrutiny. Like Labor Senator and ferocious media critic Doug Cameron, who said the Murdoch press should be the subject of an inquiry for reporting that Kevin Rudd wanted to knock off Julia Gillard and get his old job back. Seriously, where do we get these crazy ideas?

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    • Bris Jack says:

      06:28am | 23/09/12

      + Bandt

    • ronny jonny says:

      09:10am | 23/09/12

      You mean the fellow who put a suppression order on his own scribblings about Marxist theory? From the party that demanded open and accountable government from the sidelines but now conceals everything possible about it’s own operations? The party that sells itself as green but is actually a far left loony bin? I have to agree.

    • Bris Jack says:

      01:39pm | 23/09/12

      GREENS MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt has defended comments he made on a Marxist student website 15 years ago, in which he denounced capitalism and labelled the Greens a “bourgeois” political party that could be used to push a socialist agenda.

      The comments, made in a two-page memo written by Mr Bandt on March 4, 1995, while he was a student activist at Murdoch University, first surfaced on Victorian political blogger Andrew Landeryou’s website VexNews.

    • ronny jonny says:

      06:42am | 23/09/12

      I always wonder if any of the Green and Labour politicians and activists have read “Animal Farm”, it is striking the way they spend their time in opposition crying about freedom and rights, then achieve a little power and you start to see the stirrings of a desire to dictate. Imagine if anyone from the conservative side of politics tried to curb media freedoms in what is obviously a personal crusade? A personal crusade that many on the left seem to share. If you don’t like what they are saying, shut them up. No surprise really from organisations that support blockading and boycotting of legitimate businesses and the shouting down of views other than their own, rather than engaging in debate.

    • kipling says:

      09:05am | 23/09/12

      The right call for the shut down of the ABC frequently. Pot/kettle/black

    • ronny jonny says:

      09:32am | 23/09/12

      Shut down? Never heard that one, balance perhaps. You’ll note they haven’t called for a hand picked group of politicians to decide what it can or can’t say.
      Please refrain from pot/kettle/black, you make me sad.

    • jtz says:

      11:39am | 23/09/12

      @actually kipling the right asked the ABC to be more centred. Nothing showd the bias of the ABC the Q&A thats stouts the audience is 60%+ liberal voters yet the whole audience will applaud a comnent made by SHY. Srsly do you think the public is that stupid.

    • Bear says:

      01:48pm | 23/09/12

      All they did was stack the board with righties and all the wile the rest of the media is almost universally staunch right anyway. You’ve got nothing to complain about on the media bias front right loops!

    • acotrel says:

      07:20am | 23/09/12

      ‘If you asked any normal person to describe the September 11 terror attacks, the word “unbelievable” would be one of the first adjectives to spring to mind. Unbelievable, as in defying comprehension.’

      ‘Unbelievable’ is absurd. The accusation has been made that Roosevelt let Pearl Harbour happen on purpose (LIHOP).  One of the great strengths of American industry has been its excellent approach to risk management. A 9/11 type attack was even mentioned in the poisonous rhetoric of fundamentalists, long before 9/11 occurred.  What did the Americans need - flashing neon signs to tell them it was about to happen ?

    • Mayday says:

      08:56am | 23/09/12

      If you ask a normal person to consider what you have written here, then unbelievable would suffice!!

    • Gregg says:

      09:17am | 23/09/12

      I would have said Rhiannon like mindnumbing!

    • Mouse says:

      09:48am | 23/09/12

      so what are you saying acotrel?
      That the US should have know 9/11 was going to happen and it’s their fault they didn’t stop it, or
      they were given enough warning as to the date and time so it’s their fault they didn’t stop it, or
      they knew it was going to happen but wanted it to to make Bin Laden look bad, so that’s why they didn’t stop it?

      Please acotrel, stop now, just don’t say anything more. I really think you have to be trying to get spirited feedback because no sane person could possibly believe what you have just written and I can’t believe that you honestly believe it either!.  :o)

    • Ben says:

      10:09am | 23/09/12

      It’s actually Pearl Harbor, not Pearl Harbour. Mind you, it’s a relatively small absurdity compared with the remainder of you post.

    • John says:

      10:19am | 23/09/12

      I read long ago that Churchill knew Pearl Habour was imminent but didn’t tell Roosevelt ...so it happened and the US joined up at long last.

    • nihonin says:

      12:02pm | 23/09/12

      I heard Colonel Sanders got the recipe for his chicken from Ronald McDonald, who’d got his hands on the secret from Hungry Jacks.  He was planning to use it to sink Subway, he revealed his plan to the Donut King over a pair of Gloria jeans at Starbucks, he told the waitress he’d like a Coffee club sandwich before discussing on his secret.

    • St. Michael says:

      01:12pm | 23/09/12

      Acotrel, I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to tell you this, but America is actually pretty crap at risk management.

      Pearl Harbor is one such case.  I’m going to copypaste what I’ve said in the past about it:

      The only reason Pearl Harbour was attacked was plain old US naval arrogance.  That’s why the military, particularly the Navy, to this day doesn’t counter, and tacitly encourages, the conspiracy theory that “FDR knew”; because it makes the commanders martyrs rather than just plain old hidebound idiots who got 2,500 American servicemen killed.

      Billy Mitchell, the first US Air Force general, accurately predicted that a strong air force could cripple if not wipe out Pearl Harbour.  He gave that report, which was a good 250 pages long and outlined exactly how the attack would happen, a good 18 years ahead of Pearl Harbour.  He was right down to the last detail.

      He wasn’t listened to, and he wasn’t heeded, because:
      (a) he was in the Air Force and the Navy commanded Pearl Harbour;
      (b) he was already persona non grata as far as the Navy was concerned because he’d successfully proved a single aircraft could sink a naval vessel, something the Navy had scoffed at and demanded that he prove.  When he did, he basically established the obsolescence of the battleship, which up to that point had been the Navy’s reason for existence.  Read his Wikipedia entry about this, or a book called A Question of Loyalty.  Here’s the pertinent tract from Mitchell’s successful sinking of a captured battleship:

      “On the Henderson, mouths of VIPs gaped open. No one spoke. Politicians, many of whom had staked their careers on funding the battleships, looked as if they had just witnessed a murder. Some admirals sobbed like babies.”

      He was eventually court-martialled because of insubordination, although in reality it was because he annoyed the high command of the Navy - who then pushed the Army to throw him out.

      As to the invevitable suggestion it was to get rid of the US’s fleet of obsolete warships, per the US Navy’s own websites about Pearl:

      Of the 8 battleships (the BB class) deployed at Pearl, four were sunk.
      - Of those 4, 3 were refloated and repaired: USS Arizona is the only one left where it sank.
      - One of the battleships was floated but wasn’t repaired.
      - The other 2 were repaired
      - The remaining 4 damaged but still afloat after Pearl were also repaired.

      All of them saw later action in the Pacific campaign.

      6 out of 8 battleships, all restored to the line and sent back into battle.  Rather a big and pointless expense to put on your country if, as you presume, FDR was convinced they were all “obsolete” vessels which don’t have any further part to play in the war.

      it fits with a US Navy bureaucracy that didn’t realise battleships were obsolete—or did know they were obsolete but pushed for them to be kept in play as part of the effort to justify their own existence as an arm of the military.  It also fits with a US Navy bureaucracy that was so hidebound it refused to even consider Billy Mitchell’s warnings about Pearl’s vulnerability, mostly because he’d made the Navy look bad and because he imperiled their reason for existence.

      Look back to my quote on the reaction of admirals and the politicians funding their battleships when Mitchell sank one with a few bombs from a single aircraft.  That’s the sort of idiots who make fateful decisions in US governments and US militaries—not Corleone-style presidents plotting the deaths of servicemen.  And to their discredit, they have been enormously successful at it: battleships of all stripes have been obsolete since roughly 1960 or so, but the US Navy clung onto theirs until roughly 1990 or so (Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri and Wisconsin).  And even after decommissioning there are still US Navy idiots who want all four of them kept as museum ships.

      No, you need to check the identities of those who said “FDR knew”.  For the most part, the ones making the original allegations were all US Navy men, up to and including Vice Admirals.  The US Navy has always been a government bureaucracy determined to preserve itself despite its steadily growing obsolescence, without any real regard for the cost or expense it puts onto the US.

      Each navy man who said “FDR knew” had very potent reasons to displace blame for Pearl Harbour onto a President who’s been dead since 1944 and thus not around to be cross-examined on it.  (Note that despite the clear and apparent scandal none of the Navy types came out with their revelations before FDR had died.)  Namely, their own incompetence and the fact Pearl again proved Mitchell right and that the “bluewater coast guard” of the US was no longer needed or terribly useful beyond protecting its carriers.

    • TC says:

      02:02pm | 23/09/12

      OH MY GOD. The day has arrived when I agree with Alcotrel.

    • St. Michael says:

      03:54pm | 23/09/12

      P.S.: One important distinction I’d make with acotrel’s post: American *industry*—i.e. the private sector—is good at risk management.

      The American *military* and *government*—i.e. the public sector—are not.  And there’s a shitload of proof to that proposal.

    • LJ Dots says:

      05:48pm | 23/09/12

      St Michael, good post, except I just had visions of alcotrel, vintage ‘41, banking left for the dive bombing run chanting ‘Tory Tory Tory’.

    • Barry Tucker says:

      07:38am | 23/09/12

      A council of MPs to regulate, censor and punish the news media reminds me of an earlier era when the parliament was said to be considering laws banning criticism of politicians.

      Criticising the pollies and kicking their behinds when necessary is one of our national pastimes, even more loved than the footy. The pollies usually play along, sometimes responding with humour and sometimes (bless them) taking our objections on board and changing legislation.

      In that earlier time things got a bit out of hand when a pollie’s wife somehow got in the firing line. This was a step too far and the rumblings about outlawing criticism began. Fortunately, they didn’t get too far because a concerned public stomped on them.

      If there’s to be a new body to regulate the vital democratic principle of Freedom of the Press, journalists and the public they serve must make sure they are involved and aware of the details from the outset.

      At the same time, conventional news media and the rapidly developing Social Media must improve in the areas of fairness, bias, accuracy and balance so that it can avoid criticism and the focus can remain where it should be: on those who govern (or seek to govern) us and rule our lives.

    • JennyT says:

      07:49am | 23/09/12

      David Penberthy doesn’t let the truth stop him from engaging is some ugly trolling of Lee Rhiannon. He has made a serious error of fact.  Firstly he wants to ignore that Rhiannon has publicly said a number of times that she does not support the theories of “truthers”. Even in Penberthy’s quote from Rhiannon’s speech she refers to 9/11 being a terrorist attack.

      The most serious error, however, is that Penberthy writes that Rhiannon attended and spoke at a meeting of “Sydney Forum….. a gathering of Far Right activists organised by a lapsed Nazi called Jim Saleam, the former head of the cheerily named National Socialist Party.”

      This statement by Penberthy is complete fiction. He has totally muddled the report in the Australian (17 Sept 2012)  in its guilt by association piece. Rhiannon had met with a constituent who was a “truther” and it was reported that the “truther” attended the Sydney Forum meeting - not Rhiannon. Her speech that is quoted was made on the north coast; not at a Sydney Forum event.

      As for media reform and Penberthy’s reference to “accurate reporting” all the public wants is for journalists to stop telling lies like the ones in this article and have some decent penalties if they do.

    • Ben says:

      10:27am | 23/09/12

      Well, did she say it or not?

    • Ben says:

      10:46am | 23/09/12

      >>As for media reform and Penberthy’s reference to “accurate reporting” all the public wants is for journalists to stop telling lies like the ones in this article and have some decent penalties if they do.

      Oh, so you speak for all Australians, do you? Can’t recall you canvassing my view, but perhaps I’m getting forgetful these days.

    • marley says:

      10:55am | 23/09/12

      Penberthy may have got the venue of the speech wrong, and if so, certainly deserves to be slapped down for it.  But he didn’t get the content of the speech wrong.  That is an accurate quote from a speech Rhiannon made at Bangalow on Oct 7, 2009.

      And it was Arthur Sinodinos, not a journalist, who first raised the issue of Rhiannon’s contacts with far right groups, albeit more in the context of anti-semitism than truthers.  Christian Kerr then wrote up a piece in the Oz . Rhiannon complained about Kerr’s “smear tactics” but didn’t dispute the accuracy of what he said. 

      Frankly, if Tony Abbott’s behaviour as a student politician 30 years ago, or Julia Gillard’s as a junior law partner 17 years ago, are subject to scrutiny by the press, I don’t see why Lee Rhiannon’s behaviour as a politician 3 years ago should be protected.

    • Achmed says:

      08:11am | 23/09/12

      I would not want to see anything that impinges on free speech.

      I would like to know that Aussie media has not been involved in the same practices as what we have seen in the UK.  The hacking of mobile phones and computers.  And any such enquiry needs to be independent of the media.  The should not be the investigator, judge and jury of themselves.

      We have already seen the media itself impose limits on “free” speech with the removal of the comments sections on news articles.  Better vetting by the “moderator” is all that would be required.  The other would be for judges making decisions about whether or not someone has been “injured” by the rantings of someone would be to tell them to toughen up.

    • Kipling says:

      09:15am | 23/09/12

      Yep all victims should just harden up. Why should gutless perpetrators be made accountable?

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      10:22am | 23/09/12

      Here! Here!  Totally agree @Achmed
      But regarding social media /internet blogs etc. I find it baffling that anyone would think it possible to control communication and monitor all of it in the 21st century.  The cat is out of the bag and there it will stay.
      But for all its potential faults at least commenters, as here, can have an immediate say about an issue.

    • nihonin says:

      12:12pm | 23/09/12

      ‘I would like to know that Aussie media has not been involved in the same practices as what we have seen in the UK.  The hacking of mobile phones and computers.’

      Happened already, Fairfax and the Labor databse, earlier this year or late last year.  Bloody Murdoch.  wink

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      08:41am | 23/09/12

      The citizens of Libya in the past few days have given me some new hope in humanity. About 30,000 ordinary citizens have demonstrated and thrown out the militant extremists in Eastern Libya.

      As an old environment warrior I have been saddened in recent times to find that the Greens Party in Australia have been hijacked by political extremists like Senator Lee Rhiannon.

      I would to see the Greens Party of Australia withdraw from politics and focus on fighting to save the environment in Australia and globally.

      If the present Greens Party refuses to do so then there should be a new organization that should focus on the environment and avoid involvement in non-environmental issues. Those in the present Greens Party who support this can then withdraw from the Greens Party and join the new organization.

    • ronny jonny says:

      09:49am | 23/09/12

      What has happened to the Greens in Australia is what has happened to most political movements and especially revolutions throughout history. They may start off with the best intentions but sooner or later tougher political animals come along and take over the party/government/revolution for their own purposes. I would go so far as to say that most revolutions end up this way. You start with wanting freedom from a corrupt king but end up with the Ayatollah. Witness the Muslim Brotherhood’s involvement in the Arab Spring, democracy is not the end goal of that organisation. You get rid of the existing power structure by allying with whoever you have to then you assassinate your competitors (politically or actually) to achieve absolute power. We all know where that ends up.
      I suspect the likes of Rhiannon only went into the Greens because she saw it as a ticket to power that was no longer available with the communists. No mainstream party would touch her so it’s her only option.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      10:24am | 23/09/12

      Yes, they seem to get loonier and more extreme. They should stick with the environment.

      As to what we do with the crazy independents who hold the rest to ransom…absurd form of democracy.

    • Gregg says:

      08:46am | 23/09/12

      You might have put a target on your back do you reckon Penbo!
      ” They are the most rabid exponents of the types of media restrictions envisaged by the Convergence Review and the Finkelstein Inquiry into newspapers. “
      Surprisingly, the word Frankenstein is not used but then that too would be too hard for not just truthers to handle but for those rabid exponents too.

      On the other side of the ledger, I always wonder despite Osama’s boasts, just what kind of network of terror there was and who did the 911 planning and where from given the background of the hijackers and links to cells in Germany.
      Lee Rhiannon should have had the sense at least to realise that any time Osama was being holed up in caves if that was so related to stories about the hunt for him and the caves of the Tora Boras.

      You do also have to wonder whether there’ll ever be a fully accurate account possible given deaths of perpetrators and it is again Frankenstein that gives me my one word feelings on 911 and that is just Horrific, not just for the act itself or those who perished and were injured but their many family, colleagues and friends who will continue to suffer from the losses.

      They had a film on, Friday night I think it was as it co-incided with the footy finals but I managed to see a bit of Twin Towers and one of the most memorable lines I always will imagine was a rescuer saying something like ” There were thousands of people in here and where have they gone? “, only twenty survivors pulled from the rubble.

      Anyway, as to ” Seriously, where do we get these crazy ideas? “
      That’s easy enough Penbo and it is just people, be they crazy themselves, a bit weird or just different, another fairly common saying being something like ” it takes a lot of different cogs to keep this planet ticking over “.
      The bigger question might well be how they can get themselves elected into our parliament!, and then some will even get more than one or a couple of terms.

    • Dr Jack says:

      10:43am | 23/09/12

      Your 4th newsy paragraph, Gregg, reminds me that the local hospitals had little to do. Most of those in the way of the planes “were disappeared” or almost so, like those who jumped. The most extraordinary heroism was that of the many services who collaborated, at first clumsily because of the dust and destruction and sights and sounds, but with no thought of a hometown plot, to offer law and order and hope and comfort to those who found the whole catastrophe an incredibly disorganised and truly “incredible” mess of shock and horror. Go see the memorial sometime and you won’t ever be quite the same again.

    • Mouse says:

      09:00am | 23/09/12

      ...and these are the same people that run to the media and scream at them to tell the world what their opinion is, just don’t say anything that someone else has said, especially if it’s goes against what “they” think!
      Isn’t that what gillard and co want? Only Labor and Greens know the “real” facts, everything else is smear and heresay and if the media don’t do as they demand, they’ll get ‘em fired and shut ‘em down!

      If this wasn’t so serious, it’d be funny…....  I can’t wait until the book comes out   lol :o)

    • Suzanne says:

      09:28am | 23/09/12

      Keep her there, she causes real damage to the Greens so does Milne and SHY

    • Laura says:

      09:50am | 23/09/12

      It’s great that the media is finally shining a torch on Lee Rhiannon and the Greens. It means that never again will the Greens have the power they had at the last Federal election. It also means the people who, in 2007, thought the Greens were comprised of warm and fuzzy people will now understand not only how wrong that perception was but also how dangerous and loopy are many of the MP’s who inhabit Terra Green.

      The Green Gillard government was the government we had to have because in 2010 many Australians were politically dumb. Julia Gillard and the Greens have woken the sleeping giant called political stupidity. It’s having a make over. Never again will so many be so stupid.

    • gary says:

      10:08am | 23/09/12

      “It would obviously suit Lee Rhiannon if such a body existed because then she wouldn’t have to suffer the irritation of accurate reporting pointing out the dumb things she has said and the strange people she has associated herself with. “

      Come on Penbo
      Surely if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.
      The Murdoch hate media need to be held accountable when they publish lies and do their dirty deeds.
      At the moment they are not. The Press Council is dominated by Murdoch and is the fox guarding the hen house.
      Surely Ltd News should suffer more than irritation when in-accurate reporting damages individuals and threatens to bring down government..

      Murdoch in the U.S. has paid out close to billion dollars in settlements to hush up complaints about News America’s monopolistic abuses.  It hacked competitors computers and destroyed their businesses.
      In the UK, we know it bribed police and hacked countless mobile phones causing untold damage to individuals and shareholders will have to pay dearly for this.
      In America, Murdochs New York Post newspaper was rocked by a scandal in which a star Page Six reporter allegedly attempted to shake down billionaire Ron Burkle for “protection” from the gossip sheet, telling him, “It’s a little like the Mafia.”
      Burkle secretly recorded Page Six reporter Jared Stern offering to go easy on him in the gossip sheet in exchange for a hefty payoff. “We know how to destroy people,” Stern reportedly threatened. “It’s what we do.” To shield himself from character assassination, Stern allegedly suggested, Burkle could make a one-time payment of $100,000, followed by monthly installments of $10,000.

      This sort of behaviour permeates the operations of News Corp and to suggest that Australia the birthplace of this empire and headquarters of Ltd News operates differently is ludicrous.
      Ltd. News is the reason we need News Media Council.
      By all means, if Lee Rhiannon says something stupid, report it. If she said it, then no problem and the News Media Council would care less. Ltd. News needs to be held accountable when they engage in “inaccurate reporting” and publish lies.

      Currently they just do as they please.

    • Mick In The Hills says:

      01:11pm | 23/09/12

      “Currently they just do as they please.”

      To this I call bullshit.

      We have the same criminal code laws that Britain had to prosecute the Sun journos & managers there.

      FFS, we also have a plethora of libel / slander / defamation / villification / incitement laws that anyone can use to clobber any media outlet that “offends” them.

      If you have a beef, you’ve got all the laws you need now to go after your targets.  Use them - no need for more frickin’ regulations.

    • Yak says:

      03:17pm | 23/09/12

      @ Mick in the Hills. Hope your day is going well.
      It’s easy to call bullshit, but in reality the only protection anyone has against today’s technology is not to use it. You can’t be prosecuted for libel / slander / defamation / villification / incitement laws if what you have stated is actually true. The fact a third-party eavesdropped in on a private conversation and reported it, doesn’t make it untrue, just unethical.

      My heart goes out to Elle MacPherson’s P.A. who was sacked, after years of faithful service, because she was, supposedly, the only one who knew Elle was pregnant. With hindsight we now know how others knew, and how they found out.

    • marley says:

      07:29pm | 23/09/12

      Opinions, facts and lies.  Who’s to know which is which?

      The “Press Council is dominated by Murdoch and is the fox guarding the hen house.”

      Hmmm.  Well, even a cursory check would establish that the Press Council consists of 22 members:  one chair (an academic or judge);  eight public members with no affiliation; nine media reps; and four free lance journalists, also with no affiliation..  Of the nine media reps, one is from News Ltd.  News has one voice out of 22.

      So,  the statement that News controls the Council -  is that truth, opinion, or a lie?  You be the judge.

    • OzTrucker says:

      10:12am | 23/09/12

      Just for a moment on the 911 truth movement. 

      911 inconsistencies do exist and to call people loonies for voicing questions or wanting to see the evidence is a little bit odd in itself. After all if the US government has nothing to hide why not let the public be reassured by a proper truth telling?

      First of all there can be no doubt ordinary people were killed in this act of barbarity and I for one believe they should be remembered. This has nothing to do with finding answers.

      The truth movement is supported by some promintent Americans former governor Ventura is an easy example. There are others.

      There is also a whole group of engineers and pilots who have difficulty with the idea that some blokes who had only flown cessnas could somehow manage to put a 757 (or whatever it was) through a hard turn combined with a rapid decent leveling off with the engine nacelles mere feet off the ground all at full trottle and slamming into the pentagon.  Some very experienced pilots even tried to do it in a simulator and failed spectacularly.

      Have a look at the several photos of the impact point on the pentagon. Particularly those taken before the two top floors collapsed. Then consider the actual measuements of the aircraft that alledgedly impacted the area. This speaks for itself. The height of the tail (made worse considering there are NO marks on the grass) compared to the height of the still standing top two floors is remarkable. Some would say that well the tail must have come off. Ok where is it? It’s not a small thing.

      Add to this the fact that three tall buildings (everyone forgets building 7) collapsed into their own footprint. Now we all know that the towers were hit by planes were saw the pictures didn’t we. But what happened to building 7. it was hit by debris from the towers when they collapsed but it was still standing. It had its own little fire. Of all the nineteen or twenty sky scraper fires that have been recorded other than these three, none have resulted in the buildings collapsing. There is plenty of spectacular film of skyscrapers burning on the net. None of which collapsed.

      Then consider who had offices in building 7.

      I could go on about this but I won’t there are several easy to find web sites with the evidence such as it exists I encourage you all to have a look at some of the evidence and draw your own conclusions.

    • ronny jonny says:

      11:14am | 23/09/12


    • jtz says:

      12:00pm | 23/09/12

      @oztrucker there is also alot of evidence what supports what happened. To me you sound like one of those ppl who screamed the line “Iron cant catch on fire”. The difference on the 911 attacks was the fact there was fuel added. Look at the planes that hit. They are huge aircraft that carry s large amount of fuel. Add to that fuel from the office buildings furniture, papers and other fuel and what do you get. You get a fire which is over 1000 degrees. Enough to burn and bend the steal beams.

      Your comments like saying a house should no collapse due to other houses that have had fires not collapsing.

    • Mattb says:

      12:07pm | 23/09/12

      the ability of the pilots in all three planes to do what they did is the only thing I’ve had doubts about too. These guys learnt to fly cessnas for a start, is it possible to go from learning to fly a cessna straight to real flying time in a large commercial airliner??. Is it really that easy??.

      Not only that, is it that easy that all three of these guys flew these planes to their intended targets (do you just type ‘world trade centre’ or ‘pentagon’ into the auto pliot and the plane takes you there?) and then nail three ‘perfect’ direct hits on their targets?. Is it that simple?, is that all you need? a few months flight training in a cessna to accomplish this?.

      if there are any pilots out there i would appreciate it if you could clear this up for me. I dont know, maybe it is that easy.

      I dont know if the ‘Truthers’ are right or wrong, whether it was a terrorist attack or a government conspiracy and I really don’t care. Its the response from the west that dissapoints me, the wars that we have waged in response since 9/11 have acheived nothing and really have proven that we are no better than the disgraceful terrorists organisations we deplore. And all in the name of this so called ‘god’ and a couple of differing religious fairtales. Pathetic really…

    • Yak says:

      03:24pm | 23/09/12

      @ Mattb. Good job.

      Your questions are relevant and your final paragraph should be hung on walls and discussed in classrooms. Good post.

      Have a wonderful day.

    • TC says:

      05:34pm | 23/09/12

      Mattb, no pilot, no matter how accomplished or experienced, has been able to a complete the manouvre of the plane that hit the Pentagon. In particular, flying the plane along the ground for quite a distance without touching or damaging the ground in any way. Pilots for 9/11 Truth website is a good read.

    • pa_kelvin says:

      06:54pm | 23/09/12

      There was obviously one pilot that was able to do it…..

    • Terry says:

      10:19am | 23/09/12

      Another silly Penbo rant bashing the Greens - this one of the Six Degrees To Kevin Bacon variety. Rhiannon, who probably meets hundreds or thousands of people a year, met a guy who’s a bit nuts! WOOO! The Greens must be crushed!


    • jimbo says:

      10:22am | 23/09/12

      Politicians know that over half of the voting population are dumb.  It depends on which party is in power that defines which half that is.

    • LeonT says:

      10:29am | 23/09/12

      Teach the controversy.

    • stephen says:

      11:18am | 23/09/12

      The Greens and everybody else knows that they are a Party in decline.
      And they didn’t get to save one tree.

    • Alfie says:

      11:59am | 23/09/12

      All I see is another damn good reason why we need to get rid of this hotchpotch of a government. Lee Rhiannon is a total fool.

    • stephen says:

      06:24pm | 23/09/12

      She may well be a very nice lady but she’s at the wrong party.

      And as James T. Kirk might say : ‘Gentlemen, it’s time for action’.

      That is one of the big problems with the Greens : one cannot sit on the grass playing with one’s feet, and expect that everyone elses’ feet will get the same attention.

    • jtz says:

      12:04pm | 23/09/12

      The Greens = Tea Party of Australia.

    • Esteban says:

      12:08pm | 23/09/12

      9/11? What happened on November 9th?

      Are you all American? Get in your SUV’s and drink your Kook Aid.

      It’s 11/9 in Australia and most countries in the world…

    • poa says:

      12:13pm | 23/09/12

      Actually the biggest proponents of media muzzling is the ALP.
      Consider Gillard’s involvement in the sacking of journalists over her AWU/Slater &Gordon; days.
      Consider who appointed the Leftist Finklestein Inquiry and set he terms of reference (No ABC or SBS to be looked at please!)
      Consider the utter lies printed about Tony Abbot and the suddenly invented punch without any complaint from the media monitors.
      Consiuder the threats made to media about media ownership and licencing journalists.

    • P. Darvio says:

      01:45pm | 23/09/12

      Quote: “... the word “unbelievable” would be one of the first adjectives to spring to mind.

      My first reaction to 911 was (and still is )……


    • lovethebush says:

      02:02pm | 23/09/12

      It’s a shame that we don’t have an exclusive environmental party that will protect our native marsupials, flora and fawna that give Australia it’s cultural identity.This is the great loss. The social engineering of the greens is it’s downfall.

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      02:41pm | 23/09/12

      I was expressing the same wish at 08:41am in my post.

      Yes I strongly believe the need to have a purely environmental organization that deals only with environmental problems in Australia and the World.

      There must be many strong supporters of the Liberal and National Parties AND ALP who are really put off by non-environmental issues that the Greens Party in Australia seems to focus on these days.

    • TC says:

      02:42pm | 23/09/12

      I really loathe being told I am a crazy loon because I have questions about what happened on 9/11; a day where one unbelievable ocurrence after unbelievable occurrence took place. I trained as a journalist and now work in PR, I am not crazy and it is so disappointing to me that so many journalists have shown next to no curiosity to examine (without just accepting what supposedly happened by US government officials) the events of that, a day that 3,000 people lost their live. If any day deserves examination by public intellectuals, journalists and the general public it is 9/11 - the day that spawned catastrophic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that continue today, yet it is like it is a hot potato. False Flag operations to get a nation into war have happened time and time again, and are considered historical fact, in fact I was reading just this week how the Japanese staged one in the 1930’s to ‘justify’ their invasion of China.
      I also loathe being told by David Penberthy that Osama Bin Laden was clearly behind the attacks becaue there is a video of him admitting it, a video which was not released by osama Bin laden and clearly contains a body double acting as Bin laden. Despite the ‘video’ the FBI never listed Bin Laden as wanted for the 9/11 attacks - when asked about this, the FBI said they did not have sufficient evidence that Bin laden was responsible. Huh? How many people know of this little gem? We were toldby the American government that the ‘evidence’ that proved Bin laden was guilty of the attack would be forthcoming - never happened.This is not acceptable, we are being asked to believe something simply because we were told by people in authority. This is not how a democracy should work. Remember what Hitler said - “the greater the lie, the more people will believe it.’
      When it comes to what really happened on 9/11, the devil is in the detail and most of the public and journalists are too lazy to do the research. If anyone is interested in finding out why so many people from all walks of life think there should be a new, independent investigation of 9/1 I suggest they watch the video ‘9/11 Experts Speak Out’ which is available free on youtube or on the AE 9/11 website, or read any of the books by David Ray Griffin and take it from there.

    • Carol says:

      06:13pm | 23/09/12

      On reading this article I wonder just what David believes?
      Based on all I’ve read all those involved in the events died at the time, I am not aware any were Afghanies or that there was any proof the Afghan government or people knew any thing about the raid. So just what are we doing there?

      The fact seem to me to suggest David and those like him aren’t prepared to look at other options. Again, based on my reading there were a number of nationalities involved, what we had was a hate American feeling and that is still with us.

      As for “barbarity” tell me a nation that has not or is not involved in such acts?
      Our participation in Irag, Libya, Afghanistan and possibly Iran and Syria in the future says little for the west’s compassion towards it’s fellow man.


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