Hey Barry O’Farrell, piss off out of Marrickville

Barry O’Farrell, I’ve got my eye on you. It’s one thing to start sorting out the mess left after a decade and half of NSW Labor government that was incompetent to the point of, I suspect, corruption. I’m sure we can all provide a list of folks whose bank and phone records we’d like to see pulled by ICAC. But that’s very different from threatening with sacking a local government body whose actions happen not to coincide with the interests of your mates in the pro-Israel cheer squad.

Yes, Marrickville Council decided to boycott Israel over that whole Palestine thing. So what? What business is that of yours as NSW Premier? None.

As an individual, I have the right to hold whatever political views I like. Freedom of thought and freedom of political expression are amongst the very few human rights we’ve properly protected here in Australia. Should I decide that some individual, group, business, organisation or nation holds views so repugnant that I’d rather not support them, then it’s my right not to do business with them.

As a proper, legally-constituted, legitimately-elected local government body — as a legal “person” — the Marrickville Council also has that basic legal right to choose who it does business with.

Now as it happens, I reckon Marrickville’s decision wasn’t terribly well thought through. As my colleague Josh Taylor over at ZDNet Australia points out, boycotting everything that comes out of Israel denies you access to the latest computing technology from Intel, amongst other things. The very fact that Marrickville Council didn’t respond to his questions but instead waved him off to a prepared statement at their website proves, in my opinion, that they don’t have the intellectual integrity or moral backbone to discuss and stand by their decision. By all means criticise them for that.

But until very recently I’d spent most of a decade as a citizen of Marrickville. Yes, there’s a certain idealistic leftism suffusing the place, if I may resort to that tediously tired old left-right classification. But from a resident’s perspective they got on with the job of delivering services with far fewer allegations of dodgy behaviour than certain Labor-dominated local councils I could name. Or Liberal-dominated councils, for that matter. Why isn’t your attention focussed on them?

So, Mr O’Farrell, unless you’ve got some prima facie evidence of corruption or misconduct on the part of Marrickville Council, piss off out of it. It’s up to the citizens of Marrickville to decide whether they do or don’t support their Council’s actions, no-one else’s.

You’ve got enough on your plate to be getting on with as it is, Mr O’Farrell. Get on with it.

Weekly Wrap 1

Starting today, each Saturday or Sunday I’ll post a list of the stuff that I’ve had published elsewhere in the previous week.

  • Patch Monday podcast #44: Microsoft versus the cybercriminals. A look at some of the less-well-known work Microsoft is doing in this field — including Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit sponsoring a pop song in Nigeria, a legal tactic for taking down botnets, and how they identify malware through reputation analysis.
  • How evil is Google, exactly? for ABC Unleashed. My argument is that Google’s collection of random Wi-Fi data isn’t the massive privacy breach some people are making out, but that it does raise serious questions about whether Google can be trusted. The comment stream is fascinating.
  • Turks hack Israeli Facebook accounts over Gaza blockade incident for Crikey. This appears to be the first time that individual Facebook users’ accounts have been the target of political hacking, as opposed to those taking an active part in the propaganda war.

I also did a radio spot on 891 ABC Adelaide early on Monday morning, but I wasn’t quite awake and I forgot to record it. If I recall correctly, I spoke about my visit to Microsoft’s Redmond campus.

If you’re still short of reading for this long weekend, you can always dig back further into my media output.

Crikey: Microsoft, Startpage, Facebook and Israel

Crikey logo

Despite having an appalling cold for the last ten days, I managed to knock off four articles for Crikey this week. I haven’t been linking to them in individual posts here — should I? — but here they are now.

If any of the stories are currently behind Crikey‘s paywall, you can either sign up for a free 3-week trial or wait until they emerge from the paywall two weeks after their original publication date.

Now as I say, I haven’t been creating a post here for every Crikey article of every Patch Monday podcast. I figure that if you’re interested you’ll subscribe directly to those RSS feeds, and in any event I always mention them in my Twitter stream. But what you you prefer? A brief mention here and a link to the piece, as individual posts? An end-of-week summary like this? Some sort of “Stilgherrian master feed” that combines everything from here, my new Posterous stream and my Flickr photos? What say you?

Links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009:

See what happens when you don’t curate your links for ten days, during which time there’s a conference which generates a bazillion things to link to? Sigh.

This is such a huge batch of links that I’ll start them over the fold. They’re not all about Media140 Sydney, trust me.

Continue reading “Links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009”

The Red Cross Ambulance Incident

On 23 July 2006, an Israeli aircraft intentionally fired missiles at two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances performing rescue operations, injuring everyone inside. So says the global media, including Time magazine, The Guardian, the New York Times and outlets around the world including The Age.

News photo of damaged Hezbollah ambulance

The incident would have been an indefensible violation of the Geneva Convention, and would constitute a war crime committed by Israel. But it never happened.

Continue reading “The Red Cross Ambulance Incident”