On Friday, March 8 AEST, the Brisbane Queen Street Mall resembled a scene straight off the satellite that has become all too familiar: a US school, mall or workplace turned into an actual or potential shooting gallery by virtue of a man on the edge with a gun.
TV networks covering the story on the spot reported gunshots just prior to an ambulance arriving and taking the suspect away. They also quoted eyewitnesses trapped inside as saying there was "blood everywhere".
Newspapers reporting the drama would soon have a denial of the "blood everywhere" accounts and police would begin distancing themselves from the use of real bullets - insisting only the non-lethal variety had been employed.
Earlier today however, police issued a statement admitting that real McCoy, old fashioned lead bullets had indeed been discharged along with the non-lethal variety.
While the police do have some explaining to do regarding the initial denials of potentially lethal force, the broader problem is that stories are being edited on the fly as more news comes in, and in the age of the internet, this means history is opened up to alteration as it happens, without explanation or visible traces of the editing.
The media frenzy in the aftermath to the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha has managed to surpass the original frenzy stirred up when the hoax was first made public. The problem is that reporting a story is quite different to making one up.
Here are two simple facts that seem to have gone AWOL in most coverage:
- Until the coroner's inquest is finalized, it is not known why or how the nurse died.
- The hospital is notorious for its bullying of staff over minor alleged infractions, including having "wispy hair" and wearing of the nurses uniform in public.
Despite this, the "blame game" is in full swing with most fingers pointed at the two DJs and/or their employer.
They are simply the easy targets.
The real (though decidedly underlying) issue should be the Royal family itself. This love affair with a family, not because of any great achievements in human endeavour, but based purely on bloodlines, should be considered abhorrent .
That it is absurdly anachronistic is the main reason for such a hoax in the first place.
Blakey, despite his protestations over recent years, still advocates "the mob did it", while holding onto the possibility that Oswald was the shooter.
Seriously, what can you say about such ill-informed clap-trap. The man's crusade goes to the extreme of pronouncing that "there were two John Kennedys. There was the public John Kennedy, which everybody admires, and then there is the guy who is sick when it comes to women. But he had a relationship with a woman who was … also associated with Sam Giancana." So the bar is set very low when it comes to accepting any evidence that may help his theory, and unfortunately this is the stuff that the media routinely prefers to run with.
The following is from the Las Vegas Sun, Nov 22, 2012.
Forty-nine years ago today, on Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza.
The assassination and subsequent slaying of shooter Lee Harvey Oswald shocked the country. In the five decades since, the assassination continues to capture the imagination of authors, filmmakers and the public. It has sparked hundreds of conspiracy theories and studies into who — if not Oswald — was behind Kennedy’s slaying.
Robert Blakey, an attorney who served in the Justice Department in the 1960s and worked on drafting the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act, served on the House Select Committee on Assassinations that was established in 1976 to investigate the assassinations of both Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
Unlike the earlier Warren Commission, which found Oswald acted alone, the House committee concluded its two-year investigation with a report stating Kennedy’s assassination was likely the result of a conspiracy.
Much of the evidence tied to the report was sealed from the public for 50 years. The committee specifically noted that it did not believe the conspiracy was orchestrated by the Soviet Union, Cuba, an organized crime group or any anti-Fidel Castro group but that the involvement of individual members of any of those groups could not be ruled out.
The committee consisted of 13 congressmen; Blakey served as its chief counsel and staff director from 1977 to 1979. Blakey helped draft the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 and later wrote a book about the assassination, “The Plot to Kill the President.”
Blakey, in Las Vegas on Nov. 13 for a lecture at the Mob Museum, sat down with the Sun for an interview about his knowledge of the assassination.
One of the things the House select committee did was review the investigations conducted at the time, including by the FBI, CIA and, later, the Warren Commission. What stuck out to you?
First of all it was not a (federal) crime at that time to shoot the president, except for it being murder. So the FBI had to have a predicate in order to do an investigation. (One of the) bullets hit the car, and that’s destruction of government property. So, the whole Kennedy investigation (by the FBI) was premised on the ... destruction of government property, but that meant that the people who (oversaw) it in the bureau were from the property desk, not organized crime, and not the security people. The organized crime people were in a position to look into it, and they were never asked. They were never tasked with the investigation, and I couldn’t believe it.
You worked on the legislation that allowed for electronic surveillance, which eventually led to federal wiretaps on suspected members of organized crime. What did you learn about the connections between politics and organized crime?
One of the taps was set up in the Westside Democratic Club in Chicago, and they heard the whole story of what was actually going on in a phone conversation that’s really interesting. It’s a conversation between (organized crime boss) Sam Giancana and the mob there and Roland Libonati, a congressman. They are discussing how many votes Libonati should hit in the next election, how much he should win by.
So Libonati says: ‘Well I want it to look a little better than that, I want it to look like a close race.”
What were your thoughts about the Kennedy assassination before you started work on the committee?
A lot of people working on investigating the assassination spent a lot of their time looking for a conspiracy. When I started work on the assassinations committee, I did not think the mob did it. I thought it would be too high of a risk factor for them, and I knew (FBI Director J. Edgar) Hoover had electronic surveillance on them.
I said to myself: ‘I’ll be a hero to the mob. I’ll prove they didn’t do it by getting all this surveillance.’
So I got, I think, (information from) six months before and eight months after the (assassination), and the next thing you know they start talking about whacking the president.
What were some of the more interesting things you heard?
There is one conversation in Philadelphia where assassination is mentioned and (Philadelphia organized crime boss) Angelo Bruno says: ‘No, no. We don’t do that.’ And he tells the old Sicilian story about what happens when you take a prince out. You get his son, and the son is worse than the prince. So you live with what we have, and that was the message.
That changed over time. It was very clear they were talking about it. They were thinking about it and they were very angry about it, and particularly they were angry with Kennedy and the reason they were angry with Kennedy is twofold. Giancana had gotten him votes in Chicago, and then what did he do? He put Bobby Kennedy in (as attorney general) and sicced him on them. That’s not good.
And, there were romantic relationships between John Kennedy … well there were romantic relationships between Kennedy and everybody.
There were two John Kennedys. There was the public John Kennedy, which everybody admires, and then there is the guy who is sick when it comes to women. But he had a relationship with a woman who was … also associated with Sam Giancana.
What conclusions did you come to after it was all over?
I think the mob set Oswald up as a patsy. It’s not that I think (Oswald) didn’t shoot (Kennedy), but that I think he was set up so (investigators) would focus on the Cuban connections (and not the mob). Did the mob do it? I don’t know for sure, but it explains more of the evidence than anything else.
You were a part of the Justice Department when Robert Kennedy was attorney general and vigorously went after organized crime. What happened after John F. Kennedy’s death?
Whether the mob killed Kennedy or not I couldn’t tell you, but they were the one element of society that profited the most by the assassination, because the (federal government’s) organized crime program basically collapsed.
On anniversary of JFK assassination, investigator looks back
The following is an article published by Counterpunch. I repost it here because it does what we should always do when studying history... place events in their proper context. This is as true of Saville's alleged crimes as it is of the actions of Lee Harvey Oswald.
No one should mistake what follows for excusing the actions of Saville and others. It is an attempt to understand one by-product of the times in which they occurred - no more, no less. I have highlighted what I believe to be the most telling aspects of those times.
Like many teenage girls growing up Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I wrote in to “Jim’ll Fix It,” the popular BBC television show in which entertainer Jimmy Savile made children’s dreams come true. To my friends and I, Savile was a kind of funny uncle, like no adult we’d ever known—a man who lived a kid’s version of a grown-up life. He dyed his hair white, hung out with pop stars, wore crazy-colored clothes and presented “Jim’ll Fix It”, from a huge, gadget-laden chair, like the Fool King on his throne. I can no longer remember what I asked Jim to “fix” for me—my letter wasn’t chosen for the show—but I was sent a Jim’ll Fix It patch, which I wore with great pride.
Looking back, I realize Savile’s style of boisterous showmanship was descended from the British music-hall tradition, the same pedigree as saucy seaside postcards, the popular “Carry On” film series and comedians like Benny Hill, best known for the television show in which he was chased by a gang of half-dressed girls. The main element of this tradition, tame by today’s standards, is sexual innuendo of the sniggering, nudge-nudge wink-wink variety. In this kind of comedy, women have two roles. If older, they are nagging wives or screeching harridans. If younger, they are objects of furtive lust—and the younger the better. The most famous scene in the “Carry On” films is one in which actress Barbara Windsor plays a 16-year–old camper in pigtails whose bra flies off during an exercise class, and the long-running series of St. Trinians films featured the exploits of sexually precocious schoolgirls.
It is ironic that one of the first newspapers to brand Jimmy Savile a “twisted pervert” was the Sun, well known for its semi-naked Page Three girls, the most popular of whom—Samantha Fox, Maria Whittaker and Debee Ashby—all appeared topless at age 16. Another popular tabloid, the now-defunct Daily Sport, sometimes counted down the days until it could feature a teenage girl topless on her 16th birthday, as it did with model Linsey Dawn McKenzie in 1994. In 2003, the Sexual Offences Act raised the minimum legal age for topless modeling to 18.
Like similar British entertainers, including Ken Dodd and Benny Hill, Jimmy Savile embodied the puer archetype, the eternal child. None of these men ever married, all were deeply devoted to their mothers (oddly enough, both Benny Hill and Jimmy Savile—like Norman Bates—kept their mother’s bedroom exactly as it was when she died). It comes as a shock to us, then, when these boy-men, whom we’ve trusted with our children, turn out to have adult sexual needs of their own. Moviegoers were mortified when Charlie Chaplin, another entertainer of the puertype, displayed a predilection for teenage girls. He married his fourth wife, Oona O’Neill at 54, when she had just turned 18.
In retrospect, however, it should hardly be a surprise to learn Jimmy Savile liked young girls. If you’d asked anyone in the 1970s what they considered to be the perks of celebrity, teenage groupies would have been top of the list. In the 1970s, there were plenty of teenage girls eager and willing to have sex with pop stars and DJs, who were happy to oblige. Today, we refer to this behavior as sexual abuse. Young girls who happily bedded stars are looking back as adults, and realizing they were taken advantage of. I’m not talking about unwanted sexual advances, which are a different matter, but situations in which the teenage girl is an eager participant, even the initiator. It seems wrong to prosecute someone retroactively, for something that happened in a different cultural climate. We need to remember things as they were, not as they have been subsequently reconceived.
It seems almost too obvious to state, but the stars Savile introduced on Top of the Pops—teenage heartthrobs like Mick Jagger and David Bowie—surely had their share of fawning groupies. They have escaped censure because at some point they traded in groupies for monogamy and a more conventional life. Had Savile done the same, he’d still be saintly Sir Jimmy, knighted by both the Pope and the Queen, charity worker, hospital volunteer, champion of needy children. Instead, a year after his death, he’s been described as “one of the most prolific sex attackers ever,” a “cunning rapist and abuser.” His headstone was recently removed in the middle of the night, for fear of vandalism.
Jimmy Savile, it appears, had many willing teenage partners, and he also abused many underage girls. Neither fact makes the other less true.
Mikita Brottman is professor in Humanistic Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and a psychoanalyst in private practice. Her latest book is “Thirteen Girls.” She can be reached through her website.
To the above, we can add... Tam Paton was manager of the Bay City Rollers, a Scottish boy band from the 1970s.
Paton made millions out of the Bay City Rollers, who sold more than 100 million records.
Paton lived in a ten-bedroomed home, Little Kellerstain, along with various young men 'aged 20 upwards' who paid him £100 a week rent to live in luxury.
The houseguests also once included a 42-year-old female Bay City Roller fan.
Paton sometimes dressed in a pale blue Arabian 'dish- dash' robe. (YES I'M A QUEEN BUT I'D NEVER ASSAULT A CHILD Sunday Mirror. )
Sarah Nelson, an Edinburgh University researcher and government adviser on sex crimes, has claimed that Paton was involved with an abuse ring which involving dozens of teenage boys.
Paton died of a heart attack in April 2009.In 1982, Paton was convicted of abusing two boys aged 16 and 17.http://aangirfan.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/tam-paton-bay-city-rollers-and-boys.htmlFormer Bay City Roller on underage gay sex charges http://www.bcr1.de/news/np180998.htmShakespeare was part of the Albert Records stable and had hits with the Vanda and Young written ‘Can’t Stop Myself From Loving You’ in 1974 and ‘My Little Angel’ in 1975.
Born John Stanley Cave, the career of William Shakespeare came to a grinding halt 1975 when he was charged with carnal knowledge after having sex with a 15-year old girl. Cave spent two years on probation.http://www.undercover.fm/news/12375-william-shakespeare-dead-at-61
I have loved Jacki Weaver ever since seeing her in "Stork". The pity is it took this long for the rest of the world to catch on. And Thornton's "Slingblade" is one of my all-time favorites.
Those things only make it harder to see them sign on for this project, based as it is on Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History". Bugliosi is a compulsive prosecutor and his book is a prosecutor's brief. It doesn't tell the real story and Bugliosi's "facts" would never have passed muster in anything but a kangaroo court.
I know they would give outstanding performances, but I hope they reconsider. In the end, it is not history being reclaimed by Bugliosi - his tome is merely the refocusing and reasserting of the officially sanctioned version of history. There is a BIG difference.
From a review of Errol Flynn: Satan's Angel
This, of course, is just the most recent installment in the disturbing trend that has been dominating popular culture now for two decades: the bringing down of our national icons, demonizing them, smearing them with as much vile and unsupportable innuendo as the market will allow. And why not? These people cannot complain from the grave. Hence distortion, defamation, and outright lies that serve further to incite media bias are routinely accepted as that norm.
A particularly profitable area within this smear-industry has involved the allegation of bisexuality. Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Robert Taylor, and Barbara Stanwyck are just a few of the names well-known in this connection. But with David Bret's latest contribution to yellow journalism, we are given two new ones: David Niven and Basil Rathbone. According to Bret, Niven was a practicing bisexual, while Rathbone's "sexual preference" is said to have been men. Along these lines an especially lewd comment is made in connection with Rathbone and Flynn on the set of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (p. 69). Such an ugly and unfounded besmirching of the memory of Hollywood's most memorable screen villain, its greatest Sherlock Holmes, and one of its finest gentlemen is unforgivable.---------------------------
The problem is not the allegations per se... it is when the allegations are indeed, unsupportable and totally reliant upon innuendo, distortion and outright lies. And it is not just Hollywood icons, but political ones that are the subject of this type of demonization - most notably the Kennedys and King. That anyone
can take such allegations as being in anyway probative where they are based solely on hearsay, gossip or memories unsupported by other evidence (especially when any of this comes from "unfriendly" sources), beggars belief and has me wondering if there is just as much an underlying agenda in accepting (and in some cases, disseminating) such putrescence as there (often) is in writing it.
"The reason that I include different views on the people that I write about is because of the British educational system. In history we have to teach different interpretations of the past. We encourage students to be critical of the sources. All the people I write about are treated in this way. However, James took offence at this approach to education and insisted I removed these critical comments. It seems that James only likes me to encourage educational debate about establishment figures. For example, I have posted James’ comments about me on my page and the one on Mary Meyer. I have also added some of his harshest criticisms of David Talbot to his page
Those words were written by John Simkin of the JFK Education Forum
in 2007 to explain why he had included negative commentary in his biographical sketch of JFK author and researcher, Jim DiEugenio. DiEugenio apparently demanded that the negative material be removed as he considered it was "payback" for a poor review of a book much favored by JS. It was in response to that claim by DiEugenio that the above explanation was given (which was after the "offending" material was removed). I came across the post while searching the forum for material on Mary Meyer.
I readily accepted that explanation for the initial inclusion of the material. It has been stated more than once that the site is at least partly aimed at - and certainly read by many students. But I am, if nothing else, habitually curious. I looked to see what information there was about the British Education system and its method of imparting history lessons. When I did, I found an old discussion on the subject at a British history teacher's discussion forum
in which the case was put that most teachers were clueless about how this method is supposed to work.
The discussion included John Simkin. In it, he made some valid points, for instance... "The problem that worries me is it possible to teach children the complexities of interpreting the past. If not, is it acceptable to simplify it so that it does become something they can understand. If so, will this have any long-term impact on how they understand the past."
And in a separate post, "Putting a collection of sources together for students to work with so that teachers can tick boxes and record the level of attainment they have received is very disturbing..."
Maybe those issues have been resolved since those posts made in 2003 in favor of simplification. It would appear so, judging by some if the biographies John has posted to his Spartacus education site.
Unfortunately, appearances don't always tell the whole story. The whole story is that you are more likely to get the "simplification" treatment if you are an author viewed favorably by John.
Look at the bio of David Lifton
. There are few (if any) authors on the assassination as universally distrusted as David S Lifton. His history is full of crossed swords and double crosses all played out to a backdrop to some of the most stupendously ridiculous scenarios ever put forth (shooters from fake trees comes to mind). Yet, none of this - nor any of the many accusations leveled against him for theft of material or lying - none
of the controversies are mentioned. A student reading this bio is getting not just a simplification - but one entirely tilted to a positive picture.
Look at the bio for C David Heymann
. The same situation applies. Heymann had written a number of bios on Kennedy family members. I've had the distinct displeasure of reading the one on RFK. This included the information that JFK and RFK attended sex parties where they took part in homosexual acts. It is the worst trash imaginable based as it is, almost solely on gossip and innuendo derived from extremely dubious sources. One book was so obviously flawed, it had to be recalled and shredded, and he was also accused of "borrowing" the work of others. You would not know any of this from the Spartacus site - yet (perhaps ironically), even his NY Times obituary
gives all this information.
What do Lifton and Heymann have in common? They both put out books agreeable to John Simkin who seems to be in tune with medical aspects of Lifton's theories and is (as far as I can see) most agreeable to any and all sex allegations against the Kennedys.
If you read the bios of John Simkin
and Jim DiEugenio
, you cannot help but notice they are less about personal background and achievements in historical research than they are about personal enmity toward each other.
I have tried to engage John on these matters at his forum, but he has not responded.* That two very controversial authors can be sketched out in such a one-dimensionally positive manner in an environment supposedly in tune with a British education system requirement to provide "different interpretations" for students to hone their critical thinking skills on, is beyond disappointing.
---------------------------------------*As a matter of full disclosure, I regarded John Simkin as a friend, having had the opportunity to meet him in 2008. In the last year or two however, relations have been strained due to my decision to no longer turn the other cheek and move on from those among other things spewing bile, looking for arguments, or engaging in baiting at his forum. Chief among the offenders in that last category being some members of his moderating team - a situation only exacerbated by their one-sided and inconsistent "moderation". The rift widened when I called David Lifton a liar and declined to apologise at John's request after Mr Lifton made a post which John took as somehow proving no lie had occurred (it did no such thing - but that's another story). AddendumThe suggestions I made at John's site also included changes to the bio of Leo Damore who wrote a book on Chappaquiddick and whose publisher was/is a Republican Party propaganda mill. Damore also did an investigation of the Meyer case - though one of the main findings has since been proven wrong. Of the three, John made some of the suggested changes to the bio of C David Heymann, but is apparently quite happy to leave the bios of David Lifton and Leo Damore as is. Students reading those bios are being duped of the full information needed to properly evaluate those authors or their work.
This morning I received the following message from Francois Carlier. By way of background, Francois is a Lone Nutter (a supporter of the Warren Commission version of the JFK assassination). He was a long history of using various forums to trash various theories on what happened and to denigrate those who support them with what can only be described as base schoolyard taunts. He recently appeared at a Lone Nutter forum requesting contact details for various authors to discuss appearing on a proposed French JFK documentary. A member of the Education Forum then re-posted the request at that site. You can see that request here: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=19177
. In that thread, you'll also find some examples of Francois' style of "reaching out". Francois prides himself on arriving at answers through logic. Which brings us back to his message to me. I post it here (with my comments inserted in dk blue) as a prime example of someone whose self-belief only masks self-delusion. His lack of logic runs rampant.
Comments: Mister Parker,
Hello, I'm François Carlier. I see you are watching my every move on the newsgroups.
I do not watch his every move. I do not "watch" him at all. I checked his post about his proposed documentary simply because it had been "advertised" at the Education Forum. Yet having knowledge of one post, somehow equates to "watching his every move". But that is the type of logic Francois constantly employs. Even if Francois was worth that effort, I don't have the time for stalking. Since this has blown up however, Francois has apparently been furiously deleting his posting history. Wonder why? Wonder no more. It contains ample proof that he is constantly watching other forums, which is fine in and of itself. But his posts contain the reason for it: he is merely looking for things with which he disagrees so that he can launch one of his hissy-fits against the author.
Mind you, I have decided to erase all my messages and rather create a new blog of my own.
Tomorrow, I shall explain everything on my blog about the TV-documentary that I am working on. I do hope that we will succeed in making it. I believe we have a very interesting angle. If we can make it, fine. If we can't (for lack of volunteers), well, then, too bad.
I realize that my bad reputation will make it hard for me to find volunteers. I am nonetheless serious about my work and my desire to find researchers who will agree to be interviewed.
I see I am being trashed on The Education Forum. Well, I don't mind any more.
Methinks Francois is trying to play the victim. If by "trashing" he means showing the kind of comments he makes about others, then it only once again highlights his unstable emotional state.
You'll get no reply from me.
Oh, but I just did.
I am not writing to try to defend myself, here. I know it would be to no avail. Still, I can tell you that I AM NOWHERE NEAR the description you guys make of me on The Education Forum.
Anyone who has seen Francois in action with his nasty little name-calling and vitriolic tantrums knows otherwise. His posts indicate he is unstable and that is how he is described.
I am not stupid. I am not mean at all. And I have no "anger management" problem at all.
In fact I am a normal guy. My friends tell me I am a nice person.
Francois' posting history does not reflect any of that. We all have to live with how we conduct ourselves publicly. Francois should learn to live with it and stop his whining. "Normal guys" do not write things like "xxx xxxxx is a nut, a moron, an idiot, and he eats crap in a lunchbox!"
But you certainly don't care.
Gee? Look at the above example of why no one should care. And maybe he remembers some of the things he's said about me and also what I got for my trouble in my one attempt to "reach out" to him. I sent him ONE email after he trashed me publicly, trying to make light of it, and then he publicly tried to portray that one email as multiple emails and called it harassment. If he gets called "pathetic" now It's because his online behavior is pathetic.
Well, that's life.
I wish you the best, sincerely.
And I still wish he would seek professional help. We all have wishes.
But please understand that a man can very well study the Kennedy assassination with honesty and conclude that Lee Oswald acted alone, without being paid by the CIA !!!
Francois' complete lack of logic is showing again. I have never accused him of working for the CIA, or for that matter, not holding his (albeit, nonsensical) beliefs honestly. It may be an ego stroke for him to believe I (or anyone) thinks he is being paid by the CIA, but it's not reality. In my honest opinion, he's just a sad little man constantly seeking attention while living in some fantasy world whereby, he is King of Logic. Interestingly, the fact is, the only two people to express any interest in appearing in his documentary also have some major ego issues.
Senator Brandis was interviewed on LATELINE regarding a range of current issues, the most newsworthy touching on the Slipper scandal.
Two of his answers to questions regarding the affair, stick out like dogs balls.
That part of the interview starts well for Brandis:EMMA ALBERICI: Can we just move on to the week's other news focus, George Brandis, revelations that the leader of Opposition business was out drinking with James Ashby, the man who is has accused the former Speaker of sexual harassment. It's muddied the waters on that a bit, hasn't it?
GEORGE BRANDIS: Well, let me correct your question, if I may with respect, Emma. There have been no revelations to any such effect. What has been reported and is uncontroversial is that Mr Pyne, who in that capacity is a manager of business, deals with the Speaker's office on a daily and very often on an hourly basis to manage the business of the chamber as does Mr Albanese, his opposite number in the Government.
He went to the Speaker's office in the course of that day to day housekeeping task, saw Mr Ashby. It was late in the evening and he shared a drink with a few members of Mr Slipper's staff including Mr Ashby.
So please let's not have a slightly lurid characterisation of this as being out drinking with Mr Ashby. He called into somebody's office with whom he had to engage in a professional dealing, he wasn't there, so he had a drink with the staff while he was waiting for him to come back.
It is as simple as that.Points go to Brandis in that exchange. But the underlined part will soon be contradicted.EMMA ALBERICI: What is somewhat controversial is after previously denying having ever requested a mobile phone number for James Ashby, we now understand that Christopher Pyne got his email details and presumably they've had some contact.
Why doesn't Christopher Pyne release the emails to show that there was no "cover up" to use the words of Trade Minister Craig Emerson?
GEORGE BRANDIS: I've lost count of the number of false assumptions in your question, Emma. He didn't deny seeking an email address. He has not ... you've said presumably there was an email exchange. There is no evidence that there was an email exchange and that's specifically ...
EMMA ALBERICI: Well normally when someone asks for an email address it is because they have the intention of sending an email.
GEORGE BRANDIS: Possibly he may have wanted to have the address so if he needed to send an email he could, but in fact he didn't. If you understand the physical geography of Parliament House, by the way, Mr Pyne's office is about 50 paces down the corridor from the Speaker's office. So the assumptions that you've built into this question are, with respect, all wrong.
EMMA ALBERICI: That he requested a mobile phone number and an email address, that's wrong?
GEORGE BRANDIS: He didn't request a mobile phone number, he requested an email address, and he has said he had no cause to use the email address and that he never telephoned Mr Ashby on his mobile phone because he didn't have it.
EMMA ALBERICI: So he now denies having requested a mobile phone number because there's been some to-ing and fro-ing on that issue.
GEORGE BRANDIS: I don't ... as I understand it there's been no, as you say to-ing and fro-ing. What is not controversial, is that Mr Pyne requested an email address. It was sent to him, a most commonplace piece of business, and he had never had occasion to use it.
As usual, the ABC reporter had the quarry on the ropes but was constitutionally incapable of delivering a knockout blow.I mean, here we have Brandis saying firstly there was nothing unusual in Pyne going to Slippers office and having a drink with staff while waiting for Slipper to return. It was late at night (thus excusing the drinks) and Pyne practically lived in Slipper's office as it was part of his duty as "manager of business" and he was there "daily and very often on an hourly basis". But then when it comes to the requested email address, we get (to paraphrase) Pyne's office was a whole 50 paces away from Slipper's office so of course he needs email addresses of Slipper's staff. You can't expect him to be trudging up and down the hallway all day every day.Well, apart from the already pointed-out contradiction, the latter statement also begs the question of why - if he NEEDED to deal with Slipper and his staff by email - did he not ALREADY have Ashby's email address? But the lies don't stop there. The next allegation brought up concerns Mal Brough's possible hand in the affair.GEORGE BRANDIS: You've cast this innuendo about Mr Brough as well, so let me deal specifically with it. Mr Ashby, as I understand it, is a member of the Liberal National Party from the Sunshine Coast. So is Mr Brough.
Mr Brough, as you pointed out, Mark, is running for pre-selection in that area. Mr Ashby would be one of the pre-selectors if he's a local member of the party. So it would be, if Mr Brough has met him, I don't know whether he has or not, the most natural thing in the world, just as natural Mark, as you meeting with one of or local party members.
EMMA ALBERICI: And simply coincidental that it happened in the days before these claims were made?
GEORGE BRANDIS: Emma, the pre-selection for Fisher will be taking place in a few months time. If you can find a party member in Fisher that Mr Brough hasn't had a cup of coffee in the last couple of months I would be surprised.
So according to Brandis, the meeting between Brough and Ashby was probably instigated by one or the other to deal with pre-selection matters. But Brough himself has contradicted this by saying he never knew Ashby, having only met him once fleetingly, and as he worked for the person whose seat he was contesting, when Ashby contacted he suspected some type of set-up against him was in the works. He agreed to meet to see what he wanted, and the allegations against Slipper emerged over the course of three meetings. Brough claims he was the one who advised Ashby to take the allegations to police.Following is a rough chronology of events (rough because I'm too stretched to go get all the citations and am going from memory).
Everyone in the Labour Party and the Media dance around what should be obvious. By merely claiming or hinting at a cover-up they divert attention from what is actually BEING covered up: in this case, a good old fashioned "honey trap" to bring down the government. The reason they act this way is simple, illuminating - and infuriating. No one in politics or the media likes to be seen to notice conspiracies. Cover ups are a different matter. It is acceptable - even expected to see them from time to time. It is quite remarkable to listen to discussions of "cover-ups" and never really have spelled out exactly what is being hidden, except in the most benign way e.g a meeting between two people, whether or not a phone number or email address was ever requested etc... that's bullshit. And that's no cover up - I can smell it from here...
- A mayor of some fart-arse red-neck "city" in Queensland took Ashby (who then worked for the Coalition) to meet Slipper. Ashby tells Slipper he is gay (seriously, how many people tell strangers that about themselves at a first meeting???)
- Slipper, apparently long known to chase young men, offers Ashby a job as media advisor (Ashby was a former radio DJ before being found guilty of harassing another DJ). Ashby plays hard-to-get before finally accepting the job.
- Ashby allegedly sees or learns of fraudulent use of cabcharge dockets by his boss and is allegedly subject to ongoing sexual harassment by Slipper (it should be noted here that "sexual harassment" is most commonly confined to unwanted sexual advances, and is therefore a subjective claim to bring against another person, and will often come down to whether or not - and how forcefully given the particular circumstances - you informed the other party that the advances were unwelcome.
- Ashby has drinks with Pyne.
- Ashby meets with political enemy of Slipper, namely Mal Brough 3 times.
- Ashby goes to police and also lodges personal litigation claim against Slipper and leaves his employment.