NO BLOOD FOR OIL is a coalition of activists who reject Bush's power grab. So says a leaflet handed to me by an NBFO senior grand wizard at today's demonstration, opposite the United Nations headquarters.

I'd gone there to jeer and laugh at the UN -- you know, just like any typical tourist -- and the demonstration was an unexpected bonus. About 20 people had heeded NBFO's call to non-arms. They clustered at the Isaiah Wall, about 300 yards from the building itself, and waved signs so small that nobody inside the UN could possibly read them. The best moment came when an Impassioned Veteran Activist suggested they take their tiny show on the road:

Impassioned Veteran Activist: Let's go march on 47th Street!

Bitter Young Activist: [scoping the miserable turnout] I don't think so.

A separate demonstration, much louder and larger, was happening down the stairs from the Isaiah Wall. Ivory Coasters were chanting furiously about something I couldn't understand. One held a sign demanding that the US take action, which is the usual complaint of aggrieved people everywhere. Unless, like the NBFO almost-crowd, they're complaining about the US taking action.

Someone should market double-sided fits-all-protests signs for these demonstrations. One side: "Do Something, America!" Other side: "Do Nothing, America!" Everybody's happy.

Anyway, the NBFOs were a polite bunch, like most New Yorkers these days. Their leader took the time to explain the issues to me. Apparently oil is involved. Who knew?

ACCORDING TO the always-accurate Blair Index, New York City is friendlier and zestier than ever. This place is rocking.

If you're among the many I've yet to call, the friendly/zesty/rockish axis is to blame. Brace yourself for the expected contact over the next couple of days.


OK, one last post and I'm out the door, and sleeping all the way to the USA. Juan Gato will make you laugh.

I'M CATCHING a flight to New York in a few hours, so no more from me until at least Thursday Australian time, or late Wednesday New York time, or July 42.5 metric time.

For further Oz Blog coverage of the Bali attack, and much else besides, visit James Morrow, Gareth Parker, Angela Bell, Scott Wickstein, Bernie Slattery, Peter Kerr, and Alan Anderson. Or several others I apologise for omitting.

Click here in about 20 hours for my latest column in The Australian.

When in New York I choose to stay at the home of a mysterious friend who once saved my job by dialling in a front-page screamer of a story when I was editing the old Melbourne Truth. His story had hookers and billionaires and Australians and Heidi Fleiss. I think the next-best story I had was something about a cat.

And it wasn't even a local cat.

Word on the street is there's one of those old-fashioned Blogger Parties happening, too. The e-mail on this page is good to get me in the US, so drop me a line. Or buy me a drink. It's your choice!

IT'S ALL John Howard's fault, according to people who don't have the faintest notion of what the hell we're fighting against.


AUSTRALIA'S PRIME MINISTER, John Howard, spoke to Parliament yesterday:

This foul deed – this wicked, evil act of terrorists – has not only claimed the lives of Australians but also claimed the lives of many of the innocent people of Bali, a beautiful, hitherto peaceful part of Indonesia. Bali is much loved by so many Australians. In many cases, it is the first place that young Australians visit. Many of us will feel the poignancy of this attack coinciding with the end of the football season in Australia. So many of the young people in that club that night were members of Australian rules football teams, rugby league teams and rugby union teams. They were having a bit of fun at the end of a hard season. It is that connection with the everyday occurrences of life which we know so well and embrace so lovingly, that cruel conjunction, which makes something such as this that much more despicable and something that all Australians will utterly repudiate to the depths of their being.

"To the depths of their being." Exactly.

AT KEN LAYNE'S wedding last year, in Mexico, a bunch of guests spoke of the moment when the shock and rage over September 11 gave way to tears. Matt Welch, I think, dealt with almost a whole week of anger before a particular song on the radio prompted something, and he wept. Others mentioned certain obituaries, or wrenching stories of children losing parents, or the couple who leapt from the World Trade Center hand-in-hand.

I don't cry. A lot of Australian men don't. I get through funerals without crying. I've sat beside beloved relatives as they've died in hospital, and I've coped. Or not coped, I guess, depending on your theories about crying.

So I'm watching the news at 5pm and suddenly, out of nowhere, start crying.

A reporter had gone to the airport to cover the arrival of survivors from Bali, and stumbled upon another story. A girl was walking around the airport with a photograph of her older brother. She'd been there for hours. She was walking up to every passenger getting off planes from Bali, and was asking if they'd seen him.

"This is my brother," she said, in an unwavering voice that was somehow also shot through with grief, and fear. And love. She held up another picture: "This is his friend. Have you seen them? They were together."

Nobody had. Nobody could help her. Her little voice was the saddest sound I've ever heard.

Just typing that, I'm crying again.

SAMINA YASMEEN, Senior Lecturer in International Politics and Political Science at the University of Western Australia, says we've got to back away from Iraq:

We need to reassess our position on Iraq. It is no longer valid to argue that Australia will not compromise its stand on the Iraqi issue. Any position that runs the risk of disillusioning the majority of the Muslim world and of attracting negative responses from terrorists needs to be critically evaluated.

Why would the majority of the Muslim world side with Iraq? Earlier in the article, Yasmeen claims that only a "small minority in the Muslim world" are convinced "of the validity of the use of force". Force is the only thing Saddam uses. By Yasmeen's logic, the majority of Muslims should oppose him. I suspect that they do.

TODAY'S STUPIDEST letter is published in the Sydney Morning Herald, and is written by manic Pat O'Shane:

I take extreme exception

As usual.

?to John Howard telling the majority of Australians who do not share his views of what occurred in Bali that they are "wrong" and "morally bankrupt" as he did on radio today.

It works for me.

Further, for him to tell us that he has taken a strong stand against terrorism is supreme arrogance. That he has taken a hard-headed and stubborn stand is true. That he has followed submissively the line of George Bush and others in the US administration is true. But that does not equate with "strong". Indeed, it exhibits exactly the opposite: weakness.

But if he followed Pat submissively, Howard would be strong. She so crazy!

It takes a far stronger person and far greater leadership for someone in his position to say that they will take another course than one of promoting and practising further violence in the world, in the face of such terrible events as we are presently witnessing, not only in Bali but also almost daily in Palestine, parts of Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India.

She left out Israel. No violence happening there.

Instead of attempting to condemn us, Mr Howard might show some real strength by pledging to take note of the sentiments and suggestions being put forward by the majority of Australians who condemn the violence.

Such as those put forward by fellow letter-writer Marilyn Shepherd:

We must have a national conversation which does not include scapegoating and vilifying minority groups, we must relearn our traditions of tolerance and decency.

A "national conversation"? Would there be state finals first? Does the winner earn the Golden Gob?

By the way, Marilyn, it isn't us who need to learn anything about tolerance and decency. It's those bastards who attacked and killed us. Send your letter to Al Qaeda.

FOOTBALLER JASON McCARTNEY is in intensive care in a Darwin hospital. His burns were so bad that at first his father didn't recognise him.

AUSTRALIA IS taking over investigations into the attack. The Indonesians are moving too slowly.

SOME VICTIMS of the Bali atrocity will never be identified.

MANY READERS have asked if there is a a charity for the survivors or the families of the victims. As yet, I haven't seen one, but I'll post on it as soon as one is established. If anyone knows of such a charity, please send a note.


PLEASE SEND E-MAILS of support to Australian newspapers. The papers and their readers need to know how much the US cares, and that the American commitment to ending terrorism is strong. Send to The Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age.

I'd encourage readers who've already sent messages to me (about 250 or so in the past two days; sorry for not replying to all) to re-send them to the newspapers above.

THE AGE claims that Australia "is hardly rating a mention" in US reports of the Bali attack, which is just plain wrong.

THIRTY AUSTRALIANS are now confirmed dead. Nearly 200 remain unaccounted for.

ROBERT FISK'S celebrated beating really was a symbol of this filthy war, as reader Peter Ingemi, of Massachusetts, points out:

In his account of the attack Fisk misses the lesson that is just screaming out to anybody with eyes. It seems that when he ignored the small hits the mob went after him. After he started to fight back they receded and he received help.

This is contrary to the theory of the left that to respond to terror is to breed terror. Fisk's attackers were emboldened when he didn't respond and backed off when he did.

How unlike Fisk to miss such an obvious truth.

EARLIER IN 2002, Australian writer Bob Ellis was voted Columnist of the Year for his work in some useless magazine.

After writing this letter to the Melbourne Age newspaper, Ellis deserves another title:

We are paying in blood for John Howard's arse-licking, ignorance and xenophobic bigotry.

The Governor-General should sack him and ask a less tainted figure - Costello, Downer, Beazley, Rudd - to head a government of national emergency sworn in for, say, six months. Someone of some civilised understanding of human difference. Someone less likely to lead us, yawning and prattling vacuously, into the bloodstained front line of an unwinnable world war and conscript our children to fight in it.

Bob Ellis

Palm Beach, NSW

According to Ellis, opposing terrorism is "xenophobic bigotry". Ellis is beneath contempt.


From Jennie Taliaferro, of Dallas, Texas:

Please convey our prayers, sympathy and best wishes to the families of Australian victims of this weekend's Bali bombing. America and Australia are friends and we're in this together.

From Dave Ivers, Dept. of Political Science, Eastern Michigan University:

My sincerest condolences to all my Ozzie friends, those I know and those I have yet to meet. I grieve in your time of sorrow.

From Jim O'Connell:

I still remember the Oz support to our unit in Vietnam in 1966/67. We just had to watch out for them at night as they spray-painted red kangaroos on anything that moved, including my Jeep.

My prayers are with your people who travelled to Bali for a vacation. The beautiful people of Bali who are no longer exempt from the slaughter will suffer the most in the future. God bless.

From South Carolina's Randolph Addison:

I'm not a religious person, so I won't say that my prayers are with you. However, I will put forth that my thoughts and concerns are with you and the Australian people. So many murdered ... words fail me.

From North Carolina's Mrs. J.W. Valentine:

My heartfelt prayers are with the victims, families, and all those who have all been victimized by this hideous and senseless bombing. I pray that those lost will be found and that those wounded will recover.

This morning my church in Raleigh, North Carolina, prayed for all of these people.

We stand with you.

From Dan:

My heart goes out to Australia. I'm sure nearly all Americans feel the same. We've stood side by side since Coral Sea and Guadalcanal, and we know that American has no truer friend than Australia. I for one sincerely hope the converse is true.

From Lori and Tommy Burgess, of Virginia:

If you are targets, it is because there are those who seek to kill innocents for their own ends, not because your country would stop the killers before they strike.

You have our sincere regrets for the loss of Australian life and innocence by this terrible deed and crime against civilization.

From Bernard Hassan of New Mexico:

Here in New Mexico, not far from the national labs which are probably on terrorists' target lists, my thoughts are with Australia.

If America is the prime target, Australia can never be far behind since your people – despite the idiocy spewed forth by your media just as by ours – always seem to choose justice and liberty.

Targeting Bali cannot have been random. Constant visits by Australians threaten Islam with the virus of freedom. The terrorists get a twofer: they hit the seductive foreign infidels and a vital, attractive non-Muslim culture. But standing together, we will prevail.

From Mark Joyce, of Hopland, California:

At a time when many Americans feel like there are few friendly ports around the world I feel lucky to count Australia's among them. I have no doubt that Australia's solidarity with the US has made it a target for terrorism.

As the magnitude of the wound Australia has suffered in Bali becomes horribly clear, I would like to go on record as saying God Bless the Aussies. I speak for many Americans when I say I'm mad as hell.

From Linda Quinn, of Chicago:

Americans love Australians, and our prayers are with your country.

From Duffy Burdick, of Clinton, New York:

I've never met an Australian I did not like and I've met dozens and dozens both in Europe and the US. My impression of both Australia and New Zealand is entirely positive and has been since I first saw Jenny Agutter swim naked in "Walkabout" twenty-five or so years ago when I was 14.

Since then, I've absorbed so many things Australian from films, literature, and music. I even went out drinking heavily one night in Chicago with the Cosmic Psychos, Australia's greatest punk rock band ("Blokes you can trust!").

As I remember those things and I smile, it makes my heart break all the more for what your wonderful nation is suffering through now.

Please know that we Yanks stand by you, this is not Australia's fault, and despite the efforts of the apologists, the appeasers, the victim blamers, and the self-haters, the West will prevail. We will preserve and protect a world safe for God (and/or Allah), lager, miniskirts, rock-n-roll, and "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" for those so inclined.

Here's a toast to real tolerance, real multiculturalism, real understanding. If the haters don't get it, they can fuck off and die!

From Charlie Arnold:

My heart goes out to all those hurt and injured and their families, and most especially those who have lost loved ones. I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through.

Such an atrocity simply beggars the imagination. For Australians, I can see that it has every bit as much of an impact as the World Trade Center atrocity did for us in the United States.

From Jim Lindgren, Stanford Clinton Sr. Research Professor and Director of the Demography of Diversity Project at the Northwestern University School of Law:

I hope that Australians know how terrible we Americans feel about the attack in Bali. I am fighting back tears at the moment. When the World Trade Center was attacked, I thought: So this is what the Israelis have been facing.

I hope that Australians have the same sorts of feelings: So this is what the Americans and Israelis have been facing--mass murder by those who make war on liberal democracy.

Just as we in the US have done, Australia is paying the price for having a free society, for supporting democracy and freedom, and for allowing women to be full citizens with full rights.

Islamic extremists have declared war against the West, against freedom, against women, and against democracy. I hope that the Australian people will decide that their fellow Australians did not die in vain – that they will not choose the route of cowards like Jimmy Carter – appeasement, payoffs to terrorists, and ordering our military not to strike back even if directly attacked.

Appeasement bought us the NYC bombings. It doesn't work.

From Sandra Pederson, of Darien, Illinois:

Australia is in my prayers.

I understand the temptation of those who want to retreat from the world, as it's about to get very ugly. But it needs to be done, and Australia must take its rightful place alongside us.

From Carl Geib, "a guy from Texas":

My sincerest and deepest sympathies for Australia and the families of the slain and wounded. God Bless the Ozzies and the SAS!

From Steve Pope:

I read somewhere recently that people need the courage to be "the enemy of your enemy".

I think that sums it up for me. Looks like a big clash of civilizations is brewing, with a good mixture of religious fanaticism to boot. I am one American who will stand and fight this totalitarian hallucination.

From Marty Busse:

I've had the pleasure of visiting Australia before, and, like many Americans, I have a deep affinity for Australia.

Part of it comes from the cultural feelings, to say nothing of the way Americans are treated in Australia. (It felt like going and visiting family members for me, and there was no place I went to where I wasn't greeted as a friend.)

Part of it comes from knowing that, since WWII, Australia has been there to help us, and has acted as a steadfast friend...which, given how nations treat one another generally, is something to be marvelled at.

We'll do what we can to help you in your moment of crisis, and to help you get the fiends who did this.

From "BazooKa Joe":

Now is the time for all civilized men to stand up and be counted; those who don't are cowards, useful idiots, morons, or barbarians (or SMH reporters).

From Lisa Sutton:

I cannot fully express the emotions of outrage and sorrow I feel for those who have been murdered, by all reports, a large majority of Australians, by a roving pack of predatory Islamic fundamentalists who see nothing wrong with premeditated attacks on defenseless and innocent civilians to promote their own twisted agenda. In fact, I believe they purposely target the innocent in an attempt to so terrorize a population that they will surrender to their will.

I frequently hear people say we should address the root causes of terrorism. IMO the root cause of terrorism is anything they don't agree with.

Many other e-mails have arrived since. My apologies to those not included. Thanks to all.

"WE ARE ALL AUSTRALIANS NOW." Brazilian poet Nelson Ascher writes from Paris:

Before all the idiots in the world even ask the question, if they haven't already asked it by now, let me tell you why those guys hate Australia and the Australians: because it is a happy, open, democratic, successful, peaceful country and society that became what it is through its own efforts, resourcefulness and creativity, and because the murderers cannot live (and let live) with this.

Thus they will go on murdering and maiming innocent people till they are beaten. But they will be beaten, and sooner than they imagine.

Both my paternal uncles left Hungary in '39 and managed to get clandestinely into Palestine. One of them fought with the British army in WW2 and, to the end of his days, he was full of admiration for the Australian soldiers.

We are all Australians now.

All best

Nelson Ascher


ST. LOUIS traveller Nea Hildebolt comforted an Australian woman as she died, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Of all the horror from two terrorist bombs in two Bali nightclubs that night - the fires, the anguished cries, the burned and bleeding bodies, the litter of human limbs - St. Louis area native Nea Hildebolt will remember most a dying Australian woman she and others tried to save.

"Her right arm looked like it had been cooked and had holes in it, either from the shrapnel or the burns," said Hildebolt, 23, a Washington University graduate who has lived in a tiny oceanfront village in Bali for five months. "All she said was water, water."

THIRTY THREE Britons died in Bali, according to latest reports.

FROM A professor of English at Wheaton College:

I would donate $1000 to the relief for the poor charity of his choice for the privilege of punching Fisk in the nose. How much do you think we could raise?

Millions. I'm in for $500, at least. Liberate the poor!

YESTERDAY IT was reported that Craig Salvatori had been searching Bali's morgue for Kathy, his wife. Salvatori was hoping that he wouldn't find her, and that Kathy – the mother of their two young children – had somehow survived the terrorist attacks.

This is hard to write. Craig has found Kathy's body. The full story is here.

MARGO KINGSTON, the Sydney Morning Herald's circulation barrier, thinks Australian tourism might be to blame:

I know little about Bali

Surprise me.

?and whether we've respected and nurtured the place we love to visit or colonised it with our wants. A friend in Byron Bay said Australians had taken Bali over, business wise, and that acquaintances with businesses in Bali were considering coming home before this horror. They sensed resentment, and felt a growing unease.

From whom? Over what? Is Margo's Byron Bay pal a reliable source on this? Or is he just another Margo?

Maybe part of it is the lack of services for locals. A completely inadequate hospital, for instance, so graphically exposed in the aftermath of the horror. Some people - foreigners like us, elite big-city Indonesians - make their fortunes.

Foreigners and elites, even "big-city Indonesians", must be brought down.

Have residents lost their place, their power to define it? Did the big money fail to give enough back to the people who belong there, whose home it is?

Tourism is Bali's main industry. The "big money" didn't take anything, as Margo implies. It provided locals ?"whose home it is" ?with the income to buy their homes.

Have Muslim extremists destroyed the vibe of Hindu Bali to force us out?

Hundreds are dead, and Margo is worried about the loss of "vibe".

Will we now swing behind war with Iraq or pull out and focus on our home? The Pacific. South East Asia. East Timor, especially, where we're protecting a baby, Christian democracy.

Lots of Islamic extremists were furious over our liberation of East Timor. Perhaps that had something to do with the terrorist response. Should we abandon the "baby Christian democracy"?

The places where we have duties and responsibilities and, in the end, where our self interest lies.

Isolationist Margo is becoming Australia's Pat Buchanan. And only last month she was rhapsodising over the "dream" of a global United Nations super government.

I don't know.

No, you don't.

AUSTRALIANS JON GOLOTTA and wife Tracey are shown here leaving Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar.

They've just identified the body of their murdered daughter, Angela. Angela was 19.

INDONESIA'S DEFENCE MINISTER, Matori Abdul Jalil, says Al Qaeda is in Indonesia and was responsible for the attacks.

Not exactly news, but it is news that someone of some status in Indonesia actually said it.


READER GEORGE S., from Seattle, writes:

You know something? I believe these Islamofascist bastards just permanently welded together the iron balls of the two ballsiest peoples on the planet.

I think he's right. George also asks:

By the way, what's the age cut-off for enlisting in the Australian military? I'm 40 and in the past year was politely rejected by every branch of the US armed services, the FBI, and the CIA.

Good question. I think more than a few Australians around my age (37) and older will be asking the same thing. Even us oldsters might be able to work in a communications or liaison role. I'll find out.

GERARD HENDERSON demolishes Michael Leunig, Janet McCalman, Phillip Knightley, John Pilger, Scott Burchill, Bob Ellis, and Richard Neville in a piece (published in the Sydney Morning Herald, no less) that begins:

Perhaps those who blamed the US for September 11 will now realise they have been deluded.

Who will be on Michael Leunig's Christmas card list this time? Last year, in the aftermath of the terrorist murders in the United States, the Melbourne-based cartoonist declared that it was time to extend "mercy, forgiveness, compassion" to, wait for it, the leader of al-Qaeda.

Given time, and more Hendersons, perhaps newspapers will become almost as worthwhile as blogs.

READER ARVID MALM, of Sweden, sent this e-mail last night:

Just wanted to let you know that eight Swedes are missing at the moment in Bali, with at least three wounded. I sincerely hope that you Aussies send us a thought when you blow those barbarian fu*kwits even further back into the stoneage. You do have some sort of special non-sensitivity-trained force for that kind of job, right?

The latest reports now have ten Swedes listed as missing. Thankfully, there is no confirmation as yet that any Swedes were killed.

Either way, the time for sensitivity has passed.

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD has a list of dead, missing, and injured Australians. It's by no means complete, but at least has more names and details than were previously known.

Ausralia being a small place, with a population of just 18 million, many people will have connections to even this preliminary list. I've met two of the people included among the injured: footballers Mick Martyn and Jason McCartney. Others, obviously, will have far deeper links.

MY APOLOGIES for every single unanswered e-mail. I'll answer them all tonight, after I've celebrated the pure values of Islamic fundamentalism by going out drinking with a woman and an American.

AN INDONESIAN travel website has quickly compiled a sketchy list of all those – Indonesians, Australians, Britons, Swedes, French, Swiss, Canadians, Germans – admitted to hospital after the attacks. Contact numbers for all hospitals in the area are also provided. It could prove useful, especially as the Australian government's helpline is overloaded.

Via Gareth Parker.

CLINTON THOMPSON was one of at least four players from the Coogee Beach Dolphins junior rugby league club to be murdered in Bali. Brendan Blomeley, whose sister was planning to marry Thompson, says appeasing terror is not acceptable:

"If we allow them to run roughshod over us then more Australians are going to go the way Clinton unfortunately did," Mr Blomeley said.

"We need to support (US) President (George W) Bush's strong line on this."

Mr Blomeley said he was concerned about Australian politicians who were "going soft" in the war against terror.

"If we take any more time, more people like Clint will perish," he said.

SYDNEY MAN Craig Salvatori has spent the past day looking at hundreds of mutilated and burned corpses in Bali's morgue.

He is searching for his wife.

THREE PLANE LOADS of blast victims have been flown to Royal Darwin Hospital.

Other victims have been airlifted into Sydney.

THE LATEST FIGURES: Fourteen Australians are now confirmed dead, including one who died of injuries during an airlift to Darwin. Another died in Darwin hospital. Of 300 injured, at least 110 are Australian

There is some hope that casualties may be lower than first feared:

Prime Minister John Howard said today: "There are still 220 Australians unaccounted for, but we shouldn't automatically assume that a lot of those are potential fatalities, but at the moment I don't know.

"We do believe that the final death toll might emerge in the next couple of days."

READER AND deep thinker Frank Lucy writes:

The glee with which you've taken this with both hands is unsettling.

The apeing of US responses to September 11 is childish.

If what you say about a mass change Austrlaian in support towards war is true - and you seem to fervently hope it is - then we really are a stupid people.

(If all it takes for a person to change from a Phillip Adams position to a Tim Blair one is one horrific bomb blast, then that person really has shit for brains. Not saying that your or Adams' position is better or smarter, but for a bomb blast to radically change a world view is stupid)

Islamic fundamentalists would like nothing better than an almighty battle between the "West" and "Islam". As, it seems, would you.

By the way, nothing Fisk said in your quote was incorrect or even offensive, as far as I can see.

I've sent Frank a reply. It was, er, brief.

TERROR EQUIVALENCE. On the same day that hundreds of Westerners in Bali were murdered by Islamic extremists, Muslims in America were targeted by a vicious Western hate campaign. The Idaho Statesman reports:

A threatening letter was discovered Saturday evening at the Islamic Center of Boise, adding to a recent string of threats and vandalism directed at the center.

The letter was found inside the mail slot by Furqan Mehmood, the center's education director, at about 7 p.m. when members of the center were arriving for evening prayer. The Islamic Center of Boise is located at 328 N. Orchard St.

Mehmood called Boise police, who are investigating it as a hate crime and malicious harassment, police spokesman Rich Wright said.

Adding to the horror, the letter did not even arrive in an envelope. Talk about your racist hatred.

WHO'LL BE the first dumb fuck to write that the attacks were the logical consequence of supporting the US in the war against terror, and that we'd be better off staying quiet and not upsetting anybody, especially Islamic murderers?

None other than the fucking dumbest dumb fuck of them all, Robert Fisk:

Australians were the principal victims and their murderers must have known they would be. So why were they targeted? John Howard has been among President Bush's toughest supporters. Australia lined up to join the "war on terror" within 24 hours of the attacks on New York and Washington last year. Australian special forces have been operating with American troops in the Afghan mountains against al-Qa'ida. It's a fair bet that yesterday's savagery was al-Qa'ida hitting back.

So we shouldn't have done anything to stop terrorism. Right. Got it.

The French have already paid a price for their initial support for Mr Bush. The killing of 11 French submarine technicians in Karachi has been followed by the suicide attack on the French oil tanker Limburg off the coast of Yemen. Now, it seems, it is the turn of Australia.

Nations aren't paying a price for supporting Bush – they're paying a price for opposing fundamentalist madmen who would have us living in tyranny. Fisk has never understood the difference.

Our support for the United States – an infinitely closer alliance than any support from France – makes Britain the most likely candidate for attack after the US. Then there are the small, more vulnerable nations that give quiet assistance to the American military; Belgium, which hosts Nato HQ; Canada, whose special forces have also been operating in Afghanistan; Ireland, which allows US military aircraft to refuel at Shannon.

Is Fisk actually working for Al Qaeda? Here he's supplying them with a hit list: "Don't forget Belgium! Ireland are on the side of the infidel, too! And they're smaller, and more vulnerable!"

Not as vulnerable as you, Robert. You can't stand up to a bunch of pebble-wielding Afghan bag-snatchers.

CHRIS TEXTOR has uncovered this extraordinary advice for Muslims living in Australia, published at an Australian Islamic website:

It is therefore unavoidable that as long as we live here we will, through a process of cultural osmosis, take on some of the characteristics of the Kuffar. The likeness of Islam and Kuffar is like that of fresh clear spring water and water brought up from the bottom of a suburban sewer. If even a drop of the filthy water enters the clear water, the clarity diminishes. Likewise it only takes a drop of the filth of disbelief to contaminate Islam in the West. If we have it within our means we should therefore consider moving to a Muslim land whereby we can at least live amongst our brethren and within an Islamic society free from the contamination of the disbelievers.

Nice people. Thanks for enriching our land with your peaceful culture. Sorry about the contamination.

BECOMING PRO-WAR. Darwin blogger (and regular Bali visitor) Ken Parish notes: "I don't know whether my good lady wife provides a valid microcosm, but she has undergone a remarkable attitudinal transformation in the space of 24 hours, from a Phillip Adams-ish peacenik stance (although without the pomposity) to a passable imitation of the most rabid warblogger you could imagine."

I bet Mrs. Parish is one of thousands.

PROFESSOR BUNYIP has more on the sub-humans who dwell at the Sydney Morning Herald letters page, including the not-surprising information that one of them is a former academic turned caring-sharing dipstick writer.

GARETH PARKER on terror too close to home.

THE LATEST FIGURES: Thirteen Australians are dead, 110 are injured, and 220 are missing.

Abu Bakar Bashir, head of the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah, says the US is responsible.

GEORGE W. BUSH uses the right word: murder.

STOPPING TERROR breeds terror, according to a typically disgusting editorial in today's Sydney Morning Herald:

The question is whether external actors are manipulating nascent, radical Islam inside Indonesia, or whether international events - in particular US war plans for Iraq – are, themselves, creating a new breed of Indonesian terrorists.

Kind of like the way WWII created wave after wave of German and Japanese militants. Or the way communism thrived after it was confronted in the late '80s.

THE LEADER of Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, suspected of involvement in the Bali bomb attacks, lives without restriction in Indonesia, reports the Times of India.

THE BALI KILLERS were not necessarily anti-Western terrorists, argues Dewi Anggreni. So why did they kill so many Western tourists?

Dewi does make the interesting point, however, that "Australia's support for the US war on terrorism has not been a big enough issue to preoccupy Indonesians", which may give pause to the anti-Howard crowds lining up to accuse the Prime Minister of making Australia a terror target.

ANGIE SHULTZ and Natalie Solent administer to John Carroll punishments so humiliating that only women could devise them. God, I love women.

By the way, there will be future Carroll instalments here. As for Angie's claim that I only made it through the first half-dozen pages of my attempted total-book fisking of John Pilger's last work … I gave up when I realised that it required me to type thousands of John Pilger's own dead-minded words with my very own hands.

I use these hands to eat. I have to live with these hands.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER is a bad-mannered chickenhawk who seems excessive, preposterous, and self-parodic. And he never apologises. So claims Phillip Adams, who interviewed the syndicated US columnist on September 19 – along with The Australian's Editor at Large Paul Kelly and New York University academic Tony Judt – for Australia's Radio National.

Adams recycled that interview on Saturday for his column in the Weekend Australian. By "recycled", I mean Adams distorted it, misrepresented Krauthammer's responses, and ran without attribution quotes from Krauthammer's Washington Post columns, presenting them as though they'd been said by Krauthammer during his Adams interview.

Following are the highlights from Adams's preposterous, self-parodic column:

Let me introduce you to the wonderfully christened Charles Krauthammer. It's a name worthy of Evelyn Waugh or Dickens. And it fits its owner like a glove. An iron glove containing, yes, an iron fist. For Krauthammer simultaneously evokes notions of a master race and massive blows to the anvil.

Krauthammer wasn't christened "Krauthammer". Krauthammer is his surname. In fact, it's likely Krauthammer wasn't christened at all. Why would he be? He's Jewish.

I spoke to him in his Washington, DC, office just a few blocks from where his friends rule the roost – and the world.

Adams spoke to Krauthammer on the telephone from Sydney, just a few blocks from where his friends catch the bus – or the train.

To describe Krauthammer as an apologist for the present regime does him a disservice. For Krauthammer never apologises. He is the most hawkish of the Bush chickenhawks.

"Chickenhawks" being the slur du jour for those who support a war but aren't enlisted. Fight for your country, crippled Jewboy!

In words as percussive as shell bursts, Krauthammer said the US is dominant not only militarily, economically and politically, but culturally. As well as the hard power of the Pentagon, there is the soft power of its film and television industries, which had softened audiences around the world.

Krauthammer's stance is rather more subtle, involving issues of disparity and global governance. Here's what he actually said, transcribed from my recording of Adams's radio program:

There were very few of us in the late 80s who were saying what was clear to us, which was that the US was going to emerge from the bipolar world as uniquely powerful, and again not just militarily, but diplomatically, economically, and culturally, in ways that we have never seen in the modern world. Nothing like that disparity has ever existed. Even Britain at its peak had rivals, second, third powers who were nearly its equal. And certainly, for instance, the combined navies of the second and third always exceeded Britain. Here we're in a situation that we have never seen, and probably has not existed since Rome.

And that's why I have argued for twelve years now that we need to look at the world's international systems in a new way because we have never had this kind of structure.

As for Krauthammer's "percussive shell burst" words, well, if you've ever heard the guy speak, you might disagree. Next, Adams trashes Krauthammer's opinion on multilateralism:

Multilateralism? A nonsense. "The whole idea that the Afghan war is being fought by a coalition is comical ... the Afghan war is unilateralism dressed up as multilateralism ... a unilateralist doesn't object to people joining our fight, he only objects when the multilateralists, like Clinton in Kosovo, give 18 countries veto power over bombing targets."

Krauthammer never spoke these words during his radio interview. They've been taken from this ten-month-old column. Adams obviously couldn't paint Krauthammer as a simplistic unilateralist based on the material Krauthammer provided on air, which was as follows:

Nobody objects to coalitions. Why not have as many friends as you can with you? Nobody wants to be unilateralist in principle. The question is, if you cannot get your allies, are you ready to act alone? In the war in Afghanistan, we did not need allies in terms of the war itself. Obviously, we fought it almost unilaterally. Of course, Britain, Australia, and Canada did help, but everybody recognised that without that help the outcome would have been the same.

Seems reasonable enough. And now we return to the Adams column:

So if countries allow themselves to be dragged along by the US coat-tails, if they want to sign up for (or surrender to) America's military campaigns, they're welcome. Provided they obey orders and don't interfere.

(At this point, Krauthammer informed me that his wife is Australian, as though this would prove a comforting notion. My response was to wonder whether Mrs Krauthammer had much of a say in family matters. If it echoes the relationship between our respective nations, we should call in the marriage guidance counsellors.)

To which "point" does Adams refer? It can't be a point in the interview, because the initial comments Adams is responding to weren't made in the interview. Presumably Adams means some point between September 19 and last December, when the column from which he lifted the comments was published.

The UN? Irrelevant. The Europeans? Vacillators, nervous nellies, spent forces. "The Europeans sit and pout. What else can they do? We do not force on them military obsolescence. They chose social spending over defence spending."

Though Adams would have you believe that these remarks were provoked by his surgical interviewing skills, they are in fact taken from this column, published on March 1. No editing is indicated, although Adams has flensed Krauthammer's words of context. Here's the unedited copy, with Phil's selections highlighted:

The Europeans sit and pout. What else can they do? The ostensible complaint is American primitivism. The real problem is their irrelevance.

Being subordinate they can tolerate. Irrelevant they cannot. They may have been subordinate to the United States in the Cold War, but in that great twilight struggle, they manned the front lines, gamely fielding huge land armies against the Warsaw Pact. We provided the nuclear guarantee. They provided the boots on the ground. We were the dominant partner. But we were still partners.

No longer. And they know it. The Soviet threat is gone. Against the new threat of terrorists and terrorist states, the Europeans are sidelined. They are capable of police work, but are irrelevant to war-making.

The Afghan war, conducted without them, highlighted how America's 21st century high-tech military made their militaries as obsolete as were the battleships of the19th-century upon the launching of the Dreadnought in 1906.

This is not our fault. We did not force upon them military obsolescence. They chose social spending over defense spending – an understandable choice, perhaps even wise given that America was willing to pick up the slack. But hardly grounds for whining.

Adams had to carve aside 168 words before he'd sculpted a quote he felt was fit to publish. Back to his column:

Thus, in the future the US will make its own decisions without worrying what Europe, or anyone, thinks. The US feels entitled to ignore international rules and regulations, to conduct its affairs absolutely and utterly in its own interests.

I suggested that if the US made a habit of kicking doors down and rushing inside without wiping its feet, it would create new and unprecedented alliances against it. That a policy devoid of subtlety and careful calibration, with consensus replaced by capitulation, would antagonise even its most obliging allies. Krauthammer was unconcerned, sure that economic and strategic self-interest would force lesser nations to line up and salute the flag. Theirs.

We don't know if Krauthammer was unconcerned, because this suggestion was directed not to him but to Paul Kelly. As it was the final exchange of the broadcast, we never were able to learn of Krauthammer's concerns re the kicking down of doors and the non-wiping of feet.

If Krauthammer seemed excessive, preposterous, self-parodic, the presidential statement that followed showed a power elite in deadly earnest.

During the interview Adams never hinted at how "preposterous" and "excessive" he found Krauthammer to be. Only now, nearly a month later, safe from an on-air rebuttal (and with online access to the original Radio National interview removed, so nobody can easily review the program) does he finally reveal his inner feelings.

As with Krauthammer's machinegun delivery, Bush's speech was as memorable for its bad manners as for its message.

This is inexplicable. At no stage during his interview did Krauthammer display anything even resembling bad manners – unless Adams thinks Krauthammer's American accent is somehow offensive in and of itself. And, again, the claim of a "machinegun delivery" is puzzling. Krauthammer is a calm, moderate speaker.

Adams, however, can be accused of bad manners, once referring simply to "Krauthammer" when asking a question of another guest ("Tony, to what extent are commentators like Krauthammer and Robert Kagan right when they say that the Europeans and the Americans are from different planets?") and interrupting Krauthammer as he strove to make a point about American cultural dominance:

Charles Krauthammer: The fact that the Esperanto of our times is English, it's not the Queen's English, it's American English, it's Elvis's English, it's …

Phillip Adams: [laughing] We have noticed this, Charles. This is not entirely a revelation.

The revelation of this column is that Adams inhabits a fantasy world, where opinion columns written for millions of US readers are actually conversational gambits directed solely at himself, where he is able to transport himself to remote locations via telephone, where Jews are christened, and where questions asked of Australians in Canberra are answered by Americans in Washington. Let's see who has to apologise now.

FORBES IS a small town – pop. 8,500 – in central-west New South Wales. Three men from the town are missing following the bomb attacks in Bali. Everybody in Forbes knows them. Two are farmers. One is a council worker.

The mayor of Forbes, Alister Lockhart, gave this summary of the town's reaction: "In a much smaller way it means the same to the people of Forbes that it meant to the people of New York after September 11."

He's right. Small towns hurt hard. I hope those three blokes are all right.

LETTER WRITERS to the Sydney Morning Herald – Indymedia's print edition – have decided that Australian Prime Minister John Howard is to blame for the Bali attacks. Why? Because he opposes terrorism, and supports moves to destroy terrorism.

Their wise counsel: Say nothing. Do nothing. Better to cower than to speak.

"Instead of using our advantage of isolation from the world's trouble spots to counsel for peace, he has squandered it."

"The Bali blasts could be a consequence of the constant bellicose statements by Mr Howard and Mr Downer on their war against terrorism."

"Their desire to be seen as world statesmen, farewelling the troops, lecturing other leaders on international strategy, has made each one of us a potential target."

"Stop making us a target. Don't involve us in a war which can only create great suffering in the short term and antagonism towards us for decades to come."

That's some life those people want to lead. Still, by speaking out, they have angered me, just as they claim Howard angered the killers in Bali. According to their rules, that means I am justified in wreaking a terrible vengeance. If they speak out again, who knows how I might react? And it would their own damn fault, for making "constant bellicose statements" and "lecturing on international strategy".

If only they'd followed their own advice and kept quiet. Instead, they've made themselves potential targets.

"THEY MAY KILL SOME OF US, BUT WE'LL KILL A LOT MORE OF THEM." From Captain L.J., of the United States Air Force:

Just wanted you to know that I and all the aircrew at my location send our prayers to the families of the Australians and New Zealanders killed or injured in Bali.

My buddies and I are in the thick of the current campaign against Islamic fundamentalist asswipes and we'll get some payback for you and your countrymen. They may kill some of us, but we'll kill a lot more of them. If we get re-directed to Iraq, I'm sure we'll have some Ozzie units next to us and we'll be proud to fight with them against a common foe.

If there is some kind of fund being collected for Australian families, I would appreciate it if you would send any info my way or post it on your blog. Keep up the good work and God bless Australia.

Captain L.J., USAF

Operation Enduring Freedom, Deployed

The man is prepared to die for Australians, yet he wants to donate money to us. This must be an example of that American tyranny we hear so much about.


THE LATEST figures: seven Australians are dead and 113 injured. Only 24 victims from a total of 187 murdered have been identified. Of 309 injured people, 90 are in critical condition.


The car bombing that laid waste to a Bali nightclub, killing nearly 200 people including Australian and other foreign tourists, follows months of warnings and pleadings for Indonesia to pick up the pace to prevent terror attacks.

THE DEATH toll has now reached 187. Seven Australians have been confirmed as among the murdered.

IT WAS nothing personal:

The former Indonesian attorney-general, Marzuki Darusman, says the bombing attacks that have killed 182 people in Bali were not the work of terrorists trying to send an international message.

He has told Sunday Profile the terrorists were trying to send President Megawati Sukarnoputri a message of their discontent with her rule.

Mr Darusman says Australians need not fear they are being singled out any more than any other nationality.

Sure. That's why the terrorists targeted the Sari Club, which bars locals. Check out the dancefloor, Darusman. See many Balinese voters?

WHAT WILL become of Bali? Tourism is its main industry, and now people are fleeing the place. It's probably doomed, especially in light of earlier claims:

The Bali administration, authorities and people have given assurance that the Island of the Gods remains just as safe and enjoyable as ever, with daily life going on as normal. Separated from Java and other islands by sea, Bali is a deeply spiritual island and very different from the rest of Indonesia. The peace and harmony of the island remains a steadfast foundation of Balinese life, even when other areas are experiencing turmoil.

Police Chief Commissioner Wenny Warouw … said that the Bali Police are currently performing investigations to clamp down on potential actions of anyone wishing to tarnish the island's world-wide reputation as a haven of peace. Americans and citizens of any other nation therefore need not worry should they wish to visit Bali.

THEY MAY be killing Australians, but the Sydney Morning Herald still made sure that our deadly Islamic lunatic friends were shielded from any initial blame. James Morrow caught them in the act.

DAVID HODDER, from country New South Wales, helped drag people to safety:

Mr Hodder said he and a number of friends scaled a three-metre wall to escape the inferno, which devastated both the Sari Club and the nearby Padi bar and also ripped apart nearby shops and vehicles.

"We just tried to get as many people out as we could before it was too late."

Mr Hodder said about 80 per cent of those in the club were Australians.

"They didn't all get out."

Three people from Hodder's rugby union club are missing.


"There are many Australians unaccounted for and we must therefore prepare ourselves as a nation for the possibility of a significant number of Australian deaths ... I can only say again that the war against terrorism must go on with unrelenting vigour and with an unconditional commitment."

Opposition Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd:

"This seems to be the first occasion on which Australian civilians have been the target of a terrorist attack in the history of our country."

JOHN HOWARD has announced a national review of security. Meanwhile, latest reports have the injured count coming down, while the death toll remains at 182.

KIWI BLOGGER NZ Pundit raises a topical issue with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark:

Helen Clark. Yes you, the lefty feminist peacenik. You, our Prime Minister, who scrapped the strike wing of the Air Force only a few months prior to September 11, as we lived in an "incredibly benign strategic environment", that "our region poses no security risks"

How are you feeling tonight Helen, while fifteen of our countrymen lie wounded in a Balinese hospital, victims of Islamic fundamentalism?

Check the bottom of the post. NZ Pundit – a terrific resource for any Kiwis in Australia, by the way, so bookmark him – has already received an e-mail blaming the attacks on Australian Prime Minister John Howard, for supporting the war against terror.

THE DEATH TOLL now stands at 182. Two hundred are injured, most of them Australian.

The worst single attack on Australians to date was the Japanese bombing of Darwin on February 19, 1942, which killed at least 243 people. The Bali blasts may claim more.

In case anybody hasn't been paying attention for the past year or so, we are at war.

ONLY HOURS before the bomb blasts, Indonesian politician Akbar Tandjung said there was no proof that Indonesia was unsafe and dismissed US concerns that Indonesia was a terrorist hideout.

THE SEARCH for missing Australians continues. We're probably less than 12 hours away from the first opinion piece arguing that the attacks were the logical consequence of supporting the US in the war against terror, and that we'd be better off staying quiet and not upsetting anybody, especially Islamic murderers. I wonder which dumb fuck will write it?

ALEXANDER DOWNER, Australia's foreign minister, suspects Al Qaeda offshoot Jemaah Islamiyah:

Asked on the Nine Network if Australia suspected al-Qaeda was responsible, Mr Downer replied: "Could be, I can't be sure of that.

"The organisation we've been very concerned about in Indonesia is an organisation called Jemaah Islamiyah, known as JI.

"It certainly has quite a lot of links to al-Qaeda."

He said terrorists from JI were known to have trained in Afghanistan.

"It's not the only organisation we've been concerned about in Indonesia but it's the principle one we've been concerned about."

AUSTRALIAN HOSPITALS are preparing to receive survivors.

THE DEATH TOLL has now risen to 150.

"BODIES ARE still being brought out." The ABC reports:

Hospital officials in Bali say more than 100 people are confirmed dead, including an unknown number of Australians, after a huge bomb blast destroyed two crowded clubs in the tourist district of Kuta Beach.

The victims also include Britons, French and Canadians, and authorities say the death toll is likely to rise.

Eyewitnesses described a large crater in the street outside the Sari Club, which was crowded entirely with foreign tourists at the time of the blast.

Australians and other Westerners are being evacuated:

Qantas has begun organising extra flights to evacuate Australian tourists from the island.

MORE THAN 100 PEOPLE ARE DEAD, several of them believed to be Australians, after two terrorist bomb attacks on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali.

Eight members of a Perth football team, who were at a nightclub that was bombed, have yet to be located.