From: Susan Dirgham
Email from Senator Brown’s office on 20 March 2012 15:30
Thank you for your e-mail and for drawing our attention to this material.
For your information I have attached copies of Hansard records of occasions on which Senator Brown has recently either asked questions or moved motions related to current events in Syria. You can find these at http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;orderBy=customrank;page=0;query=syria%20Dataset%3Ahansards,hansards80%20Decade%3A%222010s%22%20Party%3A%22ag%22;rec=3;resCount=Default , http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;orderBy=customrank;page=0;query=syria%20Dataset%3Ahansards,hansards80%20Decade%3A%222010s%22%20Party%3A%22ag%22;rec=2;resCount=Default and http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;orderBy=customrank;page=0;query=syria%20Dataset%3Ahansards,hansards80%20Decade%3A%222010s%22%20Party%3A%22ag%22;rec=0;resCount=Default respectively.
Office of Senator Bob Brown
26 March 2012
To: John Dodd, Office of Senator Bob Brown
- send a 2 page briefer with links to books etc
- ask for a meeting with politicians
- have 2-3 people attend meetings, making sure there is a woman included
- work with all political parties
- write letters to politicians, not ‘formulaic letters’ but personal ones
- create your own media; use digital media, social media
- form friendships with politicians (Ms Hartland explained that she has been befriended by two or three men whom she knows are ‘trustworthy’ so if she wants information about Syria she can rely on them and pass on the information to others who want to know what is happening in Syria
- the more personal you make the story, the more the local member will try to help you
- tell your story; don’t get caught up in what the ‘others’ are doing.
However, in regard to Syria and Lebanon over the years his writing has often been very cryptic as well as unpredictable in regard to which ‘angle’ he will take. He, like Joffe, can also mislead by making very general, authoritative-sounding statements without presenting support for them and without presenting the wider context. And like Joffe, he usually omits key elements to a situation; you need to dig deep in his writing to put the pieces he does provide together. He may be able to say to you, “But I wrote about the problem of the Salafi jihadists in northern Lebanon in an article last year”; however, he has not given updates and told us of the violence and terror the Salafis are responsible for in Lebanon and Syria now. Yet, for Lebanese and Syrians, the Salafis are among the critical players in the continuing terror in Syria and the armed conflict that has occurred in northern Lebanon in recent months.
In my opinion, he is influenced by Walid Jumblatt, someone whom Fisk has written about his “favourite nihilist (and dinner host)”. Jumblatt, the Druze ‘warlord’,is notorious for switching sides in a very opportunistic manner. Some months ago he publicly supported Syria; now he supports the Saudi Lebanese political figure Saad Hariri, whom many people in Syria have included on their list of people to blame for the funding of militia and smuggling of weapons into Syria. One can only wonder why Jumblatt is a yo-yo in regard to his political affiliations. If Fisk is indeed a close friend and Jumblatt perhaps a ‘stringer’, Jumblatt’s fickleness would make writing on Syria and Lebanon extremely difficult. Blair and Bush etc are always easy, reliable targets, but Syria and Lebanon are constantly changing pictures … painted by whom? Not the majority of Syrian people who strive for peace, security and reform – the whole package without the interference or the dissembling of outsiders.
I am guilty here of making statements without offering support. But there is support for them, and it can be found at http://australiansforsyria.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/march-2012-updates/
It is hard work to discover what is happening on the ground in Syria. But for many reasons that work calls out to be done.
P.S. re Jumblatt and Hariri, you might be amused by this skit on Lebanese TV. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F6lXMFa04M
RUSSIA TODAY 14 March 2012 Video interview with former Al-Jazeera reporter.
‘No independent journalism anymore’ – ex-Al Jazeera reporter
Television channels have turned into political parties, pushing the agenda for some outside forces, former Al Jazeera correspondent in Beirut, Ali Hashem, told RT. Hashem has come in spotlight after resigning from the television citing its bias.
In emails leaked by Syrian hackers, Ali Hashem vented his anger over Al Jazeera’s one-sided coverage of Syria and its refusal to cover the events in Bahrain. In an exclusive interview with RT, the former Beirut correspondent Hashem refrained from discussing his resignation, but stressed that these days, independent media is a myth. ….
THE REAL NEWS March 20, 2012
Al Jazeera Journalist Explains Resignation over Syria and Bahrain Coverage
Ali Hashem: Al Jazeera has become a “media war machine” and is “committing journalistic suicide”
(Video interview with Ali Hashem)
RUSSIA TODAY 12 March 2012
Al Jazeera exodus: Channel losing staff over ‘bias’
Key staff from Al Jazeera’s Beirut Bureau have resigned citing “bias” in the channel’s stance on the conflict in Syria.
Bureau Managing Director Hassan Shaaban reportedly quit last week, after his correspondent and producer had walked out in protest.
A source told the Lebanese paper Al Akhbar that Al Jazeera’s Beirut correspondent Ali Hashem had quit over the channel’s stance on covering events in Syria. “… his position [which] changed after the station refused to show photos he had taken of armed fighters clashing with the Syrian Army in Wadi Khaled. Instead [Al Jazeera] lambasted him as a shabeeh [implying a regime loyalist],” a source told Lebanese press.
Ali Hashem was also infuriated by Al Jazeera’s refusal to cover a crackdown by the King of Bahrain while twisting its Syria angle. “[In Bahrain], we were seeing pictures of a people being butchered by the ‘Gulf’s oppression machine’, and for Al Jazeera, silence was the name of the game,” he said.…..
- Amnesty International is at the forefront of the propaganda and humanitarian war against Syria. The recent appointment of Suzanne Nossel as the new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA should be raising eyebrows. Ms Nossel has worked for the US administration in the UN and Washington, and her paper on “Smart Power” apparently inspired Hilary Clinton in her 2009 Senate confirmation hearing. http://aeconomics.blogspot.com/2009/02/smart-power.html(One analysis of ‘smart power)
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/envoy/state-suzanne-nossel-named-amnesty-usa-executive-director-181113130.html (Who is Suzanne Nossel?)
NB: Challenge to Amnesty’s lack of response to Islamic extremists who support misogyny and violence in the past.
- Franklin Lamb, “Amnesty International’s Flawed Libyan and Syrian ‘Hospitals Investigation”, Opinion Maker, Oct 2011
Thank you for your insight into the current situation in Syria. Syria is made up of lovely people and is dear to much more than the 23 million people who recently lived in it. I myself am a proud Syrian. I agree that more research into the situation is warranted, however one sided research from one side or the other based on stories does not qualify for sound research. I can see your criticism of various sources in your above blog. I would be interested to be directed to the resources from which you and the Australians for Syria obtain information. I would also like to add that basic human rights violations have been taking place in Syria for a long time. Although some of these have recently been reformed (e.g removal of the emergency law which allowed the government officials to arrest and lock away any one whom they felt was a threat to the government without conviction), many of them are still in existence. An example of this is the fact that students are prohibited from completing their Islamically obligated prayers at the public universities. This is a basic religious right that any person belonging to any faith group is entitled to.
Although this letter is full of truth, it took too long to make a point and in the end may have been ignored. Next time you message politicians you may state your opinion up front “the information you are recieving about Syria is biased. Most of the population supports the President and you must know by now that there is no formal opposition. What is called an opposition is several warring factions held together by outside forces. I can prove to you what i am saying is true.
now list your evidence.