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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, May 02, 2005

The prize nobody should want

The 2005 Orwell Awards have been announced, dedicated to "the worst violators of press freedom in the past year." The local recipient joins an illustrious overseas winner. Both men have shown utter contempt for truth and fairness and frankly deserve an extended holiday in a country perhaps more suited to their temperament.


Anonymous michael said...

I notice that Alexander is not resting on his laurels and immediately compounded his crimes by sentencing Douglas Wood to death.

According to ABC
Lord Downer has ruled out any ransom or policy compromise but assured us that the Australian team will be working closely with US and Iraqi forces to find him.

In other words, he just told the kidnappers that Wood is worth nothing to them alive and as long as they've got him there will be an armed group hunting for them.

Of course its in the government's interest to get Wood killed ASAP so as to reduce the media attention and possible public pressure to negotiate.

As Paul Jordan told
World Today
, "the insurgents are intelligent people, they do monitor the wires, and the last thing that I'd want to do is jeopardise the successful outcome for the hostage by speculating on what the Government may do".

Well, there's no need to speculate any more. Wood is a dead man and Downer issued the command to his firing squad.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 12:01:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Perhaps you're right that the death of Wood serves our govt's interests and keeps public support for maintaining troops in Iraq.
Who knows what our govt will really do, though. The Italians made all the same noises as ours, yet quite possibly did negotiate and maybe even offered a ransom.
Let's just hope that the guy is saved...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 10:02:00 am  
Blogger Binnsy said...

And how long can Downer keep up that fake British accent? There should be a trophy for that...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 3:41:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

Thats not really what I was trying to say Antony.

I don't think that the government stands to gain from Wood's death, but rather they stand to lose more from a long, drawn out negotiating process. That's especially the case if it is ultimately unsuccessful, but even if it succeeds there will be speculation about some sort of a dodgy backroom deal that will harm the government's standing.

The best result for them would probably be if Wood's body is found within the week, so that it will cease being news within a fortnight or so. I reckon that's precisely what Alex is angling for.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 8:28:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Ok, I understand you know.
Don't you find amazing, too, that nobody is talking about Australia's first kidnap victim, SBS journalist John Martinkus? As Crikey rightly said today, the govt clearly has one rule for workers in Iraq supporting the 'Coalition' (Douglas Wood), ie. positive, and another for those questioning the whole enterprise, such as Martinkus? The contempt for democracy and a questioning spirit is stunning...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 9:01:00 pm  

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