Open Thread – Weekend 3 Feb 2024


La Grenouillere, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1869

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Rabz
February 4, 2024 9:14 pm

Cats – this is just magnifique …

Carolyn’s Fingers

feelthebern
feelthebern
February 4, 2024 9:17 pm

Nah, just a football fan.

Steve trickler
Steve trickler
February 4, 2024 9:18 pm

Black Ball
Feb 4, 2024 8:42 PM
The Dark Knight Rises. Shall be viewed again.

Hey Black Ball, I trust you have seen this? A classic from Zimmer and those around him on the day.

Cheers for the memory spark.

Hans Zimmer The Dark Knight Medley – Live in Prague

Tom
Tom
February 4, 2024 9:20 pm

Newspoll in tomorrow’s Paywallian will tell the Incredible Luigi how many more months the Faceless Men will allow him to remain PM — depending on the outcome of the Dunkley byelection on March 2.

feelthebern
feelthebern
February 4, 2024 9:20 pm

I watched Sisu this evening.
Ridiculous from start to finish, but an entertaining watch.
He has more lives than John McClane.

Rabz
February 4, 2024 9:21 pm

JC, as he imagines himself

Indulging in a bit o’ blue collar work so as to actually earn some classy bit o’ bottomage …

Black Ball
Black Ball
February 4, 2024 9:21 pm

Indeed I have Trickler. Excellent clip.
However I turned it on to Paul Murray and this pic came up. FMD what has been seen cannot be unseen. Have a look at the shirt

Zafiro
Zafiro
February 4, 2024 9:21 pm

Best TV channel out is 96Rush. Right now they are talking to people in Alaska who have seen Bigfoot. Yesterday was Skinwalker Ranch and the UFOs. Heaps of other good shows of different genre. Car customising etc

Rabz
February 4, 2024 9:25 pm

Tommy – can labore actually punt the albansleazy outside of a national conference?

Rabz
February 4, 2024 9:25 pm

err, short of a Baldwin bashing type scenario?

feelthebern
feelthebern
February 4, 2024 9:28 pm

Biden got 126k votes in the South Carolina primary.
That’s down from the 262k he got in 2020 out of the 430k DNC votes cast.
But as Baris said before the weekend, there’s no real point of reference to measure this against.
In 1996 the DNC cancelled the primary.
In 2012 even though Obama was running unopposed, Baris said pollsters widely accept the tally was unreliable (ie dodgy).

But even an incumbent, 126k does seem light on.

Winston Smith
February 4, 2024 9:29 pm

cohenite
Feb 4, 2024 7:30 PM

The Bungonia Bee
Feb 4, 2024 6:51 PM
Anneliese Nielsen on Sky News:
“The remaining sections of Trump’s border wall have done nothing to stem the flow of migrants …”
Sack her now.

The 2024 equivalent to:
“If so many Koalas are being hit in the Animal Crossing, why don’t you move it back up the road to where the lights are?”

Tom
Tom
February 4, 2024 9:33 pm

Tommy – can labore actually punt the albansleazy outside of a national conference?

Ask the Lying Slapper who was unceremoniously punted within sight of the 2013 election reinstate the loser Kevin Rudd.

The rules may have changed, but the Faceless Men always get their way.

feelthebern
feelthebern
February 4, 2024 9:35 pm

Shane Gillis hosting SNL later this month.
The show that cancelled him for being “a racist comic”.
Now he’s back & hosting.
I might actually watch the episode.

Similar but different to Norm Macdonald returning.

Dot
Dot
February 4, 2024 9:35 pm

With all that extra travel, the Super Bowl partying, then the Australian tour, I reckon she’s going to get sick at some stage regardless of private jets & IV’s pumping her full of the good stuff.

You’re assuming she’s a human adult female.

She’s the mother spawn queen of the swifty hive mind.

Papa Meat explains Travis Kelce’s loyalty.

Dot
Dot
February 4, 2024 9:36 pm

Shane Gillis?

They’re gonna get Sam Hyde soon.

feelthebern
feelthebern
February 4, 2024 9:37 pm

Anneliese Nielsen on Sky News:
“The remaining sections of Trump’s border wall have done nothing to stem the flow of migrants …”

Such a poorly informed midwit
She does such little research.
What does she do all day?

Winston Smith
February 4, 2024 9:39 pm

Cassie of Sydney

Feb 4, 2024 7:46 PM
How many ‘shop stewards’ always voted for One Nation?

What’s that old saying…..”as rare as hen’s teeth”.

Also: “As scarce as rocking horse shit.”

Dot
Dot
February 4, 2024 9:40 pm

mole

The key to the “I’m ready for court, ‘cause I ain’t going to court” defence is the old Vietnamese guy digging tunnels & the baboon who is a crack shot with a powder actuated nail gun.

Boambee John
Boambee John
February 4, 2024 9:40 pm

dover0beach
Feb 4, 2024 9:07 PM
By George, he’s got it!

If you think the Dems here are the problem you need to explain why they’ve thrown what they have into Ukraine, but have purportedly ‘soft-pedalled’ re Iran.

Putting it bluntly, “Ten percent for the Big Guy”.

feelthebern
feelthebern
February 4, 2024 9:41 pm

Theo Von on the Shane Gillis podcast a few weeks back.
NSFW.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3cjycZRPe0

Most of that SNL cast will be speaking through gritted teeth when he’s on.
It’s been a glorious few days for alternative media types (Rogan & Gillis).

Rabz
February 4, 2024 9:43 pm

Time for some Sunday Night Beauty, Cats! 🙂

Knuckle Dragger
Knuckle Dragger
February 4, 2024 9:43 pm

Papa Meat explains Travis Kelce’s loyalty

Oh my word.

Disturbing, yet undoubtedly accurate. The positioning of Tay Tay’s eye sockets will stay with me to my cold, cold grave.

Rabz
February 4, 2024 9:50 pm

What does she do all day?

JC
JC
February 4, 2024 9:51 pm

Went for a quick walk down to a suburban beach earlier this evening. First time in a long time when there was no cool sea breeze. The breeze coming in from the bay was just as hot as in the the burbs away from the beach.

feelthebern
feelthebern
February 4, 2024 9:53 pm

After getting cancelled & starting a podcast, Shane Gillis now reportedly generates $US100k a month from his Patreon subscribers.

Zafiro
Zafiro
February 4, 2024 9:54 pm

Now there is a show on about DB Cooper. This is a conspiracy theorists wankfest. Love it.

Tom
Tom
February 4, 2024 9:55 pm

The anti-renewables rally in Canberra on Tuesday will be occurring at the same time as the dead rubber across town between Australia and the West Indies at Manika Oval.

Not doubt Cricket Australia’s woke warriors will help the federal cops put down the insurrection by our farmers.

Tom
Tom
February 4, 2024 9:57 pm

… Manuka Oval …

Farmer Gez
Farmer Gez
February 4, 2024 9:57 pm

News reports the police are in a “manhunt” for the grandmother killers.
An African Safari would be more apt.

Rabz
February 4, 2024 9:58 pm

The breeze coming in from the bay was just as hot as in the the burbs away from the beach

Any hot bits o’ that screeching “Kill da Jooze, Gas da Jooze!”?

Winston Smith
February 4, 2024 10:03 pm

Digger

Feb 4, 2024 8:47 PM
US ’24 won’t be fighting US ’91, it will be fighting an adversary from ’24. And their is simply now way that the US in ’24 enjoys the superiority over its opponents that it did during the ’90s.

Nobody seems to have worked out yet that the next future war will be with China using bioweapons.
They saw how badly the Covid virus hurt us, and they will be working on a variety of biologicals to which they have a cure. Not all of their people will get the cure – because they will need to look as hard hit as everyone else.
“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

feelthebern
feelthebern
February 4, 2024 10:06 pm

News reports the police are in a “manhunt” for the grandmother killers.

Something really fishy about this one.
These guys hunt in packs.
Only one guy, acting alone?
More to come IMHO.

Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
February 4, 2024 10:09 pm

Tenacious leader an icon of the Aboriginal rights movement

Lowitja O’Donoghue was two when she was delivered to the missionaries in 1934 with two of her sisters. Their two oldest siblings – a boy and a girl – were already there. It would be 33 years before she was reunited with her mother.

Given that her father delivered her to the missionaries, together with her siblings, does that make Lowitja O’Donoghue one of the “Stolen Generation?”

Rabz
February 4, 2024 10:10 pm

Paul Murrage*

I’d like to think that Veneztraylians are better than that, but evidently we* aren’t.

I detest him with a passion. If we have to go down the freaking figurative toilet, thanks to collectivist quislings, then that fat stupid forkwit does not get to be portrayed as some sort of example of what Ozzies were alleged to be, FFS.

Not having it, I tells ya. 😡

*Stated through gritted teeth …

feelthebern
feelthebern
February 4, 2024 10:11 pm

For those who watch it, the final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm starts tomorrow on Fox.
It’s a bit tired now.
I reckon they should have stopped after season 9.

Dot
Dot
February 4, 2024 10:12 pm

The granny kill was a MEOC hit?

Rabz
February 4, 2024 10:16 pm

I reckon they should have stopped after season 9

Given you’re a swiftee, I’ll at least watch the first episode.

Remember, Squire, predictions are very difficult, especially about the future.

Dot
Dot
February 4, 2024 10:17 pm

Now there is a show on about DB Cooper.

It’s pretty much been proven he worked as an engineer in a metal research lab and died quietly after a long life.

It was wasn’t Robert Rackstraw or anyone else who was a special forces tough guy.

The people who went after Rackstraw really need to publicly apologise and live sullen, quiet lives until god gives them eternal rest. What a railroading.

bons
bons
February 4, 2024 10:21 pm

When ranting about our local government election candidates, I forgot the absolute killer word for any hopeful: STAKEHOLDER.

Do not pass go, just fuc*k off..

Rabz
February 4, 2024 10:27 pm

Now there is a show on about DB Cooper

OK, Pol, I’ll bite – not the Dale Cooper, presumably.

Trigger and Spoiler warning – McViolence … 😕

Winston Smith
February 4, 2024 10:31 pm

feelthebern

Feb 4, 2024 10:06 PM
News reports the police are in a “manhunt” for the grandmother killers.

Something really fishy about this one.
These guys hunt in packs.
Only one guy, acting alone?
More to come IMHO.

My bet it was the bloke getting out of the car front passenger seat with his head wrapped up to foil the cameras. The other three were just backup or even unaware of the headrapper intent.

John H.
John H.
February 4, 2024 10:33 pm

Winston Smith
Feb 4, 2024 10:03 PM
Digger

Feb 4, 2024 8:47 PM
US ’24 won’t be fighting US ’91, it will be fighting an adversary from ’24. And their is simply now way that the US in ’24 enjoys the superiority over its opponents that it did during the ’90s.

Nobody seems to have worked out yet that the next future war will be with China using bioweapons.
They saw how badly the Covid virus hurt us, and they will be working on a variety of biologicals to which they have a cure. Not all of their people will get the cure – because they will need to look as hard hit as everyone else.
“To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

COVID was a disaster for China. Their vax was crap, the lockdowns much worse than anywhere else in the world, and it seriously damaged their economy. China had one of the worst outcomes in the pandemic. China is investing hugely in the J20 production, has a carrier capable stealth fighter ready to go into production, is continuing production aircraft carriers, missiles, and spending big generally on military. Not a shred of evidence it will be going down the biowarfare route.

Gabor
Gabor
February 4, 2024 10:42 pm

Dot
Feb 4, 2024 10:12 PM

The granny kill was a MEOC hit?

I wish people wouldn’t assume that we are all familiar with the multitude of abbreviations, be it a TV show or whatever.

Thank you in advance, for clarifying.

KevinM
KevinM
February 4, 2024 10:45 pm

Not a shred of evidence it will be going down the biowarfare route.

They can walk and chew gum.

MatrixTransform
February 4, 2024 10:46 pm

China had one of the worst outcomes in the pandemic

phht … suddenly 1.4B people didn’t die

almost as bad as the western world

where suddenly everybody didn’t die either

John H.
John H.
February 4, 2024 11:01 pm

KevinM
Feb 4, 2024 10:45 PM
Not a shred of evidence it will be going down the biowarfare route.

They can walk and chew gum.

If COVID was an example of biowarfare they are idiots. Human beings do not develop long lasting immunity against Corona viruses so no vaccine would have saved their people. It is speculation without evidence. Something which cannot be disproved should always be regarded with much suspicion. It is too easy to make this sort of stuff up.

MatrixTransform
Feb 4, 2024 10:46 PM
China had one of the worst outcomes in the pandemic

phht … suddenly 1.4B people didn’t die

almost as bad as the western world

where suddenly everybody didn’t die either

It was a disaster for them. That’s a big reason why there were so many supply chain issues. Of course everybody didn’t die, that’s a straw man argument. What’s next, that all the people who claimed they contracted COVID just had a cold?

Rosie
Rosie
February 4, 2024 11:01 pm

Vr I think you are correct. I’ve learned to steer clear of tourist trap restaurants and in places like Milan it’s always tourist season.
Here in Bastia it’s off season and many restaurants are closed for their annual holidays, so I figure anywhere that’s open is catering mainly to locals.
Last time I was here it was sea urchin season but I haven’t seen them this time.
At the market this morning everyone was lining up for freshly made beignets, sweet or savoury and some sort of pancake with a ricotta type filling.
I’ve had one restaurant meal, a burger, in the French style, cooked medium. It was very good.
The rest is fresh baguettes and dinners for one from the supermarket. I figure the French buy them so much be okay.
I also bought a locally made seafood paella to eat at home.
Magnifique.

Steve trickler
Steve trickler
February 4, 2024 11:05 pm

I still remember a clip from China where all these dead people from C-19 were covered up on the streets. All of a sudden one of the dead pulled the tarp down and lite up a ciggie.

True story.

All the initial vision out of China was pure a psy-ops that spread around the world and set the ball rolling. All conveniently filmed om low resolution phones.

2dogs
2dogs
February 4, 2024 11:08 pm

So why can’t people sue the commonwealth for importing people who attack you? Duty of care sort of thing.

Under section 54 of the ASIO act 1979, a security assessment is only justiciable if it is a “no”, not if it is a “yes”.

Rosie
Rosie
February 4, 2024 11:13 pm

Being given to the missionaries was the saving of Lowitja O’Donoghue.
As a consequence she was given that most valuable thing, an education.

Steve trickler
Steve trickler
February 4, 2024 11:19 pm

A similar thing happened Europe after it was in full swing. A bloke laying on street covered up with a heap of other “victims” in front of the media, pulled his cover off and proceeded to get up and a nurse runs over to him with bodily language reading, get back down.

W*nkers.

JC
JC
February 4, 2024 11:29 pm

Steve trickler
Feb 4, 2024 11:05 PM

I believe that was for internal purposes. First of all they don’t give a rats about the outside world and those vids were meant to scare their own – not outsiders. There was no motivation as far as the outside world goes.

JC
JC
February 4, 2024 11:35 pm

If COVID was an example of biowarfare they are idiots. Human beings do not develop long lasting immunity against Corona viruses so no vaccine would have saved their people

I once read the Americans stopped researching biowarfare because they reached the conclusion that it was basically useless and had a boomerang effect in that it could come back at you. Nuclear was the superior option.

thefrollickingmole
thefrollickingmole
February 4, 2024 11:37 pm

She’s the mother spawn queen of the swifty hive mind

That from the new documentary?

I sleep easy knowing I don’t know of any of her songs.
Not so much as a ditty, chorus or even title.

John H.
John H.
February 4, 2024 11:41 pm

JC
Feb 4, 2024 11:35 PM
If COVID was an example of biowarfare they are idiots. Human beings do not develop long lasting immunity against Corona viruses so no vaccine would have saved their people

I once read the Americans stopped researching biowarfare because they reached the conclusion that it was basically useless and had a boomerang effect in that it could come back at you. Nuclear was the superior option.

The problem is that to protect your own population there would need to be vaccine trials involving many thousands of people. Those people, and a control group, would then need to be exposed. Any attempt to develop a bioweapon vaccine is going to be extremely difficult to conceal because the infected vaxed and control group would have to be quarantined until the virus had cleared from their system.

In the USA 1.1 million people died from COVID. That is a powerful fake pandemic.

Steve trickler
Steve trickler
February 4, 2024 11:45 pm

JC
Feb 4, 2024 11:29 PM
Steve trickler
Feb 4, 2024 11:05 PM

I believe that was for internal purposes. First of all they don’t give a rats about the outside world and those vids were meant to scare their own – not outsiders. There was no motivation as far as the outside world goes.

It was repeated on corporate mass media across the world, JC. It played it’s part in rattling people and scaring people.

Rosie
Rosie
February 4, 2024 11:47 pm

Hamas approves the deal. Without the main condition of total cessation of war. Report

apparently a new ceasefire deal has been agreed

JC
JC
February 4, 2024 11:50 pm

It was repeated on corporate mass media across the world, JC. It played it’s part in rattling people and scaring people.

Yes, it was picked up in the West, but the prime focus was to frighten the Chinese population. What was to gain scaring the rest of the world?

Rosie
Rosie
February 4, 2024 11:56 pm
Rosie
Rosie
February 4, 2024 11:57 pm

Not seeing any other reports that Hamas have accepted a ceasefire deal.

Rosie
Rosie
February 4, 2024 11:58 pm

BTW there is zero evidence that anyone is starving to death in Gaza.

Steve trickler
Steve trickler
February 5, 2024 12:01 am

JC
Feb 4, 2024 11:50 PM
It was repeated on corporate mass media across the world, JC. It played it’s part in rattling people and scaring people.

Yes, it was picked up in the West, but the prime focus was to frighten the Chinese population. What was to gain scaring the rest of the world?

Look what happened afterwards.

It was Fort Detrick in the USA that set this all off. Not Wuhan.

Digger
Digger
February 5, 2024 12:18 am

In the USA 1.1 million people died from COVID. That is a powerful fake pandemic.

Nah… In the US, as elsewhere, everyone who died was counted as a Covid death for 18 months under instructions from WHO and Fauci. They were given instructions to not carry out autopsies, just call it Covid. The PCR tests NEVER worked 1%, the average age of those dying was over 80 and higher than their life expectancy. Exactly the same in Australia. In the US they paid hospitals to put people on ventilators, give them the poison drug Remdesivir and then paid them more if they died from Covid. The more people who died, the benefit per death increased. A bloody sham from the get go…

Foxbody
Foxbody
February 5, 2024 12:30 am

Given your postings, Rabz, you may be interested to know that the name Anton Hackl came up in a casual conversation I had yesterday.
At a car event chatting to a friend of a friend, and the topic of piston engined aircraft came up – there being much to interest followers of modified cars in WW11 aircraft engines.
After the talk had continued for a bit, my companion said “ Have you ever heard of Anton Hackl?”
I replied that I was no expert but surely knew who he was.
I was then told that he recently learned that his mother in law had been Hackl’s girlfriend during the war. She had lost touch with him and had not heard anything about him since.
A quick google search turned up many pictures which quite overwhelmed the lady, apparently.
Six degrees of separation…

John H.
John H.
February 5, 2024 1:14 am

Digger
Feb 5, 2024 12:18 AM
In the USA 1.1 million people died from COVID. That is a powerful fake pandemic.

Nah… In the US, as elsewhere, everyone who died was counted as a Covid death for 18 months under instructions from WHO and Fauci. They were given instructions to not carry out autopsies, just call it Covid. The PCR tests NEVER worked 1%, the average age of those dying was over 80 and higher than their life expectancy. Exactly the same in Australia. In the US they paid hospitals to put people on ventilators, give them the poison drug Remdesivir and then paid them more if they died from Covid. The more people who died, the benefit per death increased. A bloody sham from the get go…

Remdesivir came long after the pandemic started. You’re arguing that the entire medical profession was in on the conspiracy, that WHO and Fauci managed to manipulate millions of medical professionals into lying and allowing so many people to die. There is no doubt there were excess deaths so you are accusing the entire medical profession of engaging in mass murder. How do you explain all the people on this blog that they were infected with something many acknowledged was not the cold, was not the flu, and kept them ill for days? Were they all in on the propaganda too? How do you explain the incidences of thrombosis being so prominent when that doesn’t happen with the cold and is entirely consistent with the known ACE 2 issue? Are you suggesting all those people who were infected were just making it up?

Answer the questions or you are just another person making stuff up.

Winston Smith
February 5, 2024 4:50 am

JH:

Not a shred of evidence it will be going down the biowarfare route.

“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
? Sun tzu, The Art of War
Just what do you think the Wuhan Institute of Virology was doing, working on a new yeast for brewing beer? Making a new virus to kill sparrows?
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
? Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The average Westerner has no idea of the enemy, be they Muslim or Oriental. We think everyone wants the same things we do. It’s why we keep being surprised by our enemies. They don’t think like us.

Winston Smith
February 5, 2024 5:10 am

John H.
Feb 4, 2024 11:01 PM
KevinM
Feb 4, 2024 10:45 PM

Not a shred of evidence it will be going down the biowarfare route.

If COVID was an example of biowarfare they are idiots. Human beings do not develop long lasting immunity against Corona viruses so no vaccine would have saved their people. It is speculation without evidence. Something which cannot be disproved should always be regarded with much suspicion. It is too easy to make this sort of stuff up.

Covid was an intelligence operation. The Chinese wanted to find out our capabilities for defence against a viral attack. Now they know how our governments will react, and they know how we will react. They now know our capabilities for viral defence, and they can now plan withe the most important weapon any army has – intelligence.
Why would the Chinese do a WW3 repeat of WW2? What’s the point of occupying an irradiated and destroyed enemy?
Warfare is about theft of everything an enemy has – be it arable land, factories and productive capability, or technology. The Chinese arms buildup is just in case they have to fight a conventional war.

It was a disaster for them. That’s a big reason why there were so many supply chain issues. Of course everybody didn’t die, that’s a straw man argument.

Rubbish. China didn’t even miss however many people died, and a few factories went broke. In essence, China was unaffected by the Covid virus.

Vicki
Vicki
February 5, 2024 7:25 am

Wouldn’t know where to begin with this bio weapon discussion re Covid. There is copious evidence that US bio companies such as Peter Dasnak’s EcoHealth Alliance had received grants to work WITH the Wuhan lab in developing virus variants using bat viruses. The involvement of South Carolina University is also known.

Yet this bizarre cooperation between the US & China doesn’t point towards the development of a bio weapon. It smacks of monetary goals for the development maybe of vaccines.

We just haven’t dug out the full story yet. Fauci is too good & has too many friends in high places. But it doesn’t take too long to find evidence of the above. This is why there is a renewed global call for a ban on gain-of-function research.

Vicki
Vicki
February 5, 2024 7:33 am

BTW had dinner last night with a couple of friends we have known for years and are essentially “conservative”. Yet the wife/partner became agitated when the issue of the war in Gaza arose. Mouthed all the usual rubbish about “genocide” being inflicted on the Gazans. Became very affronted when I queried if she understood what “genocide” meant – especially in respect to the circumstances in which the assault on Gaza arose.

It really is a losing battle with such people. It is so irrational that I can only explain it as anti-Semitism, although I am sure she would deny it. And BTW she refuses to view any of the evidence of the atrocities of 7 October.

Lost another friend, I think. But there are basic values you must defend.

Digger
Digger
February 5, 2024 9:23 am

Answer the questions or you are just another person making stuff up.

Well you have certainly taken the drug and succumbed to follow the leader blindly over the cliff. Talk about making things up, Remdesivir received Emergency Use Approval in October 2020, just 8 months into the pandemic and before the killer vaccines. The answers are in the data and were visible from the get go. I didn’t take the killer vaccine, got Covid, wasn’t sick and finished writing a book while I was forced to isolate for a week. The bloody statistics that you so religiously followed did not mention one co-morbidity, which most who died, WHOS AVERAGE AGE WAS OVER 80, suffered from, they didn’t test for Covid, didn’t conduct autopsies, couldn’t isolate Covid or the implications of the death sentence ventilators played along with Remdesivir which you deny was even involved. They bloody paid hospitals to bury people without determining the exact cause of death and call it Covid, even if they had advance cancer, heart disease, respiratory distress. You can go on believing the lies, I will not…

Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
Zulu Kilo Two Alpha
February 5, 2024 9:33 am

Ben Roberts-Smith’s million-dollar gamble in defamation appeal
Michaela Whitbourn
By Michaela Whitbourn
February 5, 2024 — 5.00am

Listen to this article
6 min

A high-powered legal team led by prominent Sydney silk Bret Walker will fight to overturn damning findings made against former Special Air Service soldier Ben Roberts-Smith in a million-dollar defamation appeal before a trio of Federal Court judges.

Roberts-Smith’s 10-day appeal against a decision dismissing his defamation case over reports in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald starts on Monday. His lawyers will argue Federal Court Justice Anthony Besanko fell into legal error by finding the former corporal was complicit in the murder of four unarmed Afghan prisoners.

The Victoria Cross recipient is asking the Full Court of the Federal Court to set aside Besanko’s decision in June last year and to enter judgment in his favour.

He has also asked the court to award damages itself, or to send the matter to a different Federal Court judge to calculate damages.
Stokes bankrolls costly fight

Roberts-Smith, whose lawsuit against the Nine-owned newspapers has been bankrolled via a loan from Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes’ private company, Australian Capital Equity (ACE), agreed in October last year to pay almost $1 million as security into court to cover Nine newspapers’ legal costs should he lose the appeal. The $910,000 payment was made in two tranches of $300,000 each and one of $310,000.

After a protracted court fight that threatened to expose communications about the case by Roberts-Smith’s chief supporters at Seven, Stokes agreed in December that ACE would pay the newspapers’ costs of the trial – estimated at more than $16 million – on an indemnity basis. This covers a higher proportion of a costs bill than a standard costs order.

Including Roberts-Smith’s own costs, the total costs of the litigation are estimated at more than $30 million. This excludes the costs of the appeal. Should Roberts-Smith win the appeal, Stokes’ company will no longer be on the hook for the newspapers’ costs.

Besanko’s findings that Roberts-Smith committed war crimes while deployed in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2012 were made to the civil standard – on the balance of probabilities – rather than the higher criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt.

But his lawyers, led by top appeal advocate Walker, say in a notice of appeal filed in court that Roberts-Smith was entitled to the presumption of innocence and argue Besanko failed to properly take into account matters including the gravity of the allegations when he made his findings.

The so-called Briginshaw principle applies in civil cases involving serious allegations and requires courts to proceed cautiously in making grave findings.

Walker has appeared in a number of high-profile appeals, including for the late cardinal George Pell in his successful High Court challenge to his conviction for historical child sexual abuse offences.

He is also acting for former premier Gladys Berejiklian in her NSW Court of Appeal challenge to a damaging finding made by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Berejiklian has always maintained her innocence.
Nine’s silk returns

Sydney barrister Nicholas Owens, SC, who led Nine’s team in its successful defence of the lawsuit, returns to court for the appeal. Award-winning investigative journalists Nick McKenzie and Chris Masters authored the stories and were awarded the Walkley Honour for Media Freedom last year in recognition of their reporting.

In a centrepiece allegation in the case, the newspapers alleged Roberts-Smith kicked an unarmed and handcuffed Afghan villager named Ali Jan off a small cliff in Darwan on September 11, 2012, before procuring a soldier under his command to shoot him. Besanko found the murder allegation was proven. Under the rules of engagement that bound the SAS, killing unarmed prisoners is a war crime.

In a second key allegation, the newspapers said Roberts-Smith was involved in two murders during an earlier mission on Easter Sunday, 2009, after two Afghan men were discovered in a tunnel in a compound dubbed Whiskey 108. They alleged Roberts-Smith killed one of the men himself and directed a “rookie” soldier, Person 4, to kill the second man as a form of “blooding” or initiation.
Besanko found this allegation was proven.

The judge also found a fourth murder allegation, which did not appear in the news reports but was part of their defence, had been proven, relating to directions Roberts-Smith gave via an interpreter for an unarmed Afghan man to be shot by a member of the Afghan Partner Force in 2012.

Roberts-Smith’s notice of appeal sets out the legal points that will be raised by his team during the 10-day hearing.

His lawyers say none of the murder findings should have been made, and the judge failed to “adequately deal with the improbability that there was a widespread conspiracy to conceal the truth concerning the deaths of [two men] in the official reporting of the mission” at Whiskey 108.

They also say the evidence of three Afghan villagers, given remotely via audiovisual link from Kabul, should not have been accepted in relation to the alleged murder of Ali Jan.

Roberts-Smith has consistently denied wrongdoing and said any killings were lawful and involved insurgents or a suspected Taliban “spotter” reporting on the movement of coalition forces.

Following Besanko’s decision, war crimes investigators and the Australian Federal Police were granted access to restricted documents on the court file in his defamation case, amid active investigations into allegations that Australian soldiers broke the rules of engagement in Afghanistan.

“He is, it’s now openly acknowledged, the subject of an investigation,” Federal Court Justice Robert Bromwich said last year of Roberts-Smith. “No one knows where that’s going to end up.”

The material sought by investigators included transcripts of parts of the defamation trial held behind closed doors to protect national security information, subject to redactions. Some sensitive outlines of evidence were also requested, along with documents tendered in closed court.

The appeal will be heard in Sydney before Justices Nye Perram, Anna Katzmann and Geoffrey Kennett, and will be streamed on the Federal Court’s YouTube channel from 10.15am (AEDT).

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  1. Peter Khalil’s office in Wills. Wrong type of Egyptian. https://x.com/DrewPavlou/status/1803638552561066443?t=Q9B7JhVwk0ruASnPEVGK9Q&s=19

  2. I think the Australian mattress market tends to be a bit shonky, there are endless ‘sales’ 50% off, 60% off,…

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