Hugh Mor­gan, Jerry El­lis and Ian Plimer. Ge­orge H.W. Bush and John Con­nolly.

The Saturday Paper - - Contents - Richard Ackland

The long arm of the min­ing in­dus­try is ev­ery­where, stick­ing its shad­owy fin­gers into as many pork pies as it can find.

The Salt­bush Club is the lat­est con­spir­acy-the­ory en­trant into the cli­mate wars. Among its di­rec­tors are legacy min­ing men Hugh Mor­gan of West­ern Min­ing and Jerry El­lis, pre­vi­ously on ma­hogany row at BHP and a for­mer grand fro­mage at the Min­er­als Coun­cil of Aus­tralia.

Old favourite Ian Plimer is also a mem­ber of the club, which re­cently re­ceived a rous­ing en­dorse­ment in the Pied Piper out­lets of sim­i­larly aged me­dia gnome Lord Moloch. How do we join this ex­clu­sive out­fit, or are we in Grou­cho Marx ter­ri­tory of re­ally not want­ing to be­long to a club that would have us as mem­bers?

The Salt­bush­ers are ded­i­cated to cli­mate de­nial­ism and to get­ting Aus­tralia out of the Paris agree­ment. The ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor is Viv Forbes, who comes from the coal in­dus­try and founded some­thing called the Car­bon Sense Coali­tion, which de­fends the “role of car­bon on earth and in the at­mos­phere”.

Money­bags Mor­gan has been busy with other pro-car­bon or­gan­i­sa­tions. He was co-founder of the global-cool­ing Lavoisier Group, which was op­posed to the Ky­oto Pro­to­col for the re­duc­tion of green­house gas emis­sions, and more re­cently a found­ing mem­ber of Clexit. As in, Cli­mate Exit. The lat­ter is urg­ing the gov­ern­ment to aban­don “this sui­ci­dal global warm­ing cru­sade”.

Ac­cord­ing to the peo­ple at Re­new Econ­omy, Lord Christo­pher Mon­ck­ton has also been a com­mit­tee mem­ber, along with Marc Mo­rano of the US fos­sil fuel funded “think tank” Com­mit­tee for a Con­struc­tive To­mor­row.

You wouldn’t read about it.

And En­vi­ron­ment Minister

Melissa Price, who hails from the West­ern Aus­tralian min­ing in­dus­try, is cur­rently at the United Nations cli­mate con­fer­ence in Ka­tow­ice, Poland, go­ing her hardest to en­sure we don’t im­prove or even meet our emis­sion tar­get.

Emis­sion de­nied

Which gets us to Goose­bumps Cater and the Men­zies “Re­search” Cen­tre, where we find on the board Mitch Hooke and that old warhorse Kevin McCann, ex Al­lens, ex Mac­quarie Bank, and so on.

Hooke is a for­mer head of the Min­er­als Coun­cil of Aus­tralia and a highly ef­fec­tive lob­by­ist for the cause. Is it any won­der then that we find Goose­bumps be­hav­ing like a mud­dle-headed wom­bat?

In an ar­ti­cle for the MRC he lays into Op­po­si­tion spokesman Mark But­ler for say­ing that the na­tional en­ergy guar­an­tee will re­duce power prices “in the or­der of $550”.

In fact, But­ler was throw­ing a tear­gas can­is­ter back at the gov­ern­ment, who threw it first. Trum­ble cited that fig­ure and Josh Fry­den­berg and SloMo used it as well, and the soon to be for­mer mem­ber for War­ringah, Tony Ab­bott, promised that when he got rid of the car­bon tax, $550 would mag­i­cally come off your power bills. Need­less to say, this was an­other piece of fake news, be­cause it just didn’t hap­pen.

One more skew-whiff piece of mis­in­for­ma­tion from Crater is his in­sis­tence that we’ll be meet­ing our emis­sions tar­get for the en­ergy sec­tor ahead of sched­ule as well as meet­ing our gen­eral emis­sions tar­get.

I don’t know what pow­ders he’s been tak­ing, but this is what it says in the “Emis­sions Gap Re­port” for 2018: “There has been no im­prove­ment in Aus­tralia’s cli­mate pol­icy since 2017 and emis­sion lev­els for 2030 are pro­jected to be well above the [Na­tion­ally De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tion] tar­get. The lat­est pro­jec­tion pub­lished by the gov­ern­ment shows that emis­sions would re­main at high lev­els rather than re­duc­ing in line with the 2030 tar­get.”

So much for “at a can­ter”.

Sorry to bang on about this, but some­how Gad­fly feels it’s im­por­tant to point out that this cir­cle of miningaligned out­fits, each one dis­ap­pear­ing up its own fun­da­ment, is ped­dling the most ab­surd con­spir­a­cies.

Of course, stud­ies show that for many peo­ple with ex­treme views, facts don’t mat­ter at all, what mat­ters is “cul­tural cog­ni­tion”, where in­di­vid­u­als shape their views to ac­cord with the com­mu­nity to which they as­pire to be­long.

X files

Vic­to­ria’s “Lawyer X” case is in­trigu­ing. She was busy shop­ping her crim­i­nal clients to the wal­lop­ers, while the wal­lop­ers were shop­ping her to var­i­ous

in­ter­ested par­ties with big mouths.

Ac­cord­ing to her let­ter of June 30, 2015, to as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Steve Fon­tana, “Lawyer X”, aka “In­for­mant 3838”, aka “EF”, said her iden­tity had been leaked by the po­lice a year ear­lier and ever since she has been liv­ing with “paralysing fears and un­cer­tainty as well as height­ened dan­ger that im­pacts upon my ex­is­tence”.

Knowl­edge also spread to the le­gal com­mu­nity and the judges. “The le­gal com­mu­nity in Vic­to­ria, in­clud­ing its ju­di­ciary, have formed a view that means I have now lost many friend­ships and re­la­tion­ships (pro­fes­sional and per­sonal).”

Then she added: “... ev­ery as­sur­ance given to me was a lie and more im­por­tantly, that the in­ves­ti­ga­tors who took my state­ment were not made aware of the very real problems with re­spect to my safety and sta­tus.”

So much for trust­ing the cop­pers.

All this was hap­pen­ing three to four years ago and in the in­terim “Lawyer X” has man­aged to dodge a bul­let.

The hair-raising de­tails emerged from a cor­rup­tion com­mis­sion in­quiry, the de­tails of which the DPP, in the in­ter­ests of “jus­tice”, wanted to pass on to “X’s” con­victed clients, no­tably An­to­nios Mok­bel and six of his crim­i­nal as­so­ciates.

The Vic­to­rian cop­pers started court chal­lenges to stop the DPP do­ing this. Be­lat­edly, they wanted to pro­tect their snout and con­ducted an “as­sess­ment”, which ac­cord­ing to the High Court found that if the in­for­ma­tion was dis­closed “the risk of death to EF would be­come ‘al­most cer­tain’”.

How­ever, the in­for­mant didn’t want to go into wit­ness pro­tec­tion be­cause that would be worse than tak­ing your chances on the street.

The High Court judges de­cided the pro­tec­tion of the iden­tity of the in­for­mant “must be sub­or­di­nated to the in­tegrity of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem”. They were shocked – shocked – that a lawyer could do any­thing so rep­re­hen­si­ble. As for the po­lice, their be­hav­iour was “atro­cious”.

So here we are. The iden­tity of

“X” is no­to­ri­ous and her name is on many lips, which makes the sup­pres­sion or­der a mean­ing­less fic­tion. Mean­while, patch­ing up the pub­lic’s con­fi­dence in the “de­based” law’n’or­der busi­ness has been shunted to a royal com­mis­sion. Much of those pro­ceed­ings will have to be sup­pressed, other­wise cit­i­zens will know more than is good for them.

Earhart of dark­ness

SloMo, the sideshow spruiker, said that the re­cently de­ceased Ge­orge H. W. Bush was a “true and great friend of Aus­tralia who fought for free­dom and democ­racy”.

Of course he was. In par­tic­u­lar he was a true and great friend to John Con­nolly, air­craft sales and spare parts man, orig­i­nally from Bro­ken Hill. Con­nolly, not to be con­fused with the Syd­ney cor­po­rate af­fairs guru, was a lit­tle known but larger-than-life char­ac­ter who did se­cret and press­ing work for the CIA.

When he was elected pres­i­dent in Novem­ber 1988, Bush in­sisted Con­nolly at­tend his in­au­gu­ra­tion the fol­low­ing Jan­uary. “You’re com­ing,” he or­dered.

How did this hap­pen to an Aus­tralian cow­boy who left school at 13 and went into the air­craft leas­ing, sales, and spare parts busi­ness?

Even be­fore he was CIA di­rec­tor, Bush had con­nec­tions with Con­nolly, com­ing to Aus­tralia and meet­ing him at his home in Dar­ling Point. Those with me­mories of the time un­der­stand that Con­nolly had the job of sourc­ing for the CIA sec­ond-hand air­craft and get­ting them to Tai­wan, from where they would be sent into ser­vice for the South Viet­namese on be­half of the Amer­i­cans.

The planes were di­verted in this back­door man­ner so that, for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses, there were no US fin­ger­prints on the sup­ply of equip­ment to the South Viet­namese.

There was also ac­tiv­ity in sup­ply­ing air­craft for Amer­i­can mis­sions in Laos against the Pa­thet Lao, which ul­ti­mately took over the coun­try in 1975, when Bush was head of the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency.

In the process, Con­nolly col­lected huge bro­ker­age fees and lived rather high on the hog in Syd­ney and be­yond. There is a sug­ges­tion that he also had an im­por­tant role in Air Amer­ica, used for CIA op­er­a­tions in In­dochina.

He had the lease on hangar No. 1 at Mas­cot, in which lived a gleam­ing Lock­heed Elec­tra of the type flown by Amelia Earhart, a gift to him from the US Navy. One of his friends said he also flew a plane un­der the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge and was de­fended for breaches of the fly­ing reg­u­la­tions by the bar­ris­ter John Fo­ord.

And there he is, the Boy from Bro­ken Hill, in the photo of Poppy Bush be­ing sworn in by chief jus­tice Wil­liam Rehn­quist at the US Capi­tol.

Trum­pette #98

The net is tight­en­ing around the cir­cle of spivs, crooks, grifters, liars, rack­e­teers, bound­ers and hook­ers who sur­round the pres­i­dent of the USA, other­wise known as “In­di­vid­ual 1” in the crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings in­volv­ing Michael Co­hen.

Peo­ple of­ten lie when they plead not guilty, but Trump has ac­cused Co­hen of ly­ing in plead­ing guilty. Ly­ing about a guilty plea re­quires real skill.

The for­mer fixer is singing like a ca­nary. So too the mo­men­tary na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Michael Flynn. In fact, Flynn has sung so beau­ti­fully that Robert Mueller thinks he should be spared jail time.

Paul Manafort, the for­mer Trump cam­paign di­rec­tor, pleaded guilty and agreed to co-op­er­ate with the Rus­sia in­quiry but then breached his plea deal by ly­ing to the FBI. Trump said he felt sorry for him.

Now Roger Stone says he won’t give doc­u­ments to a se­nate in­quiry, in­vok­ing the fifth. Trump has con­grat­u­lated him for go­ing to the trou­ble of hid­ing the in­crim­i­nat­ing stuff.

Mean­while, it has emerged that the La­bor sec­re­tary Alexan­der Acosta let a very rich sex abuser, Jef­frey Epstein, off the hook back when Acosta was the top prose­cu­tor in Mi­ami. As Michelle Gold­berg in The New York Times put it: “… while Acosta’s record cover­ing up for a de­praved plu­to­crat makes him a good fit for the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, it should dis­qual­ify him from pub­lic ser­vice.”

The act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral, Matthew Whi­taker, also knew of fraud com­plaints against a com­pany he ad­vised, yet took no ac­tion. And these are just two ex­am­ples of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s law­less­ness.

Some might think stan­dards are

• slip­ping.

RICHARD ACKLAND is the pub­lisher of Jus­tinian. He is The Satur­day Pa­per’s di­ari­s­tat-large and le­gal af­fairs ed­i­tor.

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