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Why can't everyone condemn Hamas?

Following Hamas' atrocities in Israel, the media are awash with commentary, so I will keep my comments short. I am shocked by the willin...

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Israel IS following rules of war

Widespread claims of war crimes against Israel have been made following Israel's military response to Hamas's unprecedenteed massacre of 1200 Israeli civilians and taking of 250 hostages on Oct 7. Even before Israel had organized any response Israel was being warned by Australia's foreign minister, Penny Wong to 'exercise restraint'. Everyone seems to accept that Israel has a right to self defense but they fall short of allowing Israel to do so unreservedly. Most often they add some qualification, warning Israel to follow the rules of war.  This is despite any evidence of Israel ever having not done so! And adespite Hamas , repeatedly, having broken the rules of war and perpetrating war crimes. 

Few commentators have clarified the rules of war to inform the public.  So any attempt is worth circulating. 
John Spencer is certainly well qualified to assess Israel's compliance with the 'rules of war;. See his bio below.

John Spencer is chair of urban warfare studies at the Modern War Institute (MWI) at West Point, codirector of MWI’s Urban Warfare Project and host of the “Urban Warfare Project Podcast.” He served for 25 years as an infantry soldier, which included two combat tours in Iraq. He is the author of the book “Connected Soldiers: Life, Leadership, and Social Connection in Modern War” and co-author of “Understanding Urban Warfare.” 

In his article titled Opinion: I’m an expert in urban warfare. Israel is upholding the laws of war
published on CNN's Website, he covers the core issues.

War Realities:
  • All war involves killing and destruction, with civilians historically suffering the most in conflicts, especially in urban warfare.
  • Urban warfare presents unique challenges, impacting both soldiers and civilians, with noncombatants often constituting the majority of casualties.
  • Approximately 90% of casualties in modern urban wars involve civilians, even when led or supported by Western powers.
War Crimes and Legal Assessments:
  • Destruction and suffering in war don't automatically constitute war crimes; accusations must be assessed based on evidence and armed conflict standards.
  • Hamas violated multiple laws of war, including taking hostages, targeting civilians, and using human shields.
  • Israel's actions are subject to examination based on international humanitarian law principles, including military necessity, proportionality, distinction, humanity, and honour.
International Support for Israel:

President Joe Biden and European countries support Israel's self-defence, recognizing its right to immediate and unilateral self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

Israel's Pledge to International Law:
  • Israel pledged to obey international law, with proportionality as a cornerstone, requiring consideration of civilian harm compared to military advantage.
  • Israel's actions, including targeting a senior Hamas commander, align with military necessity and proportionality principles.
  • IDF implements practices to minimize harm, such as warning civilians before strikes and providing evacuation routes.
Complex Principle of Distinction:
The principle of distinction requires Israel to differentiate between civilians and combatants, aiming to minimize civilian casualties.

Challenges in Urban Warfare:
Emptying a city of civilians before the urban battle is essentially impossible, posing challenges for minimizing harm.

Israel's Efforts and Cooperation:
Israel takes steps to constrain forces, provide safe areas, and cooperate with the US to facilitate humanitarian aid entry into Gaza.

Reality of Pursuing a Terrorist Organization:
Pursuing a terrorist organization in urban areas creates a nightmarish landscape, reminiscent of past campaigns against groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Evidence of Respect for Rules of War:
The visual impact of conflict in Gaza doesn't indicate indiscriminate bombing. Israel's restraint in using full military capacity suggests adherence to rules of war.

Defensive Campaign for Survival:
Israel's actions are framed as a defensive campaign to ensure its survival, challenging the characterization of revenge.

In summary ;

"Like all similar conflicts in modern times, a battle in Gaza will look like the entire city was purposely razed to the ground or indiscriminately carpet-bombed – but it wasn’t. Israel possesses the military capacity to do so, and the fact that it doesn’t employ such means is further evidence that it is respecting the rules of war. It is also a sign that this is not revenge – a gross mischaracterization of Israeli aims – but instead a careful defensive campaign to ensure Israel’s survival."

Tuesday 28 November 2023

The myth of Gaza’s innocent civilians

The widespread marches declaring the "Stand with Palestine" decry the large number of casualties resulting from Israel's response to Hamas' atrocities of October 7. The marches are united by their declaration of support for innocent victims of Israel's retaliation.  The civilians they claim are the victims, as they did not start the war, it was Hamas. The civilians are the victims of Hamas too, and did not support the attacks on Israel. But is this so?

A recent poll went to find out. The results were published in the article The myth of Gaza’s innocent civilians

The results are sobering.  I'll let you read the article, but here a few snippets'

  • "A recent poll of Arab Muslim residents of the West Bank and Gaza, known as ‘Palestinians’ circa 1967, conducted by the Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) asked them.
  • 74% supported the Hamas atrocities of Oct 7. Of these 59% “extremely” support them and another 15% only “somewhat”. Only 7% were “extremely against” and 5% somewhat against.
  • That’s 74% in favor of murdering, raping and kidnapping Jews and only 12% against.
  • Only 7% were ‘extremely’ against murdering and abducting children."

  • "83% of those in the West Bank, ruled by the Palestinian Authority, said that they supported the Hamas atrocities. Only 7% were opposed. In Gaza, there was notably less enthusiasm at 63%. But after weeks of bombings and raids, only 20% seem to have decided it was a bad idea.
  • Why were only 7% of those in the West Bank, but 20% of those in Gaza opposed?
  • Do those extra 13% of Gazans reflect a people (slightly) more likely to value human life or terrorist supporters who, like their comrades in the West Bank, like it better when someone else is doing the fighting? If the attack had come from the West Bank, would 83% (instead of just 63%) of those in Gaza be enthusiastic about the massacre and beheading of Israelis?"
and finally. 
  • "A majority believed that the Hamas atrocities were an Islamic response to the “defilement of Al Aqsa” by allowing Jews to set foot on the former site of the Holy Temple.
  • 98% in Gaza and the West Bank said that they felt ‘pride’ as ‘Palestinians’ over the war.
  • 74% expect the fighting to end with the defeat of Israeli forces in Gaza.
  • Only 17% support a two-state solution while 77.7% want to destroy Israel and replace it with a ‘Palestinian’ state."
So are there 'innocent civilians' in Gaza?  Certainly, but most probably fewer than the Pro Palestine marchers claim.

Thursday 23 November 2023

Are EVs going to make it?

With the rapid rise in EVs driven by the climate-change-obsessed West, real-world experience is starting to raise questions.  The uptake has been Nevertheless that targets are very ambitious, perhaps better recognised as impossible. In Australia, the objective is to have EV sales representing 80% of all vehicle sales by 2030. No doubt similar ambitious targets have been set for many countries with similar climate agendas. Indeed many countries have announced phasing out of non-EVstake-up by some future date, thankfully usually at least a decade out. In Australia's case, despite a Climate Change minister who seems to have ejected all common sense and is willing to spend whatever it takes to achieve unachievable targets Reality does have a habit of coming back to bite, and so it is with EVs. With ex,take up rates the number crunchers project just 30% of new car sales will be EVs by 2030. SO Mr Bowen has some work ahead of him.

Don't get me wrong I like the idea of an EV. The electric motor is much simpler, more robust, produces great torque, is efficient, and with all the new gizmos being built in, they are technologically advanced vehicles. However, like many new technologies they have some real problems. In the case of EVs the issues are simple and serious; -

- they are not green and clean, as has been claimed

- they are expensive ( see my post for a recent study on the costs  )

- the battery technology is not yet mature. 

With regard to their Green credential see Electric Cars Aren’t Nearly as Green as People Think. There are many other articles noting the same issues. (Of course the EV industry and the CC zealots are trying to mitigate this by a lot of smoke and mirrors, so you will find many references refuting these claims,)

With regard to costs see my recent post Unmasking the real cost of EVs,

As for the battery technology, we have the following problems ;

  • charge time is excessive, making it impractical for long-distance travel. Many stories have already emerged in Australia where travelling from Sydney to Melbourne turned into a nightmare of long waits at charging stations and the like.
  • batteries have a limited life of about 10 years and a high cost of $10,000, resale values of expensive vehicles drop rapidly
  • worse still is the tendency of these batteries to become unstable, and either explode or burst into flame. This presents quite an issue for owners, even if the occurrence is very rare.  The consequent damage to adjacent property can be significant, not to mention dangerous. Insurance premiums are likely to add to the costs and may make EV ownership prohibitive.

Here is a video that highlights the very real danger with Lithium-ion batteries.

So Mr Bowen's EV dream seems to be turning, like many of his other ill-thought-through ideas, into a nightmare!

Wednesday 22 November 2023


A friend recently passed on to me a short piece under the title "The Bird Feeder" that happens to ring too true today. A quick search found that it has been around for a while and has been requoted a number of times. One source here The Bird Feeder.



I bought a bird feeder. I hung it
on my back porch and filled it
with seed. What a beauty of
a bird feeder it was, as I filled it
lovingly with seed.
Within a week we had hundreds of birds
taking advantage of the
continuous flow of free and
easily accessible food.

But then the birds started
building nests in the boards
of the patio, above the table,
and next to the barbecue.

Then came the shit. It was
everywhere: on the patio tile,
the chairs, the table ...

Then some of the birds
turned mean. They would
dive bomb me and try to
peck me even though I had
fed them out of my own

And others birds were
boisterous and loud. They
sat on the feeder and
squawked and screamed at
all hours of the day and night
and demanded that I fill it
when it got low on food.

After a while, I couldn't even
sit on my own back porch
anymore. So I took down the
bird feeder and in three days
the birds were gone. I cleaned
up their mess and took down
the many nests they had built
all over the patio.

Soon, the back yard was like
it used to be ..... quiet, serene....
and no one demanding their
rights to a free meal.

Now let's see......
Our government gives out
free food, subsidized housing,
free medical care and free
education, and allows anyone
born here to be an automatic

Then the illegals came by the
tens of thousands. Suddenly
our taxes went up to pay for
free services; small apartments
are housing 5 families; you
have to wait 6 hours to be seen
by an emergency room doctor;
Your child's second grade class is
behind other schools because
over half the class doesn't speak

Corn Flakes now come in a
bilingual box; I have to
'press one ' to hear my bank
talk to me in English, and
people waving flags other
than ”ours” are
squawking and screaming
in the streets, demanding
more rights and free liberties.

Just my opinion, but maybe
it's time for the government
to take down the bird feeder.
If you agree, pass it on; if not,
just continue cleaning up the shit!

Tuesday 21 November 2023

The burden of truth

"There is a burden of truth on all of us. There is a weight of responsibility to not give legitimacy to those who do not deserve it" Gemma Tognini "Media regards claims of murderous monsters as legitimate"

Gemma has hit the bull's eye again with her piece (see link above) articulating what many of us have concluded about Main Stream Media. I am not new to criticising the media, just look at the many posts I have penned over the years (see Media related posts ). 

Given the horrendous, unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by Hamas on Oct 7, I expected that the civilised world would speak with one voice. A singular, unquestioning, unambiguous, unqualified voice of condemnation. Yet I was wrong. It did not take even one week for the apologists for Hamas to take to the streets condemning not Hamas but Israel. I guess some reaction from the Islamists, and their useful idiots was not really surprising, but what was and remains surprising, at least to me, is the lack of moral clarity by the media. These are educated, trained journalists who should be able to discern the truth. Professional journalists would be expected to ask questions and evaluate commentary based on the credibility of their sources. Most of all I would expect a commitment to truth. But no. Too many journalists have failed their profession. 

They have accepted as true statements from those who have shown no respect for truth. From those who have been shown repeatedly to have lied. What can you say about a journalist who reports as true, without qualification, claims of 10000 dead civilians, when their source, Hamas,  had claimed 500 civilians had been killed by the Israeli bombing of a hospital which was later proved to be false. It was not Israel but a Palestinian rocket misfire, it was not 500 but about 50 and it had not destroyed the hospital but the car-park of the hospital. Ok so they did it once. But then they made repeated claims that the Al Shifa hospital was not being used by Hamas and that Israel was guilty of war crimes for attacking a hospital When Israel stated they had evidence that it was being used by Hamas, the media started qualifying the reporting saying "Israeli spokesmen claim that the hospital was being used by Hamas". Suddenly they qualify when it comes to claims by Israel but make no such qualifications when reporting on civilian deaths claimed by Hamas.

As a result, Israel has had to do its own media reporting to ensure the truth was told. They have published videos proving that the hospital had been used by Hamas for a long time given the existence of large reinforced tunnels built directly under the hospital. They also released a video from the hospital's internal video systems showing that hostages captured on Oct 7 were taken to the hospital. The truth laid bare despite all the lies.

YouTube Video of the tunnels under Al Shifa hospital

YouTube video showing Al Shifa hospital's security video showing Hamas transporting hostages. As this is adult content to view it you will have to follow the links and view it on YouTube

So what about our media. They have been shown to have had no respect for the truth. Indeed they have not had respect for the truth for a long time. The Shifa hospital was part of the Hamas infrastructure going back at least a decade. And it is unbelievable that the doctors who work there did not know, nor indeed that the media did not know it.

It reminds me of the MeToo movement that seemed to burst into our newspapers only after one brave victim of Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct spoke out. Then of course many a victim then came out of the woodwork to join the accusing crowd. In that case, too, it was well known that Weinstein had been a sexual predator, yet no one, not one of the strongly outspoken feminists who had been abused had had the courage to call it out. 

It has taken an all-out war between Israel and Hamas to call out the media lies that have provided support for Hamas' public relations. With Weinstein, the victims and their supporters came together as a group to ensure Weinstein was punished. Now that the media acolytes have been exposed will we see the media call out Hamas for its lies? Will the media confess their own complicity? I doubt it.

But Gemma's words resound more than ever. 

"There is a burden of truth on all of us. There is a weight of responsibility to not give legitimacy to those who do not deserve it"

Tuesday 14 November 2023

Unmasking the real cost of EVs

 A recent paper OVERCHARGED EXPECTATIONS: UNMASKING THE TRUE COSTS OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES by The Texas Public Policy Foundation provides a sobering assessment. 

The executive summary highlights the economic aspects of electric vehicle (EV) ownership and the challenges associated with the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) to EVs. 

While the report relates specifically to the US, it does illustrate the misleading headline figures that are driving EV sales. I would expect similar issues in all countries pursuing the move to EVs.

Key points include

  • A comprehensive analysis of the costs associated with electric vehicle (EV) ownership is crucial for a holistic understanding of the economic landscape surrounding the attempted mass transition from internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) to EVs.
  • Major selling points promoted by EV advocates are lower maintenance and fueling costs over the life of the vehicle and the common claim that reductions in battery prices will eventually make EVs less expensive to own than ICEVs.
  • A study conducted by a group at the Argonne National Laboratory estimated that while an average EV is about $22,000 more expensive to purchase than a comparable ICEV, they cost about $14,000 less to fuel, insure and maintain over a 15-year period, making their lifetime cost only $8,047 more than an ICEV.
  • No one has attempted to calculate the full financial benefit of the wide array of direct subsidies, regulatory credits, and subsidized infrastructure that contribute to the economic viability of EVs.
  • The average model year (MY) 2021 EV would cost $48,698 more to own over a 10-year period without $22 billion in government favours given to EV manufacturers and owners.
  • EV advocates claim that the cost of electricity for EV owners is equal to $1.21 per gallon of gasoline, but the cost of charging equipment and charging losses averaged out over 10 years and 120,000 miles, is $1.38 per gallon equivalent on top of that.
  • Adding the costs of the subsidies to the true cost of fueling an EV would equate to an EV owner paying $17.33 per gallon of gasoline. 
  • And these estimates do not include the hundreds of billions more in subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act (2022) for various aspects of the EV supply chain.

Friday 10 November 2023

Is journalistic ethics an oxymoron?

"Moral clarity", "moral compass", and "Moral fog", are phrases used frequently nowadays to expose arguments that support actions with a flawed ethical basis. Most common recently in relation to the Oct 7 Hamas attack on Israeli civilians, but of course applicable in many other areas of cultural conflict.


So what is moral clarity? While not easy to define for any situation, hypothetical questions provide some insight by focusing on dilemmas where we have to make choices. Our choice of right or wrong highlights our moral compass. For ourselves at least.

Here are three hypothetical questions to let you clarify your own position.

Question 1; You are a journalist confronted by an active crime scene. A young man has a woman by the throat and is trying to rape her. Do you; -

1. Try to stop him and liberate the woman?
2. Call for help and try to help her?
3. Take out your mobile phone and start filming the rape?

Question 2: You are a television journalist and your producer has inside information of where and when a protest will take place in front of a private residence. He wants you to go and cover the protest together with a film crew. You are told the protest is on a private residence so you are to ensure you do not violate trespassing laws.

Do you
1.  Follow your producer's instructions and go to the property without alerting the owner of the property?
2. Tell your producer that you would be an accomplice and therefore do not accept the assignment?
3. Inform the authorities and let them know where and when the illegal protest will take place then go and cover the protest?

Question 3; You are a photo journalist and your producer has asked you to attend a military action by a terrorist organisation. Your producer has asked you to cover the action to provide a professional record.
You know this is going to be violent and on a large scale

Do you
1. Follow your instructions and join the group as an observer to record the 'action'?
2. Tell your producer that you refuse to go as you do not want to be an accomplice to the actions of a terrorist group
3, Do you advise the authorities where and when a terrorist attack is to take place and then go and cover the action?

And a second part to this last hypothetical. 

Question 3 part 2
You had decided to go and create a record without informing the authorities who could prevent it. You now find that the terrorists are carrying out a massacre, murdering, raping, butchering, burning, decapitating,

Do you
1. Cover the story with pictures and live narrative?
2. Refuse to take part in any way?
3 Try to help those being massacred?

Of course, these are pointed questions. Unfortunately, the scenarios are not totally hypothetical,  Question 2 is based around the protest covered by Australia’s ABC where the TV crew covered an anti-mining protest at Woodside CEO's Perth residence (see Woodside files formal complaint with ABC over CEO protest. They chose not to let the victim know but took part in what they knew would be an illegal action. What do you think of the ABC's ethics?

And worse still Question 3. There was a CNN journalist embedded with the Oct 7 Hamas massacre of Israeli civilians. Yes, really. Hard to believe. Of course, some questions on ethics are now being asked, but this is after the event.

These questions are of course not easy. I can hear journos providing a variety of excuses for moral compromises; 
  • "If we let authorities know, then we would never have informers
  • "The crimes would have occurred even if we were not there, but then the world would not know about them? Surely it is better to shine a light on such events?”
  • "We never break the law"

Mmm. I guess that is where the moral clarity is missing and moral fog takes over.

Saturday 4 November 2023

We cannot relinquish the streets to the mob!

 Repercussions of Hamas' barbaric attack on Israeli citizens are percolating throughout the world with continued rocket fire by Hamas, the severe bombing of military targets by Israel, and most recently a full-force ground invasion, with the rest of the world polarising. Most Western democracies have stood strongly by Israel and support their mission to eliminate Hamas. But so too, most Western democracies have a noisy minority voicing general anti-Israeli sentiments, together with antisemitic tropes. The minority is too often allowed to march and given implied support by an activist-biased media. Unfortunately, we have been here before. The magnitude of the attack by Hamas is however unprecedented, a ubiquitous word nowadays, so we are in new territory. The coming weeks will tell.

I have been shocked by the barbarism and even more by the many of my fellow citizens who have failed to condemn it but rather support it. I am dismayed by the marches and demonstrations shouting anti-semitic slogans. But most of all I am astounded by the failure of our police to enforce the laws against illegal demonstrations and hate speech. With such a blatant violation of the law, inaction clearly sends a message, that we will not enforce hate speech laws if they are directed at Israel or Jews. It is like a time warp to the 1930s with Hitler gangs and marches. What is the base reason for such moral inversion? Is it playing for Muslim votes as some have excused, or is it something far more serious? Is it plain and simple cowardice? The police have no problem breaking up unauthorised demonstrations by peaceful anti-lockdown protesters, even using rubber bullets to break up the demonstration and arrest large numbers. Yet they have no appetite to break up a belligerent crowd fomenting hatred of Israel and Jews. Is it sympathy with the cause? I don’t know but think it is cowardice. Cowardice in the face of a loud belligerent angry mob. Fair enough they fear that they may be hurt in the melee. But if that is really the case they have the wrong job. We need police who will apply the law without FEAR or favour. Without FEAR! Also, there has been no follow-up on those who clearly broke hate speech laws in their harangues to the crowd. They were identifiable. They clearly broke the law. But was the law enforced?. Were they arrested? Has anyone been charged? Not to my knowledge.

Cowardice in the face of a minority who intimidates even our law enforcement is clearly unacceptable. We cannot, must not, relinquish peace and safety to the rule of the mob. 
It is time to hold the Police Commissioners and the Ministers of Police accountable and replace them with those who have the courage to do their jobs. In NSW we need both the Minister of Police Yasmin Catley and Police Commissioner Karen Webb to be sacked. Premier Minns if you fail to replace these people, then you yourself will share the blame and your electorate will hold you accountable via the ballot box. It will become your failure to replace those who have not done their jobs to keep our streets safe. You cannot abandon the Jewish citizens of your state because they are a small minority. Failure to enforce the law reflects on all of us. How can any of us feel safe if the laws intended to protect us are not enforced?

Thursday 2 November 2023

Time to leave UN and create a new world body of - United Democratic Nations

The United Nations (UN) was established in 1945 with the aim of promoting international cooperation and maintaining global peace and security. However, while it may have had some success as a forum for discourse it has utterly failed to maintain global peace and security. Worse still, it has become a pulpit for dictators and malevolent blocks to bully the weaker countries. In recent years it has evolved to become a supra-national legislative body usurping the rights and obligations of a democratic country to serve its population. 

Of course, much of this is not surprising. After all, while the UN purports to represent the world of nations, they do not represent the world of people. Many of the UN's nations do not represent their own citizens, as they are not democratic and do not hold regular, free elections. 

There are many reasons the UN is not working, including;-

  1. Dictatorships: The UN has a large number of member states that are dictatorships or authoritarian regimes. These countries often use their veto power to block resolutions that go against their interests, making it difficult for the UN to take action on important issues.
  2. Human Rights Council: The UN’s Human Rights Council has member states with very poor human rights records. This undermines the credibility of the council and makes it difficult for it to effectively address human rights abuses around the world.
  3. Disproportionate resolutions: The vast majority of the UN’s resolutions are used to demonise just two countries, the US and Israel. At the same time, they ignore serious abuses by other member states.
  4. Ineffectiveness: The UN has never prevented a war, nor has it stopped one. Clearly, this is because its members are not all democratic countries that value the lives of all citizens.

Given these failures, there is a strong case for establishing a new world body modelled on the United Nations but with stricter membership criteria. Such a body could require that member states be democratic and have free and fair elections on a regular basis.  This would ensure that only countries committed to human rights and democratic values are represented.

Such a body would have significant benefits; -

  1. Democratic representation: Requiring member states to be democratic would promote democratic values and reduce the influence of authoritarian regimes.
  2. Improved effectiveness: Unlike the old UN, the new UDN would be able to provide peacekeeping assistance for conflict resolution and even military force to resolve wars started by belligerent states.  
  3. Reduced bias: Members of UDN being respected democratic states would remove the incongruence of a UNHRC having members who have abused Human Rights. The UDN would avoid accusations of bias and a lack of impartiality. 
  4. Greater accountability: A new world body could be more accountable than the UN. Democratic states generally provide more transparency and accountability.

The UN is clearly not working. Even today, while it is fomenting violence in the Middle East, Iran is to Chair UN Human Rights Forum. What a farce!

Surely, it is time to call time on the United Nations and create a new United Democratic Nations to provide responsible, democratic leadership to our troubled world.