Last year, more than half of Australia's exports to Burma consisted of $20 million worth of wheat shipped to the country by disgraced exporter AWB.Who wrote it? Would you believe Dennis Shanahan, Political Editor of the Government Gazette, with (presumably not a little) help from a "special correspondent in Rangoon".
Australia also last year provided some counter-terrorist training to officials from the military junta...
Bloggers, armed with digital cameras and software to dodge firewalls, have shown the uprising to the world, and the junta's bloodthirsty response. Now they have been silenced and forced underground.
The junta has always kept a chokehold on internet users, licensing computers and issuing accounts through state-monitored internet service providers. Now, having failed to stop the cyber-dissidents broadcasting to the world, the authorities have switched off the internet.
First they arrested individuals blogging about the protests and confiscated their computers. Then they blocked individual Burmese blogs, and last Wednesday they blocked all of them. But the overseas sites were beyond its reach, so on Friday it switched off the internet altogether.
Emails can now be sent only within Burma, and only official websites can be viewed. The sole solution now would be to dial up ISPs overseas but the cost of international calls is prohibitive.
Now, while high-profile stories like this in any media are to be applauded, Shanahan wins today's covetted WOTD award for his sheer hypocrisy in applauding bloggers while desperately trying to pretend that the Howard government is really doing anything useful to counter the Burmese regime.
Here's his opening para:
AUSTRALIA has taken a lead in the diplomatic war on Burma's junta, refusing to accept a military commander as the rogue state's new ambassador to Canberra.Firstly, how do you take A lead? Either you take THE lead, or you are a follower.
Secondly, this ambassador was rejected "several months ago". But Shanahan insists that publicly disclosing the rejection is "a rare diplomatic snub". Well, that's surely going to bring down the whole sorry regime, isn't it?!
The truth is that the Howard government's Big Business foreign policy agenda is part of a corrupted global system that helps regimes like Burma's stay in power. And as a longtime champion of both the Howard government and their criminal international activities, Shanahan is in no position to pose as a champion of Democracy, let alone bloggers.