It was not so long ago that Australia lead the world in fearless but fair investigation and reporting – at least in terms of the efforts of streetwise and tenacious journalists like George Negus and Richard Carleton striding the world daring to ask difficult questions. And more recently, soon after his efforts in a story to assist me and my family to nail conman Brendan O’Dowd (e.g. 1) at Hong Kong airport (who died stranded in HK soon after being exposed), Dave ‘foot in the door’ Richardson was effectively pensioned off by Channel 7 as part of new changes. Since then Australian current affairs has increasingly become sanitized, ineffectual and apparently sponsor-driven (e.g. perhaps by corporate directive, A Current Affair now seems to have its main priority the promotion of sales by local shopping chains such as Audi and Coles).
In the last days we have not only heard how Australia’s premier bank CBA has been systemically involved in assisting money laundering for Asian crime syndicates and others as well as even ‘terror financing’ (2) – but that (a) other Australian banks were involved in similar activities (3) and (b) that Australia is now globally regarded in ‘certain circles’ as a ‘safe haven for criminal activity’ (4) – including in relation to the ASX (4a). This is a consequence of how (as AW has focused on quite recently) Australian watchdogs have been effectively muzzled to become a dishonest public relations stunt – typically or effectively serving to shut down rather than supporting whistleblowers (5)
A variation of this is what might be called the ‘no evidence!’ run-around. I am sitting drinking my coffee this morning in a KL café (and almost choking up on my Nasi Lemak) reading accounts in the local newspaper The Star of a sequence of examples of this as a possible rort. One headline talks about a Myanmar government claim that there is ‘ no evidence of rights abuse’ in relation to the Rohingyas in Rakhine state (6). This is framed in terms of a related admission that independent journalists and/or NGO agencies are banned from going into these areas to report or investigate. Another headline involves an Australian academic from a university where I was once a student (7). At a conference he asserted that there was no evidence that any Falung Gong member had ever been the victim of a forced organ donation. This may or may not be true (how would he really know anyway?) – but what can’t be argued with is how more and more academics are becoming often paid advocates for vested interests and fake contrarian positions. And I must have a dozen emails or letters from the Queensland Department of Transport bureaucrats (from the underlings of SPER and the Toll Offence Unit through to the recently stood-aside/compromised Minister Mark Bailey) dishonestly as well as arrogantly saying to me “No evidence – we cannot find anything!’ (I am sure they have used the same cookie-cutter template letter) as they completely ignore a substantial, legitimate and pressing complaint and indisputable evidence provided in support of this (8).
We noted a few weeks ago in separate items how so-called neutral voices are going around being sponsored by Big Pharma as well as Tobacco companies giving ‘authoritative’ but basically false declarations about our health – and some enjoying the attention as well as perhaps possible under the table payments in some cases that ‘climate change is a myth’. The New York Times’ William Safire has defined the cover your ass syndrome (CYA – or in the Australian parlance ‘arse-covering’) as “the bureaucratic technique of averting future accusations of policy error or wrongdoing by deflecting responsibility in advance”. [Our term here ‘sinister arse-covering’ basically refers to a form of arse-covering with wilful intent to cover-up actual, likely and/or possible sinister activity – not just your regulation arse-covering with casual indifference and apparent blindness]. In other words, it’s the new global sport which may yet make an appearance at an upcoming Olympics (if so, then this will be possibly because of some more under the table payments). Australia is still in with a good chance at a future Olympics gold medal!
– CKR 8/8/2017
Commonwealth Bank, safe haven for criminal activity?