My background letter to Piers Akerman of the Daily
8th February 2008
As you have been valiantly taking on Kevin Lindeberg's cause on the scandalous Shreddergate fiasco I wanted to give you the scoop on the events leading up to the damning adjudication published by the Australian Press Council this week.
Scan of the Australian Press Council adjudication at this link: Page One, Page Two, Page Three
First a bit of background.
In 1996 I started archiving a summary of the daily news that appeared in The Courier-Mail (I live in Brisbane) and put this online. In effect I had accidentally started the first online daily newspaper which, within a few weeks, drew a large following from ex-pat Australians now living overseas. What followed over the next couple of years was the evolution of an associated open and unmoderated online forum while the online paper had slowly moved away from its central theme of The Courier-Mail. It now embraced a more global range of subjects and concerns centering around globalisation.
In this open forum everything from the Holocaust to the allegations of aspartame being poisonous were discussed and as a result there was a dramatic change in the "extremist" views of some who, for example, could have been labelled anti-Semitic. Because the forum was open this open exchange of views broke down conspiracy theories and gave "radicals" a new moderate view on life - in other words their extremism dissipated because the had had the opportunity to openly argue their point and see the error in their ways. I had little involvement in the forum and only removed an item if someone complained - this seldom happened and almost all posts were quite harmless.
In 1999 after being the One Nation webmaster for two years I launched my book "Murder by Media" which attacked Jeremy Jones and the Australia/Israel Review for naming 2000 One Nation members in 1998 from a stolen list. However the main focus of the book was the bias and appalling reporting ethics of The Courier-Mail then under the editorial lead of The Australian's current editor-in-chief one Chris Mitchell.
From that time both Jeremy Jones and Chris Mitchell had me in their sights. So it is not unsurprising that they both played a role in the article that appeared in October last year which suggested that Kevin Lindeberg was associated with racists and anti-Semites. Of course both suggestions are totally false and nothing more than blatant attempts to smear his good name in a similar manner to that once used by Mitchell to tarnish One Nation when it was proving a political force. I am not going to get in a debate about One Nation I just want to make it clear that I threw my support behind the party because it was the only one that would tackle my concerns over globalisation and had a spectacular success in this area following Australia's refusal to sign the MAI.
Within weeks of "Murder by Media" going to print the book became a best seller despite being banned by Dymocks following a threat by the late Kerry Packer. Its best seller status on the Internet resulted from the publicity I received over the banning. The print media remained silent about Dymocks quietly withdrawing the book.
The Courier-Mail took a different tack to Packer. Within weeks of publishing "Murder by Media" they started running a series of highly damaging articles suggesting that I was a racist and anti-Semitic - using extracts from an article published by Jeremy Jones of the Australia/Israel Review called "Always Conspiracy". Jones had simply trawled my open unmoderated forum, selectively extracted comments made by participants in the forum and then presented them as representing my views to support his claims that I was anti-Semitic and a racist. Of course The Courier-Mail simply jumped on his bandwagon and he became Mitchell's fabricated expert on my views and beliefs.
In early 2000 I went to trial in an Ipswich Magistrates court for naming Bill D'Arcy as a man facing child sex charges before he was committed for trial. The complainant in July 1999 was Sue Monk a reporter at The Courier-Mail, the complaint made under the paper's letterhead. The paper would publicly deny this claim in articles until I later sued it in the Supreme Court for being a party to a malicious prosecution. They then claimed in their statement lodged in the Supreme Court files that they made the complaint "in the public interest". Ironically in the week that the paper lodged the complaint against me it breached the same act three times and yet never faced any charges. On the day of my arrest a senior reporter at The Courier-Mail, David Solomon, set out in a prominent feature article why the police were entitled to pursue me.
I had been singled out.
A few months after my arrest, in November 1999, I resigned from One Nation after a fallout with Pauline Hanson over her handling of the deregistration of the party in Queensland. It was at my hand the party collapsed because my extensive email network of members built up over many years were alerted to the issues behind my resignation.
Following my trial in March 2000, in which I represented myself and was found not guilty, I published my book "Enemy of the State" - a diary of my political arrest. This book was recently put into a documentary film and Kevin Lindeberg played a cameo role in discussing the shredding fiasco.
After my trial I was nearly bankrupted and closed down my online daily newspaper which remains copied in the archives of the National Library of Australia.
One of the few pages I retained and still maintain was the detailed set of links and information covering the Heiner Affair. Bronwyn Bishop referred constantly to this page in her parliamentary report on the scandal. Everything on this page is on the public record and was not compiled in co-operation with Lindeberg rather compiled to expose another great wrong involving the Queensland Government.
In the article carried in The Australian on 5th October last year the paper made several extraordinary, baseless and fabricated claims. This was done under the editorial leadership of the same Chris Mitchell. Mitchell's new wife, a young Christine Jackman, is good friends of Kevin Rudd and Rudd was the Godfather of their child not long before the Federal election last year. So you can start seeing a picture forming here.
The Australian Press Council hearing
In the complaints hearing earlier this week I explained to the committee under the Chair of Professor Ken McKinnon how The Australian, who refused to send a representative, simply cut and paste the fabricated eight year old allegations that they had made about me in 1999 (referred to above) and simply recast them as current facts. This argument was clearly presented in my complaint sent to The Australian in November last year. They omitted to respond to this point simply claiming that I had refused to be interviewed. This is complete hogwash as in the four email exchanges I had with their Brisbane-based reporter, Greg Roberts, I made it clear on several occasions that I would be happy to answer any questions via email - and I did. He sent me three questions and I replied to all of them. I could not speak to him on the phone as I was travelling to South Africa to launch my latest book "Children of the Mist" - a book which ironically took 30 years of research and is the rewrite of South Africa's history from a non-white, Griqua, perspective. In his email questions there was no suggestion that Roberts would be writing an article claiming I was a long term right wing extremist or anti-Semitic. It is a fact that Roberts extracted a single line out of context from my first reply and presented this in his article to support the claim that I was co-operating with Kevin Lindeberg and that Lindeberg was, by association, an extremist.
I tabled a copy of my book "Children of the Mist" during the hearing and also displayed the numerous glowing articles written about the book by the South African media. It was at the time these articles were published in S Africa, while Roberts knew I was out of the country, The Autralian branded me a long term right wing extremist. For the record I also run the largest online village homestay business in the world - this project helps thousand of indigenous people by bringing cash into their economy. I was able to demonstrate this to the APC.
What was very disturbing was the fact that Roberts put his name to an article which claimed that I had denied being an extremist. This is simply untrue. I did not deny this because I did not know that this was the theme he would be taking. It was only on my return to Australia in early November that I lodged my complaint with the Press Council. In their response to my complaint The Australian justified fabricating this comment by falsely claiming "I refused to be interviewed".
While this adjudication by the Australian Press Council has now been cleared my name of the unsavoury and unfounded allegations made by Chris Mitchell of The Australian Lindeberg's campaign to see justice done remains unfinished business. I thank you personally Piers for your interest and dogged determination in trying to raise the profile of this scandal and hope that any other reporters who happen to come across this detailed response to the Press Council's finding against The Australian will now take up your cause.
This is not about politics, this is about natural justice. Lindeberg is best placed to set out the detail of the government bodies involved in this scandal which will not go away but just gets worse - jut like Watergate.
As Lindeberg says, the truth will out.
Return to Response to The Australian