In February I addressed Senator Rhiannon’s attempts to discredit her ASIO file and her involvement with KGB agents Ivan Stenin and Vladimir Alekseev. In 2010 Senator Rhiannon promised that a full report on her ASIO file would shortly be placed on her website. She never did this. My speech encouraged her to do so. Alas, this has not occurred.
I also outlined a number of serious questions Senator Rhiannon had to answer:
■ What was her involvement with KGB agents Ivan Stenin and Vladimir Alekseev?
■ Did she visit any Eastern bloc countries in 1970-71?
■ If so, which ones, why, and precisely when did she return to Australia?
■ Did she attend the Lenin School during any of her trips abroad?
Senator Rhiannon has also declined to address these questions, meaning that there continue to be serious concerns about her political activities and antecedents.
However, today I wish to focus on another of Senator Rhiannon’s political associations, this time with a curious, anti-Semitic fringe group which has infiltrated the Greens, namely the Truthers—those who deny that Islamic terrorists were responsible for the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. I note that yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the tragic 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Centre.
But first some background. There is a video of Senator Bob Brown addressing an anti-war rally in 2003 outside Parliament House. He is standing in front of a banner which reads, ‘Why?—whatreallyhappened.com’. This banner promotes a particularly repugnant, conspiracist, anti-Semitic website that argues that the September 11 terrorist attacks were a US-Israeli conspiracy. If only everything in the world was so simply explained! The banner clearly suggests that the reason for the invasion of Iraq can be found at this website.
(The Greensparty is) starting to evolve beyond their roots, essentially, in the environmental movement. That does create dangers for them, and I think the greatest danger is that they will become a magnet for all sorts of loopy fringe groups on the Left who think that they are a convenient vehicle through which they can reach for broader power than they would be able to achieve in their own right.
The subject headings on this website give you the drift: ‘US Government Treason’, ‘Fake Terror’, ‘Lie of the Century’, ‘Waco’, ‘JFK’, ‘Killing Jesus’ Family’. And whatreallyhappened.com’s loopy conspiracy theories are coupled with anti-Semitism, found under headings such as ‘Israeli Thuggery’. Amidst all of this you have herbal healing catalogues and articles on how to make your own solar panels to overcome President Obama’s conspiracy to drive up power prices! Clearly Truthers like the one who held the whatreallyhappened.com banner behind Bob Brown feel the Greens can muster a sympathetic audience. And I note that in New Zealand, the co-leader of the Greens signed the ‘politicians for 9/11 truth’ petition.
Flash forward to 2010 and the Greens candidate for Flinders in Victoria, going by the unlikely name of Bob Brown, had this to say to the Western Port News regarding the September 11, 2001 attacks on the USA:
The 9/11 commission was not conclusive that al-Qa’ida was responsible …
There are huge questions that need to be asked—one building came down without being hit, architects say the buildings looked like they were brought down by controlled explosions. What happened to the bodies and plane at the Pentagon?
This Bob Brown later retracted his comments, saying:
I was speaking as an individual only and regret my comment.
I turn now to the infiltration by Truthers of the New South Wales Greens — attempts fostered by none other than Senator Rhiannon when she was a New South Wales member of the Legislative Council. John Bursill is a self-described aircraft engineer and Illawarra Green. He is a prolific contributor to websites which promote conspiracy theories about 9-11. On 11 May 2008 John Bursill posted the following on the 911 Truth Now forum:
Today on May 11th at a Greens Public Forum at their Erskineville (Sydney) Head Office, Truth Action Australia was in attendance in strength. We had a very interesting time and made some real ground with the Staffers and elected members present including the formidable Lee Rhiannon NSW MP who has agreed to view the DVD’s given to her and she said “she will be in touch” She was fully conversant with “False Flag Terrorism” and was really genuinely interested! Numerous people within our movement and the Greens have been working on this issue for two years now and maybe it is now paying off?
There has been an obvious change to the response received on this issue and I am now confident of a result within the Greens is possible if not probable. The attendance of MP Fujita to our Sydney Conference is making a real difference in “the reality” of our cause and they simply cannot deny us any longer, we are changing the world.
It would be fair to say that the 10 or so 9/11 Truthers in attendance, two of which were Greens Members, were impressed by the open and fair hearing they were given on the issue of a new 9/11 Investigation.
I should point out that Yukihisa Fujita is a Japanese MP who demanded an independent investigation into 9/11.
While quite detailed by itself, this post by John Bursill might be discounted as wishful thinking. Similarly Lee Rhiannon’s agreement to view the Truthers’ DVDs and to be in touch might, by itself, be dismissed as politeness. However, on 6 August 2008 on the 911oz Forum John Bursill posted this:
Invitation to the Greens to attend the “NO FEAR TRILOGY” Public Meeting.
If you are not aware of how we have now met “officially” with Lee Rhiannon at the NSW Parliament, a few weeks back. These discussions were very successful and we are hopeful of a break through.
I believe the Senate is entitled to know if indeed Lee Rhiannon did have a meeting with these Truthers around July 2008 at the New South Wales parliament. If so, coming after her exchange at the Greens public forum in Erskineville, this would appear to be in full knowledge of the Truthers’ bizarre beliefs and agenda. Senator Rhiannon should answer this question: did she meet with these Truthers and, if so, why? John Bursill’s post also details a letter sent to Senator Rhiannon’s office on the same day. I quote from the letter, which says:
Hello Lee and Linda,
Truth Action Sydney are holding a Public Meeting “Delusion 911″ on the anniversary of the September 11 Attacks 2001. Starting 7pm at the Tom Mann Theatre, Surrey Hills. This is part of our “NO FEAR TRILOGY” Three Truth Events in September, for more details see below.
Two of the speakers at this meeting (details below) are members of the Australian Greens, James O’Neill, Barrister and North Brisbane Convener and myself John Bursill, Engineer and Illawarra Green. We are hopeful that Lee or an official of the Australian/NSW Greens may attend and speak in support for our call for a proper criminal investigation into those events that lead to the death of 10 Australian’s and two terrible wars in there name.
The next day, on 7 August, John Bursill posted this update:
Unfortunately Lee is unable to attend this meeting as she is away down the South Coast. She has given me her assurance the Greens are looking for a representative (with a long neck) to attend this meeting and will be distributing this information to their e-mail list.
If you know the history of my/our campaign with the Greens you will realize this is of great significance!
There is genuine support for this issue now.
What are we to make of Lee Rhiannon declining to attend the ‘Delusion 911′ event on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks? On 8 August 2008, under Lee Rhiannon’s banner, an e-brief, No. 211, was issued from the offices of New South Wales Greens MPs containing information about the activities of the New South Wales Greens. Under ‘Coming events involving Greens’, Lee Rhiannon’s e-brief advertises:
DELUSION 9/11: PUBLIC MEETING
Thursday September 11
Tom Mann Theatre
136 Chalmers St. Surry Hills
5mins walk from Central Station
At least they are using public transport. It goes on:
Find out why millions of people around the world reject the official explanation of 9/11 and the collapse of the twin towers!
Speakers include -
*Dr David Leifer – Architect and Associated Engineer
*Dr Frank Legge – Chemist/Scientist and Peace Activist
*James O’Neil – Barrister at Law and Peace Activist
*Gillian Norman – Film Maker, former BBC Journalist
*John Bursill – Licensed Aircraft Engineer
*Kevin Bracken – Victorian Union Secretary
I am not sure which union he was from [VEXNEWS: The Maritime Union of Australia]. The e-brief says, lastly:
Presented by Sydney Truth Action (email@example.com)
I believe it is incumbent on Senator Rhiannon to explain why she appears to have abetted the publicising of the event ‘Delusion 9/11′. This is another opportunity for Senator Rhiannon to be straight with the Senate and the Australian people:
■ Why has she, as it appears, flirted with, given comfort to and aided the wacky, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the Truthers?
■ What other contact has she had with these people and how many of them are Greens members? It is in the public interest that Senator Rhiannon address these concerns.
The common thread with her previous support for the old-style Soviet Union, for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions, or BDS, campaign and for the Truthers is their extremely hostile positions on Israel. We are entitled to know the truth. No-one here pretends that MPs are not subject to a lot of people wanting to come to see them, and you have to see them where possible; we are representatives of the people. But, in this case, we are dealing with a situation where a person who has had a particular history, on which I have elaborated in this place before, has also potentially been entertaining the views of people who are anti-Semitic and who propagate theories and myths that have already been shot down—shot down by a very comprehensive 9-11 commission in the United States very soon after that particular tragedy happened. That was a very comprehensive blue-ribbon panel, as they call them over there, which involved people from all sides of politics, so there was no way that their conclusions could have been nobbled.
We live in a world where, if we are to bear witness to the truth, (Senator Scott) Ludlam, you are in the chair and you are a great supporter of Julian Assange and the odyssey he has been on — we have to be bearers of the truth in all situations, and we have to be prepared to stand up to people who are propagating these falsehoods and lies, which only lead to prejudice and blind ideological perversities. I believe the Truthers have committed those in what they are saying. Of course we need to move on the issues that affect peace in the Middle East. No-one is saying that somehow Israel is alright and that the other proponents in the various Middle East conflicts are somehow wrong. We are trying to come to a situation where there is an accommodation between all those parties in the Middle East. I do not believe that these sorts of activities of the Truthers and others help us to actually get to that point and I am disturbed that members of this parliament can entertain those sorts of people.
Let me make a more general point about the Greens at this time in their evolution. They are starting to evolve beyond their roots, essentially, in the environmental movement. That does create dangers for them, and I think the greatest danger is that they will become a magnet for all sorts of loopy fringe groups on the Left who think that they are a convenient vehicle through which they can reach for broader power than they would be able to achieve in their own right. I think this is an issue that the Greens must face up to. The Greens have always done best when they have stuck to their roots, which were essentially in the environmental movement. Yes, of course, any political movement is free to move into new areas and to talk about, as they do, social justice and the like, but the fact of the matter is that what is happening now is an attempt by part of the Greens movement to take over the rest of the Greens movement and to recast them in their own image.
I think it is incumbent on all of us to understand those pressures which are at work. There have been many political parties on both sides of the house that have had experience with small groups that infiltrate and then seek to exert a broader influence. We know how malign that influence can become. It is very important in these situations that we take the opportunity to identify those influences in the broader public interest because, as representatives of this parliament, when we talk about the need for truth we cannot be selective. We have to be prepared to face the truth in all sorts of difficult and different circumstances, and it is not always comfortable for us as parliamentary representatives to do that because sometimes we have two confront some of our own preconceptions. But the reality is that, in this particular case, as I have adumbrated here, there is an issue that the Greens do need to address, and I look forward to the new Greens, like the new Green who has just come in, Senator Whish-Wilson from Tasmania, encouraging the Greens to go back to their roots. No-one can have an argument about the need to focus on the broader policy issues, but what I do have an argument with is when people, first of all, try to disassociate themselves from their past without in any way seeking to, if you like, accept that some of the things they did in the past were perhaps antidemocratic, as in the case of the support by Senator Rhiannon of the previous Soviet Union, or in the present seeking to encourage and give succour to groups who peddle prejudice, propaganda and mythmaking.
VEXNEWS FRIDAY UPDATE: The Australian reports today that Senator Lee Rhiannon’s own website contains the text of past speeches including key aspects of 9/11 “Truther” propaganda. In 2009, she said:
Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA we have been subjected to a propaganda bombardment such as no other that I can recall…
We were told that our governments had incontrovertible evidence that Osama bin Laden, holed up in an Afghanistan cave, had ordered the attacks. But no such evidence was produced. What the public have been subjected to is a patchwork of a few facts, propaganda, prejudice and conjecture.
Of course, Osama bin Laden himself claimed responsibility for ordering and financing the 9/11 terror attacks, in 2004:
“God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the Towers, but after the situation became unbearable—and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon—I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed—when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way: to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.”
It seems the Greensparty Senator didn’t get the memo.