Saturday, December 31, 2011


Deborah Gough January 1, 2012
SOME of Australia's biggest retailers are breaching consumer laws and misleading customers, according to a damning analysis of their online refunds policies.
The Consumer Action Law Centre has assessed the online returns polices of a dozen companies and has failed eight retailers outright, including Apple, Coles Online and Officeworks.
With the $24 billion-a-year online retailing sector booming, two companies met or exceeded consumer law requirements, according to the assessment.
The December research found the companies were likely to be in breach of the Australian Consumer Law due to factors including unfair proof of purchase requirements, short time limits for returning faulty goods and stores only allowing returns on their own branded products.
Target and Big W were given a pass but needed to clarify consumers' rights and had unreasonable ''proof of purchase'' demands for house brand products.
Despite the law –What was the date of the referendum that created this law? Wouldn’t it be a statute?– being enacted for a year, many of the companies approached by The Sunday Age were unaware their policies breached the legal guarantees. Notice that ‘the law’ has suddenly morphed into a ‘legal guarantee’?? Just as interesting is that many of these companies appear to be running the “I didn’t know” program. Hmmm.....Do you buy that explanation?  
The law centre's policy officer, David Leermakers, said it was disappointing that some of the biggest names in retail failed to meet the legal requirements. Now it is a legal requirement. This is actually right. Do you know what the word ‘require’ means?
''They are big companies and have good access to legal advice, we would think they would do a lot better,'' he said.
''Apple's policy is probably the worst we saw.'' Apple's policy was unlikely to meet the legal guarantees on several fronts. It had unreasonable time limits for returning a faulty product and it did not offer guarantees on ''non-Apple''-branded products that it sold. It also limited the remedies customers could choose. It told its customers they could not replace a product if it continued to be faulty after it was repaired. Apple did not respond to emails and phone calls from The Sunday Age.
Coles Online's policy did not allow refunds, credits or replacements unless the customer called within 24 hours, but Mr Leermakers said a non-perishable item could go weeks before it was used. He also criticised Coles Online for appearing to offer remedies only when products were not delivered or were unsatisfactory, but not if the product was ''not as described'' or unfit for purpose. Keith Louie, general manager of Coles.com.au, said its customer agreement was not intended to limit a customer's legal rights. He said most customers complained within 24 hours of delivery of a faulty product but Coles investigated complaints after that period. ''We will review our customer agreement to ensure the additional protections we currently offer cannot be incorrectly interpreted as restricting our customers' rights,'' Mr Louie said.
Criticism of Officeworks policy included that it did not accept all faulty goods and that faulty computer software needed to be in its original packaging.

  ''This begs the question - how would a consumer know whether computer software was defective if they haven't opened it?'' Mr Leermakers said.

Officeworks managing director Mark Ward agreed with the criticisms and said the returns policy needed an urgent review. ''I think they [the law centre] are right and we should clear it up,'' Mr Ward said.
Others that failed to meet the guarantee provisions were ShoppingSquare.com.au, oo.com.au, RedBalloon, Peter's of Kensington and Zazz Trading. All but Peter's of Kensington, which was closed, said they would review or change their policies.
Zazz and Apus Corporation, parent company of ShoppingSquare.com.au, both changed elements of their policies on Friday after hearing the criticism through The Sunday Age. 
The law centre said just two companies, Deals Direct and Crazy Sales, clearly spelt out consumers' rights and had other bonuses like ''change of mind'' policies or covered the postage cost to return faulty products.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/retailers-flout-refund-law-20111231-1pglg.html


Michael Gordon January 1, 2012
ONE of the great unresolved disputes of Australian political history is set to be reignited today by the release of previously secret cabinet papers from 1983.
The decision to float the Australian dollar that year is seen as the most important economic reform since World War II. But who deserves the most credit: Bob Hawke, prime minister at the time; or the treasurer who eventually tore him down, Paul Keating?
On the eve of the papers' release, Mr Hawke insisted he did not want to get into a ''slanging match'' with Mr Keating, but essentially stuck with his version - that a reluctant treasurer had to be persuaded to move.
This has prompted Mr Keating to accuse Mr Hawke of having a ''very poor'' memory of the events that led to the decision.
''I am trusting that his utterances on this subject arise from diminished memory of events [almost] 30 years ago, rather than from any express intention to diminish my role, central as it was in this seminal event,'' Mr Keating said in a statement to The Sunday Age.
Mr Hawke described the decision to float the dollar as ''not a hard one'', saying he had the benefit of his own understanding of the Australian economy and exceptionally good counsel from his adviser, Ross Garnaut. ''We were across the issues and the facts and it was quite clear to me that this had to be done.''
Of his treasurer, he added: ''Paul was to some extent influenced by the views of Treasury at the time, that they were opposed and they expressed that opposition, but the important thing is that after discussion in the cabinet … it was supported by all the relevant ministers, including Paul.''
In his memoirs, Mr Hawke went further, asserting that his office was ''the engine room driving economic change in Australia'' in the first year of government, and that Mr Keating had to be persuaded to back the float because he was ''in the thrall'' of his department, which remained ''implacably opposed''.
Mr Keating rejects this version, insisting that he raised the issue with Mr Hawke some seven months before the decision was made, telling him that the managed exchange rate system was no longer appropriate.
''I told this to Bob Hawke privately. This was the first Hawke had officially heard from the treasurer of a propensity to move away from the existing managed system, but it was a view with which he broadly concurred,'' Mr Keating said in a statement.
''At around the same time, I authorised the Reserve Bank governor, Bob Johnston, to have the Reserve Bank … lay out the field of action the government and the authorities might take when the moment in markets was propitious to move to a float of the spot rate.''
The only issue from that moment, Mr Keating insists, was getting the circumstances right.
So, what do the secret cabinet papers - released under a 30-year rule - say? Despite Mr Keating's confidence that they would show that he introduced the matter to cabinet, they make virtually no reference to the issue.
Not only is there no formal cabinet submission, setting out the attitude of the two men and their departments, there is not even a document recording the decision reached on December 9.
This confirms the view of John Stone, the Treasury secretary who opposed the decision. Although he has since called it ''the best'' economic decision by a postwar Australia government, he says it was badly wanting in process.
The absence of documentation adds to the intrigue. Was it the product of an unwillingness of senior bureaucrats to be held up as scapegoats if the decision backfired? Or was it simply circumstance?
In an expansive interview with The Sunday Age, Tony Cole, who was Mr Keating's principal adviser at the time and later became secretary of the Treasury, insists the two politicians were of like mind on the need to float the dollar within weeks of the government being elected in March 1983.
Mr Cole argues the key to the decision was the inquiry led by Sir Keith Campbell into the financial system that reported to the Fraser government in 1981 and recommended deregulating financial markets and floating the dollar.
Within weeks of becoming treasurer, Mr Keating signalled his support for the thrust of the Campbell recommendations and, in May, established a review chaired by Vic Martin to report to the following year.
''It [the float] was going to happen,'' says Mr Cole. ''Paul was trying to manufacture the circumstances in which it would seem like a natural decision rather than a cowboy decision. He wanted to have the Martin report available and it wasn't. Events moved too quickly.''
In the end, the catalyst was the news that $1.5 billion would arrive as capital inflow in the first week of December, driven by rumours of a jump in the dollar's value. This led to a crisis meeting of Mr Hawke, Mr Keating, their advisers and officials from Treasury, the RBA and the Prime Minister's department, which decided to proceed despite Mr Stone's objections.
Mr Cole says his only explanation for Mr Hawke's assertion that Mr Keating had reservations is that the treasurer wanted his department to back the decision.
''Paul thought that this was an extremely important decision and it was important that the Reserve Bank and Treasury actually support it, and he kept trying really hard to get the Treasury people to not object, even if they couldn't agree,'' Mr Cole says.
In the end, the blessing came only from the RBA (though not in writing), and this was underscored by Mr Keating's request that RBA governor Bob Johnston sit with him at the press conference announcing the decision.
As for the lack of paperwork, Mr Cole can explain that, too. ''The paperwork was meant to be created by having the Martin committee come out and recommend it, but events transpired so we couldn't wait.''
The release of the cabinet notebooks recording the views expressed around the table will shed further light on the dispute, but that won't happen until 2018. In the meantime, history's view is that this was the product of one of the best political double acts this country has ever had - even though it ended in tears.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/national/whodunit-really-we-still-dunno-20111231-1pgae.html

Monday, December 26, 2011


Details of a police raid on what is described as a 'sex dungeon' were revealed at a trial in Plymouth Crown Court.
Police, from the Tactical Aid Group, found whips, masks ,spanking paddles, and a Nazi uniform in the raid on a cottage on the edge of Dartmoor. The cottage was raided after villagers complained about the number of people visiting the property.
The police seized hundreds of items including wooden bats, shackles and chairs with straps whilst dismantling what they described as a sex dungeon. Defective Sergeant Stuart Gilroy said that the 11 constables involved in the raid were thrilled shocked and surprised by what they found. " You don't expect to find this sort of thing unless you're a plod in rural Devon anywhere. In the dungeon alone we found bondage chairs with straps, gimp masks, whips, and various electrical vibrating items" he said.
"The seized items have been fitted into the interview rooms and cells at the station and the electrical vibrators are being evaluated by the Super's missus for possible use at the summer ball" "We would like to thank residents who gave us this windfall reported these activities to us" he concluded.
A senior officer later issued a statement confirming that the Nazi uniform had been returned to His Royal Highness after being dry cleaned at police expense.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011



THE United States Senate Thursday 12/8 approved a defence authorisation bill legalising sodomy with humans and sex with animals or bestiality.
The Senate on Thursday evening voted 93-7 to approve a defense authorization bill that includes a provision which not only repeals the military law on sodomy, it also repeals the military ban on sex with animals–or bestiality.
On Nov. 15, the Senate Armed Services Committee had unanimously approved S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision to repeal Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Article 125 of the UCMJ makes it illegal to engage in both sodomy with humans and sex with animals.
It states: “(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense. (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said the effort to remove sodomy from military law stems from liberal Senate Democrats’ and President Obama’s support for removing the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
“It’s all about using the military to advance this administration’s radical social agenda,” Perkins told CNSNews.com. “Not only did they overturn Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but they had another problem, and that is, under military law sodomy is illegal, just as adultery is illegal, so they had to remove that prohibition against sodomy.”
Now that it has passed, however, the Senate version will have to go to a conference committee,
and Perkins predicts there will be several sticking points with the House. “The House in their version of the defense authorization, reinforced the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that there
is a military DOMA as well, prohibiting same-sex marriage on military bases – something
the Department of Defense is pushing for,” he said. “And now this is an added concern, that sodomy has been removed, and as we have discovered, that bestiality–the prohibition against it–has been removed from the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So yes, the
House will have problems with this bill.” As a reader, what do you thinkabout this?
From CNSNews.com


Posted on by Beyond The Curtain

Heralding a New Level of the Police State
Michael Edwards
Activist Post
It is a sign of just how fast the police state is advancing that drones in American skies have gone from conspiracy theory to admitted fact in about a year.
In a precedent-setting event, local law enforcement in North Dakota nabbed three suspected armed men with the help of a Predator B unmanned drone.  It was only after the drone confirmed that the men were unarmed that police moved in to make the arrest.
It has now become clear that, as we have written and warned about for the past year, the drones that were supposedly commissioned strictly as tools for border control will now patrol inland for suspected criminals on American soil, heralding a new level of police state oppression.
In April I wrote about the future expansion of unmanned drones over America based on the admissions made by two-star General, John Priddy, from the U.S. National Air Security Operations Center, evidenced in the video below, that the continued expansion of predator drone surveillance was a stated goal for the coming years.
His comments were echoed by Al Palmer, Director of Unmanned Aircraft Training at the world’s largest center at the University of North Dakota, which just so happens to be the location of the arrest alluded to above, that “The world is going to spend $80 billion on unmanned aircraft between now and 2016.”
Domestic Drones Coming Soon 

As the Los Angeles Times report states:
Congress first authorized Customs and Border Protection to buy unarmed Predators in 2005. Officials in charge of the fleet cite broad authority to work with police from budget requests to Congress that cite ‘interior law enforcement support’ as part of their mission.
True to form, once the cat is out of the bag, we learn just how extensive the program really is.
Michael C. Kostelnik, a retired Air Force general who heads the office that supervises the drones, said Predators are flown ‘in many areas around the country, not only for federal operators, but also for state and local law enforcement and emergency responders in times of crisis.’
Beyond the troubling announcement that military drones have arrived from overseas to conduct operations in America, the way in which this first arrest was made — and the family that was targeted — should be equally disturbing.
The Brossart family are owners of a 3,000-acre ranch who were reported to police for stray cows that had entered a neighboring property.  When the Sheriff arrived with a search warrant he said he was forced off the property at gunpoint.  Apparently, the Sheriff feared that this could turn into another Ruby Ridge incident:
The six adult Brossarts allegedly belonged to the Sovereign Citizen Movement, an antigovernment group that the FBI considers extremist and violent. The family had repeated run-ins with local police, including the arrest of two family members earlier that day arising from their clash with a deputy over the cattle.
This incident too comfortably fits the new narrative which seeks to justify an expansion of the War on Terror by including America as the new war zone, thus enabling all military hardware to be used, and eradicating the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. These Sovereign Citizens, as “extremist and violent” by decree, have received the very same treatment as those in the Middle East and North Africa who are suspected insurgents or enemy combatants.
This event also comes shortly after the recent exposure of a secret drone base in Nevada, housed on the same land reserve as Area 51 of all places.  This discovery merely shows that the drone program is full-speed ahead inside the United States, as similar “secret” programs have been uncovered overseas in places like Ethiopia and The Seychelles.
The unmanned drone program in the U.S. actually goes back to at least 2007 when it was first uncovered by reporters in Texas that drones were being tested inside America in an exercise coordinated with local police. The claim that this was only for border control was quickly shattered when Miami-Dade county, FL became the first to commission micro-drones, which are specifically designed for effective use in the close quarters of a city environment.
Now that the precedent has been set — with a supporting narrative to boot — the full spectrum of the drone capability is set to be unleashed in America.  Everything from spotting “adversarial intent” tofacial recognition, soft biometrics, general threat assessments and even nano drones that mimic nature itself. And don’t think that weaponization is far off.
We will be sold first on the effective use of surveillance to thwart armed conflict, like this one with the dangerous Sovereign Citizens, and other extremists to come no doubt.  Then, perhaps we will see them used to deliver non-lethal weapons from above to quell protests (sorry, riots).  Then, once we have become fully acclimated . . . .
Dennis Kucinich is one of very few critical voices on this issue.  Kucinich penned a terrific commentary back in August warning of the threat to the rule of law posed by unmanned drones.  His screed was directed toward their misuse overseas, but he alludes to the writing on the wall, which clearly states that America shall be viewed as no different than any other country plagued by remote control surveillance and warfare:
Think of the use of drone air strikes as summary executions, extra-judicial killings justified by faceless bureaucrats using who-knows-what ‘intelligence,’ with no oversight whatsoever and you get the idea that we have slipped into spooky new world where joystick gods manipulating robots deal death from the skies and then go home and hug their children. Everything America was once said to stand for: the rule of law, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is in danger of becoming collateral damage as our fearful leaders continue to kill suspects and innocent alike, mindlessly unaware that the hellfire we are sowing will surely be reaped by Americans in the future. The proliferation of drone technology and its inevitable extension to civilian law enforcement is a leap into the arms of Big Brother.
We have seen horrendous civilian casualties in other countries from this supposed high-tech fleet of unmanned drones operated from trailers thousands of miles away.  Countries like Pakistan have had enough and have sent the fleet packing.  I submit that we should not wait for the casualties to mount before dismissing this wasteful military expenditure that is part and parcel of deleting human life, and deleting our Constitution.


Monday, December 12, 2011


By Ng Jng Ying, TODAY | Posted: 30 June 2011
Photos1 of 1


SINGAPORE: A Danish national has filed a writ against Alexandra Hospital (AH) for allegedly planting a microchip in him during a 1988 operation, which he claimed later caused him mental distress due to being constantly monitored.

According to court papers filed in the High Court on June 21 against AH, which has been managed by Jurong Health Services since August last year, Mr Mogens Tindhof Honore said he first found a metal instrument akin to a microchip in his left lung after an X-ray scan in 1997.

Mr Honore, 54, added the metal piece was implanted in him during an operation at AH more than two decades ago - the last time he had undergone surgery in his chest and lung.

Represented by lawyer Oliver Quek, the former seaman said that he was stabbed in the lung in May 1988. After his discharge, he kept hearing voices in his head and could not lead a normal life. He would also feel generally unwell and would even cough out blood.

"(Mr Honore) also discovered and experienced that strange people on the streets would approach and speak to (him) about strange subject matters or pass strange irrelevant comments," according to the papers filed.

Mr Honore said that his subsequent discovery of being constantly tracked left him in a "perpetual state of apprehension and fear for the safety of his life". It also prevented him from holding on to a job.

When he returned to Singapore in December last year to investigate his condition, he claimed that he was turned away by AH which said it had no records of his stay.

He claimed that two X-ray scans later on May 9 this year at AH and Mount Elizabeth Hospital found the metal fragment (microchip) in his left chest wall instead of his left lung.

He also claimed that, earlier this month, he underwent an operation at Mount Elizabeth Hospital to remove the fragment.

In his lawsuit, Mr Honore is now alleging that employees of AH who had then operated on him implanted the microchip in him intentionally, causing "exceptional harm and lifelong suffering". He also said that the alleged act constitutes a trespass on his body.

Mr Honore claims that he suffers from various conditions following the alleged act, such as impairment of relationship, loss of enjoyment of life and suicidal thoughts.

Seeking damages for expenses incurred such as psychiatric help and medication, he is also alleging that AH medical staff who tended to him were negligent.

He said that the staff was careless in placing a metal fragment in his left chest wall during the operation, resulting in harm and injury.

Responding to media queries, AH director of communications and service quality Casey Chang said: "We understand that the patient had recently returned to Alexandra Hospital to seek information regarding medical treatment he had received at Alexandra Hospital in May 1988. This was 23 years ago when Alexandra Hospital was a government hospital."

She added that, after the hospital was informed of the lawsuit, AH has taken steps to convey to the patient's lawyer (Mr Quek) that Jurong Health Services Pte Ltd has been wrongly identified as the defendant in the suit.

At the time Mr Honore was treated in AH in 1988, the hospital was under the Ministry of Health.



"As soon as December 13, the President will sign NDAA Section 1031 into law, permitting citizen imprisonment without evidence or trial. The bill that passed Congress absolutely DOES NOT exempt citizens. The text of Section 1031 reads, "A covered person under this section" includes "any person who has committed a belligerent act". We only have to be ACCUSED, because we don't get a trial.

- Confusingly, Obama threatened a veto for 1032, but NOT 1031. 1032 is UNRELATED to imprisoning citizens without a trial. He has never suggested using a veto to stop Section 1031 citizen imprisonment -- in fact, it was requested by the Obama administration. Watch the video for proof.

- The Feinstein Amendment 1031(e) is dangerously misleading. Don't be fooled: In the text of 1031(e), "Nothing in this section shall be construed...", the only word that matters is "construed" because the Supreme Court are the only ones with the power to construe the law. The Feinstein Amendment 1031(e) permits citizens to be imprisoned without evidence or a trial forever, if the Supreme Court does not EXPLICITLY repeal 1031.

- Any time you hear the words, "requirement for military custody" this refers to 1032 NOT 1031. We MUST not confuse these two sections. In its statements, the Obama administration has actually contributed to the confusion about 1032's "requirement for military custody", which is COMPLETEY UNRELATED to Section 1031 citizen imprisonment without trial. These tricky, misleading words appear even in major news stories. Don't fall for it!

If we act urgently to tell our friends, family, and colleagues, we may still be able to prevent this. Here is what we can do:

1) Americans must know about this to stop it. Urgently pass this petiton as widely as possible: http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-ndaa-section-1031-citizen-imprisonment-l...

2) To spread this C-SPAN video evidence, Thumbs Up and comment on this video. People deserve to watch this before he signs it.

3) Congress can still block the law before December 13. Write and call your Representative and Senator telling them to stop NDAA Section 1031 and the dangerously misleading Feinstein Amendment 1031(e).
Contact your Representative: http://writerep.house.gov/writerep/
Contact your Senator:http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

4) Write and call the White House to tell the President you won't sit by and watch NDAA Section 1031 and the dangerously misleading Feinstein Amendment 1031(e) become law: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

Excerpt property of C-SPAN.
Fair Use: http://legacy.c-span.org/about/press/release.asp?code=video "



  • Shoulder-mounted device temporarily impairs the vision of anyone looking towards its laser
  • Originally invented to deter pirates from vulnerable cargo ships
  • Resembles a rifle and can hit targets 500m away with a wall of light up to four metres wide
Last updated at 9:54 AM on 12th December 2011

Police may be given a laser weapon that could repel rioters with a blinding wall of light.
The shoulder-mounted device, which resembles a rifle, temporarily impairs the vision of anyone looking towards it.
Developed by a former Royal Marine commando, the £25,000 laser can dazzle and incapacitate targets up to 1,640ft away by creating a 13ft wall of light.
James Bond-style: The SMU 100 temporarily impairs the vision of anyone looking towards its source with a wall of light
James Bond-style: The SMU 100 temporarily impairs the vision of anyone looking towards its source with a four metre wall of light
Government scientists have been impressed by initial trials and are preparing to ask police to test it as potential weapon in a growing armoury of equipment aimed at preventing a repeat of the August riots.
The Home Office said it had to be tested further and guidelines drawn up for its use.
Paul Kerr, of Photonic Security Systems, the UK-based firm  behind it, said the effect was like looking into a low sun on a bright winter day. He added: ‘It is horrible. It makes you look away.
‘The system would give police an intimidating visual deterrent. If you can't  look at something you can't attack it.
‘If police spot someone trying to do something untoward, painting them with this would certainly make them think twice about it.’
Developed by a former Royal Marine commando, the £25,000 laser resembles a rifle and can dazzle and incapacitate targets up to 500m away.
James Bond-style: The SMU 100 temporarily impairs the vision of anyone looking towards its source with a wall of light
Set for approval: Government scientists have been impressed by initial tests and a preparing to ask one force to trial its use
It creates a wall of light up to four metres wide and comes with an infrared  scope to spot looters in poor visibility.
Those behind the invention believe it has many uses, from deterring rioters to  aiding high-risk hostage rescues.
The Home Office has been considering new forms of non-lethal equipment since a  wave of looting and arson rocked the country.
The Metropolitan Police is considering buying three water canon at a cost of up to £4million but senior officers remain divided over how effective they would  be.
The force is also increasing the number of officers trained to fire plastic  bullets and has warned they could be used.
Fighting crime: Riot police taking charge in Tottenham, north London during the August riots
Fighting crime: Riot police taking charge in Tottenham, north London during the August riots
It has already deployed an imposing new portable metal fence in Whitehall  during a recent anti-cuts demonstration.
The trailer-mounted fence, complete with spy-holes and police signs, was  donated by the Government last year and is similar to those used in European  cities.
A Home Office spokesman said the technology must be tested to ensure it does  not cause any permanent ill effects and guidelines drawn up for its use.
He added: ‘Laser dazzle technology is one we have recognised as holding some  merit.
‘However, prior to any police deployment a number of things need to be done to  assess the technology's suitability.’ 
Deterring another incident: Police are looking at ways to prevent riots happening again (hooded youths in Tottenham pictured)
Deterring another incident: Police are looking at ways to prevent riots happening again (hooded youths in Tottenham pictured)