BRAVELY venturing into the lion's den, Gretel Killeen is hosting the Logies on Sunday, the night of nights and fashion frights. Bill "Mr Movies" Collins, will be ushered into the Hall of Fame, bringing to mind the infamous "Bill Collins" interview on 3AW in 1992 that deserves its own place on the honour board. Greg Evans and Sam Newman were fill-in hosts on the brekkie shift and in a segment about TV, producer Jamie Wilczek, who went on to marry Ross Stevenson, got "Bill Collins" on the line. Evans, now a wedding celebrant and brekkie host at Shepparton's 3SR, chuckles when recalling that Mr Movies didn't know much about movies. When Newman asked his opinion about the Clint Eastwood flick Unforgiven winning the best-picture Oscar, Collins said: "The Unforgiven? I don't know - I've never seen the Unforgiven. I probably will go and see it." A stumped Evans said: "Bill, that surprises me. Do you normally wait for some time before you see the current movies? Collins: "Yeah, quite a while. It's a matter of finding a bit of spare time." The hosts cottoned on that something was wrong and an expletive was beeped out. Evans cracked up laughing, blurting: "Sam, you'd better take over." The Bill Collins on the line was the race caller - the Accurate One - and after numerous apologies, Newman asked: "The greyhounds, how are they going?" As they say in the movies, it's a classic.
On 7 December 2016 Saudi Arabia's ambassador met with Christopher Pyne MP - here's a screen shot from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for its Royal Embassy in Australia.
Chris Pyne has responsibility for defence industries in his portfolio, but he's not the defence minister.
Marise Payne is. Maybe the Ambassador was hedging his bets, because his staff misspelt Pyne's surname - although many think Chris has always had the silent A.
When you represent so wealthy a nation, an alleged ally in combating terrorism, when you are supported by a military attache, when you are a respectful (however plenipotentiary you might feel) guest it pays to get the details right. Almost two months after the event the "who cares" Saudis still haven't woken up.
Can't imagine what bilateral relations were discussed - must have been a bit like when the 3AW summer breakfast hosts Greg Evans and Sam Newman thought they were interviewing Bill Collins the movie guru but the producer had put The Accurate One Bill Collins the race caller on the line (detail for the interested at the foot of this post).
If you're up for it, check out the celebrations for Saudi Arabia's national day on 7 December last year.
Lyndal Sachs PSM looked a tad uncomfortable standing in front of the big screen while everyone sang about His Majesty The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the theocracy that exists wholly and solely "For Islam and the Muslims".
Not one word from the stage or in the video was spoken by a Saudi figure in English. They had the "Australian" grand mufti there to speak in the language of The Quran and all the Islamist insiders would have felt right at home.
If you understand Arabic and are Muslim you'd be quite at home at that affair, with the Shahada and the Sword of Islam.
This is the flag of Saudi Arabia.
The words on the flag give comfort to Islamist hearts and reflect Saudi Arabia perfectly:
1. For them - the Islamic Creed, لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللهlā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, muhammadun rasūlu-llāh - There is no god but Allah: Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
2. For us - the Sword. The penalty in Saudi Arabia for not being Muslim is death by beheading. Let than sink in.
There's plenty on the Embassy's website about Israel and Palestine. Plenty about the Shia reprobates in Iran who aren't sufficiently good Muslims like the Waleed Aly Sunnis in Saudi. Plenty about Saudi Arabia's real purpose, as made manifest in The King whose official title is Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques - and that purpose is The Service of Islam and the Muslims.
Saudi Arabia does not give a flying extramarital flop about Australia in any context other than the conversion of the Kuffirs herein to the true way, in Service to Islam and the Muslims.
Where they have had a go at appearing to care it's laughable.
There's heaps more with heaps of details about the Toyota Camry which was much preferred by Saudi cabbies in the year 2009 - that's when these inept Islamists engaged their consultant to write their hopelessly out of date tosh:
1- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia & Australia Regional Partners Global Leaders - Bayliss, Roger
There mightn't be as much joy around the current status of Australian manufactured motor cars. The industry is no more, Toyota's last cars will be dribbling of the line this year.
As the "death to Apostates" crowd sharpened the swords on their national day, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop posted this:
On 10 December 2016, we commemorate Human Rights Day. It was on this day 68 years ago that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Australia’s commitment to human rights is enduring. We were a founding member of the United Nations and we have been an advocate for its purposes and principles ever since. Our commitment reflects our national values.
This year, Human Rights Day calls for everyone to stand up for someone’s rights today #StandUpForHumanRights. We must continue our commitment to ensuring that all people are entitled to respect, dignity and protection of their rights.
It is with this commitment that Australia is campaigning for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2018-2020 term. If elected, Australia will be a principled and pragmatic Council member, engaging constructively with Member States, playing a bridge-building role and working to find practical solutions that have lasting effects for the most vulnerable groups.
We are not being forced into this - we are "campaigning" to have the right to join Saudi Arabia on a bogus agency that is the opposite of what it pretends to be. Which is probably why Julie Bishop is fronting the campaign.
Australia’s campaign is built on five pillars:
- gender equality
- good governance
- freedom of expression
- the rights of indigenous peoples
- strong national human rights institutions and capacity building`
Australia will work towards advancing the rights of women and girls
Promoting good governance and stronger democratic institutions everywhere
Australia will promote and protect freedom of expression
Advancing human rights for indigenous peoples around the globe
Promoting strong national human rights institutions and capacity building
The kingdom's continued membership is an affront to the council's mission of promoting and protecting human rights around the globe
This week, Saudi Arabia will be re-elected to the UN Human Right Council (HRC) for the fourth time, after another non-competitive election at the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
While serving its third term on the council, Saudi Arabia blocked international inquiries into its human rights abuses, punished Saudi citizens who worked in collaboration with the HRC, and threatened to cut critical UN funding after being called out for violating children’s rights.
Saudi Arabia’s presence on the council turns the HRC’s mission on its head
Given the kingdom’s unrelenting record of repression, Saudi Arabia's continued council membership is an affront to the HRC's mission of promoting and protecting "all human rights around the globe".
It is no secret that Saudi Arabia’s values are at odds with the council's. Religious intolerance, gender inequality and a penchant for public executions are hardly the qualities that the UN had in mind for its council members.
The opposite effect
Worse, instead of incentivising the kingdom to institute reforms to curtail abuses and foster greater accountability, Saudi Arabia’s membership on the council appears to be having the opposite effect.
The number of executions in the kingdom has spiked dramatically since Saudi Arabia was last elected to the council - with 2015 marking the most brutal year in two decades with 157 executions and 2016 closing in with 124 executions as of the end of September.
Meanwhile, the country ignores visit requests from the HRC’s “special procedures” - independent human rights experts who undertake country visits and report back to the council. Currently, Saudi Arabia has seven outstanding visit requests, including requests from special rapporteurs appointed to conduct fact-finding inquiries related to torture, freedom of expression and opinion, and executions.
In addition to resisting human rights investigations by UN experts, Saudi Arabia has sought to prevent its citizens from communicating with the council and other international organisations.
In 2014, the government issued a travel ban against activist Samar Badawi after she spoke at the 27th session of the council on behalf of imprisoned Saudi activist, Waleed Abu al-Khair. Authorities prevented Badawi from travelling to Brussels to attend an EU forum on human rights.
Several Saudi human rights defenders who cooperated with the Human Rights Council have been criminally prosecuted
Under the country’s counter-terrorism law, contacting international organisations, such as the HRC, can be deemed a terrorist offence. Several Saudi human rights defenders who cooperated with the HRC have been criminally prosecuted as a result, including members of the now-shuttered Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights (ACPRA).
ACPRA co-founder Mohammed al-Qahtani contributed numerous submissions to the HRC’s special procedures, especially to its working group on arbitrary detention. Saudi officials charged him with “provoking international organisations to adopt stances against the kingdom”. Al-Qahtani and ACPRA’s other co-founders are currently serving lengthy prison sentences for their human rights work.
Covering its tracks
While Saudi Arabia’s attempts to prevent both UN official and its own citizens from addressing human rights abuses in the kingdom should disqualify the country from a seat at the council table, its actions in Yemen over the past 19 months are an even greater affront to the HRC’s mission.
By now the word is out that Saudi-coalition airs trikes are responsible for the majority of the roughly 4,000 civilian deaths in Yemen. Hospitals, schools, marketplaces, weddings, and factories have and remain viable coalition air strike targets.
On 9 October, the coalition carried out possibly the single deadliest attack in the conflict, an air strike on a funeral ceremony in Sanaa, which killed over 140 and injured over 500.
As reprehensible as these incidents are, Saudi Arabia’s efforts to prevent the world from learning how and why these atrocities occurred make the situation far worse.
Saudi Arabia is using its position on the council to block international efforts to investigate the role of all combatants in Yemen’s devastation
Instead of working with the UN mechanisms to reform its military campaign and alleviate the resulting humanitarian crisis, Saudi Arabia is using its position on the council to cover its tracks and avoid responsibility. It has fought tooth and nail against international efforts to investigate the role of all combatants in Yemen’s devastation.
Last month, at the 33rd session of the HRC, Saudi Arabia led a successful effort for the second year in a row to block an EU resolution for an international inquiry. In its place, council members passed an Arab-state sponsored resolution providing additional support for an ongoing probe by the Yemeni National Commission of Inquiry.
The Yemeni National Commission, established last year by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) after an international inquiry resolution failed, has been widely criticised as biased and ineffectual.
According to UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore, the Yemeni inquiry "lacks impartiality, does not abide by the basic norms of protection" and its mandate, composition and methodology fail to meet international standards.
Demanding greater accountability
The defeat of an international inquiry is just the most recent example of the ways in which Saudi Arabia has thwarted the council’s efforts to address the crisis in Yemen.
In June, Saudi Arabia successfully blackmailed the UN into removing the Saudi coalition from a list of violators of children’s rights by threatening to cut UN funding.
UN officials working under Saudi oversight banned foreign journalists and human rights workers from their flights into and out of Yemen
Even as early as two months into the conflict, UN officials working under Saudi oversight banned foreign journalists and human rights workers from their flights into and out of the increasingly isolated country. UN officials and aid workers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ban was instituted after Saudi officials rejected a flight manifest that included reporters from the New York Times, BBC and other journalists.
The HRC was established to promote human rights and hold violators accountable. Saudi Arabia’s presence on the council turns the HRC’s mission on its head.
It is time for member states to push back against Saudi threats and obstructions and demand greater accountability and transparency from their fellow council member. Otherwise, they risk becoming increasingly complicit in the very violations that the HRC was created to eradicate.