The Executive Secretary
Australian Press Council
117 York Street
Your letter of September 6 to hand. I would offer you a reply to the statement offered by the editorial manager of the Sun Herald, Mr. John Digby. I would request a formal hearing. I have also provided the tape-recording of the conversation between myself and Mr. West, dated February 27 2004. After replying to Mr. Digby, I will discuss the new evidence contained on the tape. I expect Mr. Digby may wish to comment on the tape.
Reply To The Sun-Herald:
The Sun-Herald editor, Mr. John Digby has filed with the Australian Press Council a remarkable document, dated September 3 2004
First: I state he has rather proved my case on several of the complaints. He does this by formal and tacit concessions.
Second: he has set out the frenzied argument - drawn undoubtedly from a type of smear-file held on me by the newspaper – relied upon to prove a type of moral imbecility on my part such that I am open-slather for any denunciation. Reasonably, I would never speak to the Sun-Herald again, lest it reach into its’ grab-bag of misrepresentation. What is clear is that Mr. West would not have received any sort of proper editorial supervision over his article. It is further clear that the paper has such a jaundiced view of me that it asserts the right to say whatever it wishes, without the stricture of historical proof.
If I am "paranoid", then this document is visceral hate and malice. It is the position that I shall deal with this hate and malice by first criticising the paper for whatever stand it takes on the facts of my complaint; then I shall deal with the underlying false-history upon which the paper relies so as to justify Mr. West.
Ground One: ‘White Separatist’
Mr. Digby agrees by default that I have never used the term ‘White Separatist’ about myself. He agrees by default that I was never asked if I was a ‘White Separatist’ or if material was put to me which could be the subject of some counter-claim by an authority on me or on my beliefs.
My case on this point of fact is therefore made out. The use of the term is inaccurate and misleading of the reader and shows a false attitude to my beliefs. A situation cannot exist where the right to put labels on people resides in a newspaper editor, let alone Mr. West.
The Sun-Herald’s False History And False Logic
I certainly agree that I have used the term ‘White Australia’ in a favourable way. A number of quotations are suggested where I said this policy was desirable in Australia’s history. I said that. Yes, I still say that.
However, I cannot see any link between ‘White Australia’ and ‘White Separatist’. If the Sun Herald article had been headed ‘White Australia Man Returns’, I could say nothing about it. The Sun-Herald says this is an "extreme" view. I could say the genocide of European civilisation on this Continent was also ‘extreme’ and so forth. However, the logic employed is a red-herring. The paper has no evidence I am anything called a ‘White Separatist’ and cannot and does not show it. The paper has not defined what this term might mean.
Ground Two: The Paramilitary Uniform
The Sun-Herald agrees by default that I have never worn a paramilitary uniform in connection with National Action and says that if it is an inaccuracy, it is a "small point".
No, it is a very large point. The reader was told that I wore something and did so in the context of some particular actions (discussed below). If the article had said "National Action has been described by Professor Dr. Multicultural-Advocate as a ‘paramilitary’ organisation’, I could have disputed the claim and so forth. However the article alleged I wore a particular type of apparel.
My case on this point of fact is made out.
The Sun-Herald’s False History And False Logic
Mr. Digby now descends to ranting and smear.
Digby: "Dr. Saleam had no problems wearing a swastika…"
Saleam replies: If I had worn a swastika, it is still not a paramilitary uniform, nor a paramilitary uniform in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I had ‘no problem’ doing that because I insinuated my way into the company of the neo-nazis for the relevant period in 1975. In view of what has occurred with this piece of history, if I had my time again, I might not have done it, but judging the anti-neo-nazi results I obtained from the incident, I am very happy I was there. This is a side-matter to the complaint.
Digby: "Nor did he have a problem posing for a photograph in 1989 accompanied by two serious young men wearing lace up jackboots and black shirts, although he chose a tweed jacket for the occasion."
Saleam replies: I provide the article from the Sun-Herald. (Folio A). I was never aware jackboots were "lace up". My limited knowledge of military boots tells me otherwise. The boots do not appear in the photograph. I might have chosen a "tweed jacket" on that occasion because I usually wore suit coats or jackets. I am unsure of the colouring of the men’s shirts, nor do I care, but I note one was bearing some sort of jacket. I do not see the charge of paramilitarism made out by an aspersion about these "serious young men". This point shows too the Sun-Herald had a photograph of me from as late as 1989, but chose not to use this photograph, but another ‘nazi’ one. This is the very point I make. The article was crafted chiefly – to run the picture.
Digby: .."his conviction for an attack on a Maoist bookshop in 1973.."
Saleam replies: I do not see what this has to do with either the notion of regularised violence or paramilitarism, particularly the alleged paramilitarism of National Action in the 1980’s or 1990’s. Mr. Digby does not mention (possibly he does not know) that I actually paid a membership to the Worker-Student Alliance, a Maoist organization.
Digby: "his conviction and jailing in 1991 for his part in the serious and violent attack on the home of the ANC representative in Australia."
Saleam replies: Of course, if I was guilty in actuality, rather than by ‘law’, this would be a serious matter But either way, it still does not prove I wore a paramilitary uniform, nor that I was a paramilitary.It would merely prove I was an idiot. The paper published my denial of involvement in the crime and I would argue Mr. Digby is well aware of the issues my conviction still contains. I also provide an article (with yet another photograph of me) published in the Sun-Herald in April 1997 (Folio B). The paper ignores its’ other journalism which set out serious allegations against the probity of the conviction. It seems Mr. Digby relies on the wisdom of the conviction without question. He is entitled to accept the conviction was real, he is not entitled without an examination of the facts - to assert my guilt.
Digby: "In his booklet Australia’s Road To National Revolution …. Kill or be killed."
Saleam replies: I always thought the reference was in the broad context of the Eureka and Kokoda struggles. In the struggle for national independence I would predict the liberal-internationalist machine will fight to retain its’ power rather than freely relinquish it. I have always maintained it would be the liberal traitor class that would initiate violence. I note that Mr. Digby does not quote my writings admonishing against violence in general or terrorism as political methods (also composed in the 1980’s and endlessly added to). I can produce these writings if it was requested.
Digby: "Mr. Saleam is in denial about the cause he espouses".
Saleam replies: This shows the Sun-Herald has failed with one set of lies and feels free to allude to its’ interpretation of ‘history’ to make a generalised defence. In the future, the paper should lie better – but it will do so without my help. This reference also shows the malice with which I will be treated by this paper. It means that anything I say is ‘denial’ and therefore false. From that point of view, I can be smeared at will. Given this material from the paper’s ‘Saleam Fact File’ was available to Mr. West, it is fairly clear why he would write as he did. Clearly, this source of information established me as a paramilitary in a uniform.
Ground Three: the PhD
The Sun-Herald concedes that I did not earn my doctorate whilst in prison. It says the mistake is "trivial" and "no adverse inference" can be drawn. My case on this point of fact is made out.
But an adverse inference can be drawn. It shows that Mr. West did not ask me the question. It shows that Mr. West took his information from a poisoned source – the faulted ‘records’ maintained on me by the paper.
Ground Four: The Church Invasion
The Sun-Herald appears to concede that I was not present at the so-called church invasion.
This makes out my case on a point of fact. Mr. West said I was present, and although I am said to be trying to "hoodwink" the Press Council (as below), the concession is the main point. The article did not say ‘members of National Action …’; it said I did something personally.
The Sun-Herald’s False History And False Logic
The falsities here are extensive.
Digby: "He passes of the invasion as mere entry into the church …The reality was much uglier.. (and down to J.S.) … Dr. Saleam never condemned the invasion by the members of his organisation. In fact, he fully supported the invasion."
Saleam replies: "Uglier’? By whose standards? McMahon was already falsely dealing with the Prisoners’ Action Group to cuddle up to Special Branch. There was no violence. The fact that the Sun-Herald approves of McMahon is its’ problem. Many other Uniting Church people – like Gordon Moyes – did not and do not. I have never condemned ‘the invasion’ because I think it was right. But I was not there and the paper has not established my connection with ‘the invasion’.
Digby: "The Rev. McMahon complained of a sustained campaign against her and the church by members of Dr. Saleam’s organisation… (and down to J.S.) and threats made to parishioners."
Saleam replies: Yes, she may have complained, but it was not the case we were responsible; nor that she was absolutely forthcoming in public with her concerns. I provide McMahon’s handwriting where she deals with four organisations with a gripe against her. I provide a cutting from the Sydney Morning Herald by another smear-monger – who at least refers to the neo-nazi Australian Nationalists’ Movement (ANM) as being also involved in a campaign against her (Folio C) For the record I now condemn all illegal activities by any person ever conducted against McMahon, but there is no evidence whatsoever that this came from National Action. The anti-semitic references and nazi armbands etc would be the stock-in-trade of the ANM. For the record I have received the confession of a neo-nazi ANM member called Robert Leys that he and other ANM members harassed McMahon. Mr. Digby has quoted folklore, but he has not provided facts. Further, these ‘facts’ (sic) do not establish the imputations of the article.
Digby: "In 1989, Wayne David Smith, a member of Dr. Saleam’s organisation was charged with malicious damage to Pitt Street Uniting Church property."
Saleam replies: True, he was charged. But he was acquitted with the magistrate suggesting that the media’s heroes, Neville Ireland and John Garvey of Special Branch, had fabricated the evidence against Smith. (Folio D) I can understand that Mr. Digby does not know this. The Special Branch and its’ friends made sure this information did not travel. Once again, we deal with pop history and not with fact.
Digby: Co-incidentally ….(and down to J.S.) … Wayne David Smith never made it to trial …. (and down to J.S.) … Perry John Whitehouse … subsequently pleaded guilty to Smith’s murder."
Saleam replies: As the Sun-Herald knows, ASIO recorded a murder. But it also recorded some 75 days of (patchy and episodic) conversation relating to the charges against me and Smith. The paper can say whatever it likes about ASIO's great coup, but it knows that I say ASIO perverted the course of justice through the receipt of trial intelligence. This reasonable claim is so serious that it is a '‘hoodwinking'’ of the Council not to address it. The paper has already published my claims on this matter and Mr. West was directed to my Internet book Pardon Me: The Anatomy Of An Australian Political Trial, on this matter. I cannot see what Mr. Digby’s divergence into this matter establishes per my complaint. He refused to consider my fundamental complaint about my conviction, something the paper did do on another occasion. Perhaps, I am just "in denial"?
Ground Five: The Racist Graffiti Death Threats And Attacks.
The Sun-Herald agrees I was not personally involved in various offences against the Pitt Street church. The article implied strongly in its’ overall effect, that I was generally aware of the criminal conduct. I was the "face" of National Action, a gunman, a paramilitary, a neo-nazi. The average reader would assume the matters were ‘facts’ and that I am in some manner or other connected to them.
The concession that I was not involved personally is the operative point and I say my case is made out.
The Sun-Herald’s False History And False Logic
Digby: Dr. Saleam is strong on conspiracy theories."
Saleam replies: Why not? I have been conspired against by the low-life of humanity – the Sydney Special Branch police and other criminal garbage in the old Police Force who were linked to them. Of course, this impacts on the way I was misrepresented in the newspaper. It shows anything I might say to the newspaper on the way I have been dealt with by the political police is to be – disregarded as a ‘conspiracy theory’.
Digby: "He claims that the charges brought over … Rev McMahon … were the result of a police conspiracy."
Saleam replies: It seems that the Ireland and Garvey script against Smith collapsed. The Council can draw its’ own conclusion. This fact should have been known to Mr. West but was not.
Digby: "He claims that the charges brought against him over the shot-gun attack …. were the result of a police conspiracy."
Saleam replies: Indeed. Who brought the charges? Neville Ireland did. The same officer at the Royal Commission Into The NSW Police Service who confessed to perjury, false statements to Commission investigators, drunk on duty, drunk in charge of motor vehicle, impersonation of another officer, pervert course of justice in relation to His Honour Justice Yeldham’s sexual activities and stealing about $6,000 from the ‘Informant’s Fund. Obviously, he was a fine officer!? He accused Garvey of stealing from the Informant’s Fund. If the Mr. Digby considers, I am simply a person enamoured of conspiracy logic, then it seems I am also equipped with evidence. Essentially, this tirade on his part shows the malice in which I am held. If Mr. Digby wants a good article on this frame-up, clearly I could give him one. However, I doubt he wants it. His ignorance of Ireland’s bad character shows it is not part of the Sun-Herald’s fact file.
Digby: In a Sydney Morning Herald article … he claimed that separate fraud charges brought against him … were also the result of a conspiracy.
Saleam replies: Yes, of a sort. The case was the subject of a Crimes Act Section 474 D/E application in August 2002. The matter is - right now – in front of His Honour Justice Peter Hidden as to whether an Inquiry should be ordered. Obviously, my ‘claims’ are sufficient enough to get me to this stage. Conspiracy in New South Wales is easy to organise. Again, whether I am unreasonable in such a claim – or not – does not affect the tenor of the article complained of.
Digby: Dr. Saleam seems to be in denial over the activities of National Action and his role in them ("graffiti, death threats, attacks")
Saleam replies: I deny these things. There is no proof. If a member was convicted of any offences (eg. street offences, bill pasting etc at any time in any connection), I really did not care then and do not care now. The assertion I know something of crimes and have done something criminal in the McMahon affair lies at the core of this section. Reasonably, the paper defends itself in a way which shows what the purpose of the article was: to link me to these matters. Basically, there is no link.
Digny: "He has never criticised the ugly and criminal actions of members of the extremist organisation of which he was the head."
Saleam replies: I have criticised over and over again the two men who – on their own prank-laden jaunt as I say – fired a shotgun into the home of Eddie Funde. I have never criticised the members for petty street offences. I never will. What offences are we talking about? The pop-history crimes ascribed to the organisation by his media mates? Obviously, this perception dominates at the Sun-Herald and serves as the motive to load me up in Mr. West’s article.
Digby: "In fact, he publicly supported the campaign against the Pitt Street Uniting Chuch. He also publicly supported the member charged with malicious injury to church property."
Saleam replies: I condemned any illegal activities directed at that church in that period and at the time I repeatedly accused other persons (non-National Action) of being the culprits. I cannot be any clearer to the Council now. Indeed, I have condemned any criminality again right here. As to supporting the "member charged", I defended Mr. Smith and quite rightly so. Again, my moral quality survives intact, if it is relevant to the article at all.
Digby: "His cynical reference to Rev. Dorothy McMahon … (down to J.S.) continues to this day."
Saleam replies: If I am cynical as to the moral qualities of both McMahon and those who sailed with her, those who fabricated anti National Action propaganda (eg. Graham Williams of the Sydney Morning Herald, a liar who was in fact a member of her congregation), then I believe I am justified. But I commissioned no criminal behaviour at her and do not condone whatever occurred. I verily believe various groups with different motives targeted McMahon. It was convenient to focus on National Action because we had a political campaign aimed at her. The neo-nazi ANM took advantage of that. If anything, the other groups distorted our effort in the media and I do not thank them. If my alleged moral imbecility is a justification for the smear, heaven help journalism.
Ground Six: The Funde Affair
The Sun-Herald says my role in the Funde matter was "directly relevant" to the Council campaign. Of course. So voters could think ill of the candidate! It says it is "nonsense" to say my claims against ASIO are such my conviction should not have been mentioned. Yet, if my claims on ASIO were mentioned, the voters might have assumed there was controversy (ie. a counter-claim) around the candidate’s purported bad character.
The Sun-Herald knows, as does the Press Council, that the readership would assume generally – in the absence of any other real information - that conviction means guilt. A one line denial means very little.
My claim is that I could not possibly be dealt with fairly without more than a sarcastic reference to me still denying guilt in the matter. I say that because I am innocent of the crime and the balance of new material collected suggests a read doubt or question about the evidence. The Sun-Herald interview of 1997 established what the claims (in general) were. My interview with Mr. West established where a full discussion can be found. I have already referred to the proven corrupt character of the chief prosecution officer in this affair. These things demanded a different approach by the Sun-Herald to the Funde affair.
The Sun-Herald has obviously reached a point where it does not wish to debate with me as to whether I was responsible for the Funde offence. Rather, as other parts of the reply here suggest, it says I am in "denial" over the criminal conduct in which I was (sic) engaged.
The Sun-Herald has misrepresented me and knows it. It is false to assert the matter of conviction without proper qualification.
Mr. Digby behaves in a thug manner. Like Felix The Cat with a bag of smears, it was said: "The article could have but did not mention Dr. Saleam’s previous criminal conviction over his attack on the Maoist bookshop nor his previous conviction and subsequent jailing for fraud."
Obviously, Mr. Digby considers that one blow of criminal allegation was enough in all the circumstances. This statement shows the intent. The paper had options to discredit and chose what it thought was the simplest one. Obviously, the paper did not know Queensland law which could place a juvenile before the Supreme Court in those days nor was it aware of the petty nature of the actual offence. Nor did the paper know of the then-extant and currently active application in front of Justice Hidden. It is clear Mr. West was well versed in what smear-options were available. Given the paper’s current attitude, I have no doubt as to his personal culpability and the utter lack of editorial supervision.
Ground Seven: "Hasn’t Changed"
I complained that the article was unclear as to the meaning of "hasn’t changed".
The reply makes it rather clear the Sun-Herald does not adequately address the question of my role as an "extremist" (a term as imposed by them on me). The article dos not imply merely my views not changing, but the matter of strategy and tactics. In the former, I am a paramilitary swastika wearing ‘face of National Action’ in the 1980’s and 1990’s. In the latter, it is a matter of the violence and criminality which the paper says defines me.
The reply vindicates my complaint.
The Sun-Herald’s False History And False Logic
Digby: "The article could have stated that Dr. Saleam hasn’t changed his views on the violent methods used to promote National Action’s loopy agenda."
Saleam replies: But I say the article implied my argument at every turn. The threat of "could have stated" is the point too. The article implied it strongly such that any reasonable reader would assume I endorsed violence. So, why not state it openly? Why did the article hold back? Surely not out of charity to me? Obviously, that might have involved clear and unambiguous defamation. By holding back the paper could smear by suggestion and not defame openly. I take "could have" as a reserve-threat to intimidate. It is a threat that next time the paper will say that. But National Action’s ‘violence’ is disputed, certainly too as to its’ supposed extent (there are a few ‘convictions’ to consider: but by the same token the Labor Party would be a party of sex-offenders given a number of sex case convictions of prominent Laborites). I haven’t "changed" because most of the stories are allegations without proof. I condemn the men who attacked Eddie Funde. I do not agree with violence as a casual political method. But the journalist did not ask me the right questions to get the appropriate answers as I have complained.
Digby: …"loopy agenda".
Saleam replies: The assertion of loopy agenda means that either I am somehow deranged psychologically or that the organisation was some sort of cultic or similar formation. Loopy? By the standards of a paid hack of the capitalist class? If this is the defence of smear, it means that any person defined as "loopy" by Mr. Digby can be smeared at will. This is dangerous. This is paranoia in the alternate definition: a delusion of greatness. A delusion that the editor of a newspaper may define sanity by bourgeois rules.
Ground Eight: Image Propaganda: The ‘Nazi’ Photograph
The Sun-Herald appears to concede that the Nazi photograph "may have been taken in 1975 and not in the 1980’s as stated. This is a minor inaccuracy on which nothing turns."
No, it is a big something upon which much depends. It shows bad research. It shows the paper wanted to link National Action directly with paramilitarism (as suggested in overall context by the photograph) and with neo-nazism with me as a purported neo-nazi as its’ "face" in the later period. This history (sic) is wrong. The photograph had nothing whatsoever to do with National Action. It may have concerned me personally in some way (whatever that may be), but certainly it did not concern the bad-guy National Action, the immediate and logically only background to the article’s report on my current activities. It follows therefore that I have made out my case on this point. My objection is basically confirmed by the newspaper.
I have shown that the Sun-Herald definitely had one photograph of me from the 1980’s and one from 1997. But it did not want to use them. Obviously not.
Mr. Digby says: "A pictorial record that Dr. Saleam once happily wore a swastika is relevant to an article about his current political aspirations."
How? Mr. Digby should say openly ‘how’ this is so.
My writings on neo-nazism are expansive and indicate no support for it in any guise or variety. Some of this work is academic work and some involves submissions to key crime fighting agencies and polemics of one type or another. Indeed, I have contributed to the scholarship of defining neo-nazism and have been quoted by one British expert in the field, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. A relevant question might be to ask Mr. Digby to define neo-nazism: his definition might be very elastic. It might be relevant that I "happily" acquired specialised information on the Bob Cameron neo-nazi ‘party’, information which, incidentally, I provided to Tim Anderson’s defence lawyers in 1982 (and so forth). But that proves only that I have a very special view on neo-nazism in Australia, something the Council is well aware of. The facts have gone beyond simplicity for Sunday newspaper readers. If Mr. Digby wants an article on the inter-relationship of the neo-nazi movements and political police, from the 1970’s to the present, he is free to consult me. But I doubt he wants such an article.
Parenthetically, my appearance at the neo-nazi meeting is on tendentious par with no less than Prime Minter Howard and other Young Liberals cheering on neo-nazi Arthur Charles Smith at a rally on the Vietnam war in Gordon in February 1966. It does not mean what superficially it might mean. Mr. Howard was not a ‘Nazi’ and nor was I.
I can only conclude it is "relevant" because it provides (in the absence of actual detailed explanation), a useful smear. It is there to convince the general public I might be a neo-nazi.
Mr. Digby shows in his statement a clear admission. The Sun-Herald saw it as relevant (and therefore wanted to run this photograph over others). It must be relevant because I am "happy" to wear a swastika. Who, in the collective mind of the readership, would be ""happy"" to do that? The fault is not cleared up by a reference to "infiltrating" the Nazi party. Mr. Digby confirms that. He is not saying I was "happy" to wear it because I am a bad person who infiltrates organisations and does things to the members of the organisation. Rather, he calls it an "absurd appearance" and relevant to my current political aspirations. . Obviously, an absurd appearance is not corrected with a one-line explanation. This is not balanced journalism.
No, Mr. Digby is caught out. He does not accept the explanation. He thinks there was a neo-nazi link, regardless of its’ place in time. . He thinks it is reasonable to assert it now and believes it is relevant to my current political activities. I agree. It is relevant because I am leading the fight (with others) to expose the political character of contemporary Australian neo-nazi violence and provocation. But it is not relevant if the idea is that I am a neo-nazi (in some way or other). Unless the matter is clarified in an article, the reader would inevitably assume Mr. Digby’s position.
It follows that this strongly held editorial opinion was part of the briefing adopted by Mr. West in February. The two have discussed the complaint. I have no doubt each endorses the view.
The photograph was inappropriate. The caption was misleading. The explanation carried no weight. The newspaper wanted to do as it did to connect me with neo-nazism in the present and recent past (1980’s).
Ground Nine: The Nazi Party
The Sun-Herald has not addressed adequately the obvious point that the general reader would, assume a membership of the Nazi party.
I stand by previous commentary.
Ground Ten: Jeremy Jones
The Sun-Herald says I "border on the paranoid" for asking it to state why Mr. Jones was interviewed and when he was interviewed.
Mr. Digby has not (can not? will not?) explain the sequence of events.
My ‘war with Mr. Jones’ has gone on for years. I stand by what I have said about him and his Australia-Israel Review spy and disinformation apparatus. He is a Zionist hatemonger and racist who condones every war crime of the Israeli state behind glib phrases about terrorism and so forth. Part of his domestic agenda is to criminalise and stigmatise persons and groups whom the Zionists choose to attack. The idea of Mr. Digby investigating my claims about the neo-nazis and whether the Zionists profit from them – is also absurd. He would not dare. So it is easier to say I am "paranoid". He does not need my permission to speak to Mr. Jones. Fine. But I have the right to know if Mr. West had done so.
Bluntly, I would never, ever, have spoken to Mr. West if I had known of the involvement in the article of Mr. Jones. I am not around for Mr. Jones to play the Zionist game of "60 years" etc. I am not around for the Zionists to chatter on about neo-nazis and the need for new political-censorship legislation.
I stand by my comments that without the right to reply to Mr. Jones, the article misrepresented me through the prism of the Zionist agenda. The public would not appreciate the subtlety of Zionist ‘anti-racism’ (sic).The public would have assumed Mr. Jones’s statements in the context of paramilitaries, swastikas and Nazi parties, implied I was a neo-nazi. I know of my own experience that Mr. Jones has sought to smear me with the neo-nazi label. He has resorted to various means to achieve this.
Again, it depended as Mr. Digby states about what I had "not changed" my views about. The sixty years bit suggests I had not changed from being a neo-nazi. But I am not a neo-nazi.
My case is made out.
I stand by my comments. I need not say anything more as the Sun-Herald has not.
I leave it to the Council to apply the previous material.
A Brief Summation:
The reply of the Sun-Herald corroborates my position. I made several claims of fact about the article. Mr. Digby says - formally or by obvious default - that:
1. That the term ‘White Separatist’ is not my term nor one put to me, but one the journalist merely imposed on me.
2. That I was not present during any Church invasion.
3. That I was not involved personally in death threats, graffiti and attacks on the Pitt Street Uniting Church.
4. The ‘Nazi’ photograph did not relate to National Action
5. The ‘Nazi’ photograph was taken in 1975 and not in the 1980’s or 1990’s
6. I may not have worn a paramilitary uniform in connection with National Action.
7. I did not earn my PhD whilst I was in prison.
The inaccuracies or reasonable imputations, when stripped out of the article, render it flawed. We are left with an editor arguing that an Alice In Wonderland script where what is said is okay because of an unwritten sub-text of truth that it makes it fine not be to accurate. This is illogical. My case on points of fact is made out.
The number of inaccuracies reasonably mean that Mr. West did not do proper research. That it was condoned means probably that there is some sort of ‘file’ on me at the newspaper which is faulted.
I have challenged the Sun-Herald on the facts of the harassment of the Pitt Street Church. No proof other than the arrest of Mr. Smith was cited in reply for the ‘guilt’ of National Action’ – let alone my guilt. I provided the Smith acquittal, a document in Reverend McMahon’s handwriting and other journalism which provided another view. By asserting National Action’s guilt, I was, in the totality of the Mr. West’s article, likely to he held ‘guilty’ by the public (who cannot know all the facts) or ‘linked’ to the crimes by virtue of my status in National Action, my like of swastikas (sic) and my paramilitary uniform.
I have challenged the Sun-Herald over "hasn’t changed". Given the inaccuracies in the article, I say that it is clear Mr. West appreciated me and my politics in a jaundiced way. He then adopted a false or twisted history of me and National Action to believe the worst. He then linked this to neo-nazism, anti-semitism and ‘extremism’. This was a defamatory attack. I am not a neo-nazi. I am not an anti-semite. I do not like ‘extremist’ logic. In reply, Mr. Digby considers my politics - "loopy". That is not a rejoinder.
I have challenged the Sun-Herald on the matter of my conviction in the Funde affair. Given my previous dealings with the Sun-Herald in 1997 and my comments to Mr. West (concerning my Internet book on the matter), I was dealt with incompletely - and therefore unfairly. Mr. Digby says only that I have a conspiracy theory. It is not a theory. It is clear that there is an extensive history involved in this case. If it cannot be dealt with properly, then it should not (indeed can not) be dealt with by a statement about conviction followed by a nominal disavowal of guilt.
I have challenged the Sun-Herald over Mr. Jones, the misuse of his commentary to prove ‘neo-nazism’ against me by the strongest of suggestions. Mr. Digby has refused to answer my question about the order of events in Mr. West’s dealings with Mr. Jones.
I am buoyed in this complaint by the hysterical denunciation by Mr. Digby, up to and including his intimidatory threat that the paper has a bag of smears on hand which "could" have been used (and logically can be trotted out in the future). He has used a bad, potted history to prove I am a person of no credit, integrity or believability. But whether I am such a person or not, is not directly relevant to the article which was published. We are in one sense stuck with what is in front of us. I have introduced just enough history to show that Mr. Digby is a poor historian. But past this point, the Council must look at the ‘facts’ as they were presented. Essentially, the article made so many errors and relied on unproven history as to be unreliable.
At no point did Mr. Digby address the treacherous and dishonest methodology of Mr. West. He did not address the matter of how the interview was conducted. He did not discuss the secondary banter-conversation which Mr. West conducted with me, which became the article, as opposed to the formal interview which was discarded. This raises a question as to propriety and fairness.
I move the Australian Press Council to consider Mr. Digby’s reply closely and use it as a collateral means to establish my complaint as a properly grounded one.
The Question Of The Tape Recording: Mr. West’s Credibility
The tape recording lasts for about 5 minutes. I provide two copies of this tape, one for the Council and the other for Mr. Digby.
I understand Mr. Digby might wish to reply to any number of matters arising from the tape.
I make the following submissions:
It can be reasonably accepted that I telephoned Mr. West on Friday 27 February and went to the extent of tape-recording the conversation, because I had some concerns about the quality of the article. I have said that my concerns were inchoate in character. It was at the level of ‘unease’, arising from the secondary conversation which had been conducted.
It can be reasonably accepted that I directed questions as would allow Mr. West to explain what his article was about.
It should be understood, as I raised in the original complaint, that Mr. West asked direct interview questions and then there was ‘banter’. I have said that it is the latter which formed the basis of the article. It was unfair. The quality of Mr. West’s conversation on the tape (as with his direct questions at the interview) would have led me to assume this was a serious article dealing with serious questions such as extra-parliamentary politics, electoralism, the strategy of the Greens as a model and so forth. The article was no such thing. The Council would easily conclude it was a pseudo-sensationalist screed, not a serious article about serious questions.
The Council should listen carefully to the conversation.
At no point in this conversation did I accuse Mr. West of an intention to run ‘Nazi’ photographs nor to associate me with violence and mayhem. I had not formed a direct opinion that he had chosen to go down this course. He did not mention it either. Obviously not, because I still had time to protest the article had he been honest.
It is Mr. West’s replies which are collateral proofs of my complaint. Not in any order, I remind the Council:
1. Mr. West referred to me as not having changed "core values" and from his affability he seems to mean this in a general ideological way.
It follows that I was on the tape still considering this ‘change’ at the level of ideas and not ‘political violence tactics’ (something I deny emphatically occurred as a method and eventuated only in incidents in which I deny guilt and condemn the perpetrators). Mr. West’s conversation with me was disingenuous. Yes, I haven’t changed. He then connects the story together in the article such I may still endorse violence and neo-nazism on the basis of a faulty history-script. Mr Jones cautions against any "change". The reader is invited to believe that I have not "changed". Bluntly, it all depends what is the subject of the ‘change’. Mr. West did not define it for me other than as per my ideas. It was Mr. Digby who was more forthright than Mr. West and directly linked it to me not apologising for the violence in which I was supposedly complicit as a member of the organization.
2. Mr. West wanted to compare my current activities with those of National Action.
Mr. West did not tell me he would mean that in terms of certain highly disputed campaigns, paramilitary uniforms, swastikas and so forth.
3. Mr. West refers to the election campaign and mentions that I am comparing my politics to a Greens model, not a swashbuckling model.
Mr. West did not say he intended to refer to death threats and malicious damage offences at the Pitt Street Uniting Church. He mentioned I had referred to National Action as "contentious". From the conversation, Mr. West suggests he was authoring an almost analytical article. I say it was a smear. It is defended in the manner it now is by Mr. Digby as a veritable political statement. I suggest that was always Mr. West’s motive in writing it as he did, albeit with editorial approval.
4. Mr. West confirms his photographer was coming. At no point did he suggest he was going to use any other photographs.
The motive for this deceit is the subject of complaint (as above).
5. Mr. West refers to his story as "pretty straight" and "pretty straight" again.
Obviously, I dispute that. These words show Mr. West was a dissembling fraud. He implied he had written his article and seemed to quote from it. The quotations are highly selective and general. He does not mention Mr. Jones, swastikas, infiltrating the Nazi party, a paramilitary violence at the Church and so forth. This is all concealed by references (as above) to comparisons with National Action. I suggest this untruthfulness shows his intention from the start.
Mr. West did not seek any further clarification from me whilst I was on the phone. From his manner, one would almost assume he was being "straight" and giving me free publicity, perhaps with a sting or two, but basically a reasonable political analysis.
The tape recording is instructive and useful. It seems that henceforward I am obliged to tape all journalists who may contact me, check into their backgrounds before I say anything more and demand some rights over final copy. This is unfortunate, but if the tape-recording proves anything (mainly here to me), it shows I deal with dishonest smear-mongers with no interest in the slightest degree of objectivity.