Thursday, September 30, 2004

Ivan Molloy’s crime is?

Australia’s lazy, compliant media – and am talking about the broadsheets here – are at it again: giving a story purported legs by joining together a few pieces of trivial political dirt.

The visual elelement always speaks loudest, and so the 21 year-old photo that supposedly shows Molloy with Philippine terrorists is the undoubted lynchpin of this “story”. Assuming, against all the evidence, the worst here – that Molloy was consorting with terrorists who can be shown to have a subsequent lineage to today’s al-Qaida – at least three pertinent facts still render the “evidence” in the photo wholly and unassailably nugatory.

First and foremost, back in the 80s, the US was onside with Osama himself in Afghanistan. Oops!

Second, leaving aside the implications of what I’ve just stated, if Molloy was such a threat to the security of the West, at least c. 1983, what the fuck were/are our security agencies doing? Never mind the he’s now popped up as a parliamentary candidate: for 21 years, he’s been free to wander our streets, taking photos of airports, power stations, etc – and not to mention also lately indoctrinating the minds of our youth, as a university lecturer.

Finally, again ignoring the above, there is the more general point that serious academic research into terrorism will necessarily involve some level of consorting with terrorists. If our media and/or security agencies think that such academic research should be banned for being worthless, or worse, then they should be open about making this call – and be prepared to wear the consequences. Conversely, with the evidence not showing that Molloy has consorted with terrorists, if they had to "bite", the media could more fairly and squarely go at him for being a lightweight pretender (and its usual corollary, a job-hogging baby boomer) in his field.

Oh, and in a fact which has been barely reported, the offending photo was taken simply as a souvenir. Shock, horror – an Aussie in Asia poses for an incongruous (e.g. Lefty holding his bodyguard's gun) snap to show the folks back home. For fuck’s sake – on its own, the photo carries the same moral/aesthetic cadence as one of Pissed Ocker In Front Of "hilariously" misspelt sign in English.

In any case, a chronology of the last week shows that Ivan Molloy was being set up well before the photo emerged. On 23 September, he was already being hung-out for some Bali-blame words his wife had said, and later retracted. Foolishly (in hindsight), Molloy at the same time agreed to write an Op Ed for the Oz, to appear the next day. This Op Ed, by merely restating a well-trodden line (that Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war has increased our visibility as an Islamic terrorist target) achieved nothing other than making himself a target – the media would henceforth now pounce uncritically on absolutely any piece of Molloy-related road-kill.

Hence, the crude and dumb (for the reasons outlined above) running of the photo “story” on 28 September. And just to show that fresh depths on Molloy could still be plumbed, some editions of the Australian on 28 September introduced an 80s-relic* bumper-sticker as a side-story, knowing, of course, that it would itself bloat into full-fledged, enough-for everyone, road-kill by today.

And who would have thought that, down among all this bottom-feeding pack behaviour, the singular Greg Sheridan would be clambering beneath the mob, to especially alone enjoy the morsels with his tongue?

* From memory, the "Join the army, travel to exotic distant lands, meet exciting and unusual people . . . and kill them" bumper-sticker was big in the mid-80s, hot on the heels of "No Dams". In other words, linking it to the current Iraq war is spurious, and – unless you’ve recently come from Mars – dishonest.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?