Scroll right down to the bottom of this page for the VERY thick edge of the wedge.

The area of the planet which includes Australia is - according to the corporate media on October 30th, 2006 - in utter turmoil.

Another typical day in the life of a region being sadistically destabilized in order to sell arms.

Solomon Islands' Attorney General Julian Moti's child-sex scandal escalates daily and last night on the TV news, Mr. Moti wondered aloud why - nine years after being exonerated in a Vanuatu court, Australia has started pursuing him independently about allegations that he had sex with a 13 year old girl in 1997. (see below)

East Timor has roaming gangs of teenage killer zombies fuelled by a mysterious supply of "a dirty form of the drug 'ice'" (see below) This is methamphetamine, and the "crystal" that Billy identified in 1958 - 68.) "... towards the beginning of the Third Millennium a dangerous new drug with the name crystal will cause a furor amongst addicted people ... "

And the religious leader of Australia's Muslims seems to have been "One of our best" CIA agents.  (see below)

Please do make the time to read the below from in order to learn about the even MORE horrible things the CIA & Co. were/are up to, that Billy Meier didn't mention in his article. And please scroll right down to read about some of the current domestic mayhem too.


Michael Levine is a 25-year veteran of the DEA turned best-selling author and journalist. His articles and interviews on the drug war have been published in numerous national newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Esquire

When President Nixon first declared war on drugs in 1971, there were fewer than 500,000 hard-core addicts in the entire nation, most of whom were addicted to heroin. Three decades later, despite the expenditure of $1 trillion in tax dollars, the number of hard-core addicts is shortly expected to exceed five million. Our nation has become the supermarket of the drug world, with a wider variety and bigger supply of drugs at cheaper prices than ever before. The problem now not only affects every town and hamlet on the map, but it is difficult to find a family anywhere that is not somehow affected. (pp. 158, 159)

The Chang Mai factory the CIA prevented me from destroying was the source of massive amounts of heroin being smuggled into the US in the bodies and body bags of GIs killed in Vietnam. (p. 165)

My unit, the Hard Narcotics Smuggling Squad, was charged with investigating all heroin and cocaine smuggling through the Port of New York. My unit became involved in investigating every major smuggling operation known to law enforcement. We could not avoid witnessing the CIA protecting major drug dealers. Not a single important source in Southeast Asia was ever indicted by US law enforcement. This was no accident. Case after case was killed by CIA and State Department intervention and there wasn’t a damned thing we could do about it. CIA-owned airlines like Air America were being used to ferry drugs throughout Southeast Asia, allegedly to support our “allies.” CIA banking operations were used to launder drug money. (pp. 165, 166)

In 1972, I was assigned to assist in a major international drug case involving top Panamanian government officials who were using diplomatic passports to smuggle large quantities of heroin and other drugs into the US. The name Manuel Noriega surfaced prominently in the investigation. Surfacing right behind Noriega was the CIA to protect him from US law enforcement. As head of the CIA, Bush authorized a salary for Manuel Noriega as a CIA asset, while the dictator was listed in as many as 40 DEA computer files as a drug dealer. (pp. 166, 167)

The CIA and the Department of State were protecting more and more politically powerful drug traffickers around the world: the Mujihadeen in Afghanistan, the Bolivian cocaine cartels, the top levels of Mexican government, Nicaraguan Contras, Colombian drug dealers and politicians, and others. Media’s duties, as I experienced firsthand, were twofold: first, to keep quiet about the gush of drugs that was allowed to flow unimpeded into the US; second, to divert the public’s attention by shilling them into believing the drug war was legitimate by falsely presenting the few trickles we were permitted to indict as though they were major “victories,” when in fact we were doing nothing more than getting rid of the inefficient competitors of CIA assets. (pp. 166, 167)

On July 17, 1980, drug traffickers actually took control of a nation. Bolivia at the time [was] the source of virtually 100% of the cocaine entering the US. CIA-recruited mercenaries and drug traffickers unseated Bolivia’s democratically elected president, a leftist whom the US government didn’t want in power. Immediately after the coup, cocaine production increased massively, until it soon outstripped supply. This was the true beginning of the cocaine and crack “plague.” (pp. 167, 168)

The CIA along with the State and Justice Departments had to combine forces to protect their drug-dealing assets by destroying a DEA investigation. How do I know? I was the inside source. I sat down at my desk in the American embassy and wrote the kind of letter that I never myself imagined ever writing. I detailed three pages typewritten on official US embassy stationary—enough evidence of my charges to feed a wolf pack of investigative journalists. I also expressed my willingness to be a quotable source. I addressed it directly to Strasser and Rohter, care of Newsweek. Two sleepless weeks later, I was still sitting in my embassy office staring at the phone. Three weeks later, it rang. It was DEA’s internal security. They were calling me to notify me that I was under investigation. I had been falsely accused of everything from black-marketing to having sex with a married female DEA agent. The investigation would wreak havoc with my life for the next four years. (pp. 168-171)

In one glaring case, an associate of mine was sent into Honduras to open a DEA office in Tegucigalpa. Within months he had documented as much as 50 tons of cocaine being smuggled into the US by Honduran military people who were supporting the Contras. This was enough cocaine to fill a third of US demand. What was the DEA response? They closed the office. (p. 175)

Sometime in 1990, US Customs intercepted a ton of cocaine being smuggled through Miami International Airport. A Customs and DEA investigation quickly revealed that the smugglers were the Venezuelan National Guard headed by General Guillen, a CIA “asset” who claimed that he had been operating under CIA orders and protection. The CIA soon admitted that this was true.  If the CIA is good at anything, it is the complete control of American mass media. So secure are they in their ability to manipulate the mass media that they even brag about it in their own in-house memos. The New York Times had the story almost immediately in 1990 and did not print it until 1993. It finally became news that was “fit to print” when the Times learned that 60 Minutes also had the story and was actually going to run it. The highlight of the 60 Minutes piece is when the administrator of the DEA, Federal Judge Robert Bonner, tells Mike Wallace, “There is no other way to put it, Mike, [what the CIA did] is drug smuggling. It’s illegal [author's emphasis].” (pp. 188, 189)

The fact is—and you can read it yourself in the federal court records—that seven months before the attempt to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, the FBI had a paid informant, Emad Salem, who had infiltrated the bombers and had told the FBI of their plans to blow up the twin towers. Without notifying the NYPD or anyone else, an FBI supervisor “fired” Salem, who was making $500 a week for his work. After the bomb went off, the FBI hired Salem back and paid him $1.5 million to help them track down the bombers. But that’s not all the FBI missed. When they finally did catch the actual bomber, Ramzi Yousef (a man trained with CIA funds during the Russia-Afghanistan war), the FBI found information on his personal computer about plans to use hijacked American jetliners as fuel-laden missiles. The FBI ignored this information, too. (p. 191)

Learn about Mr. Levine’s books and radio show at



Gary Webb was an investigative reporter for 19 years. He won a 1990 Pulitzer Prize, received the 1997 Media Hero award, and in 1996 was named Journalist of the Year by the Bay Area Society of Professional Journalists. He worked on several newspapers until being forced out of his job after the San Jose Mercury News retracted their support for the Dark Alliance story discussed below. 

In 1996, I wrote a series of stories, entitled Dark Alliance, that began this way: For the better part of a decade, a Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of LA and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerilla army run by the CIA. The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America. It is one of the most bizarre alliances in modern history—the union of a US-backed army attempting to overthrow a socialist government and the Uzi-toting “gangstas” of Los Angeles. (p. 143)

In December 1995, I wrote a lengthy memo to my editors, advising them of what my Nicaraguan colleague and I had found: With the help of recently declassified documents, FBI reports, DEA undercover tapes, as well as interviews with some of the key participants, we will show how a CIA-linked drug and stolen car network provided weapons and tons of high-grade, dirt cheap cocaine to the very person who spread crack through LA and from there into the hinterlands. A bizarre bond between an elusive CIA operative and a brilliant car thief from LA’s ghettos touched off a social phenomenon—crack and gang-power—that changed our lives. The day these two men met was literally ground zero for California’s crack explosion. This is also the story of how an ill-planned foreign policy adventure—the CIA’s “secret” war in Nicaragua—boomeranged back to the streets of America, in the long run doing more damage to us than to our “enemies” in Central America. We have compelling evidence that the kingpins of this cocaine ring enjoyed a unique relationship with the US government that has continued to this day. (pp. 145-146)

The story was developing a political momentum all of its own, and it was happening despite a virtual news blackout from the mass media. Ultimately, it was public pressure that forced the national newspapers into the fray. In Washington, black media outlets were ridiculing the Post for its silence. Between October and November, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times published lengthy stories about the CIA drug issue, but spent precious little time exploring the CIA’s activities. Instead, my reporting and I became the focus of their scrutiny. The official conclusion reached by all three papers: Much ado about nothing. No story here. Nothing worth pursuing. The series was “flawed.” It was remarkable [Mercury News editor] Ceppos, wrote, that the four Post reporters assigned to debunk the series “could not find a single significant factual error.” (pp. 149-152)

At my editor’s request, I wrote another series following up on the first three parts: a package of four stories to run over two days. They never began to edit them. Instead, I found myself involved in hours-long conversations with editors that bordered on surreal. A few months later, the Mercury News officially backed away from Dark Alliance, publishing a long column by Jerry Ceppos apologizing for “shortcomings” in the series. The New York Times hailed Ceppos for setting a brave new standard for dealing with “egregious errors” and splashed his apology on their front page, the first time the series had ever been mentioned there. I quit the Mercury News after that. (p. 153)

The CIA’s knowledge and involvement had been far greater than I’d ever imagined. Agents and officials of the DEA had protected the traffickers from arrest, something I’d not been allowed to print. At the start of the Contra war, the CIA and Justice Department had worked out an unusual agreement that permitted the CIA not to have to report allegations of drug trafficking by its agents to the Justice Department. It was a curious loophole in the law, to say the least. (p. 154)

The Mercury News had broken the rules and used the Internet to get in by the back door, leaving the big papers momentarily embarrassed. It forced them to readdress an issue they’d much rather have forgotten. By turning on the Mercury News, the big boys were reminding the rest of the flock who really runs the newspaper business, Internet or no Internet, and the extent to which they will go to protect that power, even if it meant rearranging reality to suit them. (p. 155)

Do we have a free press today? Sure we do. It’s free to report all the sex scandals it wants, all the stock market news we can handle, every new health fad that comes down the pike, and every celebrity marriage or divorce that happens. But when it comes to the real down and dirty stuff—stories like Tailwind, the October Surprise, the El Mozote massacre, corporate corruption, or CIA involvement in drug trafficking—that’s where we begin to see the limits of our freedoms. In today’s mass media environment, sadly, such stories are not even open for discussion. Back in 1938, when fascism was sweeping Europe, legendary investigative reporter George Seldes observed that “it is possible to fool all the people all the time—when government and press cooperate.” Unfortunately, we have reached that point. (p. 156)

See Mr. Webb’s riveting book Dark Alliance on



John Kelly is first author with Phillip Wearne of Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. It is the first, and to date, the only, contemporaneous critical account of the FBI to be published by a mainstream publisher. He is also an independent investigative producer. He is the former editor and senior writer for the National Reporter, a publication specializing in reporting on the CIA.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency itself, as reported by the House Intelligence Committee, “The Clandestine Service of the CIA is the only part of the Intelligence Community, indeed of government, where hundreds of employees on a daily basis are directed to break extremely serious laws in countries around the world. A safe estimate is that several hundred times every day (easily 100,000 times a year), officers engage in highly illegal activities.” (pp. 115, 116)

The national security of the United States requires that more than 100,000 extremely serious crimes be committed every year. The [House Intelligence] Committee expressed no legal or ethical concerns about these crimes. The committee indicated that it did not matter that laws were broken because they were laws of other countries. The CIA [is] committing crimes against humanity with de facto impunity and Congressional sanctioning. (pp. 116, 117)

Government documents, including CIA reports, show that the CIA’s crimes include terrorism, assassination, torture, and systematic violations of human rights. The documents show that these crimes are part and parcel of deliberate CIA policy. The report notes that CIA personnel are “directed” to commit crimes. (p. 117)

CIA documents show that the CIA created, trained, and armed death squads in Guatemala as part of its coup and destabilization of the democratically elected government in 1954. In Honduras, the CIA’s own inspector general reported that paid CIA assets at the highest level created and ran a death squad which, according to the Honduran government, murdered at least 184 people. The House Intelligence Committee’s only concern regarding these brutal CIA informants and other CIA offenders was that they might be arrested and prosecuted. The committee did not advise the CIA to cease or limit its lawlessness. The Senate Intelligence Committee proposed a bill that would immunize CIA offenders who violate treaties and international agreements while following orders. The bill passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on December 27, 2000. (pp. 117-118)

[This law] means that the Constitution does not apply to the CIA or any US intelligence personnel. Why? Because the constitution provides that all treaties are the supreme law of the land. Not just law, but the supreme law—and no exceptions. There was not a peep from the mass media about any of this even though such a story would not have affected corporate sponsorship or profits. (pp. 119, 120)

The intelligence committees recommended that the “aggressive recruitment” of “terrorist informants who have human rights violations in their background” be “one of the highest priorities.” Within months of instituting the guidelines, incoming CIA director George Tenet assured Congress that not a single unsavory applicant had been rejected. (pp. 120, 121)

Former ambassador Robert White wrote that Manuel Noriega of Panama, Colonel Julio Alpirez of Guatemala, General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez of Honduras, Colonel Nicolas Carranza of El Salvador, and Emmanuel Constant of Haiti, all major human rights abusers, were CIA informants who “enjoyed profitable contractual arrangements with the CIA not because they were particularly important sources of information, but because they served as paid agents of influence who promoted actions or policies favored by the CIA in that country.” (p. 122)

Former CIA General Counsel Sporkin revealed that the CIA, not the president, creates findings to fit preordained covert operations and sends the findings to the president for his signature. (p. 126, 127)

There is next to no meaningful coverage ever of the CIA in the mainstream media, let alone analysis. The few exceptions prove the rule. In 1984, I was involved in one such exception. ABC hired me to help produce a story about an investment firm in Hawaii that was heavily involved with the CIA. I had earlier provided the same story to BBC’s Newsnight, which aired it. The story was fully documented, and nobody, including the CIA, was able to disprove the charges. Part of the report charged that the CIA had plotted to assassinate an American, Ron Rewald, the president of [the investment firm]. The ABC report provoked a brutal response from the CIA. The CIA demanded a full retraction without providing any counterproof other than their denial. (pp. 130, 131)

At the center of the uproar was Scott Barnes who said on camera that the CIA had asked him to kill Rewald. After the show aired, CIA officials met with ABC News executive David Burke. They presented no evidence to counter the charges made in the program. Nonetheless, Burke was sufficiently impressed “by the vigor with which they made their case” to order an on-air “clarification” in which Peter Jennings acknowledged the CIA’s position but stood by the story. But that was not good enough. [CIA Director William] Casey called ABC Chairman Leonard H. Goldenson. The call led to three meetings between ABC officials and Stanley Sporkin, CIA general counsel. On November 21, 1984, despite all the documented evidence presented in the program, Peter Jennings reported that ABC could no longer substantiate the charges, and that “We have no reason to doubt the CIA’s denial.” He presented no evidence supporting the CIA’s position. (pp. 131, 132)

That same day, the CIA filed a formal complaint with the FCC, written by Sporkin and signed by [CIA Director] Casey, charging that ABC had “deliberately distorted” the news. Casey asked that ABC be stripped of its TV and radio licenses. This was the first time in the history of the country that a government agency had formally attacked the press. Yet, there was no uproar. (p. 132)

During this time, Capital Cities Communications was maneuvering to buy ABC. [CIA Director] Casey was one of the founders of Cap Cities. Cap Cities bought ABC for $3.5 billion, which was called a “bargain rate” by the trade media. Besides Casey, two other founders of Cap Cities had extensive ties to the intelligence community. Within months, the entire investigative unit [of ABC] was dispersed, and the commentator on the Rewald program was assigned to covering beauty pageants. Needless to say, my contract was not renewed. (pp. 132, 122)

For Mr. Kelly’s book Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab,see

SBS-TV World News Australia


October 29th, 2006

The fugitive Australian lawyer Julian Moti has accused the Australian Government of pursuing him on child sex charges for political reasons. The suspended Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands today broke his silence to declare his innocence of the charges.

Silence may be golden but not in politics, Julian Moti declares, as he awaits a court hearing in Honiara for entering the Solomons illegally. He blames Australia for his predicament.

JULIAN MOTI: I was told, ultimately, it had to do with the fact that I was considered, by the Australian Government, to be too independent for their liking.

His voice is the latest in a chorus to accuse Australia of interfering in Pacific politics.

JULIAN MOTI: I firmly believe that what has been done to me is to demonstrate that they're not happy with the Solomon Islands' Government's choice of myself as an attorney-general of this country.

It's a charge rejected here.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: All I want is the law to take its course. That's all I want. I am not going to enter into a debate about his guilt or innocence, that's a matter for the courts.

On that question, Mr Moti denied having had sex with a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu nine years ago.

JULIAN MOTI: It was a simple matter of law that justice was delivered to me in the form it had which exonerated me from any involvement in those matter.

Pursuing those charges may have lost Australia friends in the region but the Howard Government's tough stance on governance has found support from the US Deputy Secretary of State, Chistopher Hill.

CHRISTOPHER HILL, US DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: What I saw was going on and the situation with Australia and Solomon Islands - I gotta tell you, it was very familiar because we've had a lot of these issue.

One issue being dismissed, from the Prime Minister down, is an allegation that Australian peacekeepers in East Timor shot dead two Timorese during gang violence on Friday. Defence Force Chief Angus Houston today "refuted entirely" the claims in a Dili newspaper.

Vic Caruso, World News Australia.

The Australian

'Dirty' ice fuelling Dili's hotheads
Ashleigh Wilson, Dili

AN explosion in the use of a dirty form of the drug "ice" among East Timorese youths is fuelling gang violence on the streets of Dili and sparking fears its distribution may be part of a wider move to destabilise the country's Government.

An adviser to East Timorese Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta told The Australian that an exploding level of methamphetamine use had contributed to the fighting that had left up to 10 people dead in the past week.
"It's nothing to do with enjoyment," said Jose Sousa-Santos, the Prime Minister's youth liaison officer. "It's more a pre-battle ritual."

He said the drugs were manufactured locally and
distributed to young Timorese by unknown suppliers in an attempt to destabilise the Government.

The methamphetamine use appeared to have spread in the months after civil unrest broke out in East Timor in April and May. The unrest prompted the intervention of Australian and international troops.

"That's the greatest danger with what's happening in East Timor now," said Mr Sousa-Santos, who was a youth worker in East Timor for four years.

The head of the Australian forces in East Timor, Brigadier Mal Rerden, said yesterday he was concerned about drug use in Dili and that the police were investigating.

"The police have indicated they believe that may be a part of the issue, that there is alcohol and drugs perhaps being given to the youths to stimulate them," Brigadier Rerden said.

"It's unfortunate because ... they may do things that they normally wouldn't, and that's a dangerous and serious thing."

UN spokesman Adrian Edwards said reports that gangs were fuelled by drugs or alcohol had become increasingly common across Dili.

"It's generally known about the talk of methamphetamines going around," he said.

"Having people fighting in this manner for hours on end at some points during the week, and doing the same not too long later, gives credibility to reports that drugs were in use."

But Feliciano Pinto, secretary of the Timorese Health Ministry, said while he had heard rumours about drug use he had "no evidence about that".

Mr Sousa-Santos said the widespread use of ice made the security situation unpredictable.

Many of the drug-affected youths could be seen throwing rocks or carrying weapons such as knives, he said.

"You can always tell when ice is back in town because you get three to four days when it's violent, and then it stops," he said. "The other thing that shows it's happening is when you see kids walking straight through tear gas.

"They don't notice. They're just empty.

"We have got international forces with weapons.

"But being totally under the grip of ice, they (the young Timorese) don't feel fear."

Mr Sousa-Santos said it was difficult to predict when the violence would break out again. However he said the availability of drugs could be a factor.

"It all depends on who is turning the tap on and when they decide to start up again," he said.

"There are people utilising that drug to create the destabilisation process."

He said much of the violence centred on two large martial arts gangs that contained about 30,000 members across the country.

"Keeping those two groups from going at it is probably my main concern at the moment," Mr Sousa-Santos said.

"The mayhem that would happen is nothing to what's happening now."


The Australian

Canberra ignored secret agent's warning
Natalie O'Brien

INTELLIGENCE reports warning that Taj Din al-Hilali had been linked to extremist groups in Egypt and could pose a threat to Australia were sent to the federal Government in 1984 - six years before he was granted permanent residency.

But the documents, which also claimed that military-style weapons were being kept at the Lakemba mosque, were shelved, according to the secret agent who passed them on to Canberra.

The reports came from an Egyptian source who was considered to be highly reliable by Western intelligence agencies, including the CIA.

"He was our best agent at the time," the former secret agent told The Australian.

The reports were passed on through the Australian Embassy in Cairo, which at the time was led by former ambassador Ken Rogers. Current ASIO director General Paul O'Sullivan was a senior diplomat at the embassy at the time.

The former Australian secret agent who wrote the reports on Sheik Hilali for Canberra, and was responsible for keeping the Government informed, said that information about the Sheik's activities had come via files held on him by the Egyptian intelligence service.

But the agent was ordered to back off and not follow up any more information about Sheik Hilali.

He told The Australian his investigations were stymied because of the importance of the ethnic vote to the Labor party.

"I was not able to continue reporting on it," he said. The agent said Canberra should have checked out the information and come back to him with a report.

But that never happened.

The Weekend Australian reported on Saturday that the Hawke Labor government's immigration minister Chris Hurford tried in 1986 to have Sheik Hilali deported.

But the move was opposed by senior party figures including then Treasurer Paul Keating and MP Leo McLeay.

Senior sources said Labor opposed the move to deport Sheik Hilali for its own political benefit. The Lakemba mosque where Hilali was the spiritual leader was in McLeay's electorate.

"It was a local political issue for people who lived in the electorate," said one observer.

"They took the philosophical view that if people in this religious group wanted Hilali to be their spiritual leader, why should they say no?"

At the time the secret intelligence file on Sheik Hilali was sent to Canberra he had already been in Australia for two years, after overstaying his visitor's visa.

Sheik Hilali had been known to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the extremist movement that claims to have a non-violent political agenda to restore Islamic rule.

But the organisation has spawned numerous extremists and is said to have inspired Osama bin Laden and the al-Qa'ida movement.

The Egyptian Government and its secret agents were concerned about Sheik Hilali's influence, particularly on the expatriate Egyptian community in Australia. They revealed that Sheik Hilali had spent some years training in Libya.

The Egyptians were concerned that he had been sent to train extremists.

After his arrival in Australia, Sheik Hilali was said to be linked to another extremist group, the Soldiers of God, which was believed to be involved in the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Court documents regarding his immigration application showed that, by December 1984, ASIO had indicated that they "no longer believe that the Imam represented a risk to the community of causing or promoting violence".

He was allowed to stay but was told by Australian authorities that he should pay attention to the manner in which his beliefs and values were presented, so as not to be seen as offensive to other sections of the community.

Editorial: Immigration advice ignored


What did Keating know about Hilali, and when did he know it?

ONE of the most important questions to arise from the controversy surrounding Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali is a simple one: how did he get here and why was he allowed to stay? The answer, it turns out is Paul Keating and the NSW Labor Right. From the moment Sheik Hilali came to the attention of the authorities, the former treasurer and prime minister has been a very powerful friend to a man with some very bizarre ideas. The sheik's remarks on women, reported by this newspaper on Thursday, were not unique. The man held up as the spiritual leader of Australia's 300,000 Muslims has a two-decade history of making outrageous and inflammatory speeches attacking women and Jews and endorsing terrorism and suicide bombing. Twenty years ago Sheik Hilali had to apologise after he was quoted as saying, "the two cheapest things in Australia are the flesh of a woman and the meat of a pig". Chris Hurford, immigration minister in the Hawke Labor government, tried to have the cleric deported in 1986 for these remarks and others. What's more, Australia's intelligence services knew that before he left Egypt for Australia, Sheik Hilali had been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an extremist organisation largely influenced by the writings of Sayyid Qutb, whose theological justifications of violence have been heavily borrowed by al-Qa'ida and other modern international Islamic terrorist groups.

But none of this appeared to trouble Mr Keating or powerful ALP backbencher Leo McLeay. The two men held the neighbouring seats of Blaxland and Grayndler, both heavily populated with Lebanese Muslims, and went in to bat for the sheik. Neither wanted to risk alienating that community, and they pressured the Immigration Department to ignore the body of evidence revealing Sheik Hilali as poisonous to our healthy body politic. And they were backed by a NSW Labor Party heading into an election in 1988 and looking for votes in western Sydney. Indeed Mr Keating engineered the elevation of Sheik Hilali to the leadership of the Muslim community to ensure Labor would have a leader it could deal with. And when he was acting prime minister while Bob Hawke was away in 1990, Mr Keating personally approved Sheik Hilali's residency. Chris Hurford was moved from his portfolio of immigration, and Bill McKinnon, who headed the department at the time, lost his job. So far Mr Keating has been uncharacteristically silent on his role in helping Sheik Hilali to stay in the country. But this saga is yet another blot on the record on immigration policy of the ALP, which from before the time of Arthur Calwell and the White Australia policy has a sorry history of putting special interests before the national interest.

While the politics that led to Mr Keating's support for Sheik Hilali may seem cynical and grubby, these events took place at a time when multiculturalism and tolerance were all the rage. Few questioned the wisdom of letting ethnic communities self-segregate, creating a process that two decades later has damaged national cohesion and weakened the bond of our shared values. At the tailend of the Cold War, those who warned of the dangers of ethnic separatism and the more specific threat of political Islam to Western societies were voices in the wilderness. Back then, tolerance was all that mattered. And for the federal ALP and the NSW Right, if it could garner votes and secure seats, all the better. Mr Keating and the ALP used divisive multicultural politics for short-term political gain at a cost to the long-term health of the nation. Today Australia is reaping the fruits of that electoral cynicism.




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