When it comes to Justice, either everyone counts or else no one counts!
Many people reading this blog may be familiar with the adage that when you throw a stone in a pond, the ripples go far-and-wide and cover the entire surface of the pond. In many respects that is an appropriate adage to use for it does describe the worldwide expressions of concern and/or outrage at Jacintha Saldanha’s death. However, because of the complex circumstances that underpinned her death, I believe that a more complex analogy is appropriate to highlight the culture of reckless indifference that made Jacintha’s death ‘just’ one more in a long series of Australian mass media driven suicides.
Please, kindly bear with me in reading the following comments which at first may seem to be way off track. Stick with me and the logic will become clear.
EVENT 1. “Expendable People” – A Culture of Recklessness.
“Look before you leap” is good advice that is sometimes given to people who do not think things through fully before acting. Sometimes, when people who are in positions of power, authority or influence do not think carefully about what they are doing, they can be wind up being recklessly indifferent to the consequences of their actions. One such example is graphically and simply highlighted in the audio-graph depicted below.
May 22nd 1968 – 6.22 PM (Greenwich Mean Time). What this simple audio-graph shows is the fraction of a second in time when bureaucratic penny-pinching by US politicians and US Navy ‘bean-counters’ killed 99 men.
Once classified as top-secret, “Event 1” was the 1st of 15 such ‘events’ recorded in a 190 second period on an sonar-graph recorder that was installed in a secret US Navy facility in the Spanish owned Canary Islands.
As the legend in the sonar-graph makes quite clear, in less than a second, the hull of the nuclear submarine, USS Scorpion, imploded and in that second, the crew of 99 were killed. While much of the facts relating to the loss of the USS Scorpion are still secret, much is now in the public domain and what is revealed by some of this information is ‘A Culture of Reckless Indifference’ amongst people who should have known better, that effectively condemned the crew to death long before the sub imploded.
USS Thresher. On 10th August 1963 the US Navy made a horrific discovery when the brand new nuclear submarine, USS Thresher, sank during diving trials.
- When the sub’s nuclear reactor suddenly shut down, the USS Thresher slowly began to sink and eventually, nearly 2,000 feet below the surface, the hull imploded and 129 crew and shipyard workers died.
- The key lesson of the Thresher’s loss was that without nuclear power, the newly established fleet of US nuclear submarines simply just SANK!
In order to prevent a repeat of the USS Thresher disaster, a program called “Subsafe” was implemented that included a Super-Blow’ system of ultra-high pressure air vessels that in seconds could give a submarine enough positive buoyancy that, like the supposedly ‘nuclear’ submarine “Dallas” in the movie “The hunt for Red October”, could cause a submarine to virtually leap out of the water.
1. Installing the new safety systems in new submarines was expensive but did not pose major problems for submarines not yet under construction.
2. However, upgrading existing nuclear submarines was a technical and logistical nightmare with one submarine requiring 3 years and millions of dollars in budget over-runs to be brought up to Subsafe standard.
3. Under those circumstances, politicians, admirals, and US Navy bean-counters looked for alternative solutions, and what they came up with were ‘solutions’ that defied common sense and ultimately, killed the Scorpion and her crew of 99 men.
Quality testing of the US nuclear submarine fleet revealed that they were poorly built with only 40% of the Scorpion’s water pipes meeting minimum specifications.
4. Valves to operate the sub’s Super-Blow system were so faulty that they were disconnected! By administrative fiat, it was decided that if the sub did not dive below 600 feet, then it could not accidentally dive to crush depth if the tail-planes locked in the dive position; a common problem at the time!
5. This moronic decision totally defied logic for the assumption was that by forbidding deep dives, submarines would not dive deep accidentally if a mechanical failure occurred!
6. Crucial safety work was ‘Deferred, not cancelled”, a bureaucratic act of stupidity that was rationalized away with a program that was officially known as “Predictive Maintenance”, i.e. we will predict when things wear out and replace them ad hoc rather than performing major overhauls on a regular basis.
7. This was the equivalent of saying, “I predict that the brakes on my car should wear out in 5 years and so I will check them in 5 years!” The real goal behind “Predictive Maintenance” was to keep the nuclear submarines in operation as long as possible whilst minimizing annual operating costs.
8. For those responsible for operating the US Navy’s submarine fleet, the over-riding factors were operational availability and saving money.
With that mindset underpinning the operation of the US Navy’s nuclear submarine fleet, it was manifestly obvious that saving money was far more important than saving lives. At 6.00 PM on May 22nd 1968, something, possibly a hydrogen gas explosion in the Scorpion’s 86 ton battery system, send the submarine into an uncontrolled descent and 22 minutes later at about 2,000 feet below the surface, the hull imploded and the submarine was lost with all hands.
Incredible but true – the fortuitous: $9.2 Million ‘silver lining’!
Incredibly, in December 1968 US Navy bean-counters shocked the families of the Scorpion’s crew, and many serving members of the US Navy, by callously announcing that the loss of the submarine had fortuitously produced “A total net saving of $9.2 Million” because, incredibly:
1. The need to upgrade the Scorpion to Subsafe standards was no longer necessary.
2. The Scorpion no-longer had routine operational or minor maintenance costs.
3. There were no ‘active-duty’ salaries for the 99 crew of the Scorpion!
Needless to say, the families were outraged at this bean-counter logic and the US Navy’s attempt to hose down this public relations disaster only further added to the angst of the families and their friends for the explanation that these were only “savings in a budgetary sense” only served to add fuel to the fire.
The relevance to Jacintha’s death.
The US Government of the day and the US Navy’s administrators wanted to be perceived as being “sound economic managers’ who operated the nuclear submarine fleet in an efficient and cost-effective manner that would achieve budget savings of $992 million in 1969. The problem was that those savings could only be achieved by recklessly placing the lives of the submarine crews in grave danger. The risks inherent in the “Predictive Maintenance” programs were glaringly obvious, as was sending the USS Scorpion on a tour of duty without a working Subsafe system, and yet they were disregarded as ‘acceptable risks’ by those whose lives were not in danger!
Note Centrelink’s $867.2 million in “savings” in FY 20001-02 is close to the $992 million that the US Government and the US Navy were trying to save in 1969. The nett result was that both the US Government in 1969 and the Australian Government in FY 2001-02 put “Savings” ahead of saving the lives of people who were ‘at-risk’!
Half a world and 30 years apart and yet in both examples the governments and bureaucrats were focused upon saving money whilst totally ignoring the risks to people whose lives were on-the-line as a direct consequence of the decisions that were being made. In both the operation and maintenance programs for US Navy nuclear submarines in 1968, e.g. the USS Scorpion, and the breaching of 260,000 extremely vulnerable, financially impoverished people in Australian in FY 2001-02, MONEY was more important than people who, for all intents and purposes, were expendable!
99 people are known to have died when the USS Scorpion sank; the post breaching fatalities are an official State Secret and therein is a major problem for Australia’s Federal Parliament and for Australia’s welfare recipients.
On May 2nd 2012, a committee of the British Parliament, the Culture, Media and Sports Committee, released its report into the ‘News of the World’ phone hacking scandal. The report contained the comment: “We conclude therefore, that Rupert Murdock is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”
1. Apply that statement to Australia, a nation where the Federal Parliament, federal bureaucrats and the major political parties are hiding an unreported death toll that may be 2-4 times the 9/11 death toll; a toll caused by legislation of extremely questionable constitutional validity, and there is an obvious potential problem.
2. Australia’s mass media industry is an industry that only has self-interest at heart, and the ‘commercial opportunity’ provided by the failure of politicians and bureaucrats to report the constantly rising toll of breaching fatalities was huge.
3. In effect, the mass media had the Federal Parliament well and truly over the barrel with its pants down!
4. Was that dreadful secret the necessary leverage, i.e. the ‘commercial opportunity’ for corporate executives in Australia’s mass media, (some of whom may not be “…a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company”), to coerce Australia’s major parties into agreeing to ‘self-regulation’ codes of practice that put mass media interests ahead of public interest, national interest, and national laws?
5. Were these self-serving regulatory codes the price that the Australian political parties have had to pay for the silence of the mass media?
6. Unfairly defamed and demonized by the mass media’s perfectly legal vilification campaigns that portray welfare recipients as “dole bludgers” and “dole cheats”, are demoralized, vulnerable people on welfare still paying with their lives with Centrelink’s latest rip-off, the 6 Week Rule scam?
7. An email in response to one of my previous blogs contained the heart-rending statement, “Centrelink killed my dad” and so perhaps the answer to that question is YES!
8. The current outrageous codes of practice are not about “freedom of speech” but are aimed at protecting “free market forces” as is evidenced by Kym Williams November 28th, 2012 “Market forces must trump the regulators” speech!
9. With Jacintha’s death, Australia’s media regulatory environment now poses a real danger to the more sensitive members of the global population who can be ‘touched’ by media organizations.
FRAGILE – Handle with Care.
In Australia, too many fragile welfare recipients were people, who when confronted with the over-whelming trauma of breaching, responded by taking their own lives. You do not have to be an unemployed Australian welfare recipient to be emotionally fragile; Jacintha was apparently also a fragile, vulnerable, at-risk person.
1. Jacintha was over-whelmed by what 2Day FM had done to her and appears to have responded in precisely the same manner. (How well would you have coped with that embarrassment?)
2. The reality is that when 2Day FM made the decision to make the phone call, the emotional or cultural reactions of the person that would be conned in the scam was not a major factor.
3. It is manifestly obvious that if these had been important considerations, then the call would never have been made in the first place. ` In the end what counted was the “market forces” imperative of ‘Rating’ for these meant more advertising revenue and revenue means PROFIT.
Where to draw the Line of Accountability in Jacintha’s death?
(HINT: Think “Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals.”)
Jacintha’s death was unintended for sure, but it was a serial killing in a very long series of mass media driven deaths. Just as it takes two people acting independently to arm and launch a nuclear tipped ICBM, i.e. a Co-Key or Co-Trigger Process, the breaching fatalities process also involved a Co-Triggering Process. The underlying cause was unconstitutional breaching legislation but the moral of many victims had been eroded away by mass media vilification until some lacked the will-to-live that was crucial to being able to survive being breached. As such, Australia’s mass media was a willing co-conspirator in this process of fraud and mass murder. The problem in recognizing the co-triggered fatalities that preceded Jacintha’s death is then where do you draw the line when it comes to accountability for her death?
1. Yes, the 2Day FM personnel involved in the media attack upon the Queen should answer for Jacintha’s death.
2. What about Kym Williams exhortation to the Australian mass media to “trump the regulators”;
3. How about the ACMA’s shonky handling of Reports 2729 and 2780 which let the mass media literally get away with murder and the AFP decisions of 2004 and 2009 which preceded the ACMA decisions?
4. What about those politicians and bureaucrats who illegally enforced the breaching quotas first reported by Cheryl Kernot way back in June 2000; after all those deaths are Felony Murders?
5. What about the Queen of Australia’s own vice-regal representatives who have signed off on the unconstitutional, lethal breaching legislation several time over a period of time measured in decades?
6. As the letter at the start of Part 3a made quite clear, breaching triggered fatalities have been ignored by the current Governor-General, Her Excellency, Quentin Bryce!
7. Who was the highest authority in Australia to ignore these deaths and thus allow the Australian media to presume that it too was unaccountable and so far above the law that racial vilification was deemed an acceptable “Freedom of Speech” whilst a democratically elected government’s public inquiries into the media are deemed by the media to be totally unacceptable?
If the phone call to Jacintha Saldanha had been made from South Australia, then R v Finch would have been the legal basis for a SAPOL investigation into the circumstances leading up to her death. In the case outlined below, the core issue is that Josiah Finch will not reveal who fired the fatal shot that killed Karim Morrison. As a consequence, Josiah Finch received a mandatory sentence of 25 years with a non-parole period of 14 years. Given that the SA DPP knew of the breaching quota driven fatalities and ignored them, perhaps because of their political “gravity/sensitivity”, the prosecution of Josiah Finch was a gross miscarriage of justice!
This injustice has been further heightened by the 2011 refusal of SAPOL to investigate the Quotagate fatalities and by the SA Attorney-General’s grossly partisan decision that the deaths are not Felony Murders because they involved ‘no violence‘!
Director Of Public Prosecutions Annual Report 2005-2006
R v Finch – Josiah Finch was charged with the murder of Karim Morrison. Mr Morrison was shot once to the head in the carpark of the McDonalds restaurant on Anzac Highway at Morphettville before his body was dumped nearby in one of the entrances to the nearby racecourse. The prosecution case was that Mr Morrison was shot in the course of a drug rip-off gone wrong. Whilst it was not alleged that Mr Finch was the shooter, it was alleged that he was present when Mr Morrison was shot and was instrumental in the arrangements that led to Mr Morrison being in the carpark at the relevant time. The shooter remains unknown to the prosecution. Mr Finch was found guilty by a jury. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 14 years. The basis upon which he was sentenced was felony murder. That is, the learned sentencing judge, who presided at the trial, was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the murder was not intended or foreseen by Mr Finch, but that it occurred in the course of the commission of a major indictable offense to which he was party.
When it comes to Justice, either everyone counts or else no one counts!
- BROAD ULTRA VIRES: the decisions by so many law enforcement agencies to ignore the death toll caused by breaching legislation and mass media vilification are Broad Ultra Vires decisions that undermine the Rule of Law.
- In 2013, I shall be presenting people accused of crimes with copies of these documents and testing the capacity of Australia’s criminal justice system to deal with these decisions.
- If I am correct and they are Broad Ultra Vires decisions, then it may well prove virtually impossible for prosecutors to obtain convictions in cases involving fraud or unlawful killings.
- The ‘back-flow’ for New Scotland Yard and the City of London Coroner is that if the breaching deaths are deemed to be unlawful killings by an Australian court, then Jacintha’s death really does become a “collateral damage” death in a series of preventable suicides.
When those who rule or hold high office play favourites with Justice, then there is no justice and when that happens, everyone is at risk, and that is the most basic reason of all why Jacintha Saldanha died.
Ronald Medlicott. GDA, Dip T, Cert FLM.
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