Dr. Jim Saleam
Editor's note: the following item was received a few weeks ago and is still entirely relevant. It is published as received, however readers need to take into account references therein to the timing of the events described which are relative to the time the article was written and not to the date of publication. The delay in publication is entirely the fault of your humble editor!
David Penberthy, scribbler at the Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail has over the last couple of weeks taken my name in vain in a newspapers’ war against the NSW Greens Senator, Lee Rhiannon.
The story was that Senator Rhiannon met with Mr. John Bursill, a man who questions the official story and seeks ‘the truth’ about the September 2001 Twin Towers attacks in New York. It was then said that I had previously invited Mr. Bursill to address the Sydney Forum (variously described as a creation of the Australia First Party and an assembly of ‘far right activists’). It was then the smear that there is some ‘link’ between myself and Senator Rhiannon and she fails some credibility test via a ‘link’ with me. I could also say I might fail a credibility test via a link with her.
I note this horse manure has appeared also in The Australian newspaper over the last two weeks also. Why it should be that the papers have launched a broadside at Rhiannon I cannot say, but the truth around David Penberthy smells.
On September 23 the following appeared under Penberthy’s pen:
Lee Rhiannon: She can’t handle the truth(ers)
“Despite her left-wing convictions, Rhiannon went ahead and held a meeting with Bursill at the same time he had given an address to another meeting of right-wing extremists to push his truther views. The meeting was called the Sydney Forum and was a gathering of Far Right activists organised by a lapsed Nazi called Jim Saleam, the former head of the cheerily named National Socialist Party. “
Lovely. Unfortunately for Penberthy, I have never been the “former head” of the “cheerily named” National Socialist Party, a group which did exist in Australia, but which disappeared in 1975. I have observed that other journalists have insisted since that it does exist, but other than citing a few ex-agents of the discredited one-time Special Branch police making such claims, no evidence has really been produced. Of course, the journalists at issue knew whom they were quoting, which raises serious questions, all made worse because it has sometimes been me who has told them of this fact – but let us not stray too far from peeling back Penberthy’s falsity. Raising too many points about why journalists simply lie would be a book.
Penberthy’s bile prompted Senator Rhiannon to write in the Sunday Mail (September 30)
Greens senator says column incorrect:
David Penberthy (SM, September 23) made a serious mistake when he claimed that I attended and spoke at "a gathering of Far Right activists organised by a lapsed Nazi called Jim Saleam, the former head of the cheerily named National Socialist Party." This is false.
I have acknowledged I met with "truther", John Bursill. The Australian newspaper asserted that this person may have attended a meeting of the Sydney Forum. To then conclude that I attended this event or was associated with it is ludicrous.
- Lee Rhiannon, Australian Greens Senator for NSW
I have clashed with Penberthy before when he was editor at the Sydney Daily Telegraph, after I was smeared by a gutless ‘anti racist’ called Joe Hildebrand. I lost two cases against Hildebrand at the Press Council and won another, prompting Penberthy to berate me for taking cases there anyway. Of course, at the Press Council, wins and losses don’t mean too much as ‘truth’ ain’t really the issue there. Nonetheless, complaints can serve a useful purpose, although the best defence against journalist liars is never to talk to them at all.
But the hot story about this smear-monger goes back in time to Adelaide University in the 1980’s. Back then, Penberthy was a Trotskyite communist, a position from which he lapsed (sic) in the pursuit of the status and money a mainstream job surely holds. The story goes that either Penberthy personally, but certainly his closest friends, challenged violently two members of the nationalist organisation, Nation Action, which I then co-directed. Sadly, the Trotskyite gang picked the wrong two blokes and their defence against assault left bloodied noses and bruises.
Do I detect the smell of a journalist’s revenge? Is it that Penberthy can never resist a chance to tell some tall tale about me?
As nationalist politics develops in Queensland under the auspices of the Australia first Party, I have little doubt that David Penberthy will be there, his computer keyboard burning with his own ‘truth’ and his pen dripped in toilet water.