I am being nagged at

First published May 17, 2006

I am close enough to my local shops to be able to walk home - aided if necessary by a supermarket trolley. If it is a nice day, I like to stop on the way back, sit down in a little park, have a cigarette and watch the world go by.

Yesterday I did just that. This time however, I noticed something.

I was being nagged!

First I noticed the new "warning" labels on my brand of cigarettes. You know the sort - the ones kids generally laugh at, and no one else takes any notice off. All nicely planned and designed by people who poison non-drivers like me with their car fumes.

Then I noticed the warning on the supermarket trolley. Do parents really need to be to told not to leave children unattended? If so, why are they allowed to have children in the first bloody place!

O.K. I realise it is quite likely the supermarket is covering it's arse in case any parent loses their child in a supermarket and phones their lawyer before they phone the police.

Then of course, the parents will have to phone Channel 7's six o' clock news, so they can appear on our screens tearfully complaining that the supermarket did not take adequate measures to ensure their child was not lost or abducted. Just for good measure, they will also blame the government. That always goes down well with Sydney's populist media.

Having finished my anti-social and life threatening cigarette, (had I been smoking pot - a so called recreational drug, I would have no shortage of people sticking up for my right to do so), I continued my walk.

More nagging.

As I waited to cross the road, six different signs warned me of various dangers ranging from cars to cyclists.

Now you know why I always finish with, "wherever you may be - be safe,"

I have been conditioned by the Nanny State.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved

Haut de la Garenne: No trace should remain

First published    i On Global Trends March 01, 2008

The following has been posted on the States of Jersey Government Website

Haut de la Garenne to close until 28 April 2008

The Trustees of Haut La Garenne and the Youth Hostel Association have today confirmed that the Haut de la Garenne Centre will be closed until 28th April.

The Youth Hostel Association will offer full refunds to members who have already made bookings and Jersey Tourism will provide assistance to help find alternative accommodation to those affected.

The trustees believe that this significant period of closure will allow the relevant authorities enough time and full and complete access to conduct their investigations. In addition, it will allow the community a period of time to reflect and share in the sadness that has so deeply touched us all.

For comment please contact Deputy Anne Pryke – Trustee for Haut La Garenne

Oh I can give a comment. Never mind about reopening. Blow the damn place up, then take every brick, every piece of wood, every piece of debris, and dump them deep in the ocean.

That building should never be allowed to remain as a monument to decades of unspeakable evil, unimaginable misery, fear, suffering and mental and physical abuse. To allow it to remain open as some sort of Happy Valley Holiday Home to add extra tourist dollars to the money hungry states of Jersey, is an insult to all those who suffered in that place - courtesy of the usual mutual protection society.

Wherever you may be - be safe  
Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved

Tony Blair - master of spin, master of war

First Published in Mike Hitchen Unleashed 30 January 2010

Tony Blair, the man whose hobbies include collecting lucrative consultancy fees, middle east contracts and patting himself on the back for making the world a safer place for everyone, except of course those killed, maimed and tortured every day in countries he helped make safer, sat smugly, arrogantly and defiantly in his chair at the Chilcot Cosy Little Chat, boasting that he has no regrets about his decision to back the substance abusing, draft dodging puppet of Dastardly Dick Cheney. Bush wanted to see a war (though not first hand of course) whatever it took - and if that's what Bush wanted, well Blair was going to damn well see he got it. If he could purchase his own ambitions with the blood of British soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians, then so be it.

Blair also informed the word, that because of his decision, the world is now a much safer place. Safer for who? Certainly not the tens of thousands who have been killed and maimed in almost daily terrorist attacks around the world. But Blair believes we should be grateful to him, for making the world what it is today. A world where you can be arrested for taking a photo of a public building, a world where it takes longer to get on a plane than to get to your destination, a world in which prevention of terrorism increasingly invades aspects our lives, stripping away human rights, privacy and even dignity.

With the large number of home grown terrorists running around unchecked by British anti-terror forces, perhaps Blair should have persuaded Bush to invade Britain as well - it would have been a nice change for residents of many British towns to see someone in uniform stopping acts of violence.

Even Frank Sinatra sang "Regrets I have a few" but not Teflon Tony. He has no regrets about the human misery he has helped bring about.

There are however, many who do have regrets. The loved ones of those whose blood was spilled for what was a lie. Those who have returned from Iraq with missing and shattered limbs. The men and women who return with hearts and minds broken by the horror of a war that need not have been, a war that was never going to achieve what Bush and Blair deliberately misled people into believing it would. Like two snake oil salesmen, they sold the world a shoddy package of nothing wrapped up as everything.

For those whose lives have been forever altered by the illegal and immoral invasion, the man with the practiced grin and a battalion of spin doctors and called in favors behind him, offered nothing - not even understanding of their heartache, their ruined lives, the empty places at the dinner table, the dad who can no longer play football with little Billy.

The relatives of those killed and injured in Iraq went to the inquiry hoping for something from Blair. Perhaps many didn't know quite what they wanted to hear, but they wanted something to explain the loss of those whose memory they will forever carry in their hearts.

The man who snuck in through a back door to explain why he put the lives of others on the line, gave them nothing but a renewed sense of betrayal, anger and loss.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved



First published in Mike Hitchen Unleashed Non 19, 2009

I originally wrote and published this a couple of months after the tragedy of 9/11. I have made slight amendments to the original to accommodate the passage of time. It is not great and in terms of composition, it comes nowhere close to being technically correct. However, it is how I felt then - and how I feel now. I am not one to let my feelings take second place to rules or convention.

You ask who I am,
So I will tell you.

I am man.
I am woman.
I am your brother
I am your sister
I am what I and others have created.

You ask when did I become what I am?
You ask, but I can not answer.

When did I stop looking at the world with eyes that saw no evil
And start seeing with eyes that see no good?

When did laughter turn to tears
And wonder turn to suspicion?

When did I stop questioning in search of knowledge
And start questioning in search of lies?

When did make believe stop being harmless
And turn to fatal lies?

When did I stop playing with others
And playing with others lives?

When did children stop holding my hand
And start holding my guns instead?

When did I stop being happy with what I had
And greedy for things others possessed?

When did I stop joyful chattering
And start making speeches of hate?

When did I stop listening for words of wisdom
And start talking words designed to incite?

When did I stop thinking the world was full of wonder
And start thinking it was mine to take?

When did I stop making finger puppets
And start pulling the strings of others?

I see you crying my child
Eyes that once were filled with joy and innocence
Are now filled with tears.

You weep and ask not "When?"

You weep and ask


Wherever you may be - be safe
Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved

Ode to The Media

First published Oct 24, 2008

In days of old, and media bold
Truth was still in fashionSquare jawed men across the landWere fuelled with burning passion
With rolled up sleeves and furrowed browAnd copy in their handEditors with steely eyes would cry,"Publish and be damned"
But now such men have gone their wayA child is just a brandEditors with cowards eyes now cry,"Don't Publish- we'll be McCanned"

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved

Come take a walk with me

First published on ASRM Jul 2 2004 in response to a "redneck" Bush supporter.

Either you know very little about, or refuse to acknowledge, tools used in effective perception management - the art of getting the message you want into the minds of your target audience.

One way to achieve this, is to plant the idea with the use of cleverly crafted statements, deliberately avoiding any direct statement.

You said, "The COMMENTATORS alleged that Bush had misled the public.But theycould not produce a quote showing that either Bush or Cheney had said Saddam was involved with 9/11."

The key words in your sentence are "misled" and "had said."

It is not necessary to directly state something as fact to mislead your audience. You plant the seeds and let the listener or reader do the rest.

When you post your views on issues such as this, are you not a commentator? Are you not interpreting the news based on your own "personal biases andprejudices"?

I can provide a number of documented quotations from members of the Bush administration in which they have *linked* Sept 11 to Iraq and Hussein. In fact, I have a database of well over 200 quotations of misleading statements made by the Bush administration about Iraq in general, and why they are misleading.

Incidentally, I also have a database on John Kerry and his wife, so don't get the idea that I just keep tabs on the Bush administration.

If the public repeatedly hear or read statements that are misleading, or in which Sept 11 is mentioned in the same quote, article or speech as Hussein/Iraq, it doesn't take an Einstein to realise the impact this would have on public opinion.

Perhaps it, shouldn't have an effect, but the fact is, it does. And the Bush administration know that.

I will give you an example of misleading information *suggesting* ties between 9/11 and Hussein/Iraq. I have plenty more.

Cheney, Meet The Press. NBC 9/14/2003
"With respect to 9/11, of course, we've had the story that's been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohammed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we've never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don't know."

As you will see, Cheney uses this example again in 2004, and we will look at the construction of the quotation in a little more detail.

Cheney, in an interview with the "Rocky Mountain News" 1/9/2004

"We did have reporting that was public, that came out shortly after the 9/11 attack, provided by the Czech government, suggesting there had been a meeting in Prague between Mohammed Atta, the lead hijacker, and a man named al-Ani (Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani), who was an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague, at the embassy there, in April of '01, prior to the 9/11 attacks. It has never been -- we've never been able to collect any more information on that. That was the one that possibly tied the two together to 9/11"

The last two sentences appear to be an attempt to "water down" the alleged link. However, this again is a common and effective tool. How many times have you heard people try to "play down" something they actually want you to believe?

The bulk of the statement is cleverly crafted, containing enough well positioned key phrases and "grabs" to put a very definite perception in the minds of many of his intended audience. Notice too, how he does not directly deny any connection between Iraq and 9/11.

Look at the positioning and content of the phrases. The detail of the information, the inclusion of a foreign government source, (which serves two purposes. It adds credibility while offering the "they said that, we didn't" escape route),all in the beginning.

By the time the text book, "let's not get carried away with this though" remarks came in at the end, it would be fair to say that a number of people would have already made up their mind. The closing - "grab" - the last sentence, would be a clincher for many.

It is even more misleading because US Intelligence had evidence that Atta was in Virginia at the time of the alleged meeting, the FBI and CIA had concluded that the meeting did not occur, and Czech intelligence officials were sceptical of the report. Yet that did not stop Cheney using the same example on two separate occasions. I will come back to this particular quote later.

> What the public opinion polls show is meaningless. A significant number
> people believe that Elvis is alive and that the JFK assassination was
> That does not make either allegation a fact.

In politics, what the public believes is everything for Christ sake. Why do you think good spin doctors are worth their weight in gold to a politician?

Do you know how Pentagon planners define perception management? I will tell you. “actions to convey and (or) deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning. … In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover, and deception, and psyops (psychological operations).”

Ironically, in this case it has worked better on US audiences than those overseas.

Why do you think that perception managers, The Rendon Group, received a $100,000 a month no-bid contract for assistance with the "war on terror"? The same group was hired by the CIA to wage a propaganda campaign against Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War, earning them a reported $23 million in the first year alone.

In Afghanistan, John Rendon, (who describes himself as an information warrior and the guy responsible for hundreds of Kuwaitis suddenly being able to get their hands on US flags to welcome US troops),joined a conference call with the Pentagon each morning to decide the message for the day.

Another one of his creations is Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. That particular project was a bit of a waste of money wasn't it?

According to you, "What the public opinion polls show is meaningless" Not according to Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor at the time of the Kuwait baby incubator deception. Years after that scam, Scowcroft said it was, " useful in mobilizing public opinion" Not only that, for several Congressmen it was the main factor in voting for the Gulf War.

You say public opinion does not make an allegation fact. The public believed that the Kuwaiti incubator scam was a fact. It wasn't, it was a deception. However, public opinion was an invaluable tool for the pro war brigade.

That deception involved PR company Hill & Knowlton deciding that the best way to get the public to respond to going to war, was to give the public that old emotional heart string puller - mistreatment of infants.That's why a 15 year old girl, weeping her poor little heart out, described how she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and leaving them on the cold floor to die.

Gets you right in the heart doesn't it. The bastards, lets bomb the crap out of those goddamn sonsovbitches. Lets send John Wayne and Randolph Scott and kick their arses.

What she didn't say, and which was later revealed, was that she had no connection with the hospital, was a member of the Kuwaiti royal family and her dad, the Kuwait Ambassador to the US. The whole thing was a scam.

You may think public opinion polls laughable, but people like John Rendon are laughing all the way to the bank - with taxpayers money.

A survey of Americans showed that 70% believed Hussein/Iraq were tied to Sept 11. That is more than a significant number, it is a tremendous victory for perception management.

What is more, many American soldiers believed they were in Iraq because of Sept 11 and Cheney was aware of that perception.

The quote from the "Rocky Mountain News" was part of his answer to the interviewer who told him, "Sir, I was one of the embedded reporters with the 101st in Iraq" and "It was amazing, yeah. When I was in Iraq, some of the soldiers said they believed they were fighting because of the Sept. 11 attacks and because they thought Saddam Hussein had ties to al Qaeda. You've repeatedly cited such links. I heard your speech in Denver a while back."

Are you saying that those who lost their lives, those who are still risking their lives, and the families and loved ones waiting back home for them, that what they think or believe is meaningless!

Every time an American soldier gets killed in Iraq, or dies in Germany from injuries, I get news from the local newspaper or media. What school they went to, what church they attended. Perhaps you would like me to say to their families and friends, "Even though your son believed he was fighting because of Sept 11, this guy I know thinks his opinion is meaningless"?

What is more, Cheney had a chance to correct that perception, but he didn't. Not once in that interview did he *directly* state that there was no evidence of links between Sept 11 and Hussein. He focused on the quote I used an example.

Do you not think it likely that a number of soldiers, who as we already know, believed they were there because of Sept 11, would continue to do so after hearing or reading that quote?

But of course, it doesn't matter does it. As you have already said, what they, their families, their loved ones think - is meaningless.


No one is talking about public opinion making anything a fact. We are talking about two things;

(a) the millions of people globally, including your allies, who formed a perception based on the tone, context and content of statements made by the Bush administration. Statements that were deliberately crafted to put a particular message into the minds of their audience.

(b) the millions of people globally,who believe they have been misled (same reasons as above.)

Let me recap.You do not need to directly state anything to get your audience thinking the way you want them to. I can write a statement or a presentation for a client, and make a good deal of the audience believe anything I want them to believe, without making any direct statements.

You say "People are confused about 9/ll and al Qaeda because the news media - right and left - has distorted the facts."

The quote I used was not written by a reporter. The quotes I have available, were not written by reporters. They were written or spoken by members of the Bush administration.

You do not like the media distorting the facts, but you have no problem with Cheney, Bush or any one else doing so as long as they are on your side.

Although the following does not refer to links between Hussein and 9/11, it is an illustration of the type of distortion of the facts, that you criticise in the media. In the same interview, the reporter asks Cheney

"So you stand by the statements?" This was his response

"Absolutely. Absolutely. And you can look at Zarkawi, (Abu Mussab) al-Zarkawi, who is still out there operating today, who was an al-Qaida associate, who was wounded in Afghanistan, took refuge in Baghdad, working out of Baghdad, worked with the Ansar al Islam group up in northeastern Iraq, that produced a so-called poison factory, a group that we hit when we went into Iraq."

The statement refers to the Ansar al Islam group in Northeastern Iraq. What Cheney fails to mention is that this area was not controlled by Saddam Hussein. Possibly he used the phrase "so called" because when the US Special Forces raided the camp in March 2003, nothing resembling chemical or biological weapons was found. How many people do you think would realise that?

It is a distortion of the facts - out of the mouth of Cheney himself. Just one of many from the Bush administration that I can produce in a matter of seconds.

And yes, I do know all about Ansar al Islam and al-Zarkawi.

If the public is confused, it is because of a deliberate campaign by the Bush administration.

BTW, I wonder if Don Rumsfeld asked Hussein about his links to terrorist organisations, when Rumsfeld visited him in Baghdad in December 1983 to communicate Regan's support for Iraq?

Perhaps if Rumsfeld visits Iraq in the near future, he will shake hands with him again, just like he did in the photo that was taken at the time and which is publicly available.

We know that he cautioned Hussein about chemical weapons, because he said so in an interview, and as we all know. Mr Rumsfeld is an honourable man. Pity there is no mention of chemical weapons in the documents of the conversation, which were declassified in 2003, (he later raised the issue in a meeting with Tariq Aziz)

Or perhaps Rumsfeld didn't visit Hussein, it was a distortion by the media, the same as the media distorted the CIA's connection with their former blue eyed boy, Osama Bin Laden?

Let's look at something else now shall we?

I find it interesting that you have responded to this thread a number of times. Yet when over 90 Australians were killed by terrorists in Bali, there was not one single post of sympathy or support from you, despite the fact we are allies.

A few months ago, I made a post concerning the bombings in Madrid. Over 200 of your allies were killed as a direct result of Spain's participation in the coalition of the willing. Four people responded.

Your name was predictably missing in action.

In fact, the silence of yourself and others like you when your allies suffered, was as deafening as it was during the bombing campaign in Britain waged by the American backed and financed IRA.

Don't forget, the British were scared to use trains, enter department stores, or fly anywhere, long before you. I know, I was working in London at the height of it.

It is evident that when it comes to issues such as this, your interest, time and energy is reserved for purposes that suit your own political agenda and propaganda.

When tragedy hits your allies, allies like Spain whose troops have been killed in Iraq, all we hear is the silence of the hawks.

Even one of the few references you made to Australia's involvement in your war was not only incorrect, it was an insult.

You dismissively implied that half a dozen Aussies had been killed in Iraq, yet despite a number of highly dangerous and successful missions, not one Aussie solider has been killed or injured in Iraq.

Al Qaeda and the insurgents in Iraq do not need to use electronic or conventional media to discredit America. They have the Bush administration to do it for them.

I am good freinds with Americans and the majority of Americans like them, represent the true America. The America that the world once believed the US stood for.

But thanks to Bush they have been obscured by deceit, deception, theposturing and the pictures of the mangled bodies of innocent women andchildren in Fallujah. You can add to that the prison abuse scandal and the secret global network of jails operated by the US, in countries where torture is legal.

Because of Bush, America has now come to represent what our fathers and grandfathers fought against.

Wether it's right or wrong, or if you like it or not, that is the undeniable effect of the God almighty mess Bush has created. The effect comments such as "The sky lit up like the 4th of July" as one American pilot said after bombing Baghdad, has had.

BTW, isn't it funny how many terrorists and insurgents are still operating, while so many citizens of Baghdad and Fallujah aren't.

Come over and take a walk with me. Take off the spectacles obscured by the stars and stripes, and see what your traditional allies now see.

Not the radicals, activists, liberals, Saddam lovers and all the other labels that are bestowed upon those who question what they read and hear - but ordinary people with far more access to informed news than you are used to.

Take a look at how the stars and stripes have become an icon for lies, treachery, deceit, murder and kicking your allies in the teeth.

How, because of the actions, policies and statements of the Bush regime and those who carry out their work, the flag that we once believed stood for freedom, is now viewed as a strutting, arrogant banner of moral, political, social, judicial and religious hypocrisy. Scorned, laughed at, mistrusted and no longer attracting unquestioning sympathy, support or tears on demand.

Read how the Bush administration used bully boy tactics on Australia. Forcing us to go against our own democracy by closing Parliament to the public; the US Secret Service refusing security clearance to all Australian journalists - in their own country. The exception being Alan Jones, good friend and supporter of our Prime Minister who himself has waged a campaign of lies and deceit.

The US Ambassador repeatedly and publicly telling our politicians what they can and can't say in their own Parliament.Two of our citizens allegedly tortured and held without trial in Cuba.

We send our troops to fight in your war and what happens? We get screwed in a Free Trade Agreement, (which btw, according to US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, is dependent on our troops staying in Iraq), Whitehouse officials hand out a press pack to US reporters accompanying Bush on his visit to Canberra, referring to our Prime Minister as John Major, and our nations capital as boring, a place where nothing happens.

Sept 11 was a great tragedy, but the damage done to Americas credibility by Bush and his cohorts milking it for all it's worth, is perhaps as great, if not a greater tragedy.

In other words, thanks to George Bush, the John Wayne rhetoric, the boasts he has failed to deliver and the blind nationalism he has encouraged, has caused everything American to be looked at in a different and cynical light.

The phrase "9/11" or "Sept 11" no longer has the effect it once had. It can no longer be used like American Express, flashed around to get unquestioning sympathy and support, or as payment for other agendas.

To be blunt, we are tired of hearing it, because people know why we are hearing it. We do body counts as if it were a footy match. WTC 3,000, Iraq 10,000.

We ask ourselves what would have happened, if Australian pilots hadn't aborted over 40 missions assigned to them by US Commanders, (we made it clear from the start, we operate under our terms). Once over the target, the pilots realised that the intelligence they had been given was wrong. The targets were of no military significance. This is again a fact, confirmed and admitted by our Defence dept.

A US spokesperson said that these aborted missions would have gone back "into the mix". As we officially operate under terms of engagement different to yours, do you honestly believe that US pilots, operating under US command, would have made the same decision in all 40 cases?

It is not the ordinary Americans who have done this, it is George Bush.the reviled Don Rumsfeld and the rest of the adminstration.

The George Bush, who back in 1998 (yes, 1998) was warned by Andy Messing, family friend, war hero and adviser to numerous Presidents, that the US military were unprepared for major combat, training was inadequate and morale low; neglect that would result in the sight of "flag draped coffins of our young men and women" And yes, I do have the document to prove this little known fact. He was warned of a lot of other things in that document as well.

This is not an attack on Americans, it is an attack on the image and perception the Bush regime has created. It is no longer ally against foe, brothers/sisters in arms. He has pitted ally against ally, or as we say on the footy field, mate against mate, But with this, sadly, we don't always hug and go for a drink in the bar together afterwards.

Marines may take Fallujah, a puppet regime installed in Baghdad. a tyrant paraded in public. But who has really won? Has not George W Bush achieved one of the objectives of Al Qaeda and other terror units by creating an environment that is divided, has split friends and allies and an atmosphere where true freedom of speech is no longer tolerated?

For days I was reluctant to post this. And then It dawned on me that by not posting, I was in fact insulting the real America and real Americans.

I have very few offline friends, the vast majority are Americans online. Not just friends - damn good friends. Often politically we are poles - not just distance apart.

But they understand how I feel and what I believe, and that I have the right to feel that way based on what I see, read and hear. They do not resort to labels, the way your overuse of words such as "liberal" betray your prejudice and bigotry.

They believe I have the right to say publicly what I feel to be true, even if they disagree. They believe in my doing, what George Bush and our own Prime Minister, has made it so hard to do. They believe in true freedom of speech, not freedom of speech Bush style - available to approved applicants only, terms and conditions apply.

No doubt you will respond, and I have heard all the excuses, the explanations, the John Wayne rhetoric before. My mail box is full of them, resulting from articles I have written for a news service.

That's fine - bring them on - because I can shoot them down as quickly and easily as your rough men who stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm, can shoot up wedding parties, coalition troops, mosques, schools, marketplaces and unarmed civilians.

Maybe the Bush administration has yet to directly lie. But they have deliberately embarked upon a campaign of deception and misinformation.

God Bless America, because thanks to the man and the action you so staunchly support, the US needs all the help it can get to restore the respect of their traditional allies.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved

Hugh D. McIntosh - the life and times of the man behind the Burns-Johnson world title fight

Orignally written in 1994 and published on a boxing newsgroup in about 2000

December 26, 1908. It was time for the start of the long awaited world heavyweight championship fight between the holder, Tommy Burns, and Jack Johnson. Johnson, however, was flatly refusing to go into the ring unless he received more money. Grabbing a revolver, promoter Hugh D. McIntosh, burst into his dressing room.

“If you’re not in the ring in two minutes,” he snarled, “I’ll blow your brains all over the floor.” Johnson rose with alacrity, his gold teeth flashing as he grinned, “Massa Mac, Ah’m on mah way.” It would have taken a shrewder man than Johnson to get the better of Hugh D. McIntosh.

Hard as nails and cunning as a fox, the bull knecked Hugh D. McIntosh, was an entrepreneurial genius. His father, a local police sergeant, was unimpressed when at the age of ten, young Hugh told him that he was going to make his fortune, and that he didn’t care how he did it. It was a philosophy that stayed with him as he made and lost several fortunes over four decades of wheeling and dealing.

A millionaire by his early thirties, “Huge Deal,” as he was aptly known, had a diverse career. Starting with a basket of pies, he became a successful restaurateur, newspaper proprietor, theatre magnate and politician. He was responsible for pulling cycling out of the mud, attracting crowds of upto fifty thousand - and always a man of style - was the first to introduce china cups to the top of Mount Kosciusko.

It was McIntosh’s vision and flair, that made Sydney Stadium possible. With the artfulness that was the hallmark of his career, he succeeded where the world’s top promoters had failed. He enticed Tommy Burns to put his world heavyweight title on the line against the gigantic Negro, Jack Johnson.

Johnson stepped into the ring and into the history books, as the first colored heavyweight champion of the world. With the world’s press, and writers such as Jack London and Damon Runyan, covering what was as much a battle of the races, as a title fight, Sydney and the open air stadium at Rushcutters Bay, became famous the world over.

McIntosh promoted some of the greatest fights ever seen in Australia. Fights, which during Australia’s Federal infancy, put the fledgling commonwealth on the sporting map of the globe. The world’s top fighters flocked to Australia, and Sydney Stadium became a Mecca for the pride of the American and European rings.

Hugh Donald McIntosh was born in 1876 in a tiny house at the bottom of Sydney’s Macquarie Street. After revealing his ambition to his father, and discovering that they did not see eye to eye on business matters, McIntosh left home. As many people would later discover, McIntosh was not one to let anybody stand in his way.

He became an assistant to a travelling tinker and for two years they wandered throughout NSW. Eventually McIntosh deserted him in Broken Hill, taking a more profitable job picking silver ore.

However, the back breaking work was not to his liking. He decided that it was better to work with his brain, than with his back. He drifted to Melbourne, where for a while he played the hind legs of a mule in pantomime. Returning to Sydney at the beginning of the booming 1890s, he became a bread carter. It was to be the last time he would work for someone else.

McIntosh set up in business as a pieman. He started with virtually nothing except a basket and six dozen pies bought on credit from a Redfern factory. Within a few months, he had an army of white coated vendors thronging Sydney’s racecourses, beaches and parks - “coining,” money for him.

No opening was ignored. He even sent his piemen knocking on the doors of the illicit two-up schools, betting clubs and houses of ill repute, that dotted Surrey Hills, Darlinghurst and Wooloomooloo. With the profits, McIntosh set up his own factory at North Sydney. From there it was an easy graduation to ownership of a chain of plush, ornate restaurants.

Always on the lookout for money making opportunities, McIntosh set his sights on cycle racing, which was then the most popular sport of the day. With his flair for showmanship and the ability if necessary to control trouble making cyclists with a spanner, McIntosh had no difficulty in making himself the king-pin cycling promoter. When the cycling boom ended, Hugh D. sought out other lucrative ventures.

In 1908, the Prime Minister, Mr. Alfred Deakin, orchestrated a goodwill visit of 16 warships of the US Navy. It was the impending arrival of The 'Great White Fleet', that planted in McIntosh’s mind, the seed that would grow into Sydney Stadium.

He had for some time thought of bringing world heavyweight champion Tommy Burns to Australia. McIntosh believed that the 12,000 American sailors would pay good money to see a world title fight. Forming a company called the Scientific Boxing and Self Defense Ltd., McIntosh cabled Burns an offer of £4000, to defend his title against the slogging Australian miner, Bill Squires.

With the contest arranged, Hugh D. now had to find somewhere to stage it. He initially chose the Exhibition Building, which was situated in Prince Alfred Park, near the Railway Station. However, when he went to view it, McIntosh found barriers erected. and a large man, making unmistakable signs with his huge fingers. McIntosh decided to seek out an alternative venue.

He wandered down to Rushcutters Bay in an old shabby suit selected for the occasion, and gazed over a waste where once a Chinese market garden had bloomed. While he looked and nosed around, the owner approached him and asked McIntosh what he wanted.

McIntosh looked sadly at the site of the garden. He told him he was looking for a place to put up a nice two man show with a view to making a bob or two during Fleet Week. After some negotiation, McIntosh agreed to rent the land. The rent was £2 per week for two years, with the right to renewal for the same term at £4 per week!

A few days later the owner was astounded to see vast piles of building material being dumped on the land. When he made inquiries he was taken to the man he had met in patched pants, but who was now resplendent in an expensive suit. “Huge Deal” handed him a cigar and said, “It’s for my two man show - the Burns - Squires fight.”

At a cost of £2000, McIntosh quickly erected a huge unroofed timber stadium, that was destined to become, “The Old Tin Shed.”

The fight was a huge success, but not because of the American Sailors. They stayed away in thousands. It is said that only two sailors were present and both were drunk, staggering down to the ring, offering to fight anybody for two dollars. Twenty thousand Sydneysiders, however, paid the unprecedented gate of £13,600 to see Burns win easily.

The success of that fight spurred him to renew his lease and stage the biggest boxing match in Australian history.

For years Jack Johnson had been trying to get into a ring with Tommy Burns, but the champion had persistently dodged him. McIntosh asked Burns what he would want to meet Johnson. Believing that McIntosh would never pay it, Burns demanded £6000. The Australian promoter accepted on the spot and Tommy was trapped.

The jubilant Johnson was satisfied with £1000 as his payment, (later raised to £1500), and the fight was on.

For Burns it was the end of the road. It is now ring history how Johnson cruelly and methodically carved him to pieces, and won the title that he was to hold for the next seven years.

With ringside seats at £10, McIntosh made his greatest financial killing. The gate receipts were £26000, then a world record. From these boxing promotions and others over the next few years, Hugh D. McIntosh raked in more than a quarter million pounds.

McIntosh went to England and America and made a name for himself in London as a fight promoter. When he returned to Australia, he was followed by a crowd of the world’s best boxing talent.

Boxing was lifted to a high level. The only thing that prevented it being completely respectable was the “Fear of The Dark”. McIntosh introduced a stream of colored fighters to the white boxing world, helping to make heavyweights like Sam Langford and Sam McVea world famous.

Until McIntosh, promoters believed there was little money to be made by putting two colored fighters in the same ring. However, Australia gazed with mingled awe and delight at the spectacle of McVea and Langford knocking corners of each other.

It was also under his management that Jimmy Clabby, Billy Papke, Cyclone Johnny Thompson and a team of French boxers, descended on Sydney and Australia.

McIntosh decided to expand. The first thing was to put a roof over the Stadium. The arena was entirely transformed. From having an exterior consisting of hideous poster hoarding, it became an elegant castellated structure. Solid concrete foundations were put in to support the weight of the roof and when it was finished, it was possible to have boxing, or any other sport there all the year round. On August 3rd, 1912, Sam Langford outpointed Sam McVea, in the first fight held under cover.

Later that year, McIntosh thought it was time to develop the more artistic side of his entrepreneurial genius. One morning, Sydneysiders awoke and learned with amazement that Hugh D. McIntosh had paid £100,000 to take over the huge Rickards theatre circuit.

For a brief while he ran both establishments, but on December 2nd 1912, the Stadium was taken over on approval by Reginald (Snowy) L. Baker. In March 1913, he bought the business lock, stock and barrel and Hugh D. McIntosh ceased to have any but sentimental interest in the great stadium he had created.

McIntosh began to live the role of the successful tycoon, buying a mansion, “Bellhaven,” at Bellevue Hill and a fleet of Pierce-Arrow cars with his crest prominently displayed on the doors.

A personal friend of the Premier, W.A. Holman, he was elected to a seat in the NSW Legislative Council, which he held till he was made bankrupt in 1932.

Hugh D. entertained on a fabulous scale. Many visiting celebrities, enjoyed his hospitality. He made his money easily and he squandered it the same way. His gifts of motor cars to friends, diamond studded wrist watches to chorus girls and gold cigarette cases to mere acquaintances, became the talk of the town.

Hankering for fresh fields, McIntosh now bought the Sydney Sunday Times the oldest Sunday newspaper in Australia. It was a vehicle he would later use to persecute the great Les Darcy.

McIntosh had his own ideas on how to increase circulation. One such example was an offer to a notorious murderer named Simpson on the eve of his execution. Simpson would be paid £5000, if he would endeavor to come back from the dead and appear at the Sunday Times office before witnesses.

Visited in his cell, Simpson accepted the proposition eagerly. He jotted down the address of the newspaper office, so he would not “get lost on the way,” and promised to do his best to solve “the age old riddle of whether the dead could return.” Forty people gathered in McIntosh’s office on the night following Simpson’s execution. Simpson, however, was not one of them.

By such stunts, McIntosh did more harm than good to the paper, which had previously enjoyed a valuable prestige. It became one of his financial failures.

In 1928 Hugh D. McIntosh tried his luck in England. He bought Broome Park, a seventeenth century mansion set in 600 acres and formerly owned by Lord Kitchener.

In association with C.B. Cochran, he promoted a few fights in the Olympia Annex in London and also at stadiums in Paris. None of them earned enough to keep him in cigars.

For four years, McIntosh lived a fantastic round of pleasure in England. He poured out his money entertaining the rich, the famous, the titled, and beggared himself in the process.

In 1932 he returned to Australia broke. Bankruptcy proceedings were instituted against him. His liabilities were proved at a staggering figure.

But Hugh D. McIntosh could not be kept down for long. He was soon staging a comeback, promoting fights at the Sydney Stadium. Full of enthusiasm, he imported the American heavyweight Young Stribling and matched him with the Australian heavyweight Ambrose Palmer, hoping to repeat his 1908 clean up with Burns and Johnson.

It was not to be. The takings amounted to only £3800 and Stribling alone had been guaranteed £3000. Another financial body blow followed with the failure of a boomed match between Ron Richards and Fred Henneberry.

The now aging promoter was down - but he was not out. He threw himself into the flotation of a chain of cake shops and opened a large guest house in the Blue Mountains.

In 1935 he sailed once more for England, where on August 1 he opened what was to be the first of a chain of 500 McIntosh milk bars throughout the country.

With an excess of ballyhoo, a company was floated which McIntosh said would soon be disposing of the milk output of a million cows, to two million customers a week.

McIntosh opened a dozen milk bars in London, and it seemed he was on the right foot again. However, lack of capital and cut-throat competition beat him.

When he died in 1942, he was penniless. His old time friends had to contribute to a fund to defray his funeral expenses.

Wherever you may be - be safe
Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved

Send in Bob Geldof!

First Published July 20, 2005

Remember Ethiopia and Bob Geldof's first high profile, touchy feely career reviver?

You must remember: it's been in all the papers recently and was all the rage at one time. I know Ethiopia's Marxist rulers were grateful, as much of the money was used to fund forced resettlement programs that indirectly led to the deaths of tens of thousands Ethiopians.

Well, Ethiopia still exists, except of course it is no longer fashionable. Poverty has a short life span in the minds of those caught up in media hype, but lingers forever for the poor bastards who are momentarily the flavour of the month.

The Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA), representing more than 250 international and local charities in Ethiopia has accused the Ethiopian government of threatening to ban it.

The organisation has been accused of "political bias" and "illegal and destructive activities".

CRDA had pressed for an independent inquiry after an estimated 40 people were killed during violent clashes between security forces and civilians protesting alleged electoral fraud in the May elections.

CRDA members include Save the Children, Action Aid, Concern and Oxfam.

Send in Bob Geldof! Unless he is too busy telling British newspapers that he is an Aboriginal elder in Tasmania.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved

A street kid named Desire

First Published July 13, 2007 although it first appeared on ASRM around 2002

This story is loosely based on some of the things I came across while working in a homeless men's centre in Brisbane back in the 80's.The phrase, "men's centre" is a bit misleading. If there weren't enough beds in more appropriate refuges, it would sometimes accommodate youths. .

The action is deliberately "condensed" If I would have developed the characters fully, it would have taken several instalments of dialogue, and wouldn't have had enough "pull" to keep the momentum or interest. For this publication, I have toned down some of the language.

It's my fault. It's always my bloody fault. I should have known better. How could I have been so bloody stupid. Let's face it girl, nothing you do is right is it. Well I'm going to change all that. I'll show them.

"Talk to us about anything dear," they said.

Yeah right. Look what happens when I do. Dad nearly falls of his chair and mum just sits there doing an impersonation of a goldfish.

"Whatever has bought this on dear?" she asked. He asked, "What you talking about girl?"

"You're being a little silly aren't you dear? Get this nonsense out of your head. Why can't you be like your sister".

She said. He said. Nobody listened. Nobody hugged.

I'll show them.

"What's this? Looks like Suzie's handwriting on this envelope. Do you know anything about this Iris?"

"Oh dear, better open it and see what it says dear. Hope she hasn't done anything silly".

I should have known. Now it's started to rain. Bloody typical. Can't even get this right. Why don't one of you buggers stop? I'm not an axe murderer.

My arm's getting sore from holding my thumb out. Maybe if I go to another spot I'd have better luck. Ha, that's a laugh. Me have luck. Forget it.

I'm not like my sister.

"If she thinks she's crawling back here with her tail between her legs, she's got another thing coming."

"Now dear, don't get all het up, you know what the doctor said."

"Bloody doctors, what would they know".

"Maybe we were too hard on her dear. Maybe we shouldn't have been so shocked. I was reading a magazine the oth...

"Bloody magazines. Bloody smart arses the lot of them. Don't need a bloody magazine to tell me how to bring up my kids. Never had any trouble with our Jane did we?"

"Yes dear, but...""No buts about it Iris, so get that notion out of your head".

Come on. Somebody please stop. I'm cold and wet and just want to get out of this hick town and to the city. Things will be different there. It's not just mum and dad, it's the whole place.

I'll get a job, meet some hunk. He will understand. He will hug me and tell me he loves me.

I just a need a lift. Then I'll show them.

Things will be different there.

"I can't go traipsing around all over town Iris, I have work to do. Who knows where that silly girl has got to. Could be anywhere by now. Probably miles away. No, she wanted to run away, that's up to her. She'll be back when she's cold and hungry, you mark my words. I'll have a few words to say to her too when she does".

"Yes dear, but perhaps we should have tried to understand".

"Understand? Understand? what's there to understand for crying out loud? Have you ever heard of anything so silly?"

"No dear, but then maybe this was important to her".

"Important my arse".

Maybe I'm being too hard on them. Wonder how I would have reacted? I bet I would have listened. I would have tried to understand. Must have surprised them though. Not something they would have expected.

Wouldn't have happened with Jane.

Oh please somebody stop.

"I'm worried Alf.. Been ten hours now."

"Now don't fret Iris. She will be back. You mark my words."

"But what if she doesn't Alf? What then? "

"Now now dear, don't think like that. She will be back. I'm sure she will. I'm sure."

"So what do you intend doing in the city Suzie?"

"I'm going to get a job, then a place of my own. Nice car you have Sir."

"Please, call me Dave".

"Where are you going Alf?"

"I'm going to the police station Iris."

"Wait, I'll come with you. But she's seventeen not much they can do."

"I'll give them nothing they can do. You mark my words".

"So you don't think I'm crazy then Dave?"

"No not at all. Pretty normal actually"

"Really? Gee, I thought I was the only one".

"Definitely not".

"So there may be hope for me in the city then?"

"Oh sure. You mark my words".

"I am sorry Sir, but she is over sixteen there is little we can do".

"I want you to find her damn it!"

"Now Alf, no good losing your temper. Let's do what the Sergeant says and go home and wait. She will be back soon. Mark my words".

"Nah, I don't really hate my parents, they were pretty kewl in a lot of ways. Let me do anything I wanted almost. They just didn't understand."

"Like you say; things will be different in the city. Almost there now. Just on the outskirts of Sydney. I know a nice pub near here if you fancy a drink".

"Yeah why not. I bought my fake ID with me too LOL".

"Looking at the telephone wont make it ring Alf".

"Where is she? She could have called. Where did we go wrong? Why has she done this? Maybe you're right Iris, I shouldn't have lost my temper. Maybe I should have tried to understand. Don't know how, but I could have tried. "

"I know dear. But when she comes home we will talk to her, all right".

"It's good that I can talk to you. Didn't think anyone would understand".

"Oh I understand. Here, let me get you another one."

"Oh no thank you. Think I have had enough, feel a bit drowsy".

"Nonsense. Not at home with mum and dad now to answer to. You're a big girl now".

"You're right. I'm in the city now. Things will be different here. OK, if you insist".

"I do".

"We should get some sleep."

"You go on to bed Iris, I will wait here. Just in case".

"We weren't to know Alf. I wish she would come home. If she walked through that door now I would hug her till she was blue".

"So would I Iris. So would I".

"You know, if you really want a job, I know a guy - good friend actually".


"Really. In fact, he would pay good money for someone like you".


"You look tired Suzie. I have something that will help".

"Any mail today Iris?"

"No Alf. No phone calls either. Maybe she will phone at Christmas. You know, when the Salvation Army hands out free phone cards to the street kids".

"You think she's been living on the street all this time Iris?"

"Have to consider that. Be hard work getting a job in the city at seventeen. No experience or qualifications either. What would she do?"

"Don't hang around you dozy cow unless you want the back of my hand again, got another punter for you".

"I'm coming Dave".

One day I will escape from here. You'll see. I'll show him. I'll head back home.

Things will be different there.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved

White phosphorous in Fallujah?

First published June 18, 2005

Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram, has admitted that the U.S. lied about the use of MK77s in Iraq.

The Independent reports that in a private letter to Labour MP Harry Cohen, Ingram said, "The US confirmed to my officials that they had not used MK77s in Iraq at any time and this was the basis of my response to you. I regret to say that I have since discovered that this is not the case and must now correct the position,"

In fact, 30 MK77 firebombs, an evolution of napalm, were used by the American 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the invasion of Iraq between 31 March and 2 April 2003.

According to the F.A.S. (Federation of American Scientists) the MK 77 500-pound fire bomb is the only fire bomb now in service.

During the Gulf War, the Marine Corps dropped all of the approximately 500 MK-77s used in the Gulf War. They were delivered primarily by the AV-8 Harriers to ignite the Iraqis oil-filled fire trenches.

The US has also been accused of using white phosphorous in Fallujah. This is believed to be the reason why US troops removed over 2 kilometres of top soil from the area. Somehow I don't think Don Rumsfeld wanted it for his rose garden.

More details:
ureknet.info WARNING! Includes graphic images that some may find upsetting.

Wherever you may be - be safe

Copyright Mike Hitchen Online, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved