Wednesday 16 September 2009

"I'm a post-modern vegetarian..."

There are heaps of things I just "don't get" and one of them is the current passion for Organic Foods. Seems to me that they're too expensive, that their yields are way lower than crops grown non-organically, that they're not really healthier, that, in short, they're a marketing con. I read somewhere a while back, but I don't have time to reference it right now -- you just have to take my word for it:  that one would have to eat a whole truck load of cabbage grown non-organically, to show any effects at all, and even then the effects would be minor. Think about it: China aside, when was the last time you fell ill from the chemicals in a vege?
Thinking about this as I read that the Dr Norman Borlaug died last Saturday , 12th September. He was 95, the father of the "Green Revolution" and credited with saving more lives than any other Nobel Laureate, indeed that virtually any other human on the planet. Of course, he was later attacked for having saved hundreds of millions, on the grounds that his inventions meant the world had more people than it would otherwise have had. But think about that for a second: isn't that "thought" spectacularly narcissistic and heartless?
More: I wondered if Dr Borlaug had come up with his Green Revolutionary crops today, would he be allowed to spread them into the poor countries that most benefited them? Or would the likes of Balmy Prince Charley and the comfortable urban green cohort stop it, just as they're trying to stop --  successfully in Europe and the UK -- the spread of GM crops?
And another thing I don't get: why some people -- I know some -- are vegetarians on "ethical" grounds because they don't want us to be "cruel" to animals, but they'll eat fish, which is far more endangered than our local Jersey or Shorthorn.
Bill Bailey puts it into perpective in the clip below. "I'm a vegetarian", he says. "I'm not strict. I eat fish. And duck. Well, they're nearly fish, aren't they..... And pigs, cows, sheep, anything that lives near the water. I'm a post-modern vegetarian; I eat meat ironically."
Watch it all, it's great!  His giant breaking a twig, hilarious!

BTW: did you note at the very end how Bill touches on something that relates to the relativistic bunkum that one sometimes hears: ie, Hitler, Mao and Stalin were atheists but look what they did -- in "answer" to the observation that god and religion have much to answer for in the world history of violence.  It wasn't their atheism that made them act as they did.  Hitler was a vegetarian and look what he did!
[Cartoon: courtesy "The"]

Monday 14 September 2009

Inherit the Wind...

Hurrah!  As we pass through London in a few weeks, we’ve snagged a couple of tickets to see Kevin Spacey in the new Old Vic production of “Inherit the Wind”, the play about the so-called “Monkey Trial” of 1925.    I played Meeker in an American Community Theatre production of this play here in Hong Kong in 1995.  It’s one of the most popular American plays of all time, first performed on 10 January 1950, then a 1960 movie with Spencer Tracy, and a 1999 TV version.

As I get this booked, I learn that Geert Wilders is to stand trial for "hate crimes" in the Netherlands on the same day, 10 January 2010.  The “crime” of this awful, racist, right-wing Islamophobic Dutch Parliamentarian?  To link Islam with violence.  Actually, he didn’t do the linking; the Islamists he shows blowing things up make the linkage, but who cares?  He reports the bad stuff done by others, so he must be a baddie.  He’s on trial for racism and hate mongering.  It seems he’s been thoroughly horrid to Muslims.  He reports on the crimes they commit in the name of their religion –  how dare he?  Actually, I’m pretty offended by Wilders myself; I’m offended by his bouffant hair style.  And he’s so damn white; he must be a racist.
The two cases – the Scopes monkey trial and the Wilders muselman trial –  are similar, though.  Both are about religious fundamentalism and both are about free speech (the threat thereto).   Playwrights Lawrence and Lee say of the issues raised in Inherit: "It might have been yesterday. It could be tomorrow."
How right they were!  It is tomorrow; and yet we move to a yesterday.  Sixty years later we look as if we shall again “inherit the wind” of repression, the baleful outcome possible in this Wilders trial, the battle of fundamentalists vs free thinkers, of real hate vs the "crime" of reporting it.
See Spencer Tracy below in the 1960 production, esp 2:00 minutes on.  "Fanaticism and ignorance is [sic] forever busy and needs feeding..."

Land first, then peace?

Prince Turki al-Faisal makes a case again in today's International Herald Tribune for the Saudi peace initiative of 2002.  The peace initiative is here .

In sum it calls for:
  • Israel to give up the lands it occupied in 1967: "including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon."
  • In return the "Arab countries" will consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended and enter into a peace agreement with Israel.
Seems like a fair trade.  On the surface.  The problem is that Israel would be giving away something concrete (land) in a specific time, in return for something not concrete (a promise) over a non-specific time (the future).   Of course that sort of deal hasn't worked out too well for Israel in the past; witness Gaza.  
How can the Saudis control the "Arabs countries", let alone factions like Hamas, who did not buy into the initiative?  Al-Faisal says that the Hamas Charter is "outdated".  No-one told Hamas that, who continue to refuse to ren0unce it.  The Charter calls not just for the destruction of Israel, but of Jews everywhere. And then there's the non-Arabs like Iran.  They also want Israel wiped off the map.  Why would Israel give up their only bargaining chip for such vague, uncertain, and almost certainly undeliverable promises?  If the US is to support this 2002 initiative, it can only be with more certainty, such as renouncing of right of return, and de-militarisation of any lands given back, under control of some group with more clout than the UN.  Who's to do that?

Just by the way, al-Faisal says ".... the kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] holds itself to higher standards of justice and law."  This is the country whose Basic Law states that the Saudi Constitution is "Allah's Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet".  This hews to the draconian Hanbali school of jurisprudence which mandates, inter alia: beheadings, amputations, killing of apostates, killing of homosexuals, 100% non-freedom of religion, stoning of women for adultry, jailing women who have been raped, supporting Wahabi mosques and schools around the world teaching killing of infidels, and so on and so on.... "Higher standards of justice and law" indeed...

The original IHT article, as long as it remains online is here .  Otherwise, it should still be at my link here .

Saturday 12 September 2009

Keep Walkin'...

And now for a change of mood....
Brilliant ad for Johnny Walker, one that's "gone viral", so you may have seen it already.  Robert Carlyle doing one long 6-minute tracking take, and hitting his marks spot on!  It's fun.

Thursday 10 September 2009

"Dirty reality behind solar power"

Holy Solar, Batperson! Don’t tell me now that solar’s dirty! Article below from today’s South China Morning Post  suggests that the amount of carbon dioxide expended in making solar cells is more than the savings in CO2.  Gets me to thinking, again: “gooooh…….  Nuclear!”   Though at right we have what I hope we can all agree is a giant leap for global cooling: the solar-powered bra which "displays text and holds drinks"....
Meantime, in a related article,

Wednesday 9 September 2009

One Law for All

Recently I wrote :
What’s needed still is a broad-based coalition of concerned citizens to come out against the Sharia. Creeping Sharia is a real worry for western societies and all that our mums and dads fought for: freedom of belief, freedom of speech, respect for the rule of law, equality of sexes and races, and so forth. Sharia is diametrically opposed to all of those.
Well, hurrah! Breaking news, just nine months old, and reaching me by pedal-powered internet, on this most auspicious of days for we Chinese, the 9th day of the 9th month of the 9th year of the century.

The Rule of Law in Hong Kong: safe for now?

On of the questions we’re most often asked by visitors to Hong Kong is “how are things going since the handover?” The short answer is: “fine”. They’re going better than the pessimists had feared, if perhaps not quite as well as the optimists had hoped. No tromping on free speech or PLA troops on the streets on the one hand; but no movement towards universal suffrage on the other.
The pillars of Hong Kong’s success can be stated briefly: the rule of law, clean and (quite) efficient Civil Service, free press, freedom of association, a capitalist system with low tax and minimal intervention by the government. This has all worked pretty well for us, including in the recent financial turmoil, in which we were relatively untouched, with unemployment rates still just around 5% and the property market strong.
The rule of law is one of the most critical elements in this, and so it was with some concern and suspicion that the recent announcement of the early retirement of the Chief Justice was met. Many suspected the black hand of Beijing in the retirement, with the possibility of a more supine judiciary in prospect.  We hope not!
Below is Frank Ching’s take on it, from today’s South China Morning Post . Frank is a long-time reporter in the region, a fellow I’ve known since times back in the seventies in the Australian Embassy in Beijing, when we used to call on Frank on our “liaison visits” to Hong Kong. He might even remember me…. Go to Frank to find out what’s going on, was the story. Frank then was one of the many China Experts who used to divine the inner workings of the top echelon of the China leadership by srutinising provincial official movements,  People’s Daily editorials, and China tea leaves. He’s much respected as a hard-nosed and insightful commentator of the regional scene, so it’s interesting that his take on the Chief Justice’s retirement is relatively benign. Read on…
The announcement by Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang that he will step down next August, three years before his scheduled retirement, poses a challenge in terms of a successor. But it was bound to come sooner or later, and there is no reason to think Hong Kong will not be up to it. Li had clearly given a great deal of thought to the issue of his replacement and, seeing a good many other senior judges approaching retirement age in the next few years, decided that his early retirement would be “conducive to the ordinary succession planning in the judiciary in the coming years”.
He could easily have remained in his job until December 2012 while grooming younger men and women of whom he personally approved and who, no doubt, would be high-calibre judges. Instead, he decided to step aside.
It is a great tribute to the chief justice that the overwhelming reaction from the government, legislature and legal profession is that it will be no easy task to fill his shoes.
Actually, despite the large number of judges approaching retirement age, the situation is far from dire. Judges can be allowed to stay on beyond the age of 65, and it is conceivable that Li’s successor could a contemporary rather than a younger person.
But the chief justice, for the sake of greater stability in the judiciary, was willing to accept a shorter term. That is a significant sacrifice even though, as he pointed out, he would have served for 13 years - not a short period.
His announcement was met with an outpouring of tributes from all quarters - surely a sign that he has succeeded in creating a Court of Final Appeal that is respected, while maintaining a judiciary in which the people of Hong Kong have confidence.
As a joint statement by the Hong Kong Law Society and the Bar Association declared: “We believe that the contribution of the Chief Justice to the rule of law in the HKSAR cannot be overstated.”
His appointment in 1997, when Hong Kong ceased to be a British colony, was one of the best decisions of Tung Chee-hwa, the first chief executive.
Li’s tenure was not without controversies, the biggest being the right of abode case in 1999, when the Court of Final Appeal declared that it had the authority to invalidate legislation enacted by the National People’s Congress - an erroneous, though bold, claim. The NPC then made it clear that the Hong Kong court had no such power.
Subsequently, the court took the opposite tack, declaring in another right of abode case that the NPC could give final interpretations of Basic Law provisions that dealt exclusively with issues within Hong Kong’s autonomy. That, too, was controversial.
These are issues that scholars, and perhaps future judges, may take up. However, in the decade since then, there has been no rocking of the boat and the court has created a solid reputation for itself. While both the executive and the legislative arms were politicised, the judiciary went about its business. Judicial decisions were not made to keep Beijing, or anyone else, happy.
And, as people looked at Hong Kong to see how it was faring under “one country, two systems”, they saw that the rule of law and independence of the judiciary had not been compromised.
Indeed, in April, the Commonwealth Law Conference was held in Hong Kong, the first time it had been hosted by a non-commonwealth jurisdiction. Li, in addressing the opening ceremony, said that convening the conference in Hong Kong “represents a recognition of the successful implementation of the principle of ‘one country, two systems’.”
He added: “The common-law system has continued to be maintained and indeed has continued to thrive in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law, our mini constitution.”
With things going so well, perhaps it was at that time that Li decided to retire early.
Frank Ching, a Hong Kong-based writer and commentator, is the author of The Li Dynasty: Hong Kong Aristocrats. His book, Ancestors: 900 Years in the Life of a Chinese Family, has just been reissued in paperback.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

English Defence League

What sort of folk are the England Defence League? 
They’ve been much in the news lately, as their demonstrations against Islamic extremism and the Sharia law have turned ugly, with scores of arrests. 
So who are they?  Are they just a bunch of far-right thugs as many in the media claim?   In short: No. But neither are they sqeaky clean.
Their website says
The English Defence League (EDL) has been formed by English people who are tired of our Government letting Terrorists preach Murder on our streets. It is not an act of Fascism to oppose Terrorists and Sharia.
Fair enough.  Then there was the demo in Birmingham on 5th September.  There’s a full uncut video on the EDL site, which I’ve sat through.  A young fellow, whose name I couldn’t quite catch,  spoke quite well.  Some points he made:
  •       We’ll tolerate you, if you tolerate us
  •       We’re not racist.  We’re British people; you can be Muslim, white, Chinese, black, whatever, all we’re against is people who call our soldiers ‘murderers’.  
  •       We should put aside our differences and joint together saying ‘we’re not having this’ [ie, extremism and sharia law] 
  •       Do whatever you want, just play by the rules.
  •       Anybody is welcome in the EDL, we’re just against extremism and the Sharia law in England.
As he spoke, it was rabble rousers from the United Against Fascim group that instigated any violence there was.  The EDL people were standing behind a group of police, doing nothing but holding posters, so any implication that this “right wing group” was inciting violence, are false.  The Posters said said things like:
  •        Anjam Choudry is a traitor.  [AC is indeed an extremist ratbag who has called for the killing of British troops and the overthrow of British Parliament, the killing of apostates from Islam and stoning of women]
  •       Ban the Burkha
  •       Black and White Unite
  •       We’re not the BNP
  •       Say “no” to more Sharia law
  •       Love England, Hate extremism
  •       Say No to London Mega Mosque
  •       Muslim Bombers off our streets.
One might quibble with one or two of these sentiments, but they’re hardly the stuff of hard-right ratbaggery.  And a curiosity: the militant Islamic site Islam4UK has come out defending the EDL, saying they’re not a BNP front, and offering a public debate with them on the Sharia!  Wonder what the agenda there is?  They say that they’ve been misunderstood, that Islam and Sharia are misunderstood, so they want the media to know that EDL have also been misunderstood!  How thoughtful of them….

Meantime, those against the EDL must by corollary be FOR the Burkha, FOR disunity of black and white and FOR Sharia.  I wonder if they really know that.  Not from the comments that I’ve seen on, for example, the Guardian site “comments is free”.

So, if they didn’t incite the violence and their sentiments are sound(ish), is the EDL ok then?
Not quite.  I was a bit startled by the use of the Union Jack and the Cross of St George at the demo and on their website.  Any time there’s overt patriotism verging on nationalist, I’m worried,  the “last refuge of the scoundrel” and all that.  And over this part of the world, no less than in Europe, nationalism has has had some rather nasty consequences.

Then I saw claims, in Times Online, that members of the BNP had “infiltrated” the EDL and that a former BNP member had designed the EDL website.  I don’t have time to track down whether that’s true, but it doesn’t surprise me; it was my impression when I went to the site: all aggressive red, black and Union Jack.

So these guys are not the sort of group that I’d wish to join. 

What’s needed still is a broad-based coalition of concerned citizens to come out against the Sharia.  Creeping Sharia is a real worry for western societies and all that our mums and dads fought for: freedom of belief, freedom of speech, respect for the rule of law, equality of sexes and races, and so forth.  Sharia is diametrically opposed to all of those.  Any doubt about that?  Read the source: the ‘Umdat al Salik, (The Reliance of the Traveller) the Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law [the Sharia] and recent “Cruel and Unusual Punishment”, by Nonie Darwish.  Both referenced at right.

2.   Islam4UK
3.   Guardian site, “comment is free”: should there be a counter demo to the EDL, 4th September
4.   Times Online: Birmingham riots: young men looking for the excitement of a fight, 7th September.

Monday 7 September 2009

The Woodstock Generation... now economy wreckers....

The Canberra Times, 19 September 1970.   (Front page photo)
There we are, Oz and me at the second Moratorium to stop the Vietnam war.  Must have been around the time I first heard the term “baby boomer” a term I found a bit puzzling.  What on earth are babies doing booming, I wondered…. 
We’ve always been a centre of attention, we baby boomers, setting trends and styles, affluent, spoiled, fighting the Vietnam war, going to Woodstock …. And now, it seems wrecking the economy.  From today’s South China Morning Post, front page story: 
The greying of the city's population will begin in earnest next year when 93,000 baby boomers turn 60, prompting debate on the need for a comprehensive population policy that reviews Hong Kong's retirement age, pension arrangements and immigration guidelines.
The government has warned that an ageing population might drain the city's resources.
Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said in his budget that "an ageing population will lower our standard of living and undermine economic vitality and competitiveness". Spending on social security for the elderly would increase by more than 140 per cent to HK$31.8 billion in 2033.
He said the city must be prepared.
The latest projections by the Census and Statistics Department show the number of people aged between 60 and 64, when many retire, will jump by 40,000 next year, the biggest increase ever.  [huh?? I thought it was 93,000 turning 60 next year?  I’ll have to add that to the list of things “I don’t get”]
BTW: the definition of “baby boomer”?  Some dispute, but generally those born between 1946 and 1964.  We’re described at one point as “the pig in the python”, the demographic bulge which remodeled society as it passed through it.  Leading to the inevitable outcome that we’re now being shat out by the python, nothing but a pile of python turds on the carpet of society.  Oh dear….
From wikipedia:
Baby boomers are associated with a rejection or redefinition of traditional values….
In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of affluence….
As a group, they were the healthiest, and wealthiest generation to that time, and amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time….
One of the unique features of Boomers was that they tended to think of themselves as a special generation, very different from those that had come before….
We were also known as the Woodstock generation, of which we recently had the fortieth birthday, and which I noted here .

Friday 4 September 2009

Pointless, incessant barking

And perhaps that’s just what I should do, at least according to some, who think that I’ve gone off the deep end, gone over to the “dark side” says one,  in my criticism of Islam.  So perhaps I ought to do that, just give up and return to sharing some pointless, incessant barking with the dogs....
But hang on a tick; just before I go….I find some very good company sharing these views….  Can you guess which right-wing, loony bigot said the following?
(A) “I am reasonably optimistic in America and Europe, I'm pessimistic about the Islamic world, I regard Islam as one of the great evils of the world” (ref)
(B) "It is certainly true that Islam in the world is probably the major evil."(ref)
(C)  “I have long felt that the key to solving the worldwide menace of Islamic terrorism and oppression would eventually be the awakening of women, and Mina Ahadi is a charismatic leader working to that end. The brutal suppression of the rights of women in many countries throughout the Islamic world is an obvious outrage. Slightly less obvious, but just as outrageous, is the supine willingness of western liberals to go along with it. It is worse than supine, it is patronising and condescending: "Wife-beating is part of 'their' culture. Who are we to condemn their traditions?" A religion so insecure as to mandate the death penalty for apostasy is not to be trifled with, and ex-Muslims who stand up and fight deserve our huge admiration and gratitude for their courage. Right out in front of this honourable band is Mina Ahadi. I salute her and congratulate her on this well-deserved award as Secularist of the Year.”(ref)
The awful Islamophobe who said all this?  None other than Professor Richard Dawkins, up to recently the Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, trenchant critic all religions, but correctly identifying the Big I as the main worry.   

Thursday 3 September 2009

Who hates whom the mostest? (aka: better be an atheist...)

Over at Planck’s Constant Blog, fellow grey-beard Bernie has come up with a “Muslim Threat Index”.  Good one, Bernie!
No surprises in Pakistan being at the top of the danger league, though perhaps surprising that it’s by such a large margin a greater potential threat than the next on the list Nigeria.  I was also surprised – though perhaps fellow Aussies may not be – by Indonesia’s being so high on the threat list.
I can hear all the criticisms of this “Threat Index”, from “you can’t be serious” to “it’s not nuanced enough” and so forth.  My view: it’s been done with enough care and with enough factors to make it a useful reference.  No doubt it can be improved (“nuanced”) but meantime it’s useful and I commend it, even unto the “government security agencies”…. I know about them from times past and their threat assessments were often nuanced to pabulum…
I’ve just done my own Index: the “Discrimination Index”, aka the “Victimhood Index”.  It came about because of the claims we hear from Muslim spokespersons whenever there’s some outrage committed by their co-religionists, that they fear a “backlash” against Muslims. Some of the more egregious examples are: after the Mumbai bombing and the murder of the Jewish leader and his pregnant wife, what we heard from Muslim commentators was concern for the safety of Muslims.  And most recently, the Rifqa Bary case, about which I wrote here.  There is less concern for Ms Bary’s safety than for the alleged backlash against Muslims that the publicity of the case might entail.
So, is it true that Muslims are discriminated against disproportionately to their numbers in society?  To calculate that I got the numbers of Hate Crimes in the US against each religion, and the percentage of those religions in the total population (refs below).  Divide hate crime per religion by that religion’s percentage in the population:  if the answer is 1 (one), then that religion is experiencing hate crime in proportion to its share of the population.  A figure higher than 1 (one) means they’re being disproportionately targeted by hate crimes.
These are the results:
Crimes against:
% of crimes
% of population
Discrimination Index
            [Total "Hate Crimes" in 2007: 9,567] 
So: yes, Muslims are disproportionately targeted while we Atheists get off almost scot-free.  But way more discriminated against are the Jews, by a factor of 57 versus the base of 1 (one) and four times more than Muslims are.  I know there are anti-anti-Semitism lobby groups; but we do not hear from them nearly so often as we do from the Muslim ones.  Why is that?  Given that they are way more disproportionately targeted? 
What is surprising perhaps, given their co-religionists insistence on attempting to kill infidels, is that the number of hate crimes against Muslims is actually so low: just 141 in 2007.  (and btw, Daniel Pipes has shown elsewhere that many of the crimes against Muslims were “manufactured” by the Muslim bodies such as CAIR; but we’ll leave that for the moment).
Another interesting point: the fastest growing belief 1990 to 2008 was Atheism.  Islam was fifth fastest growing, after Atheism, Buddhism, Born-again Christians, and non-denominational Christians.  Interesting, when we hear so often from Islamic sources, that Islam is the fastest growing religion.
And what about the total number?  According to the stats, the number of Muslims in the US is 1.8 million.  That’s way less than Muslim lobby groups quote: most often they say 5 to 7 million Muslims in the US.  Hmm….. the less the size of the group, the less is your clout.  I wonder why they exaggerate by nearly 300%...
US population
2008/1990 Growth
Other religions
0 to 300%
1.    FBI Hate Crime Statistics, 2007, from the Uniform Crime Reporting Progam, FBI, 2008.
2.   Demographics: Statistics of Religion in the US from the American Religious Identification Survey, 2008, and on the Population, from the US Census Department, Feb 2009.

Shane the Aussie Jihadist -- out of jail by May '10

There are broadly two streams of thought as to what causes Islamic terrorism. 
(1) Is the “Islam has a grievance” stream of thought (let’s be done with it, and call it a “narrative”). 
(2)“Islam seeks world caliphate” narrative. 
Most of the US Administration from George W. Bush to Obama believe in the first narrative: Islam has grievances.  These “grievances” are the usual suspects: colonialism, imperialism, US policy in the middle east, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine, lack of respect for Islam and so forth.  If we fix these, we shall be at peace with the Muslim world.  It was this thought that wove through Obama’s speech to Muslims in June.
The second stream says that the driving force of Islamic terrorism is the desire to bring Islam – by force if necessary – to the rest of the world, by global Jihad, to institute an Islamic caliphate according to Sharia law. 
Clearly the latter does not exclude the former.  If you believe that this narrative – the Islam seeks world dominance narrative – is true, then the way you deal with Islamic terrorism will be very different, for you will recognize that concessions to the “grievances” can only be short-term solutions at best.
The story below illustrates that both narratives are driving the Aussie Jihadist Shane Kent, though I bet most commentators will focus on the “grievance side” of his motivation  -- “to force the Federal Government to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan” – and ignore that latter  –“violence against the kuffar”.  Know thy enemy, they all say.  But not too well…  or so it appears.
A HOME-GROWN terrorist who was part of a group that planned attacks in Melbourne could be free in just over nine months.
After pleading guilty to being part of a terrorist group Shane Kent, 32, [tha’s him in his jihadi clobber above] was jailed for a minimum term of three years and nine months.
Justice Bernard Bongiorno set a maximum term of five years after saying Kent had not abandoned his violent jihadist views.
The Supreme Court judge also said Kent was not genuinely sorry for his part in the terror group.
He said the group or 'jemaah' planned their terrorist activities to force the Federal Government to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is  the “Islam has grievances” narrative.
Kent was an enthusiastic member and he and the others were secretly recorded talking about jihad and the promotion of the Islamic cause by violence against the kuffar - Arabic for unbelievers.
This is the “Islam seeks a caliphate” narrative.
"On each of these conversations, as in many others, he (Kent) spoke as a member of the group and not as an outsider," Justice Bongiorno said.
They talked of members of the "jemaah" needing to be ready to destroy buildings and kill people in a jihad.
"The actions of those who engaged in the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States and the attacks on trains in Madrid and London were discussed in terms of praise and admiration," the judge said.
Kent, a father of three of Meadow Heights, could be out in just over nine months as he has served 1115 days on remand.
Justice Bongiorno said that Kent had a psychiatric disorder and psychiatrists had said he was remorseful.
"He is doubtless sorry for having imposed the hardship of his incarceration on his family," the judge said.
"However, I am not prepared to accept . . . that he has abandoned the cause of violent jihad."
Kent pleaded guilty to being a member of a terrorist group between 1 July 2004 and 8 November 2005 and of recklessly making a document connected with preparation for a terrorist act.
He admitted helping create an Islamic propaganda jihadist video featuring Osama bin Laden, tributes to "martyrs" and a graphic image of a dead young extremist.
Postscript: I wrote here about other Aussie Jihadis and why it’s not just a “small minority” of extremists.  And here, about the al-Qaeda view of the infidel west:
“In fact, Muslims are obligated to raid the lands of the infidels, occupy them and exchange their systems of governance for an Islamic system, barring any practice that contradicts the Sharia from being publicly voiced among the people…”.
--- (The Al Qaeda Reader, p.51)