Wednesday, August 31, 2005

a brief note on mosquitoes

the female
sucks the blood.

The male feeds
on plant

A future prelude

The following scenes, telling the story of the Tower of Babel, are all characterized by an irridescent iris effect round the edge of the picture.
Fritz Lang: Metropolis

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Moog music? Or: Temporal Compression? Or: How old is old time really?

I find my nightmare at Silliman’s Blog.
  old time
  bagpipe, accordian, synthesizer

  combination is pretty
  hard to

As examples

of just how far the hay(na)ku has developed since its first simple tercets, check out Lorna Dee Cervantes' wonderful continuing series Towards A New Beginning of the Alpha bet, & harry k. stammer's equally wonderful most recent posts.


& available for downloading here is Jordan Stempleman's Their Fields, the first title in Bill Allegrezza's new Moria e-books range.

Check it out. Download it. Read it. Enjoy it.

Some titles

stick in the mind like lines of poetry, even if you don't like the entire poem. Fortunately, in the main, I do.

I love what follows on from three of my four favourite titles: Samuel Delany's Time considered as a helix of semi-precious stones, William Eastlake's Portrait of the artist with twenty-six horses & Henry Miller's The alcoholic veteran with the washboard cranium. The fourth is the title of a Janet Frame novel, Scented gardens for the blind, even though I am not a fan of her writing - but then, I don't think there is even one New Zealand writer of fiction (& I'm deliberately classing Martin Edmond as faction here) that I can truly say I like - & it took me twenty years, & a night-walk in an Australian garden, to realise the obvious meaning of the phrase.

But I have come across a title I am both intrigued & half-appalled by. Part of it was appropriated by Laurie R. King for the second novel in her wonderful series featuring Mary Russell, companion & later wife to Sherlock Holmes, but I seem to have skipped King's introductory quote for it was only today that I was consciously aware of the full title of the book she referred to.

It's by John Knox, founder of the protestant Church of Scotland, later to become - or be merged with - the Presbyterian Church. & it's about two specific women. When first published in 1588 it was directed against the Catholic Mary Tudor, but a little later to be also against Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.

The full title: First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Where are the protesters of yesteryear?

The latenight – but now slightly revised - rant below was partially prompted by a newsclip of Australian Prime Minister John Howard being heckled by protesters as he entered a State Liberal Party convention.

Howard is now Australia’s longest continuously serving Prime Minister. & it’s gone to his head. He’s starting to think he’s God & will live & rule forever. But the country has become so complacent, &, in the main, though I hate to use the word, middle-class, & there is no-one in the opposition Labor party who can challenge him because they’re trying to claim the same ground, but the Liberals seem much better managers of it. Christ knows what it will take to fuel the social, socialist anger that should be there.

& the protesters? Not that many of them these days though the causes should be sufficient to bring at least half the nation’s population out on to the streets if the nation had a soul. Industrial relations, where the government is trying to bring in individual labour contracts that mean paid holidays, job security, sick leave, even meal breaks, can be done away with; the treatment of asylum seekers; the treatment of the indigenous population; the sale of the remaining 51% of the national telco that the government owns (which has just pumped half of its last year profit of $4 billion into the country’s coffers) & which will then adhere to the current mantra of fuck social conscience, follow profits. The government is tightening its grip on universities. Now it’s diminish the quality of your education, sell your degrees to the paying students, & if you don’t do that, then the government will tell you what you are allowed to teach.

Then there’s Iraq, where the government is blindly following the burning Bush. Even the just-retired Head of the Armed Forces is saying that Australia should withdraw before the end of next year instead of this crap about being there “as long as it takes”.

So much to protest about, & so few protesters, especially when you consider that the ones heckling Howard covered all the above. But I did find some joy in seeing them, & found much humour in one of the signs being displayed.
Think outside
the Pentagon

Friday, August 26, 2005

Feeling ekphrastic?

Crag Hill posts:
"I'll continue to read writing in response to paintings, sculpture, photography, performance -- lit in response to art... I'll read until Thanksgiving. I want to get this issue - (Spore 2.1) - out by the end of the year.

I'm also looking for commentary about ekphrastic writing, its openings, its limitations, exemplary works previously published..."
Full details are available at Poetry Scorecard.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

In Memory of my Brolgas

of thinking
about poetry today

am indulging
myself with a

replay of
the brolgas dancing

kilometres north-
east of Ridglands.

is a
quietness in it.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Citric update

Not quite Spring by the calendar, but the temperature is in the high twenties C. – just under 80° F. - & the flowers in the pots under the awning are flush with large scarlet & white blooms. It’s warm enough for the cat to decide to stay out at night.

The citrus trees are threatening to deliver fruit. We’ve had them for about 18 months, & so far their crops have been one lemon, which was on the tree when we bought it, & one grapefruit which we can honestly claim to be our own. But the lime tree currently has lots of small fruit on it, the lemon is in flower & spreads that wonderful perfume, & the grapefruit has pushed out new leaves & has a couple of buds on it.

Mind you, this happened last year as well. Then the ants got active & managed to knock off all the young limes, & then the locusts – huge, some the size of elephants – descended upon the lemon & the grapefruit & turned them into almost skeletons. I think what was left of the lemon’s energy was taken up bringing that single fruit to – I guess I have to use the word – fruition, & that single grapefruit only survived because it grew sufficiently whilst the various armies were busy with the other offerings.

Still, although somebody knocked off the single custard apple from the tree at the bottom of the driveway – a bad growing season for them, not enough humidity in the air – we have got a few mandarins & oranges this year from the other trees in the same area. The fruit was a bit like me, rough-looking on the outside, but oh so sweet. & juicy.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

& then there was this,

Terence Young's Red Sun, with Arsula Undress as the female lead.
 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 20, 2005

John Sturges' The Magnificent Seven was a movie I couldn't help but like. I'd seen Kurosawa's Seven Samurai & fallen in love with it - & still consider Toshiro Mifune to be the most attractive man I've ever seen (though that was slightly later, after some of his later films, & at other times the Terence Stamp of Billy Budd & the Alain Delon of Rocco & His Brothers tended to shake Mifune's perch). The movie had a cast full of people I liked - Yul Brunner who'd I'd first come across in Cocteau's The Testament of Orpheus, Eli Wallach, always a favourite villian, Horst Buchholz who I'd seen in Tiger Bay playing opposite a very young Hayley Mills, Brad Dexter who was a journeyman actor with a recognisable face, three actors who I'd come across in the American International movies I kept pigging out on at the local double-feature, two-day run, continuous movie house I frequented, Steve McQueen (Stephen McQueen of The Blob), Robert Vaughn from I was a Teenage Caveman, & Charles Bronson from Machine Gun Kelly (though I'd also seen him in his Charles Buchinski days in things like the original House of Wax); James Coburn was the only one I'd never come across before, & he was so cool he rapidly became a firm favourite. I'd always liked cowboy movies, especially when they didn't have John Wayne in them. & I liked Elmer Bernstein's film scores since I first came across one in The Man with the Golden Arm.

Just as John Williams did later in Star Wars, especially with his Darth Vader theme, Bernstein had a Magnificent Seven theme for the good guys, but there was also a secondary theme that was used to accompany the entrance of the Mexican bandits. Da da da da dat dadaa - Dada would have loved a day like this. & I'm reminded of it because there's a crow that's been around for the last few days, which instead of indulging in the languid drawn-out caw that I usually associate with them, parks itself up a tree & issues a series of short notes that modulate at the end, just like Bernstein's theme. It cracks me up, & makes me think, although my asshole doesn't drop out, of the Paul Blackburn poem, The Encounter, that starts:
Staggering down the road at midnite
home from the bar, the

mexican Bandit stood facing me, about
to improve his standard of living.

A found answer to Tom Beckett's question

In a recent post at Shadows Within Shadows, Tom Beckett asked: If one doesn't have some idea what a poem should do, why bother to write?

I caught five minutes of a documentary about films & film-making last night, a part where various directors were asked to comment briefly about why they made films. Amongst their answers, which, in the main, gave such things as social conscience & revolution as the reasons, was this from an un-named director, which struck the gong of recognition within my well-into-its-seventh-decade heart.

 film. I
 keep on filming

 soften the
 flight of time."

Friday, August 19, 2005

In the remainder bin

at the local newsagent today, a stack of Dylan's Chronicles. I was lucky to find one copy in the local bookshops when it came out. Now....

Loved Jill Jones' comment on her recent re-reading. "...a book I don't believe..."

Ah, but aren't the best memoirs the ones with the most fiction in them? Especially when there's a soundtrack that keeps running through your brain.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


has a cute new feature. A map of the world, & also each continent separately, showing where your recent hits came from. Groovy.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Have added

several links to the sidebar over the last few weeks, the most recent of which are Antic View, Jeff Harrison & Allan Bramhall's on-going conversation, Q&A, A&Q, cross-interrogation, etc. which is developing into a very interesting double discourse; Del Ray Cross' anachronizms; Scott Glassman's 30 days; & Gregory Vincent St Thomasino's The Postmodern Romantic about which I posted a couple of days ago.

Gregory emailed me a little later &, since his informative response would have been posted to the comments box if Blogger hadn't decided to play up, I'm taking the liberty to include part of it here.
"The Postmodern Romantic is, indeed, an active blog, and when I have something to add or to revise, that's when I change the date, to denote an update. I hope that when I'm "done" I will have something of a short novel, and that is what my blog is presenting, an as-yet-untitled novel in progress. My model is Max Frisch's Der Mensch erscheint im Holozän. My initial idea for The Postmodern Romantic was just to have a place to sound off, but then I thought it better not to paraphrase, but to try to depict / express the certain sensibilities I was / am concerned with."

sundae, bloody sundae

for Neon, Eileen & Karri

in cyber-
space or a

Robbins ice-
cream parlour, nobody

hear your
multiple bananas split

served in
a silent cone.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

in cyberspace

one can
hear you scream

from: Betabet


Two umpires arbitrate, specify
what actions or omissions
may be criminal. The Dragon-Kings
bring rain. Complex projects
might involve many path-
ways, providing a place
for social & other facilities
in the neighbourhood. There is
a tiny temple with a statue
of the God, & there is always
a spare hand which each
player takes it in turn to own.

originally published in Jukka's blogzine minimum daily requirements

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Deadline: August 30, 2005
No Submission Fees
Email submissions within the body of email to GalateaTen at

Submit 1-2 poems to a "pleasure-able" poetry contest sponsored by The Chatelaine's Poetics and Meritage Press. No restrictions on form or interpretations of "pleasure."

Members of OENOPHILES FOR POETRY (a for-profit, private organization) will judge the entrants -- probably during a meeting while they're also judging some wines (so consider that fair warning if, uh, that's something you need to be warned about). The poet whose poem most pleases the judges will receive a present of more than twenty fantastic books of poetry or poetry/art collections. (See Eileen's Chatelaine blog for the full list.)

Last but not least, if the contest winner lives in a U.S. state that allows alcohol to be shipped from California, said contest winner will also receive a bottle of fine wine chosen by Eileen Tabios, "The Chatelaine Poet" aka "Missy WinePoetics."

[Pls direct all queries to Eileen Tabios at GalateaTen at]
me say
this in words

one or
two sylla – oops.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The rain

has brought new birds to the trees in the garden, &, for once, easy to see because of the grey-sky background. A northern fantail keeping watch over, & sometimes engaging in a dance with, a pair of weebills,

the smallest bird in Australia, one of which, or perhaps both in turn, hovers with its wings beating fast time, in much the same way as I would image a hummingbird does.

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Hola, Ernesto

is is
si si
is is
si si

The postmodern romantic

Gregory Vincent St Thomasino's the postmodern romantic is a strange page. It is updated, or at least the post-date changes, but the page remains the same. Or at least seems to. Perhaps a word here or there. I keep intending to copy it, to refer to what was there at a particular time so I can see what, if anything, has changed at a later time.

Or perhaps we see it differently each time we visit. Our experiences may have been updated & so we come in with a different focus. That may be the reason behind it. Not what's within, but what's without.

The second paragraph there is a single line. "She was from Germany. She wanted to see where Lennon was killed." I do not know if I, if ever in New York, would want to see that, to stand outside the Dakota. But I now know that the Dakota was built in 1874 by the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, & was then so far out of town that it was given the ironic name The Dakota, even before that territory was separated into its two current divisions. I now know that the apartment where Lennon & Yoko Ono lived was previously owned by the late Robert Ryan, a brilliant actor, whose movies I had grown up watching, & who I always had liked.

That is information I have garnered since my previous reading of Gregory's line. It is something more that I bring to this latest reading. The line hasn’t changed, but I have, & so the reading is different.

What does not change is that the page is beautiful, & even if unchanged stands up easily to repeated readings. "That night, as she slept, I rewrote her poetry."

Everything old is new again.

This morning

rare pleasure.
Woken by rain.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Never understood that it ain't no good

When Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone first came out in New Zealand, it was released, because of its length, as a two-sided single. Which meant, on radio, that most times it would fade out before you turned around to see the jugglers & the clowns.

Only those announcers - deejay, my dears, was such an American word, so uncouth - who wished to prove how cool they were would play the full-length album track.

Was reminded of that cos I've just bought Greil Marcus' biography of the song. &, at the same time, Hunter S. Thompson's Kingdom of Fear. & the combination of the two writers also reminds me that in the days when the music was good, Rolling Stone was a great magazine. I think my favourite cover was by, I think, Annie Leibowitz, a photo of Dolly Parton with Arnold Schwarzenegger standing behind her.

& I also bought Charles Dickens' Hard Times. For nostalgia. Great book, terse writing. Dickens rushing to meet the weekly deadlines for its serialisation. Cost me $1, & so perches on the shoulder of the other two books like a Siamese cat.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

off the page

A selection of photographs from the recent Leaflets & Chalk event, a project by students, poets and the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre (nzepc) to bring poems into public spaces of the University of Auckland campus as printed handouts and chalked texts on Montana Poetry Day, has been posted on the nzepc website. Also given are links to the poems handed out, & I'm delighted to see that the famous New Zealand poet Jukka-Pekka Kervinen was amongst those whose poems were distributed.
 Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A last post

on nuclear bombs / arsenals / arms race / threats.

I am older than the bomb. I grew up in a world under threat of nuclear war. The French & the United States tested their weapons in the Pacific, not that far away from New Zealand where I was born & lived for the first thirty years of my life. The English carried out their nuclear tests in Australia where I now live. The Russians, the Chinese & the Indians all carried out nuclear tests.

The Cold War faded. Some disarmament. Much development. It was no longer necessary to carry out physical testing to prove nuclear detonation capabilities, though, being boys, they went ahead & did it anyway. Pakistan & Israel & possibly South Africa developed nuclear weapons. There is some evidence gathered by the CIA that the latter two countries jointly exploded a nuclear device. Pakistan tested theirs in May, 1998. It has been suggested that some of the Indian tests earlier that month may have been joint Indo-Israeli tests. Possibly North Korea, possibly Iran, are either nuclear-armed or not that far away from being able to be.

The threats, theoretically, became localised. Israel v Iran, Pakistan v India. Then the threat of briefcase weapons, carried by terrorists. Blackmarket plutonium, design & nuclear exchange. Directions to build a nuclear device can be found on the internet claimed the tabloids.

But, at the end of the day of the 60th anniversary of Nagasaki, let me make a prediction. The next nuclear strike will be carried out either by or on behalf of the United States, under the guise of protecting the State, of preserving democracy.

& four days later. Fukuoka? Okayama? Kobe?

"Unknown to anyone else, there was a third one. See, the first bomb went off and they didn't hear anything out of the Japanese for two or three days. The second one was dropped and again they were silent for another couple of days. Then I got a phone call from General Curtis LeMay. He said: "You got another one of those damn things?" I said: "Yes, sir." He said: "Where is it?" I said: "Over in Utah." He said: "Get it out here. You and your crew are going to fly it." I sent word back and the crew loaded it on an aeroplane and we headed back to bring it out to Tinian, and when they got it to the California debarkation point, the war was over."
Paul Tibbets, from his interview with Studs Terkel

Fat Man, for Karri Kokko



Bock's Car

In that final
pass over
did the crew
of Bock's Car
take any time out
as they maybe
crossed themselves
or patted the lucky
dollar / rabbit’s foot
in their flightjacket to
consider that in this
collective incarnation
as the agents of
Siva they were
about to initiate the
somewhat belated
but incendiary re-
union of St Francis
Xavier & Christopher
Columbus who had
both departed from
Atocha Station four
or so centuries
before, heading in
opposite directions?

Monday, August 08, 2005


Dirt #1

the first issue of PR Primeau's
"....irregularly published
newsletter/'zine of ultra-simple,
minimalist poetry and poetics.
Contributions should be no more
than a few short lines -- at most."

is printed. To request a copy or for questions/comments, send an e-mail to dirt_zine AT yahoo DOT com.

It has an excellent - & not minimal - list of contributors!

from a 2002 Studs Terkel interview

with Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay.
Terkel: When you hear people say: "Let's nuke 'em, let's nuke these people (terrorists)," what do you think?

Tibbets: Oh, I wouldn't hesitate if I had the choice. I'd wipe 'em out. You're gonna kill innocent people at the same time, but we've never fought a damn war anywhere in the world where they didn't kill innocent people. If the newspapers would just cut out the shit: "You've killed so many civilians." That's their tough luck for being there.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

60 years ago, today

were no
tourists in Hiroshima


"saw nothing

in Hiroshima. Nothing."
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Friday, August 05, 2005

Poetry on the Pavement

Serious writing about poetry is something you rarely find at the pelican. I'm shit at it, don't know the language, tend to go off into emotional rants when I find something close to my heart & write about the sensation of it, not the sense.

But I'm fortunate to have as a friend Michele Leggott who not only writes wonderful poetry but who writes & lectures about it equally well & has kindly let me post her words here. During the recent New Zealand National Poetry Day, she & her students took to the streets & the lecture halls & the corridors to (in)scribe poems, to re-place them, to change the way they are seen/scene. Her account below is taken from the Poetry off the page course website at the University of Auckland.
"After meeting up at Slurp, poetry day began with the frenzied dissemination of poems, chalked down on pavements, pinned up on walls, handed out in leaflets, scrawled on blackboards, whiteboards, noticeboards… Our group dispersed lines by T.S Eliot, W.B Yeats, Ezra Pound, Emily Dickinson, Stephane Mallarme, Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein, ending our poetic rampage in a strategic infiltration of the engineering block. Taking ‘poetry off the page’ (and onto the pavement) reterritorializes the text into the action-oriented public space where the power relations between the reader-writer-author tripartite are under constant (re)negotiation. This reterritorialization sets the text free from the archive and its effects of monumentalizing and canonizing poetry. Archived poetry implies the associative Greek etymons of archive: arkh (government) and arkhein (to rule). Out of the archives poetry becomes an arkhein (without ruling) that is in a state of anarchy rather then the governing hierarchy, hieros arkhein (sacred ruling) of the archivist. The dissemination then is a nomadic one, a freeing up and revamping of poetry. By writing a poem on the pavement it becomes new again. The aesthetic experience of the poem is radically changed; it is no longer in the private space sanctioned for ‘art’ but in the disjunctive chaos of everyday experience. The reading and writing of poetry become a public act. In between street signs, ads, graffiti and snippets of conversation lies a poem. The new context produces new resonance of meaning. New overtones of irony were produced in writing Bruce Andrews’ Species Means Guilt in close proximity to the biology block. As the poem is played out in the social space it blurs the word-world dichotomy. The text and the world inhabit each other blowing away all conventional separations. The poem foregrounds its social constructedness and reveals the world’s textual constructedness. On the pavement the act of writing (and reading) poetry becomes more visceral, the contact more physical. Somewhere between papal bull and prostrate angels my hands bleed…almost like a masochism of affective simulation. The graphicity of the text transforms from monochrome industrial-standard serif typeface to the fat doodles of bright jumbo chalk personalizing the poem with the trace of its scribe. No longer ‘immortal words’, the pavement poems are ephemeral, fragile and endangered. The poem could disappear in the next downpour or may survive relatively intact to the early hours of the morning. Reading is refocused to the moment-to-moment interactions of the text and the world. Pedestrians walk around the words, over the words, ignore them, catch a fragment or stand back and read the entire composition. Nice. What is somatism? Are we reading it the right way?"
scitentific paper

midnight rambling

I have a jukebox inside me. Sometimes it lets me play what I want, but most of the time it determines the selection.

The music is mainly from the mid-fifties to the mid-seventies, for me 15 to 35. A bit of bebop & blues & Bach from before that time, a few ballads from after. Things I grew up with, or found by going back to the roots of what I'd heard. Things that later fitted in with what I'd heard before.

Some of it I have chosen. Some of it has chosen me. I tend to have an emotional attachment to my choices. Songs that make me weep or feel joy, that I probably early heard at some particular time & gathered up & kept the environment as well. I get the same sensation in my gut from particular Bach & Aretha Franklin & Miles Davis pieces. Much of Motown fits in there. Plus a whole lot of single songs – Winter in America, Time after Time, Darling be home soon, 7 Seconds.

The ones that have chosen me are varied. The jukebox's favourite is Milestones. I'll be somewhere, anywhere, & suddenly that staccato Da da da da, da da da da, da da da da Daaaaaa will come blasting out, causing me to veer off the road or slop my drink or drop whatever it is I'm holding.

There are a few that are shared between active & passive – transitive & intransitive? – choice. The jukebox has a soft spot for Dylan which I don't always have. Occasionally we separate the song as if it were a disputed territory. Sometimes we both agree.

Round Midnight was playing inside my head in the early hours of yesterday. I went to bed, & when I woke up was confronted with the snowplough of Milestones clearing all before it. Then the jukebox paused, said "You want midnight songs? Let me give you one."

I felt a slight frisson, thought Wilson Pickett & thought it inappropriate. But was pleasantly surprised when the jukebox started into
The bridge at midnight trembles,
the country doctor rambles,
bankers' nieces seek perfection,
expecting all the gifts that wise men bring.
It is one of the songs we share with no dispute. So, in a duet, we wandered off into the afternoon singing
The wind howls like a hammer,
the night blows cold & rainy,
my love she's like some raven
at my window with a broken wing.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

round midnight

It begins to
tell, round
midnight, round
midnight. I do
pretty well
till after
down. Supper
time I'm
sad, but it
really gets bad
round midnight.
Jon Hendricks' words to that great Monk tune. The floor is covered with printouts of poems - something I very rarely do these days, print things out. My computer corruption is complete. I see the image on the screen as an extracted thing - but I've just finished a non-sequential sequence of 25 poems, & I'm trying to decide what goes with what, & who to send them to.

So maybe it isn't so bad, round midnight, round midnight. I seem to be doing pretty well. But I think I'll wait until much later in the morning to finish the job off.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Theo, I
am having visions.

do not
look like crows.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Taking over the world!

I am thinking of starting another blog, to be called Taking over the WORLD! It will contain nothing but a list of the individual & participatory blogs of Jukka-Pekka Kervinen & Jim Leftwich, whose latest collaborative effort, amenable noun, has just materialised.

But such a blog as I contemplate will eventually run out of room, because those two just ain't gonna run out of ideas.

striking the ?

Tom Beckett recently posted the following found hay(na)ku
currently posting
as Tom Beckett."
When I first got a similar message, I thought it said 'posing'. Which, of course, I was / am.

Monday, August 01, 2005

"There is absolutely no evidence that it is rigged."

(Taken entire from the ABC's website.)
Leaked emails from two former prosecutors claim the military commissions set up to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay are rigged, fraudulent, and thin on evidence against the accused.

Two emails, which have been obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, were sent to supervisors in the Office of Military Commissions in March of last year - three months before Australian detainee David Hicks was charged and five months before his trial began.

The first email is from prosecutor Major Robert Preston to his supervisor.

Maj Preston writes that the process is perpetrating a fraud on the American people, and that the cases being pursued are marginal.

"I consider the insistence on pressing ahead with cases that would be marginal even if properly prepared to be a severe threat to the reputation of the military justice system and even a fraud on the American people," Maj Preston wrote.

"Surely they don't expect that this fairly half-arsed effort is all that we have been able to put together after all this time."

Maj Preston says he cannot continue to work on a process he considers morally, ethically and professionally intolerable.

"I lie awake worrying about this every night," he wrote.

"I find it almost impossible to focus on my part of mission.

"After all, writing a motion saying that the process will be full and fair when you don't really believe it is kind of hard, particularly when you want to call yourself an officer and lawyer."

Maj Preston was transferred out of the Office of Military Commissions less than a month later.


The second email is written by another prosecutor, Captain John Carr, who also ended up leaving the department.

Capt Carr says the commissions appear to be rigged.

"When I volunteered to assist with this process and was assigned to this office, I expected there would at least be a minimal effort to establish a fair process and diligently prepare cases against significant accused," he wrote.

"Instead, I find a half-hearted and disorganised effort by a skeleton group of relatively inexperienced attorneys to prosecute fairly low-level accused in a process that appears to be rigged."

Capt Carr says that the prosecutors have been told by the chief prosecutor that the panel sitting in judgment on the cases would be handpicked to ensure convictions.

"You have repeatedly said to the office that the military panel will be handpicked and will not acquit these detainees and that we only needed to worry about building a record for the review panel," he said.

Significant find

David Hicks' defence lawyer, Major Michael Mori, says the documents are "highly significant".

"For the first time, we're seeing that concerns about the fairness of the military commissions extend to the heart of the process," Maj Mori said.

David Hicks's father, Terry, says the latest revelations confirm what he has suspected all along.

"These commissions weren't set up to release people," he said.

"These commissions were set up to make sure they were prosecuted and get the time that they give them, and the other thing we've said all along, that we believe that this system has been rigged as they call it."

But the Pentagon's Brigadier General Thomas Hemingway, who is a legal advisor to the military commissions, says an investigation has found the comments are based on miscommunication, misunderstanding and personality conflicts.

He says changes have been made in the prosecutors' office.

"I think what we did is work on some restructuring in the office, there was some changes in the way cases were processed, but we found no evidence of any criminal misconduct, we found no evidence of any ethical violations," he said.

Brig Gen Hemingway says he does not know if the Australian Government has been informed of the claims.

"I can't tell you whether they were informed formally, I have so many contacts with representatives of your embassy here in town, the exchange of information has certainly been constant, open and significant but whether or not we got down into the details of this, I really have no recollection," he said.

"We certainly would have shared it with them if we found that there was any evidence of misconduct in the office of the prosecution, but we did not find any such evidence."

'Sufficient evidence'

Brig Gen Hemingway denies that the cases being prosecuted are low-level.

"All of the cases I have recommended that the appointing authority refer to trial, are cases upon which I thought there was sufficient evidence to warrant sending to a fact-finder," he said.

"In each of the four cases which have been referred, the appointing authority John Alterburgh made an independent determination that the evidence was sufficient to warrant trial."

He also denies that the commission panels are being hand-picked to insure detainees are not acquitted.

"I can tell you that any such assertion is clearly incorrect," he said.

"There is absolutely no evidence that it is rigged."
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in the silence