Saturday, November 15, 2014

NAB moves to settle class action over $40m in disputed bank fees

NATIONAL Australia Bank has signalled its intention to settle a class action with thousands of customers for late charges on credit cards, breaking ranks with competitors who are still in court defending charging controversial fees. 
 
While the payout to NAB customers have been estimated as high as $40 million, any amount to be distributed by the bank is a long way from being decided and will be dependent on the number of customers who join the case as well as the outcome of an appeal in the Federal Court by ANZ.

NAB announced it had lodged an application with the Federal Court that could end the class action being brought against the bank by up to 30,000 customers.

As part of the class action, plaintiff law firm Maurice Blackburn alleges the banks have unfairly charged their customers excessive late fees for overdue credit-card payments, following a successful case in the Federal Court this year against ANZ.

In February, the Federal Court ruled that ANZ’s late credit card fees were “penalties” and not “fees” and constituted a breach of contract.

However, Justice Michelle Gordon ruled that other fees, including over-limit and non-payment fees were valid, with ANZ and Maurice Blackburn now both awaiting the outcome of an appeal of the case in the Federal Court of Appeal.

The legal action also includes another case against ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Citi and BankSA for alleged unfair bank fees. The number of customers affected by the suit against the group of banks could be more than 100,000 with payouts estimated at $243m at the time it was filed.

Following reports that managing director Andrew Thorburn had written a letter advising the NAB’s Council on Corporate Responsibility to resolve the dispute, Mr Thorburn said yesterday that “this is a first but significant step towards reaching a potential settlement”.

“NAB is doing this because we believe this is the right thing to do for our customers and our business.”
The application to resolve the case through settlement has been brought with the approval of plaintiff law firm Maurice Blackburn.

“We have been working for some time with NAB to resolve the bank fees issue for its customers, but these negotiations are ongoing and we won’t be elaborating on the settlement process at this stage,” Maurice Blackburn said in a statement.

“We would encourage all banks involved to follow NAB’s example to negotiate in good faith, to resolve a fair outcome for all banking customers that have unfairly been charged these fees.”

A spokesman for ANZ did not comment on whether NAB’s action would affect their approach to any settlement, with a spokesman for CBA also refusing to comment.

The case is being brought as an open class “opt in” action, meaning up to 30,000 customers could apply to join the case. It will return to the Federal Court on November 18, leaving time for more potential litigants to join the case.

Despite reports NAB is hoping to settle for up to $40m, The Australian understands that current figures are highly speculative, and any settlement may still be dependent upon the final outcome in the Federal Court of Appeal decision on the ANZ case.

theaustralian.com.au 13 Nov 2014

Another (bank) business involved in fraud where only a class action will suffice.

See High Court Australia case Andrews v ANZ Bank [2012] at:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B21_coIgIYu2ZnllcXRrWmJzM1U/edit?usp=sharing

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

James Cook's secret instructions

See document below apparently contains the secret instructions for Captain James Cook on his way to search for Terra Australis Incognita from page 3.

The document (14pp at 872KB) is available :


Source: http://static.booktopia.com.au/pdf/9781741965421-1.pdf

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The British-American coup that ended Australian independence

In 1975 prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died this week, dared to try to assert his country’s autonomy. The CIA and MI6 made sure he paid the price

Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke in 1972
Prime minister Gough Whitlam watches ACTU president Bob Hawke drink beer from a yard glass Melbourne, Australia, 1972. Photograph: News Ltd/Newspix/REX
Across the media and political establishment in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth.

Latin Americans will recognise the audacity and danger of this “breaking free” in a country whose establishment was welded to great, external power. Australians had served every British imperial adventure since the Boxer rebellion was crushed in China. In the 1960s, Australia pleaded to join the US in its invasion of Vietnam, then provided “black teams” to be run by the CIA. US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years.

Whitlam knew the risk he was taking. The day after his election, he ordered that his staff should not be “vetted or harassed” by the Australian security organisation, Asio – then, as now, tied to Anglo-American intelligence. When his ministers publicly condemned the US bombing of Vietnam as “corrupt and barbaric”, a CIA station officer in Saigon said: “We were told the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators.”

Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.

Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House … a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”
Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were decoded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the decoders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the governor-general of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”.

Kerr was not only the Queen’s man, he had longstanding ties to Anglo-American intelligence. He was an enthusiastic member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, described by Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal in his book, The Crimes of Patriots, as “an elite, invitation-only group … exposed in Congress as being founded, funded and generally run by the CIA”. The CIA “paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige … Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money”.

When Whitlam was re-elected for a second term, in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, sinister figure who worked in the shadows of America’s “deep state”. Known as “the coupmaster”, he had played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia – which cost up to a million lives. One of his first speeches in Australia, to the Australian Institute of Directors, was described by an alarmed member of the audience as “an incitement to the country’s business leaders to rise against the government”.

The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 was operating against his government. “The Brits were actually decoding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”

On 10 November 1975, Whitlam was shown a top-secret telex message sourced to Theodore Shackley, the notorious head of the CIA’s East Asia division, who had helped run the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile two years earlier.

Shackley’s message was read to Whitlam. It said that the prime minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country. The day before, Kerr had visited the headquarters of the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia’s NSA, where he was briefed on the “security crisis”.

On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.

•John Pilger’s investigation into the coup against Whitlam is described in full in his book, A Secret Country (Vintage), and in his documentary film, Other People’s Wars, which can be viewed on http://www.johnpilger.com/

theguardian.com

Gough Whitlam - THE CRIMINAL PRIME MINISTER.

The Australian corporate media (government lap dog) fails to mentions certain truths.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Arnold Abbot, 90, arrested for feeding homeless in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Heavy-handed ... Mr Abbot is arrested by police. Picture: KHON2
Heavy-handed ... Mr Abbot is arrested by police. Picture: KHON2 Source: Supplied
 
A NINETY-year-old Good Samaritan could go to prison after he was arrested by police in Florida for serving a meal he had prepared to the homeless. 

Arnold Abbot was distributing food to the needy in Fort Lauderdale when he was stopped by cops who said his actions were outlawed by a new local ordinance that bans the sharing of food in public places.

“One of the police officers came over and said ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I was carrying a weapon,” Mr Abbott told local TV network KHON2.

Apparently oblivious to the looming public relations disaster Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler had earlier promised to arrest anyone breaking the new ordinance.

Local hero ... Mr Abbot makes hundreds of meals every week for the homeless in Fort Laude
Local hero ... Mr Abbot makes hundreds of meals every week for the homeless in Fort Lauderdale’s Sanctuary Church. Picture: KHON2 Source: Supplied
 
“Just because of media attention we don’t stop enforcing the law,” said Mayor Seiler.

Mr Abbot makes hundreds of meals every week for the homeless in Fort Lauderdale’s Sanctuary Church.

“I fully believe that I am my brother’s keeper. Love they neighbour as thy self,” said the church volunteer.

He was arrested and charged along with two church ministers. KHON2 said the three face up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $US500.

Mr Abbot was not put off by the arrest and promised to be back on the streets with food the following day.

news.com.au 6 Nov 2014

A sign that there is something truly wrong with the law / authorities?

A country where criminal bankers get away with fraud to the tune of billions, and a Good Samaritan is imprisoned.

The police state awaits you, good people.

Go back to your zombie reality television shows, as there is nothing to see here.

Apparently the 'law' bans sharing of food, so sell  / trade it .... for a leaf or twig.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Knife-wielding man killed and hostage shot during police stand-off


A knife-wielding man has been shot dead and his hostage seriously injured after police opened fire during a stand-off in the Perth suburb of Carlisle on Saturday.

Witness Donald McCaw told the ABC the man entered The Lunch Club delicatessen, on the corner of Oats and Harris streets, grabbed a knife from behind the counter and took the manager outside before threatening to kill her.

"While I was in there this chap came from the front, bolted into the shop, grabbed knives then grabbed the boss and took her outside ... and threatened her," he said.

"Then he took her outside and they were trying to quieten him down, trying to stop him doing anything, any harm."

Mr McCaw said the man threatened to cut his own throat before "starting on" the woman.

"He said 'I'll cut her throat', and everyone was around and they tried to talk him out of it, but he wouldn't [listen]," he said.

Mr McCaw said police then "virtually had to shoot him", firing six to eight shots.

"They were lucky to get shots in I think," he said.

Connor Bennett also witnessed the drama unfold.

"The guy was trying to ... trying to stab the girl," he said.

"Tried to stab her once, and tried to stab her twice, and the police fired shots.

"She fell on the ground, because she got shot as well. She was moving, she was screaming in pain."

He said police initially fired three shots, then another four. Police said the man died at the scene.

Police Commissioner O'Callaghan could not say how many times the man was shot but he did confirm the 37-year-old woman was also shot and was being treated in hospital for gunshot and stab wounds.

A hospital spokeswoman said she was in a "serious but stable" condition.

 

Commissioner O'Callaghan said police tried to negotiate with the man without using force but were unable to subdue him.

"Attempts to negotiate with the 38-year-old man failed and it will be alleged a number of officers fired their weapons," he said.

"The man received a number of gunshot wounds and was declared deceased at the scene."

Commissioner O'Callaghan said the woman did not know the man.

The Major Crime Squad is investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting, while Internal Affairs is inquiring into the conduct of the police officers.

Commissioner O'Callaghan said the officers had to make a very difficult decision.

"The officers there were under a lot of pressure, obviously it's a complex situation, they have to make a decision in rapid circumstance and it seems they were certainly concerned about the welfare and the life of the woman concerned, and so they responded as they've been trained to do," he said.

"But we have to remember also the victim who was being held at knifepoint and her family, and also the person who is now dead and his particular family.

"I've been in the police force for 40 years and I've never been faced with having to make a decision like that, so it's extremely stressful.

"They have to make a decision in a split second, that decision will have far-reaching circumstances - it's now subject to an inquiry and a man has lost his life.

"They will be under a lot of pressure but they would've responded like they are trained to do in their training."

abc.net.au 8 Nov 2014

What the public seem to unaware of and the corporate media not telling the people, is that police orders are shoot to kill.

Interviews with police indicate that 7 rounds (as in this case) are not necessary to subdue a person.

The police now shoot at victims.

Now the coverup and falsifying of facts begins to exonerate the police as 'hero's'.

Australia the police state - even if you don't do anything wrong we will shoot you.