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The Magpie

Saturday, December 17th, 2016   |   160 comments

Whistleblower Gives More Details On Toxic Waste Stored Near RAAF Townsville Kindergarten

This has the potential to turn into a very nasty episode if authorities try for the arse covering option. The ‘Pie reports.

In other matters, the pressure mounts on Sam Cox to run against Coralee O’Rourke, despite being dumped by the LNP … he’s thinking about it …

‘All efforts to give support local business tenders?’ – That’s just so much hot air from the mayor and her council, who award a public cleaning contract interstate … to a company that has no presence at all in Townsville ….

… and mystery choice … the looney (he really is) who is number four in the Cairns most influential list.

But first we head overseas …

The Comedy Coup Of The Whole Trump Tragedy

As the Trump train rolls on, and the bizarre cabinet selection process takes shape, this is not so much like looking at a slow motion train wreck, at the moment it’s more like watching the rails being carefully dug up for the disaster to happen down the track. But even now, apologists and optimists so desperate for political change, are still shakily saying it will be OK and be a breath of fresh air. Bentley sure ain’t one of them.

MD & T Rex

The whole Trump saga has been driver behind the spectacular rise of the ‘fake news’ phenomenon, which has highlighted two pathetic and dangerous matters … the gullibility of otherwise reasonably stable people, and the rapacious disregard such news receives from supposedly ‘proper’ journalists. The ‘Pie has been on guard as best he can against being hoodwinked, but now a new complication has arisen. Satirical sites now have to be looked at a second time, to check if their outrageous claims aren’t a joke after all.

A case in point is this hilarious (ultimately) piece by Andy Borowitz, who it turns out writes for the venerable New Yorker. But such is the temper of the times that the magazine itself had to publicly state that Mr Borowitz is a comedian and satirist, and re-labeled his column Not The News. Even The ‘Pie had to re-read this to be sure.

Putin Agrees To Receive Intelligence Briefings In Trump’s Place

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—In what Donald Trump’s transition-team members are calling a further example of international coöperation, Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to receive daily U.S. intelligence briefings in the place of the President-elect.

Trump, who had earlier decided that he did not need the briefings and had assigned Vice-President-elect Mike Pence to receive them, said on Tuesday that Putin was a “much better choice.”

“No offense to Mike, but Vladimir Putin is just a terrific, terrific guy to do this,” he said. “He knows all the players.”

Trump said that, while he was “totally uninterested” in receiving the briefings

Putin appeared to be “extremely interested.”

“He’s just terrific,” he said.

Trump also touted his deal-making prowess in securing the Russian President’s services. “The American people are getting an amazing deal here,” he said. “Putin is doing this totally for free.”

If laughing at the ludicrous US situation helps ease your pain, keep an eye on Mr Borowitz … here’s a sample of other column headlines:

‘Trump Picks El Chapo*** To Run Drug Enfocement Administration’

***El Chapo is a jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman who once put $100 million bounty on Trump’s head. Borowitz quotes Trump forgiving that for Guzman’s ‘tremendous success in the private sector.’ However, Borowitz adds, ‘;The appointment of the former drug kingpin is far from a done deal, however, as associates of El Chapo report that he is “concerned” that being a member of the Trump Administration would be bad for his brand.’

Other ‘Pie favs are

Trump To Split Time Between Trump Tower And Kremlin

Obama Signs Executive Order Requiring President Of United States To Be Taxpayer

Poll: Americans Favor Keeping Air Force One And Cancelling Trump

As a jokester, The Magpie feels quite inadequate.

The Demise Of The Bulletin? – Seemed Like It For A Moment But No … Well, Not Yet Anyway

The Magpie heart leapt a little during the week when he thought he’d been told that the Townsville Bulletin was packing up and going to Tasmania. A commenter said that the outfit known as Total Fabrications was closing down and moving to the Apple Isle.

Turns out the company that is lamentably closing is Total Fabrication Services, the metal specialists owned by former council candidate on the Arlett team, Marcel Mcleod. The business downturn has been so dire that it appears Mr Mcleod saw closure and relocation as the only responsible business move. The ‘Pie hasn’t been able to check but hey, on the day the news came in, the Astonisher featured our Walker Street Disneyland character Goofy in this ‘it’s all OK’ piece of flummery.

Screen shot 2016-12-16 at 11.13.55 AM

Really? Does the Townsville Bulletin qualify as a ‘fake news’ site? Sorry, silly question.

And To Make It Even Sillier

There’s been a lot of political cant out of the mayor’s office about buying and supporting local outfits to boost jobs. But last Tuesday, the Townsville City Council by-passed local applicants and selected an Adelaide firm, Envirosweep, to clean of public spaces in the ‘Ville.   Envirosweep doesn’t even have a shop front in Townsville. And come to think of it, they come from Adele The Impaler’s home town, maybe she knows … hmmm, I wonder ,…. nah, they wouldn’t be so transparently crass.  Would they? But why are we surprised, when we have a mayor who buys her ratepayer-funded mayoral car in Brisbane because the local dealer once refused her request for an illegal insurance claim after a minor prang.

The Rewards Of Loyalty

That little bit of hypocrisy by Mayor Mullet during the week coincided with a much deserved honor for a former councillor, who would never have voted the Envirosweep. And he would never have repudiated his party affiliations to further his own personal objectives.

jim and desma Gleeson

Jim ‘Jumbo’ Gleeson and his wife Desma have been made life members of the ALP. Between them they can boast 95 years unbroken membership of the party. Jim was an uncompromising union figure in the rough and tumble of western Queensland life until he came to Townsville to live. Always a man who has called a spade a ‘ bloody capitalist running dog lackey of the imperialists shovel’, he continues to be a thorn in some sides, particularly the Cowboys Leagues Club Board, the popular members choice in a management group peopled by the be-suited Gilded Few.

Jim says his proudest moment was carrying the Eureka flag in the Barcaldine march to commemorate centenary of the ALP in 1991.

The ‘Pie, although he doesn’t always agree with Jim’s politics and didn’t when he was on the council, is always pleased to salute the almost forgotten virtue of loyalty. Well done, mate (and especially so for a bloke named Gleeson, if you get my drift).

Loss Of Gloss For Jim’s Old Boss His Radiance

From comments during the week.

The Magpie

December 15, 2016 at 11:16 am  (Edit)

The man who donated $5000 to Tony Mooney’s federal campaign in Herbert has been jailed for five years for corruption.

eddie obeid

Former Labor NSW MP Eddie Obeid was sentenced this morning to five years jail (3 years non-parole) for corruption involving lucrative and illegal deals on retail leases at Sydney’s Circular Quay involving family and friends. He and his son Moses face a further committal hearing involving corrupt behaviour regarding a mining lease in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee (NSW) which netted the family $30 million.

Obeid donated $5000 to Tony Mooney’s unsuccessful Herbert campaign, when he suffered a surprise defeat by Ewen Jones.

Cairns Mayor Has His Two Bob’s Worth – Disses The ‘Ville

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning

Cairns mayor Bob Manning has told the Astonisher’s sister paper the Cairns Mild Startler that while his tropical fiefdom faces a few social and jobs problems, it could be worse. Quote: ‘But you’ve only got to look south to Townsville – where the council is broke and shedding staff by the dozen and water security is a real and urgent threat – to see where Cairns is doing well.’

Manning was speaking in an interview featured in the northern city’s cloned News Ltd flapdoodle of ‘The 50 Most Influential’. Manning was deservedly Number one, but it would appear there must be a wacky weed addiction in the news room when we see at number 4 … yes 4!! … this bloke.

Michael Formenko

An unfathomable choice by any measure … Michael Fomenko is an 85 year old fruitloop, the subject of electro shock therapy, who lives in a Gympie nursing home. Fomenko LEFT Cairns in an unsuccessful attempt to walk to Sydney in 2012. The paper doesn’t actually explain how the man they nicknamed Tarzan has or had any influence on the town (except one supposes that he left it), which leads one to believe that the writer could do with a little cranial electro excitement themselves.

Will He Or Wont He?

sam cox

Scores of folk around town are waiting to see if spurned LNP candidate for Mundingburra Sam Cox will have a gallop next year as an independent. He is continually being urged to give it a go. Cox was sacked from the selection process because he spoke out during the last election in favour of Townsville, calling on the feds for a fairer deal in the funding row over the CBD stadium. The LNP, showing that Labor doesn’t hold an exclusive on self-destructive political hate, told Cox he ‘would never be preselected again’, for criticizing his own party affiliates in Canberra. That, despite being a previously successful member and someone who would walk all over the hapless gravy train rider Coralee O’Rort. Sam told The ‘Pie that he has been asked by dozens of people to have a go, but he is reluctant to commit at the moment. But he did say that he would be considering his options and discuss them with his family over the holiday break. The ‘Pie is keeping his claws crossed.

matthew Derlagen (2nd from left).Young LNP members Rohan Watt, Matthew Derlagen, Jack Piggot and Drew Alexionjpg

Matthew Derlagen (2nd from left)

Another person with fingers crossed will be this bloke, one Matt Derlagen. The 26-year-old staffer in Senator Ian Macdonald’s Townsville office is the LNP choice to take on O’Rort, but if Sam is in the race, perhaps some hard early life lessons will come Mr Derlagen’s way.

Seems he could do with a few, being seen as a product of the political patronage system that people are so fed up with. He has a law degree, is studying for his Master of Business Administration and Masters of Conflict Management and Resolution. But gosh, he’s been out there in the thick of it – he tells us done some mango picking in his time! So one guesses it is churlish to suggest he’s not well rounded enough to carry community concerns to Brisbane and beat them over the head with it.


More On The RAAF Toxic Waste Materials At RAAF Townsville

The whistleblower (yet to agree to go public with his identity) who reported about massive holding tanks for toxic waste which he says are – or were – buried close to the kindergarten on the base, has been following public pronouncements on the matter closely.

He has updated The ‘Pie with the following, and may well take it further if the authorities don’t take appropriate action.

Yes I have firsthand knowledge, the scenario is mainly contained in my original “heads up” to The Nest. The team which conducted a review of the issue earlier this year is a confidant who was a senior member of the feasibly study team.

Originally, as Project Manager I was responsible for a range of tasks to allocate to various specialists in my team, it was they who called me to come from Lavarack to RAAF Garbutt. Their assigned task was to open these sumps, drain them of any fluid and then apply an epoxy resin to the whole interior of each sump.

When I arrived they has opened the cover on one tank and then immediately sealed off vapors with a plastic cover: which was a transparent dome shaped frame. The tank was over 2/3 full, not as we were told, “just a residue” which implied it would be just a few buckets of material. I instructed them to re-secure and seal the seal the original cover, then I wrote a detailed EVO report to Mike Hoare (Project Leader) and CC’d the same to Lindsay Nofz (Project Director) expressing not only my concerns that the RAAF had no idea how much fluid was in these tanks, but it’s proximity to the Kindy was of paramount concern. The sequence of events after that was covered in my first “heads up” to you, re the arrival of top brass from Defence and ASIO.

In summation yep I saw it with my own eyes, smelled it with my own nose; which made my eyes burn like hell. I also read the technical report of the chemical analysis. I recall that several of the substances abbreviations began with PO and maybe POS, not too sure. I am an Electrical and Mechanical engineering Project Manager so I am not qualified to comment on the chemical compounds composition. BUT the notations in the margin by the chemists was to say the least, bloody scary.

The ‘Pie’s informant wrote a further email.

A feasibility study was conducted about early this year at  RAAF Garbutt, confirming the presence of the toxic waste I initially told you about, and how to remove same. It was decided that it would be impossible to pump out this volume of toxic waste in the sumps behind the Kindy without it becoming a highly visible exercise and the release of stinking and irritating gases.

Of course if that happened then there would (should) have been an outrage that the RAAF were aware of the concealment for a considerable period. Which is why they were prepared to put their hand up for a possible area of contamination but at the “waste” land at the top of the site where there is a simulated crashed plane which is/was used for practice.

I believe this toxic holding tank is still there, well it was last time I flew in last year. So they could say, well some may have entered the groundwater at that innocuous location far from human habitat but some “possible” seepage into the wetlands.

I reiterate my source was there as a member of the feasibility study crew, he has since left the service but it does concern him if there is a leak or even worse a breakdown of the seals or serious rusting of the ground level steel covers during heavy rain which would allow the whole toxic mess to just float out, not to mention the very dangerous vapours.

My contract expired around the time of the original incident and I had no interest in renewing mainly because I was offered a contract position in overseas. Serco lost the contract to a bid by Spotless 2 years later and to the best of my knowledge they still have it, I have no idea if they were advised of this risk at handover. If that is the case they will never know unless Defence instruct them to carry out the remedial work originally assigned to Serco.’

The Magpie awaits the outcome, but let’s hope that isn’t long … this could become far more serious the longer it remains a threat.

And We End With A Couple From The Hypocrisy File

Pommy Foreign Minister Boris Johnstone got roundly ear cuffed for saying that the Saudi were financing ‘proxy wars’ throughout their region. That was too breathtaking for the Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell.

Boris proxy war

And in the US, Daddy may be about to sink his daughter’s lucrative business deal.

Ivanka Trump

Oh well, she can have a word with Daddy and always have them made in Taiwan.


This is the last blog for 2016. Comments will continue if you want to post, but The ‘Pie will devote time to his much missed family over the break, and will return January 7. A very Merry Christmas and a great New Year to you all, your support, humour, in sights, tips and donations throughout the past year have kept the spirits high in what has been a difficult personal year (oh, blub blub, get on with it!!!)


Malcolm Magpie

The Magpie's Nest is now more than five years old, and remains an independent alternative voice for Townsville. The weekly warble is a labour of love and takes a lot of time to put together. So if you like your weekly load of old cobblers, you can help keep it aloft with a donation, or even a regular voluntary subscription. Paypal is at the ready, it's as easy as ... well, easy as pie. Limited advertising space is also available.

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