Beautifully written stories on politics, social movements, photography and books

Tag John Stapleton

Unfolding Catastrophe: The Links So Far


The Triumph of Death: Bruegel The Elder: The Best of 2020.

Death triumphs over the mundane. An army of skeletons raze the Earth. All life is extinguished. The background is a barren landscape in which scenes of destruction are still taking place. In the foreground, Death leads his armies from his… Continue Reading →

Lumbini: Buddha’s Birthplace: The Best of 2020.

Extract: Hideout in the Apocalypse “You must heal yourself, no one else can, no one else should,” reads one of the placards posted around Buddha’s birthplace, Lumbini in Nepal, where he had spent several months not so long before. Of… Continue Reading →

The Worst of the Worst: The Best of 2020.

Guantanamo Bay and A Bigger Picture The publicity blurb for the shortly to be released book A Bigger Picture by former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull makes the claim that he “stood up to Donald Trump”. Really??? But thereby hangs a tale…. Continue Reading →

Morrison Government Wreathed in Scandal: The Best of 2020.

Extract from Dark Dark Policing The sorry Covid-19 saga says a lot about Australia and the churn at the top of the pile, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison. None of it complimentary. We have seen in the past few days… Continue Reading →

Betrayal of the People: Australia’s Political Class Spirals into Chaos: The Best of 2020

Desperate to distract attention from his spectacular mismanagement of the Covid crisis, the destruction of the national economy and the devastation his idiotic policies have wrecked on the lives of millions of people, this week Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison… Continue Reading →

Alarming Expat Experiences in Thailand’s Prisons

Many books by foreigners about Thailand include romantic or dissolute tales of alcoholism or substance abuse in the enervating heat; accompanied by a colourful caste of local prostitutes, gangsters and police, with virtually all the characters on the take in… Continue Reading →

Thailand: The Varieties of Expatriate Experience

The Tartan Pimpernel Walter ‘Whacky’ Douglas looked like he was having a fine old time when he was arrested and deported from Thailand in 2014. Douglas, known as “The Tartan Pimpernel” and once described as one of Britain’s ten wealthiest… Continue Reading →

Paul Bowles and the Sheltering Sky

ONE BELONGS TO THE WHOLE WORLD, not just one part of it, Paul Bowles once told an interviewer. Gifted annually with a round-the-world free ticket courtesy of my father’s job as a Captain on Australia’s national carrier Qantas, for a… Continue Reading →

Betrayal of the People

Extract from Dark Dark Policing Everyone felt like a stranger now. The announcement came, the legendary Kidman properties, spanning three states and the Northern Territory, reportedly some 2.6 per cent of the nation’s land area, 101,000 square kilometres, was being sold… Continue Reading →

Lunch with Joseph Heller

It’s not every day you get to interview one of the world’s most famous authors, someone who created an expression which entered the English language. Catch 22. The Oxford dictionary defines a Catch 22 as: A dilemma or difficult circumstance… Continue Reading →

Phfen Shock: Yearning for the Chasm

Phfen Shock. The words kept repeating through his head, although he could find no definition, no logical reason. That was the sensation, he discovered, when you arrived at a new place expecting welcome, the village beyond the veil, only to… Continue Reading →

Thailand: The Varieties of Expatriate Experience

The Tartan Pimpernel Walter ‘Whacky’ Douglas looked like he was having a fine old time when he was arrested and deported from Thailand in 2014. Douglas, known as “The Tartan Pimpernel” and once described as one of Britain’s ten wealthiest… Continue Reading →

A Race Against Time

Reincarnation, Tim Johnson and Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri. The Vizzard Art Collection. Maintain radio silence. There is a Rat. While the rest of us have been waiting for this. Entropy in decaying forms made the mission, well this mission, urgent. From… Continue Reading →

The Least Expected Consequence of Hyper-Connectivity

It was the least expected consequence of hyper-connectivity. I need you to do something for me. No one could have predicted any of it. There had always been the rumours. They had always walked amongst us. Down the millennia, spilling… Continue Reading →

Vale Elisabeth Wynhausen

Elisabeth Wynhausen was a battle hardened campaigning social justice journalist of the old school of whom in the end, despite our sometimes spirited disagreements, I became enormously fond. In those final years, not long before I, too, departed that cesspit,… Continue Reading →

The Future has Arrived

Surveillance in Australia This week ten people were arrested in Melbourne for attending a protest against self-isolating, social distancing and tracking apps, the only real political protest in the country since climate demonstrations earlier in the year. The government perpetrated… Continue Reading →

Who’s Watching the Watchers? Surveillance in Australia

By John Stapleton With Australia’s economy tilting into collapse and numerous questions now arising over the government’s management of the Covid-19 response, the question of surveillance of whistle blowers, journalists and dissidents is now front and centre of the debate…. Continue Reading →

Sea Anemones: The Moral of This Story

By John Stapleton The signs were flashing. Like a sea anemone, they spread their tentacles far and wide. And withdrew in an instant. The first sign of danger. For there was always danger He had moved up an echelon. There were… Continue Reading →

Thailand: World’s Centre for Fake Passports

Visitors to Thailand are not warned by travel agents, airlines or their own governments that their passports are highly prized in Thailand, and stand a very good chance of being stolen. Depending on the nationality, a passport can fetch thousands… Continue Reading →

My First Ever Front Page Story

Hunting the Famous Everything came in torrents from the past; always disturbed, always flung to the four winds, good times non-existent. The world had become a flat, monochromatic place, leaden grey, terrifying. There was no coherent, single personality. The grey was… Continue Reading →

World Experts Warn: Stop the Lockdowns

Panicked and irresponsible responses to Covid-19 are destroying the very societies they purport to protect, some of the world’s leading experts claim. The scientific community is increasingly coming out to condemn the societal wide shutdowns ordered by numerous, increasingly authoritarian… Continue Reading →

How Australia Got Covid-19 Completely and Totally Wrong

Experts Warn Against Authoritarian Madness None of it makes any sense. The streets are spookily quiet. The economy has been killed stone dead. People are being fined for going about their normal lives, even for being outside their homes without… Continue Reading →

The Square and the Tower: How Did It Get This Bad?

The lockdown of Australia continues apace. A man has been fined $1600 for driving to a park near his house with the intention of going for a bike ride. Breaching no distancing rules, he apparently had no good excuse for… Continue Reading →

Crushing Information Flows: Manufacturing Ignorance

A dishonest government is a paranoid government, and the excessive legislation and manipulation of Australian media is already backfiring on the operatives behind it. The deliberately engineered bland-out of Australian media creates an illusion of consensus; as exemplified by the latest… Continue Reading →

How To Destroy A Nation

The Failure of Australian Governance All politics is local. An adage Australia’s inept government forgot long ago. It is what is happening in people’s lounge rooms that matters the most. Now almost everyone is hunkered down in their own lounge… Continue Reading →

Welcomed Everywhere: Until He Wasn’t

Malcolm Turnbull: A Bigger Picture This is an extract from the upcoming book Dark Dark Policing, by veteran Australian journalist John Stapleton. The book will be published next month. They weren’t so wrong, those who had painted the world as… Continue Reading →

Mosul: The Great City

Malcolm Turnbull and Australia’s Bombs FROM Malcolm Turnbull’s first day as Prime Minister in 2015 the bombings on Iraq increased. That is, not to put too fine a point on things, he was responsible for killing more Muslims than any… Continue Reading →

The Intoxicating Fall of Malcolm Turnbull

A Shakespearean tragedy played out in the Antipodes EVERY DOG has its day. And the most disappointing Prime Minister in Australian history certainly had his. The intoxicating fall of Malcolm Turnbull was a transfixing, delightful spectacle; a Shakespearean tragedy played… Continue Reading →

And Then There Were The Spooks: Dark Dark Policing

THE CAR ROSE SLOWLY from the fetid plains. For days, in tormented dreams, he had been a soldier going around a battlefield killing the wounded, firing shot after shot after shot. Most of the victims were already dead and his… Continue Reading →

Australia now a Surveillance State with Journalists as POIs under ASIO Act

Will future historians see the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison era as the period of governance when totalitarian instincts were unleashed? The targeting of journalists is just the beginning of a much greater disaster, writes journalist and author, John Stapleton. Australia’s #RighttoKnow movement barely touches… Continue Reading →

The Glories of Caitlin Johnstone: The Internet Transforms Journalism

Talent works hard. Genius is compelled. Caitlin Johnstone is compelled. There are more than ten million blog posts published every single day. According to Hosting Tribunal there are 70 million new blog posts each month on WordPress alone. How can… Continue Reading →

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