AUSTRALIANS AT WAR

AUSTRALIANS AT WAR
THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY is a compelling factual history of neoconservatism and its influence on US Foreign Policy in the Middle East during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Click on image above for details.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

AUSTRALIA AND TERRORISM: HOWARD AND DOWNER’S WORLD VIEW MAKES BOTH ‘US’ AND ‘THEM’ TARGETS.

The 9 September 2004 bombing outside of the Australian embassy in Jakarta was the first direct attack against Australia since the so-called ‘War Against Terror’ began. However, of the nine dead and 161 injured only one Australian became a victim, a five year old girl who was injured. At least one Australian commentator has suggested that the bombing was a failure because no Australian was killed and, as a result, the perpetrators are likely to try again.[1] How is it, then, that Howard can say that Australia is a safer place because of our active involvement with the US in invading Afghanistan and Iraq? He had told Australians that it was in “…Australia's security interest to have a close defence alliance with the United States and that defence alliance makes Australia safer, it doesn't make Australia more vulnerable and more dangerous.”[2] The Australian embassy bombing has made a lie of Howard’s assertion; indeed, it seems that the bombing occurred precisely because of our defence alliance with the United States which, in turn, has resulted in Australian forces being in Iraq.[3]
While Australia continues to support the so-called ‘War Against Terrorism’ in the active and aggressive way that it does, it will continue to be a target of Islamic militants. If Australia, as part of the coalition of the willing, attacks and invades Islamic nations it must expect retaliation. Just as Australia, which was not attacked on 11 September 2001, nevertheless decided to join forces as part of the coalition of the willing with the US by invoking the ANZUS treaty, [4] whereby an attack on any of the signatories is regarded as an attack on all of the signatories,[5] so Muslims have allied themselves trans-globally in a pan-Islamic alliance to fight and resist Western aggression. The cycle of hatred and violence escalates on a world wide basis because of the intransigence of both sides. Howard and Downer seem to forget that the so-called ‘War Against Terrorism’ that they have adjoined is not a regional one. If they wish to commit Australia to be part of the bombing and killing of Islamic peoples on the other side of the world than they must accept that this war is global and any actions by Islamic militants against Australia or Australians is part of a global war, not a regional war. They must, therefore, take responsibility for the wrath that Islamic militants vent upon Australia and Australians even when it happens in this region.
What Australia can do to contribute towards a transition from antagonistic regional mayhem toward a peaceful settlement of differences is do as Brian Deegan has suggested[6] and that is discuss with the Islamic militants how that part of the war in our region can be stopped before it escalates into even more death and destruction on both ‘sides’. If this does not happen then the so-called ‘War Against Terrorism’ will, as Howard says, be a very long one. Unfortunately, Howard and Downer’s world view would not allow them to even consider this approach. Their view is simplistic; they are right and the Islamic militants all over the world are wrong. There is, from their point of view, no room for compromise. As a result, the war continues. While this mentality prevails the risk of further deaths of both ‘them’ and ‘us’ will not only continue but increase as both ‘sides’ become more and more frustrated and polarised to a point where any negotiation would become impossible.
The only way to be rid of terrorism, and remember, terrorism works two-ways, is for all the parties, the extreme right of the West and the extreme right of Islam, to get together and discuss how their differences can be resolved without resorting to violence. Meanwhile, if the armies of rightwing governments of the West continue to bomb and kill innocent Muslims in an effort to defeat the militants of Islam so the militants of Islam will continue to bomb and kill innocent civilians of the West as they attack the icons of right wing governments of the West.

ENDNOTES
[1] Rohan Gunaratana, “Expect more JI attacks, overseas or at home”, The Australian, 10 September 2004. Available online:
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,10721504%5E7583,00.html Accessed 10 September 2004.
[2] John Howard, Transcript of door stop interview, Darwin, 5 August 2003. Available online: http://www.pm.gov.au/news/interviews/Interview406.html Accessed 10 September 2004.
[3] “JI claims embassy bombing”, The Australian, 10 September 2004. Available online: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,10723167%5E1702,00.html Accessed 10 September 2004.
[4] “Howard's obsequiousness to America exceeds even Holt's”, The Age, 22 July 2004. Available online: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/07/21/1090089215623.html Accessed 10 September 2004.
[5] Roger Holdich, Vivianne Johnson, Pamela Andre, (eds.), Documents on Australian Foreign Policy: The ANZUS Treaty, 1951. (Canberra: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2001. p. 243. Articles IV and V.
[6] “Negotiate with terrorists: victim’s father”, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 September 2004. Available online: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/09/10/1094530810907.html Accessed 10 September 2004.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

MORE OF DOWNER’S POLITICAL INEPTITUDE

The member for Mayo, Alexander Downer, has really gone over the top with his fear mongering this time. In the past it has been weapons of mass destruction that Howard and Downer told us Saddam was ready to deploy against us at any moment. Then there were the mobile chemical weapons factories found shortly after the invasion stage of the war against Iraq that Downer insisted was proof that Saddam had WMDs. They turned out to be nothing more sinister than hydrogen gas generators to fill artillery ranging balloons.(1) Now Downer is trying the same fear tactics by telling us that North Korea has the ability of launching a missile capable of hitting Sydney presumably with a nuclear warhead. Why on earth would North Korea want to do that? Apart from anything else, Sydney is around 10000 kilometres away from North Korea. North Korea’s best missile is believed to have a range of no more than 4000 kilometres.(2)
Is this the way a Foreign Minister attempts to pacify and calm an angry nation state by accusing it of something it isn’t even capable of doing even if it was angry enough to want to? Are these really the statesman-like things our top diplomat should say about a nation just prior to visiting that nation to negotiate a peaceful resolution to a serious regional dilemma? Fomenting fear and hatred of another nation that is not a threat to us is not a satisfactory way of moving toward a more peaceful world.
And then, between frightening Sydneysiders and actually visiting North Korea, Downer, while visiting China, tells the Chinese leadership that ANZUS would not necessarily be invoked if there were to be trouble between the US and China over Taiwan. Downer tried to back down from all of these gaffes but in the end simply left himself exposed for what he really is – an inept buffoon trying to play politics by bouncing off two of the world’s most powerful nations.
If the consequences of much of his ineptitude were not serious then his buffoonery would be laughable. Unfortunately, as our Foreign Minister, his decisions can often have disastrous consequences, some of which can cost people their lives. One could only imagine how many Australians would have to die in a hostage situation similar to the one endured by the Philippines recently if Downer is left to play politics with their lives. One can only speculate how many lives could have been saved had Downer told Australians of the dangers he had been warned of. Knowing the danger and failing to warn, other than the usual type of ‘take care’ but otherwise ‘business as usual’ (3) advice that was given, is criminal neglect at best, and, at worst, aiding and abetting murder if the neglect was deliberate in order to procure a political advantage from such a tragedy.


ENDNOTES

1. Douglas Jehl and Elisabeth Bumiller, “No Weapons in Iraq Trailers”, The Age, 10 August 2003. (Available online): http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/08/09/1060360546335.html Accessed 26 August 2004.
2. Joseph S. Bermudez, “North Korea Deploys New Missile”, Janes Defence Weekly, 2 August 2004. (Available online): http://www.janes.com/defence/news/jdw040802_1_n.shtml Accessed 26 August 2004.
3. “Downer Pressure on ABC”, The Age, 2 July 2004. (Available online):
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/07/01/1088488099861.html Accessed 26 August 2004.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

ROYAL COMMISSIONS NEEDED INTO THE TRUTH OF HOWARD’S WAR AND THE TRAGEDY OF THE BALI BOMBINGS.

In the event of a Labor victory at the next election Latham must initiate two Royal Commissions, both with full and unrestrained powers to subpoena any person the Commissioners wish. The Commissions should have no restrictions to its range and extent of enquiry and must be insensitive to political unease from all sides of politics in its search for the truth.
In recent days 43 high profile Australians of influence and from both sides of politics have voiced their concern over the honesty of the Howard government and, in particular, Howard’s casus belli for taking Australia to war with Iraq. Predictably, Howard has arrogantly dismissed these concerns stating that he respected “…the fact that many Australians opposed the decision to join the operation” and that “…these 43 people are clearly amongst them.” If Howard replaced the word “many” with “most” he’d then be nearer the truth. Before the war got under way, opinion polls, both formal and informal, indicated that the majority of Australians were opposed to our involvement in the upcoming war against Iraq particularly if it lacked UN backing. Yet Howard persisted with his lies and deception and, ignoring the will of the Australian people, took us to war anyway. He refused to debate the decision to go to war in Parliament saying that no decision had yet been made. This too was a lie. Mr Howard goes on in his statement regarding the “Criticisms by former office-holders” to insult the 43 ‘critics’ by inferring that, because almost all of them left office prior to 11 September 2001, they are not qualified to comment on or criticise the government’s handling of the issues. He holds these 43 ‘critics’ with the same level of contempt as he does the rest of Australia’s citizens and their opinions.
Howard also says in this same statement regarding his ‘critics’ that they “…should remember that at the time of the Iraqi operation early last year there was a near unanimous view around the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.” This is yet another lie. On 24 February 2001, just six months before 9/11, US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, together with Amre Moussa, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, told the world at a press gathering that: “He [Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.” http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2001/933.htm
The farce of Howard’s lies has gone on for long enough. As soon as Howard is out of office he and his leading ministers, Alexander Downer and Robert Hill, should face the full strength of the law if, after a full Royal Commission, they are found to have been deliberately lying to the Australian people and its Parliament.
The second Royal Commission should, with the same broad ranging terms of reference and powers, be convened to fully investigate the warnings given to Foreign Minister Downer prior to the Bali bombings. If such a commission finds that Downer was deliberately failing in his duty to warn Australian travellers of the imminent dangers and, worse, deliberately failed to do so in order to garner a political advantage via a turning of public opinion in favour of a war against terrorism generally and a war against Iraq specifically, then he and Howard should both face the Australian criminal courts to answer such charges.
Only full unrestricted Royal Commissions will be able to uncover the truth regarding these matters. No tightly controlled inquiry or report commissioned by an incumbent government is ever going to find the full truth. The Australian people have had enough of Howard’s lies and, moreover, now demand the truth about why and how we find ourselves as one of the most disliked nations among our neighbours and those that were our friends in Europe.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

MORE WARMONGERING IF HOWARD WINS?

Australians cannot allow Howard another term in office – especially if his soul mate George W. Bush somehow gains a second term.
The neoconservatives that have spent so much time and effort getting to their present positions of power and influence are hardly likely to let their President lose since they have not yet fully achieved what they set out to do. John Kerry will not pull the plug on Iraq but he will be greatly watering down, if not calling a halt to, the neoconservative’s aspirations of complete Middle East hegemony. And, apart from anything else, a Kerry win would mean the end of power for the neoconservatives. They would have to leave their high offices to return to their dream tank organisations, pondering what could have been, knowing that their one chance had been blown and that they were unlikely to get another opportunity for years to come – if ever.
Personally, I do not believe that the neoncons will allow that to happen. They have proven themselves to be utterly ruthless in their quest to subdue the Arab World that surrounds Israel and it is not part of the neocon creed to allow “inconsistent leadership” to happen. Go to the PNAC website and check out paragraph four of their Statement of Principles to see what I mean. (http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm) If, come next January, the world finds itself watching the inauguration of George W. Bush for a second term in office then the Middle East can look forward to another four years of turmoil as Bush pushes for ‘regime change’ in Iran, Syria and, in all probability, Saudi Arabia. And that’s assuming that, while all this is going on, there has not been some major confrontation between China and Taiwan or testing of a nuclear device in North Korea.
And, if Howard somehow wins the next election, where will all this leave Australia? Howard will take such a win as a mandate for continuing active support of Bush and his policies no matter how outrageous they become. Australia will become even more despised than it already is by the governments and people of South East Asia and the peoples, if not the governments, of Europe. We must remember that it is not governments that are likely to attack us in this so-called war against terror; it is the people – people who have taken to religious fundamentalism in the world of Islam out of frustration for what they see are the ills of Christian/Zionist fundamentalism in the West. Bush and Howard are part of that Western fundamentalism. Another Howard-Downer-Hill government would be catastrophic for Australia’s future and our standing in the world. The Australian people should not allow themselves to be hoodwinked again. Constant fear has become the Howard-Downer-Hill way of governing. Australians must reject the Howard doctrine of servitude to the neoconservative ideas of a Bush-dominated US. There is a better way and there is an important role that Australia can play in the affairs of the world and that is as a mediator and role model that all peoples and all governments of the world can respect.
Howard’s way is more war, more fear, more Islamaphobia and an even greater distancing between ourselves and the rest of South East Asia. As Howard takes us further into the neoconservative world of Bush’s America and Bush takes the US and his allies closer to the ultimate conflict between the US and China, Australians will only have themselves to blame for the disaster that is likely to follow such a conflict.
Australians should have no illusions whatsoever about the intentions and will of the neoconservatives of the Bush administration. They hold every top position in Rumsfeld’s Department of Defence. They are in over fifty percent of the key positions in the other Departments including Colin Powell’s Department of State. Their power and influence, despite what commentators are saying and despite, indeed, what the neoconservatives themselves are saying, has not diminished one iota. For the neocons the only thing that has ever concerned them about Iraq is that it supported the Palestinian Intafada against Israel and that it sat on the worlds second largest reserves of oil. Palestinians no longer receive support from Iraq and the oil is now under US control and is likely to be for a long time into the foreseeable future. Neoconservatives have no interest whatsoever in the aftermath of the war against Iraq and no interest in the future of Iraq except inasmuch that its future is controlled by the US. The Howard-Downer-Hill government is determined to hitch our entire future on to the Bush/Neoconservative bandwagon in what will ultimately be an all or nothing effort to dominate the World Order in which the US with its predominately white European coalition allies will subjugate the rest of the world and dictate the terms by which the world conducts its affairs.
If Bush is still in office after January of next year and Howard has meanwhile won the upcoming election then Australia will indeed have something to be fearful about.
Howard should not be allowed to continue his unhealthy association with the Bush neocons. Downer must not be allowed to play politics with people’s futures and people’s lives. Hill should not be allowed to build a militaristic Australia designed to intimidate. Australia should enjoy a healthy relationship with the US and all nations. Our politics should be about how to improve the lives of all peoples and safeguard their futures. Our military should defend and safeguard our nation.
Our next government should be one that listens to the Australian people through vigorous and unstifled debate in a chamber of a coalition government of Labor, Greens and Independents that will ensure the government’s commitment to the Australian people rather than to party politics, big business and a foreign nation.


Feel free to comment!!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

HOWARD AS INTELLECTUAL BASKET CASE

This article first appeared in Margo Kingston’s Webdiary page of the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ on 30 October 2001 but is as relevant today as it was when first written.


John Howard's speech of October 25, 2001, justifying Australia's participation in the so-called war against terrorism is one of the most banal and clich├ęd set of words ever spoken by an Australian "leader". They are based on fear, ignorance, arrogance and twisted truths that offer no meaningful long-term solutions to the problems that beset our world today.
He has married Australia's cause to that of America's without any consideration of the consequences and without any consultation with the Australian people. His obsessive knee-jerk reaction of jumping onto America's retaliatory bandwagon without a by-your-leave demonstrates what an excuse for a leader we have.
It would be naive in the extreme to believe that the death of Osama bin Laden, his senior associates, fanatical followers and/or the downfall of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, will put an end to the desperate acts of tragic terrorism characterised by the awesomeness of what the world witnessed on 11 September 2001. It won't.
Firstly, Howard has no idea of what bin Laden's motives are. To claim that bin Laden seeks "wholesale confrontation between the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds" is nonsense, pure rhetoric exclusively designed to suck in and prey on the gullibility of the public.
Secondly, Howard has the temerity to suggest that bin Laden "cynically uses the tragedy of the Arab-Israeli conflict to define his crimes in pan-Islamic terms." Howard uses the word "cynically" to politically twist a situation he supports by supporting a nation that continues to supply arms and treasure to the oppressor in the tragedy. Now that's cynicism!
Howard also tells us "The sheer scale of the carnage inflicted has taken terrorism to a new level unprecedented in the history of mankind." The scale of the carnage was indeed huge. Has Howard forgotten the Holocaust when 6 million Jews lost their lives?
Howard tells us nothing about how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can be resolved. Make no mistake here, the final and complete resolution to this conflict is the only way the world can begin to live in any kind of peace and freedom from fear from these kind of terrorist attacks. Howard tells us "the United States has invested enormous capital in trying to resolve that conflict". It sure has. US economic and military aid to the Israeli's over the past several decades to ensure a resolution of the conflict in favour of Israel have run into the billions of dollars, and still no end to it. If it hadn't been for the meddling of US (and British) interests in the first place the situation in the region would possibly have been resolved ages ago.
Howard tells us "The immediate aim is to seek out and destroy Al Qaida and ensure that Afghanistan can never again serve as a base from which terrorists can operate." Afghanistan may well be the base today but, rest assured, unless the problems of the Middle East are resolved, the base will simply reappear somewhere else with a new and just as eager set of commanders.
Those who helped in the planning and carrying out of the 11 September operation should be sought out, (forget this `I will hunt them down and kill them' mentality), and brought to face justice at an Internationally convened trial, the mechanisms for which already exist at the Hague.
With passions running high at the end of the Second World War, the Allies were faced with the problem of what to do with the captured Nazis so obviously responsible for the Second World War. The initial reaction from most of the Allies, including the British, was to deal with them quite summarily via a field courts martial prior to execution. The Americans insisted that this was not the way to deal with war criminals and that, for the sake of justice, it must be demonstrated that there is justice in victory when war is won and not simple victor's vengeance.
The Nuremberg Trials of the major War Criminals, and the subsequent trials of other Nazi war criminals, were for the purposes of demonstrating that these types of crimes will be dealt with severely but, above all, fairly, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that in a world that seeks justice and not vengeance, justice should prevail.
Where are those principles now? Why has Howard not insisted that any assistance from Australia can only be provided where the pursuit of legal justice only, and exclusively, is being sought? Why has Howard embarked on this crazy wild goose chase with the US? Why has he not reminded the Americans of the virtues of justice that the Americans, and only the Americans to start with, expounded in late 1944 when it looked like the Allies were at last getting the better of the Nazis and the problems of facing up to the question of what to do with War Criminals were being asked?
How short our memories are. All the virtues Australia believed in, Australians fought and died for, over the last hundred years have now seemingly gone out of the window.
Hatred feeds only one thing, more hatred. Stop hating. Try understanding. Look beyond Howard's self-righteousness and self-interested politics. There is no future down the road that Howard is taking us, just greater despair and insecurity.
If this world is to pursue a road to peaceful and prosperous globalisation, and if Australia wants to be an active participant in that world, then it is going to need to open up its mind and arms to the world and show a great deal more compassion and understanding than it has shown so far. We must show we can lead by example and not just blindly follow.
Damian Lataan

Friday, July 23, 2004

THE BALI FACTOR IN HOWARD’S BIGGER PICTURE

Questions, once again, are being asked as to why the Bali disaster was allowed to happen and why Australians were not warned about the likelihood of such a disaster. Bruce Power in his piece, ‘Seventeen Days’(1), back in October 2003 asked the question lengthily in a way that could not be more emphatic. He also demonstrated very convincingly that there is no way that the Australian government could not have known that something reasonably specific was soon to happen in Bali and in the tourist district. What he makes no attempt to do, however, is to give an explanation as to why the Australian government failed to warn Australians about the impending dangers of travelling there. We all want some answers. Brian Deegan, who is about to give Foreign Minister Alexander Downer a run for his money in the forthcoming election by contesting the seat of Mayo, desperately wants some answers. So too, I should imagine, do all of the relatives and friends of the victims.
The problem is we’re not likely to get the real answers. The truth is more than likely totally unpalatable for most Australians and far too hurtful for the relatives and friends of the victims. It may be the reason why Bruce Power is so reluctant to provide us with what he thinks are the real reasons for the government’s failures.
Throughout history politicians have manipulated situations and events that have caused death and anguish to the people that they serve in order to bring about a desirable set of circumstances that is favourable to the politicians’ cause. These manipulations are perpetrated covertly and, more often than not, without suspicion. At other times, for various reasons, suspicions have been raised but never proven. Very few are ever revealed wholly. Some historians have begun to call them ‘flagged incidents’. There are many examples of them and they come in various guises. Some are called ‘Black Flag’ incidents, some are known as ‘False Flag’ incidents while others are known as ‘Green Flag’ incidents.
‘Black Flag’ incidents are usually perpetrated completely covertly. The incident is rarely heard of and rarely enters the public domain. They may be operations such as political assassinations carried out by one government agency against a person or group of persons of another government or a person or group of persons within its own government or nation. They are carried out, as are most of these types of incidents, in order to gain an advantage over an enemy either within a nation or outside of it.
‘False Flag’ incidents are those that are carried out by one group of people against another but in such a way as to cast the blame on a third party; i.e., to make it seem as though another group or nation was responsible. A classic example of this type of operation was the one carried out by the Nazis at the beginning of the Second World War when a German radio station at Gleiwitz, close to the border with Poland, was attacked, seemingly, by Polish soldiers. In fact the entire incident was staged by the SS who had killed Jews from concentration camps and then dressed them in Polish army uniforms before firing small arms in to them to make it look as though they had been killed by the German defenders in a skirmish. It was Hitler’s causus belli for invading Poland. Another ‘False Flag’ incident of note resulted in the so-called Lavon Affair of 1954.(2) In this case Israeli Mossad agents planted a series of bombs in buildings in Egypt, including one at an American diplomatic facility, with the intention of making it look as though Arab extremists were responsible. Unfortunately, for the Mossad, one of the bombs went off prematurely which resulted in the immediate capture of one of the agents and subsequent revelation of the plot. In the resulting scandal in Israel, Pinhas Lavon, the Israeli Defence Minister, was forced to resign. In 1986, in yet another Israeli ‘False Flag” operation, Mossad agents had planted a transmitter in Tripoli, Libya, from which was transmitted messages designed to implicate the Libyans in the bombing of the La Belle discotheque in West Germany, a place frequented regularly by American servicemen. As a result President Reagan ordered retaliatory air strikes sending some 200 aircraft that dropped over 60 tonnes of bombs on completely innocent people in Libya.(3) The aims of these types of incidents are obvious.
Finally, ‘Green Flag’ incidents are those that are perpetrated by one group of people against another but with the foreknowledge of the victim’s government and security agencies. The idea here is to allow the plot to go ahead, and in the worst case scenario, encourage it to succeed, in order to gain a political advantage via an increase in public opinion or sympathy in order to enhance the pursuit of another political aspiration for which the government was previously experiencing difficulty in gaining public support for. The classic example of a ‘Green Flag’ incident is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. The great American social critic and historian, the late Charles Beard, argued that President Roosevelt knew that the US would be attacked at Pearl Harbor but did nothing to prevent it knowing that this is just what he needed to join the war.(4) Beard further argues, very convincingly, that not only did Roosevelt know of the impending attack but politically manoeuvred the Japanese into a position whereby they had no alternative but to go to war with the US. The recent release of the McCollum Memos vindicates all that Beard asserted.(5)
In the weeks leading up to the Bali bombing the Australian people, indeed most of the people of the world, were showing no signs of changing their stance against what seemed to be an inevitable march toward a war with Iraq. On the weekend of 5-6 October 2002, the weekend prior to the Bali bombings, tens of thousands had demonstrated throughout Australia against war. Howard, mimicking Bush and Blair, tried desperately to link 11 September and the resultant ‘war against terror’ to Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Opinion polls, both formal and informal, showed Australians were overwhelmingly against any attack against Iraq especially if it lacked UN endorsement. The attack on Bali, from Howard’s political point of view, was, to say the least, very opportunistic for him. A terrorist attack in his own region would, he clearly would have thought, been a blessing in a terrible disguise. He believed that public opinion against any war with Iraq would now rapidly turn around. He was wrong as we now know. Public opinion didn’t turn as he wanted and the great demonstrations across Australia on the weekend of 15-16 February 2003 rammed the fact home to him. It hasn’t, however, stopped Howard from milking the Bali tragedy for all its political worth. Howard will, of course, be ‘outraged’ by this suggestion. Some readers even may be offended at the idea. And that’s just the idea of Howard getting as much political mileage as he can from the tragedy, let alone ‘green flagging’ the tragedy to gain a political advantage. But it appears I am not alone in drawing these conclusions. Andrew Wilkie infers as much in his book "The Axis of Deceit".(6)
The Bali factor is essential for Howard’s maintenance of Australia’s role in the ‘war against terrorism’. Some may see some logic in this strategy. After all, there is supposedly a war against terror and the tragedy of Bali should be held up as a reminder as to why we are fighting this war. I may even be persuaded by this logic but for two reasons: 1) Howard has ulterior political motives for propagandising the tragedy in this way and, 2) something that cannot ever be forgiven; his government let the tragedy go ahead, without warning Australian travellers, knowing that if it did happen he would receive political benefit from it. For these reasons I do not believe for one instant that Howard is motivated out of sympathy for the Bali victims’ relatives and friends.
And that, of course, is your ‘Green Flag’ example. I said at the beginning it would be unpalatable and hurtful.
I didn’t lose anyone in Bali but I do know folk who did and do know just how unpalatable and hurtful all this may sound. But we need to be reminded occasionally that we do not live in a fairy floss nation of perfectly well intentioned politicians. Australian politicians, like politicians the world over, are, as we all know, hardnosed and downright dishonest. And we all know we haven’t had a more dishonest one in Australia than John Howard. He’s lied about everything in order to pursue this alliance Australia now has with the madmen in Washington. We have since been involved in the slaughter in Afghanistan and the unprovoked attack and continuing slaughter in Iraq. Thousands have died as a result of it.
Australians have died as a result of it.



ENDNOTES

(1) Bruce Power, ‘Seventeen days’ in Margo Kingston’s column, ‘One year on, still no accountability for Howard and Downer on Bali’. Sydney Morning Herald, 10 October 2003. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/10/1065676164586.html

(2) For a full account of this affair see: Teveth, Shabtai, “Ben-Gurion's Spy: The Story of the Political Scandal that Shaped Modern Israel”. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.)

(3) For a full account of this incident see: Ostrovsky, Victor, “The Other Side of Deception”. (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1994.)

(4) Beard, Charles, “President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941: A Study in Appearances and Reality”. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1948.) Chapter XVII, ‘Manoeuvring the Japanese into Firing the First Shot’.

(5) The McCollum Memo, 7 October 1940. Available online in PDF form of the scanned original document at http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/McCollum/

(6) Wilkie, Andrew, “Axis of Deceit: The Story of the Intelligence Officer Who Risked All to Tell the Truth about WMD and Iraq”. (Melbourne, Vic: Black Inc. Agenda, 2004.) p. 66 and p. 132.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY – THE ULTIMATE JUDGE OF A WARMONGERING AND LYING PRIME MINISTER.

Howard has told the Australian people that he will never apologise or back down from his reasons for sending Australia into war against Iraq. But for a person like Howard, who has no interest in what people today think of him and who can brush aside criticism with just a few arrogant words, particularly in matters relating to Iraq, there is one weak spot that will eventually cause him to regret his role in the fiasco of Iraq. That weak spot is his high regard for Australian history. His rhetoric is littered with references to history, especially when he talks of Australian and Western values and the Australian/US alliance. And, of course, he really loves to wind up the Aussie iconic historical images clock when Anzac Day pays yearly homage to our fallen and surviving heroes. Howard hopes in the future he will feature prominently as the war leader of those who served in his war as they march in future parades of remembrance. How could we forget, especially after such a daring flight into the “battle” itself on Anzac Day 2004?
Howard is deluding himself if he believes that historians will laud him as a great Australian statesman and war leader. When the history of the monumental events of the first few years of this century is written, its conclusions about Prime Minister John Howard’s role will only be denigrating and, considering his love of Australian history, the consequent humiliation is the one penalty he will find unendurable.
History will not be kind to Howard. He will be known as the lying Prime Minister. Sure, there are many who support him despite his lies, and even because of them, but that’s only while he is still Prime Minister. Once his time is finished as PM and, presumably, politics, it will be time for the historians to step in and make their judgements. All the facades of political correctness and respect historians usually show for an incumbent PM will be removed and he will be exposed for what he really is, particularly as those around him begin to tell their stories in a rush to disassociate themselves from Howard’s role in a history that is daily depleting him, and them, of any integrity that they have left.
When the Howard government is defeated at the next election, there should be an all-encompassing, no holds barred royal commission into the government’s role in Australian and world affairs since 2001. If any wrong-doing is discovered then criminal proceedings should be initiated. Of course, Howard is far too arrogant to actually concede any wrong-doing and no proceedings against him will cause him any misgivings over his responsibility for the role Australia has played in the completely illegal Iraq war. But how history judges him? That will very much concern him. It is the ultimate punishment for one who has used Australia’s historical past to try and create a niche in Australian history for himself.