AUSTRALIANS AT WAR

AUSTRALIANS AT WAR
Now available. $20-00 including postage in Australia. Click on image above for details..... TELLING THE HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AS IT REALLY WAS.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

AUSTRALIAN ULTRA RACIST ANDREW BOLT GOES TO COURT.

While Australia’s most virulent racist, Murdoch columnist Andrew Bolt of Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper, has been brought before the Courts to answer charges relating to articles he has written about Aboriginal people in Australia, it should be realised that his racism doesn’t stop at the vilification of people of colour – or what is in his view, the lack of it.

The particular group of people that are taking Bolt to Court are all Aboriginal people who by virtue of parentage no longer have skin colour by which they may be distinguished. Bolt essentially argues that if a sighted person were to see them then that person could argue that the person they are looking at, based solely on their appearance, are not actually Aboriginal. A non-sighted or sight-impaired person, however, may not have the luxury of coming to a similar conclusion and, if Bolt himself were thus afflicted, he too would not be able to remark as he had in his articles.

Bolt argues simply that because these people lack what is in his view the appropriate amount of skin pigmentation, then they cannot be Aboriginal despite a proven heritage to their Aboriginality.

But, as I said, Bolt’s racism doesn’t stop at vilifying Aboriginal people. Like all racists, Bolt also vilifies other people that are not of European appearance especially if they happen to be sub-continental Asian, black African, Central Asian, Middle Eastern or North African Arab. Surprisingly, for a white supremacist style racist, Bolt claims that he is not an anti-Semite and supports Israeli Zionism. While this may be the case, it should be noted that his Islamophobic peers in Europe who were once dyed-in-the-wool neo-nazi Jew haters also now claim to support Israel. For these European racists, anti-Semitism has been replaced by Islamaphobia. One wonders why it should not be any different for white supremacist Islamophobes in Australia – of which, judging by the audience that are attracted to Bolt’s online blog at the Herald Sun website, there are, thankfully, not too many.

It is unfortunate that there are some Australian’s that support Bolt’s racist world view and it is also unfortunate that a leading media mogul should provide support for his vile hatreds. Australia would be better off by far for not having to tolerate the rabid writings of this particular racist.

THE NEOCONS THINK THE U.S. SHOULD DECIDE THE FUTURE OF LIBYA.

Neocon Paul Wehner writing in the latest issue of The Weekly Standard says:

The United States, having gone to war against the Libyan regime, now has to decide whether or not to allow Qaddafi to stay in power.

Wehner goes on to say:

Four decades-plus in power have been more than enough. It is time for the Butcher of Tripoli to leave the stage. Whether that exit is accomplished by means of exile or cruise missile or hangman’s noose is irrelevant. In this instance justice may be delayed. But it need not be denied.

These statements represent classic neoconservative thinking and demonstrate clearly the arrogance of neoconservatisms dogma of American exceptionalism.

First off, the United States has not gone to war against the Libyan regime; the international community, through the United Nations, has taken steps to protect the civilian population of Libya from being killed by Gaddafi’s forces and the United States has had a part to play in that role. There is a vast difference. Even President Obama in his speech last night at the National Defense University in Washington took care not use the word ‘war’ but, rather, referred to US action in Libya simply as ‘American military involvement’.

Secondly, contrary to Wehner’s opinion, it is not up to the United States ‘to decide whether or not to allow Gaddafi to stay in power’; it is entirely up to the Libyan people.

With regard to the neoconservative’s notion of ‘justice’, this too is adequately displayed in Wehner’s rhetoric. The kind of ‘justice’ Wehner talks of is not justice; it is violent revenge, exactly the kind of violent revenge that Wehner is accusing Gaddafi of in the first place.

Gaddafi has committed warcrimes and the only proper course of action, if he is not killed in action, would be for him to be arrested for his crimes and tried at the International Criminal Court in Hague. If he is then found guilty, the court would provide the appropriate punishment. This then would show to other totalitarian dictators that the world will not tolerate them abusing their peoples and that when they depart from power either forcibly by revolt or by other means, they too will be arrested and, if found guilty, punished for their crimes. Exile should not be an option for these people except, of course, if it is in a prison after having been found guilty of warcrimes.

Friday, March 25, 2011

DOES EGYPT SEE A ONESTATE SOLUTION?



It seems that Egypt Air have taken Israel off the map of the Middle East and instead have shown the outline of what a ‘OneState solution’ would look like.

The quicker the better for everyones sake.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

LIBYA: THE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FORGOTTEN; IT SEEMS THAT ALL THAT MATTERS NOW IS THE PROS AND CONS OF THE LIBYA INTERVENTION DEBATE.

The political and academic commentariat in the media and blogosphere seemed to have lost interest in what is actually going on in Libya and seem far more intent on turning their attention to the political consequences of intervention and analysis of the differences between ‘liberal interventionists’ and ‘neoconservatives’.

Forgotten is the fact that Gaddafi was a dictator who allowed no dissent and viciously suppressed all opposition. Using the nation’s oil wealth to both enrich himself and his family, and to buy support from those that kept him in power, Gaddafi maintained power for over forty-two years. Not once during that period were the people offered a viable opportunity to choose an alternative government or leader. Gaddafi’s style of ‘popular democracy’ was designed always to ensure an outcome that suited his own ends.

Forgotten also is the fact that today, right now, people – real people, ordinary people – are dying while we in our armchairs argue the pros and cons of what the war is about. The Left seem to have forgotten about internationalism, solidarity and the unity of the common people of the world. Instead, while those who we offer our support to are dying in the streets of their own nation at the hands of a vicious dictator, commentators seem to care not so much about the urgency of action needed to help those that need help, but more about whether or not there is some kind of ulterior motive behind those nations that have offered to help.

The people of Libya must prevail in ridding themselves of their dictator. They need your support. Yes, the intervention has gone too far. Yes, civilians have died at the hands of the allies but we should be demanding that the allied bombing and killing stops; not that the intervention stops. The intent of UN Resolution 1973 was to stop Gaddafi forces killing their own people.

I’m not going to get sucked into the intellectual debate that I’ve just criticised but I will give one example of what I mean.

Last Monday Stephen Walt wrote an article in Foreign Policy titled: “What intervention in Libya tells us about the neocon-liberal alliance”. He writes while discussing the intervention in Libya:

The only important intellectual difference between neoconservatives and liberal interventionists is that the former have disdain for international institutions (which they see as constraints on U.S. power), and the latter see them as a useful way to legitimate American dominance.

While I very much respect much of Walt’s past work, I’m surprised that he would write such nonsense. The analysis is both shallow and wrong. It’s shallow because it ignores entirely the deeper motives behind the tight-knit ideology of neoconservatives whose only real concerns are for US-Israeli interests (they have absolutely no real interest in the well being of the Libyan people, and whatever they utter that suggests they do is said only because it suits their rhetoric). It is wrong because ‘liberal-interventionists’, contrary to Walt’s assertion, do not seek to ‘legitimate American dominance’ but seek only to bring an end to war (all wars)and the death of innocents. It is also wrong because real ‘liberal interventionists’ are not just 'American Democrats' or others that are slightly Left of center but are from all over the planet. They are internationalist and seek to minimise ‘American dominance’ rather than ‘legitimate’ it. Walt forgets that this intervention was instigated not by the US but by the demands of the Libyan people themselves and states that are both Western democratic and Islamic/Arab. The US didn’t jump on the interventionist wagon until the last moment. The intervention was then endorsed by the international community via the UN – unlike the invasion of Iraq which was a unilateral neoconservative attack whose purpose was to benefit Israel and project American power into the Middle East and had absolutely nothing to do with ‘humanitarian intervention’ as was claimed at the time.

Walt also says that; “President Obama took the nation to war against Libya”. This is just sloppy thinking. Obama did no such thing. The US is not at war against Libya; it is at war against despotism.

Intellectuals like Walt should know better. This thing isn’t about America ,just by way of a change; it’s about an internationalist attempt to stop a fascist dictator from killing his own people. Simple as that. Why does every Tom, Dick and Harry armchair commentator have to think it’s always about America? Let’s put the rest of the world first and sort out America’s propensity to try and dominate it later.

Meanwhile, the people of Libya are still dying today. Let's get our priorities right.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MORE NEOCON DELUSIONS…

The neocon comic Commentary magazine today carries an article by Alana Goodman in which she analogises Bush’s exploits in Iraq with Obama and his actions in Libya. She writes:

You would think President Obama’s recent choice to take military action in Libya would have made him slightly more understanding of President Bush’s decision to intervene in Iraq.

Bush intervened in Iraq?

Bush didn’t intervene in Iraq; he invaded it and thus destroyed it!

And therein lays the difference. Obama intervened in Libya in order to prevent a bloodbath, or, at least, that was the UNs intention, whereas Bush invaded Iraq and ended up creating a bloodbath and did so for the sole purpose of protecting the interests of Israel and the policies of the neoconservatives in his administration. Bush had not a skerrick of humanitarian intent when he decided to invade Iraq on 11 September 2001.

Also in Commentary magazine today is this garbage from vocal neocon Max Boot who wants to put a “peacekeeping” force on the ground in Libya if and when Gaddafi goes or is otherwise removed from the equation, in order to “stabilize the situation in Libya after Qaddafi’s eventual downfall”.

Boot goes on to write:

This is an administration that is filled, after all, with critics of the Iraq War where, it is widely conceded, we paid a heavy price for not doing more to prepare for Saddam Hussein’s downfall. Tommy Franks, Donald Rumsfeld, and others later claimed we were wrong-footed by our “catastrophic success,” meaning we were not prepared for the Baathist regime to collapse as quickly or completely as it did. Yet what are we doing to prepare for a similar eventuality in Libya where Qaddafi could be killed in an airstrike tomorrow? Is the coalition now enforcing a no-fly zone prepared to do something on the ground to ease Libya’s transition, or will we just wash our hands of the place and hope for the best?

No, Max; first off, it was the Iraqi people that paid the heavy price. Secondly, once Gaddafi is gone, then that should be the endgame as far as the Americans are concerned; it is for the Libyans. The Libyan people are then quite capable of looking after their own affairs. The last thing they want is anyone from the West looking over their shoulders. The Libyans want self-determination – without interference from the West.

That’s the problem with neocons; they’re so arrogant that they actually believe that the Arab people want them there to hold their hands as they create their own futures.

How delusional can these neocons get?

THE NEOCONS HAVE BECOME DELUSIONAL – AGAIN.

An article in today’s Weekly Standard, written by neocons Gary Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly, declares in its very first sentence that:

The crisis in Libya provides a useful reminder that the world’s demand for American power is rising.

They clearly haven’t been paying attention to what the world is actually saying – especially in the light of the Libyan crisis. Even Barack Obama is getting the message loud and clear which is effectively, ‘If you can’t do anything in the Middle East without some kind of ulterior motive attached to it, then butt out altogether and let the Arab peoples be the masters of their own destiny’.

The neocons seem to think that the international call to help avert a bloodbath in Libya was an open invitation for America to ‘intervene’ in every Arab state in the Middle East and North Africa by using American power to depose all the leaders that the US didn’t like or deemed a threat to the US and/or Israel. The neocons still think that the UN resolution was a mandate from the international community to effect ‘regime change’ in Libya. Schmitt and Donnelly write:

The administration has also created a credible international coalition. The proof of the effort, however, will be in the willingness and ability to use force to remove Muammar Qaddafi from power.

America’s actions so far in Libya, far from creating ‘a demand for American power’ as the neocons delusionally believe, has created a demand from the rest of the world for America to curb its power and keep out of other peoples business. Humanitarian intervention is one thing, but to abuse ones power to attempt regime change because it suits your foreign policy agenda is something else again.

Next thing you know the neocons will be screaming that ‘the world demands that Iran should be next’.

How delusional can they get?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LIBYA: A POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF FINDING AN ENDGAME.

The media is full of hypothesis and debate over how the war in Libya might be resolved. The neocons are saying ‘just go in and finish it’ implying that the US should take the lead and simply kill Gaddafi at the first available opportunity, while others argue over whether or not it is the job of the coalition to fight for the revolutionaries by destroying Gaddafi or to ensure that there is no killing of civilians. The pedantics over the wording of UNSC 1973 is at the center of most debate among the coalition partners while, of course, the neocons have no interest in the role of the UN and would much prefer the US to kick Gaddafi’s arse regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. In short, the powers that be have painted themselves into a corner over the issue of resolving the Libya crisis.

Yet buried beneath all the argument there is one relatively simple solution which resolves the problem for everyone.

On 26 February 2011 the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously in favour of UNSC 1970 to refer the situation in Libya to the International Criminal Court (ICC). While the ICC under Article 16 of the Rome Statutes (see p.11) that empowers the ICC is unable to commence an investigation or prosecution for a period 12 months after the UNSC referred the matter to the ICC, there must be a way that a person who is known to have committed crimes prosecutable by the ICC yet remains at large and still able to, and, indeed, has threatened to commit further crimes, can be arrested pending investigation and prosecution at the ICC. Article 58, 1.b.iii, (see p.31 of the Rome Statutes linked to above) which says an arrest warrant may be issued: “Where applicable, to prevent the person from continuing with the commission of that crime or a related crime which is within the jurisdiction of the Court and which arises out of the same circumstances,” may, depending on how the Article as a whole is interpreted, provide a legal avenue by which an arrest warrant can be issued by the ICC for the arrest and detention of Gaddafi. There may also be some avenue open under Article 92 (p.50) of the Rome Statutes which relate to provisional arrest. This may be a way out of the war conundrum. Though it does not actually put an end to the war itself, it does specify the endgame; the arrest of Gaddafi. Once arrested, the war will be all but over.

One way of encouraging his arrest, even by his own immediate subordinates, may be to offer a substantial reward to whoever brings Gaddafi to court for prosecution. A reward of, say, $100 million may well be enough to induce those around him to give him up. A $100 million might sound a lot but when one considers that each cruise missile that has been launched against Gaddafi so far costs around half a million each then a hundred million has already been spent. By offering a huge reward in this way far fewer innocent people are likely to get killed and a criminal is brought to proper justice. It will also have the added benefit of causing other dictators to think twice before they set about murdering their on citizens. For many, the prospect of spending the rest of their lives in prison rather than dying a martyr to their cause and the prospect of not being able to get away with their crimes by fleeing into exile with their ill-gotten gains may also compel them to think twice before committing their crimes.

Gaddafi, for all his wealth and power, is still nothing more than a criminal. He, and anyone else who commits a criminal act, should not be above the law. They must, like everyone else that commits crime, suffer the consequences of their acts.

Just a thought.

Monday, March 21, 2011

DOES ALLIED INTERVENTION IN LIBYA GO TOO FAR?

The idea of the UN sponsored intervention in Libya was to essentially stop the slaughter of civilians as a result of the civil war that had evolved from protests by Libyans against their leader Muammar Gaddafi.

At first, as the protests morphed into a civil war and the protestors became rebels, they seemed to be getting the upper hand over Gaddafi’s forces and the rebels seemed on the verge of victory as rumours spread that Gaddafi had fled the country. But then, as Gaddafi’s forces regrouped and recovered from the initial shock of being routed by the rebels in the west and the east, Gaddafi loyalists fought back and retook the central and western part of the country quite quickly and headed toward the east and the rebel’s stronghold based in Benghazi.

The Gaddafi forces advance on the eastern part of the country held by rebel forces was accompanied by threats from Gaddafi and his son that they would annihilate the rebels, ‘showing them no mercy’. Since Gaddafi had already demonstrated his barbarity by having his own security men executed for refusing to open fire on unarmed demonstrators, (warning: this link shows graphic content) it seemed clear that Gaddafi was in no frame of mind to forgive those that had rebelled against his rule so the ‘showing them no mercy’ threat was taken very seriously. The ‘showing them no mercy’ threat was, furthermore, implied to included anyone that was found to have supported the rebels as Gaddafi threatened to hunt them down ‘house by house’ and ‘inch by inch’, This was taken as an implicit threat against civilians that supported the rebels.

All in all, what with Gaddafi’s threats and past history together with the fact that his forces were gaining the upper hand, it seemed a bloodbath was imminent as Gaddafi’s forces were set to make a final thrust on the rebels holed up in Benghazi and in other pockets in eastern Libya.

When the battle was going the rebel’s way, they asked specifically for no foreigners to intervene. However, as the battle began to swing in favour of Gaddafi’s forces with his superior firepower and airpower and Gaddafi increasingly became more threatening, Libyan rebels changed their minds about intervention and asked for a no-fly zone to be established. At first the West were wary of the idea fearing that it would be seen as typical Western interference against an Arab nation that has oil and that any intervention may be seen as a cynical ploy to gain influence in an oil-rich state. But, as the battle quickly seemed to be inevitably lost from the rebel’s point of view and the possibility of a bloodbath seemed increasingly possible, the international community, especially after many of the Arab states also supported the idea after initially being against the idea, relented and authorised intervention.

However, now that intervention has been authorised and participating nations are taking action against Gaddafi’s forces, there are concerns that the allied forces taking part in the ‘intervention’ are going beyond the intended mandate of stopping Gaddafi forces from committing crimes against the Libyan people and the rebels he is fighting. As well as targeting Gaddafi forces that are rolling east to reinforce those attacking the rebels, the international forces are also hitting targets not at the front lines and are targeting Libyan infrastructure that can be used by Gaddafi in his fight against the rebels particularly its air defence facilities. While it is true that hitting Libya’s air defence facilities will deny Gaddafi the ability to hit back at the allies air offence, one also needs to realise that these facilities are not so much Gaddafi’s but Libya’s, and the chances of Gaddafi being able to hit back at the allies air offensive even with his air defence facilities intact are very remote. Many of Gaddafi’s air defence facilities are based in civilian areas and some of these areas have been hit by the allied assault which is said to have killed civilians.

It is clear that the motive now behind the allied assault against Gaddafi is not just to level the playing field in order to ensure there is no massacre of rebels and dissidents in the event of Gaddafi prevailing in this war, but to actually ensure that Gaddafi is defeated and either sent packing to any country that would have him, or killed in the assaults and fighting, or arrested and brought to justice for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

If it is, and always has been the intention, of the allies to be rid of Gaddafi for good, then the international community has been conned. If Gaddafi chooses to stick it out to the bitter end then there will be a lot of people dying on both sides regardless of the strength of the allied assault on Gaddafi – and that means a lot of those dying will be civilians.

Finally, the question that really needs to be asked now is; if Gaddafi is going to be attacked for killing unarmed civilians, will the allies attack those other governments that attack unarmed civilians; like Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and, dare I mention, Israel?

Friday, March 18, 2011

IF INTERVENTION IN LIBYA IS GOOD, THEN WHY WAS INTERVENTION IN IRAQ BAD?

The simple answer is this; ‘intervention’ in Iraq was for all the wrong reasons while intervention in Libya is for all the right reasons. I know that sounds a bit self-righteous, but please read on because the full answer is nowhere near as simple.

The Left were vehemently against the West invading Iraq while the neocons were all for it but now both the Left and the neocons are all for intervention in Libya. So what’s the difference? Already one can see the difference; invasion is different from intervention and the recently passed resolution (UNSC Resolution 1973) authorising action in Libya makes it clear that there is to be no invasion of Libya. The other obvious difference, of course, is the fact that there was never any specific UN resolution that authorised an invasion of Iraq. In other words, Iraq was never invaded primarily for any ‘humanitarian’ reasons while Libya is being intervened in solely for humanitarian reasons.

But there are also other perhaps not so clear differences between the Left and the neocons, and the most important of these goes to motivation. Whereas the Left see things in very black and white terms, i.e., it’s either right or it’s wrong, the neocons invariably have an ulterior motive for most of the actions they advocate.

For example, the Left support the rebels in Libya for no other reason than they are fighting against a tyrant who has shown a willingness to kill his own people. The Left has a heartfelt sympathy for those that have been oppressed. For the neocons though, their support for the rebels is purely for propaganda purposes. If the neocons thought for one moment that supporting the rebels was not in the interests of Israel or the US, they would not support the intervention. It’s one of the fundamental differences between the ideological Left and the extreme right-wing; the Left puts the human rights of all peoples first, the cause of human rights comes before any other cause. For the neocons, though, support of human rights is a charade; they only pretend to support human rights. In fact, neocons have already shown their true colours and demonstrated their contempt of human rights by their support of America’s torture policies of prisoners and their policy of keeping prisoners in cruel and tortuous conditions without access to impartial courts of justice even while they hypocritically and vehemently criticise the human rights violations of their enemies.

Initially, as the Libyan rebellion lost momentum and Gaddafi began fighting back, there were some on the Left that were against Western intervention simply because the neocons were for it. There was a fear that, if the neocons were for it, there was some sort of skulduggery afoot. There was also some confusion among the Left about whether or not the Libyan rebels themselves wanted intervention. And, of course, the American desire for intervention was reflexively always likely to be viewed with suspicion by the Left anyway – which brings us full circle as to the difference between what happened in Iraq and what is happening in Libya.

The only similarity between Iraq and Libya is that both had vicious totalitarian leaders that ruled with an iron fist, but there the similarities end. The fact that Saddam Hussein ruled with an iron fist was merely a handy excuse to give to the Western peoples as to why Saddam should go. In reality, the neocons wanted to be rid of Saddam because he was a threat to Israel and, in getting rid of Saddam, the neocons and the West could kill several birds with one stone. First, it got him off the back of the Israelis who were fighting against the Palestinians in the Second Intifada that Saddam was supporting and, secondly, in getting rid of Saddam and occupying Iraq the US would gain considerable hegemony in the resource rich Middle East and, at the same time, put themselves on Iran’s doorstep. They were the real reasons why the US and the West invaded Iraq.

Libya is completely different from Iraq. The sole reason the US and the West wants to intervene in Libya is because it is the right thing to do for the people of Libya. The only reason the neocons support it is because it is part of their propaganda and rhetoric about wanting ‘democracy’ to prevail throughout the Middle East – providing it’s the sort of ‘democracy’ that the US can control in order to ensure the security of Israel and their quest to create a Greater Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people.

For the neoconservatives, it is always, always, about Israel. Nothing else.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

IRANIAN ARMS TO SYRIA? THE ISRAELI MEDIA CAN’T GET THEIR STORIES TO LINE UP.

Yesterday the Jerusalem Post ran a story about an Iranian aircraft that was commanded to land in Turkey by Turkish authorities as it was en route to Syria. The photo accompanying the story showed an Iran Air Boeing 747 ‘short’ version Jumbo jet with a collapsed nose wheel with the story claiming explicitly that the aircraft was carrying ‘military equipment and weapons’ which the Turkish police had found. The same story in Ha’aretz went further by reporting that the aircraft was allegedly transporting “weapons connected to Iran's nuclear program”, (though they were not able explain how or what sort of ‘weapons’ could possibly be connected in any way to Iran’s nuclear program).

Today ‘Ha’aretz’ is running a story about the aircraft being released after nothing was found on the aircraft that was illegal. Not only was the Jerusalem Post story totally fabricated but the accompanying photo to the Ha’aretz story shows an Ilyushin-76, (a Russian version of America’s C-141 Starlifter), heavy lift aircraft now looking as though its ready to fly with the caption claiming that this is the Iranian aircraft that was forced to land in Turkey.

Apart from the entire story in the Jerusalem Post being just an Israeli government beat-up in order to have another dig at the Iranians, they couldn’t even get their, what turned out to be, non-stories to line up in their media.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

THE US–AUSTRALIAN ALLIANCE: MYTH AND REALITY.

Yesterday Australian Labour Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressed the US Congress in Washington. In her speech to the Senators and Representatives Gillard, following in the footsteps of all those other Australian Prime Ministers that had addressed Congress in the past since World War 2, heaped rhetorical praise on our alliance with them. But if the tone of Gillard’s speech is anything to go by, it seems almost as if Australia is doomed to forever remain America’s lapdog in recognition for what America did for Australia during World War 2.

She referred to how Australians fought “side by side, step by bloody step” with Americans in the Pacific war against the Japanese, and how the Battle of the Coral Sea was the battle that “destroyed the fear of an invasion of Australia”. Of course, Korea and Vietnam were mentioned, as was John Howard’s presence in Washington on 11 September 2001 and Australia’s subsequent role in Afghanistan though Iraq, conspicuously, did not get a mention.

Ever since World War 2, successive Australian governments and leaders from both sides of politics have used Australia’s alliance with the US during the Pacific war as an excuse to maintain a relationship with the US that often goes well beyond Australia’s actual strategic and political regional interests and occasionally even runs contrary to Australia’s interests.

Gillard reinforced the notions of commonality between the two countries by invoking ‘shared values’. As Gillard would like to have Australians believe, “Geography and history alone could never explain the strength of the commitment between us”.

Over the years, as Australian leaders have attempted to curry favour with the Americans in case Australia ever needed them to defend Australia against the 'Asiatic hordes to the north' of them, the rhetoric of ‘unique shared values’ and ‘common history’ has grown to legendary proportions. The stories that started life as war-time propaganda have been perpetuated to support the modern rhetoric and have never really been challenged or corrected.

In light of the events of the Twenty-First century, perhaps it’s time to separate the myths from reality so that Australians can get a realistic perspective of where it is heading if it continues to blindly follow the US in a world that is far different today to that of the mid-twentieth century. Australia, regardless of how the US and Europe have evolved in the post war years, has morphed from being an outpost of Britain and Europe to being a part of South East Asia where geographically it has always been, and, as far as its future in terms of trade and commerce is concerned, needs to be in order to prosper in the future.

So what are these myths and what are the realities of Australia's relationship with the US?

The biggest myth is that America saved Australia from being ‘invaded by Japan’.

The reality is that Japan never had any intention of invading Australia. Australians were constantly being told that Japan planned to invade Australia but this simply was never the case. The threat of invasion was purely a propaganda ploy to keep the Australian people on side and on edge for war against Japan.

The reason Japan never planned to invade Australia was one of simple expediency. Japan’s biggest problem, the further it took its war south away from Japan, was maintaining lines of supply. Japan was already hard stretched to invade and occupy New Guinea let alone invade and occupy a nation the size of Australia. Japan would have much preferred to have had Australia withdraw from the war and its air raids on Darwin in the north of Australia were an attempt to intimidate Australia and deter it from continuing the war.

Then there was, and indeed, still is, the question of why war with Japan anyway?

Contrary to popular myth, Japans strike against the US at Pearl Harbor came as no surprise to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was anxious to get into the war against Germany, which could only be done by being at war with Japan, in order to both help his new-found friend, the British wartime leader Winston Churchill, and to distract from the failures of the New Deal at home. For sure, Britain was at war with Germany, as was Australia, and desperately needed America’s help, but for the US to deliberately provoke a fight with yet another foe simply to get into the war against Germany was not at all in Australia’s interest. The war against Japan simply brought the war, which Australia was then only fighting in Europe and North Africa, much closer to Australia’s shores.

Since WW2, Australia has gone to war against America’s enemies in places where it has in no way served Australia’s interests other than to allow Australia to remain an ally of the US. Australia had no reason at all to be in Vietnam with the US. It had no reason at all to be in Afghanistan in 2001 with the US. It especially had no reason at all to be in Iraq 2003 with the US. Not one of these wars was at all in Australia’s interest yet there we were.

Now, Australia’s Prime Minister again is promising support for America’s continuing war in Afghanistan; a war that clearly the allies are not going to be able to win and which serves only to slaughter young fighters from all sides, Western and Islamic, as well as thousands of innocent civilians. And, as a result of her latest visit to the US and talks with President Obama, Gillard has promised that Australia will send troops and heavy-lift aircraft to support the rebels in Libya if called upon by the ‘international community’, i.e. the UN under the auspices of the US. (Or should that be the other way around?)

While there is no need for Australia to turn its back entirely America, there is no need either to remain slavishly subservient to America’s every whim when, at times, it’s clearly not in Australia’s interest. America is no longer a relevant power and Australia certainly has no business fawning to every US whim. Australia needs to disengage from America’s desires and become engaged far more in South Asian regional aspirations.

If Australia wants to be at all useful in the world it should use its friendships and skills to promote peace and negotiate peaceful settlements but step aside from wars that are of no concern to Australia any more than they are to, say, New Zealand or Iceland.

The more Australia says ‘yes’ to everything America expects of it, the harder it will be to say ‘no’ when the time comes for Australia to stand up for itself and for the sake of its own regional interests which one day may well conflict with America’s.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

HAMAS AND DEMOCRACY: THE HYPOCRISY OF BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE.

At a press conference in London yesterday with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, William Hague, Britains Foreign Secretary, told his audience that “Hamas should not be allowed to stifle the democratic expression of Palestinian opinion”.

While it is true that Hague was not Foreign Secretary at the time when Hamas won 72 out of 132 seats in the Palestinian elections of January 2006, he did support Tony Blair’s Labour government decision, along with the US and Israel, to not recognise Hamas’s historic electoral victory. That is to say, Hague had no problem at all in ‘stifling the democratic expression of Palestinian opinion’ back in 2006.

Hague’s stance typifies Western right-wing arrogance and hypocrisy over the Palestine debate.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

TROUBLE IN NEOCON LAND OVER THE SHARIA LAW DEBATE.

An interesting article in top neocon comic Commentary magazine has discreetly, and without mentioning names but nonetheless linking to its website, criticised the extremist neoconservative organisation Family Security Matters which has heavy connections to long-time extremist neoconservatives like R. James Woolsey, who is on FSM’s Board of Advisors, and Frank Gaffney founder of the fanatical neocon think-tank that calls itself Center for Security Policy. (This links to a profile of the CSP as their website is down as of this writing.) Alana Goodman, writing in Commentary about the upcoming congressional hearings into ‘The Radicalisation of Muslim communities in America’ being pushed by Republican Peter King (R-L.I.), and accompanying rallies – for and against – being held in conjunction with the hearings, told readers that the group rallying in support of the hearings, the FSM, are out of step with reality reiterating that the hearings are about so-called Muslim radicalisation and not about the threat of Sharia law to the American Constitution which what the FSM are rallying about. Goodman goes on to tell the FSM mob that, if they really want to do Peter King a favour, they should “tone down their Sharia rhetoric”. The FSM have a strong reputation for ultra-extremism. In August, 2007, Philip Atkinson, one of FSM’s then senior editors, wrote what can arguably be considered the most outrageous and extremist rhetoric any neoconservative had ever written that advocated George W. Bush being made President for Life and annihilating the Iraqi people using nuclear weapons and then colonising the nation with Americans. Needless to say, this lunatic was discredited even by his own kind and the article was quietly removed from the FSM website (though not before it was copied and reproduced elsewhere on the internet). Islamaphobia has, thanks largely to the Rupert Murdoch-owned propaganda media machine, gained considerable traction over the last several years. However, there are signs that that traction is slipping somewhat due mainly to the exposure of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories, especially the Gaza Strip during Israel’s onslaught on the Strip during Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009, and the blatantly immoral attack and resultant killings of nine activists on the MV Mavi Marmara in May 2010. The recent uprisings of Islamic peoples against their rulers has also had a tendency to soften the face of Islam as ordinary people, who just happen to be Muslims, struggle on a day to day basis, just like most folk all around the planet, to survive in the best way that they are able against greedy and uncaring governments. They have demonstrated that they are not all just about Islam and creating an Islamic Caliphate intent on ruling the world but, rather, just like everyone else regardless of their beliefs in wanting to simply live their lives without being exploited and persecuted. The rhetoric of the Islamophobes and the anti-Sharia law fanatics are exposing the neocons for what the really are, and it seems some of those neocons – like Alana Goodman – that are able to think a little more coherently know exactly when their propaganda is working and, apparently, when it isn’t.