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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MORE CHUTZPAH FROM ISRAELI DEFENCE MINISTER BARAK

The UK Daily Telegraph reported today that Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, said that ‘an immediate crisis was avoided in the summer when Iran quietly chose to use over a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes, delaying the moment when it could have built a nuclear bomb’. Barak went on to say that ‘without this decision, the situation would “probably” have peaked before the US presidential election’.

Iran has said all along that the product from its medium level enrichment program has been for civilian use. (Iran’s 20% enriched uranium is used to produce isotopes for cancer treatment and other medical use.) Iran hasn’t ‘delayed the moment it could have built a nuclear bomb’ as Barak says because, apart from anything else, in order to build a bomb, uranium needs to be enriched to more than 90%; a capacity that Iran simply doesn’t have.

The use of the words ‘could have’ by Barak exposes Israel’s childish obsession to confront Iran. In reality, Barak’s remarks were made simply to cover for the lack of military action against Iran this side of the presidential election. Despite the fact that Barak insists that Israel reserves the right to strike Iran unilaterally, he knows that such a strike without US support would be utterly impossible. Since it became clear that Obama was not going to provide such support prior to the elections, Barak is simply attempting to save Israeli ‘face’ over the lack of Israeli action by saying they didn’t need to strike Iran afterall because Iran had used the uranium for civilian purposes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ISRAEL EXPOSES ITS REAL PURPOSE FOR WAR WITH IRAN

In past posts at this blog I have indicated that Israel’s primary intention of attacking Iran is not to destroy or delay Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons program – as Israel and most of the rest of the world knows Iran has no such program – but rather for such an attack to provide an excuse for Israel to attack its real targets, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Back in September 2009 I suggested that Israel will simultaneously attack Hezbollah when they and/or the US attack Iran. I have said that Israel will invade south Lebanon with a view to destroying Hezbollah and occupying south Lebanon permanently with the eventual aim of annexing it to Israel.

Today reports are emerging that a senior Israeli Defence Force officer has stated that, in the event of war with Iran, Israel will indeed attack and invade south Lebanon. This admission, together with the recent escalation of violence between Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip and Israeli forces, provoked and initiated by Israeli actions in the Gaza, demonstrate Israel’s true intentions with regard to their real motivations about war with Iran.

The world needs to be aware that the forthcoming war with Iran is not about Ian’s ‘nuclear weapons program’ but about providing a casus belli for Israel to attack and overrun south Lebanon and the Gaza Strip in order to destroy Hezbollah and Hamas respectively and to fully occupy both territories as well as the West Bank with the eventual aim of annexing them to become part of Greater Israel. At the same time, the US will bomb Iran into capitulation and regime change. This will effectively put the entire Middle East under US and Israeli hegemony providing a buffer zone between the US and the West, and China and Russia.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

U.S. STRIKE AGAINST IRAN TO BE MUCH MORE THAN JUST DESTROYING NUCLEAR FACILITIES

Recent US pleas to the UK government to use British bases in Cyprus, the Ascension Islands in the Atlantic, Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, as well as bases in Britain itself indicate that the US military are planning attacks against Iran that are designed to do far more than simply destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The US already has a massive military presence in the Gulf region adjacent to Iran that has more than enough firepower to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities yet still the US are seeking bases capable of handling much larger strategic bomber aircraft. The use of strategic aircraft indicates preparations are being made for a sustained attack against Iran designed to induce regime change.

Since Iran is a nation some three and three-quarters times bigger than Iraq and with a population nearly two and half times Iraq’s population and given the hard time the US and their allies had occupying Iraq, it is hardly likely that the US will be attempting to launch an invasion and occupation of Iran. This leaves the US with only one option to induce regime change; and that is to bomb it into submission via a massive bombing campaign against Iran’s government and defence facilities and institutions with possibly the threat of using nuclear weapons if Iran retaliates by using chemical or biological weapons. The US could even threaten to use nuclear weapons if Iran refuses to capitulate to US demands after the opening bombardment.

At this stage, the UK government has refused to allow the US use of British bases on the grounds that a pre-emptive strike against Iran would be in violation of international law. However, by virtue of the simple expediency of a ‘terrorist attack’ against any NATO country where the finger of guilt could be pointed, rightly or wrongly, at Iran would provide a casus belli for the UK to become involved in action against Iran.

Whatever happens, one thing is for sure; in the light of America’s need for strategic bases, the US are planning something more than just the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

WAR ON THE GAZA STRIP: NETANYAHU LIES ABOUT WHO STARTED IT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said in a statement that the recent round of tit-for-tat violence between Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip and Israel was ‘not started by the Israelis’.

This is a blatant lie.

This latest round of violence has escalated as a direct result of Israeli provocation on Sunday, 21 October 2012, when the Israelis attempted a targeted assassination of two Palestinians, Talat Jarbi and Mohammad Maqawi, who were riding a motorbike near Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

Such actions by the Israelis are designed to deliberately provoke Palestinian retaliation.

In the light of recent events in Syria and the subsequent shifting of alliances between Hamas and Iran, it is possible that Israel is looking for some other excuse to invade and occupy the Gaza Strip. This latest escalation of violence by the Israelis – not Hamas as Netanyahu says – may well be the set-up for a casus belli for just such an operation.

HAS ISRAEL MODIFIED ITS OVERALL WAR SRATEGY WITH AN IMMINENT PLAN TO INVADE THE GAZA STRIP?

The civil war in Syria and the subsequent realignment of alliances between Iran and Hamas in the Gaza Strip may well have resulted in Israel readjusting its strategic war plans.

Up until recently, Israel had planned on using its attack against Iran as an opportunity to attack both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza on the pretext that such attacks would be necessary to pre-empt retaliatory strikes from Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel. In March 2012, however, Hamas announced that it would not support Iran if Israel attacked Iran. This effectively changed Israel’s game plan forcing them to rethink their strategy.

The last few days have seen an upsurge in Israeli actions against Hamas and the Gaza Strip. As well as provoking Hamas and other Jihadi groups to launch missiles against Israel in retaliation to Israeli strikes against the Gaza, Israel has also been disturbed by the recent visit to the Gaza of the Emir of Qatar who has promised hundreds of millions of dollars worth of support to the Gazan people as well as yet another attempt by a group attempting to sail to Gaza despite Israel’s blockade. As a result, Israeli commanders have threatened to launch an invasion of the Gaza ostensibly to halt the rockets being fired into Israel.

Since Israel’s original plan was to use attacks against Iran as a pretext to invade and fully occupy south Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank destroying both Hezbollah and Hamas for good with the intention of annexing south Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, it now seems that Israel may be considering taking on the weakest and smallest of its enemies, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, prior to reverting to their original plan scheduled for after the US elections.

If this is the case, the Gaza Strip can now look forward to an imminent invasion and possible full-on occupation.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ISRAEL: NOW A SELF-CONFESSED RACIST STATE

While Israeli politicians deny that Israelis are racist, it seems that Israelis themselves concede that they are indeed racist and are happy about practicing apartheid and keeping Palestinians from any form of power in the Israeli state even if (or rather, when) Israel annexes the West Bank to become a part of Israel.

The latest poll of Israelis reveals the true nature of Israeli Zionism and their desire to keep themselves separate from Arab peoples even in the event of the West Bank being annexed to Israel.

Interestingly, the poll, just by discussing the possibility of annexation of the West Bank, demonstrates the extent to which Israelis believe that such an event might become inevitable. However, just as interestingly, the poll didn’t dare mention the possibility of annexing the Gaza Strip or ask how Israelis thought about that prospect. Perhaps the pollsters didn’t think the Israeli people were quite ready for that just yet – which infers that they think the Israeli people are quite happy with the idea of annexing the West Bank.

Once the West Bank is swallowed up to become part of Israel, it will only be a matter time before the Gaza Strip goes the same way.

DID OBAMA DEMAND IRAN END ALL NUCLEAR ACTIVITY?

During the third debate moderator Bob Schieffer asked the candidates a question about reported talks between Iran, the US and other parties. Obama answered thus:

Well, first of all, those were reports in the newspaper. They are not true. But our goal is to get Iran to recognize it needs to give up its nuclear program and abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place, because they have the opportunity to re-enter the community of nations, and we would welcome that. There are — there are people in Iran who have the same aspirations as people all around the world, for a better life. And we hope that their leadership takes the right decision. But the deal we’ll accept is, they end their nuclear program. It’s very straightforward.

By saying ‘it’s very straightforward’ he’s being very emphatic, so the question is; has Obama shifted the goal posts? Has Obama created for himself an opportunity to present Iran with an ultimatum after the election; an ultimatum which, if knocked back, will provide Obama with a casus belli to attack Iran?

Up until now, the understanding has been that Iran, as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is entitled to pursue a nuclear program aimed at providing nuclear fuel for electricity generation and nuclear products for medical isotopes.

While many of America’s Western allies might go along with Obama’s realigned demands, it is unlikely that Russia and China will. Yesterday, when Obama made his statement it seemed that it may have been a simple slip of the tongue and that he had meant to say that ‘they end their nuclear weapons program’. As of this writing, however, no such clarification has been made.

Some commentators seem to think it was just a slip of the tongue and that Obama was referring to a nuclear weapons program. Neocon Jonathan Tobin on the other hand, writing in Commentary, takes Obama’s words literally arguing that Obama, “unlike some politicians, …is generally fairly careful about the way he uses words”. It may well be that Tobin is just indulging in a bit of wishful thinking though, without clarification from the White House, it might just be that Obama has found a way to get the Final Confrontation up and going after the election. It remains to be seen what the Russians and Chinese think of it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A QUICK THOUGHT ON THE FINAL DEBATE

One thing was for sure during the final debate – foreign policy was the last thing either of them wanted to actually talk about with both of them trying their hardest to cut back to discussing domestic issues or circle around the really big Middle East issues.

As far as Iran was concerned, both agreed that here were ‘red lines’ that could not be crossed. However, neither seemed sure where those ‘red lines’ were; or, if they did, they weren’t saying.

Talking of ‘red lines’, it was interesting to hear Obama say that the Egyptians “have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us, because not only is Israel’s security at stake, but our security is at stake if that unravels”. And if they don’t abide by their treaty with Israel…?

For both candidates, hypocrisy and arrogance was the order of the day. One that really stood out was this remark by Obama discussing his visit to Israel:

And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children’s bedrooms, and I was reminded of — of what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles.

No mention of what the Israelis did to Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip during that same period of conflict.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A SECOND ‘AGE OF EXTREMES’? – FROM POLITICAL EXTREMES TO CULTURAL EXTREMES

It’s not often I drift into philosophical ideas to help understand historical perspectives but as I was reading Clifford May’s piece titled “Is al Qaeda defeated?” in National Review Online today it occurred to me that the problem is not so much about ‘defeating al Qaeda’ to end extremism but, rather, getting the peoples of the world to ‘defeat’ extremism no matter where or from whom it comes. This led me to thinking about the bigger picture.

As many of today’s conflicts have evolved it has become clear that the ‘extremists’ of today are actually feeding off each other. To a certain extent, this has always been the case but today, instead of it being ‘political’, as it was during the First and Second World Wars and the Cold War when political ideas came into conflict with each other, often within the same overall cultural systems, today it is more definitively ‘cultural’ where religious and cultural belief systems have come into conflict with each other resulting in a different kind of polarisation of forces. Today the extremist forces of culture are at loggerheads with each other. The extremist forces of the West (American and Western Exceptionalism, Christian fundamentalism and Zionism) are in conflict with the extremist forces of Islam. And, just to complicate things further, there is conflict within Islam itself at two levels; there is conflict between moderates and extremists, and there is conflict between Sunni and Shia.

About Islamic extremism, what May calls ‘jihadi ideology’, he argues:

The jihadi philosophy/ideology is — no less than Nazism — “based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.” The late Father Richard John Neuhaus aptly defined jihadism as a religiously inspired ideology built on the teaching “that it is the moral obligation of all Muslims to employ whatever means necessary in order to compel the world’s submission to Islam.”

If that is supposed to define Islamic extremism then by the simple expediency of crossing out some descriptors and replacing them appropriately it also defines Christian fundamentalism and Zionism. It also defines the kind of extremist ideology inherent in the notion of American and Western Exceptionalism for is not Zionism based on the conquest and subjugation of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip or the Arab peoples of the Golan Heights? And is not this quest supported by Christian fundamentalists and Christian Zionists who are among the same people as those that are inspired by the notion of American and Western Exceptionalism? And do not these people see their cause as ridding the world of Islam so that the world of Islam reflects more the ideals and interests of the West?

A change to peace can only come about when all sides recognise the stupidity of feeding off each others hatreds and understanding that tolerance and respect is the only way forward. There will be no future for a world in which a never ending cycle of hypocrisy, arrogance and violence toward each other prevails as an ideology.

If Eric Hobsbawm were still around he would no doubt have written a second volume to his Age of Extremes work; one that reflects the history of the latest ‘Age of Extremes’ – the extremes of culture rather than of politics which his 1994 work described.

Perhaps there will come a day when the culture of tolerance, moderation and respect becomes the dominant culture in our world. I hope so because none of the others – the age extremes of the last century and the age of extremes in this century – seem to have made any difference.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

NEOCONS GET BITTER AND TWISTED OVER BIDEN-RYAN DEBATE

Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard was clearly fuming over the pasting Biden gave Ryan in the one and only vice-presidential debate. In a piece titled Biden Bombs, Barnes writes almost screaming at his readers:

“You don’t win a nationally televised debate by being rude and obnoxious.  You don’t win by interrupting your opponent time after time after time or by being a blowhard.  You don’t win with facial expressions, especially smirks or fake laughs, or by pretending to be utterly exasperated with what your opponent is saying.”

Well, apparently Biden did, at least according to most pundits.

William Kristol, also writing in The Weekly Standard, tried simply to write the debate off as being inconsequential while finding a ball game far more memorable:

The truth is the world will little note nor long remember what was said in Danville. The world will remember—certainly some of us will remember—what happened a few hours before at Nationals Park: Jayson Werth's 13-pitch at bat leading off the ninth-inning, culminating in a walk off home run that won the game and tied the Nats-Cards division series at 2-2.

…which doesn’t say much for what Kristol thinks of Paul Ryan.

Stephen ‘Smokey’ Hayes, yet another neocon writer with The Weekly Standard, simply echoed the agreed to propaganda line and view of Commentary writer, Jonathan Tobin, that Biden had ‘thrown the US intelligence community under the bus’ over the Benghazi killings.

Far from ‘bombing’ as Barnes asserts, Biden seems to have held his own very well if the extent of criticism from the ultra-right and the neocons is anything to go by. Ex-CIA chief Michael Hayden and ex-Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff were both scathing in their criticism of Biden (did the phrase ‘throwing the intelligence community under the bus’ originate from one or the other of these neocons?) to the point where one might consider they ‘protesteth too much’.   

Thursday, October 11, 2012

THE BALI BOMBINGS REVISITED - AGAIN

As the anniversary approaches it's worth reminding ourselves of what this was really all about. I first posted this in April 2009.
It's about how the Howard government attempted to get Australians on board for war against Iraq.
Some ten days ago a former Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) officer, James Sievers, appeared in a Canberra, Australia, court to answer charges that he had copied secret intelligence documents and had them posted to ‘The Australian’ newspaper. The documents were about warnings during the period leading up to the 12 October 2002 Bali bombings that terrorists in Indonesia were planning attacks on ‘sin spots’.

The bombings killed 202 people including 88 Australians. At the time, Brian Deegan, the father of one of the Australian victims, a lawyer and magistrate in Adelaide, Australia, insisted that the then Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, knew of the terrorist threat but had failed to warn Australian tourists. Downer denied that he had received any warning about threats to Bali. Later, Downer’s spokesman chose his words carefully saying there had been no specific warning about the Bali attacks. An inquiry by Australian Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence Bill Blick white-washed accusations against the Howard government that there had been clear warnings of an impending attack and that Downer had failed to provide adequate warning.

The reality was that Downer had been briefed personally on 18 and 19 June 2002 by officers from Australia’s Office of National Assessments (ONA) and was told specifically that Bali and Singapore were ‘attractive targets for the al-Qaeda linked Jamaah Islamiah terrorist network’ and just two weeks prior to the bombing was warned by US intelligence services that there was a threat specifically to Bali. There was even specific travel warnings posted by US authorities that were not repeated on Downer’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) travel warning website.

The evidence is clear: Downer and Australian Prime Minister John Howard were very much aware of the imminent threat to foreign tourist hotspots in Bali prior to the bombings but failed to provide any warning. The question that remains to be answered is simple; why did they not tell Australian tourists in Bali of the threat and danger of being there?

Prior to the Bali bombings there had been a mounting popular movement in Australia, as well as around the world, against Howard taking Australia to war against Iraq. Just the weekend before the Bali bombings there had been a series of anti-war marches and demonstrations across Australia as there had been all over the world. There had even been a protest at the US spy site in out-back Australia at Pine Gap. Howard, despite his denials, had already wholeheartedly committed Australia to Bush’s war against Iraq and was desperate to have some event to turn tide of dissent against him; the Bali bombings would have been, at least he might have hoped, just such an event. As it turned out, the Bali bombings, rather than galvanise the people of Australia to support Howard’s march to war, had the opposite effect; the Australian people saw the Bali bombings more as some kind of retribution for blindly following the US than a call to join Bush’s fight against Iraq.

At the time, Howard responded by saying that the Bali bombings was in response to Australia’s intervention in East Timor adding that it couldn’t have been because of Australia’s commitment to the US lead-up to the war against Iraq because, so he said, at that time he’d not yet made such a commitment. Of course, all Australians – and, indeed, the Bali bombers – knew that he had.

The evidence, at the moment, is only circumstantial but there is no doubt that Downer and Howard knew of an impending attack against Bali tourist hotspots frequented by Australian’s, particularly at that time of year when many sport and social clubs took time out in Bali to have some end of season fun, yet did nothing to warn Australian’s about the danger. There is also no doubt that a terrorist attack on Australian’s would have been viewed by Howard as being in his interests with regard to his alliance and commitment to George W. Bush’s upcoming war against Iraq for which he would want to have the support of Australian public opinion. At the time, Australian public opinion was running strongly against Howard taking Australia to war against Iraq; the Bali bombing would have been seen as an event that might well turn Australian public opinion in Howard’s favour. As it transpired he was wrong but he could not have known at the time that his ploy was likely to backfire on him.

While the circumstantial evidence is still only that, it is, nonetheless, becoming increasingly compelling as more and more evidence emerges. It can only be hoped that eventually when the truth is finally revealed that Howard and Downer and those others involved will answer for their crimes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MITT ROMNEY’S DELUSIONS OF AMERICAN GRANDEUR

In a major foreign policy outline speech delivered at the Virginia Military Institute yesterday, Mitt Romney demonstrated the extent of his delusions of American grandeur. If anyone ever wondered what it was that ‘they’ hated about ‘us’ then this speech provided the answer – the utter arrogance and hypocrisy of the American extreme right.

It’s all in Romney’s choice of words. How’s this for arrogance; he wants “to use America’s great power to shape history”. Or this; “So many people across the world still look to America as the best hope of humankind.” And this; “The 21st century can and must be an American century.” And this; “The torch America carries is one of decency and hope. It is not America’s torch alone. But it is America’s duty – and honor – to hold it high enough that all the world can see its light.”

And what about this for hypocrisy; “I will make it clear to the recipients of our aid that, in return for our material support, they must meet the responsibilities of every decent modern government—to respect the rights of all of their citizens, including women and minorities… to ensure space for civil society, a free media, political parties, and an independent judiciary”. Clearly, Romney needs to take a good hard look at how his own nation has evolved and is functioning today; a classic case of ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say’.

As Michael Cohen writing in the UK Guardian says: “…the Republican nominee’s fantasy of American power reveals a fragile grasp of global realities”.

Needless to say, the neoconservatives, what with the polls closing in on Obama, are rapt. Alana Goodman writing in the neoconservative Commentary magazine says: “Anyone who worried Mitt Romney would be overly cautious or avoid taking strong stances during his foreign policy speech today was proved wrong.”

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ADVOCATES POLITICAL ASSASSINATION

Australian Foreign Minister, Senator Bob Carr, has suggested that a political assassination maybe needed in order to bring about the downfall of Syrian president Bashir al-Assad. It wasn’t clear whether or not Carr was referring to al-Assad himself.

Carr was speaking on the ABC’s Four Corners program last night. While on the one hand Carr was talking about assassination in order to effect regime change, he was also telling his audience: "We do know there is a body of opinion in the Arab world running strongly that says 'we do not want extremism, we want democracy denied to us for so long'."

Someone needs to tell Bob Carr that political assassinations is what extremists do and that there is absolutely nothing ‘democratic’ about assassinating leaders. He might also be reminded of the nature of government that is likely to replace al-Assad in the light of there being suicide bombers being used by the rebels.

Has the Western world really come to this? Is assassination going to become the new norm to ensure the West gets its way with governments it doesn’t like? Since when have Foreign Ministers of so-called Western democracies publicly advocated the assassination of government leaders in order to change governments of a foreign power – no matter who they are? We all know it goes on from time to time but for a serving minister of a Western government to publicly advocate committing what is a crime under international law is a major paradigm shift embracing a whole new set of rules that will see the end of governmental normality and the beginning of a murderous free for all for global political power.

It will be only a matter of time before the West’s enemies will resort to similar practices and we begin to see the killings of Western political and military leaders.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

WAR AGAINST IRAN LIKELY SOONER RATHER THAN LATER AFTER U.S. ELECTIONS

If Netanyahu calls for an early election in Israel, as seems very likely, it would probably take place in February or March of next year – just weeks after the inauguration of the next President of the US.

Given that Netanyahu would be taking a punt about being able to win the next Israeli election, one can assume that he would at least like to achieve his goal of creating a Greater Israel by destroying Hezbollah and Hamas and Israel’s arch nemesis, Iran, before leaving office. This would mean pushing for support for an attack against Iran from the US just as soon as the US elections are over. Netanyahu would not risk assuming he was going to win the next Israeli election before demanding the US support an attack against Iran. He knows that it will be an all or nothing war for him and he is hardly going to risk everything on winning an election before going for his dream prize.

Netanyahu’s window of opportunity opens on 7 November 2012 and closes just days before the next Israeli election next February or March 2013. If Romney wins the US presidential elections then Netanyahu can be assured of Romney’s support. If Obama wins then, being a second term President with nothing to lose and his military already in place in the Gulf, Netanyahu might just get the support he needs.