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Thursday, August 26, 2004


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.


1. Douglas Jehl and Elisabeth Bumiller, “No Weapons in Iraq Trailers”, The Age, 10 August 2003. (Available online): Accessed 26 August 2004.
2. Joseph S. Bermudez, “North Korea Deploys New Missile”, Janes Defence Weekly, 2 August 2004. (Available online): Accessed 26 August 2004.
3. “Downer Pressure on ABC”, The Age, 2 July 2004. (Available online): Accessed 26 August 2004.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


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.”
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


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. ( 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.

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