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.

Friday, February 28, 2014


This piece in The Drum the other day demonstrates clearly how democracy has been eroded and usurped by a media dedicated to manipulating public opinion with spin, half truths and outright lies.

It seems that most people who answered the question referred to in the article about whether or not they believed 'most of the refugees were genuine’ said they were not, whereas the reality is that the vast majority of them in fact actually are genuine refugees.

One needs to ask then; where are those people getting their information from that led them to making a factually incorrect decision? Clearly, these opinions are not informed and yet there is a tendency for politicians to formulate policy based on this uninformed opinion.

Furthermore, as the example shows, not only are their responses ill-informed, but they are based on their political allegiance.

Real democracy based on a properly enlightened people armed with facts has become obsolete. ‘Democracy’ today seems to revolve around those that have the means to successfully manipulate public opinion – and are able to do so with total disregard to the facts and, increasingly, with total disregard to any sense of morality or even reference to or respect for international law.

We have become a poll-driven ‘democracy’ that is dominated by the political commentariat in the employ of influential right-wing media barons for the benefit of their friends and associates in business and politics which, by its nature, is also predominately right-wing.

In the build up to the present refugee crisis, right-wing commentators have succeeded in developing an anxiety among the community based on xenophobic and Islamophobic fears bordering on paranoia. In the run-up to the last election this led to both sides of politics scrambling to pander to those fears in order to secure the votes of an electorate that had become misinformed about the realities of the boatpeople situation.

Australia’s responsibilities to asylum seeking refugees was overlooked in this scramble by both sides of politics to placate an electorate that had been whipped into a frenzy by the rightwing who had discovered that the ‘preventing deaths from drowning’ meme was a suitable vehicle to drive the anti-boatpeople propaganda.

Today, Jonathan Green in another article at The Drum takes a look at what the alternatives are to what is increasingly being seen as an entirely inappropriate system of dealing with boatpeople. He writes:

The compassion now shown to the miserable victims of circumstance and people smugglers is of course opportunistic and politically inspired. It is as genuine as the tears that flowed when Liberal members howled down the Malaysian people swap promoted by the Gillard government, only to sit back, smug and happily certain when more recent policy left people beaten to death, bloodied or shot while within the not-so-protective custody of a detention camp administered in our name. Camps, it should be said, established specifically to promote hopelessness, psychological trauma, degeneration and despair; the sum of these parts being deterrence.

Green sees the problem but, sadly, is unable to provide an adequate answer to it. Instead, he handballs the problem to Labor though he acknowledges that Labor’s initial answer to the problem of boatpeople was more or less the same as the Coalition’s. Green says that it is Labor that must rethink the problem and provide alternatives.

The main reason that both Green and the Labor opposition are unable to provide an alternative to deal with the problem is because of the way both define what the problem is. For them the problem is how to deter refugee boatpeople from attempting to sail to Australia to seek asylum yet, at the same time, deal with those that do turn up on our shores with compassion and with respect to their human rights.

Ignored is the real problem that has yet to be addressed and that is: why do we need to deter asylum seeking refugees from coming to Australia? For those on both sides of mainstream politics the answer has been to ‘stop the drownings’. For many this has become the whole reason for the entire off-shore processing exercise, but what if there had never been any drownings? What excuse then would there have been to lock people up in places they didn’t want to be for indefinite periods of time in the most appalling conditions? If there had been no drownings, would there then be no need to deter asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat?

‘Stopping the drownings’ is just an excuse to cover the real reasons for deterring boatpeople from coming to Australia.

The unspoken bottom line lies in Australia’s innate fear and loathing of non-European foreigners coming to Australia. It is this that lies at the heart of the boatpeople problem. Everyone knows it but everyone denies it. Australians have put forward every excuse under the sun as to why boatpeople shouldn’t be allowed to come to Australia. They range from faux compassion over the drownings, to them not being real refugees, to them being queue jumpers or just rich country shoppers. It is with a certain irony that the only people being honest about their reasons for not wanting them in Australia are those monoculturalists on the extreme right who quite gleefully exclaim that they don’t want non-European non-white foreigners in Australia to dilute or change our existing culture – in other words, straight out racists the likes of which one will find commenting at blogs everywhere especially those run by Murdoch journalists like Tim Blair, Andrew Bolt, Piers Akerman, et al.

The answer to the drowning problem is simple: provide seaworthy boats – something the navy is now actually doing – but instead of sending them back to Indonesia, allow them to come to Australia. Alternatively, fly them in. Once they are here they can be quickly processed and dealt with accordingly. Those that are genuine are then released into the community and allowed to work, and those that don’t meet the requirements are then detained in humane conditions until alternative arrangements are made for them.

But before any of this or any other alternative answers to the problem can be considered, the Australian people need to either own up to being racists or do the right thing and meet the obligations we signed up for with regard to refugees because this ‘tough to be kind’ nonsense simply isn’t fooling anyone.

Australia must declare itself: we are either a nation of out and out racists or we are a compassionate fair-go nation willing to give anyone a chance.

We cannot be one while pretending to be the other. Australians need to face its racist demons and drive them out.

There needs to be honesty in the media and the propagandists need to be exposed and shut down. There needs to be penalties for lying in the media. The Australian Press Council needs its powers strengthened to ensure the media tells us the truth. And, finally, we need to look to the long term future of a compassionate Australia – and that starts with education.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Tom Wilson, a neoconservative contributing writer to Commentary, explains how it is becoming increasingly apparent that Israel is taking over the role policing the Middle East from the US in the light of Obama’s growing isolationist stance. Wilson writes:

Amid the Obama administration’s increasingly apparent dereliction of duty to America’s role on the world stage, it seems that, in the Middle East at least, Israel is taking on an increased level of responsibility in the effort to halt the proliferation of both weapons of mass destruction and terror groups.

According to Wilson, it was Israel that saved the world from having to exist in a world where Syria and Iraq had nuclear weapons and now it is Israel that is preventing sophisticated weapons being transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon from Syria – a job that Wilson reckons Israel would not have needed to do had the US done what it was supposed to do with regards to Syria.

It’s easy to see where this is all leading – especially with regard to Iran.

It’s just a matter of time. The present talks between the Iranians and the West have merely postponed the inevitable; not cancelled it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


The riots, injuries and death that have occurred on Manus Island, a detention centre in the Pacific where detainees are kept in inhuman concentration camp-like conditions, is the result of Australia’s neo-fascist racist policies designed to keep non-white foreigners from coming to Australia.

Scott Morrison, the Australian government’s Minister for Immigration, has defended the indefensible despite at least one detainee having been shot to death and some 77 others being injured, several of them seriously with at least one other with gunshot wounds and another with a fractured skull. Morrison says: “What those seeking to send boats to Australia need to understand – and those who may seek to get on one of those boats – is this government’s resolve is absolute”.

The Manus Island concentration camp is designed deliberately to detain inmates in the harshest conditions the government feels it can get away with in order to deter other asylum seeking refugees from coming to Australia by boat.

As a result, inmates have rebelled against the inhuman conditions and have attempted to escape from the camp despite having nowhere to actually escape to; such is their desperation and their plight.

As well as the physical conditions that the inmates are being kept in, many are also suffering psychological stress. Most inmates have no idea when they are going to be released from their torment and even less idea about where they will end up. It is undoubtedly this that has led to the riots and resultant injuries and death of the inmates.

None of them have ever been arrested or charged with any offence and are guilty of no crime, yet they are locked up in disgusting conditions with no foreseeable end to their incarceration in places they never wanted to be.

Scott Morrison, who is ultimately responsible for the safety of the prisoners, must be called upon to resign for having allowed conditions to deteriorate to the extent where these events have occurred. Representations should also be made to the United Nations to ensure that Australia lives up to the requirements it has signed up for in various refugee agreements and conventions.

The Australian government needs to back off with its racist policies and bring all the inmates detained offshore to Australia where they can be processed and settled in Australia after having been found to be genuine refugees.

Monday, February 17, 2014


The convicted racist and extreme Right-wing propagandist, Andrew Bolt, in his column today has claimed that the ABC is ignoring the Abbott government’s ‘success’ in ‘stopping the boats and the drownings’. He claims that: “The new Abbott Government’s policies to stop the boats, stop the drownings and gradually empty the detention centres are clearly working.”

Well, if one happens to be a xenophobic racist who is anxious to keep non-white foreigners out of Australia then the policies of the closet thing Australia has ever got to a fascist government are, indeed, working. But, what needs really to be asked is; are the government’s policies morally the right policies?

Bolt and the extreme Right of Australia like to argue that it’s all about stopping the drownings at sea as though they actually care that foreigners they hate are dying in their attempts to find their way to Australia. If it were just about preventing the drownings at sea then it would have been a simple task of providing either a far more efficient system of detecting refugee boats and then ensuring their safe arrival in Australia or, alternatively, providing them with seaworthy boats – as they are now doing. But, rather than forcing them back to Indonesia, which in itself puts the passengers in extreme danger, they could have been escorted to Australia in safety.

Bolt is attempting to implicate the ABC in the tragedies of the past and at the same time asking why the ABC is not supporting the government’s inhuman treatment of desperate asylum seeking refugees. Bolt has in his recent columns inferred that the ABC’s reports of asylum seekers being mistreated and abused by both the Australian Navy and by Australian authorities in the governments concentration camps on Manus Island and elsewhere are somehow ‘un-Australian’.

Bolt insists the ‘government’s policies are working’ and for xenophobic racists of Australia they are.

The problem is they are the wrong policies. They do not reflect Australia’s refugee obligations and they show Australia as a nation of unsympathetic racists, bigots, liars and hypocrites.

It is the Abbott government and the likes of Bolt that are being un-Australian by promoting their xenophobic hatreds of boatpeople under the pretence of caring about them.

We should be thanking the ABC for exposing the truth about what the government is doing in our name.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


Israeli settlers in the West Bank and their Zionist supporters around the world have of late attempted to convince the world that Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply to Israel and their settlements in the West Bank.

The argument over the legality of the settlements in the West Bank – and those earlier settlements in the Gaza Strip – has been in play for years but was recently brought on to centre stage by a statement made by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop during her visit to Israel to attend the funeral of the Israeli war criminal Ariel Sharon. In an interview with Israeli newspaper The Times of Israel she was asked ‘if she agreed or disagreed that the settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law’. She replied: “I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal”. Needless to say, America’s neoconservatives were more than pleased with the apparent support the Australian government had shown for Israeli Zionists.

The instant response from most pro-Palestine commentators, including me, was quick and obvious; i.e. the international law that declares them illegal is Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, paragraph 6, which states unambiguously: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”. The international community including the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Court of Justice have all affirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention does apply to Israel and its occupation of the West Bank.

Israeli Zionists and their supporters around the world were quick to deny that Article 49 of the Convention applied to them. They resorted to age-old deliberate misinterpretations of Article 49 designed to convince the world that paragraph 6 of Article 49 does not apply to Israel’s occupation of the occupied territories. The United With Israel  organisation, for example, has argued for some time in an article titled ‘Why Israel is not violating the Fourth Geneva Convention’ that Article 49 refers to “forced transfers, such as what the Nazis did, not the voluntary transfers that Israel engages in”. This is simply not the case. While paragraph 1 of Article 49 does, indeed, deal with ‘forced transfers’ as well as ‘deportations’, it is in the context of removing people from occupied territories to either “the territory of the occupying power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, regardless of their motive”.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) in a paper titled “The Settlements Issue: Distorting the Geneva Convention and the Oslo Accords” attempted also to assert that “Article 49 relates to deportations, meaning the forcible transfer of an occupying power’s population into an occupied territory”. The paper then attempts to support this assertion by saying that:

Historically, over 40 million people were subjected to forced migration, evacuation, displacement, and expulsion, including 15 million Germans, 5 million Soviet citizens, and millions of Poles, Ukrainians and Hungarians.

As already mentioned, Article 49, paragraph 1, deals with the case of the ‘5 million Soviet citizens, and millions of Poles, Ukrainians and Hungarians’ that were forcibly transferred out of their lands and into either the occupier’s lands or elsewhere, while Article 49, paragraph 6 deals with preventing a re-occurrence of a situation where ‘15 million Germans’ were transferred from the occupier’s territories, in this case Germany, into lands occupied by Germany, most of whom were eager volunteers keen to take up properties left by those that had been forcibly removed. The point here is that Article 49, paragraph 6 relates to the voluntary transfer of civilians from an occupier’s territory into an occupied territory.

The deceit is in the Zionist assertion that Article 49 deals with forced transfer of civilians from an occupier’s territory into an occupied territory and so, therefore, does not apply in Israel’s case of having civilians occupy the West Bank since they went there voluntarily.

In fact, Article 49 caters for all scenarios of civilian transfer. Paragraph 6, for example, can equally apply to forced transfer of civilians from an occupier’s territory into an occupied territory as in where ethnic cleansing occurs such as in Germany where German Jews and others were transferred out of Germany into occupied territories where they were mostly murdered en masse. No one is accusing Israel of being guilty of contravening paragraph 6 in that context, but the whole world knows that Israel is guilty of contravening paragraph 6 of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention with regards to their voluntary transfer of Israeli citizens from Israel into the occupied territories.

To claim innocence of contravening the Fourth Geneva convention by virtue of asserting that Article 49 refers only to forced transfers is a deliberate and very transparent deceit.