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.

Monday, May 04, 2015


I suspect that Mick Keelty, John Howard and Philip Ruddock are pleased that the two Bali Nine boys were shot to death in the early hours of Wednesday morning of the 29 April 2015 as it finalises a plan first hatched back in April 2005.  
It was then that Lee Rush, the father of Scott Rush, one of the gang members of a drug smuggling operation, realising that his son was about to fly to Bali in order to bring drugs back to Australia, contacted the Australian Federal Police via a lawyer friend to inform them of what was about to happen with a view of getting the AFP to stop Scott Rush from boarding that aircraft to Bali. The AFP assured Robert Myers, the lawyer friend of Lee Rush, that Scott would be stopped before leaving the country. It didn’t happen. Scott Rush was allowed to leave Australia to fly to Bali.
Instead of warning Scott Rush off, who could then warn off the other members of the smuggling team, the AFP instead tipped off their Indonesian counterparts warning them that the smuggling team was about to arrive just before Scott Rush boarded the flight to Bali on 8 April 2005. Nine days later Rush and three others were arrested at Denpasar airport as they were about to leave for the return journey home. Chan and Sukumaran were also arrested at Denpasar airport. Three others were arrested at their hotel as they were preparing to leave.
So, what happened?
Clearly, instead of warning the gang that if they proceeded with their plan they would be arrested by the Indonesian police and charged with smuggling offences, the AFP decided to allow the gang to go ahead with their plan knowing that the consequences would likely end with at least one or two of the gang being sentenced to death by shooting.
So, why did Mick Keelty let them go ahead with their plan knowing that they would be caught and suffer the consequences?
In fact, it would not have been Keelty’s call to allow the gang to go ahead with their plan especially in light of the probability that at least one or two of them would likely receive the death penalty. Keelty would, at least, have consulted with the Attorney General of the day, Philip Ruddock who, in turn would have consulted the Prime Minister, John Howard.
It was at this point that I believe Howard and Ruddock, despite their declared stance against the death penalty, made the decision to allow the smuggling operation to go ahead knowing that it would be thwarted and that as a consequence of the trials that would follow one or more of the nine involved would receive the death penalty. Furthermore, as I stated at the time, regardless of the appeals against the sentences and the pleas for clemency as the time for execution approached, at least one or two of the gang would ultimately be executed. I further suggested that this would happen regardless of whatever else happened and that it would happen because of some kind of agreement between the Howard government and the Indonesian government in order to deter Australians from smuggling drugs from Indonesia to Australia. That plan has now been carried through to completion.
My evidence supporting this assertion is circumstantial though, once known, seems to be compelling especially in the light of what has happened.
Howard first spoke of the affair on 10 April 2005 at a doorstop interview at the Great Hall of the People whilst visiting China negotiating a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and China when a journalist asked Howard “…what’s the significance of the… operation that has led to eight men being charged with…”. “What is the significance of it?” Howard asked. “Yes”, said the journalist, to which Howard replied:
“Well the operational aspects of that should be commented upon by the Australian Federal Police. I didn't know anything about it and nor should I until the people were arrested. It is normal for the Australian Federal Police to cooperate with the Indonesian police if they have reason to believe that people have broken the law. I would always encourage the Australian Federal Police to cooperate with their counterparts in neighbouring countries in the apprehension of suspected drug offenders. But as to the details of this particular case I know nothing other than that nine people have been arrested, that they are entitled like anybody else to a presumption of innocence, I hope they will be dealt with fairly and justly by the process, the charges are very serious and there's quite a number of Australians involved, nine, it's a large number. This is a matter though for the courts, the Indonesian authorities, but I endorse very strongly, very strongly indeed, cooperation between the Australian Federal Police and the Indonesian authorities in trying to track down people who are trafficking in drugs.”
The journalist pushed Howard further: “Prime Minister, is it possible that as a consequence of this joint operation involving the AFP that Australians could face the death penalty...” but, before the journalist could finish, Howard interrupted saying, “Jim, I'm not going to start making comments that in any way bear upon this particular case, that would be inappropriate, I think you know that.”[1]
Clearly, Howard was already very familiar with the case and was aware of the significance of it, particularly with regard to the use of the death penalty but did not want to discuss it at that time.
According to Bob Myers, the barrister friend of Lee Rush, father of Scott Rush, “the AFP had all the evidence they needed to arrest the nine before they left Australia on a heroin smuggling mission. Instead it (the AFP) let them travel to Bali and then told Indonesian police about the crime they were about to commit”. [2] In a statement to the media on 4 May 2015, Commissioner of the AFP, Andrew Colvin, said:  “We can’t apologise for the role that we have to try to stop illicit drugs from coming into this community.”[3] But, if that is the case, why did the AFP not warn the Bali Nine that they knew of their plot to bring drugs into Australia. It’s not enough to simply state that the AFP didn’t have enough evidence to arrest them before leaving for Bali. They could just as easily have brought them in for questioning where they could have been warned of the consequences of going ahead with their plan and in particular the possibility that they may even face the death penalty if caught with drugs. To say there was not enough evidence to arrest them is a complete furphy. They needn’t have even been arrested; just simply brought in and told that the AFP knew what was going on and if they went ahead with their plan they would in all likelihood be arrested in Bali.
The next question is: Was it Mick Keelty’s decision alone to hand over the Bali Nine Australians on a plate to the Indonesian police knowing full well that they may well end up facing a firing squad? Would Keelty have had that kind of authority to make such a decision knowing how serious the political repercussions might be? Keelty would at least have had to consult the Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, about the case before contacting the Indonesian authorities about the plan - especially in cases where the death penalty is a possibility. Philip Ruddock in turn would have then needed to discuss the situation with John Howard who was in China at the time.
Judging by the response that Howard gave to questions about the affair at that doorstop interview in Beijing, Howard had certainly already been briefed on the matter and was clearly keen to pass the buck of responsibility back to the AFP accompanied by some carefully considered words about the ‘presumption of innocence’ and the hope ‘that they would be dealt with fairly and justly’ by the Indonesian legal system. In other words, as far as John Howard was concerned, the matter was fait accompli since the Bali Nine were now in the hands of the Indonesian authorities.
It seems now that a certain unnamed AFP officer who asked to be taken off the case because of his concerns about the possibility of the death sentence being involved will become the fall guy for this whole sorry affair in an attempt to absolve Ruddock and Howard of any responsibility. The reality however, is that it was Howard, Ruddock and Keelty who between them deliberately set up at least two of the Bali Nine for execution so as to deter other Australians from bringing drugs to Australia despite their claims of finding the death sentence abhorrent.

[1] John Howard, ‘Doorstop interview, Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China’, 19 April 2005.
[2] AAP, “AFP’s Bali Nine actions ‘imported death penalty into Australia’”. The Guardian, 4 May 2015.
[3] Bridie Jabour, “Bali Nine: AFP strenuously defends actions over 2005 drug-smuggling case”. The Guardian, 4 May 2015.

Friday, March 13, 2015


One could be forgiven for thinking that the election of a popular Democrat president in 2008 who had promised peace and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that the world could have looked forward to peaceful days ahead. Instead the war in Iraq has backfired on the US and has led directly to the mess the Middle East now finds itself in as the Islamic State (IS) spreads its poison across the region. All that President Obama seems to have achieved is to postpone what now seems to be the inevitable explosion that will likely occur after he has gone.

Obama’s failure to stabilise the Middle East stems directly from his inability to insist that Palestine be given statehood in a territory that is not subordinate to Israel in any way. His protests to Israel over settlement building in the West Bank have been completely ignored. His failure to see that Netanyahu and his fellow right-wing Zionists within the Israeli government have never had any intention of allowing Palestine to become a sovereign state – despite the pretence of ‘talks’ that kept Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and later John Kerry needlessly on the go for years – has brought only misery and poverty to the Palestinian people as the Israelis destroyed their homes in the
Gaza Strip and taken their freedom and lands in the West Bank. Meanwhile, the ‘Arab Spring’ saw the disintegration of Syria, Libya and Egypt. As the Syrian civil war turned into something akin to the Spanish Civil War where foreign fighters flocked to fight governments and then each other as it degenerated into a bloodbath where thousands died, Obama was unable to prevent Iraq from being sucked into the vortex of so-called ‘Islamic extremism’.

Obama’s failure was his inability to see how inevitable this all was. Obama’s inability to resist Israeli demands that the Syrian revolution against President Bashir al-Assad be supported by the US meant that the violence there escalated out of control as the various factional interests fighting against al-Assad’s government began to polarise into powerful groups that eventually coalesced into what we see there today; a pseudo-religious anarchical-fascist phenomenon that seems to be growing exponentially. And initially all this was allowed to happen because of Israel and America’s support for just about anyone fighting al-Assad and his allies Hezbollah and Iran.

Now the situation has become almost out of control. Feeding the so-called ‘Islamists’ is the US and their allies’ air attacks against IS in Iraq and Syria which seems to achieve nothing except infuriate the extremists to the point where they become ever more blood-thirsty in the lands they occupy and threaten to attack those countries that attack them using violent acts of terrorism. Right-wing Western governments, including Canada, New Zealand and Australia, have pledged support to the effort to confront IS thus exposing the peoples of those nations to retaliation.

Obama has found himself in a strange place where he knows that Americans are fed up with war. Iraq cost America dearly. Obama knows he can’t go to war again for Israel as Netanyahu has demanded. Iran is not Iraq. While Iran supports al-Assad in Syria, Obama has kept that issue away from his attempts to find a way to ensure Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Obama, rightly, regards diplomacy and negotiation as the way to settle the issue while the Republican warhawks, the neoconservatives and the Christian Zionists of the Western world together with the right-wing Zionists of Israel would prefer to use force. They regard Iran’s nuclear program as an ‘existential threat’ to Israel.

For years Israel has accused Iran of having a nuclear weapons program and that Iran is hell-bent on ‘wiping Israel off the map’. Netanyahu has not let go of this meme and now, as Obama’s presidency comes into its final months before in the run up to the 2016 Presidential elections, the warhawks in both the US and Israel begin clamouring again for action against Iran.

Helping their cause is the rampant growth of IS atrocities, military successes, and apparent attraction of their cause to Muslim youths trapped in a Western world that they see as Islamophobic and which has evolved into a vicious cycle of mutual hatred – one that ultimately the disaffected youth that are caught up in it cannot win. It is only a matter of time before the Western nations led by a Republican US government dominated by warhawks and neoconservatives go all out to crush IS in its tracks.

Meanwhile, Israel, buoyed by both a renewed militarism in the US and a revitalised alliance with Israel that would characterise a Republican administration, would, with the full support of the US and its Western allies, deal with its own enemies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

For the warhawks, Republicans and their extreme right-wing allies both in Israel and within the Western world, the up-coming elections in Israel and the 2016 presidential elections will be crucial.

In Israel, the 17 March elections will likely return a staunchly pro-Zionist government into office no matter who wins – and one should remember that virtually the entire Israeli political system is right-wing compared to other so-called Western democracies. One should not be lulled into thinking that any party in Israel labelled as ‘left-wing’ is actually left-wing. The reality is that it’s simply not as right-wing as many of the ultra-nationalist extreme right-wing parties that envisage a Greater Israel free off all Arabs and including an annexed Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Neoconservatives in the US are already promoting their preferred Republican candidates with Jeb Bush being seriously backed by the big money donators. Scott Walker is also in the Republican frame being backed by the neoconservatives.

On 20 January 2017 the world’s political landscape is likely to suddenly change for the worse if a foreign policy focussed Republican wins the presidential election, a right-wing nationalist Israeli government is formed after the coming 17 March elections, and no significant inroads towards the defeat of IS has occurred.

For the people of the US, while they’d prefer to keep out of wars, the atrocities being committed in the Middle East by IS may prove to be a tipping point for many voters who may find a Republican promise to put an end to the reign of IS hard to resist. They may well fall again for the promise of a quiet Middle East once Iran and IS have been dealt with – just as they did in 2003.

As the Obama years draw to a close and his promises of a lasting peace shattered, so the warhawks, neocons and their allies around the world with their delusions of Western Exceptionalism will once again bring the world to the brink of catastrophe in the Middle East – and possibly even beyond the brink.

Friday, March 06, 2015


You could be forgiven for thinking that the Israeli extreme right must be nuts for being so obsessed about Iran when the Islamic State (IS), a far more bloodthirsty and ruthless organisation that borders on being an anarchistic-fascist organisation hell bent on destroying anything and everything that doesn’t conform to its beliefs, is almost at Israel’s northern borders. Rest assured, however, that there is method in Israel’s apparent madness.

The Israelis for years, indeed, long before IS came along, have considered Iran as their mortal enemy accusing them of wanting nothing less than the destruction of Israel. To reinforce this notion, Israel accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons for the sole purpose of attacking and destroying Israel. Israel says that ‘Iran is an existential threat’ to Israel, a call repeated only recently by Netanyahu when he addressed the US Congress in Washington on Tuesday 4 March 2015.

The world, on the other hand, tends to think differently. Apart from the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany, the so-called P5+1, believe that Iran can be prevented from the possibility of moving toward being nuclear armed by a mixture of negotiation and sanctions. These negotiations, instigated by the US under Obama’s administration, have all but destroyed Israel’s aspirations to get the US to attack Iran ostensibly to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities but in reality to affect regime change in Iran.

For Israel and their Republican and neoconservative supporters in the US, regime change in Iran is essential because it would strip Israel’s enemies at home, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, of their ability to resist Israeli aspirations to create a Greater Israel that includes annexing the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and possibly even southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. Regime change in Iran will also effectively put a halt to Iranian hegemony and influence throughout other regions of the Middle East including Syria, Iraq and the Yemen. This would then allow a right-wing led future US government to launch a full-scale offensive against IS and what remains of Bashir al-Assad’s government in Syria while Israel launch all-out attacks against Hamas and Hezbollah.

All this though requires a change of political scenery in the US; a change that could well occur at the next US Presidential election in November of next year.

Jeb Bush, George W. Bush’s brother, has already thrown his hat in the ring for nomination as the Republican candidate and has taken on advisors who are well known Zionist supporting neoconservatives. Israel has an election coming up on 17 March this year and it is likely that the right-wing of Israeli politics will prevail with Netanyahu a strong possibility of retaining the Prime Ministership and, if not Netanyahu, then, in what I consider to be the worst case scenario, the Zionist extremist Avigdor Liebermann who has called for regime change in Iran, the invasion and annexation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and the destruction of Hezbollah.

It seems clear to me that the purpose of Netanyahu’s provocative speech to Congress last Tuesday was to pave the way for a drastic realignment of US foreign policy after the US Presidential elections in 2016, a realignment that favours Israeli plans for the future of the Middle East returning hegemony firmly back in the hands of the US and Israel and rendering Iran’s influence null and void thus realising Israel’s dream of creating a Greater Israel.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015


The execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is imminent and, as the Indonesian ambassador to Australia Nadjib Kesoema has said, ‘the situation was final’ and there was ‘nothing Australia could do to save Chan and Sukumaran from the firing squad’.

The reality, however, is that there was never any intention of Australia doing anything to save them from a firing squad in the first place. Right from the very moment the Bali Nine set foot on the aircraft in Australia that took them to Bali they were doomed. If the Australian government wanted to save them from the firing squad then they would never have let them get aboard that aircraft knowing full well what the Bali Nine were planning and what the consequences were going to be.

Right from the very beginning of this sorry saga I have argued that the Bali Nine were deliberately set up and that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian government at the highest levels, including the Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, and the AFP chief at the time, Mick Keelty, together with then Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, conspired with the Indonesian authorities to have the Bali Nine caught red-handed smuggling drugs and that in the subsequent trials the ringleaders would be sentenced to death and ultimately executed. The intention as far as the Australian government and the AFP were concerned is to let the executions serve as a deterrent to other Australians thinking of smuggling drugs in or out of Indonesia or, indeed, any other country that has the death penalty for dealing in drugs.

Australia hasn’t been anywhere near forceful enough in its dealings with the Indonesians in trying to save the lives of Chan and Sukumaran. Both Howard then and Abbott today have done nothing to try and save their lives other than plead personally to the Indonesian presidents of the time to commute the death sentences. Both have claimed they respect the laws of other nations and also have said they did not want to upset the good relationship between Indonesia and Australia and can do nothing more than make personal pleas to the Indonesian president.

But these are hollow words. They claim to respect the laws of other nations, but do they really? This so-called respect doesn’t extend to countries that execute gays as in Iran and Saudi Arabia, which successive Australian governments have vigorously criticised, yet ignores other countries that execute innocent prisoners or execute those whose crimes were committed when they were just children or execute those who are clearly intellectually disabled all of which happens all too often in the United States.

The hypocrisy of the Australian government continues as the Abbott government completes the task Howard, Ruddock and Keelty set out to achieve; to deliberately have Australians executed despite having no death penalty in Australia and allow an Indonesian firing squad to become Australia’s proxy executioners.