All posts filed under: Australia

Has new Australian foreign agent law been safely neutered?

Tony kevin The Australian parliament is about to pass a complex package of national security laws aimed at strengthening Australia’s protections against espionage, sabotage, (covert) foreign interference and (overt) harmful foreign influence on Australian political life. The real target is China, but Russia makes a convenient public scapegoat drawing on current US/UK precedents. The draft laws which now appear to have bipartisan support are significantly improved from the first government drafts released for public comment in December 2017. Nevertheless they take Australia in an illiberal direction. The legislation is a defensive McCarthyist response by Australia’s security and mainstream media elites to the erosion of United States power and will to protect Australia. These groups cannot bear the thought that as Chinese and Russian global power grows, Australia must now radically review its great power and Asia-Pacific region relationships. Instead, Australia’s elites seek to intimidate Australia’s richly diverse plural society into docile obedience to the national security dogma of the day, whatever the cost to Australians’ traditional rights to free speech and free association with anybody …

Australia needs an urgent reappraisal of its place in a changing world

James O’Neill It seems likely that the Australian House and Senate will pass the governments legislative proposals, ostensibly aimed at alleged foreign interference in Australia’s electoral process. Despite denials to the contrary, the legislation is manifestly aimed at alleged Chinese interference, although the scope of the proposed legislative provisions amounts to a sustained attack upon the ability of critics in the media and elsewhere to do their job of holding governments to account. The cynic might argue that such legislation is hardly necessary, as serious and sustained criticism of the policies of successive Australian governments, and certainly in the “defence” and “national security” areas has been conspicuously absent for many years both from the mainstream media and the Labor opposition. There has been a noticeable increase in the barrage of one-dimensional propaganda in recent decades, and a corresponding reduction in the presentation of fact based analysis. As equally insidious as the propaganda nature of much of what is termed “news” is the systematic ignoring of actual events. A stark illustration of this is in the …

Lift the ban on communications! Free Julian Assange!

by James Coga, via WSWS June 6 will mark 10 weeks since the Ecuadorian government blocked all communication by WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange with the outside world, including personal visitors. Assange has been trapped inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, when Quito granted him asylum in the face of a legal witch-hunt by the governments of the United States, Britain and Sweden. Britain was moving to extradite Assange to Sweden on trumped-up allegations of sexual abuse as the first step in transferring him to the US to face charges of espionage, which carry a possible death sentence. Washington had vowed to punish Assange for having exposed before the world war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as US intrigues against other countries. In remarks last Wednesday, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno attempted to defend the silencing of Assange. He sought to deny—unconvincingly—that this action was the outcome of his government’s capitulation to pressure and threats by the United States. Moreno put forward an Orwellian conception of freedom of speech …

The Last Dream: other people’s wars (1988)

In this documentary from 1988 John Pilger looks at the complicated relationship Australians have with war

Stop Millions of Western Migrants!

by Andre Vltchek Tens of millions of European and North American immigrants, legal and illegal, have been flooding both the cities and countryside in Asia, Latin America, and even Africa. Western migrants are charging like bulls and the ground is shaking under their feet; they are fleeing Europe and North America in hordes. Deep down they cannot stand their own lifestyle, their own societies, but you would hardly hear them admit it. They are too proud and too arrogant! Instead, after recognizing innumerable areas of the world as suitable for their personal needs – as safe, attractive and cheap – they simply pack and go! We are told that some few hundred thousand African and Asian exiles are now causing a great “refugee crises” all over Europe. Governments and media are spreading panic, borders are being re-erected and armed forces are interrupting the free movement of peoples. But the number of foreigners illegally entering Europe is incomparably smaller than the number of Western migrants that are inundating, often illegally, virtually all corners of the world. …

The message of Anzac: Put out more flags, or shut up…

by John Pilger Following a week in Australia in which the words “heroes” and “heroism” bobbed on a tsunami of raw propaganda, a tribute is due to two unrecognised heroes. The first is Ray Jackson, who died on 23 April. Ray spoke and fought for a truth which the powerful and bigoted hate to hear, see or read. He said this was a land not of brave Anzac “legacies”, but of dirty secrets and enduring injustices that only a national cowardice could sustain. “Conformity is widely understood and obeyed in Australia,” he wrote to me, “freedom is not.” I first met Ray in 2004 during the Indigenous uprising in Redfern, Sydney, that followed the violent death of a 17-year-old, Terence Hickey. Known as “TJ”, he was chased by a police car, lost control of his bike and was impaled on an iron fence. The police denied they had caused his death. Not a single Aboriginal person believed them, least of all Ray, whose campaign for justice will not go away. A Wiradjuri man, Ray was …

Australian government “actively considering” dangerous provocation in South China Sea

by Peter Symonds Amid escalating tensions between the US and China over the South China Sea, the Australian government is “actively considering conducting its own ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises near artificial islands built by China in disputed territory,” according to a front-page article featured in today’s Australian. Written by the newspaper’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan, who is well-connected in defence circles in Washington and Canberra, the article revealed that what is under discussion is far more provocative than recent US military operations close to Chinese-controlled atolls. “The Royal Australian Air Force aircraft would fly within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres) of an artificial island build by the Chinese, with Beijing certain to react,” Sheridan stated. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the Pentagon was drawing up plans for warships or military aircraft to enter the 12-mile territorial zone around a Chinese islet. The Australian article makes clear that Washington could be contracting out this reckless venture to Canberra, which has a track record of functioning as an attack dog for the US on …

WW3 – this summer’s blockbuster?

what does this war-talk mean? Are Soros and the other oligarch-hawks too stupid/senile/insane to understand “nuclear war” as more than a punchline? Is it just sabre-rattling rhetoric? Or are they figuring with this war the idea is enough? That a virtual WW3, a mushroom cloud of the mind, will be all that’s needed to manipulate the populace this time?