All posts tagged: Australia

Bombing Bridges – questioning Australia’s role in the war on Syria.

David Macilwain As I wrote recently, in an article intended for publication on the Australian blog “Pearls and Irritations, but finally published by 21st Century Wire, the apparent retreat from Syria by Western powers has seen a resurgence in abusive criticism of the “victorious” Assad government – as well as of its allies Russia and Iran. Far from admitting to any fault, or guilt for their seven year-long conspiracy to replace the Syrian government with a Western-friendly puppet regardless of the democratic will of Syrians, these governments, their NGOs and media partners are now entrenching their false narrative of a noble and just effort that failed to remove a brutal tyrant. Even better informed commentators who generally oppose the US’ hegemonic attitude and duplicity, and may recognise its shared responsibility for other disastrous conflicts – in Libya or Yemen or Iraq – are still evidently in a state of delusion over the war on Syria, and the US coalition’s malevolent role in it. The immediate reason for my article was the publication on “P&I” by …

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 …

Open Source Investigation: The War on Cash

Following last nights shutdown of Visa’s payment system across large parts of Europe, we thought this would be good time to revisit the topic of money. Cold hard cash is on the way out, following a sustained global effort to undermine its usage. Is that a good thing? Does the Visa crash exemplify just how little power the consumer wields in a world of universally digital payments? James Corbett has been running his Open Source Investigation into the “War on Cash” since 2016, here we post some of the more concerning findings. Feel free to contribute BTL if there are any further developments, or get in touch with The Corbett Report directly here. The Cashless Society List ARGENTINA – Argentina’s currency crisis has been known for some time. In short, Argentinians don’t trust the peso and are willing to pay premium for any currency they perceive as “more stable,” especially US dollars which are traded on the black market as “blue dollars” at prices far exceeding the official exchange rate. That’s why Argentina has been …

MH17: “New evidence”, same issues

Nearly four years since the incident, and over two years since they last reported any progress, the MH17 Joint Investigative Team (JIT) have held a press conference. To underline their previous position – they still think Russia did it. The timing of this statement could be seen as very politically convenient for the NATO allies and the Kiev regime. The West would have you believe that the proximity to the World Cup is purely coincidental. Whilst those suggesting that this is a great cover for Ukraine’s renewed shelling of separatists regions in the Donbass will surely be dismissed as “apologists” or “cynics”. None of that is really the issue though. Whether they truly have “new evidence”, or whether this is just a rehash of discredited Bellingcat nonsense, is immaterial. If the politically convenient timing is a coincidence or a stunt does not matter. The most important point is that the JIT is fatally and irredeemably flawed. The JIT, made up of investigators from Australia, the Netherlands, Malaysia and Ukraine…but not Russia, has obvious credibility problems …

MSM headlines ignore heightened tensions in Syria conflict

The US shot down a Syrian warplane a few days ago, the pilot is currently being “held” by Kurdish forces on the ground. The plane was targeting moderate fighters under American protection, according to the Americans, and bombing terrorists according to the Syrian government. As a result of this, Russia has ceased cooperation with the US on air-missions over Syrian air-space, and issued several statements which amount to, essentially, an ultimatum. The Syrian government has written letters to the UNSC and intends to address them soon. Australia, in what appears to be a panicked “well, this is none of our business” move, has ceased all missions over Syria with immediate effect. You’d be forgiven for not knowing any of this was happening, given the front pages of Britain’s five major papers all chose to focus a on a collection of non-events and nothing issues: Considering that media-complicity in spreading anti-Assad and anti-Russian propaganda is a big reason the US-Russia tensions have been allowed to get this bad, that they should stick their heads in the …

Obama’s “Humanitarian” Bombing Campaign “Against” the Islamic State (ISIS)

by Prof. Michael Chossudovsky, for Global Research Almost 2 years ago, August 8, 2014, Obama launched a bombing campaign against Syria and Iraq, in defiance of international law. The US Air Force with the support of a coalition of 19 countries has relentlessly waged an intensified air campaign against Syria and Iraq allegedly targeting  the Islamic State (ISIS) brigades.    The counterterrorism operation was granted a humanitarian R2P mandate: at the outset, the bombing campaign was allegedly directed against the Islamic State mercenaries (ISIS) with a view to protecting the Yazidis of Northern Iraq.  Obama: A Pack of Lies According to Obama, military action was needed to protect innocent civilians and prevent ISIS’ advance on Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region.  In his Nationwide address on August 7, 2014, Obama also intimated the need to send in US ground troops: Good evening. Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and …

Did Obama push Dutch & Australian govts to start war with Russia after MH17?

by John Helmer at Dances with Bears NOTE: bold emphases are ours -OffG President Barack Obama and his advisors spent at least a week, and as much as three weeks, planning to send up to 9,000 combat troops into eastern Ukraine, on the border with Russia, following the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 two years ago. The scheme, which was to have involved Dutch and Australian army units, with German ground and US air support, plus NATO direction, has inadvertently leaked from the publication of a report this week by a former Australian Army captain. The military plan, according to James Brown, now head of research at the US Studies Centre of the University of Sydney, “would have consumed the bulk of the Australian Army.” Captain Brown also claims “planning for these military options consumed Australia’s intelligence agencies. The National Security Committee of [the Australian ministerial] Cabinet met every day for more than three weeks , and staff and agencies produced a frenzied stream of briefings on Ukraine, Russia and the intentions of [President] …

MH17: The Continuing Charade

by James O’Neill, from New Eastern Outlook The Sun Herald (Sydney) of 22 May 2016 reported that the Australian families of the MH17 disaster had “served” the European court of Human Rights (ECHR) with a claim seeking compensation of $10 million for each victim. The report referred to the “proposed respondents” to the claim being the Russian Federation and its President Vladimir Putin. The solicitor acting for the plaintiffs was quoted in a separate report (1) claiming, “we have facts, photographs, memorandums (sic), tonnes of stuff.” He also claimed that the claim document ran to “over 3500 pages in length.” These reports closely followed the publication of the New South Wales Coroner’s Court report into the deaths of six of the victims who were resident in New South Wales. The Coroner’s findings closely followed those of the Report of the Dutch Safety Board of 13 October 2015, attributing the deaths of those aboard MH17 to a BUK missile detonating close to the aircraft, causing the plane to disintegrate and a consequent immediate loss of life …

Three Horrendous Anti-Indigenous Laws

by First Peoples Worldwide, 2013, via Cultural Survival Much of the discrimination that Indigenous Peoples face is societal and economic, such as personal racism, discriminatory hiring practices, a misunderstanding of and disrespect for cultural practices, and lack of proper education opportunities, healthcare facilities, or legal oversight due to institutionalized bigotry. Much of this discrimination is written into laws – and many of these laws still exist or were terminated only a generation or so ago. Below are three examples of discrimination laws from Africa, Australia and North America. It is by no means a comprehensive list. If you have an example of a law you would like to share, please leave it in a comment at the bottom of this post. 1. It was legal to hunt San (Bushmen) in southern Africa until 1936. When Dutch settlers arrived at the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) they eradicated most of the local San population within 150 years, shooting and killing thousands and forcing more into labor.  From the 1600s-1800s, commandos (mobile paramilitary units) were ordered to …

The rape of East Timor: “Sounds like fun”

Secret documents found in the Australian National Archives provide a glimpse of how one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century was executed and covered up. They also help us understand how and for whom the world is run.

Freeing Julian Assange: the last chapter

by John Pilger One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – the international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations – has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden. After five years of fighting to clear his name – having been smeared relentlessly yet charged with no crime – Assange is closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than at any time since he was arrested and held in London under a European Extradition Warrant, itself now discredited by Parliament. The UN Working Group bases its judgements on the European Convention on Human Rights and three other treaties that are binding on all its signatories. Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. It would fly contemptuously in the face of international law if they did not comply with the judgement and allow Assange to leave the …

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 …

US Bombers to Australia

By Binoy Kampmark The language never reflects the actual conduct. Deploying weapons to a region in greater numbers is not seen as provocative, even if placing such items in a theatre of operations is bound to get neighbours nervous. This is particularly the case about the US “rebalance” in the Asia-Pacific. “The ongoing deliberations,” notes John J. Hamre of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, “are shaped more by the legacy of the past (for example arguing about where to relocate particular facilities) than by the security imperatives of the next thirty years.” In the background, China lurks as both threat and opportunity – as long as the appropriate moves are made on its part to accommodate the wishes of Washington and its allies. Grow and flourish, by all means but do so within neatly demarcated parameters of power interests. Enemies can be refashioned and rebranded overnight, even if they do tend to hold the credit strings. This is the backdrop of the remarks made last week by David Shear, the US Defence Department’s …

International legislators oppose TPP, say it endangers country sovereignty

by Vaska As the Council of Canadians reports today, Elizabeth May, leader of Canada’s Green Party, and MP Don Davis, the New Democratic Party’s trade critic, have joined the call by 40 parliamentarians from other countries to their respective trade ministers to to oppose the United States’ certification process. The certification process allows the United States to vet the other countries’ sovereign laws ensuring they “conform” with the trade agreement, before the United States obligations would come into effect. The open letter states, “If applied to the TPP, this practice would infringe on the sovereignty of our governments to determine the meaning and extent of the obligations they have agreed to and adopted under the TPP; it would impugn the constitutional authority and responsibility of legislatures and lawmakers; and it would constitute interference by a foreign government in the sovereignty of our countries.” The letter was sent to International Trade Minister Ed Fast and his counterparts in the other countries. From Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand, the signatories include ministers, prominent former parliamentarians as well as …

The forgotten coup – how America and Britain crushed the government of their ‘ally’, Australia

by John Pilger first published October 23 2014 on Johnpilger.com Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him. Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing. Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal …