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Rise Up to End War

Rise Up to End War

Bryan Law updates us from Pine Gap - the Empire Strikes Back

by Bryan Law

In May and June 2007 the Gandhian/activist wing of the Australian Peace Movement is going to produce two nonviolent action programs which promote and develop a grass-roots resistance to war.  One action is in the Northern Territory, and one in Queensland.

Pine Gap


On May 29 2007 I and three other Christian Peace Activists (Donna Mulhearn, Jim Dowling, and Adele Goldie) begin our trial before Justice Thomas of the Supreme Court in Alice Springs for our Citizens' Inspection of the U.S. controlled Pine Gap Terror base on 9 December 2005.  We face up to 7 years imprisonment.

The trial is expected to last two weeks, and outside the Court, at Pine Gap itself, there'll be several actions taken to further illuminate the darkness and interfere with war.  

A convergence at the front gate of the base is set down for 2 June 2007.  A pictorial essay on our last convergence is here.

Shoalwater Bay

On June 18 2007 the second national Peace Convergence begins at Rockhampton/ Shoalwater Bay.  Hundreds of activists will gather to oppose and interfere with Operation Talisman Sabre - the huge joint invasion exercise involving 14,000 U.S. troops and 12,000 Australian troops.  

Small autonomous affinity groups, as demonstrated at Pine Gap, will feature in the name of peace at Shoalwater Bay.  So will mass actions on 23/24 June 2007

Both these actions address the way in which Australia slavishly serves the U.S. military interest through joint operations and exercises.  Both call upon citizens to rise up in a joyful and spirited way against militarism and the forces of war.  Both represent and prefigure the re-emergence of a grass-roots resistance to war in Australia.

Massive arms buildup


In 2007 Australia is undergoing a massive military buildup - ALL of which is designed to complement U.S. forces and work under U.S. command, fighting wars in third countries.  The land warfare component of Talisman Sabre involves a city built around a walled square.  Mecca maybe?

We've also made significant accommodation to U.S. needs with bombing ranges, exercise areas, and rest & recreation for U.S. troops.

Since 2002 and the adoption of "the Bush Doctrine", U.S. military policy has been to attack any country in which a security "threat" "might" be forming.  Iraq was the first war to arise out of the Bush Doctrine.  There are others waiting in the wings (Iran, Syria, North Korea).  U.S. military spending is way out of control.

The new US/Aus satellite base on Navy land outside Geraldton, West Australia, will facilitate capacities such as the "Warfighter Information Network Tactical (WIN-T)" which will enable units in the field to access a real-time picture of battle fields and "enemy" units from satellite transmissions. This high-tech warfare is, like Pine Gap, a one way ticket to automatic complicity in any act of aggressive war launched by the USA anywhere in the world - whether we like it or not.  (I don't like it)!

It's clear the corrupt lying Howard government is not going to end, or even limit Australian collusion in U.S. warmongering.  It's clear the corrupt lying Labor opposition will reduce participation in Iraq in a symbolic way, but will not limit the operation of the U.S. "alliance" and will continue to meet the U.S. demand for bases, and for routine participation in future wars.

What to do?


In our Pine Gap trial, the Commonwealth is working hard to prevent us from discovering documents, or mentioning anything related to the function of the Pine Gap Terrorist Base.  They challenge and oppose our every attempt to discover documents and question key witnesses about the policies or operations of Pine Gap as a "defence" base.

The prosecution's aim is to argue that what the terror base does is irrelevant, and all that matters is our physical presence on a specific piece of land at a particular time established by the Commonwealth Police present.  Nothing else has relevance.

On 21 March, at a pre-trial hearing on our application for discovery of Defence Department documents, there were six lawyers, including a QC and more junior Counsel) for the prosecution (the Crown) and the government (the Commonwealth).  We are up against it.

We need to "prove" that our beliefs about what Pine Gap does are "reasonable".  

Their line is that we defendants don't really "know" anything about Pine Gap - because it's secret.  The Commonwealth asserts that we can't even use Parliamentary reports to show our sources of knowledge (Parliamentary Reports, they say, are privileged).  Thus everything we say is mere "rumour", and can't be used in evidence.

Our immediate and major goal on 29 May is to get information before the jury, and before the various publics) that sets out the nature and function of Pine Gap as an instrument of illegal aggressive war.  Our task is to expose truth and let people make their own decisions.

As Christians we believe in miracles and God's grace.  We'll need them.

The grass-roots resistance

Nevertheless our action is proving effective so far in engaging public attention and creating resistance to Pine Gap.  The heavy legal penalties which are likely to be imposed against us will, we hope, amplify our action's effect.

We know there's significant attention in nonviolence circles about our action, mainly in Australia, but in places around the world.  This is the most fertile field for alliance development and mutual support in waging resistance.

We also intend to reach out beyond the nonviolent committed and bring new people to calm, purposeful and effective nonviolence.  Various communities and congregations of faith have been responsive and productive.

And, of course, we have a program of media stories and coverage which we hope will extend well beyond Alice Springs and generate some national and international attention.  The amorphous "public" is, of course the least likely source of new revolutionaries - but then again everyone has to start somewhere.  Converts to the cause are worth their weight in broadband.

So in Alice Springs in May/June this year we're running a parallel political program of information, protest and direct action outside the Court.

For those who come to Alice Springs, the nonviolence training will focus on foundation work for the formation and operation of small, autonomous affinity groups which undertake interventionary work against the U.S. war-fighting system.

Intervention contains an element of physical disruption to the war machine.  In December 2005 we forced Pine Gap to "lock down" for four hours.  In later months the government was forced to conduct a security assessment of Pine Gap and improve their security at a cost of millions (so they say - we'll find out).  We have driven up costs and made operations more difficult.  

We are few in number and small in resources, and we constitute an efficient and effective means of addressing war and the emerging security/terrorist state.

To promote further actions of this nature we'll be working hard at diversity, mutual respect, cooperation, fun, spirit, miracles, and a relaxed but determined revolutionary zeal to manifest Peace on Earth in the ways that are available.

Around the world

As we do this work, we take comfort and strength from the many thousands of people around the world who, just like us, are building resistance to war.  The Pit Stop Plowshares and the Derry 9 in Ireland, Lt Ehren Watada in Seattle, and Father John Dear in Albuquerque  - and so it goes.

Come along and join in the fun.

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Time for regime change?

ZIMBABWE’S leading cleric has called on Britain to invade the country and topple President Robert Mugabe. Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, warned that millions were facing death from famine, unable to survive amid inflation believed to have soared to 15,000%.

Mugabe, 83, had proved intransigent despite the “massive risk to life”, said Ncube, the head of Zimbabwe’s 1m Catholics. “I think it is justified for Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe,” he said. “We should do it ourselves but there’s too much fear. I’m ready to lead the people, guns blazing, but the people are not ready.”

Millions are facing death from famine, and the UN does nothing. Maybe if Zimbabwe, had oil, regime change would have already happened. 

What are we doing in Afghanistan? Are we there for 30 years?

But all is clearly not well in Afghanistan. When, since 2001, has the British Government clearly stated a strategic objective for our forces – or any forces – there. If you look for one, it will be hard to find. A strategic objective is one that can be stated in political or economic terms.

If you fight a war, you have to know what the war is for. Previous Afghan wars (Britain's wars in 1838–42, 1878-80) were about regime change. Putting a more favourable regime in charge, which meant one that did not favour the Russians in this crossroads of Asia.

'Regime change' was also clearly an objective in 2001. The aim was to bring democracy and prosperity, but you can't do that by taking the people's source of income away. And what was that source of income? Opium. Afghanistan was the world's greatest source of the white poppy, and western Governments were determined to be rid of it. But what do the people grow instead, apart from hatred and resentment?

Another was to bring humanitarian aid to a country at war for nearly 30 years, and to import some western ideals, including women's rights. Was that really realistic? Another aim was to install a firm central Government that could control the country, in a country that has never respected or responded well to centralised Government.

A disparate land, with disparate tribes, and disparate warlords. Finally, the aim was to be rid of the Taliban – the movement that grew from a bunch of theology students, but which rose to provide, probably, albeit briefly and cruelly, the most effective central Government Afghanistan has ever known.

The new British Ambassador to Kabul has said that the UK needs to be in Afghanistan for perhaps another 30 years. Assuming the British Governments over that time have the endurance, the bottle and the continuity to maintain that commitment, he is probably right.

Is this another war without end? The British Ambassador to Kabul says that British troops need to be there for at least 30 years. What is Australia's objective? Are we there because the US says that we should be? What will be different in 30 years time? We are killing Afghanis and they are turning them against us. Like Iraq, there is no military solution in Afghanistan. Both countries will have to find and fight for the government that suites them they don't need foreign governments interfering in the process.

The real numbers of US war dead are far higher

As of yesterday (23 June 2007) the Department of Defence confirmed that 3557 US serviceman had been killed in Iraq. More have been reported killed over the weekend and will soon be added to the list.

However, the figures that the Department of Defence won’t release are the numbers of US servicemen who have died after being wounded. The DoD official death figures are only of servicemen who have been killed in Iraq.

Estimates of the number of US servicemen who have died as a result of service in Iraq are something quite different, with some estimates as high as 18,000. This, of course, is not confirmed, but one can rest assured that the death toll as of now is far, far higher than the official 3557.

I am aware of a research group in the US that is doing an audit of US servicemen who have died as a result of service in Iraq. They are keeping a low profile for obvious reasons but will be publishing their results in the near future. The audit is being done by meticulously poring over literally thousands of local newspapers throughout the US and by word of mouth; a tedious task as one can imagine. The audit will also include servicemen who have died since being wounded in Afghanistan.

The hidden cost of war

These are America's war wounded, a toll that has received less attention than the 3,500 troops killed in Iraq. Depending on how you count them, they number between 35,000 and 53,000.

More of them are coming home, with injuries of a scope and magnitude the government did not predict and is now struggling to treat..........

 No one knows what the ultimate cost will be. Harvard University economist Linda Bilmes estimates the lifetime health-care tab for these troops will be $250 billion to $650 billion — a wide range but a huge sum no matter how you slice it...............

"The mistake in Vietnam was, we hid the injured away from folks so they didn't get to tell their stories. Now it's important that we let them tell their stories to the public," said Dr. Steven Scott, director of the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center at the Tampa VA Medical Center in Florida.

Thousands of young Americans have had their lives shattered by the war on terror. The cost to the US could be as high as $650 billion if the war stopped tomorrow. I would suggest that the cost to Iraqis would be at least tenfold. The slaughter and maiming of a generation is a blight on humanity. Future generations will have to pay for this and we have achieved nothing!


 

Violence begets violence

Violence begets violence

In its war on Iraq, the United States holds the military capacity to defeat a nation, maim its people, and destroy its infrastructure. But that strategy has stripped us of the power to win Iraq’s people over and to build a nation.

In Arendt’s words, “Violence can destroy power; it is utterly incapable of creating it. This statement may evoke disbelief in those who assume that violence is power and that systemic, sustained, legalized, state-sponsored violence—war—is the ultimate form of power.

Yet the prospect of nuclear annihilation has led many who had believed in the necessity of war to the commonsense conclusion that war in the twenty-first century is obsolete. Having traced the rise and fall of the war system, Jonathan Schell concludes that “never has a single technical invention had a more sudden or profound effect on an entrenched human institution than nuclear weapons have had on war. . . . The logic of total war had carried its practitioners to the brink of a destination, the far side of human existence, to which the logic of politics could not follow. For politics was a human activity, and in the postnuclear landscape there might be no human beings.”

War is better understood as religion than as a science; it requires a political momentum that is sustained by an ethos of fear and ethnocentrism rather than by the logic of analysis. Its religious character is evident in rituals, strict codes of group behaviour and identity, a threatening enemy that constitutes the reality against which the group’s identity is formed, a belief in a transcendent power or cause, and an ethos that clothes these conceptions with an aura of facticity. “The conviction that force was always the final arbiter was not in truth so much an intellectual conclusion as a tacit assumption on all sides—the product not of a question asked and answered but of one unasked. Those who can free their minds of the myth of constructive violence will conclude with Jacques Ellul that “violence begets violence—nothing else.”

Whether it is implemented by the state or supported through the religious practices and theological systems of the church, violence destroys what it claims to preserve. Yet even the pacifist church has borrowed from the empire much of its logic, many of its patterns of thought and theological assumptions. The church, like the world (the peoples and powers that have not submitted themselves to a non violent God and the way of Jesus), takes for granted that violence is power.

As an atheist, struggling to come to terms with Christianity, I listened to Radio Nationals Encounter program this morning on Anabaptists it led me to the Anabaptist online news letter, where I found this very interesting article. I keep finding these facets to Christianity that are so loudly dismissed by the Christianity of the mainstream churches and certainly by Bush and Howard's version of Christianity. You never know, one day I may even be converted.

Disconnects and lies.

Tom Engelhardt on The Great American Disconnect.

Finally, the great American disconnect may be ending. Only four years
after the invasion of Iraq, the crucial facts-on-the-ground might
finally be coming into sight in this country -- not the carnage or the
mayhem; not the suicide car bombs or the chlorine truck bombs; not the
massive flight of middle-class professionals, the assassination
campaign against academics, or the collapse of the best health-care
service in the region; not the spiking American and Iraqi casualties,
the lack of electricity, the growth of Shia militias, the crumbling of
the "coalition of the willing," or the uprooting of 15% or more of
Iraq's population; not even the sharp increase in fundamentalism and
extremism, the rise of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the swelling of
sectarian killings, or the inability of the Iraqi government to get oil
out of the ground or an oil law, designed in Washington and meant to
turn the clock back decades in the Middle East, passed inside Baghdad's
fortified Green Zone -- no, none of that. What's finally coming into
view is just what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the top officials of
their administration, the civilian leadership at the Pentagon, and
their neocon followers had in mind when they invaded and occupied Iraq
in 2003.

Paul Craig Roberts - The Secret War.

American soldiers have been fighting
and dying in Iraq since 2003, and Americans do not know why.

All the reasons President Bush
gave us for his war are false. Bush said he invaded Iraq "to
disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein's
support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people."

We now know that these were
false claims. Disinformation about Iraq was produced by a special
unit within the Pentagon run by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith.
The unit operated outside the normal intelligence channels of
the CIA and DIA. Its purpose was to create false intelligence
to enable Bush to initiate war with Iraq.

Did President Bush know that
the claims put into his speeches by his speechwriters was false?

Who instructed Bush's speechwriters
to incorporate known lies into the President's speeches?

Why did Vice President Cheney,
the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, and the
Secretary of Defense all lie to the American people and to the
entire world?

What is the real agenda?

Some lies keep being told and some facilitate the process. Robert Parry on rewriting history.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman and radio personality Jay Diamond
are right to wonder why Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney got
away with rewriting a key chapter of the Iraq War history without
political reporters raising a peep.

At the June 5 Republican debate,
co-sponsored by CNN, Romney defended George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq
in March 2003 on the grounds that Saddam Hussein refused to let United
Nations weapons inspectors in to search for WMD.

If
Saddam “had opened up his country to I.A.E.A. inspectors, and they’d
come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass
destruction,” the war might have been averted, the former Massachusetts
governor said.

But the
reality is that Hussein did open up his country through the fall and
winter of 2002-03, giving Hans Blix and his U.N. inspection team free
rein to check out suspected WMD sites. It was President Bush who forced
the U.N. inspectors out in March 2003 so his invasion could proceed.

The
answer to the media question of why the U.S. press corps didn’t object
to Romney’s bogus account is that Washington journalists have accepted
this revisionist history since Bush began lying about the facts in July
2003.

We have seen what has resulted from these lies - death and destruction on a massive scale - yet where is the application of justice? Also, some are allowed to continue to lie in support of the great crimes committed, to the extent of a perception that they are being protected.  Not only those who lied  their way to committing these great crimes should be called to account but also those who, before or after the fact,  aid and abet the crimes by lies and other dishonest means.

Margo: hi Bob. you're a trooper!

 

New problem for "peace" activists looming...

Olmert makes secret overtures to Syria (SMH)

THE Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, has sent secret messages to Syria offering to discuss handing back the Golan Heights in return for a comprehensive peace agreement, an Israeli newspaper reported yesterday.

Citing "a senior political source", the mass daily Yedioth Ahronot said Mr Olmert had conveyed his offer to the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, via "the leaders of Germany and Turkey" and their intelligence services, after discussing the offer with the US President, George Bush, several weeks ago.

The answer will be "no" because the hereditary fascist dicator of Syria doesn't just want the Golan Heights, does he?

C. Parsons reckons:

C. Parsons reckons: “…the hereditary fascist dictator of Syria doesn't just want the Golan Heights”.

Apparently the right-wing Zionists of Israel don’t just want the Golan Heights either; they also want south Lebanon up the Litani River, the West Bank and can’t wait for the people of the Gaza to be so fed up with their lot on the Strip that they move out to Jordon.

The reality is that the Golan Heights isn’t the Israelis' land to deal with in the first place. The Syrians have every right to demand it back unconditionally just as the Palestinians have the right to demand the West Bank back and the Gaza free from Israeli collective punishment, aggression and the extra-judicial murder of their elected leaders.

Margo: Damian, could you write in the comments box - maybe you've cut and pasted and the font you used has come across.

More on slimy black stuff.

Iraq's oil workers have gone on strike. Not part of the plan and now the Iraqi PM is sending in the troops. That will make someone happy. A strike and objections to the oil law ... does oil have something to do with the disaster?

But if things get any worse will the US start offloading their problem?

If there is difficulty getting control of and maintaining the flow of oil, will the US lose interest? Or find something else to do while they are in the region?

Female hostage is notable academic and dissident. Tortured.

Haleh Esfandiari, one of the US citizens being held hostage in Iran as a "spy" is in fact a noted dissident and academic.

On May 29, 2007 (one day after a rare high-level meeting between Iranian and U.S. officials), an Iranian judiciary spokesman, Ali Reza Jamshidi announced that Iran's judiciary had brought charges of "endangering national security through propaganda against the system and espionage for foreigners" against Esfandiari, Azima, and Tajbakhsh.

Ali Reza Jamshidi  denied that Iran had arrested Ms Shakeri. Despite the charges. And the arrest. And his telling us about it.

(Perhaps he was "mistranslated"? Damian? Craig? What do you think?)

Here's some background on her and information regarding a previous attack on Ms Shakeri, including some details of her torture at the hands of Iranian security agents.

"During this incident, the men threatened to kill her; then they stole her baggage and both her U.S. and Iranian passports. Consequently, she was not permitted to leave the country. When she applied for new travel documents, she was instead barred from leaving Iran and interrogated for up to eight hours per day over a period of several weeks (until February 14) by authorities from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. These interrogations, which totaled approximately fifty hours, took place in the Ministry's offices on Africa Street in Tehran, and at its main building on Khaje Abdollah Ansari Street in Tehran, and focused primarily on her work at the Wilson Center, according to a statement from the Center. During this time, she was allowed to return home each day. On January 18, 2007, an interrogator and three other men (one holding a video camera) broke into her mother's apartment and entered Esfandiari's bedroom while she was taking an afternoon nap; they then took her laptop computer and other items."

While the use of hostages as bargaining chips is a common mode of conduct by the Tehran regime in its dealings with foreign countries, at this particular juncture, particularly given the recent humiliating backdown by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the hostage taking of 15 British sailors, the taking of US citizens as hostages, especially given their contacts among Iranian dissident groups, will be used to whip up hysteria inside Iran to buttress Ahmadinejad's political power as well as influence policy in Washington.

American hostages for Iranian show trial as others detained

TEHRAN: Iranian Prosecutors have formally charged two detained US-Iranians with spying after they made "admissions" during interrogation, the ISNA news agency has reported.

A third US-Iranian, who is not being held in jail but has had her passport confiscated, has been accused of working for a "counter-revolutionary" radio station and her case is ready to go to court, the agency reported yesterday.

Another feature of the nostalgia craze will be show trials of "spies" in which Left apologists in the West eagerly join in denunciations of the victims (usually academics or members of religious minorities)

Just watch.

Geo-political reality versus rhetoric and propaganda

This is the third time I have posted this, yet for some reason it is not published. Could you please explain why so that I can correct it appropriately.

Lataan

David R: it isn't being published because it is yet another reiteration of the "map-meme" debate. I can't see how you could change it that would get it published.

       

And it came to pass.

The US Senate Intelligence Committee has released its report on Prewar Intelligence Assessments about Postwar Iraq. Here is an article on the Senate Majority Leader's response. Some extracts from the article:

In his first speech on the Senate floor after returning from Congress's Memorial Day recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blasted George W. Bush and his administration for ignoring pre-war intelligence that specifically predicted long-term chaos in Iraq, the likelihood of a bloody civil war and the capacity of the invasion to actually strengthen al-Qaida.

Citing a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee called "Prewar Intelligence Assessments About Postwar Iraq," that was released the Friday before the holiday weekend, Reid asserted that "the Bush administration cannot hide behind ignorance. Whether out of hubris or incompetence, the President and his men willfully ignored the experts and sent our troops to battle unprepared for the consequences."

...

In a statement Monday, Reid cited the report in laying out the specifics of what the Bush administration knew -- and ignored -- in January of 2003, months before the Iraq invasion:

  • That installing democracy would "be a long, difficult, and probably turbulent challenge" in Iraq.
  • That Al Qaeda "would try to take advantage of US attention on postwar Iraq to reestablish its presence in Afghanistan."
  • That Iraq "was a deeply divided society that likely would engage in violent conflict unless an occupying power prevented it."
  • That the United States' occupation of Iraq "would result in a surge of political Islam and increased funding for terrorist groups."
  • That Iraq's neighbors would jockey for influence in Iraq, "including fomenting strife among Iraq's ethnic and sectarian groups."
  • That "some elements in the Iranian government could decide to try to counter aggressively the U.S. presence in Iraq or challenge U.S. goals."
  • That our action in Iraq "would not cause other regional states to abandon their WMD programs, or their desire to develop such programs."

"Clearly the intelligence community got it right," said Reid, "And their warnings were not issued in a vacuum: perhaps the most striking finding of the report is this: All the key Administration players were made aware of these warnings. Doug Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Steve Hadley, Scooter Libby, all key Bush officials at the National Security Council, the State Department and the Department of Defense were all on the distribution list."

 "... hubris or incompetence" or a deliberate design to destabilise Iraq to enable a long term (even permanent) US military presence. Sort of like South Korea as they are saying?

Meanwhile, Turkish troops have entered Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish guerrillas.

DemocracyNow interviews Antonia Juhasz. Audio, video and transcript.

ANTONIA JUHASZ: Well, I think there’s many ways in which the war is not going all bad for the President and for the administration. The only thing that’s truly going bad is the instability. But what has worked is a government in place that is more amenable to US interests than the last ten years of the Hussein regime, a government in place that is willing to negotiate in a dramatic fashion on the nature of Iraq's oil regime, and being on the precipice of a transfer of Iraq, a fundamental transfer, in its oil policy. We have US oil corporations engaging daily in negotiations with the Iraqi oil ministry, waiting on the sidelines. If the law passes, US corporations have the potential to own a true bonanza of oil and, if the US military stays, protection to get in and get it. Now --

AMY GOODMAN: Which companies, in particular?

ANTONIA JUHASZ: Chevron, Exxon, Conoco, BP, Shell, Marathon.

AMY GOODMAN: Are all now working intensively with the oil ministry.

ANTONIA JUHASZ: Yeah, they absolutely are, and have been from the beginning.

AMY GOODMAN: And if they don't pass this law?

ANTONIA JUHASZ: If they don't pass the law, it’s a big strike at the heart of the agenda. I would say that the game wouldn't be over, and the fact that the administration is talking publicly about this Korea policy, the idea that the United States would maintain some sort of military presence similar to the US presence, quote/unquote, "keeping the peace between South and North Korea," that’s a permanent military engagement, which could last as long as fifty years. The thirty-year contracts, the length, the extended length of the occupation, leads me to believe that this is the idea that the administration wants to pursue.

On Iran:

Alan Gresh.

Gareth Porter.

A calm, sane and sensible approach is required from the bush Administration. Paul Craig Roberts on the next step.

A test of democracy in Iraq.

Like South Korea? Robert Scheer 's response.

The 50-year Iraq war—bring it on. Not that the media or the Democrats made much of it, but the White House’s admission that President Bush is modeling America’s presence in Iraq upon the 54-year-old stationing of U.S. troops in South Korea is as outlandish as it is alarming. Outlandish, when the president of what is still presumably a representative democracy willfully ignores voters’ demands that the occupation be brought to a timely end; alarming, because Bush has clearly not understood that it is the U.S. occupation that feeds the nationalist and religious frenzy roiling Iraq, and the entire Middle East.

Justin Raimondo.

Any doubts that the U.S. is engaged in a colonial adventure in Iraq – because we're "liberators," not imperialists – ought to be permanently dispelled now that top administration officials are holding up the "Korean model" as a framework for our future role. What we have to look forward to in the "Korean model" is half a century of occupation.

Here, at last, is the frank admission that we have no intention of leaving Iraq in the foreseeable future, and, what's more, that we intend to integrate it into the web of military bases, state-subsidized economic links, and mutual "defense" treaties that our leaders are spinning into what can only be called an empire. Yet this conception goes beyond even what Chalmers Johnson calls the American "empire of bases" in that it envisions a protracted U.S. military presence involving substantial numbers of troops. Iraqi bases will be more than just "lily pads" – Korea is currently "hosting" 53,000 U.S. troops, and the DMZ is one of the most militarized borders in the world, a potential flashpoint for a renewal of a conflict that never formally ended.

Given the Korea analogy and the plans and the bases, what will be the response to this? 

While most observers are focused on the U.S. Congress as it continues to issue new rubber stamps to legitimize Bush's permanent designs on Iraq, nationalists in the Iraqi parliament -- now representing a majority of the body -- continue to make progress toward bringing an end to their country's occupation.

The parliament today passed a binding resolution that will guarantee lawmakers an opportunity to block the extension of the U.N. mandate under which coalition troops now remain in Iraq when it comes up for renewal in December. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose cabinet is dominated by Iraqi separatists, may veto the measure.

The law requires the parliament's approval of any future extensions of the mandate, which have previously been made by Iraq's prime minister. It is an enormous development; lawmakers reached in Baghdad today said that they do in fact plan on blocking the extension of the coalition's mandate when it comes up for renewal six months from now.

A test of Iraq's liberation is coming up.

Meanwhile, the latest refugee count is out

GENEVA, June 5 (UNHCR) – The situation in Iraq continues to worsen, with more than 2 million Iraqis now believed to be displaced inside the country and another 2.2 million sheltering in neighbouring states. Calls for increased international support for governments in the region have so far brought few results, and access to social services for Iraqis remains limited. Most of the burden is being carried by Jordan and Syria.

Liberated from their homes, even their country.

On the missile defence issue.

Getting warmer?

Game, set and match

Damian Lataan, your last comment was priceless.  Admittedly not a difficult target to hit, but you've taken the bullseye right out with that one.

Wiping Finland from the map

Damian Lataan: "But the French, the Swedes and the Finns aren’t alone among nations threatening Iranian territorial integrity."

Well, it all rather begs the question as to whether there are any limits to the paranoia gripping the Mullahs in Tehran and their diminutive ranting President, doesn't it?

But if they genuinely fear a Finnish or Swedish attack, then perhaps that does at least lend some support to those who claim when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatens to wipe this or that regime "off the map" or "from the pages of history" he's not really talking about Israel.

As for the chances of Iran attacking Finland? About as remote as the USA attacking Iran, I'd say.

But still, if we go on "predicting" a Finnish attack on Iran, and given enough time, something could come up that might suit the argument. And given Ahmadinejad's and his apologists' rather creative approach to re-writing history, who knows? Maybe he can claim to have been already attacked by Finland?

What next? There was never any snow in Finland and it's just a big lie to make people feel sorry for them? Maybe a cartoon contest to show how tropical Finland is? Or a 'history' conference to 'debate' whether it is in the tropics?

Wiping Iran from the map?

You know C. Parsons, your above comment, almost in its entirety is, with just a few swappings of names and places, eerily exactly describing, not so much the problems of Iran but the problems of the US.

Let’s give it a whirl:

“Well, it all rather begs the question as to whether there are any limits to the paranoia gripping the neoconservatives in Washington and their diminutive ranting President, doesn't it?

But if they genuinely fear an Iraqi insurgent attack, then perhaps that does at least lend some support to those who claim when President George W. Bush threatens to wipe this or that regime "off the map" or "from the pages of history" he's really is talking about Iraq and Iran.

As for the chances of Iran attacking Israel? About as remote as Israel attacking Finland, I'd say.

But still, if we go on "predicting" a US attack on Iran, and given enough time, something could come up that might suit the argument (non-existent nuclear weapons perhaps). And given Bush’s and his apologists' rather creative approach to re-writing history, who knows? Maybe he can claim Israel has already been attacked by Iran?

What next? There was never any WMDs in Iraq and it's just a big lie to make people feel sorry for them? Maybe a cartoon contest to show how hot Iraq is? Or a 'history' conference to 'debate' whether Saddam really did have links with al Qaeda and was buying uranium from Niger?”

 

Justice ... for now.

The sentencing of "Scooter" Libby has been reported in the MSM  but, after all the work on Irises I can't pass up mentioning it here. For those who haven't seen it here is a report.

Those who have followed this issue will be aware of the suspicion that Libby was acting on the behalf of superiors who have not yet been held accountable either for the Plame issue or for their greater crimes. The Libby conviction and sentence is at least something.

You would;d think with all that money they spend they could win ... Tom Engelhardt introduces a Roberet Dreyfuss article on the US defence budget.

On rewriting history - an article on how Vietnam was reframed and how it impacts on Iraq.

Former UK diplomat says out now.

And for Phil (G'day) and others interested ....  DemocracyNow interviews John Perkins (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man). Audio, video and transcript.

Too many Arabs in Israel? Some think so.

Democracy?

Finland's imminent attack on Iran

"Iran is holding three Finns who allegedly drifted into Iranian waters while fishing off the United Arab Emirates, Finnish news agency STT reported."....

"Earlier this year it released a German and a Frenchman, held for over a year after being picked up near Abu Musa while on a fishing trip from Dubai.

The pair had been convicted of illegally entering Iranian waters.

Two Swedish men, convicted and jailed for espionage after being arrested in 2006 taking photographs of "sensitive military sites" on another Iranian island in the Gulf, were freed in April in what Iran called "an act of clemency".

First France, then Sweden, now Finland. The threats against Iranian territorial integrity are just ceaseless, aren't they?

Finland attacking Iran? About as likely as Iran attacking Israel

C Parsons reckons: “First France, then Sweden, now Finland. The threats against Iranian territorial integrity are just ceaseless, aren't they?”

So it would seem. But the French, the Swedes and the Finns aren’t alone among nations threatening Iranian territorial integrity. Apparently US special forces have also been on the ground in Iran as this ‘Commondreams’ piece (I know, you think Commondreams has about as much cred as I think NYT has)from a couple of years ago explains. I can’t think why the US would want to have had special forces in Iran though I would suspect they probably still do.

Incidentally, the Finnish air force, a force with which I am intimately familiar, would not have the ability to attack Iran, in fact it no more has the ability to attack Iran than Iran has to attack Israel – or indeed Finland.

As for Hitler in Iraq, as I explained, he’s already there in the shape of David Petraeus, the latest in a long line of US appointed Hitler-like leaders, both American and Iraqi puppets that have plundered, bombed and murdered their way over Iraq ever since the invasion. Iran hasn’t had a look-in yet but I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to help the Iraqi people – both Sunni and Shia – kick the invaders from their country. (Unlike the Americans, and contrary to popular opinion, particularly yours, Iran isn’t playing favourites between the Shia and Sunni in Iraq.) As I said, one shouldn’t take too much notice of the discredited western media these days.  

 

Damian's excellent point. And a Hitler for Iraq? Yes? No?

Damian Lataan: "I guess if all those NYT pieces say it’s so C. Parsons, then it must be."

Well, presumably that's why you and John Pratt are quoting them, and why John linked us to the "We have the right to defend our country as George Washington did.” in the first place. It wasn't my choice.

I meant merely to fix the link so people knew it was the New York Times John was quoting. And as you point out, there was much more to the article than either John or I acknowledged, so thank you for that Damian, sincerely.

Just getting back to the points you and John raised, what do you think of Sunni hardliners like Fakhri al-Qaisi aiming to re-assert Sunni supremacy over the uppity Shiites, who are 60 per cent of Iraq's population after all?

And should Shi'ite leader Sheik Muhammad Bakr Khamis al-Suhail get his dream of an Iraqi Hitler? Which is not so unlikely given the considerable financial, material other support the Shiite militias are getting from the President of Iran?

Some won't rise.

G'day Damian, Rep. Ron Paul is miffed at the lack of Congressional response to the electorate.

Good intentions frequently lead to unintended
bad consequences. Tough choices, doing what is right, often leads to unanticipated
good results.

The growing demand by the American people for us to leave Iraq prompts the
nay-sayers to predict disaster in the Middle East if we do. Of course, these
merchants of fear are the same ones who predicted that invading and occupying
Iraq would be a slam dunk operation; that we would be welcomed as liberators,
and oil revenues would pay for the operation with minimal loss of American lives.

All of this hyperbole came while ignoring the precise warnings by our intelligence
community of the great difficulties that would lie ahead. The chaos that this
preemptive, undeclared war has created in Iraq has allowed al-Qaeda to establish
a foothold in Iraq and the strategic interests of Iran to be served.

The unintended consequences have been numerous. A well-intended but flawed
policy that ignored credible warnings of how things could go awry has produced
conditions that have led to a war dominated by procrastination, without victory
or resolution in sight.

Those who want a total military victory, which no one has yet defined, don't
have the troops, the money, the equipment, or the support of a large majority
of the American people to do so.

Earlier and elsewhere I linked an article on the views of Gen. Sanchez.

Time to rise up and end another occupation?

Was it justified or was deceit used to grab land and resources

Where does the truth reside? Some have no interest in truth and go to extreme lengths to prevent attempts to uncover it. Meanwhile, people keep dying.

 

We need strong rulers or dictators like Franco, Hitler....

Damian Lataan: "An interesting piece that New York Times article. If one reads on from where C. Parsons left off quoting it you’ll find this: “Through force of arms, and backed by the Americans and Iran, the religious Shiites intend to dominate the country entirely, taking what they believe was stripped from them when their revered leader Hussein was murdered in the desert of seventh-century Mesopotamia.”

Here's another bit I left out;

“We need strong rulers or dictators like Franco, Hitler, even Mubarak. We need a strong dictator, and a fair one at the same time, to kill all extremists, Sunni and Shiite.”

Sheik Muhammad Bakr Khamis al-Suhail, Shiite neighborhood leader in Baghdad.

As for the Shia and Sunni insurgencies - as opposed to the civilian population they spend their days murdering - "getting along with each other', I think I addressed that in the What if...? thread when Modtadr arrived back in Iraq after his five months stint in Tehran.

Sadr turns cheesemaker. Yet another imminent attack on Iran.

- C Parsons on May 26, 2007 - 11:43am.

"BAGHDAD, May 25 — The populist Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday, delivering a fiercely anti-American sermon and offering himself in a new guise as a nationalist intent on bridging the divide between Iraq’s warring communities of Shiites and Sunnis. 

Ironically, reported over a month ago in the very same "mainstream media nonsense" you are now referring to.

Obviously, it is in the interests of the majority faction to preach consensus, even in the case of an Iranian agent like the murderer Sadr. But it's absurd to think the likes of Fakhri al-Qaisi are interested in reconciliation with the Shia. The Sunni insurgencies the ones who have been driving the trend to civil war after all.

Or a strong dictator like David Petraeus perhaps?

I guess if all those NYT pieces say it’s so C. Parsons, then it must be. It’s a bit like all those NYT pieces about Saddams WMD and connections to al Qaeda etc., which they ran back in the lead up to the invasion; you just gotta believe everything the NYT tells you.

Before the Iraqi war, and the emergence of the truth and exposure of the lies that led to war, the New York Times was held up us gospel in the academic world. Use of old New York Times articles was almost deemed as good as primary evidence in scholarly writing. Unfortunately all that has now changed. Their credibility as a reliable source of facts and news has now all but disappeared. Certainly scholars and academics are now reluctant to use NYT material as a resource for research work.

I’m wondering why the pieces you present to support your argument should be considered as a reliable resource of facts and whether not even actually can be relied upon to be the truth and not just propaganda that the paper seems now to prefer purveying.

There is a strong ‘dictator’ in Iraq that is killing all extremists already. He’s General David Petraeus. And he is directing the killings of insurgents and anyone else that gets caught up in the police and Iraqi army roundups. The other killings and murders of civilians are as a result of localised gangs and thugs jockeying for control of the streets.  

Why we support the Iraqi "resistance"

John Pratt, thanks for the cross-post from the New York Times;

"I’m Iraqi, and I think the Iraqi people should have this principle. We have the right to defend our country as George Washington did.”

- and I've fixed the link for you.

I'm not aware that George Washington ever deliberately bombed a mosque or other place of worship or sought to overturn an elected government.

Mr. Qaisi, actually Fakhri al-Qaisi, a Sunni Arab hard-line politician, is reported in the same article as articulating "the Sunnis’ simmering anger at being ousted from power."

Well, they would.

In much the same way as Southern Whites simmered in anger at being ousted from power and setting up their own resistance movement - the Ku Klux Klan.

This bit from the article may better explain what's going on;

"For the Shiites, who make up 60 percent of Iraqis, the unalloyed hostility of the Sunni Arabs only reinforces a centuries-old sense of victimhood. So the Shiite militias grow, stoking vengeance."

BAGHDAD TO BOTANY BAY ...

SeepI'm not aware that George Washington ever deliberately bombed a mosque or other place of worship or sought to overturn an elected government.

Aside from the parliament with Const. Monarch Geo III atop, Seep m'Boy. But he was a slave-owner, Seep, And he had some kinda nasty-sounding wooden false teeth. God, he musta looked like a cross between Keith Richards and Bob Carr in one of Alison Durbin's wigs.

So THAT could explain all that clumsy George Washington-Southern White-Ku Klux Klan confused conflation.

But there’s no evidence the Australian Wheat Board ever slung George a $300 million JoachimsThaler kickback, done up as “Holy Land Crusade wain fees.”

And it was pretty hard back then for all those Nemos in Terra Nullius to grow the prerequisite grain, old bean.

They were too busy saying to the next bloke: “Did you see the white blokes on that bloody great big sailing boat just went past?”

Next bloke: “Yair, they just asked me what we called them bloody kangaroos.”

First bloke: “What’ya say?”

Next bloke: “I said ‘I dunno.’ ”

First bloke: “Ah, that’s orright then. Now, we’de better get cracking loading all this nardoo for George Washington. They reckon his Continental Army has got the arse out of its strides.”

Next bloke: “I bet they’re bloody sorry they chucked all their bloody tea in the bloody drink then, ay boss?”

First bloke: “I thought I told you to cut out all that k’n swearing. Now put something in the k’n swear jar.”

Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde of the k’n Sharia Literature Board of Review, Terra Nullius

Insurgents, Sunni and Shia, are uniting against the invaders.

An interesting piece that New York Times article. If one reads on from where C. Parsons left off quoting it you’ll find this: “Through force of arms, and backed by the Americans and Iran, the religious Shiites intend to dominate the country entirely, taking what they believe was stripped from them when their revered leader Hussein was murdered in the desert of seventh-century Mesopotamia.”

This, of course, is mainstream media nonsense designed to instil the idea that the religious Shia (note that it is religious Shia, not secular Shia) have hitched their wagon to the US and Iran. Why? Because today it is convenient for them to do so. Tomorrow is another day and no doubt the propaganda will change to suit.

The reality is this: Shiites and Sunni, despite appearances, actually get on very well with each throughout the Middle East. Some secular Sunni and Shiite are at each others throats at the moment and the western mainstream media, as this article demonstrates, like to push this as though it is some kind of hangover from the Saddam days; it’s not. A little of the violence is about street cred and neighbourhood gangs trying to pick up on crumbs from massive amounts of corruption in a country awash with US cash. However, most of the dead bodies, hundreds of them, being found all over the country that have been tortured then shot with their hands bound are victims of insurgent round-ups who have been executed by the police in conjunction with assorted mercenaries and all with US approval. The victims are both Shia and Sunni; all of them are people that have been rounded up during insurgent sweeps. Many are, indeed, actually insurgents while others were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The western propaganda machine is trying to say they are killing each other; they are not. They are being killed by the US via their Iraqi lackey’s in the police and the Iraqi army.

All, however, have one thing in common; to rid their country of the US invaders and to create their own government rather than the Mickey Mouse government that was pseudo-democratically elected (you can choose between this corrupt candidate or this criminal, take your choice) under the reluctant auspices of the US interim government. 

As for blowing up mosques – now who would stand to gain from doing such a thing?

Iraqis doing what George Washington did.

Four years on, Sunni and Shiite attacks against the Americans are expanding. There is little love among Iraqi civilians for the troops, though many fear the anarchy that could follow an American withdrawal.

“I’m still sticking by my principle, which is against the occupation,” Mr. Qaisi said in an interview here while visiting from his new home in Tikrit. “I’m Iraqi, and I think the Iraqi people should have this principle. We have the right to defend our country as George Washington did.”

[Source]

Iraqis are just defending their country from the invaders.

Europe a "powder keg" again.

Vladimir Putin issued a stark warning today that Europe would be turned into a “powder keg” if the United States was allowed to install a missile defence shield on the continent.

The Russian President backed up his harsh rhetoric with the successful test launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that Russia said was specifically designed to evade such defence systems.

In what is becoming the most serious confrontation between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War, Mr. Putin made clear that Moscow was determined to confront the American plan to site missile defences in eastern Europe.

“We consider it harmful and dangerous to turn Europe into a powder keg and to stuff it with new weapons,” Mr. Putin told Portugal’s Prime Minister Jose Socrates at a meeting in the Kremlin.

"It creates new and unnecessary risks for the whole system of international and European relations."

[The Times]

It seems the announcement of the “end of the Cold War” was as premature as Bush’s announcement of the end of the Iraq War. Both Bush and Putin are bringing us back to the Future. An arms race is on again.

US are training insurgents in Iraq

“When the battle was over, Delta Company learned that among the enemy dead were at least two Iraqi Army soldiers that American forces had helped train and arm.

Captain Rogers admits, “The 29th was a watershed moment in a negative sense, because the Iraqi Army would not fight with us,” adding, “Some actually picked up weapons and fought against us.”

[NYT]

The Iraqi Army trained by the US is now fighting the US. It time we admit that the invasion was a mistake and bring the troops home.

Japan pays $6 billion to get rid of US troops.

Japan passed a law to finance the reorganization of American forces in the country and help move thousands of marines from Okinawa to the United States territory of Guam. Japan is to pay $6 billion for the transfer of troops, while Washington is to contribute $4 billion. Under the legislation, local governments will receive financial rewards if they are willing to be hosts for United States troops.

Here

$6 billion well spent I say. I wonder how much the Iraqis will have to pay to get rid of American forces in Iraq.

US now controls the worlds oil and opium trade.

Afghanistan is hooked on opium. The drugs trade has become the largest employer, its biggest export and the main source of income in a land devastated by decades of war”…………. “Since the overthrow of the Taliban, land under cultivation for poppy has grown from 8,000 to 165,000 hectares. Ninety per cent of the world's supply of opium will emerge from this corner of Asia over the coming months. The drugs will be smuggled across the Pakistani border or along the Harirut River, through the city of Herat and into Iran where they will be refined into heroin and set on course for Russia and the West”. See here.


Now the US controls ninety percent of the world’s opium. The “War on Terror” and the “War on drugs” it seems the COW is losing on both fronts. Someone is making a fortune out of both of these so called wars. I wonder if some of the blood money is leaking back to the political parties that still support these “Wars” without end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to win friends ...

As a follow up to yesterday's link about  a possible generals' revolt. here is a tv ad from one general who served in Iraq. Video and transcript.

EATON: President Bush says he listens to his military commanders. Well,
Mr. President, I was one of those commanders, and you weren’t listening
when we warned you of the dangers we’d face invading Iraq. Now our
military is overcommitted, and America is less secure. Mr. President,
you’re being told we need serious diplomacy, not escalation. And you’re
still not listening. If the President won’t listen, Congress must.

He did not listen, nor did he learn from history. Perhaps he has learned something sometime, but what use knowledge of pet goats is remains uncertain. And he might have even got that upside down.

What might have been learned is how people respond to being bombed, as in the case of Cambodia.

There is a history .... 

Yet despite all the above, they seemed to expect to be not only welcomed with flowers but handed control of the oil in gratitude. But there's a draft law, just in case.

And the cost, Bill Moyers does a count. Video and transcript.

Damn that reality.

Revolt of the generals?

There is a claim that active service offices in the US military will say "Enough" if Bush tries to carry the "surge" into 2008. Video and article.

TUCKER: Look for a revolt from active-duty generals if September rolls around and the president is sticking with the surge into ‘08. We’ve already heard from retired generals. But my Atlanta Journal-Constitution colleague Jay Bookman has lots of sources among currently serving military officers who don’t want to fall by the wayside like the generals in Vietnam did, kept pushing a war that they knew was lost.

And his own party .... Video and transcript.

HAGEL: There’s no question there is a very clear political dynamic here. The President may find himself standing alone sometime this fall, where Republicans will start to move away. And you’re starting to see trap doors and exit signs already with a number of Republicans. The 11 House Republicans who went to see him speak for more than just 11 House Republicans. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The uneasiness that’s in the Republican Party today is there.

All his life Bush has had people to bail him out ... but this time? 

The value of a human life.

We have seen evidence of the money being made by some out of the US' wars, here is an account from Tom Engelhardt of the value the US places on the lives of its victims

The unaccountable.

G'day Bryan, Phil and Richard, a couple of submissions to the US House Subcommittee on Defense about war profiteering - yes, Shock! Horror! It happens. From being paid multiples of what a US military personnel would be paid for doing the same job through to involvement in torture, and with a lack of accountability.

The first is from Jeremy Scahill.

The second is from Robert Greenwald

Meanwhile, there are other wars happening and here is an article about one which has received little attention. But some of the factors are the same. Just say "terrorists" and you can get away with ... well just about anything.

no honour among thieves (Hume MacDougall Parsons Stam)

Subtitle: what is the missing factor?

As usual, Ian MacDougall, you plough on - just like the Titanic (after being holed under the water-line).

Also as usual, my answer will be looong and possibly (or perhaps only 'allegedly') incomprehensible. But I know what I mean! - and you ort'a know by now that I mean well.

Jacob A. Stam (g'day), I assume you can/will speak for yourself; I do not presume to pre-empt you. Sooo, preliminaries out'a the way; ready, aim...

But before I 'rattle on;' one further clarification. Whereas WD guidelines (we agree, yes we do!) - the guidelines discourage personal attacks, sometimes an attack on an argument may be interpreted as an attack on the arguer. In my case, not so; any such impression is merely an artefact (Haw!) I draw this to the specific attention of the self-declared immovable object d'art Jenny Hume. Specially for you, Jenny (plus any others who may be able to appreciate it), I repeat the Nietzsche quote "Faith: not wanting to know what is true." Oh yeah, and just as I don't mean to incite or otherwise encourage anyone to self-eject (by 'the joining of' names in a title, say); I don't mean to associate any such title-names with my actual theme. OK?

-=*=-

In my 'Hume, MacDougall & Parsons,' I drew attention to the error I reckon both Ian and C Parsons have 'fallen' for, namely they align themselves with what I call 'the pushed paradigm,' aka the propaganda 'shower' that our 'rulers' p**s down upon us via their miserable sock-puppets (aka our 'leading' politicians) and the (corrupt! Venal!) MSM conduit/amplifier, aka the (traitorous!) 4th Estate. (Phew! That's a nice little summary!)

One'a the great shocks I suffered (actually, it was the 2nd) after the 1st on hearing of the murderous "Shock and awe" then being threatened against Iraq - (Haw! 'threatened' is good; it was looong premeditated) - the 2nd shock was the realisation that we, the sheople®, were being deliberately propagandised - with premeditated (yep, yet another repeat; I do tend to run in circles) - we are being propagandised with premeditated, filthy lies. This in turn led shortly after to titling myself as 'a seeker of truth.'

-=*=-

At precisely this point, we come to a screeching halt. What? Why that? Well, before we can procede anywhere, we have to answer the question "Does truth matter?" - and only if "Yes" will any of the following have any consequence. The reason for asking this question is that IMHO we are immersed in lies; if we think that's OK, that we may already be in the best (actually least imperfect) of worlds, then we need do nothing. But, I believe we are in a state fa-a-ar from optimal; some things must be changed, and in fact I reckon it's sooo bad that I agitate for "No more of the same!"

If the Eds will allow a little 'colour,' this:

¡ NoMothS !

No more of the same!

I propose two arguments for truth (and none against.)

1. External (IMHO the lesser): essentially, it's the old blah, blah, blah: rule of law, more or less based on the 10 commandments, with our society being (gratuitously!) labelled as 'Christian.'

2. Internal (for me compelling): fairness/do unto others. If we are a combination of nature/nurture, the result for me is that I abhor lying, cheating, theft and murder. It's 'within me,' and causes pain (aka cognitive dissonance), if I see that what should be isn't.

3. Pragmatic (yeah; I know 3 is more than 2): overriding 1 & 2 is the need to do a good job, to do the correct thing; at the most basic of levels, we should (must!) ensure our survival. At the same time, it would be nice (another must?) not to do any damage, and here I refer to our environment (aka once jewel-like planet), as well as any people (all created equal, yes?)

Pause: the 'framework' is now complete; if we are agreed - for whatever reason, based on any of the above 3 or some possible 4th - that "Truth does matter," then we can continue (any not in agreement may feel free to leave; bye!)

-=*=-

In his 'Interrogation of Hitchens and Jacob' of May 9, 2007 - 11:17pm, on the ...Winograd thread (this answer 'relocated' by request), Ian once again trots out some of his justifications for supporting the current 'pushed paradigm' aka propaganda. Ian mentions Israel (no surprise); [some act] "could likely see the extermination of most of the Israeli population," then opines hopefully: "the future is open ended." Whilst respecting Ian's concern for the Israelis, I must once again lament the apparent (relative) unconcern for the Iraqis.

Kindly note the introduction of a concept here, namely 'relative.' This can be - and is being - put to use in the propaganda, i.e. "We're fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them here!"[1], [2]. Unfortunately (most probably by design), this rhetoric raises an ugly "us vs. them" frame, and once again begs the question; Iraq had SFA to do with '9/11.' How many times? But that, sadly, is the problem. The propaganda is as relentless as it's lying; unless one can see the truth (not just a glimpse; wide-flat-screen), then all is lost and basically, daaarlings, no argument can ever suffice to rescue us.

This is where the argument gets tough. Ian[3]: "9/11 compelled the US to go into Afghanistan..." Me: Yes, but. It should'a been a 'police action;' it morphed (was planned, 'carpet of bombs') into 'regime-change.' Ian: "Friedman argues that it was a mistake [premature withdrawal from Afghanistan]..." Me: this is a furphy; a sop, a diversion; i.e. propaganda. We know that the intention was always Iraq; was so before '9/11.' (How many times?) Ian: "gave Saddam the idea that the UN sanctions regime was a toothless tiger..." Me: the sanctions were (a must) coming to an end; the US knew they stood to lose. Ian: "that the US could not act against him apart from the UN..." Me: a) we cannot know, if Saddam suffered from hubris or any other foolish delusion. b) we do know, that the UN is basically a US toy; when they (the US) doesn't get its way it throws a tantrum - and makes someone, anyone, pay some dreadful price. c) following on from (b), we also know that the US has been pursuing its resource-rip-offs by 'straight power concepts' at least since the A-bombing of Japan, and probably long before. See Blum, "Rogue State."

All the way along, the arguments given sound (somewhat) plausible. Well, they have to be, don't they? Although 'handicapped' by TV (say), the sheople aren't completely stupid. (Only some, perhaps.) But mostly, the arguments given are just lies, varying only in degree of filthyness. We cannot now afford (as if we ever could) to drown in these (theft-motivated!) lies. In "Watergate," they said "Follow the money," i.e. Cui bono, "To whose benefit?"[4] Both Ian and C Parsons bang on about the rorting of sanctions, but one has to dig much deeper and ask a) how did crime become established as SOP in business, and b) how (the bloody hell) can we stop it? Because we have to stop all crime, just as we have to stop all war. If you stop and think (I do; think that is), the US spends ½ its budget on (laugh till you cry) so-called 'defence,' which is almost matched by the rest of the world; so appr. an amount equal to the entire US budget is being vomited down the armament (aka murder) tor-let® every year.

I said yesterday that the time for arguing any this is over; so I'm not gunna spend my time chasing after any more Ian MacDougall or C Parsons type distractions. We've (well, speaking for myself) gotta move to exploring solutions; what could work, how to be effective.

The greedastrophe® simply won't wait.

-=*end*=-

Epilogue: What's about a) honour among thieves and b) any missing factor? Well, I could be wrong (IMHO highly -99.9% - unlikely, but I'd have to say that, eh? But - being perfectly honest, to the best of my knowledge - I don't really think so.) Sooo, a) Q: Are we being ripped-off? (Is the Pope a Catholic? - haahahhaha!) and b) could there be any missing factor, à la MacDougall/Friedman’s "... Secret ..." stuff? This is more difficult; we can't know without proper analysis, and that needs real, hard data - which Ian says they're hiding. Ooops! Circular! So we have an apparently insoluble problem (as long as any secret stuff stays secret); perhaps we can only choose going on 'balance of probabilities. ' Given the known actions of B, B & H, and all the now-revealed stuff long pre-dating '9/11,' which way are you gunna 'jump,' dear reader?

Ref(s):

[1] Original (GWBush):

We fight today because Iraq now carries the hope of freedom in a vital region of the world, and the rise of democracy will be the ultimate triumph over radicalism and terror. And we fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand. So we'll fight them there, we'll fight them across the world, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won. (Applause.)

[whitehouse.gov/Bush]

[2] Forgery (McClellan):

And we'll continue to take the fight to the enemy. That's why we're fighting them in Iraq, and we're not fighting them here at home. We're fighting them in Iraq so that we can defeat them abroad, so we don't have to fight them here at home. That's one of the lessons of September 11th, is that we must take the fight to the enemy, and that's exactly what this President has done and will continue to do. And we recognize how high the stakes are in Iraq, and we will succeed.

[whitehouse.gov/McClellan]

[3] From 'Interrogation of Hitchens and Jacob,'...Winograd:

I found George Friedman’s America’s Secret War to be most interesting and informed on this issue. 9/11 compelled the US to go into Afghanistan after Al Quaeda, against the protests of the antiwar left, and knock the Taliban out of the way in the process. Friedman argues that it was a mistake to divert the US armed forces from Afghanistan to Iraq prematurely, and I agree. But AWB and about 2000 other western companies gave Saddam the idea that the UN sanctions regime was a toothless tiger, and he only needed the additional idea that the US could not act against him apart from the UN, in order to see the US as impotent as well. I think that from then on it would have been a lay down misere for Saddam.

[Ian MacDougall on May 9, 2007 - 11:17pm]

[4] Cui bono ("To whose benefit?", literally "[being] good to whom?")

... is a Latin adage that is used either to suggest a hidden motive or to indicate that the party responsible for a thing may not be who it appears at first to be.

Commonly the phrase is used to suggest that the person or people guilty of committing a crime may be found among those who have something to gain, chiefly with an eye toward financial gain. The party that benefits may not always be obvious or may have successfully diverted attention to a scapegoat, for example.

[wiki/Cui_bono]

Iraq a disastrous misadventure!

Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, is the director of the Homeland Security Initiative at the Aspen Institute and the author of “Open Target: Where America Is Vulnerable to Attack.” He reports in the New York Times:

From everything we know, Al Qaeda is as determined as ever to attack us at home, and it remains as capable as ever of doing so. While many of its operatives have been killed or captured since 9/11, the supply of young people who are willing and even eager to attack Americans seems limitless.

Our disastrous misadventure in Iraq has only increased that desire. Al Qaeda has reconstituted itself in Pakistan and is trying to reclaim Afghanistan. It is only marginally harder for terrorists to enter the United States now than it was before 9/11, and once they’re inside our borders the potential targets are infinite. Many of those targets are more secure today, but not to the degree they should be.

It seems the COW has lost the first five years of the so called “War on Terror”. Interestingly enough Iraq is now a “disastrous misadventure” Why is the US tip toeing around Pakistan? Might it be something to do with nuclear weapons? No wonder Iran would like some.

It is a sorry state, we find ourselves in, partners to a failing super power, which continues to lash out at third world countries without success.

It’s about time for all troops return to their home countries. We should prosecute the criminals who support terrorism through international courts and the United Nations.

In five, ten year, twenty years time we will still be chasing our tails unless we do things differently.

Are we training and equipping terrorists?

American officials say it will take at least a few years before most of the Afghan forces become more ready and reliable, and perhaps a decade before they are capable of independent operations. But they also say that the resources and plans are now in place to make such ambitions possible.

These ambitions are important because American military officials say a principal element of any Western exit strategy from Afghanistan will be to create competent national security forces. Such forces are regarded as necessary to contain, and eventually defeat, the Taliban insurgency that expanded in 2006, and to provide stability in regions where the government’s influence remains weak.

To this end, the United States plans to spend $3.4 billion this fiscal year on army and police units here, according to the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, the American-led military unit that supervises the development of the security forces.

At least ten years of training, and billions of dollars in military spending before we can think of an exit strategy!  What have we got ourselves into? The same thinking prevails in Iraq. Is this the best use of our precious resources?

I think that the most likely outcome in Iraq and Afghanistan is that the US will lose the political will and call for an exit much sooner. All of this will be a waste of lives and money. The end result will most likely be a better trained and equipped terrorist.

Dear Jury

I believe the people in this country may act like sheep at times, but at heart are fundamentally decent and independent-minded.

I believe people will act and vote to end the war in Iraq when and as they get a chance.

I've made a draft of my opening address to the Jury, which I expect to make later this month at Alice Springs.

http://bryla.livejournal.com/533.html

I always appreciate well meant advice and feedback about my address.  I'm perfectly happy to polish it before 29 May. 

The convergence and associated NVDA looks like being a hoot.

Howard and Bush too much blood on their hands

Four years after the invasion of Iraq, over 3,300 U.S. troops have been killed. Thousands of Iraqi’s have been killed. Iraq is still gripped by unrelenting violence and political uncertainty, 62 percent of the U.S. public disapprove of Bush’s actions according to recent polls. The U.S. Democrats are demanding a time line for a troop withdrawal.

It is time for Howard to admit that the Iraq invasion was a terrible miscalculation and Australian troops should be withdrawn. Howard and Bush have too much blood on their hands already.

Disturbing polarism

What disturbs me about both administration's views on withdrawal is this idea that if they withdraw they'll be saying to everyone that they "lost". I dont understand why there is this obsession with winning and losing, especially in an environment where its more about establishing order than defeating a united enemy. I dont think the police wake up in the morning and say, "I hope we win today".

I remember a Downer speech to Parliament, probably as a response at Question Time about how we want to win (we dont want to lose) and it was in such a condescending tone. Do they see us as such children that they have to break it down into win or lose?

You can't fight terrorism face on, you fight it at its roots, by asking questions like "What motivates them?" and seeking to resolve the issues. Of course there'll always be fundamentalists with unreasonable demands, but I think living with a few terrorists attacks here and there is better than living in wartime, which seems such a fuel for those who threaten our democracy (and I'm talking about our own warmongering government here, not the terrorists).

Personally, I think the presence of coalition troops in Iraq is what has caused the inflow of terrorists into Iraq, and that now the Dictator has been overthrown, it is up to the people to rise up with their new found freedom to re-establish control.

The whole damn war was a mistake, have you ever heard of an uprising from without? If it had taken 100 years the Iraqis themselves should have done it.

Oh and on the topic of the protest. I was unclear on the legality of the "interference", but I admire the lack of fear of retribution. I think fear might be a factor for some when it comes to speaking out against such a name throwing elite. These people who think that if you are against war, you are against the troops and thus are a traitor, etc. I think anyone who employs such simplistic labelling should be thrown off the air.

On the ground ...

G'day Bryan, Ern, Jacob, here is an on the ground assessment of what is happening in Iraq - the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) report. There is a link to the full (.pdf) report.

Riverbend has had enough.

And incompetence rules says US Lt. Colonel.

For the second time in a generation, the United States faces the prospect of defeat at the hands of an insurgency. In April 1975, the U.S. fled the Republic of Vietnam, abandoning our allies to their fate at the hands of North Vietnamese communists. In 2007, Iraq's grave and deteriorating condition offers diminishing hope for an American victory and portends risk of an even wider and more destructive regional war.

These debacles are not attributable to individual failures, but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America's general officer corps. America's generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy. The argument that follows consists of three elements. First, generals have a responsibility to society to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities. Second, America's generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility. Third, remedying the crisis in American generalship requires the intervention of Congress.

Given the incompetence, corruption, and criminality in the civilian leadership, Congress should be doing a lot more than it is.

"All quiet on the Australian front"....

Has anyone noticed the "silence" in the three forms of media with respect to Federal politics?

Why would the sensationalist Telegraph for example - during an election year and when their politicians may be in trouble - report about insignificant and repetitive overseas issues which really do not directly effect us?

During the media orchestrated Labor "honeymoons" of 2001 and 2004, they hammered away at the fearful incompetence of the opposition to their major advertising benefactor - John Howard's "New Order".

It was opinion, not fact, that delved into the most private past of decent politicians and, only because they were "them" - Labor.

Can we Australians really expect the Corporation media to genuinely criticise their Corporations which provide the major life blood of their advertising business?

There has been absolute abuse of freedom of the press which we all believed was to give us "news" reports, cold and factual, however, with the legally permitted and exercised biased Editorial comment.

Whenever the media is controlled by dictatorships, Communist or Capitalist - the "free media" of countries like Howard's Australia - tell us that it is "State controlled". 

However, what is the difference between militarily controlled media and financially controlled media.  "Democracy" at a price I guess. 

The sadness is that IF the media supported Labor and their leader Kevin Rudd, IMHO the nation can only at least maintain our current position on debt, both personal and foreign.

Conversely, the Howard "New Order" personally frightens me in that the policies so far legislated, are directed to increase the profits and control of the mostly foreign owned industries at the expense of the Australian people.

We have a federal government, corrupt and incompetent, dependent on the expertise of the US which, has as it's base, the Military/Corporate scam of "this is for jobs". Fair dinkum.

When the "New Order" Liberal government of your country tells you that they have arranged for foreign financial interests, to consider giving you a job - it's time for an "Australian people's Rising" to "take Australia back".

Australians - prepare yourselves for an onslaught of negative politics from a discredited and hated U.S. Bush administration by their Military/Corporate. 

Because - that is the "New Order" Liberals in Australia.

NE OUBLIE.

Surging Forward

Earnest William, I'm prepared to concede that Labor's position on Iraq is a marginal improvement on the New Order's.

The question that arises is "does this make Labor the people's hero, or just New Order Lite?".

The negotiated withdrawal over six or twelve months of 600 troops is, I'm afraid to say, more symbolic than real.

Labor intends to continue with hosting US war-fighting bases like Pine Gap and the proposed base at Geraldton.  Or the bombing ranges and exercise areas across northern Australia.  Or our subservient role in the US hegemon.

Nevertheless, I'll stand by at the next election without sledging Rudd the Mandarin, and I'll accept a Labor government as constituting a minute improvement.  You'll have to be satisfied with that.

Jacob A Stam, thanks for that information and review.  It's always worth exposing the on-ground reality of the slaughter/theft in Iraq.

The official spin continues.  I notice that even today, as the US Congress prepares for disengagement, that the commanding General Petraeus is calling for "more time for the surge to work", and that "we're ahead in some areas".  (That would be the bombing inside Parliament, I presume).

They're planning a first "assessment" of the surge in September, so I'm preparing for a September/October election and a professional exercise in shameless lying by the Whitehouse and honest John.

Insider's view from Iraq

On ABC-TV’s Lateline last week, Tony Jones conducted a fascinating interview with Ali Allawi, former Iraqi defence minister, and now senior adviser to the present Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

I say ‘fascinating’ not just because of Allawi’s informed and sober discussion of the calamity in Iraq, but because Allawi’s views often stand in stark contrast to Coalition of the Willing leaders such as George W Bush, and of course bit-players like Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

It’s illuminating to contrast Allawi’s observations here with the official line, whether from Washington or from our own poodle government here in Australia, from which there’s a grudging and generalised admission that “mistakes were made...” but little if any evidence of lessons learned from those mistakes.

Allawi excoriates both the Iraqi transitional government, of which he was a part, and the management by the occupying authorities of the occupation and transition. According to Allawi, if anything distinguishes these early days of the new Iraq, it is incompetence and corruption on an epic and tragic scale.

...For example, in 2004 2005 the entire procurement budget of the Ministry of Defence was stolen. I mean we’re talking about more than $US1 billion that simply vanished. It’s not a question of commissions or rake-off, but outright theft and you can duplicate this on a smaller scale in various ministries ... the scale of corruption was truly monumental. ...

Billions of dollars were spent ... on the military and on the police who have nothing to show for it. It is an overwhelming collapse in oversight... The whole thing was done not on a shoestring, it was done with huge resources, but nevertheless the outcome is really appalling.

Contrary to the insistence of Bush et al that the invasion of Iraq was integral to the ‘war on terror’, Allawi maintains that...

Saddam had terrible, terrible flaws and was a terrible tyrant. But one of the things he did not do was challenge the United States through terrorism, so the connection between the former regime and Al Qaeda and international terrorism directed against the United States particular and the West generally could not be established...

Allawi’s analysis has more than a little resonance with British High Commissioner Helen Liddell’s comments last week that “our raison d’etre for our involvement in Iraq has not been about terrorism.” This assertion was of course rejected outright by Prime Minister Howard, who responded with the well-worn mantra “that Iraq is part of the battleground against terrorism.” To which Allawi might respond:

What has happened is, in fact, a large number of so-called ... jihadist groups have been empowered as a result of the continuing large scale American military presence in Iraq. And in the process, the threat of terrorism has increased.

So, it appears that Allawi tends to the view — unspeakable among the Bushites and their poodles — that the presence in mass of US and other Coalition troops in Iraq is counterproductive. He is also at odds with the Bush view that a withdrawal of US troops would result in a catastrophic breakdown of civil order in Iraq.

... I don’t think there will be a serious effect on the overall level of violence. But the instability will continue.

Indeed, it is arguably a symptom of the wilful ignorance of the Coalition leadership that the current appalling level of violence in Iraq isn’t considered as already constituting a catastrophic breakdown of order.

On the question of the human cost of the Iraq war — specifically the number of Iraqi civilians killed since the 2003 invasion — Allawi believes that figure to be “around 200,000-250,000.” If Allawi’s present estimate is correct, and if President Bush was correct in December 2005 with his estimate of 30,000 “more or less”, then this suggests a monthly death toll of Iraqis of well over 10,000 per month in the last 18 months or so alone — “more or less”.

Allawi originally opposed a full-scale invasion of Iraq, but is now of the view that

... we’ve moved now beyond whether the overthrow of Saddam was a good or a bad thing and to what are we going to do ... with this Iraq that has gone through four years of terrible hardships? The consequences have to be addressed and managed.

Addressing and managing those consequences should indeed be the overriding priority, as opposed to shoring up US ‘prestige’ and certain parties’ re-election prospects.

I agree Bryan but.....

Your opinion on the situation with the world's biggest terrorist nation - ie., the U.S.- is easy to accept if one uses logic and reason.

I must disagree on the lying Labor part simply because they have not been in government for eleven (11) years and, as you would agree Bryan, a lot has happened since then.

There has been a devastating spin by the neo-cons, the Corporations and the Corporations' media that, our very existence depends on the "alliance" with the U.S. but - as Malcolm Fraser has stated - that should be based on equal respect, not on fawning servility.

If you look at Australian history you will discover that invariably when  Australia goes to war it is a Liberal government (or a rebel Laborite turned independent like Billy Hughes) and when things become nasty the people inevitably turn to Labor. 

That is the fact how the basic policies of the two opposed major parties are considered by Australians when in trouble.

The U.S/Australia "Alliance" so often quoted as our only way of survival by the "New Order" was in fact, organised by the Labor Party, Australia's oldest and only egalitarian political party.

The most degenerate part of the last decade of "New Order" is that our people have been duped into believing that war on terror is a new idea.  Terrorism is only different and more universal now because of the challenge to the ever-spreading Military/Corporate control of the U.S.   As Bush says to the world - "you are either with us or against us".

The Menzies' "Communists under the bed" scam, along with Fraser's "dole bludgers" are typical neo-con lies to gain votes with fear and hatred.   Hitler was a past master in that area, and - temporarily at least thank goodness - very successful.

As an ex National Service Instructor I can tell you Bryan, with some authority that, the message of Howard's failing Officer and Reservists advertisements are a clear indication of his U.S. led intentions for the future.

I am as sure as anyone could be that, a re-election of the U.S. puppet "New Order" Liberals will mean, (among some other nasties) an introduction of, either the U.S/Menzies' "ballot of death" system or, in Howard's more sneaky manner, a case of "National Service" but, for at least one year.

During my time as Instructor, some N.S. Navy Personnel were in the H.M.A.S. "SYDNEY" Carrier when it was sent to the war Zone of Korea. 

So, to those doubters of the "New Order" - the precedent has been set although, not intentionally.

But Bryan, would Howard's history of ignoring the wills and wishes of the Australian people prevent him from sending Reservists and National Service personnel to one or more of the U.S. wars?

It seems to me that the situation has now become that Howard's "New Order" can only survive by the U.S. negative politics of accusing the Opposition of ANYTHING and saying "well - prove me wrong" or should that be "prove yourself innocent". 

Consider Bryan, the almost "Sisyphus" hurdles that Kevin Rudd and his plans for a future Australia are now facing....

The funds available to the "New Order" Liberals are almost unlimited due to the Bush U.S.Military/Corporate; the foreign Corporations and their take-over of Australia's natural assets; the massive millions of taxpayer dollars Howard "launders" to the Corporation's Media and the total privatising of all Government departments.

That means to me, and I believe, the Australian people, that this next election will definitely mean that our future generations will be able to vote for the people who control our Nation or - the "faceless" and profit based warmongers will have achieved Howard's dream.

That would be that our votes would count for nothing due to the autocratic power of the "single party" - be it Communist; Fascist or Nazi the style of government would be of little difference.

With regard to the unpopular but democratic ALP conference, where YOUR representatives can voice their constituent's opinions in true democratic fashion. 

IF they are transparent and honest in putting the wishes of their constituents, with appropriate vigour, the Party will be accused of being "split asunder"!

Conversely, should a democratic and open vote be taken which supports Kevin Rudd's "fork in the road", it will be called a fix. 

If the democratic vote of YOUR representatives from the Labor Party, vote against Kevin Rudd, he will be called a "lame duck leader".

The once trusted ABC has a new Howard appointed CEO.  I believe that it shows both on T/V and on the Radio.

Australia desperately needs just one: independent T/V station; Radio Station and national Newspaper. 

I wish.

NE OUBLIE.

How dare he?

G'day Bryan Law.

I'm 'borrowing' your thread, because I agree with 'Rising Up to End War,' just so long as we stay within the law; and by that I don't mean the 'crooked' laws by which they may be pursuing you, but 'natural law,' as instanced following this thought: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, ..." - and any fair law is consistent with "Do unto others..."

For example, if Israelis wish to live in peace, they should desist in murdering their neighbours in order to steal ever more their, i.e. the illegally dispossessed neighbours' land and water.

Headline:

Cut & paste: Heavy the media and risk a broken glass jaw, Mr Rudd
April 18, 2007
Veteran journalist Laurie Oakes, at the National Press Club yesterday, puts the Labor leader in the firing line

[theAus/Opinion]

Hmmm. This may or may not have anything to do with Laurie Oakes, but how strange is it, that theAus, amongst others, dares to challenge our Kev, after so soiling their own nest with their venal support for B, B & H's illegal murdering invasion of Iraq, now become a brutal - and equally murdering - occupation?

These journalists - say, Judith Miller (NYT), Tony Parkinson (theAge) retailed utter rubbish as absolute truth, shilling for B, B & H. Now upwards of perhaps 1mio dead since "Shock and Awe" (that's Iraq; Iran next?) - with more murdered every single day they (US/UK/Aus) 'stay the course' - for the theft of Iraqi oil.

How dare any journalist confront our Kev, while B, B & H remain free of the gallows?

Have they no integrity? (Silly question!)

Mr Murdoch himself said the equivalent of 'Bring it on!' - promising us 'cheap' oil as he did so.

He said the price of oil would be one of the war's main benefits. "The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country."

[SMH-MK/"put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil"]

Was Murdoch really that stupid?

Surely not. That'd give the game away (haahahhaha!)

Thank-you Daniel Smythe.

Thank-you Daniel Smythe.

Soloman Wakeling said "I still hope you are incarcerated for as long as possible. Clearly you want and deserve this and your attitude now seems geared towards guaranteeing that the law come down hard on you. No lawyer could save you, no matter how gifted."

I wouldn’t say exactly that I want a long sentence. I’m not looking forward to spending time in prison again, and particularly not for an extended period.

You acknowledge that my philosophy and actions are coherent, and I’m helped in this by the theory and traditions of Gandhian/Gospel nonviolence. There is an extensive body of knowledge to draw from.

I do not agree that personal safety is the key determinant of sensible action. Taking a risk in consequence of deeply held belief almost inevitably builds credibility and engagement with a broad sample of citizens.

Today’s circumstances compel me to nonviolent civil disobedience, and from that position I’m duty bound to make my actions count for as much as they possibly can. There is a theory in nonviolence, developed by US academic Gene Sharp as “political Jiu Jitsu”, and extended in Australia by Brian Martin as “Back-fire”.

This posits that severe over-reaction by the state, particularly involving the public use of security forces, will conjure up revulsion and action by an otherwise passive citizenry. The recent movements around David Hicks and the rule of law is a good example of this dynamic.

Hence my statement that a heavy sentence will amplify the effect of our action.

Because, as even you will admit in time, our actions DON’T deserve a heavy prison sentence. We acted with transparency, honesty, decency, respect and love at all times. We acted in a manner which pre-figures the nonviolent society in which military action is only a memory.

It’s not going to be easy, but it is going to be effective.

We'll have 50-60 supporting activists in Alice Springs for our trial.  There are supporting vigils and actions in every capital city of mainland Australia on 29 May and 2 June 2007.  We've received about $20,000 in donations across the campaign.  I think more people will move forward into resistance.

War

You have a gift for language, Bryan. It would take me days to unravel the loaded meanings buried in each of your sentences.

"The heavy legal penalties which are likely to be imposed against us will, we hope, amplify our action's effect."

This is a remarkable statement. Your indifference to legal sanctions is admirable, as is your attempt to use your disadvantage to your own benefit. I say this because I think the philosophy behind your attitude and actions are coherent. You are putting your convictions in to practice. Many feel as you do but they do not wish to sacrifice such a significant portion of their lives in pursuing it.

I still hope you are incarcerated for as long as possible. Clearly you want and deserve this and your attitude now seems geared towards guaranteeing that the law come down hard on you. No lawyer could save you, no matter how gifted. I certainly do not feel sorry for you. You have long been courting disaster and I hope one day you and it will finally consumate.

The public is indeed amorphous. Converts will come, I expect, with those for whom such a life is preferable to any other. It will be from those who have nothing left to lose but everything to gain from such a social network. It will be people for whom prison is something of which they are unafraid, and, perhaps, of which they are already accustomed.

Most people, however, I expect will be content to play out their frustrations vicariously through you, giving only verbal support, and not engage in such guerrilla tactics. It occurred to me not long ago that it is not always necessary to say what you believe. There will almost inevitably be someone else, with less to lose, whom you can allow to speak for you. Even as you remain silent, your views are still communicated, because there will be someone else in your position. As such I think there may be value in rebelling sparingly - not for you, it is too late for you, but for those whose imagination is tickled by your revolutionary zeal. I think the more that follow in your footsteps, the more real protest is wasted on vain-glorious causes.

I think there are more effective methods of protest. I was cynical about the mass demonstrations prior to the Iraq war. A careful study over time made me worry about the safety of such mass outpourings and I sought to try and convince people to use more discreet methods of protest, with the internet being perhaps the safest form of all. It allows you to mark out clearly to the authorities who you are, what you have done, how dangerous you might be, and how many support you. These are the kinds of things that interest them. I am glad you are recording your acts online. It makes you safer and it acts as an example to others to do the same. The internet is like a Catholic confession booth.

What you are attempting is more along the lines of investigative journalism. I am not morally troubled by either your need to do so or the Commonwealths need to police you. Both phenomenon, I expect, are inevitable.

Personally, though, I do not feel any need to know the particular details of the Howard government's military assistance to the US. I think the public is quite capable of making judgements based upon a process of inferential reasoning that this government has made gross mistakes. The way to make change is for the public and the press gallery to develop a blood-lust again. To want to tear down the powerful again. To want to believe in truth again. At least, Bryan, you recognise that we are at war and that people die because of the public's actions or inactions. The omnipresence of the war in our lives is something that many appear to want to forget.

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