Archive | Australia

The Acquittal of Cardinal Pell

By Massimo Faggioli

Cardinal George Pell is seen in a car after being released from Barwon prison in Geelong, Australia, April 7, 2020. (CNS photo/James Ross, AAP Image via Reuters)

In setting aside the guilty verdict against Cardinal George Pell on sexual-assault charges, Australia’s High Court effectively concluded the criminal-justice aspect of a case that has consumed the nation and the Catholic Church for years. But the April 7 ruling doesn’t really settle anything in the relationship between the church and the Australian state, nor is it likely to resolve the clash between the different “kinds” of Catholicism in Australia and elsewhere. In fact, the decision will probably keep the contentious debates alive, perhaps for a long time to come. 

Pell had been charged with assaulting two thirteen-year-old boys in the sacristy of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996. From the beginning, there was nothing normal about the way the proceedings against him unfolded. The first trial ended in a hung jury. In a second trial, he was found guilty by unanimous ruling. Then, in an appeal heard by three judges, two found him guilty while the third, Justice Mark Weinberg, dissented in a lengthy 204-page opinion. Meanwhile, a “suppression order” applying to cases involving sexual abuse resulted in what amounted to secret trials that in countries like the United States would be considered unconstitutional. The proceedings were kept under wraps from the public as they happened, and only a handful of people were permitted to hear testimony. The media was not allowed to report on the details of the trials until the verdicts were publicly announced. 

Now Pell has been acquitted. In their unanimous ruling, the seven High Court judges pointed to egregious mistakes in the police investigation, and legal errors in the decisions of previous courts. But that does not mean the cardinal has been found innocent. Australia’s High Court can’t declare guilt or innocence; it issues decisions based only on the rules of evidence, and in the case of Pell, it found insufficient evidence to support the guilty verdict. As Jeremy Gans, a professor at Melbourne Law School, noted: “The High Court’s key ruling—that there is a ‘significant possibility’ that Pell is innocent of the charges against him—isn’t a conclusion that he is innocent; it is a conclusion that the prosecution failed to prove that he isn’t.” 

While Pell may yet face further criminal charges and civil lawsuits, the likelihood of this happening is uncertain, given the now diminished standing of those who handled the initial allegations. In fact, the handling of the Pell case has prompted a wider discussion on the criminal-justice system in the state of Victoria. The role of the media in all of this—particularly, reporting and coverage by the publicly funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation—is also under scrutiny. Pell and his supporters are not alone in the opinion that the ABC actively cooperated with the police in attempting to convict Pell in the court of public opinion and thus secure a conviction in the courtroom. Further, an investigative reporter for the ABC attacked Pell in a 2017 book published by the publicly funded Melbourne University Press. Yet at the same time, commentators in some prominent newspapers and hosts on Sky News television were just as vocal in their efforts to see Pell found innocent. Cardinal Pell remains a significant figure in global Catholicism, and different people will have different responses to his acquittal.

So the Pell case in many ways remains Australia’s biggest story, dividing the media, the nation, and the church. (When former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott—Catholic and Jesuit-educated—visited Pell in jail, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews publicly slammed him.) The cardinal and his supporters view the allegations, the investigations, and the trials as an integral part of Australia’s culture wars. In his post-acquittal interview, Pell said that his trial was part of an attempt “to remove the Judeo-Christian legal foundations” and that “culture wars are real.” Indeed, they are. Any discussion of the Pell case seems to devolve quickly into heated emotional argument: he is either a monster or a martyr. Interesting, however, is how measured the Holy See’s press office and the Australian bishops’ conference have been in their statements on the acquittal. “Today’s outcome will be welcomed by many, including those who have believed in the Cardinal’s innocence throughout this lengthy process,” said ACBC President Mark Coleridge. “We also recognize that the High Court’s decision will be devastating for others. Many have suffered greatly through the process, which has now reached its conclusion. The result today does not change the church’s unwavering commitment to child safety and to a just and compassionate response to survivors and victims of child sexual abuse.” Neither the Vatican nor the Australian bishops’ conference seems eager to publicly cast Pell as a martyr, no matter how he was treated by the police and justice system. Their reasoning probably hinges on the fact that there is still a lot that remains unknown, and it’s not clear what may ever become known, or when. In the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (December 2017), the information about Cardinal Pell remains redacted.

And at any rate, since the culture wars in some countries reflect intra-Catholic conflict, it’s not likely there will be any settled “conclusion” to the Pell matter in any public forum—whether a courtroom or the media. Those who support Pell (including some of his fellow cardinals) may loudly condemn Australian law enforcement and the justice system, and they might have a reason to do so. But they would also be wise to consider the controversial matter of George Pell in a larger context, as something to be discussed more deeply than as a pitting of personal theologies against each other. The fact is that there has to be a historical and moral reckoning for the Australian Church as a system, and for the most powerful Catholic Australian cleric, in terms of how both have handled the sexual-abuse crisis. 

However the Pell matter continues to unfold, it will likely have wide-scale effects. It’s a critical moment for the Catholic Church in Australia, which is preparing for its 2020–2021 Plenary Council (the first since 1937, though scheduling is uncertain because of the pandemic). In his post-acquittal interview, Cardinal Pell said that he does not want to have a voice in the Catholic debate in Australia; he also mentioned that the archbishops of Melbourne and Sydney, with whom he is close, need not be overshadowed by him. But Pell’s influence remains strong in the part of the Australian episcopate that does not want to see any profound changes in the church, and his acquittal could very well reshape the politics of the Plenary Council.

In Rome, it remains to be seen whether there will be a canonical investigation and trial of Cardinal Pell, a decision that was being held up until after the criminal proceedings in Australia. One of the most provocative things Pell said in the post-acquittal interview pertained to his belief that the case against him in Australia may have been connected to Vatican financial corruption. (In April 2013, Francis appointed him a member of the “council of cardinals”; in February 2014, Francis named him as the first prefect of the newly created Secretariat for the Economy. In July 2017, Pell left the Vatican to face the charges in Australia.) Pell said that his accuser could have been in some ways “used” by someone: “Most of the senior people in Rome who are in any way sympathetic to financial reform believe that they [the two events] are [connected].” Pell also suggested that corruption in the Vatican goes nearly to the top. “Just how high is an interesting hypothesis,” he said, though he made it clear that it doesn’t extend to Pope Francis or to Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin. Pell also released a post-acquittal video message in Italian, clearly not aimed at Italian Catholics in the pews but at prelates in the Vatican, which suggests that he still hopes to recover his standing in Rome or have some sway in shaping the political alignment in the college of cardinals.

Cardinal Pell remains a significant figure in global Catholicism, and different people will have different responses to his acquittal. There are the victims and survivors of sexual abuse who might view it as a traumatic setback. And there are Catholics who, feeling or experiencing persecution in their own countries, might have identified with Pell in being targeted, and now feel rightly vindicated. There is little doubt that the legal case of George Pell was mishandled. But at the same time this should not be used as a reason for taking the focus off what remains the primary challenge for the church: the global dimension of the sexual-abuse crisis.

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Cardinal Pell’s conviction reversed

VOLTAIRE NETWORK

Cardinal George Pell – Archbishop of Sidney before serving as Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See (that is, Finance Minister of the Vatican State and of the Catholic Church) – who had been convicted of pedophilia, has just been acquitted by the Australian High Court.

His Eminence’s trial was highly publicized in a violently anti-Catholic atmosphere, and eventually hushed up thanks to a “Gag Order”, issued by Kerri Judd, Director of Public Prosecutions of the State of Victoria, to the media banning any further coverage of the case.

The High Court decided that the facts may probably never have taken place and that, in any case, there was a reasonable doubt in favor of the defendant.

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80% of Australia’s COV-19 Cases Are “Imported”, Mostly From the U.S.

“The country which has actually been responsible for a large amount of these (coronavirus cases) has actually been the United States,” the prime minister said,

By CGTN

Global Research,

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed around 80 percent of Australian coronavirus cases came from those who caught disease overseas or were in contact with someone who returned from abroad.

“The overwhelming proportion of cases in Australia have been imported,” Morrison told a news conference on Friday. While in an interview with 2GB on the same day, he gave further details by claiming that the U.S. is the country of origin for most of the coronavirus cases in Australia.

“The country which has actually been responsible for a large amount of these (coronavirus cases) has actually been the United States,” the prime minister said, attributing the large amount of import to U.S.’ failure of conducting adequate numbers of tests, which suggested that the U.S. may have many more infections in recent weeks than had been announced.

“I don’t think there’s any suggestion that any country, including China, has done anything deliberately,” Morrison was quoted as saying.

Report from Australian Department of Health revealed that a third of the infections were traced back to travelers from the U.S.

As of Sunday, Australia has 1,286 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with the total doubling roughly every three days, according to the department.

Morrison government earlier estimated that up to 150,000 Australians could die from the coronavirus under a worst case scenario.

Earlier this week, Morrison announced a ban on nonessential gatherings of 100 or more people in the country, but exempted schools, universities, shops, health services and public transport.

It closed its border on Friday to foreigners exempting Australian citizens and permanent residents in a bid to contain coronavirus.

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Australia on the Chasm of Climate Catastrophe

by EVAGGELOS VALLIANATOS

Fires burning East Australia, December 2019. Courtesy NASA. Public Domain.

Australia: coal and Murdoch are kings 

Australia has had a series of bad governments beholden to the coal industry and to the Rupert Murdoch propaganda machine. The media empire of Murdoch controls about 60 percent of the newspapers and television stations.

The Murdoch message, just like the message of Fox TV in America, is in defense of the oligarchs and against environmental protection of any kind. This propaganda is in accord with the continued use of fossil fuels and the ceaseless destruction of the natural world. Young people brought up on this diet of lies become vociferous in their advocacy of violence and undemocratic politics.

I used to write for an Australian journal. However, my articles triggered a vicious reaction. Some readers threatened me with death.

Coal conservatism

It’s people like these that embrace conservatism. Like the American conservatives, Australian conservatives are not smart enough to understand that the coal companies and Murdoch exploit them or that the anthropogenic fury of nature will kill them and their children.

Scott Morrison, the present conservative prime minister, exactly like Trump, denies global warming while his country fuels itself primarily with coal, including petroleum and natural gas. In addition, Australia has been exporting huge amounts of coal to China and other countries.

Ecological holocaust

Simultaneously, large sections of the country the size of West Virginia have been burning with holocaust-like effects on wildlife and forests. Australian scientists report that something staggering like half a billion wild animals (mammals, birds and reptiles) have already perished in the raging fires since September 2019. Another estimate raised the dead animals to a billion.

Even if this calculation is overblown, the implications are cataclysmic. The fires probably pushed thousands upon thousands of species to extinction. The surviving animals have practically no habitat or water or food left for them. Heat waves follow one another. Smoke of the Australian fires is seen around half of the world. Drought is threatening farmers, agriculture and food.

The 1,500 miles long Great Barrier Coral Reef and kelp forest, home to countless fish, are dying from the rising temperature of the oceans.

This ecological upheaval and nightmare is mobilizing young Australians who demand that their government takes climate change seriously.

Tyranny in Australia   

Richard Flanagan, an Australian novelist, is outraged by the climate change destruction of his beautiful homeland. He denounces the criminal negligence of the conservative government denying the truth of climate change to please the fossil fuel magnates and Murdoch. “Tyranny is emerging in Australia,” he says. “Murdoch should be ashamed.”

Murdoch and his News Corp and government officials are spreading disinformation and doubt about climate change, questioning the veracity of climate science and connecting the fires to arson rather than climate emergency.

Murdoch’s news outlets are smearing and criminalizing ecological thinking and action, especially the followers of the Green Party criticizing the fossil fuel industry. Environmentalists are very angry and desperate. The fires of climate change are destroying their homes and dreams.

Dark ages

Flanagan speaks like an angry and desperate prophet seeing the end of good life in Australia. He says Australia in the first days of 2020 “is ground zero for climate catastrophe.” He paints a science fiction-like reality of Australia that combines the dark ages and no less destitution than that of days after nuclear war:

“The images of the fires are a cross between “Mad Max” and “On the Beach”: thousands driven onto beaches in a dull orange haze, crowded tableaux of people and animals almost medieval in their strange muteness — half-Bruegel, half-Bosch, ringed by fire, survivors’ faces hidden behind masks and swimming goggles. Day turns to night as smoke extinguishes all light in the horrifying minutes before the red glow announces the imminence of the inferno. Flames leaping 200 feet into the air. Fire tornadoes. Terrified children at the helm of dinghies, piloting away from the flames, refugees in their own country.”

The civilized world should be up in arms and in the streets over this climate inferno in Australia because the ecological holocaust in Australia has no borders, sooner or later reaching China and the United State and Europe. It is already seething in the Amazon and the forests of California.

Flames reached the heavens

It’s utterly stupid to ignore the climate superpower we have brought out of the chasm of Tartaros. Like the mighty monster Typhoeus, the new fossil fuels-climate has the power of making our Mother Earth uninhabitable.

Hesiod tells us that fires from two wars came close to destroying the Earth. The first war was between the Titans (born of Ouranos (Sky) and Gaia, the Earth) and the gods (born of the Titans Kronos and Rhea). The second war included Zeus and the monster Typhoeus (Τυφωεύς, son of the Earth and Tartaros, a chasm under the Earth. These wars were primarily fire wars. They burned forests, land and water. The flames nearly set the sky οn fire as well. Fires nearly melted the Earth. In both wars, Zeus relied on his almighty Thunderbolts and lightnings. He was especially effective against the monster Typhoeus, which attacked with intense fires coming from the eyes of a hundred serpent heads sprouting from his shoulders (Theogony 624-739, 835-868).

Typhoon, the windy and destructive hurricane, comes from Typhoeus.

Zeus and the gods won the wars against  the Titans and Typhoeus. They imprisoned them into Tartaros.

Throw fossil fuels to Tartaros

We can do the same thing. Form a global coalition against fossil fuels companies and their political stooges. Shut down fossil fuels and imprison and dump into Tartaros their executives and  other serial polluters.

I applaud the protests in Australia. But that is not enough. Australians must get rid of their conservative government, just like Americans must impeach Trump and defeat conservative Republican politicians.

We have Zeus’ weapons in the inexhaustible energy of the Sun, wind, and water.

The climate fires in Australia signal a moral and existential crisis. We cannot afford another billion dead animals. Fires in Australia are a warning we overlook at our mortal peril.

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US, UK, Australia, Canada and Germany Reject Iraqi Parliament’s Demand for US and Allied Troop Withdrawal

By Gideon Polya

Global Research,

Following the US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Shiite Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at Baghdad International Airport,  the Iraqi PM, the Iraqi Parliament Speaker and the Iraqi Parliament have demanded that the US Alliance forces leave Iraq. The US, UK, Australia, Canada and Germany have rejected the Iraqi Parliament’s Quit Iraq demand,  with the US threatening to instantly collapse  the Iraqi economy by a banking freeze if Iraq  insists on US Alliance withdrawal from its territory.

(1) US Alliance violates Iraqi sovereignty and rejects the Iraqi Parliament’s Quit Iraq demand.

Iraqis were outraged by the criminal murder by drone missile attack of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani (Iranian hero, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps), Shiite Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (deputy commander of the Shiite Popular Mobilisation Forces, PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi), and 8 other people by the Americans at Iraq’s Baghdad International Airport on 3 January 2020.   These blatantly criminal assassinations  were followed by international outrage  and massive demonstrations  by Iraqis  and Iranians. The Iranians launched missile attacks on 2 American air bases in Iraq  that were carefully designed as a retaliatory “slap on the face” without any American casualties that would have brought massively deadly and disproportionate  retribution from nuclear terrorist America – and indeed fortunately  nobody was killed.

Leading Iraqi Shiite politician and Iraqi PM  Abdul Mahdi stated (3 January 2020): “The assassination of an Iraqi military commander is an aggression on Iraq as a state, government and people” [1]. Iraq’s Speaker of Parliament,  Mohammed al-Halbousi (Iraq’s leading Sunni Arab politician) condemned the US assassinations as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty (4 January 2020): “Put an end to U.S. presence [in Iraq]… Yesterday’s targeting of a military commander in Iraq’s armed forces near Baghdad international airport is a flagrant breach of sovereignty and violation of international agreements. Iraq must avoid becoming a battlefield or a side in any regional or international conflict”[2]. The Iraqi Parliament passed the following resolution (5 January 2020): “The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting Islamic State due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory. The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason” [3]. The Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi protested continuing violations of Iraqi sovereignty by the Americans in a phone call to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the Iraq PM’s  office stating (9 January 2020): “The prime minister said American forces had entered Iraq and drones are flying in its airspace without permission from Iraqi authorities, and this was a violation of the bilateral agreements” [4].

The racist, anti-Arab anti-Semitic and exceptionalist Americans  rejected the foreign  withdrawal demands by the Iraqi PM, the Iraqi Parliament Speaker, and the Iraqi Parliament. Thus Mafia-style thug and serial war criminal, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, bluntly rejected the Iraqi demands,  indicating that  US troops would remain (9 January 2020): “We are happy to continue the conversation with the Iraqis about what the right structure is. Our mission set there is very clear. We’ve been there to perform a training mission to help the Iraqi security forces be successful and to continue the campaign against ISIS, to continue the counter-Daesh campaign.  We’re going to continue that mission but, as times change and we get to a place where we can deliver upon what I believe and what the president believes is our right structure with fewer resources dedicated to that mission, we will do so” [4].

Gangster Trump has justified  the assassinations on the basis of non-specific and non-disclosed security threats  against Americans, this being reminiscent  of George W. Bush’s (false) assertions (backed by UK PM Tony Blair  and Australia’s PM John Howard) in 2003 about Iraqi possession of (actually non-existent) “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (WMD). According to the New York Times (11 January 2020): “Mr. Trump issued bellicose threats to destroy Iran if it retaliated, including cultural treasures in violation of international law, touching off international outrage and forcing his own defense secretary to publicly disavow the threat, saying it would be a war crime. Mr. Trump was largely alone on the world stage. No major European power, not even Britain, voiced support for the drone strike, even as leaders agreed that General Suleimani had blood on his hands. As Le Monde, the French newspaper, put it, the rift signaled “a new stage in the trans-Atlantic divorce over the Middle East”” [5]. Predictably serial invader, serial occupier, serial war criminal, anti-Arab anti-Semitic and Islamophobic  Apartheid Israel supported the war criminal US attack on Iraq [5].

Trump was outraged by the Iraqi Parliament’s demand for  US Alliance withdrawals and declared: “[If US forces asked to leave] we will charge them sanctions like they’ve never seen before”[6]. The Americans have always used sanctions, theft and economic blackmail as adjuncts to the routine recipe of subversion, assassinations, coups, bombing, invasion and genocide. The US warned Iraq that it could block Iraqi access  to an  account that Iraq’s central bank holds with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and which   is economically vital for Iraq [6-8]. The Central Bank of Iraq’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank  was set up  in 2003 following the war criminal,  US-led invasion and all Iraqi oil revenues go to that account that presently sits at $35 billion. $1-2 billion is  withdrawn from this Federal Reserve Bank  account each month for Iraqi government and commercial transactions,  and accordingly blocked access would collapse the Iraqi economy [6-8].

While the war criminal US refuses to withdraw its forces from Iraq and serial war criminal and US lackey Australia  likewise refuses to withdraw its circa 300 troops (mainly in the Taji base near Baghdad, as well as some guarding diplomats in the Baghdad Green Zone), Germany has cut down its forces, the UK has relocated some 50  personnel out of the Baghdad Green Zone but still has about 400 troops in Iraq, and Canada has withdrawn “some” of its 500 soldiers in Iraq to Kuwait [9].

The deadly consequences of Donald Trump’s decision to launch (likely Australian-targeted )  missiles from drones at Baghdad International Airport can be summarized thus: 12 killed in the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, at least 56 killed in a stampede at the funeral of General Qassem Soleimani in the southeastern Iranian city of Kerman, and 176 passengers and crew killed (one third Canadians) in the Ukrainian passenger jet shot down in a terrible mistake by an Iranian-fired missile from a very  nervous Iranian defence Surface to Air Missile (SAM) battery defending Teheran in the context of acute and deadly  US threats to Iran [10, 11]. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has quite  rightly expressed indignation and demands for transparency and justice over the plane tragedy [12]. However Zionist-subverted and US lackey Canada does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, has a long record of US- and Zionist-backed antipathy towards Iran, has emplaced sanctions against Iran and is likely to use the passenger jet tragedy and its forces in Iraq to support the US in a continuing, variously hot and cold and 4 decade US War on Iran [13]. Under criminal and deadly US Sanctions, presently an estimated 71,000 Iranians die avoidably from deprivation each year or 195 such deaths per day [14, 15].

Decent people around the world legitimately fear the horrendous consequences of a full-blown US and US Alliance military  attack  on Iran. However 4 million Iranians  have already died from violence, 1 million, or from sanctions-imposed deprivation, 3 million, in a 4-decade US War on Iran. Further, while Iran leads the world in interdiction of opiate drugs from US-occupied Afghanistan, this flood of US-protected opiates has killed 33,000 Iranians and the 5.2 million people who have died worldwide  in a US-imposed  Opiate Holocaust inescapably linked to US restoration of  the Taliban-destroyed Afghan opium industry from 6%  of world market share in 2001 to 90% in 2007 [16]. One notes that the WW2 Jewish Holocaust was associated with 5-6 million Jews killed by the German Nazis through violence or imposed deprivation.

(2) Serial war criminal and US lackey Australia refuses to Quit Iraq as demanded by the Iraqi Parliament – Australia’s 7th Iraq War in a century?

As UK lackeys  and thence US lackeys, gung-ho and racist White Australians have invaded 85 countries over the last  2 centuries [17]. By way of comparison, over the last 1,000 years  the British have invaded 193 countries, France 82, the US 72 (52 after WW2), Germany 39, Japan 30, Russia 25, Canada 25,  Apartheid Israel 12, Iraq 2 (both greenlighted by the US),  China 2, North Korea arguably zero (0) , and Iran zero (0) since the time of the Sasanian Empire 1,300 years ago [14, 17-22]. Australia has been involved in 6 Iraq wars, specifically (1) UK invasion of Iraq in WW1 (1914-1918), (2) UK operations in Iraq in WW2 (1939-1945), (3) the deadly Sanctions War against  Iraq (1990-2003), (4) the Gulf War (1990-1991), (5) invasion and occupation of Iraq (2003-2011), and (6) the war on ISIS in Syria and Iraq (2014-). War is the penultimate in racism and genocide is  the ultimate in racism. Australia’s refusal to accede to the Iraqi Parliament’s demand  that the US Alliance forces, including Australian forces,  leave Iraq  may mark the commencement of Australia’s 7th Iraq War since the genocidal British Empire’s invasion of Iraq in 1914.

British interest in Iraq came from discovery of oil in adjacent Iran in the 1900s. Western violation of Iraq commenced with the British invasion in 1914 during WW1.  Assuming excess mortality of Iraqis under British rule or hegemony (1914- 1948) was the same as for Indians under the British (interpolation from available data indicate Indian avoidable death rates in “deaths per 1,000 of population per year” of 37 (1757-1920), 35 (1920-1930), 30 (1930-1940) and 24 (1940-1950) [23]), one can estimate from Iraqi population data [24] that Iraqi avoidable deaths from deprivation under British occupation and hegemony from 1914-1950 totalled about 4 million.  UK lackey Australia was variously involved via its air force and navy in enforcement of British rule over Iraq in this period.

On the occasion of  US withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 the Australian ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia’s equivalent of the mendacious UK BBC) reported that “The withdrawal ends a war that left tens of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 4,500 American soldiers dead” [25].  In contrast, the expert and eminent US Just Foreign Policy organization estimates, based on the data of expert UK analysts and top US medical epidemiologists, 1.5 million violent deaths in the Iraq War (2003-2011) [26-29] and UN data indicate a further 1.2 million Iraqi avoidable deaths from war-imposed deprivation in this period [14, 15]. Violent deaths and avoidable deaths from violently -imposed deprivation in the Gulf War (1990-1991) and Sanctions period (1990-2003) totalled  0.2 million and 1.2 million, respectively [30].   Accordingly, Iraqi deaths from violence (1.7 million) or war-imposed deprivation (2.9 million) in the period 1990-2011 totalled  4.6 million [31].

The US ostensibly withdrew from devastated Iraq in 2011 but returned with a vengeance in 2012 to help Syria, Iraq and Iran deal with ISIS  in Syria and Iraq that has been associated with about 0.1 million violent Iraqi deaths, most notably in devastated Mosul [32] and  twice US-demolished Fallujah, the City of Mosques [33]. One notes that the ruthless and barbarous ISIS subverted and took over the Sunni insurgency in Iraq against the corrupt, violent, US-installed Al Maliki Government, and similarly ISIS came to dominate the US Alliance-backed Sunni insurgency against the Assad Government in Syria [32, 33].   UN data indicate about 0.3 million avoidable Iraqi  deaths from deprivation in the period 2011-2020.

Thus ignoring Iraqi deaths associated with the US-backed Iraq-Iran War, one can estimate about 9 million Iraqi deaths from UK or US violence or imposed deprivation in the century after the 1914 invasion of Iraq by Britain, this constituting an Iraqi Holocaust and an Iraqi Genocide [31]. These terms are not used lightly. “Holocaust” means the death of a huge number of people. According to Article 2 of the UN Genocide Convention: “In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: a) Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” [30, 34-38]. The ruler is responsible for the ruled.  The huge avoidable deaths of Iraqis under the British, Americans and the US Coalition is evidence of gross violation of Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War that state unequivocally that an Occupier must provide its conquered subjects with life-preserving food and medical requisites “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” [39].

(3) Australia’s war criminal refusal to leave Iraq as unequivocally demanded by the Iraqi PM, Parliamentary Speaker and Parliament.

As set out above, the Iraqi PM, Speaker and Parliament have unequivocally demanded that foreign troops leave their devastated land. However the serial war criminal Americans and their serial war criminal lackeys, the UK, Canada, Germany and Australia, refuse to leave. Australian PM Scott Morrison (8 January 2020): “The situation overnight has stabilised… The cessation of those immediate hostilities that we saw yesterday and the nature of the statement also issued [by US President Donald Trump] today, as well as the [US-supplied] intelligence that we have, means that we are in a position to continue to undertake the mission that we have set for ourselves in the Middle East” [40].

The Labor Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese,  would not comment on any withdrawal of Australian forces from Iraq before getting  a [US-provided] security briefing (8 January 2020): “These things should not be done on the run. This is potentially a very serious matter. Indeed, I have said though, that there shouldn’t be a further escalation by any party” [40]. Since the US CIA-backed Coup that removed reformist Labor PM Gough Whitlam from power in 1975 [41], the craven, US lackey  Labor position has been “all the way with the USA” lest it anger the Americans or the king-making, US-owned Murdoch media empire that has captured 70% of Australian daily city newspaper readers.

The Labor Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong (8 January 2020): “Labor notes the worrying reports of events currently unfolding in Iraq. These attacks are deeply concerning and we continue to call on all sides to exercise restraint. Labor will be seeking briefings, including on the safety of our ADF members and diplomatic staff who are operating in the Middle East. Tomorrow, Labor’s Shadow National Security Committee will meet to discuss the situation in the region. Whilst these tensions are ongoing it is essential that the Government takes all steps necessary to maximise the safety and security of all deployed Australian personnel” [42].

Interestingly  the Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, evidently understands basic International Law about war crimes and has begged the Iraqi Government to permit Australian forces to stay (7 January 2020): “We urge the Iraqi government to ensure the coalition is able to continue its vital work with Iraq’s security forces in countering the shared threat of Daesh [ISIS]. We understand the resolution passed by Iraq’s Parliament is non-binding, absent formal approval by the government in Baghdad” [43].

The UN Charter is very clear about foreign forces being in another  country – it can only happen (1) through invitation by the country,  (2) in response to invasion of another country by that country, or (3) with the permission of the UN Security Council. In this instance the Iraqi PM, the Parliamentary Speaker and the Iraqi Parliament have unequivocally demanded that the foreign forces should leave.

In Australia’s 6 Iraq Wars  involving Australian and US Alliance forces in Iraq only three (3) met the standard defined by the post-WW2 UN Charter, specifically (1) the disgracefully  UN-approved and genocidal  Sanctions war against Iraq  (1990-2003; 1.7 million Iraqi deaths from imposed deprivation, half them children), (2) the UN-sanctioned Gulf War in response to the US greenlighted Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (1990-1991; 0.2 million violent Iraqi deaths), and (3) the War on ISIS in Iraq by invitation of the US-installed Al-Maliki Government (2014 onwards; the big cities of Mosul (population 2 million) and Fallujah (population 300,000) demolished by the US Alliance; about 0.1 million and 0.3 million Iraqi deaths from violence and deprivation, respectively [14, 30, 32, 34-38]. One notes that the estimates of 0.3 million Iraqi avoidable deaths from deprivation since 2011 is probably an underestimate since the US-installed Al Maliki Government has an appalling record of understating horrendous medical statistics e.g.  absurdly claiming that Iraqi infant mortality declined as a consequence of sanctions, invasion and devastation [44] and claiming that rates of spontaneous abortion, still births and congenital birth defects in devastated and toxin contaminated areas of post-invasion Iraq were normal, contrary to the shocking findings of expert non-Iraqi Health Ministry researchers [45, 46].

However the Iraqis have withdrawn that invitation and have unequivocally demanded the withdrawal of foreign forces. Yankee go home! US Coalition go home! Aussies go home! If they stay they are violating the most fundamental International law: do not  invade and occupy other counties. Indeed it was for such crimes that German leaders and generals were hung after the post-WW2  Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. One notes that the US lackey Germans and Canadians have responded to the situation by relocating “some” of their forces out of Iraq, notwithstanding the Iraqi Parliament’s demands. In 1945 the conquered Germans adopted what can be described as a CAAAA (C4A) protocol involving Acknowledgement of the crimes, Apology for the crimes, Amends for the crimes and Assertion “Never again” to anyone. Germany and Canada were not directly involved in the 2003 invasion and occupation of  Iraq  but have now evidently decided as US lackeys to join serial war criminal America, UK and Australia  in illegally occupying Iraq. Evidently the post-WW2 de-Nazification of Germany was insufficient.

As a cowardly,  degenerate, serial war criminal and genocidal US lackey, Australia has been involved in all post-1950 US Asian wars, atrocities that have been associated with 40 million Asian deaths from violence or war-imposed deprivation [14]. The Australian Liberal Party-National Party Coalition (that has egregiously mis-ruled Australia since 2013) supported Australian involvement in all of these atrocities  while Labor supported all but the Vietnam War and the 2003-2011 Iraq War.  This degenerate and war criminal collusion between serial war criminal America and serial war criminal Australia is continuing.12th Anniversary Of the Illegal Invasion of Iraq: The Anglo-American Iraqi Genocide

(4) Australian, US and UK  respect for parliamentary democracy and law at home but contempt for democracy and International Law abroad.

Australia  is one of the world’s oldest parliamentary democracies and has a splendid, world’s-best  system of compulsory, one-person-one-vote, preferential voting that ensures that a winning candidate must either receive over 50% of the vote, or failing that,  gain over 50% of the “2-party-preferred vote” based on counting the “second preferences” of all the unsuccessful candidates.  In contrast,  in first-past-the -post systems as in the UK and US, depending on how many people bothered to get out of bed and vote, a small proportion of the electorate, say 30%,  could elect  a government that was hated by most of the population. However, as with many things about Australia (and the US and UK), the surface of the rock appears very nice, but look underneath and one can be appalled [47, 48]. Thus Australia has an Upper House or  Senate that can veto decisions of the popularly-elected Lower House, or House of Representatives. However all the 6 States of Australia have the same number of Senators (12) and Tasmania (population 0.5 million) has the same number of Senators (12) as New South Wales (population 7.5 million) or Victoria (population 6.4 million), this prompting outspoken former Labor PM,  Paul Keating, to describe the Senate as “unrepresentative swill”.

Nevertheless there is great respect for parliamentary decencies and conventions. Thus the Australian  Speaker is appointed (usually from the dominant party)  to keep order in the House of Representatives and is prepared  to throw Government or Opposition MPs out of the House if they misbehave by being abusive, disruptive  or noisy. (I remember attending a big party with my dear late wife Zareena (née Zareena Lateef)  in a neighbouring country that was attended by the eminent and charming then Speaker of that country’s parliament – he had to phone for a taxi so we accompanied  him to the roadside to keep him company,  and were surprised and amused when he phoned for  a taxi and simply stated “This is the Speaker”).

However when the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament , the Iraqi Prime Minister (PM) and indeed the Iraqi Parliament as a whole demanded that foreign troops get out of Iraq there was no such respect from Australia and the other Anglosphere or European members of the US Coalition (US, UK, Australia, Canada and Germany) who all simply refused (Canada and Germany only moving “some” forces from Iraq for security reasons).

The Australian Liberal Party-National Party Coalition and now to a significantly lesser extent Labor (collectively  known as the Lib-Labs) fervently support nuclear terrorist, racist Zionist-run, genocidally racist, democracy-by-genocide Apartheid Israel. Indeed Australia is second only to Trump America  and is just above Zionist-subverted Canada as a supporter of the Apartheid Israeli rogue state. Democracy-by-genocide Apartheid Israel determines that of its  circa 7 million Indigenous Palestinian subjects (who despite over 70 years of continuous ethnic cleansing and genocide by the Zionists now represent about 50% of Apartheid Israel’s subjects) 74% are prevented from voting for the government ruling them i.e. egregious, criminal  and intolerable Apartheid ) [47-58]. Australia respects one-person-one-vote democracy at home (or at least has done so since 1967 when Indigenous Australians were finally “counted” as citizens and thence able to vote). MPs and political candidates who support Apartheid Israel and hence the obscenity of Apartheid are simply unfit for public life in a one-person-one-vote democracy. This shows US lackey Australia’s utter contempt for democracy abroad as in a similarly fundamental way does Australia’s military involvement in all post-1950 US Asian wars (racist atrocities that  have been associated with 40 million Asian deaths from war-imposed deprivation) [14]. Indeed Australian Intelligence agents helped the US overthrow the democratically elected Chilean Government on 9-11 in 1973 (page 163 [59]).

(5) War is the penultimate in racism and genocide is the ultimate in racism. Why the ongoing US devastation  of Iraq?

War is the penultimate in racism and genocide is the ultimate in racism as illustrated by the ongoing Iraqi Holocaust and Iraqi Genocide (9 million Iraqi deaths from violence or imposed deprivation since the British  invasion in 1914) [30].  Indeed the 21st century Muslim Holocaust and Muslim Genocide [60] has  involved 32 million Muslims killed by violence, 5 million, or through imposed deprivation, 27 million, in 20 countries invaded by the US Alliance since the US Government’s 9-11 false flag atrocity that killed 3,000 people [44, 61]. Decent people may well ask why is it that America and its rich Anglosphere and Western European allies are still making war on Iraq and indeed on a swathe of other countries from West Africa to Pakistan?  Why not, for example, have Iraq invaded and occupied by  Switzerland that is closer to this war-torn region than the US and has a major  interest in these countries as banker to its rulers and establishments? Why not nearly 200 other countries for any number of possible inventive reasons? The US and its allies dress up exceptionalist American war making  in terms of the “war on terror”, “global security”, “bringing freedom and democracy”, and America’s  “onerous burden” as a “global policeman” etc.  The US always needs an excuse for war but the “terror” excuse is wearing thin because the US and the countries of the US Alliance have variously backed jihadi and other non-state terrorists around the world (e.g. death squads throughout Latin America, church-bombing gangs in Ecuador, Gladio in Europe and jihadis in Libya, Yemen, Kosovo, Syria, and Afghanistan. Indeed jihadi non-state terrorists are a great asset for US imperialism because every jihadi atrocity provides an excuse for disproportionately vastly more destructive  US violence against defenceless Muslim populations [62]. Indeed fundamentalist America has trashed secular governance, modernity, democracy, women’s rights and children’s rights in the Muslim World [63].

Why the ongoing US devastation of Iraq? The most succinct answer to the question is simply:  oil. Thus from the Right, Alan Greenspan (leading Republican economist,  chairman of the US Federal Reserve for almost two decades, and servant of  four US presidents): “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil” [64]. And on the Left, Professor Noam Chomsky (eminent linguistics expert  and anti-racist Jewish American human rights activist at 101-Nobel-Laureate Massachusetts Institute  of Technology (MIT) (2009): “There is basically no significant change in the fundamental traditional conception that if we can control Middle East energy resources, then we can control the world” [65].

US lackey Australia is helping the US occupy 2 devastated countries (Iraq and Afghanistan ), blockade Somalia  and bomb 7 countries  (Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan) by targeting illegal US drone strikes via  the joint Australia-US electronic spying base at Pine Gap in Central Australia [66]. Indeed it is quite possible that via Pine Gap US lackey Australia was involved in the deadly targeting of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani  and Shiite Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their 8 associates at Baghdad International Airport that has brought the Middle East  the brink of another genocidal war and has already cost the lives of the 176 passengers and crew of Ukrainian Airways Flight 752.

The serial war criminal US subverts and perverts all countries and to that end has about 700 bases in over 70 countries, including my own country, Australia [67]. President Donald Trump has been impeached and now faces trial in the Senate over allegedly withholding a huge US arms supply to Ukraine in order to get a Ukrainian investigation into the conduct of his likely opponent for the presidency, Democrat  Joe Biden, and Joe Biden’s son.  This alleged “quid pro quo” – allegedly rewarding a foreign power for investigating possible “dirt” on a domestic American political opponent – is utterly trivial compared to the routine deadly bullying by the US of all countries  around the world. It is utterly trivial  in comparison  with the war criminal refusal of the US and its war criminal Anglosphere and European allies to leave devastated Iraq when asked to do so by the Iraqi PM, the Iraqi Parliament Speaker and the Iraqi Parliament , this refusal being accompanied by the US threat to instantly collapse  the Iraqi economy by blocking access to its Federal Reserve banking account if the Iraqi Government keeps on insisting on this withdrawal. What is utterly galling about the Impeachment is how the Americans (the serial war criminal Democrats in this instance) hypocritically cloak themselves with a veneer of “upholding the law”.   America carries a big stick.  Reformist Australian Labor PM  Gough Whitlam excited hatred from the US and its traitorous  Australian allies over the Pine Gap spying base in Central Australia and was rapidly removed in a CIA-backed Coup in 1975 [41, 59, 69].

Just as the world has responded massively to the “How dare you!” expostulation over the worsening Climate Emergency of 16-year old climate activist  Greta Thunberg at the UN, so  one hopes the world  will likewise respond to the words of 13-year old  Iraqi girl, Sarah, whose family were refugees to a Baghdad refugee camp from  the first US demolition of  Fallujah (2004): “What does America want from us? Why did they destroy our homes? This is not their home, this is our home. Why did they come here and force us to live like this? The bombing went all day and all night. They made us homeless, they made us wander from house to house to ask if anyone can help us. Why did they come here? I want them to go” (page 118 [33]).

Final comments

The US and its cowardly and war criminal allies have never been taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the invasion, occupation and genocidal devastation of Iraq that killed 2.7 million Iraqis through violence, 1.5 million, or war-imposed deprivation, 1.2 million [30]. My complaints to the ICC were of course ignored by that racist, holocaust-complicit and genocide-complicit organization (see [30]). However by refusing to leave Iraq the US and its war criminal allies are simply adding to the immense crime of the Iraqi Holocaust and Iraqi Genocide . My  own country, Australia, was intimately involved in the war criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003. Indeed John Valder, former National President of the conservative Australian Liberal Party (the party of Australia’s present PM Scott “Scomo” Morrison aka Scam-o, Scheme-o, Skim-o or Scum-o)  declared (2004): “Bush, Blair, and Howard, as leaders of the three members of the coalition of the willing, inflicted enormous suffering on the people of Iraq. And, as such, they are criminals. I believe the only deterrent to a repetition of the Iraq situation is punishment in some form as war criminals” [70].

Anti-racist Jewish British writer Harold Pinter in his 2005 Literature Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech stated (2005): “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading as a last resort all other justifications having failed to justify themselves as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people. We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it ‘bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East’. How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice” [71]. 2.9 million? More than enough, I would have thought.

Decent people around the world are fed up with the war criminal exceptionalism of the US and its degenerate, serial war criminal  Allies (Australia, UK, Canada, France, Germany and nuclear terrorist, democracy-by-genocide Apartheid Israel). Decent people throughout the world and in Australia will act by (a) informing everyone they can, (b) by urging and applying Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against a war criminal US and its war criminal allies, and (c) by declaring :”Yankee go home ” and an end to the presence of US Alliance forces in other nations. Decent Australians will  demand removal of  mother- and child-violating US forces from Australia, utterly reject the serial  war criminal, US lackey  Coalition, vote 1 Green and put the Coalition last.

*

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Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds” (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London , 2003). He has published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ ).

Notes

[1].  Spencer Neale, “Iraqi Parliament vows to “put an end to US presence” in country”, Washington Examiner, 3 January 2020: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/iraqi-parliament-vows-to-put-an-end-to-us-presence-in-country .

[2]. “Iraqi Parliament Speaker condemns U.S. air strike: statement”, Reuters, 4 January 2020: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-blast-speaker/iraqi-parliament-speaker-condemns-us-air-strike-statement-idUSKBN1Z21BD .

[3]. Arwha Ibrahim, “Iraqi Parliament calls for expulsion of foreign troops. Vote comes after PM Abdul Mahdi recommended Parliament take urgent measures to expel foreign troops from Iraq”, Al Jazeera,  6 January 2020: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/iraqi-parliament-calls-expulsion-foreign-troops-200105150709628.html .

[4]. “US dismisses Iraq request to work on a troop withdrawal plan”, Hurriyet Daily News, 11 January 2020: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-dismisses-iraq-request-to-work-on-a-troop-withdrawal-plan-150825 .

[5]. Peter Baker et al, “Seven days in January: How Trump pushed U.S. and Iran to the brink of war”, New York Times, 11 January 2020: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/11/us/politics/iran-trump.html .

[6]. “Iraq warns of collapse if Trump blocks oil cash”, Bangkok Post, 13 January 2020: https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1834699/iraq-warns-of-collapse-if-trump-blocks-oil-cash .

[7]. “Iraq warned to keep US troops o risk financial blow –WSJ”, Al Jazeera, 12 January 2020: https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/iraq-warned-troops-risk-financial-blow-wsj-200111164246245.html .

[8]. Ian Talley and Isabel Coles, “U.S. warns Iraq it risks losing access to key bank account if troops told to leave. Loss of access to New York Fed account, where international oil sale revenue is kept, risks creating cash crunch in Iraq’s financial system”, Wall Street Journal, 11 January 2011:  https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-warns-iraq-it-risks-losing-access-to-key-bank-account-if-troops-told-to-leave-11578759629 .

[9]. Patrick Wintour and Dan Sabbagh, “Germany cuts troop numbers in Iraq after Suleimani killing. Decision follows call by Iraqi parliament for withdrawal of US forces”, Guardian, 8 January 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/07/germany-cuts-troop-numbers-in-iraq-after-suleimani-killing .

[10]. “Dozens killed in stampede at Qassem Soleimani’s funeral in Iran”, Al Jazeera, 8 January 2020: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/dozens-killed-stampede-soleimani-funeral-iran-state-tv-200107093406578.html .

[11].Martin Rivers, “The downing of flight 752 in Iran is a tragedy of complacency. Lessons from the 2014 Malaysian Airlines disaster were not heeded. Now 176 more people are dead”, Guardian, 14 January 2020: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/13/downing-flight-752-tragedy-complacency-airlines .

[12]. “Canada-Iran relations”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada%E2%80%93Iran_relations .

[13]. Gideon Polya, “Apartheid Israel bombing Syria & Iraq – hotting up deadly  4-decade US war on Iran”, Countercurrents, 14 August 2019: https://countercurrents.org/2019/08/apartheid-israel-bombing-syria-iraq-hotting-up-deadly-4-decade-us-war-on-iran.

[14]. Gideon Polya, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950”, that includes a succinct history  of every country and is now available for free perusal on the web: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ .

[15]. “UN Population Division. World Population Prospects 2019”: https://population.un.org/wpp/DataQuery/ .

[16]. Gideon Polya, “US-imposed Opiate Holocaust – US protection of Afghan opiates has killed 5.2 million people since 9-11”, Countercurrents, 10 August 2019: https://countercurrents.org/2019/08/us-imposed-opiate-holocaust-us-protection-of-afghan-opiates-has-killed-5-2-million-people-since-9-11  .

[17]. Gideon Polya, “As UK Lackeys Or US Lackeys Australians Have Invaded 85 Countries (British 193, French 80, US 70)”, Countercurrents, 9 February, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya090215.htm .

[18]. Gideon Polya, “The US Has Invaded 70 Nations Since 1776 – Make 4 July Independence From America Day”, Countercurrents, 5 July, 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya050713.htm .

[19]. Gideon Polya, “British Have Invaded 193 Countries:  Make  26 January ( Australia Day, Invasion Day) British Invasion Day”, Countercurrents, 23 January, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya230115.htm .

[20].Gideon Polya, “President Hollande And French Invasion Of Privacy Versus French Invasion Of 80 Countries Since 800 AD”, Countercurrents, 15 January, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya150114.htm  .

[21]. “Stop state terrorism”: https://sites.google.com/site/stopstateterrorism/ .

[22]. “State crime and non-state terrorism”: https://sites.google.com/site/statecrimeandnonstateterrorism/  .

[23]. Gideon Polya, “Economist Mahima Khanna wins Cambridge Prize”, MWC News, 20 November 2011: http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/14978-economist-mahima-khanna.html .

[24]. “Iraq Population”: http://www.populstat.info/Asia/iraqc.htm  .

[25].  “US military marks end of its Iraq war”, ABC News,  16 December 2011: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-15/us-military-marks-end-of-its-war-in-iraq/3733982  .

[26]. “Just Foreign Policy”: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq .

[27]. ORB (Opinion Research Business), “January 2008 – Update on Iraqi Casualty Data”, January 2008: http://www.opinion.co.uk/Newsroom_details.aspx?NewsId=88 .

[28]. Les Roberts, “Les Roberts: Iraq’s death toll far worse than our leaders admit”, Uruqnet: 14 February 2007: http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=30670&s2=16 .

[29]. G. Burnham, R. Lafta, S. Doocy and L. Roberts, “Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey”, The  Lancet 2006 Oct 21;368(9545):1421-8: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17055943 .

[30]. “Iraqi Holocaust Iraqi Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/iraqiholocaustiraqigenocide/ .

[31]. Gideon Polya, “12th Anniversary Of Illegal Iraq Invasion – 2.7 Million Iraqi Dead From Violence Or War-imposed Deprivation”, Countercurrents,  23 March, 2015: https://www.countercurrents.org/polya230315.htm

[32]. Gideon Polya, “Mosul Massacre latest in Iraqi Genocide”, Countercurrents, 24 July 2017: https://countercurrents.org/2017/07/mosul-massacre-latest-in-iraqi-genocide-us-alliance-war-crimes-demand-icc-bds

[33]. Ross Caputi, Richard Hil and Donna Mulhearn, “The Sacking of Fallujah. A people’s history”, University of Massachusetts Press, 2019.

[34]. UN Genocide Convention: http://www.edwebproject.org/sideshow/genocide/convention.html .

[35]. “Genocide in Iraq Volume I . The case against the UN Security Council and member states” by Dr Abdul-Haq Al-Ani and  Tarik Al-Ani (foreword by Professor Joshua Castellino; Clarity Press, Atlanta).

[36]. Gideon Polya ““Genocide in Iraq, The Case Against UN Security Council And Member States”. Book review”,  Countercurrents, 8 February, 2013: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya080213.htm .

[37]. Abdul-Haq Al-Ani and Tariq Al-Ani, “Genocide in Iraq Volume II. The Obliteration of a Modern State” (Clarity Press, 2015).

[38]. Gideon Polya, “Review: “Genocide in Iraq Volume II. The obliteration of a modern state” By Abdul-Haq Al-Ani & Tariq Al-Ani”, Countercurrents, 15 March 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya150315.htm .

[39]. Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War: https://www.icrc.org/ihl/INTRO/380 .

[40]. Jack Snape, “Scott Morrison confirms Australian troops will remain in Iraq after Iran’s missile attack on US bases”, ABC News, 9 January 2020: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-09/scott-morrison-australia-military-mission-iraq-iran/11855490 .

[41]. John Pilger, “The British-American Coup that ended Australian independence”, Guardian, 23 October 2014: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/23/gough-whitlam-1975-coup-ended-australian-independence .

[42]. Penny Wong, 8 January 2020: https://www.pennywong.com.au/media-releases/safety-of-our-adf-and-diplomatic-personnel-in-iraq/ .

[43]. Bevan Shields, “”Don’t throw us out”: Australia plans to stay in Iraq but plans for the worst”,  Sydney Morning Herald, 7 January 2010: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/don-t-throw-us-out-australia-pleads-to-stay-in-iraq-but-plans-for-the-worst-20200106-p53pcy.html .

[44]. Gideon Polya, “Paris atrocity context: 27 Million Muslim Avoidable  Deaths From Imposed Deprivation In 20 Countries Violated By US Alliance Since 9-11”, Countercurrents22 November, 2015: https://countercurrents.org/polya221115.htm .

[45]. Chapter 6, Aftermath” in  Ross Caputi, Richard Hil and Donna Mulhearn, “The Sacking of Fallujah. A people’s history”, University of Massachusetts Press, 2019.

[46]. Neel Mani (Director of the World Health Organisation’s Iraq programme between 2001-2003 ,  “Iraq: politics and science  in post-conflict health research”, Huffington Post, 15 October 2014: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/neel-mani/iraq-politics-and-science_b_4098231.html.

[47]. John Dugard, “International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the crime of Apartheid”, Audiovisual Library of International Law: http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/ha/cspca/cspca.html .

[48]. “Boycott Apartheid  Israel”: https://sites.google.com/site/boycottapartheidisrael/.

[49]. Gideon Polya, “70th anniversary of Apartheid Israel & commencement of large-scale Palestinian Genocide”, Countercurrents, 11 May 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/05/11/70th-anniversary-of-apartheid-israel-commencement-of-large-scale-palestinian-genocide/ .

[50]. Gideon Polya, “Democratic One-State Solution (Unitary State, Bi-National State) for post-Apartheid Palestine”, Countercurrents, 22 December 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/12/22/democratic-one-state-solution-unitary-state-bi-national-state-for-post-apartheid-palestine/ .

[51] “Palestinian Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/palestiniangenocide/ .

[52]. Gideon Polya, “Apartheid Israel’s Palestinian Genocide & Australia’s Aboriginal  Genocide compared”, Countercurrents, 20 February 2018: https://countercurrents.org/2018/02/20/apartheid-israels-palestinian-genocide-australias-aboriginal-genocide-compared/  .

[53]. Gideon Polya, “Israeli-Palestinian & Middle East conflict – from oil to climate genocide”, Countercurrents, 21 August 2017: https://countercurrents.org/2017/08/21/israeli-palestinian-middle-east-conflict-from-oil-to-climate-genocide/ .

[54]. Gideon Polya, “End 50 Years Of Genocidal Occupation & Human Rights Abuse By US-Backed Apartheid Israel”, Countercurrents,  9 June  2017: https://countercurrents.org/2017/06/09/end-50-years-of-genocidal-occupation-human-rights-abuse-by-us-backed-apartheid-israel/ .

[55]. Gideon Polya, “Universal Declaration of Human Rights & Palestinians. Apartheid Israel violates ALL Palestinian Human Rights”, Palestine Genocide Essays, 24 January 2009: https://sites.google.com/site/palestinegenocideessays/universal-declaration-of-human-rights-palestinians .

[56]. United Nations, “Israel’s settlements have no legal validity, constitute flagrant violations of international law, Security Council reaffirms.   14 delegations in favour of Resolution 2334 as United States abstains”, 23 December 2016: https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12657.doc.htm .

[57]. Gideon Polya, “Is UN Security Council Resolution 2334 the beginning of the end for Apartheid Israel?””, Countercurrents, 28 December 2016: http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/12/28/is-un-security-council-resolution-2334-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-apartheid-israel/ .

[58]. Gideon Polya, “Anti-racist Jewish humanitarians oppose Apartheid Israel & support UN Security Council resolution 2334”, Countercurrents, 13 January 2017: http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/01/13/anti-racist-jewish-humanitarians-oppose-apartheid-israel-support-un-security-council-resolution-2334/ .

[59]. Brian Toohey, “Secret. The making of Australia’s security state”, Melbourne University Press, 2019.

[60]. “Muslim Holocaust Muslim Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/muslimholocaustmuslimgenocide/ .

[61]. “Experts: US did 9-11”: https://sites.google.com/site/expertsusdid911/ .

[62]. Gideon Polya, “US Profits From Jihadist Terrorism”, Countercurrents, 19 November, 2004: http://www.countercurrents.org/us-polya191104.htm .

[63]. Gideon Polya, “Fundamentalist America Has Trashed Secular Governance, Modernity, Democracy, Women’s Rights And Children’s Rights In The Muslim World”, Countercurrents,  21 May, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya210515.htm .

[64]. Peter Beaumont and Joanna Walters, “Greenspan admits Iraq was about oil, as deaths put at 1.2m”, The Observer, 16 September 2007: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/sep/16/iraq.iraqtimeline .

[65]. Noam Chomsky quoted in Sherwood Ross, “Chomsky: Iraq invasion “major crime” designed to control Middle East oil”, The Public Record, 3 November 2009:  http://pubrecord.org/nation/5953/chomsky-invasion-major-crime/ .

[66]. Philip Dorling, “Australian intelligence “feeding data” for deadly US drone strikes”, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 May 2014:http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-intelligence-feeding-data-used-for-deadly-us-drone-strikes-20140526-38ywk.html .

[67]. David Vine, “Where in the world is the US military”, Politico, July/August 2015: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/us-military-bases-around-the-world-119321 .

[68]. Jules Dufour, “The worldwide network of US military bases”, Global Research, 1 July 2007: https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-worldwide-network-of-us-military-bases-2/5564 .

[69]. William Blum, “Rogue State”.

[70]. “Howard is a war criminal,, says former colleague”, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 2004: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/07/18/1090089035899.html .

[71]. Harold Pinter, “Art, Truth and Politics”, Countercurrents, 8 December 2005: http://www.countercurrents.org/arts-pinter081205.htm .

Posted in USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, Iraq, UKComments Off on US, UK, Australia, Canada and Germany Reject Iraqi Parliament’s Demand for US and Allied Troop Withdrawal

Australian TV Channel 10’s Studio 10 program on the futile drug war

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Australian TV Channel 10’s Studio 10 program on the futile drug war

Posted: 11 Sep 2019 12:06 AM PDT

I recently appeared on Australia’s Channel 10 popular TV morning program, Studio 10, talking about the drug war and my new book, Pills, Powder and Smoke: Inside the Bloody War on Drugshttps://s3.wasabisys.com/selfagency-host/antonyloewenstein.com/Pills-Powder-And-Smoke-Inside-The-Bloody-War-On-Drugs-Network.mp4

The post Australian TV Channel 10’s Studio 10 program on the futile drug war appeared first on Antony Loewenstein.

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The Presence of Foreign Troops in Australia: The US Marines in Darwin

NOVANEWS

Subordinates rarely have a good time of dictating matters to their superiors. In the webbed power relations that pass as realpolitik, Australia is the well behaved child in the front of the room, yearning to be caned and spoilt in equal measure.  Ever since Australia’s Prime Minister John Curtin cast his eye to Washington in an act of desperation during the Second World War, fearing defeat at the hands of the Japanese and British abandonment, the United States has maintained its role, a brute to be relied upon, even as it careers into the next disaster.  An underlying rationale since then has been dangerously simple: With the United States, right or wrong, sober or drunk.

An important element in the relationship has been the forced belief that the US has no bases in Australia, preferring the untidy ruse of rotation.  A base implies permanency, garrisons with darkened influences on the local populace, followed by the all-too-predictable requirement for courts martial.  A rotation on exercise suggests a casual visit and a bit of sunny fun.

The US armed forces, as Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, do this with callous freedom under the broader aegis of the alliance with Canberra, fucking the Oriental subject and departing, having impregnated the host, and propelling her to a despair that eventually kills.  The metaphor carries over for what sounds, promiscuously enough, a classic military strategy: rotation, not occupation; movement, not garrisoned entrenchment.  To that end, it follows that the US does not occupy Australia so much as penetrate it with convenience, use it, and discard if and when needed, all pimp, and occasionally reassuring plunderer.

In 2014, US President Barack Obama fluted his views about the Pacific and the future role of US forces on a visit to Australia, yet another notch on the belt of the imperium’s move into the Asia-Pacific.

“By the end of this decade, a majority of our Navy and Air Force fleets will be based out of the Pacific, because the United States is and always will be a Pacific power.”

In 2015, Admiral Jonathan Greenert did his little Pinkerton expedition to Darwin, hoping to find suitable environs to seed further.   The US, in his words, was “doing a study together with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to see what might be feasible for naval co-operation in and around Australia which might include basing ships”.  (The horny Lothario must always sound cooperative and consultative.)

new port facility, planned to be situated at the Glyde Point area, has been one part of this potentially dubious harvest.  The intention here is to broaden the scope of naval operations, with the port intended for amphibious war ships, while providing comfort to the rotating marine force.  The Australian Defence Department, as is its wont, refuses to confirm this, telling the country’s national broadcaster that it had, at present “no plans for the development of a new naval facility in the Northern Territory.”  The evidence suggests otherwise, given the completion of the recent $40 million road to Gunn Point, near Glyde Point.  (The road to militarism tends to have good paving.)

A few mutterings are available from the Australian Defence Force.  A spokesman explained, noting additions to the infrastructure, that,

“The [fuel storage] facility will support training and enable enhance cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and the US Marine Corps and US Air Force.”

It has been a touch under a decade since US marines began arriving in Darwin, all part of the Obama administration’s desire to pivot the imperium. In 2018, Washington sent a contingent of 1,500 soldiers as part of the US-Australian force posture agreement, an understanding said to continue till 2040.  The national interest analysis of the agreement reads like an authorising document for occupation, however described.  Weasel assurances are present to give the reader the false impression of Australian independence; there would be, for instance, “respect for Australian sovereignty and the laws of Australia”, the need to agree to consultation “and affirms that the initiatives will occur at Australian facilities, consistent with our long-standing policy that there are no foreign military bases on Australian soil.”

Such a position did not fool Nick Deane of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network, an organisation that continues to promote the dangers of a continuing US military presence on the continent.

“Having foreign troops on home territory creates a potential breach in any sovereign nation’s defence.  The first criterion of independence has to be the nation’s capacity to look after itself by conducting its own defence.”

The presence of foreign troops should only be countenanced in “the most extreme of situations”. Those had hardly presented themselves, despite the usual psychic pressings posed by a rejigged version of the Yellow Peril.

Groups such as IPAN, along with a few defence contrarians such as Mike Gilligan, argue that Australia simply does not need this added presence for peace of mind, being more than capable of dealing with its own security.

Australia’s problems have been amplified by another player in the crammed boudoir.  The People’s Republic of China is also sniffing, perusing and seeking a foothold.  Darwin’s port was leased to Landbridge Industry Australia, a subsidiary of Shandong Landbridge Group in 2015, which might have been regarded as more than just a tease. Such foreplay did not impress various critics at the time, including the then federal treasurer, Scott Morrison.

“They didn’t tell us about it!” he is noted to have said. “Which Australian city controversially leased their port to a Chinese company in 2015?”

Strategy wonks were baffled; this move on the part of the Northern Territory government did not tally.

It would be convenient to deem the Northern Territory government a convenient whipping boy in this whole business.  Australia, thus far, is proving an erratic courtesan on all fronts, happy to provide coal to Beijing in abundance with a certain amoral confidence but abstinent and circumspect on technology.  (Its directions to remain firm against Beijing from Washington regarding Huawei and 5G are clear enough.)

Canberra is also rebuffing various efforts being made by the PRC in the Pacific.  The Australian heart remains firmly, perhaps suicidally, in Washington’s embrace, but its politics remains scrambled.  Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s recent megaphone tour of the Solomon Islands was meant to be a signal to China that the Pacific remained Canberra’s neighbourhood watch zone and, by virtue of that, a US playground by proxy.  Pinkertonism is a hard thing to shake.



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Populist Austrian chancellor forced out despite election win

NOVANEWS

Despite fuelling their anti-immigrant rhetoric, the imperialists are nervous of populist leaders in Europe who favour rapprochement with Moscow.

Proletarian writers

Austria’s 32-year-old chancellor, Sebastian Kurz of the rightist People’s party, has been forced out of office by a no-confidence vote only days after his party swept the board in the EU parliamentary election.“Mr Kurz and the People’s party emerged on Sunday evening as the biggest winners of the polls, with support surging 8.5 percentage points to its highest ever level, 35 percent, in a result widely seen as huge personal mandate for the chancellor.” (Austria’s Kurz forced to step down despite European elections win by Sam Jones, Financial Times, 27 May 2019)

The main reason the no-confidence vote passed was that the coalition government that Kurz headed was fractured as a result of incontrovertible video evidence emerging that his vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, of the far right Freedom party, who had long been presenting himself as “the scourge of dirty politics” was offering government contracts in return for favours to a person posing as a representative of Russian oligarchs.

“Over seven boozy hours in a pricey villa in Ibiza, Mr Strache and another Freedom party politician are seen offering the purportedly Russian woman, who says she is looking to invest 250 million euros, lucrative government contracts in exchange for donations or politically motivated investments.

“Mr Strache tries to persuade the woman to buy discreetly into Austria’s largest tabloid, Kronen Zeitung, and use it to advance the Freedom party.” (Editorial: In Austria, a tawdry tale of the far right’s dalliance with Russia, New York Times, 21 May 2019)

This scandal forced Kurz to dissolve the coalition in an attempt to avoid contamination with Strache’s illicit behaviour. However, this left the People’s party bereft of a parliamentary majority – hence the success of the no-confidence vote.

Although the various rightist populist parties, including Austria’s Freedom party, espouse obnoxious anti-immigrant policies and are in the ultimate analysis virulently anti-working class, they are a thorn in the side of the warmongering doyens of finance capital to the extent that many of them seek friendship with Russia rather than war.

Apparently, “Foreign intelligence services have stopped sharing sensitive information with Austria for fear that it may leak to Moscow.” (Austrian leader calls for snap election after far-right vice-chancellor resigns by Katrin Bennhold and Christopher F Schuetze, New York Times, 18 May 2019)

Such is the threat to western imperialist interests that the Austrian populist government and other European parties like them represent.



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Tightly Bound: The United States and Australia’s Alliance-Dependent Militarization

Contemporary Australia is a case of dependent, high-technology liberal militarization, but with distinctive characteristics pointing to a model that must look beyond standard concerns with increasing national defense budgets, more and better weapons systems, an “exceptionalist” approach to immigration security and a predilection for use of military force in international affairs.

In a world and time where militarization is a global norm embedded in globe-spanning military alliances and world-wide networks of foreign military bases, discerning the lineaments of one particular national instance can be both difficult and potentially misleading. In liberal democracies, national self-conceptions resist identification with the harsh implications of reliance on, or valorization of, military force, unless it can be viably represented as defense of freedom, just war, or wars against unspeakable Others. And in the case of liberal democracies originating in a settler state with ongoing unrecognized conquest of indigenous peoples – think Australia, the United States, Canada and Israel – the racially inflected violence at the foundations of state-formation and national identity continues to ramify through the default settings of contemporary foreign policy. All three qualities distinguish the contemporary pattern of Australian militarization from the standard versions of either exceptionalist or liberal militarization.

US F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in flight testing. The Australian government has approved the purchase of a further 58 of the warplanes at a cost of $12.4bn. Photograph: Lockheed Martin/AAP.

By the standard indices of national-level militarization, Australia is now a serious instance, albeit an unusual one. The world’s sixth-largest arms importer, post-9/11 Australia embarked on a large capital expenditure program on defense that will see virtually all major weapons systems and support platforms replaced or upgraded in the next two decades.

Defense spending has been growing continuously since 2000, reaching $27.3 billion in the current fiscal year, a 6.5 percent increase in real terms over the previous year, including a billion dollars for current overseas deployments in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Current government planning to bring defense spending from 1.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to a sustained 2.0 percent in coming years will involve annual real increases of 4.7 percent, meaning that defense spending will have doubled in real terms from 2005-2025, including $153 billion for increased defense materiel capacity.

Over the past half century or more, the standard historical parameters of Australian defense policy have focused on oscillations around a set of policy-polar tensions:

  • self-reliance vs imperial or super-power dependence;
  • confidence in sufficient warning time to prepare for emerging major threats identity rooted in fear of invasion;
  • acceptance of limited resources and influence borrowed grandiosity by association with imperial allies; and
  • force structure designed for the defense of continental Australia and the immediate region “operations in distant theatres.”

These tension-sets derive at root from the anxieties of a small, settler-colonial state, uneasily occupying a conquered continent, identifying deeply with its imperial origins on the other side of the world, and fearfully anxious about its relations with its geographical and cultural environment. Identity powerfully structures how the map is read for strategic interests. On the standard Australian reading, “help” looks far away. Serious pursuit of “self-reliance” is seen as a brave gamble.

With a nod to the shade of past self-reliance policy, the essence of Australian defense policy post-9/11 and in renewed fear of China today is an intensified, broadened and tightened version of the alliance relationship with the United States. Now in its seventh decade, the Australia-US alliance is an historical chameleon, shape shifting from its original rationale as a US guarantee against post-Second World War Japanese remilitarization, to an imagined southern bastion of the Free World in the global division of the Cold War, on to a niche commitment in the global war on terror, and now a new, if slightly hesitant, role in a US-led faux containment revenant against a rising China.

The century-long tradition of deployment of Australian armed forces in distant theaters in service of its alliance protector – first Britain, then the US – continues today, with substantial Australian ground, sea and air force elements still deployed in the US-led wars in Afghanistan (almost continuously since 2001 to the present), Iraq and the Western Indian Ocean (2003-2009; and 2014 – present ) and Syria (2015 – present ), and large support elements in Persian Gulf bases (2002 – present ).

Servicing alliance requirements has meant that Australian force structure reflects these underlying tensions, as can be seen, for example, in the roles assigned in theory and practice to Australia’s range of new major weapons-platforms upgraded in recent years, in all three services.

To take the example of advanced military aircraft, Australian doctrine today still nominally emphasizes the defense of the sea-air gap surrounding the continent, immediate South Pacific and archipelagic Southeast Asia. Accordingly, defense planners have always sought a “knowledge edge” over neighboring armed forces rooted in preferential access to US military technology denied even to other close US allies such as Japan as the “reward” for a US-deputed sheriff role in the region and in constant support for US-led wars.

Accordingly, the Royal Australian Air Force’s large but aging F/A-18 fighter-bomber force, mainly deployed to the continent’s northern approaches, are to be replaced in coming years by more than 70 F-35 Lockheed-Martin Joint Strike Fighters. But RAAF Hornets and Super-Hornets have also long been deployed to Iraq and now Syria in high-tempo alliance operations. For the US, the bombing contribution of the Australian F/A-18s, while politically helpful, has been outweighed by the utility of the accompanying deployment of a technologically advanced US-sourced RAAF Wedgetail E-7 airborne early warning and control aircraft, based on a Boeing 737, and designed to be highly interoperable with US forces.

A similar set of defense doctrine contradictions was embodied in the protracted and intense intra-government debate about replacing an ageing small submarine fleet. This was eventually resolved in 2016 with the decision to commit $39 billion to build 12 4,000 tonne conventional diesel-electric submarines based on a DCNS-Thales design derived from the French Barracuda-class nuclear submarine. Once again, doctrinal concerns for a submarine capability designed for defense of the continental sea/air gap and archipelagic Southeast Asian areas of direct strategic interest to Australia appeared to be trumped by advocacy rooted in alliance concerns for capacity to conduct very long-range coalition-support operations centering on a blockade of Chinese waters – a choice with considerable consequences for design requirements and for the Australian strategic relationship with China.

Antennas of Pine Gap Richard Tanter, “Antennas of Pine Gap image gallery”, Australian Defence Facilities Pine Gap, (Source)

Australia hosts a number of US-related military facilities. Today, none of these are solely US bases, but are joint facilities, each with a greater or lesser extent of US access, although in important cases such as the Joint Defense Facility Pine Gap, the degree of “jointness” is highly asymmetrical, with Australian staff sharing operations of a facility built and paid for by the US and only operating as part of global US space-based surveillance systems.

Outside Australia, perhaps the best-known example involves the initiative of former US President Barack Obama’s administration to deploy up to 2,500 marines to Darwin in the Northern Territory and US Air Force fighters, refueling tankers and B-52 and B-2 bombers to Northern Territory air bases. The Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) is on permanent rotation for half of each year, avoiding the tropical wet season where major military ground activity becomes all but impossible, when its core elements from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit return to Okinawa aboard a US Navy Expeditionary Strike Group. The number of marines in Darwin is small compared with their presence in South Korea, Okinawa and Guam, and in some respects the significance of their Australian presence is as much political as military. However, with their ADF counterparts increasingly highly integrated with US forces through training, doctrine, logistics pre-deployment, interoperability, and combined operational planning, including for coalition operations in Korea, the military significance is becoming clearer. The MAGTF and USAF aircraft utilize large ADF ground and air weapons-training ranges in northern Australia – one of which, Bradshaw Field Training Area, is the size of Cyprus – which are densely electronically connected by optical fiber in real time to both ADF headquarters and Pacific Command in Hawaii to facilitate training activities and evaluation. The clear US intention is to develop the Darwin hub into a combined contribution to US-led regional rapid deployment capability for East and Southeast Asia.

Australia in a networked alliance

To best understand the important implication of not only hosting US facilities in Australia but also the more general Australian national pattern of militarization, a wider vantage point is needed, shifting the focus of militarization from the essentially standalone characteristics of an individual nation-state to the implications of that state’s place in a networked alliance system. These networks involve US and allied military bases and deployed personnel, globally distributed elements of US-controlled but coalition-accessed space and terrestrial surveillance sensor systems, communications and computing systems – all tied to US and coalition military operations.

The physical manifestations of these systems include not only easily recognizable conventional military bases with large numbers of military personnel, logistics and transport facilities and weapons platforms, but also US-controlled but coalition-accessed and hosted bases for space and terrestrial surveillance sensor systems and worldwide communications and computing systems that are essential to US and coalition military operations, and that are technologically dense, but personnel light. These make up a globally distributed, materially heterogeneous landscape of digital technology, much of which exists in an invisible Hertzian landscape constituted by the electromagnetic spectrum operated through all-too-material antennas, advanced computing facilities, sensors, data banks, communications satellites and globe-spanning webs of dedicated optical fiber.

Two essentially US facilities in Australia regarded by both governments as “joint facilities” and governed by agreements under which they operate with “the full knowledge and concurrence of the Australian government” exemplify this alliance-induced global aspect of Australian militarization: the Joint Defense Facility Pine Gap in Central Australia and the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station at North West Cape in Western Australia.

Between the two of them, Pine Gap and North West Cape are now operationally closely involved with – and indeed for the most part critical for – US nuclear-war targeting, US-Japanese missile defense, US drone and special forces extra-judicial counter-terrorism killings, the rapidly growing US capacity for space warfare, and direct support for ground and air operations in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and for US combat operations in any outbreak of armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

The idea that an intelligence facility in the center of Australia will be central to US planning and operations for a Korean war, nuclear or conventional, may appear exaggerated from the outside. This is far from the case. Pine Gap’s longstanding primary role involves its massive signals intelligence capabilities in space and on the ground, listening to a vast range of radio signals, cell phones, and radars over more than half the world from the west of Africa to the mid-Pacific, and all areas of current US military interest and operations.

For half a century, one essential role of Pine Gap has been to provide US strategic planners with the locations and characteristics of enemy radars and air defenses, the better to evade, jam, or destroy them as a prelude to airborne nuclear or conventional attack.

In preparation for a possible Korean war, Pine Gap’s signals-intelligence tasking schedules will have been in overdrive contributing to updates to the North Korean Electronic Order of Battle – the key to the effectiveness of US attacks on enemy assets. This will include listing the locations and characteristics of every North Korean radar, missile launcher, command center, tank and artillery array, logistics hub, ship and aircraft, and political leadership cell phones and bolt holes.

Pine Gap’s secondary nuclear role involves downlinking data from US infrared surveillance early-warning satellites detecting enemy nuclear missile launches, giving the US a few minutes of warning of nuclearattack – and also priming a second strike by establishing which enemy ICBM silos have fired, and which remain to be targeted. But beyond this, through these same infrared satellites, Pine Gap detects the first seconds of enemy missile launches and calculates the missiles’ likely trajectories, passing the information to US and Japanese and South Korean missile defense systems, cueing their fire radars to search a tiny portion of the sky where the missiles are gathering enormous speed. If cued by Pine Gap, and if the missile defense system works as the Pentagon and the manufacturers advertise, US missile defenses might, just might, have a chance of firing their own missiles to hit and destroy the enemy missiles. Without Pine Gap’s contribution, at the current stage of US missile defense technology, the chances of successful interception are probably not much more than zero.

North West Cape, once vital for communications with submerged US Polaris nuclear submarines, has a new critical role in an ever-more important area of US military planning, with enthusiastic Australian acquiescence. The US has installed two ground-based space surveillance systems at North West Cape under a Space Surveillance Partnership Agreement with Australia, as part of its worldwide collaborative Space Surveillance Awareness network. A refurbished Cape Canaveral Missile Range C-Band space radarhas been transferred to Australia, now operated by the RAAF to monitor space objects in low earth orbit. And a new highly advanced US space surveillance telescope to take advantage of Australia’s southern location for observation of objects in geosynchronous orbit. Both the radar and the telescope are dual purpose. Great public emphasis is given to their utility as an undoubted global good to track space debris threatening the use of congested space. Rather less publicly, great importance is attached by both the US Space Command and the ADF to the role of both in determining the locations, characteristics and behavior of adversary satellites – a critical requirement for US planning for space dominance. What is striking in this pattern of militarization is the dramatic upgrading of alliance operational integration at the heart of US planning.

A third “joint facility” confirms this pattern of militarization of Australia through its willing insertion into a wider global pattern. The Australian Defense Satellite Communications Station (ADSCS) at Kojarena near Geraldton in Western Australia was originally a solely Australian facility, and still functions together with Pine Gap and a companion Australian satellite communications interception station at Shoal Bay outside Darwin as a major Australian contributor to the US-led Five Eyes global signals intelligence network. However, in the past decade, two new compounds at Kojarena have been constructed to house two ground stations for US global military communications systems. One houses three giant antennas to uplink and downlink to the satellites of the Mobile User Objective System, or MUOS, the US military’s ruggedized 3G smart phone system providing worldwide access for individuals’ narrow-band (limited volume and speed) voice, data and video communications, and military-auspiced internet-capacity military communications. The four worldwide MUOS satellite ground stations, including Kojarena, are linked by a dedicated 18,000 mile-long optical fiber network.

Another new Kojarena compound also houses three antennas as ground terminals for a different kind of US communications system, the equally important Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system. Australia paid for one of ten WGS satellites to gain global access to the entire WGS network, especially for operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and two Australian WGS ground access terminals have been built for ADF use.

Wideband communications networks transport huge amounts of data, and are critical operating and downlinking data from long-range armed and surveillance drone aircraft. In mid-2014, the US Defense Department informed Congress that “warfighters” would be denied access to the WGS system for “months or years” without construction at Kojarena of a communication gateway known as a teleport, for which there was “a desperate need” in the region (in addition to those in Hawaii and Okinawa). A DoD Teleportenables both the WGS and MUOS communications satellites’ ground terminal to connect to the terrestrial optical fiber network known as the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN), and through that to the “network of networks” the US military calls the Global Information Grid (GIG).

Such “joint” facilities indicate a new globalizing dimension to alliance structures and to what had previously been considered as standalone national patterns of militarization, in this case of liberal democratic states. Cooperation with and reliance on US-led planet-wide communications and surveillance systems produce a type of dependent militarization that is rather different from, and deeper than, dependence derived from, say, force structure dependent on imported weapons systems.

“Entanglement” takes on quite new and binding dimensions of linkage multiplicity, complexity andpotentially unavoidable consequences. The implications of such globally organized alliance drivers of national militarization may vary in time and place, but as the Australian case shows, warrant serious consideration as a new dimension of liberal militarization, and its attendant dangers.



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Is it time to boycott Australia over its refugee policies?

NOVANEWS

Posted by: John Phoenix

Image result for Australia’s war on asylum seekers CARTOON

My following article appears in Australian news outlet, Crikey:

Let’s talk about boycotting Australia.

Australia’s war on asylum seekers at Manus Island, Nauru and other privatised detention facilities on the Australian mainland is seemingly unstoppable by traditional means. While condemned by every human rights organisation in the world, Canberra is unmoved. The demonisation of (mostly) brown and Muslim individuals is an effective tool for politicians as well as many in the Murdoch and tabloid press to whip up fear and aggression against outsiders. And it’s been working for 25 years with Australia now inspiring hardline European policies.

When politics and international law fail to intervene if abuses occur, alternative tactics are required. Supporting a tourist and sporting boycott is one way to draw local and international attention to Australia’s mistreatment of refugees. It would inevitably lead to a hardening of views among some Australians, and vicious opposition by many in the media who would label it unrealistic or extreme — but that’s exactly the point. Business-as-usual ideas have failed for more than two decades. It’s time to try something new.

Back in 2014, I wrote in The Guardian that the United Nations should impose sanctions on Australia over its asylum seeker policies. Then and now it was a highly contentious view, and the UN is a deeply flawed and corrupt body itself, but my aim was to make Australians realise that turning a blind eye to what was happening on Manus Island and elsewhere should come with a tangible, economic price. In other words, let’s turn capitalism against a rich, capitalist country.

In 2015, I wrote in The Guardian again about boycotting companies, and divesting from them through shareholder activism, that financially benefited from Australia’s refugee policies. This included Serco, G4S and International Health and Medical Services. Earlier this year, when I raised the idea on ABC TV of a sports boycott against Australia, the online response was often vitriolic (though far from entirely).

“Sports and politics don’t mix” was the most tiresome response, as if people had conveniently forgotten the long and noble tradition of fighting oppression and racism during apartheid South Africa and in the US today with sports and its icons. There’s also a growing global divestment campaign against the coal industry.

The growing success of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, to pressure the Jewish state to abide by international law in its war against the Palestinians, is because it has massive Palestinian support within Palestine, granting the movement legitimacy in the eyes of global activists.

There are examples of Australians pushing for similar legitimacy here with current and former asylum seekers. The only Australian organisation that I know that’s pushing to sanction Australia is Rise: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees. They state: “Australia should be excluded from participation in all international humanitarian and human rights decision making processes until mandatory detention and refoulement of asylum seekers and refugees is abolished in Australia.”

What would a boycott against Australia look like? Because it’s unlikely that any countries would refuse to play Australia in cricket, football, hockey, netball or rugby (as these nations are themselves involved in abuses against minorities), it’s up to engaged citizens to put pressure on teams and their corporate sponsors to take a public stand against Australia’s refugee posture. Generate public protests in Australia and globally when Australia’s national team plays. Brief activists in foreign cities to write letters and op-eds whenever Australia appears. Australians crave global acceptance and will loathe being forced to consider why their teams are being shunned.

A tourist boycott is equally appealing (and a German journalist recently advocated for it). Tourism is a multibillion-dollar industry and many people would undoubtedly suffer if fewer foreigners visited. But there are ways to try and avoid this result. After the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009, some activists asked tourists not to come because the government was attempting to white-wash its crimes (or at least be careful not to stay at hotels or fly on airlines backed by the regime).

Australians could encourage potential tourists, with the aid of a helpful website, to back local communities and economies with no connection to corporations complicit in some way to Australia’s refugee policies. Activists could use culture jamming techniques to challenge Australian tourist ads running around the world, showing the reality away from the pretty beaches. Social media is an effective weapon here, producing alternative tourist messages with images from Manus Island and Nauru.

There’s no one way to end Australia’s cruelty towards asylum seekers but most of the current tactics have failed. If Australians start paying a real price for their acquiesce in punishing refugees, the politics may start to slowly change.



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