Ten Years On. The Bloodiest War. the Dirtiest Lies.

History is littered with easily defined tyrants, and their lust for power, resulting in wars quite justifiably deemed criminal and unjust. Some were so good at waging war that history views them with awe rather than horror. Figures such as Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and the Emperors of the Roman Empire come into this category. Although there was no justification for their acts of aggression, there is a kind of ‘they were good at what they did’ attitude which sees their exploits viewed as momentous rather than callous, murderous and greedy; chiefly because of the huge mark they left on recorded history.

In more modern times, when a more liberal and reasoned view of the causes of war could reasonably be expected to bring about a more civilised means of settling disputes, we nonetheless saw the bloody carnage of the First World War, with foot-soldiers massacred under the onslaught of heavy artillery, their fervent goals of King and Country converted to little more than mincemeat and fertiliser. Some ten million military personnel, and seven million civilians died in the ‘Great War’ for little more reason than it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Twenty years later the second World War, for which the seeds had been planted by crippling reparations included in the armistice of the first, resulted in a wrecked economy and crippling inflation, bringing about the conditions which enabled Hitler to seize control of a humiliated Germany. His evil is so pervasive that he may never be viewed with the awe of his bloodthirsty predecessors. The Japanese too, undertook an aggressive expansion, in part because of a dearth of energy and manufacturing supplies from the West, and in part because of humiliation at the hands of a Western expansionist arrogance which saw Asia as a Colonial plaything of pompous Empire builders. Whatever justifications the aggressors thought they might have had, there is little doubt that evil, bloodthirsty and expansionist tyrants were soundly beaten by allies united in justice and honour.

The Korean War served as a chess-board on which the mutual paranoia between the Western purveyors of Capitalism and the Totalitarianism of Communism played out a deadly draw; and the Vietnam War, a Chop Suey of of rotting imperialism, paranoia and domino theory, saw the slaughterhouse of the US withdraw like craven dogs, despite inflicting deaths in the millions upon their third world opponents.

The Vietnam War was the first war which included participants from civilian ranks, whose mass demonstrations and exposure of the Allied lies through the myriad forms of mass media, but especially through that of our television screens, saw ‘rat-bag’ protesters take considerable credit for the U.S.’s ignominous withdrawal; minus 50,000 war dead.

It is sobering and depressing, therefore, to have lived through an era in which the greatest mass movement in history, armed with the most revolutionary means of communication yet devised, in the form of the internet, found itself impotent against a regime who had suffered the traumatic humiliation of 9/11, and was determined to demonstrate what havoc it was capable of inflicting in retaliation. The evil Saddam Hussein was the convenient recipient of this demonstration, and Iraq, the cradle of civilisation, was the modern secular Middle Eastern country chosen to be blown into ruins and chaos through the implementation of Shock and Awe, and the dehumanisation of the Iraqi people.

The lies and distortions of the perpetrators were supplemented and augmented by News Ltd., the Murdoch Press, which unequivocally downplayed the protestations of weapons inspectors, and inflated every exaggeration, distortion and downright lie of the aggressors. Saddam Hussein, in no doubt as to the intentions of the US, released thousands of CDs containing information on previous weapons caches, (his harbouring of Weapons of Mass Destruction being the justification for the invasion) and gave carte blanche to weapons inspectors; and millions of demonstrators around the world, seeing through the lies, marched hopelessly against a tsunami of propaganda released by the Murdoch Empire.

Bush, Blair, Howard, and their Liars-in-chiefs, the Rumsfords, the Cheneys, the Downers, literally drove honest men to their graves in their crusade, and Bush’s Secretary of State, the respected Colin Powell, perjured himself in a televised performance at the United Nations, a humiliation he will never live down.

What could be more ironic and hypocritical, than a country accusing another of harbouring weapons of mass destruction while raining a torrent of bombs and rockets on a hopeless opponent, an attack designed not just to hit military targets, but to wipe out the power, the television stations, the roads, and the water supplies, to the extent that ten years later, such services remain crippled.

As the ‘war’ continued, The Australian delighted in showing the heroic invaders giving water to their captives, as examples of the humanitarian way the US and its allies were conducting the war. Not even the Oz could disguise the slaughter on the streets though, as vehicles full of families were blasted into oblivion, and American thugs invaded houses full of families and dragged men away from their wives and children; ultimately to subject them to the unspeakable and barbaric conditions of Abu Ghraib Prison.

No weapons of mass destruction were found. Not one.

That champion of free speech, that paragon of a free press awash with blood, which questioned the patriotism of those opposed to the war, which lauded the destruction of Iraqi society, (still suffering regular bomb attacks to this day) and which attacked those who did not whole-heartedly support this wanton slaughter, such as the ABC, was supportive of an invasion, a war of aggression, mass human rights violations, and a naked abuse of power.

It is now engaged in a holier-than-thou campaign against a mild reform of media laws which would see, in some small degree, some answerability for a failure to report fairly, to be answerable for distortions, to forgo bias. It is not hard see why they don’t like it.

The Bloodiest War. The Dirtiest Lies. The Murdoch Press.

The Ascent of Obama

My Backwards Bush counter tells me that there are seventy-eight days, fourteen minutes, and twenty-five seconds to go, before Bush the Lessor stumbles away to his inglorious obscurity – while paradoxically, and indelibly, entering history as the worst president ever. Hopefully, we are about to enjoy his antithesis, as a young and bold black man embarks on his presidential career.
There are times I recall when great shifts of consciousness took place in my life. Like when I was able to shake off the fear of nuclear anhilation, after existing in constant dread of it for years. I would pick up a German hitch-hiker, and be assured that a haulocast was inevitable. I’d see a newspaper poster, with the words ‘THE DAY AFTER’ in bold headlines and instantly think of nuclear annihation; and I’d be right, because the poster would be about a film of that name, on that very topic. There was no compensation in knowing that I wasn’t alone in my paranoia, and the reality was that we were all doomed.

But just as the Bush nightmare will soon fade from this troubled planet, so did my nuclear paranoia. For myself, and I believe, for the world, such a major reality shift in is now taking place, and it is epitimised in the shape and form of Barack Hussein Obama.

I can recall two seemingly minor events which precipitated my change of counsciousness about the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) craziness we cowered under. There was the day I attended a quarterly Unitarian service in a little stone church, built in 1858 and nestling amongst a tiny forest off a dirt road, with my wife and my infant daughter, Emily. The Unitarians are the most liberal of worshippers, not adhering to any fixed set of rules about what religious belief ought to be. They acknowledge Jesus as a great man for example, but do not ascribe to the Trinity or the virgin birth.

We sat in this tiny sheltered church, where whispering trees accompanied Bach, before the preacher made his address. While acknowledging the turbulent and uneasy times we lived in, he was able to open our minds with an alternative, positive slant on our view of the world. He spoke of the Dark Ages, when wars, pestilence, and ignorance prevailed throughout Europe, and of the birth of great musicians, artists and thinkers during these darkest of times, and of how the Reformation and the great movements of arts and science bloomed in consequence. It was a healthy injection of the positive for all present, not least for the parents of an infant daughter with the face and disposition of an angel. 

Then I discovered the hundredth monkey syndrome.

The story of how a form of consciousness swept through a colony of monkeys stunned me, and gave me hope when logic insisted there was none. At the time (the late seventies) I was devouring all the books and magazines I possibly could. I was involved in politics and environmental activism, and flirted with alternative life-stye theories. I struggled with the ‘spiritualism versus political action’ dilemma, as a friend journeyed towards his goal of becoming a Bhuddist monk. Then I read about the monkeys. 

These monkeys lived on a scattering of islands, and were studied by evolutionary scientists. The scientists would sometimes feed the monkeys rice, on the beaches. One day an Einstienian female, instead of picking the rice from the sand, simply washed the sand away in the ocean, while holding the grains in her hand. Within days, all the monkeys on the island were doing the same thing, and suddenly, all of the monkeys on all of the islands were washing their rice in the same manner. This was a revelation for me. I could now believe that great numbers of people could change their way of seeing the world, and that if enough did so, that the world would change. Historians can debate the nuts and bolts of how and why the Cold War ended, but I was satisfied that it was ultimately a change of consciousness by a critical mass which brought about its demise, just as the critical mass of fear and distrust brought it into being.

A generation of youngsters have grown up with no idea of how near to armageddon we were for a period of more than thirty years. It was an age when fleets of US bombers were constantly in the air, flying towards designated targets in the USSR, and turning back when the ‘Fail-Safe’ point was reached, as more planes took off to take their place; all to ensure that the Russians were not able to ‘win’ WW3 with a surprise attack, and making it clear that in the event of one country attacking first, they also would be wiped out. Thus the MAD acronym.

Fleets of submarines with multiple warheads roamed the oceans, each carrying enough weaponery to wipe most countries from the earth, and inter-continental missiles were plentiful enough to destroy the planet many times over. Cruise missiles installed throughout Europe brought the possibility of accidental war closer than ever, as the time between possible attack and retaliation shrunk, to a point at which computers were programmed to determine whether either country was under attack, and whether to counter-attack. Hence we almost all died when the Russians came close to unleashing their arsenal when their computers mistook the moon rising over the horizon for an oncoming missile. Then suddenly, inexplicably, the Cold War ended. 

With it went the activism and the urgency of the sixties youth, who had had plenty to fight for. 

Unfortunately, eight years ago, apathetic Americans elected an idiot for a president, and the largest mass demonstrations the world had ever seen were contemptuously ignored as the invasion of Iraq proceeded. Eight years of GWB seems to have been quite enough to shake the world out of its apathy, and miraculously, it seems to have thrown us the nearest thing to a savior we could possibly hope for. 

When Barack Obama is elected President on the 4th November, the world will welcome a young man who has achieved the most extraordinary journey we are likely to observe in a life-time. It is matched only perhaps by the career of Nelson Mandela, a man of similar qualities. In Obama we have a man of eloquence, a man of intelligence, and a man of vision. He is a gentleman, never resorting to the muck-throwing antics of his opponents, and unceasingly concentrating on the issues, rather than the personalities of his political enemies. He is quick witted and personable. 

He is capable of matching the past fictional Presidents we have loved so much as they played their roles in such masterful dramas as ‘The West Wing.’ He is a figment of our imagination made flesh, and he is sorely needed. When one contemplates the reality that he is a Senator from the state of Illinois, from where the great emancipater Abraham Lincoln emerged to serve the country, to preserve the union and to free the slaves, the incredible symbolism of his rise is truly staggering. May Barack Obama give us all we could dare to hope for, and may we give him all he could dare to hope for from us.

Mohamed Haneef; The Politics Of Hate

Of one thing we can be sure. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, and Prime Minister John Howard will pursue Mohamed Haneef with every ounce of their being. Far more important for them now, is not Dr Haneef’s guilt or innocence – details like that are not important for this Government – it is the political mileage to be gained from denigrating him, and the loss of face to be suffered if he proves to be innocent. One has only to observe the on-going slaughter in Iraq, (justified now as a huge loss of face if the invasion fails) with the carnage of Iraqis not even worthy of comment by the war mongers Howard and Downer, to see how individuals of other than white Caucasian bent stand in the grand order of things.
The pursuit of Lindy Chamberlain by the Northern Territory Police after the first inquest into the disappearance of her daughter Azaria comes to mind. The police were severely criticised by the coroner for their incompetence leading up to the inquest. As a result, the Chamberlains were pursued ruthlessly, and as in the Haneef case, a steady stream of leaks prejudicial to the Chamberlains found its way into the media. The demonising of the Chamberlains served to spread an intolerable and toxic mix of hatred and fear throughout the community, and with the compliance of the media, who seemed to be more interested in selling their wares than in serious investigative journalism, the Chamberlains were subsequently convicted. It took years to establish their innocence.Mick Keelty has shown his humanitarian side previously. When the parents of a young man called Scott Rush, concerned that their son might have been involved with drug smuggling, informed the police of their concerns, it was under Keelty’s authority that that information was passed on to Indonesian authorities, resulting in the arrest of nine young people for heroin smuggling on Indonesian soil (Bali) and the subsequent sentencing to death of five of them. Scott Rush, dobbed in by his well meaning parents, just nineteen at the time of his arrest and on his first trip to Bali, is one of those now facing execution. They could have been arrested on Australian soil, where the death penalty does not apply.

This is the nature of the ‘holier than thou’ ragtaggle who are supposedly in charge of protecting our way of life. They have an interpretation of justice which differs widely from the accepted definition of that word, and Mohamed Haneef has already seen more than his fair share of it. His innocence or guilt is not as important as is the need for these mongrels to save face, and in an election year, to sow fear. Fortunately, Australians having been suckered with these tactics on numerous occasions, seem to be waking up to the Howard Government’s duplicity. It will not however, deter the Government from their course. They know no other way.


It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

Some time ago I wrote a blog suggesting that the point where US had lost the war in Iraq had now passed. (see Terra Firma Blogs, “The Beginning of the Beginning of the End “). It was written on the 8th August 2004. The US went on to devastate Fallujah and the killing has now risen in intensity, most of it through the unleashing of old hatreds and resentments between the Shia majority and the overthrown Sunni minority. I stand by that blog.

 

Two and a half years on, and nothing much has changed. Saddam Hussein was taunted on the gallows and hung by a bunch of hooded thugs chanting religious taunts, and the daily death toll exceeds by far the worst of Saddam’s excesses within Iraq. Bush and his bunch of fellow criminals still think that they are on a holy crusade, and if they have their way, the war will roll on until it becomes the problem of a new administration. The village idiot will retire into the same world of pampered luxury he emerged from, and his legacy will be that of the worst president the US has ever had, with the possibility of being charged as a war criminal. 
One thing which will not happen, is that apart from the messy lynching of Saddam Hussein, the US will have no great momentous moment of victory, and insofar as the Bush administration has trashed all the things which the US holds dear, it would seem to be more like a defeat. If Bush’s eventual humiliation can be called a defeat though, so can the situation of everyone dragged into his idiotic venture. It seems unlikely that Iraq will ever emerge as a functioning society again, and it is more likely to be condemned to the eternal cycle of violence and degradation such as that inflicted on the Palestinians, with an equally murky and indeterminate future.
This of course, is the legacy that we, the millions who marched against Bush’s bloody pointless and blind revenge, warned of. Blair, Howard, Downer and all of the ignorant bastards up to their elbows in blood do have some goals left, or at least one. Stay the course. Rather a million, two million die, than admit to any wrong, for to have to admit of their guilt would be more of a tragedy by far, than the death of a few million Iraqis. These are the people who supported the slaughter of the citizens of Lebanon last year after all. They have no shame. The beginning of the beginning of the end will continue, and there will be no victory – for anyone.

The Trial of Lindy Chamberlain

This essay was written in the 1980’s, after Lindy Chamberlain had been jailed for the murder of her infant daughter, Azaria, who had been taken by a dingo at Uluru (Ayers Rock). It seeks to expose the ridiculous logic which conspired to put an innocent mother in jail.
“Wadda you guys reckon about this Chamberlain case?” asked Parklands Pete, wiping a grubby sleeve across his mouth and passing the bottle of cheap plonk on.“Guilty as hell!” roared Troppo, snatching the bottle, gulping greedily, and repeating, “Guilty as hell!”“Not guilty!” growled their other companion, Dynamite Dave, “Indisputedly innocent! Gissa drink!”“Tell yez wot,” said Pete, who’d always fancied himself high court judge material, “We’ll have us a trial right now – Troppo for the proshecushon, Dynamite Dave for the defense, and meself on the bench.” (He had already served for many years on the bench, but only for sleeping).

The trial began immediately, with Troppo lurching fiercely into the prosecution case.

“Yore ‘oner,” he began, “This leery loony Lindy has guilt written all all over the newspapers, and in a number of important public opinion polls to boot. If that aint democracy an the free press in action, then what the helliz?” He paused – rather dramatically he thought. “Let me trackback on the facts, as the tracker said to the Ranger. The aforesaid previously mentioned began her evil incursion into infanticide during the day preceding the crime, when she cleverly pretended to be nursing a doll, which she was pretending to be a substitute for the departed Azaria, who she had not actually killed yet. This diabolical diversion was later to police the force into changing their whole story.”

Troppo paused for refreshment, and marvelled at how smoothly and precisely the facts were dancing off his tongue.

“Later that night Mz Chamberlain left the camp fire, obstrepiously to open a can of baked beans, and moments later this archangel of armageddon stood alone in a dark hole of despair; her arms held a can of baked beans wrapped in a disposable matinee jacket – and the can opener was never seen again! 

“Frenzic scientists were later able to prove that the vomit on the missing can opener was compatible with not being vomit at all – but missing blood – and on the basis of probabilities, this missing blood could well be foetal, providing one got the right person to conduct the test.”

“In the ensuing confusion, her husband Michael was able to substitute fake dingo tracks for those of Lindy, who at the time was eating the beans, substituting the baby, and burying the matinee jacket in the camera bag.”

Troppo’s tidal wave of testimony crashed on to its final conclusion.

“I implore yore ‘oner, to consider the facts, to digest the facts, and to belch out incomprehensible justice in the manner to which we are accustomed!” 

Flushed with euphoria and plonk, Troppo raised his arms to the God of vengeance, and fell arse-over-head.

“Yore ‘oner,” began Dynamite Dave for the defense, “This preposterous prosecution pursues punctilliously, percillious profanities! The truth has been booted about like a leperous dingo with aids! We demand, we expect, and we are confident of an unequivical aquittal! The defence rests!” 

And in saying so, he collapsed on the grass and began snoring.

“That,” said Parklands Pete, shaking his head sadly, “is just what the Chamberlain’s defense said, nearly four years ago.”