Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Phillip Adams on the Indoctrinated

"The terrorists in al-Qa'ida and ISIS are deranged. So, sadly, are the kids with their matchboxes - and the occasional adult arsonists hiding among the 'first responders' in our volunteer fire brigades. A few, a very few will be identified and charged, and some will be convicted and lightly punished. Others will be sent off for psychiatric help. If only they could be accompanied by those Australians who are heeding the call of the so-called 'Islamic State'. The government is understandably concerned by the indoctrination of local youth who head off to Iraq or Syria, though we've not expressed concern about generations of young Australian Jews who've headed for Israel to join the army." (Up in flames, The Weekend Australian Magazine, 20/9/14)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Knives & iPhones: The New WMD

Got the post-election blues? No more carbon tax to kick around anymore? Can't sell your dog of a budget? Popularity nosediving in the polls? The answer's simple. There's a tried and true formula: Wave the flag. Wear it even. Why not? Hang out with the top brass and the boys in blue. Wear specs. Makes you look more like a suppository of wisdom, less of a bogan thug. Strut the world stage. Tell Putin to step outside, mate. Start a war. Above all, concoct a security threat, divide and sow fear in the community. Works a treat:

"As all of you know, we live in an uncertain and changing world. I've often said that all citizens of a peaceful democracy like Australia shrink from reaching out to conflicts in other parts of the world, but what we've seen in recent times is these conflicts reaching out to us. As you all know, there are at least 60 Australians who are known to be fighting with ISIL and other terrorist groups in the Middle East. There are at least 100 Australians who are known to be supporting ISIL and other terrorist groups in the Middle East... As you know, a week ago, the terror threat level was officially raised and as I think all of you would now know, earlier this week a specific instruction came from a senior Australian ISIL operative in Syria to the local ISIL network to carry out what I've described as demonstration killings of Australian citizens. In order to disrupt this, there was a very large anti-terror event in Sydney yesterday. Some 800 police and security officials were involved, 25 premises were raided, 15 people were detained, one person has already been charged with very serious terrorist offences. Investigations are ongoing and the police expect further charges to be laid against other individuals... [T]he best way for people to respond to the threat of terror is to go about their normal lives. Terrorists want to scare us out of being ourselves and our best response is insouciantly to be fully Australian, to defy the terrorists by going about our normal business; by being the decent, peaceful, democratic, and tolerant people that Australians always have been and, as far as I am concerned, always will be... I do have to say, though, that the challenges that we face are more serious today than at any time in the past. We saw on the streets of London a year or so back the sorts of thing which some people would like to perpetrate here in this country, and it is a serious situation when all you need to do to carry out a terrorist attack is to have a knife, an iPhone, and a victim." (Tony Abbott, Joint Press Conference, Sydney, pm.gov.au, 19/9/14)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fools Rush In

A timely letter from Alison Broinowski*:

"Australia's absurd euphemism's for for war, such as 'forceful combat', are familiar from Howard-speak in 2003. Another familiar trick is producing a formal invitation. In the 1960s we put advisers first, then troops into Vietnam, and Menzies eventually extracted from Saigon a letter inviting them. If our Prime Minister now has an invitation from Baghdad that legitimises our presence, let him table it in parliament, together with his response ('Australia can't fight in Iraq without a resolution, says PM', September 17). But if Australia is also to attack Syria, pursuing Islamic State perhaps, what invitation will he produce for that? Unless we have a UN Security Council resolution for this war, and unless we believe there is an imminent threat to Australia, our involvement is illegal. Other countries know this and fear to tread where Australia rushes in." (Sydney Morning Herald, 18/9/14)

[*See my 28/7/10 post 'A Mature Democracy'?]

Head for the Hills!

Just so you know, Colonel Blimp (aka Jordan Kitts) is alive and well, lives in Albany Creek, Queensland, and writes letters to The Australian:

"A fanatical Islamic army sweeps across a river valley that has nourished civilisations for thousands of years. Its leader calls on the Muslims to unite under his leadership in preparation for world conquest and the subduing of infidels. The defeated are sold into slavery. Sound familiar? It happened in the late 19th century when Muhammad Ahmad proclaimed himself the Mahdi - the expected redeemer of Islam and the world. His armies emerged from the deserts of what is now Sudan to conquer Khartoum and seize control of the upper Nile valley. British vacillation allowed the Mahdist state to terrorise and enslave its neighbours for 15 years until new British leadership finally resolved to launch a military expedition against the Mahdi's successor. Serving in this expedition was a young Winston Churchill who later wrote a history of the Mahdists and the British expedition that destroyed them in the climactic Battle of Omdurman. In facing the threat posed today by the Islamic State, President Barack Obama and all Western leaders should be given a copy of Churchill's The River War to instruct them in how a liberal Western country should respond to a fanatical Islamist army bent on death, destruction and enslavement. I suspect the US will require better leadership before this lesson is learned."  (16/9)

As it happens, after reading Friday's Sydney Morning Herald, you'd have thought that Colonel Blimp's fanatical Muslim hordes were knocking on the gates of Sydney, and that the "climactic" Battle of Omdurman Sydney was imminent.   

Death, destruction & enslavement not being Herald reader Mark d'Arbon's cup of tea, this resident of Chittaway Bay responded appropriately in the circumstances - only to find that the reality didn't quite match the Herald's headline:

"When I opened the morning paper on Friday and read the headline 'Sydney under siege', I had the caravan hooked up to the four-wheel drive and was ready to head for the hills in less than 30 minutes. As a last farewell, I found a lookout and gazed towards the CBD, expecting smoke, flames and the distant screams of the dying. To my surprise, there was not a sign of the siege - no large engines of destruction, no bivouacked armies and importantly, no smoke, flames or screams. I have decided to await developments, at least until the small band of criminals that appear to have been the cause of the panic are either released or sent to trial. I await this with baited breath." (20/9)

As do we all, Mark.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shocking Evidence of Tanya Plibersek Under the Influence

The debilitating influence of Ziocane on Tanya (Once was warrior) Plibersek, opposition leader Bill Shorten's sidekick, is only too apparent in this lethargic response to a question about Gaza:

"Well, I think with over a thousand deaths and pictures every day of bodies being carried from rubble, including many, many children, I think the international community is very concerned with the level of civilian deaths and particularly the level of children who have been caught up in this conflict." (Tanya Plibersek speaks to Insiders, abc.net.au, 27/7/14)

How lame is that? When it comes to Jewish State's genocide in Gaza, Tanya can't even bring herself to name it as the perpetrator. Bodies are "carried out" of the rubble, but quite how they got there she cannot say. The once bright eyes glaze over and she just mutters vaguely about some "conflict" in which the victims have somehow been "caught up." And while that nebulous entity "the international community" may be "very concerned" (as usual), there's certainly no sign here that Tanya is. Clearly, the woman who once referred to Israel as a "rogue state" is not herself.

Once out from under, however, Tanya's a different person entirely:

"There are confirmed instances of IS engaging in widespread ethnic and religious cleansing, targeted killings, forced conversions, abductions, human trafficking, slavery, sexual abuse, and the besieging of entire communities... Australia and the world have a responsibility to protect and an obligation to act." (Iraq, Syria & the Islamic State: why Australia has an obligation to act, Tanya Plibersek, theguardian.com, 18/9/14)

What a transformation! Now there's a spring in her step and a sparkle in her eye. She has no problem naming Islamic State, rattling off its crimes, or calling for the entire world, including Australia, to act, NOW!

Nasty stuff that Ziocaine.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Israel's Victorian Campuses

Are Victoria's universities about to become Israeli-occupied territory?

Deconstructing Talks to halt uni anti-Semitism (18/9/14) by The Australian's Christian Kerr:

"University chiefs and Jewish community leaders have vowed to work together to tackle campus racism..."

Shouldn't that be alleged campus racism?

"... after talks organised by the Victorian government. The meetings follow a surge in anti-Semitism incidents at universities..."

Shouldn't that be an alleged surge in anti-Semitism?

"... since the recent round of strife in Gaza erupted in July."

Strife, FFS!  Only in The Australian.

"Liberal MP David Southwick..."

And co-convener of Victoria's Parliamentary Friends of Israel...

"... who convened the meeting with state Higher Education Minister Nick Wakeling, said the meeting had created a positive dialogue between university administrators and Jewish students."

Zionist students.

"'No student should feel like their university, a place of learning and development, is a hostile environment where they are targeted because of their race, religion or sexuality,' he said."

Of course not... but what about contesting their politics?

"The meeting discussed the formulation of a of a similar statement to the London Declaration on Anti-Semitism that has been signed by parliamentarians globally for universities."

I see, the Israeli government-generated document that incorporates "rhetoric and political action against the state of Israel" in its definition of anti-Semitism.* Right...

"Matthew Lesh, of the Australian Union of Jewish Students, praised the meeting."

 Matthew Lesh? Never far from the scene of...

[* See my 17/5/13 post The Tel Aviv Declaration on Combating Criticism of Israel.]

Israeli 'Democracy'

The Sydney Morning Herald's international editor, Peter Hartcher, is reliably shallow on the subject of the Middle East:

"One measure of [autocratic Arab rulers'] success was that while the number of democracies in the world trebled in the 30 years to 2005, none of the new democracies was in the Middle East, according to Freedom House." (Oppressed Arabs waiting for spring, 16/9/14)

Of course, you wouldn't expect Hartcher, a twice-rambammed journalist (2009/2011), to question Israel's much-trumpeted 'democracy'.

That's why the following perspective, by Israeli-Australian political scientist Marcelo Svirsky, is so useful. It comes from his fascinating new book, After Israel: Towards Cultural Transformation

"Ask any political scientist... to choose just one principle or practice as the litmus test of democracy. The overwhelming majority will say fair elections... This wide consensus is reflected, for instance, in the way in which popular empirical indices measure the presence and depth of democracy. Freedom House places the electoral process as one of its major categories for rating democracies... The Economist Intelligence Unit's 'Democracy Index'... also favours in its calculation of the index the qualities of the electoral system... This is not the place to discuss the extreme bias of these organisations because of the way in which they construct their methods. These are fundamentally questionable mainly because they compare regimes with a particular image of democracy consistent with empire's neoliberal values and interests. In their ideological constitutive assumptions and methods, these empirical systems of measurement fail to rank countries such as Cuba or Venezuela appropriately, while at the same time they are blind to the different variables that should be taken into account when assessing regimes such as Israel's... How Western 'democracy indices' manage to avoid measuring the fact that for nearly half a century Israel has held under military occupation about 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, has kept Gazans under siege since 2007, and discriminates against its 1.6 million Palestinians by ethnocratic means - this is a wonder that defies reason." (pp 181-82)