War, Circus and Injustice Down Under

Published on ZNet, by John Pilger, Sept 19, 2014.

There are times when farce and living caricature almost consume the cynicism and mendacity in the daily life of Australia’s rulers. Across the front pages is a photograph of a resolute Tony Abbott with Indigenous children in Arnhem Land, in the remote north. “Domestic policy one day,” says the caption, “focus on war the next.”

Reminiscent of a vintage anthropologist, the prime minister grasps the head of an Indigenous child trying to shake his hand. He beams, as if incredulous at the success of his twin stunts: “running the nation” from a bushland tent on the Gove Peninsula while “taking the nation to war”. Like any “reality” show, he is surrounded by cameras and manic attendants, who alert the nation to his principled and decisive acts.

But wait; the leader of all Australians must fly south to farewell the SAS, off on its latest heroic mission since its triumph in the civilian bloodfest of Afghanistan. “Pursuing sheer evil” sounds familiar; of course, an historic mercenary role is unmentionable, this time backing the latest US installed sectarian regime in Baghdad and re-branded ex Kurdish “terrorists”, now guarding Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Marathon Oil, Hunt Oil et al.

No parliamentary debate is allowed; no fabricated invitation from foreigners in distress is necessary, as it was in Vietnam. Speed is the essence. What with US intelligence insisting there is no threat from Islamic State to America and presumably Australia, truth may deter the mission if time is lost. If this week’s police and media show of “anti-terror” arrests in “the plot against Sydney” fails to arouse the suspicions of the nation, nothing will. That the unpopular Abbott’s reckless war-making is are likely to be self-fulfilling, making Australians less safe, ought to in headlines, too. Remember the blowback of Bush’s and Blair’s wars.

But what of the be-headings? During the 21 months between James Foley’s abduction and his be-heading, 113 people were reportedly beheaded by Saudi Arabia, one of Barack Obama’s and Tony Abbott’s closest allies in their current “moral” and “idealistic” enterprise. Indeed, Abbott’s war will no doubt rate a plaque in the Australian War Memorial alongside all the other colonial invasions acknowledged in that great emporium of white nationalism — except, of course, the colonial invasion of Australia during which the be-heading of the Indigenous Australian defenders was not considered sheer evil.

This returns us to the show in Arnhem Land. Abbott says the reason he and the media are camped there is that he can consult with Indigenous “leaders” and “gain a better understanding of the needs of people living and working in these areas”.

Australia is awash with knowledge of the “needs” of its first people. Every week, it seems, yet another study adds to the torrent of information about the imposed impoverishment of and vicious discrimination against Indigenous people: apartheid in all but name. The facts, which can no longer be spun, ought to be engraved in the national consciousness, if not the prime minister’s. Australia has a rate of Indigenous incarceration higher than that of apartheid South Africa; deaths in custody occur as if to a terrible drumbeat; preventable Dickensian diseases are rampant, including among those who live in the midst of a mining boom that has made profits of a billion dollars a week. Rheumatic heart disease kills Indigenous people in their 30s and 40s, and their children go deaf and suffer trachoma, which causes blindness.

When, as shadow indigenous health minister in 2009, Abbott was reminded by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous people that the Howard government’s fraudulent “intervention” was racist, he told Professor James Anaya to “get a life” and “stop listening to the old victim brigade”. The distinguished Anaya had just been to Utopia, a vast region in the Northern Territory, where I filmed the evidence of the racism and forced deprivation that had so shocked him and millions of viewers around the world. “Malnutrition”, a GP in central Australia told me, “is common.”

Today, as Abbott poses for the camera with children in Arnhem Land, the children of Utopia are being denied access to safe and clean drinking water. For 10 weeks, communities have had no running water. A new bore would cost just $35,000. Scabies and more trachoma are the result. (For perspective, consider that the Labor government’s last Indigenous Affairs minister, Jenny Macklin, spent $331,144 refurbishing her office in Canberra) … //

… (full text).


European Union Court of Justice Imposes Anti-Rasmussen Rule – Sanctions Cannot Be Imposed by Reason of Fabrication, Lies, Disimulation, on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, Sept 20, 2014;

The class divide is clear to see over the Scottish independence referendum, on re21.org, by Hanif Leylabi, Sept 19, 2014: … What was also immediately clear was the class divide around the campaign. The vast majority of people wearing No stickers in Edinburgh city centre were wearing business suits. The Yes stickers in contrast were worn by a far broader cross-section of the population, including manual workers in their work gear …;

An Accident Waiting to Happen: The $1 Trillion Leveraged Loan Market, on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, September 19, 2014: A new article in Bloomberg gives a well-researched overview of a mess-in-the-making that regulators are choosing to ignore: the leveraged loan market. For newbies, “leveraged loans” means “risky loans to big companies” …;

Strike Ends as Teachers Accept Contentious Contract, on The Tyee.ca, by Katie Hyslop, Sept 19, 2014: Deal document show wages remain low, class size and composition unresolved … (Canada needs more independent journalism. Join us);

Not now, not there, on on Al-Ahrm weekly online, by Amirah Ibrahim, Sept 18, 2014: Cairo will limit its participation in US-led efforts to defeat IS … The fight against IS, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), will include “stopping the flow of foreign fighters through neighboring countries, halting the flow of money to ISIL and other violent extremists, repudiating their ideology of hate, ending impunity and bringing the perpetrators of outrages to justice, contributing to humanitarian relief efforts, assisting with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of communities brutalized by ISIL, supporting states that face the most acute ISIL threat, and joining in the many aspects of a coordinated military campaign against ISIL as appropriate” …;

Who Wins in the Financial Casino? on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, Sept 18, 2014;

The myth that sold the financial bailout, on RWER Blog, by Dean Baker, Sept 17, 2014;

Environmentalism as if Winning Mattered: A Self-Organization Strategy, on The Public Autonomy Project (first on ZNet), by Steve D’Arcy, Sept 17, 2014;

Rosa Luxemburg on the Socialist Civic Virtues, on The Public Autonomy Project, by Steve D’Arcy, Sept 9, 2014;

video: IMF throws Ukraine $1.4bn lifeline, 2.10 min, on Russia Today RT, Aug 30, 2014: (… which you, good Ukrainian people, quickly pay back – with good interests – to our banksters, so welcome in the western banking system … is it really that you want?);

… and this:

Anugama – Earth Frequency Meditation (Theta Healing), 24.56 min, uploaded by illodine, July 6, 2013.

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