The United States remains a country of tenacious faith, including in the sanctity of guns.
The United States remains a country of tenacious faith, including in the sanctity of guns.
Prime Minister Albanese has said that the pursuit of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange served no purpose; it is now time to do all in his power to bring him home, writes Dr Binoy Kampark.
Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis failed to identify any relevant law that might have been breached, either Australian or US. Liberty Victoria president Spencer Zifcak was “astonished” that a lawyer of presumed competence could have made such remarks. “There is no charge, there is no trial, there is no properly constituted court, and yet the Prime Minister deems it appropriate to say that Mr Assange has committed a criminal offence.”
Within less than a fortnight, the AFP, in concluding its investigation, informed Attorney-General Robert McClelland that “given the documents published to date are classified by the United States, the primary jurisdiction for any further investigation into the matter remains the United States.” After evaluating the material concerned, the federal police had failed to establish “the existence of any criminal offences where Australia would have jurisdiction.”
New Liberal Leader Peter Dutton has a history of cruelty and corruption, despite the mainstream media telling us we should give him a chance, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark.
While the bruised LNP will lick their wounds and rue their ignorance of the community movement that gathered pace under their noses, Australia’s major parties will have to consider a new phenomenon: the non-career parliamentarian, one who enters parliament, not for party allegiance and faction but for voter representation and change. For the Westminster model of government, this is indeed a stunning novelty.
All elections are filled with the half-truths, mistruths and full-fledged lies. Victory is rarely bought on a platform of complete honesty. But the road to the current Australian federal election has been potholed by more deception than most. This is bound to happen when policy platforms are weak and rickety, leaving the opponents large scope…
Australia supports the Saudi efforts in the Yemen and Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank not to speak of East Jerusalem and the illegal incursion in Syria’s Golan Heights
As for a free press, Australian federal authorities have raided the homes and offices of journalists, including that of the national broadcaster, the ABC, for publishing and writing about atrocities and violations of civil liberties. The Australian Federal Police even went so far as to advise the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecution that it could prosecute ABC journalist Dan Oakes, an important figure behind the publication of the Afghan Files. A reluctant CDPP decided against it, citing “a range of public interest factors, including the role of public interest journalism in Australia’s democracy.” Morrison’s idea of Australia as a political nirvana of freedom remains phantasm and fantasy.
Greater fibs then came from Australia’s Defence Minister, Peter Dutton, upon whom the muse of history, Clio, has never smiled sweetly. This was the occasion to push erroneous comparisons, the sort that any half-competent logician would have dispelled with sour contempt.
On Channel 9, the Minister encouraged peace lovers to prepare for war before searching the historical record for an anchor. “People like Hitler and others aren’t just a figment of our imagination or that they’re consign
During his time in power, Morrison has received relentless barrages in social media and punditry circles for having problems with misogyny, women, empathy, integrity and understanding climate change. He has been awarded such titles as “Scotty from Marketing”, drawn from his time as a failed marketer. He leads a government that is one of the most corrupt and authoritarian in recent memory, scarred by waste, venality and an accomplished stupidity verging on the moronic.
Dismay at the decision was expressed by Amnesty International’s Deputy Research Director for Europe, Julia Hall. “The Supreme Court has missed an opportunity to clarify the UK’s acceptance of deeply flawed diplomatic assurances against torture. Such assurances are inherently unreliable and leave people at risk of severe abuse upon extradition or other transfer.” The next stage in this diabolical torment of the WikiLeaks founder involves remitting the case to Westminster Magistrates’ Court, which will only serve a ceremonial role in referring the decision to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel. Only the most starry-eyed optimists will expect extradition to be barred. (Patel is fixated with proposed changes to the UK Official Secrets Act that will expansively criminalise journalists and whistleblowers who publish classified information.) The defence will do their best in submissions to Patel ahead of the decision, but it is likely that they will have to seek judicial review.
To show how clear of eye Morrison has been, he has successfully made Australia the subservient partner in the AUKUS security pact with the United States and the UK. What was left of Australian sovereignty has been brazenly outsourced. The prime minister barely acknowledges the rationale of the agreement in the Lowy address, which has little to do with Australia eventually having its own questionable submarines with nuclear propulsion. The central point is granting greater access to US armed forces for easier deployment in the Indo-Pacific, a logistical benefit that is bound to make any war more, rather than less likely. Some freedom; some sovereignty.
The balance sheet of this enterprise is a poor one, and risks becoming more wretched. Tangibly, AUKUS has shown Australia’s diplomacy to be subservient and shoddy, alienating its European Indo-Pacific ally while also being laughed at by the United States. (President Joe Biden showed much contrition to Emmanuel Macron by suggesting, disingenuously, that the Australians should have told France earlier.) Even if these plans firm up in time for electoral exploitation, it will not clarify when these beasts of the sea will actually emerge from the cocoon of the imagination. In decades, the armchair strategists and naval cocktail circuit will be feasting over other prototypes and ways to burn money from the public purse. The Australian nuclear-powered submarine will be a comical relic, the butt of many a joke.
When struggling for answers, those in power find it best to defer matters to a committee or working group. Not wishing to buck this tendency, Ley announced that the Threatened Species Scientific Committee would be considering “the status of the Koala.” The language of the announcement was a jarring mix of promotion and doom, with the doom element – namely, declaring the koala as endangered in three jurisdictions – buried in over the rainbow promises of protection. “Together we can ensure a healthy future for the koala and this decision, along with the total $74 million we have committed to koalas since 2019 will play a key role in that process.” Such empty displays of political theatre are acts of distraction and denial. The koalas may have been offered “a nice new word,” huffed Deborah Tabart, veteran chairwoman of the Australia Koala Foundation, “but behind all the photo opportunities and political rhetoric they continue to approve the destruction of the koala habitat.”
If compulsory voting is no escape from voter ignorance. What then is the driving force on who swinging voters will choose to elect but then as we have seen not work for them? Morrison, Palmer, and the Corporate Oligarchs believe it’s soley Media and Advertising. In fact the LNP have risen to be currently the biggest advertiser with their $680M spend and coupled with the dismantling of the ABC over the past 8 years. There has been a masked long-term quid pro quo arrangement with the Murdoch’s business model and IPA to produce “cool” not “hot” News. We have lived, seen and experienced the quo for the past 8 years and it will be amplified again as the election draws closer but we are beginning to see the enormity of the quid in the government’s arrangement. Palmer, is part of that “spending surge” a tsunami of factless propaganda delivered on an uninformed electorate compelled to vote and that’s the only thing Morrison is now relying on. Maybe what we see happened in Warringah will happen in all marginal seats with a difference.
The ALP always has to come from behind but “It’s Time Again”
What was dismal in the exercise by the national broadcaster was the happily conceded ignorance of the punters, who, with the exception of one “voter”, seemed to have gone for the whole political spread in their electing history. In other words, they were swingers, fidelity adjustable. This ignored the fundamental point that Australians remain, even now, hostile to eclectic coalitions and representatives unaligned to the major political parties. On the issue of whether the Labor Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese would be a suitable leader, let alone prime minister, no illumination was offered, only a blanket of ignorant darkness, occasionally rented by observations that “he might be a decent bloke” who hated Tories and loved his beer.
Dutton’s feelings might be hurt he wants the right to sue for Defamation and us the taxpayers to pay to shut Binoy and other critics up. Scott and Michaela are preparing the Bill to do just that and keep themselves safe.
Give the man credit where it’s due. Few could possibly be congratulated for selling the sovereignty of a country in full view of its citizenry, but Peter Dutton, former Queensland copper turned sadistic Home Affairs minister turned Defence Minister, is very capable of it. Australia promises to become a throbbing bordello for the strategic affairs of other states (to a large extent, it already is), awaiting submarine insertions, naval manoeuvres, and more troop rotations. With the AUKUS arrangements being firmed up, US and UK sailors, personnel and miscellaneous staff are being readied for more time Down Under, ensuring that Australia becomes a staging ground for future forward military operations. Canberra has relinquished much say in this; the song sheets and blueprints are coming from elsewhere.
Another parallel of the Black Death is worthy of note. The plague was so disruptive as to cause its own alterations of the feudal order. The wealthy might have scurried to their places of ornate and padded seclusion, but they were by no means guaranteed survival. Around them, aggressive depopulation fed the fulcrum of change. It emboldened the peasantry, resulting in a range of riots and a challenge to social and economic circumstances. The likes of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have yet to see a modern version of a peasant insurrection. Perhaps it’s time they did.
The Federal Government has spent billions on defence equipment, ignoring issues such as the climate crisis and pandemic, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark.
Source: Peter Dutton’s war machine cult
Australia’s treatment of Novak Djokovic, the tennis world number one, has been revelatory. Unintentionally, this has exposed the seedier, arbitrary and inconsistent nature of Australia’s border policies. The approval by the Australian Federal Court of the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to re-cancel the prominent Serb’s visa left the country a heaving precedent that will be invoked, in future, with relish.
Critics of the purchase have included otherwise hawkish pundits such as Greg Sheridan of The Australian, who spent some of last year shaking his head at the proposed acquisition after it was announced by the US Defence Cooperation Agency. The decision, he opined unleashing his talons, was one of “sheer idiocy,” an “anachronistic frivolity.” Tanks and other heavy, tracked vehicles would “never be of the slightest military use to us.” Sheridan poses a range of questions. In any confrontation with China, could a tank defend shipping in the South China Sea? Or “take out enemy submarines?” Or “deliver attack missiles over hundreds of kilometres?” His solutions: buy more jets, manufacture more drones, and address naval capabilities. Others also argue that Dutton, were he to be genuinely interested in Australia’s security and safety, would be spending more time on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and coping with the threats posed by climate change, or investing in pandemic responses. Now that would be a big ask. The tank fraternity, a gathering of near cultic loyalty, are swooning in triumph. As Peter J. Dean, director of the Defence and Security Institute at the University of Western
Not fit for office
In the public domain, individuals who had known a thing or two about the spiritual and physical torment of rape expressed their puzzlement over Dutton’s response. Higgins, who is seeking redress for her own suffering in this matter, found the minister’s legal response to Bazzi “baffling”. “I’ve been offended plenty.” Despite that, it still afforded “people … the right to engage in public debate and assert their opinion.” The whole case was a “shocking indictment on free speech.”
In finding for Dutton in November, Justice White ruled that the tweet had been defamatory, and that Bazzi could not resort to the defence of honest opinion. With classic, skewering casuistry, the judge found that “Bazzi may have used the word ‘apologist’ without an understanding of the meaning he was, in fact conveying.” If this had been the case, “it would follow that he did not hold the opinion actually conveyed by the words.” Let it be known: if you do no not understand the meaning of certain words, you can have no opinions about them.
Despite his eagerness to seek damages for all grounds, Dutton was only successful on one of the four pleaded imputations. Claims for aggravated damages and an injunction targeting Bazzi’s comments, were rejected. The Defence Minister’s appetite for pursuing Bazzi for his full legal bill also troubled Justice White, who had repeatedly urged the parties to reach a settlement. Why had Dutton not sued in a lower court, he asked? The reason, claimed Dutton’s barrister Hamish Clift this month, was because his client was a prominent figure requiring a prominent stage to protect his prominent reputation. “It would not be appropriate for the court,” retorted White, “to exercise their discretion more favourably to Dutton simply because of the important public and national office of which he holds.”
Defence Minister Peter Dutton has pledged allegiance to the U.S. in defending Taiwan against attacks from China, writes Dr Binoy Kampmark.
Was Biden listening to Keating it seems the UK, US and China are in step with their backs to Australia when it comes to Climate. So where will that put AUKUS when trade strategies take into account Fossil Fuels and what looks like CHUKUS puts tariffs on our position?
There have been some defenders of the former prime minister, insisting that he has something sensible to say. ABC host and commentator Stan Grant tells his audience that Keating “is not an apologist for Chinese authoritarianism but a cold-eyed realist about Chinese power and how it can be incorporated into a global political order.” But realism, for the moment at least, has been anathemised. The Anglophone alliance that is AUKUS is testament to that fact. Blood-thirsty nostalgia, and the fools, are intent on running the show.
It was not for everybody, but the shock advertising tactics of the Australian comedian Dan Ilic made an appropriate point. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a famed coal hugger, has vacillated about whether to even go to the climate conference in Glasgow. Having himself turned the country’s prime ministerial office into an extended advertising agency, Ilic was speaking his language. The language was promoted through sponsored imagery in Times Square, New York, with advertising space purchased by a crowdfunding campaign of considerable success. Billboards featured the prime minister as a “Coal-o-phile Dundee,” mercilessly mocked Australia’s climate policies and responses to the murderously scorching bushfires of 2020.
For all such righteous splutters, Dershowitz and Trump have a point in pointing out a symptom of the US body politic that has become cripplingly apparent: business and the interests of capitalism have come to control speech, its circulation, its distribution. For decades, they had already come to guide politicians and political parties, exercising influence through campaign donations. Why run for elected office when you can buy it? In 2010, the US Supreme Court decision of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission found that limits upon “independent political spending” from corporations and private interest groups violated the First Amendment. Those with deep purses could only deem this the natural order of things: if you have cash, spend it to influence opinion in the name of free speech. Put rather simply, such speech was a shield big capitalism could well employ if it needed to. (Rep. Lieu, take note.)
Australia’s resort to the military in these pandemic times is unexceptional. When found short in their civilian deployments, the authorities in many countries have called upon the armed forces to provide assistance. But the pressing concern when using such personnel, notably in instances where their roles and positions are unclear, can only trouble the purists of accountability. For Morrison, the move is very much in the tradition of mass distraction and excuse. If more things go wrong, blame the medically inexpert Lieutenant General.