It’s better not to be a “more normal country” if that means being as prone to invasions and coups as the United States, top Russian ministers have said, firing back at bizarre remarks by a new Pentagon chief.
It would be “great” if the West “could get Russia to behave like a more normal country,” Mark Esper, the newly appointed defense secretary, was reported to have claimed while visiting Paris this week.
“Otherwise, we should have been acting like the US, bombing Iraq and Libya in blatant violation of international law… We should have supported coups, violent and anti-constitutional, like the US and its closest allies did in February 2014 [in Ukraine].”
Abbott flipped, Coleman’s flipped, Morrison flipped the panic is unbelievable (ODT)
Unbelieveable just how gutless this government is. Yiannopoulos Came fled the country witha pocket ful of cash abd an unpaid invoice for $56,000 and and they are invinting him in to do it again. Why Australia because we have a government of suckers logged into and working for Murdoch media. This isn’t about free speech its’about fraud. (ODT)
The initial push to reject the visa was met with a furious response from pro-free speech Coalition MPs, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, and some media commentators including Sky News host Andrew Bolt.
“Of course this is a backdown,” Bolt said Saturday.
The Amazon boss’s philanthropy fund flies in the face of the way he treats his workers. Yet he wants to be seen as a messiah
“Israeli snipers shoot and kill scores of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza, including kids, then calls it self-defense. When a Palestinian sniper fires at one Israeli soldier, Israel bombs Gaza with F-16s and preps for all out war.”
The depths of hypocrisy of the Republican Party in supporting Trump’s meeting with the North Korean dictator in Singapore are hard to plumb. This is a party whose leading members adopted the Ostrich Foreign Policy Principle for decades. If you don’t like a country’s government or political and economic system, pretend it does not exist.
There was that time when Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans lambasted Obama for visiting Cuba while there were still political prisoners in that country. So the principle is, no talks with leaders who have prisoners of conscience in their jails? Trump has broken that principle every which way from Sunday. Sen. John McCain even compared Obama’s handshake with Castro to the Hitler-Chamberlain meeting. Seriously. That’s what he said.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a speech delivered on April 13 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, insisted that disclosures about what the CIA and intelligence community are doing is a threat to the safety of Americans. He then went on to address WikiLeaks stating “We can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” What exactly was Pompeo referring to when he said”against us”.
North Korean Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol met with President Donald Trump at the White House this week. As part of its efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, the Trump administration is conducting negotiations with one of the world’s most brutal regimes. Human Rights Watch has described North Korea’s political prison camps as “the modern day equivalent of the Russian Gulag where prisoners are starved, beaten, tortured and worked to death.” North Korean guards club starving children to death for stealing rice, a UN report explained. Mothers have reportedly been required to observe the infanticide of their newborn babies as a form of punishment.
Despite these ongoing, egregious human rights violations, the White House is pursuing talks with Pyongyang to further U.S. interests. Washington’s engagement with Kim Jong Un makes its policy of refusing to speak with the Palestinian leadership in Gaza even more confounding. While Hamas has carried out horrific attacks, it would be hard to argue that the Islamist group’s actions, especially those in the past year, are more abhorrent than those of North Korea. If advancing U.S. interests is enough of a reason to negotiate with North Korea despite the government’s egregious human rights record, then the same logic must be considered with Hamas.
From the man who can’t keep his mouth shut, Abbott’s advice
The Abbott government’s 2014 budget set in motion $120 million of cuts to ASIC’s funding over four years, leading to the loss of more than 200 staff. At the time, the government emphasised a greater role for self-regulation instead of government intervention.
Former ASIC chair Greg Medcraft was vocal in his criticism of the budget cuts and pushing for tougher penalties for misconduct.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott.
In 2016, the Turnbull government restored the funding and boosted the regulator’s investigative powers.
Does the Treasurer really think the public is so dim?
Source: Sky’s the limit | The Monthly
Just when you thought the hypocrisy and mendacity of the British political establishment could not sink any lower, up pops the proposal to strip Asma Assad, wife to Syria’s President Bashar Assad, of her British citizenship.
How Israel criminalises BDS while boycotting Palestinian Knesset members.
The Coalition’s current explosion of self-righteous outrage is something to behold. Compared to the excesses of, say, Bronwyn Bishop, or the personal gifts bestowed on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop by Chinese companies, not to mention the hundreds of thousands donated to her branch of the WA Liberal party by Chinese who have business interests in that state,…
A tough-talking libertarian, born into the most advantaged cohort in western society, being a highly educated white middle-class male, and a member of the governing class no less, has scurried to the apron strings of the state because he has had his feelings hurt.
Sean Hannity hosted Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to praise Donald Trump’s use of a teleprompter during a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, despite Hannity’s past obsession with criticizing President Barack Obama’s use of a teleprompter.Hannity has spent years obsessively attacking President Obama’s use of a teleprompter to
Some people will defend any violent demagoguery as long it comes from the mouths of Israeli leaders.
Russia’s direct military intervention into Syria has dramatically changed the dynamics of a war that has raged since 2011. #antiwar #imperialism #syria
In an effort to switch the nation’s focus from what Andrew Bolt called his “pathetically stupid” decision to knight Prince Philip, Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday delivered a press conference to announce his government’s policy on family violence. Family violence – violence committed against women and children and sometimes men by partners, ex-partners and parents – has at last become a political priority, following extended media coverage of horrific murders, including the filicide of 11-year-old Luke Batty by his father in February last year. Luke’s mother, Rosie, was instrumental in having the Victorian government set up a royal commission into family violence.
Unfortunately, Abbott’s press conference became yet another example of what is being increasingly seen as his political mismanagement and hypocrisy. As Dan Harrison observes, the initiatives Abbott announced – a national scheme for domestic violence orders, national standards for intervening against violent perpetrators and improving online safety – were initiatives he’d already announced last June. The conference was a re-announcement. And by emphasising family violence, Abbott gave critics an opportunity to highlight a number of cuts Abbott’s government has made to programs that help victims and prevent violence.
At Daily Life, Jenna Price lists some of the programs that have fallen foul of Abbott’s austerity cuts. A five-year research project in Britain recently found that most violent men who participate in reform programs completely stop physically harming their partners, but the Abbott government has defunded men’s behaviour change programs in Victoria entirely, and has cut $3.5 million from front-line domestic violence support services for Indigenous women on top of millions from community legal centres. As Abbott said during yesterday’s press conference, one woman every week is killed in Australia by her current or former partner. Why, then, has his government de-funded preventive programs?
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By Amy Goodman
The massacre at Charlie Hebdo, and the subsequent killing of a policewoman and mass murder at the Hyper Cachet kosher market, shocked the world. Young fanatics with automatic weapons unleashed a torrent of violence and death, fueled by zealous intolerance. At the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, the satiric newsmagazine, 12 were murdered and 11 wounded. The victims were guilty of nothing more than expressing ideas. Certainly, true to the point of satire, many of the ideas were very offensive to many people—in this case, caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.
In the wake of the violence, people from around the world expressed solidarity with the victims, and with the people of France. Among the world leaders who flocked to Paris to condemn the attacks were some of the worst perpetrators of repression of journalists, all too often Arab and Muslim journalists.
Reporters Without Borders, also known as Reporters Sans Frontieres, or RSF, is based in Paris, not far from the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Word of the attack quickly made it to the staff there. Lucie Morillon, RSF program director, was one of the first people on the scene after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo. I spoke to her in New York City, just a day after she attended last Sunday’s solidarity march in Paris, which drew more than 1 million people. She recounted the events of Wednesday, Jan. 7:
“We were having a meeting … a colleague came in, he said: ‘There’s something huge. It looks like there had been shots fired at Charlie Hebdo, and there might be people dead.’ It was just complete shock, completely surreal.”
They raced to the scene of the massacre. Morillon went on: “There were still bullets on the ground. It was just very chaotic. We were just wondering who’s dead, what happened. And a man left the office, and he just went into President [Francois] Hollande’s arms. He burst into tears, ‘Charb est mort,’ ‘Charb is dead.’” He was speaking of Stephane Charbonnier, Charlie Hebdo’s edit
On Sunday, the day of marches across France, which drew close to 4 million people, the group stated in a press release, “Reporters Without Borders welcomes the participation of many foreign leaders in today’s march in Paris in homage to the victims of last week’s terror attacks and in defence of the French republic’s values, but is outraged by the presence of officials from countries that restrict freedom of information.” The group stated it was “appalled by the presence of leaders from countries where journalists and bloggers are systematically persecuted such as Egypt, Russia, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.”
Photos and video of the world leaders standing, locked arm in arm, leading the massive march, raced around the planet. Much ado was made in the United States of the absence of any high-level Obama administration official. Even though Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris that day, inexplicably, he didn’t show up for the march. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was there, whose government has imprisoned many journalists, most notably three from Al-Jazeera who have been held for more than a year now: Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed.
The Saudi Arabian ambassador to France also showed up at the march. Two days earlier, his government flogged the blogger Raif Badawi. He was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, but the Saudi monarchy is administering 50 lashes per week. Delphine Hagland, the U.S. director of Reporters Without Borders, explained, “They decided to divide the 1,000 lashes in different sessions because they were afraid that he would be killed.”
It has now been reported that the world leaders, locked arm in arm, were not in the march at all, but were gathered for a photo opportunity on a closed street, away from the protest, under guard. Quite simply, it was the people who led that day, not the leaders. “Je Suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie,” was the battle cry of many. Others tweeted or held signs that read, “I am not Charlie,” condemning the violence without endorsing Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures. A Muslim woman held a sign, “Je Suis Juif,” “I am Jewish,” in solidarity with the Jewish victims. Others held signs that read “Je Suis Ahmed” for Ahmed Merabet, the French Muslim police officer who was killed outside the magazine offices.
Close to 4 million people took to the streets of France last Sunday, demanding a more peaceful society, one in which press freedom and religious tolerance overwhelm violence and hatred.
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
Palestinian women are blocked by Israeli security forces outside the al-Aqsa mosque compound [AFP]
Despite the uproar over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet passing the new “Jewish nation-state” bill, its discriminatory contents are part and parcel of Israel’s long history of marginalising and discriminating against the country’s Palestinian minority.
The bill, which still needs to be passed by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, defines Israel as the “nation-state for the Jewish people” and enshrines the Zionist principles that the state was founded on at the expense of all Palestinians more than six decades ago.
Its defenders point out that it protects “the personal rights of all [the state’s] citizens”, ignoring that it only guarantees “communal rights” to Jews, who, regardless of their ancestral origins, have always been permitted to immigrate to Israel and gain citizenship.
Within Netayahu’s cabinet, the bill was passed by a 14-6 vote and reportedly sparked a passionate debate. As usual, that debate didn’t focus on the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up 20 percent of the total population, but centred on the state’s Declaration of Independence and founding ideology of Zionism.
For the 1.7 million Palestinians who were forced to take Israeli citizenship and continue living in what became Israel after the Nakba, this bill is nothing more than Israel finally taking off its mask in front of the world.
The debate it has thus far sparked is also nothing new: Despite our nominal citizenship, we have always been rendered second-class citizens with limited rights, for no reason other than not being born Jewish.
Discrimination from day one
Whether Netanyahu’s latest bill passes is irrelevant to Palestinians everywhere – in present-day Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and the diaspora, where millions of refugees are waiting to return to the lands they were violently expelled from in 1948.
For those of us living in present-day Israel, the law is merely symbolic, as there are already dozens of laws that “discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources, and criminal procedures,” as Adalah Legal Centre has revealed.
Was it not already clear that Palestinians in Israel are living under the same occupation as Palestinians in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, and the imprisoned Gaza Strip? Treating us as a “demographic threat”, Israel champions our citizenship in front of the world as alleged proof of its democratic nature, while simultaneously attempting to limit our presence and influence in society.
Following the state’s declaration of independence, the first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, dismayed at the number of Palestinians who stayed in their ancestral lands, lamented that Israel wouldn’t be able to “clear the entire central Galilee region” of the then 100,000 remaining indigenous residents without a war.
But Israeli leaders have actually attempted to do so, even in peacetime. In recent years, a plan to demolish the Galilee village of Ramiyya and expel its people is one example of attempts to make Ben Gurion’s dream come true. As Professor Hilel Cohen of the Hebrew University said, “The project of ‘Judaizing the Galilee’ commenced when the state [of Israel] was founded and has continued in various guises to the present day.”
In the Negev region, Palestinian Bedouins with Israeli citizenship have been exposed to home demolitions and denied basic services, such as water, electricity and education. Living in more than 40 “unrecognised” villages across that region, an estimated 53,000 men, women and children face impending eviction.
Al-Araqib, for instance, has been razed by Israeli bulldozers 78 times since July 2010. Its residents, however, refuse to leave, returning and rebuilding it each time. Was it not already clear to them that Israel’s leaders viewed us as second-class citizens from day one? And can a Jewish “nation-state” bill, largely devoid of practical content, possibly make their daily lives any more difficult?
The opposition to the law by Israel’s so-called “centrists” and “liberals”, such as finance minister Yair Lapid and justice minister Tzipi Livni, exposes the whole affair as yet another case of Israel’s political establishment debating over and controlling our future without our input.
A failed project
Nonetheless, Palestinian political parties in Israel continue to sit as lawmakers in the Knesset. Ostensibly convinced that they could impact the laws being pumped out of the parliament, they continue to vie for our votes and encourage us to support them each time campaign season comes around.
But this has proven to be a failed project. Despite giving the opportunity to speak in the Knesset, they have not made our daily reality any better. The onslaught of racist laws hasn’t slowed down, the incitement from Israeli politicians has also grown and our ability to organise as a unified political force has been impeded by internal divisions and competition between the Arab political parties.
Palestinian lawmaker Hanin Zoabi was recently expelled from the Knesset for six months after remarking that Palestinians who kidnapped and killed three Israeli settlers this past summer were not “terrorists”.
Now, Netanyahu and his rabid rightwing cohorts are pushing a new bill to expel Knesset members “who in a time of war or military action against an enemy state or terror organization offers public support for military struggle”. It was aptly named the “Hanin Zoabi bill” by its sponsors.
Israel’s claim to not be an apartheid state has always relied on the fact that Palestinian citizens of Israel can vote and participate in the Knesset. Do we need any more proof that this was a facade from the outset?
With a law that outright declares that this state exists solely for the Jewish people, it’s high time that Palestinians in Israel drop the idea that participating in this theatre of absurdity that is the Israeli political process will improve our lives and further our cause.
It is time to take steps to dissolve our political divisions and build ties with our compatriots in the occupied Palestinian territories and the diaspora in order to build a joint struggle capable of posing a serious challenge to world’s last settler colonial occupation.
Waad Ghantous is a Haifa-based Palestinian activist and a member of the Al-Awda organisation.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.
Has anyone else noticed the ever increasing drift from reality those famous bed-partners – the Coalition and the Murdoch media – have settled comfortably into? They also have some absurd idea that this new, fabulous paradise is all that exists.
Joe Hockey for example. He repeatedly bellowed that the age of entitlement was over, and followed up with a budget that showed us that the age of entitlement is of course over, except for those who are entitled to it.
Miranda Devine lives there too. ‘The Left’s race to call us all bigots‘
No Bigots here
Maybe Ms Devine hasn’t been reading the very paper she writes for,let’s take a random look at what her newspaper – and other media outlets – have been saying:
# Young filmmaker Kamal Saleh is optimistic for the future of Australia after his social experiment on Islamophobia but says discrimination remains an issue in the community.
# Five threatening letters delivered to Muslim businesses and groups in Lakemba are being investigated by police, with more incidents believed to be going unreported. Campsie crime manager detective Inspector Paul Albury said the material was offensive and would be to anybody in the community. “It’s degrading, disgusting and derogatory to people and their religion,” he said.
# Last week, after Bernardi’s comments, I was interviewed by the ABC for an explanatory article on the burqa, the niqab, and my choice of garment, the hijab, which covers only a woman’s hair, neck and shoulders. Bizarrely, when posted by the ABC on Facebook, the article received more comments than the ABC’s reports on the anti-terror raids themselves. The comments section is sobering reading for anyone with any doubts about the perniciousness of Islamophobia in Australia.
# Australia has emerged as a fertile environment for Islamophobia. Stereotypical representations of Muslims in the early years of the “War on Terror” – which linked terrorism, violence and Islam – gained wide currency by the mid-2000s. Sections of the news media, politicians and social media have re-activated these stereotypes. Muslim Australians are made to feel they are targets – for everything from the everyday racism encountered in schools and on the streets, to draconian counter-terrorism legislation that restricts civil liberties, to war and the preparations for war.
# In the contemporary socio-political context of Australia, Islamophobia continues to be haunted by the cycle of moral panics around the Muslim “Other.”
# Tony Abbott has been urged to speak out more strongly against Islamophobia in Australia following reports of mosques being defaced, women verbally abused on the street and death threats issued to Muslim figures. Community leaders have said they are deeply worried that Australia’s mission against Islamic State (Isis) and recent anti-terrorism raids are fuelling attacks against Muslims in Australia.
# The waves of abuse on social media has also highlighted how open bigotry has become, as if the disgust around the Islamic State has given a free pass to intolerance.
# Many Muslim women, say Ms Kay and other community members, are fearful of going out and many won’t venture far beyond their homes. Ahmed Kilani, editor of website muslimvillage.com, says some are now questioning whether Australia is still a safe and tolerant society. “My own mother rang me yesterday,” Mr Kilani told SBS, “with concern about what’s going, she said, ‘I don’t feel safe and secure.’ She made the comment to me that despite living here for 40 years which is a lot longer than she lived in Egypt. She said perhaps I need to consider moving back there and questioned whether I should go and get myself a dual citizenship in case things get really bad.” Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane has called for calm, saying, “Muslim Australians are entitled to a fair go and to be treated with respect and there is simply no place for this kind of bigotry and this kind of criminal behaviour.”
The Daily Telegraph – the very paper Ms Devine works for – even published an article titled ‘Incidents of Islamophobia‘.
I’m baffled that Ms Devine finds it necessary not only to blame the Left for Islamophobia in this country – then announces that it doesn’t exist here anyway – yet works in an industry (and a newspaper) that keeps telling us how rampant it is.
If I may borrow an old adage: who makes this shit up?
The drift from reality is almost complete. She is quickly catching up to Joe Hockey