Alex Mitchell’s Weekly Notebook

The Yanks are coming … remember the flood of heroin into Kings Cross during the Vietnam War … what can Darwin expect this time around … Europe’s neo-Nazis re-emerge … Great Bores: New series ….

Australia is emerging as American war base – why?

When Harold Holt’s Coalition government invited American GIs to spend their leave from the Vietnam war in Kings Cross, Brisbane and the Gold Coast in 1967, there was immediate opposition from a broad cross-section of the community.
Representing traditional North Shore values, Mrs E Gray from Mosman wrote to The Sydney Morning Herald in the manner of Hyacinth Bucket to complain:
“To bring large numbers of American Servicemen here on leave is undesirable for three reasons.
“First acceleration of the unfortunate Americanisation of this city; second, a recurrence of shortage of taxis and other services to the Australian public; third, it is a fact of life that foreign Servicemen in a country, being birds of passage, are a danger to our daughters.
“The fact that America assisted us in World War II is no reason for eternal permissiveness as regards American activity here. The place for Americans on leave is America – with their own wives and sweethearts.” (SMH, 1 May, 1967).
But poor Mrs Gray didn’t stand a chance. The Coalition was going “all the way with LBJ” and soon American officers, soldiers, pilots and navy crew were filling the bars, restaurants and strip clubs of the Cross, inner-city Brisbane and Surfers Paradise, arriving at the rate of 12,000 a month.
As Sydney author Peter Butt observed last year: “Sydney was the epicentre of heroin importations into Australia and unequivocally linked to the needs of American soldiers on R&R.
“It was no coincidence that all manner of drugs, including heroin, were sought-after commodities in Kings Cross during the R&R period. Heroin, in particular, became a currency used in exchange for sex with the prostitutes of the Cross.” (Merchants of Menace by Peter Butt. Blackwattle Press 2015)

Bernie from the CIA

The US drugs and prostitutes empire was centred on the Bourbon & Beefsteak in Kings Cross owned by American CIA agent Bernie Houghton. “His contacts were the Who’s Who of Australian and American organized and disorganized crime figures, crooked cops and corrupt politicians,” wrote Peter Butt.
Houghton established the Bourbon & Beefsteak as well as two wildly notorious eateries, the Texas Tavern and Harpoon Harry’s, months before the US servicemen started to flood the city.
It prompted former assistant commissioner Clive Small to remark: “You could be forgiven for suspecting that he knew something in advance and was taking advantage of it.”
John Dowd, a former Liberal NSW attorney-general and retired NSW Supreme Court judge, concluded: “Australia changed during the R&R period, when drugs were available to the American servicemen during their R&R here. This was an enormous change in direction for Australia. Once you deal with the transport of money for drugs purposes, once you are dealing with corrupt governments, and the CIA, then Australia is in a new league. At the time, I don’t think people quite realised what was involved, because the CIA were the good guys and we were mates with America and all of that. This was a change of direction from which we could never go back.”

New Darwin cyclone

Now wind the clock forward to the present and American servicemen are once again heading Down Under. This time their main port of call is Darwin where they have been gifted – without parliamentary or public debate – facilities for the US army, navy and air force. The military bases – because that’s what they are – will complement the existing communications spy base at Pine Gap and its top secret Drone capability.
Facing a growing mountain of indebtedness, the US Government is stiff-arming its allies in NATO (Britain, Germany and France), the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Gulf states and Turkey) and Asia (Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Australia) to shoulder the immense cost of imperialism’s global military operations.
Washington has approved changes to Japan’s post-war peace constitution allowing the right-wing nationalist Tokyo government to join Western military operations. At the same time, South Koreans are being whipped into a state of war hysteria against North Korea and Australia is being courted, duchessed and embraced by the Pentagon.
An intense US charm offensive has started in Australia. The main targets are the media, academia and the easily corrupted political class in Canberra. The purpose is to convince them that Australia should assume the role – and bear a hefty share of the cost – of being a forward base for American military and diplomatic strategy against China.
The first target – a high-risk test of China’s “Fourth Wave” leadership under President Xi Jinping – is to attack North Korea and destroy its nuclear capability after the inauguration of the next US president, whether it is Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Behind the policy of nuclear-defusing air strikes, Washington will be pursuing its strategy of encircling China and throttling its economic and diplomatic expansion in the Far East and the Pacific.
Australians are being dragged into this US-China confrontation without anyone addressing the consequences. (Iraq and Afghanistan all over again?)
Meanwhile, brothel owners, drug dealers and gambling racketeers are switching operations to Darwin while shifty tour operators are writing brochures to lure US servicemen to the casinos and fleshpots of Queensland and Sydney.
Australia – Open for Business!

Rise of the Nazis

It’s interesting to note that some of the European countries that supported Nazism and Fascism during World War II have re-emerged as hotbeds of anti-refugee hysteria. Not, by the way, Germany.
But take Croatia. Its wartime regime was more Nazi than the Nazis.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the massacre of Serbs by Croatian fascists was “surpassed for savagery only by the mass extermination of Polish Jews.”
More than half a million Serbs were killed, a quarter of a million expelled and 200,000 forcibly converted to Catholicism.
Today’s Zagreb government, embraced by the West after the Pentagon-led break-up of Yugoslavia, openly celebrates its pro-Nazi past. Last month thousands of right-wing Croats attended a Catholic mass honouring Ustasha soldiers killed at the end of World War Two by Tito’s partisans and the Allies.
The grisly ceremony was attended by Croatia’s culture minister, Zlatko Hasanbegovic, who is engaged in a poisonous campaign to “politically cleanse” the media and intellectual life of independent-minded voices; convicted war criminal from the 1990s Balkan conflict Branimir Glavas; and Tomislav Karamarko, leader of the far right ruling party, the Patriotic Coalition.
Other Axis-supporting states, notably Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania and Macedonia, have greeted refugees with water cannons, rubber bullets and barbed wire walls.
As Brecht forewarned decades ago, “the bitch” is on heat again …

Great Bores – New series

That Malcolm Turnbull got it right when he cut funding to the NBN. Spending all that money on direct copper connection to homes was crazy. What a saving for taxpayers. Turnbull knows what he’s talking about: he made millions from Ozemail when he invented email in the 1990s. My friend in the IT industry … he’s one of the smartest blokes around, so he should know … reckons that we should all use Wifi. Wireless connection is the way to go: we have it at home. But quite frankly, it’s a bit of a disaster. It’s slow and sometimes it just doesn’t work. I’ve written to the NBN asking when they can put cable-to-home in our street. I pay my taxes – well, some of them, anyway – and I am entitled to the Gold Standard NBN connection. Turnbull should just finish the NBN as promised and get on with it. He’s a bloody idiot.

Trump of the Week

When I’m elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe and our allies until we fully understand how to end these threats.
Donald Trump, US Republican candidate for US President