The Washington-Moscow peace plan for Syria was deliberately sabotaged … Military chiefs all over the world go “lone wolf” … Rupert Murdoch’s embedded journalism in conflict zone … Truth about Senator Stephen Conroy’s strange exit … Great Crashing Bores continued
In Geneva on September 9, Washington and Moscow reached an accord on a Syrian ceasefire which also allowed aid organisations to bring food, water and medical supplies to tens of thousands of Syrians trapped in war-torn cities such as Aleppo. It ended Washington’s long-running “regime change” policy in Syria and brought together Russia, the US and the Assad regime in a military alliance – for the first time – to destroy ISIS, al-Qaeda and its splinter terrorist groups.
The world held its breath. Was this the breakthrough that we were all waiting for? Could this be the end of the war savagery? Would the slaughter stop and would tens of thousands refugees stop walking to Turkey on their way to Europe?
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s ceasefire announcement sparked images of the 1938 Munich Agreement and British prime minister Neville Chamberlain waving it in the air at a London rally hailing it as a “peace for our time” treaty.
It was no such thing. The Munich Agreement was cynically used by Hitler and Mussolini to annex German-speaking Sudetenland (Czechoslovakia) as a prelude to invading Poland and France and provoking World War Two.
On September 17, within a week of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement, US and Australian warplanes bombed and killed 62 Syrian soldiers who were engaged in ground assaults against IS terrorists. Moscow, Damascus and Tehran issued statements saying the bombing was not “a mistake” but “intentional”. It “proved”, they claimed, that Washington supported the terrorist militias.
In the fall-out, Damascus abandoned the ceasefire on September 19 and bombed an aid convoy west of Aleppo killing 20 people and destroying warehouses filled with humanitarian aid.
What has become patently obvious is that an unnamed foreign power has intentionally sabotaged the Kerry-Lavrov agreement, blown up the truce and provoked the continuation of the slaughter. What country would do such a thing? What regime would benefit from allowing Syria to descend into the darkness of a warring, tribalised failed state? Iraq has been bombed back to tribalist barbarity and so has Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya. Why not Syria as well?
Rogues in the military
The more sophisticated theory is that “rogue elements” in the military machine in either Washington, Moscow, Tel Aviv or Damascus are responsible for blowing up the Syrian ceasefire initiative. This challenges the naïve Westerners’ view that President Barack Obama is the all-powerful commander-in-chief of the US military, Russian “dictator” Vladimir Putin controls his military machine, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dominates the crazed military top brass in Tel Aviv and Syrian President Hafez Assad has an iron fist over his military as well.
Not so. It is a democratic myth that the military is under civilian, parliamentary or democratic control in any part of the world. In the past 50 years (probably since ancient Greek and Roman times!! – AM) the military has become a law unto itself. Its purpose is making war, beefing up military budgets at the expense of health, education, welfare etc and indoctrinating the home front with militarism.
For example, President Obama claimed no knowledge of the failed military coup in Turkey in July but an American general John F Campbell, a former NATO commander, was named in Istanbul newspapers as a key organiser of the plot. (“This Man Led the Coup”, Yeni Safak, 25 July 2016. See picture left.)
Campbell said the claims were “ridiculous” because on the day of the coup he was having a beer in a New York bar with right-wing Fox News host Geraldo Rivera. Well, that settles everything, doesn’t it?
Murdoch’s embedded journalism
The front-page headline in Rupert Murdoch’s The Weekend Australian shouted across seven columns: “Riding shotgun as dogs of war take fight to Islamic State.” (17-18 September 2016).
The story by the paper’s defence editor, Brendan Nicholson, began dramatically: “Over Iraq’s ancient Euphrates River valley, RAAF Hornet fighters Kelpie One and Kelpie Two are poised to strike Islamic State terrorist groups. To The Weekend Australian sitting in the cockpit of a supporting refuelling tanker, the Hornets appear, deceptively, to rise and fall gently as this RAAF formation hurtles towards the war. The Weekend Australian was given an unprecedented view of this conflict from the cockpit of an RAAF aircraft.
“A massive effort goes into avoiding civilian casualties ensuring the Australians don’t breach the laws of war or their nation’s rules of engagement. The Kelpies are ‘cleared hot’ to strike. They streak in together, their bombs exploding simultaneously, one at each end of the building.”
Within 24 hours, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was making a public apology for killing over 60 Syrian soldiers in a horrifically botched bombing raid. Obviously, the “massive effort” to avoid civilian casualties had broken down; Australian warplanes were helping to slaughter Syrian soldiers who are on OUR side fighting IS killers.
Where was Murdoch’s embedded hack, Brendon Nicholson? He finally emerged two days later to call for Australian forces to “stay the course”, maintain bombing raids and boots on the ground. He neglected to call for a full inquiry into the bombing tragedy and condemned Green senator Scott Ludlam who called for Australia to end its Middle East engagement. Nicholson said the WA senator was “naïve and uninformed”.
I’d like to know from the well-informed (!) Nicholson whether he was inadvertently on the bombing mission when the Syrian soldiers were killed? Who paid for his frontline war tourism? The Australian or the federal government (i.e. we, the taxpayers)? I think we should be told.
Meanwhile, I expect him to receive the honorary rank of field marshal in the next Defence Honours List, thus joining a long list of Australian journalists who gave up their independence to become embedded propagandists. Trust me when I say that Australian and US defence officials know NOW who supplied their warplanes with the false information. They have computer operators who can track and identify who entered the deceitful coordinates into the aircraft’s computers prior to the mission.
Did the fake intelligence emanate from the CIA, Mossad, the Kurdish Peshmerga, ISIS or Damascus security police? Will the war criminals ever be named, charged, court martialled or brought to trial?
Don’t hold your breath.
Share market lunacy
Anyone whoever doubted the sheer lunacy of share market speculation should read this week’s evidence at a NSW Supreme Court trial by witness Ms Nevine Rattinger, a corporate guru and self-described “professional intuitive” and “energy healer”. She told the startled court that “a lot traders do look at astrology” and added: “There’s a lot of volumes [books] on astrology and trading. We’re made up of electro-magnetic energy. We can manipulate that field to create better outcomes. A lot of people look at it as magic but I call it mind over matter. I just get an image in my mind that tells me what a [share] price should be.”
To assist her clients she draws astrological charts “looking for patterns when certain planets are aligned so that they generate wealth. You are looking for activation and empowerment and that is when people are likely to be attracted to that stock.”
And I always thought stockbroker zombies were fuelled by cocaine. It turns out it is whacky astrology with a touch of conman Uri Geller (mind over matter) and Crossing Over TV host John Edward.
Man of principle
Dr Ghassan Hage is a Lebanese-Australian academic at Melbourne University where he is Future Generation Professor of Anthropology and Social Theory.
He has just declined an invitation to visit Israel to give a keynote speech to the Anthropological Association of Israel. In this edited letter he explained why: “I sincerely appreciate your invitation. I am afraid I have to decline. I can’t say I am overjoyed to decline. By temperament I am always inclined and disposed to dialogue, but I have thought hard about what my presence would achieve and I feel that the end result is negative not positive.
“You Israelis have to face the situation that your toxic vampiric history is relatively short and new, the population that has been colonised by you [the Palestinians] is still relatively strong and still making claims of national sovereignty and autonomy over the land. The dominant forces in your society aspire to get to a situation where this will stop being the case. It aims to efface the existence of Palestinians as claimants of sovereignty and it is subjecting them to horrendous inhumane violence of a scale, intensity and permanence that is so beyond acceptable. This is what your own Baruch Kimmerling [the Transylvanian-born Israeli scholar who died in 2007] has beautifully called politicide.”
Dr Hage has set an outstanding example for fellow academics and business leaders.
Behind Senator Conroy’s resignation
Early in 2015 when Tony Abbott was still prime minister, the media was full of stories that he faced an imminent challenge from his communications minister Malcolm Turnbull. Abbott’s kitchen cabinet decided to respond by destroying Turnbull using the media to show that he was an incompetent minister.
Stories began appearing in the Murdoch and Fairfax press attacking Turnbull’s pet policy, the National Broadband Network (NBN). Some of the material leaked to the media were classified Cabinet documents while others were internal confidential reports prepared within the Communications Department.
Every time an NBN “exclusive” appeared in the press, the shadow communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy was on hand to deliver sulphurous quotes calling for Turnbull to be sacked or censured for concealing the NBN’s costs blow-out or its technical failures.
Who was giving Conroy’s office the flow of secret documents to destroy Turnbull’s competence and, coincidentally, his ability to challenge Abbott? It was obvious to everybody that it was a highly placed source with access to Cabinet and ministerial papers. Turnbull was so livid that he made an official complaint and called in the Australian Federal Police; he was determined to unmask the individual(s) feeding Conroy’s office with Cabinet and departmental secrets and have them charged.
After he ousted Abbott in September last year, Turnbull made clear to his successor in the communications portfolio, Mitch Fyfield, that he wanted the AFP investigation to be pursued vigorously. Accordingly, the AFP raided Conroy’s parliamentary office earlier this year and seized computers and documents. They also raided the homes of his staff. No one knows what they confiscated but in Parliament House there are strong rumours that the AFP has proof that Conroy was receiving a steady stream of documents and emails from Turnbull’s enemies.
Which begs the question – were any of these enemies members of Team Abbott? In other words, was Conroy the recipient of “dirt file” material from the poisonous operatives in the Abbott camp?
Meanwhile, Conroy decided to afford himself parliamentary protection: he knifed his way onto No 1 position on the Victorian ALP’s Senate ticket and was duly re-elected on July 2 for another six-year term in the Senate. Six weeks later he suddenly announced he was quitting politics to – ahem! – spend more time with his family. He had decided to fall on his sword.
Was it part of any deal with the AFP or the Commonwealth DPP? We don’t know. It comes as the Victorian ALP unfolds plans to dump its two most powerful faction leaders – Conroy (leader of the right wing) and Kim “Il” Carr (leader of the left wing) – as a masterstroke being pushed by Premier Daniel Andrews.
Wait for the memoirs: we haven’t heard the last of Conroy’s curious abandonment of his Senate seat after 20 years.
Great Crashing Bores – 14
I don’t know about you, but I was glued to the television watching John Howard talking about Bob Menzies. I have to confess I got a bit weepy watching the old footage of Menzies when Australia was a great country. It was fantastic television – Menzies and Howard – two of Australia’s greatest leaders. I was surprised that the communists who control the ABC allowed it to be broadcast. I always thought that it was shame Menzies did not volunteer for World War One because it allowed the communists to sneer that his promising military career was cut short by the outbreak of war. That said, he made a bloody idiot of himself when he got us involved in Korea and then Vietnam and hundreds of our soldiers died so that he could win a couple of elections. But all that is water under the bridge now and I still tear up when I remember Howard making that speech at a Liberal dinner paying tribute to Menzies. What was it he said? “I did but see him passing by but I will love him till I die.” Mate, I’ll never forget it – Menzies and Howard – two great blokes.