You’d need a heart of stone not to be moved by the outpouring of grief over the shooting of 20 children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
However, the wall-to-wall coverage in the media in the US and here has been over-indulgent, ghoulishly invasive and gratuitously suspect.
It’s as if the classroom massacre has provided a diversion upon which everyone can agree. We’re all to be united in grief for the innocents.
However, there is an irrationality at the heart of this public mourning. I find it at odds with the slaughter of civilians – and schoolchildren – in Afghanistan where the US-led NATO occupation will soon enter its 11th year.
On the border with Pakistan, US drones creepily directed from the US hammer villages and communities causing death and destruction. No pilots are flying the planes that inflict these war crimes, so no possible prosecution.
The Americans “united in grief” all think that President Barack Obama should save them from the gun nuts. They slag him off most of the time but when a national tragedy occurs – a massacre, flood, fire, typhoon whatever – they all turn on the television, settle into their sofas and wait for him to deliver their salvation.
The other day I received a Facebook request to sign a petition entitled “The Sandy Hook Elementary School Global Sympathy Card”.
Millions of people signed the petition and wrote messages which spoke of God, angels and heaven. Nothing about politics.
When one signatory added a note saying: “Deepest and most sincere sympathies to all of Newtown. What about Drone victims in Pakistan?”
The writer was instantly rebuked in capital letters: “COULD WE PLEASE JUST CONCENTRATE ON THIS TERRIBLE TRAGEDY AND NOT TRY TO DILUTE IT WITH OTHER ISSUES.”
The friend who made the request to me said earnestly that by signing the petition “I would make a difference”. No I wouldn’t. And I didn’t sign.
THE MILITARISED STATES OF AMERICA (MSA)
Let no one be any misunderstanding. American imperialism is a violent monstrosity. Since World War II the US armed forces have invaded, bombed or occupied the following countries: Greece, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Panama, Cuba, Grenada, Haiti, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
No country on earth has such a blood-soaked record. Millions of people have been killed, including between one and two million civilians in Vietnam.
War has become an integral part of the US economy. It is its engine room. There are more Americans employed in the war industries than any other and the corporations involved in war manufacturing constitute the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill.
Their power and wealth is complemented on the domestic front by the gun lobby. In an abuse of the meaning and intention of the US Constitution, Americans have been led to believe that they have a “constitutional right to bear arms”. The founding fathers would turn in their graves if they knew how their gun amendment was being used today by arms manufacturers and arms dealers.
Just as the White House or Congress is incapable of taking on the gun lobby and curbing the sale of military-style guns, they are unable to stop the US going to war. It’s what the US does.
Its foreign policy is to profit for war by extending its economic hegemony and its domestic policy is to have the civilian population militarised through popular gun ownership.
Still think that the future of Australia lies in a lock-step relationship with Washington?
FAIRFAX & ABC CHASE THE SOFTEST TARGETS
Australia is an island continent. Heroin and cocaine that is manufactured overseas finds its way to cities across Australia in voluminous quantities.
It is a multi-billion-dollar market making the importers and distributors very rich indeed.
Even Inspector Clouseau is capable of working out that Australia must have porous borders. Follow the dot points:
1) The custodians of the ports and airports are Customs officers.
2) Therefore target certain Customs officers and ply them with brown paper bags and generous gifts.
3) In return, arrange for certain passengers and their luggage to pass freely through Customs.
4) If the bribed Customs officers refuse to cooperate, threaten their families or expose them to the police as bribe-takers and end their careers.
This is the modus operandi of the drug syndicates for the past 50 years. Politicians, law enforcement agencies and intelligence services all know this: they didn’t need an investigative task force from Fairfax and the ABC to tell them.
While the media is hammering under-paid and over-worked Customs officers whose numbers have been shredded by budget cuts, the real culprits are laughing all the way to the bank.
I refer to the well-heeled members of the drug syndicates who luxuriate in the poshest suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and the Gold Coast and a group of senior police who provide them with strategic tip-offs and inside information.
The Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission, ASIO, the Australian Tax Office, the money-tracing agency AUSTRAC, ASIC, the banks – none of them are able to locate and prosecute a single “Mr Big”. Why? Many of these elite investigators seek early redundancy and retire on generous pensions which are provided (under-the-counter) by the drug networks.
MEMO to Fairfax and ABC task force: “exposing” Customs officers is rather like shooting elephants tethered to trees on a safari park in South Africa. You might bag a long-nosed pachyderm but not the ivory poachers. They’re on their Lear jets heading for a holiday in Monaco.
Customs officers are the softest of soft targets. Claiming they are writing “exclusive” stories, and calling them “investigations”, is a shameful professional embarrassment.
Season’s Greetings to all our loyal readers. We’ll be resuming our online newsletter in the New Year.
Judith & Alex