American carpetbaggers in Oz

A conga-line of visiting US militarists simply confirms Australia’s client status … The ABC is no longer “Our ABC” … Trump declares Qatar is a Terror Central … Would Hillary Clinton stop making up excuses … Trump is the real issue …

US publicity-seeker unleashed

Another week and yet another Washington cold warrior has been visiting Australia to scare the pants off everyone and to urge politicians to spend more money on arms, American-made arms, of course.

This time the visiting bogeyman was James Clapper, a guest of the ANU’s National Security College where he holds the title of Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor.

Amazingly, Clapper was taken seriously, just one week after academia and the media took seriously 80-year-old failed Republican presidential contender, Senator John McCain.

Thursday’s front-page of The Sydney Morning Herald splashed the headline, “Watergate pales compared to what we’re confronting now”, and the breathless article began: “The infamous Watergate scandal ‘pales’ in comparison to the allegations about the Trump administration’s links to Russia, former US intelligence chief James Clapper has said in an explosive set of remarks in Canberra.” (SMH, 8 June, 2017)

While Trump’s presidential term may well end as ignominiously as Richard Nixon’s, 76-year-old Clapper is such an unreliable source that his forecasting must be treated with suspicion. But not in the SMH!

When it was revealed in 2014 that America’s National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on millions of Americans and collected personal data from their phones, computers and emails, Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, was called to Congress to testify.

Asked point-blank by Senator Ron Wyden whether the NSA had undertaken illegal and indiscriminate data collection against millions of citizens, Clapper replied emphatically: “No, sir.”

When he was exposed as a liar (he was under oath to tell the truth) there were demands that he be charged. If convicted he faced up to five years in jail. Again, none of this appeared in the SMH (“Independent. Always”) which treated him like a visiting statesman.

I am not advocating that America’s militarists should be banned from visiting Australia or speaking to an audience of superannuated spooks at the Lowy Institute, the Sydney Institute or the National Press Club. But can’t we treat these geriatric carpetbaggers with a degree of good old Aussie contempt and ridicule? It’s what they deserve.

ABC losing its way

Years ago the slogan was “Your ABC”. It should be brought up to date and called “Their ABC” because it is no longer ours.

In the past 12 months, those at the top of the ABC have become a dreadful crowd of economic rationalists, private consultants and overpaid spin doctors.

Michelle Guthrie

The current ABC management knows little or nothing about public broadcasting and their values are saturated with the nostrums of “free market” economics and the editorial direction of Rupert Murdoch’s empire here, the UK and the US.

It is the same at The Guardian in London, once a newspaper of serious values, admirable integrity and independence. Aping the ABC’s managing director, Michelle Guthrie, the million-dollar woman, The Guardian has leapt into the absurd world of advertorial jargon.

Caspar Llewellyn, the paper’s “digital platforms editor”, recently invited hardened reporters to a talk by Chris Moran, the editor of “strategic projects” when he would lecture on “the focus of editorial’s work with dig dev this quarter, which involves the iteration of content atoms.”

If I were a Guardian journalist, I’d give Caspar’s talk a miss.

Qatar: new terror HQ?

Just in case you missed it, the world’s leading terrorist nation is no longer North Korea, Iran or Syria. According to Donald Trump’s America and Benyamin Netanyahu’s Israel, it is Qatar.

Where? Yes, Qatar, the tiny Arab Gulf petrol station with a population of two million, ruled by the al-Thani family.

The al-Thanis are Bedouins who originally owed allegiance to London but then they were bought up lock, stock and barrel [of oil] by Washington and the Texas oil mafia.

Now President Donald Trump has declared that Qatar, a long-standing player in pro-imperialist politics of the Middle East, is nothing more than a front for Islamic terrorism. Trump encouraged the other Saudi Arabian-led Gulf states to impose diplomatic, economic and transport sanctions on Qatar.

He has thanked the ultra-reactionary Saudi royal family for scapegoating Qatar in a Tweet which said “all reference” to funding terrorism “pointed to Qatar”, adding: “Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

Days after his first major overseas visit to Riyadh (Islamic fundamentalism), Tel Aviv (Jewish fundamentalism) and the Vatican (Catholic fundamentalism), Trump has thanked Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt for severing diplomatic relations with Qatar. Since then, the CIA-backed “government” in eastern Libya, the Saudi puppet regime in Yemen and The Maldives, a US-sponsored Indian Ocean atoll with 390,000 people, have joined the boycott. But no one else – not even the spineless wonders in Canberra.

Qatar’s airport and land borders have been closed, supermarket shelves are emptying and wealthy Arabs are fleeing abroad. It’s panic time in Doha thanks to The Donald’s “diplomacy”.

Enter The Donald

The other side of the story is that Qatar is a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), established in 1981 with the backing of Washington to regulate America’s two-way trade – the purchase of crude oil and the sale of obsolete arms.

The creation of the GCC signalled the end of British dominance of the oil-rich Arab Gulf and the consolidation of US hegemony.

Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani at the 34th summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

After the al-Qaeda attack on 9/11 on New York and Washington, Qatar was selected to be Washington’s “branch office” for developing contacts with radical opposition groups such as the Moslem Brotherhood, the Taliban and Hamas from Gaza in Palestine.

Al-Jazeera, the Arab television network, was created in the capital, Doha, and quickly built an Arab-speaking and then a Western audience.

Western imperialism demonstrated its confidence in the al-Thani dynasty by creating vast military bases. US, NATO and Australian warplanes used in operations against Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan are based at the heavily-guarded and highly secretive al-Udeid air base. The number of Western military personnel at the base is estimated to be more 11,000.

Some of the Australians are serving ADF soldiers and airmen, while others are on secondment as high-earning private contractors.

Qatar’s helpful military cooperation has brought exceptional dividends. The monumentally corrupt world soccer body, FIFA, awarded Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup catapulting the first Arab and Islamic country onto the world sporting stage. While the decision was celebrated by four-fifths of the world, the Israelis were incandescent with rage and so were the Islamophobic minorities in the US, Europe and Australia.

When Trump visited Israel last month – and failed to support Netanyahu’s bid to shift the Tel Aviv capital to Jerusalem – the Likud leader asked for Trump’s support to shut Hamas’s office in Qatar and to pull the plug on Al-Jazeera’s coverage of Israel’s savage suppression of the Palestinians.

Al-Jazeera has been critical of Saudi-sponsored Salafist terrorism in some Arab states as well as its continued support for “regime change” in Damascus.

Trump also had intelligence supplied by his son-in-law Jared Kushner that the Saudis strongly objected to Doha’s rejection of Salafist militia intervention in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen. He thought he was on a “winner” by suddenly scapegoating Qatar: what could be wrong with doing a favour for Israel and Saudi Arabia?

As it turns out, the damage has been tremendous and it will only get worse. Trump has firmly positioned Washington on the side of side of Saudi Arabia, the biggest financial supporter of terrorist groups (al-Qaeda, ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra etc) and the Israel Zionists who are hell-bent on pursuing an apartheid policy of racial and religious superiority.

Until Trump singled out Qatar as a leading terrorist-supporting country in the Middle East, most Western intelligence agencies believed it was Saudi Arabia.

Stuart Levey, under-secretary of the US Treasury in charge of impeding terrorist funding, especially to al-Qaeda, said in 2007: “If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia.”

Osama bin Laden was from a leading Saudi family and 28 pages from the commission that investigated the relationship between the 9/11 terrorist attackers and Riyadh were cut from the final report and have never been published.

European, Asian, African, Latin American and Pacific nations are scrambling to recalibrate their policies towards Qatar, the Gulf Arab states, Iran, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. Perhaps the UK and Australia, the scene of recent ISIS attacks, will now start bombing Qatar but I don’t think so.

Despite furious denials from Western leaders, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, America’s world leadership is collapsing at a furious pace. And without the American security blanket, Western allies are in a terrible funk. Could someone give some smelling salts to Malcolm Turnbull and then change Bill Shorten’s nappy?

Hillary’s lost the plot

I am rarely shocked these days perhaps because a lifetime of misadventures has left me emotionally punch-drunk. However, I was genuinely stunned by Hillary Clinton’s latest excuse for losing last November’s US presidential election.

She blamed the DNC, the Democratic National Council, the ruling body of her own party. On previous occasions she has heaped praise on her party and the DNC for its tireless efforts to support her nomination and the election campaign itself. Now all that has changed.

“I was the victim of a very broad assumption that I was going to win,” she told her interviewer Walt Mossberg at a rich-lister conference at Rancho Palos Verde in California.

“I set up my campaign and we have our own data operation. I get the nomination, so I’m now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party.”

Mossberg: “What do you mean ‘nothing’?”

HRC: “I mean it was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.”

Mossberg: “This is the DNC you’re talking about?”

HRC: “Yes.”

Ever the “victim”, Mrs Clinton is now placing the blame for her defeat on the DNC. In the past, she has blamed:

  • Russia, particularly Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Putin wants to bring us down, and he is an old KGB agent,” she said. “I had, obviously, run-ins with him, because that in large measure prompted his animus toward me, and his desire to help Trump.”
  • Facebook. “If you look at Facebook, the majority of the news items posted were fake. They are connected to, as we now know, the 1,000 Russian agents who were involved in delivering those messages.”
  • Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange for publishing emails hacked from DNC staffers and her campaign chairman John Podesta;
  • The FBI for its review of her private State Department email server;
  • FBI director James Comey for his eve-of-election letter to Congress that the bureau was continuing to investigate her email security. “I can’t look inside the guy’s mind, you know, but he dumps that on me on October 28, and I immediately start falling.”
  • Misogyny. “I certainly have never said I ran perfect campaigns, but I don’t know who is or did. And at some point it sort of bleeds into misogyny.”
  • Netflix. “Go to Netflix and say you want to see a political documentary, eight of the 10 – last tie I checked a few weeks ago – were screeds against President Obama or me, or both of us.”
  • Bernie Sanders. Clinton was asked: “To what extent do you assign blame for Bernie Sanders, to media for focusing on emails?” HRC: “How much time do we have?” replied Clinton while checking her wristwatch.

Hillary’s own bubble

In all her excuse-making, Mrs Clinton has never accepted any blame herself. This is despite the fact she lost Wisconsin without setting a foot in the State during the entire campaign

She offsided millions of voters by describing Donald Trump supporters “a basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it” and told a New York fund-raiser that “half” of Trump’s supporters were “irredeemable” bigots.

While her remarks may accurately reflect the backward attitudes of many Trumpists her attack reinforced the electorate’s view that the Clintons and the Democrats were living in a Wall Street/Washington/Hollywood bubble.

It is pathetically sad that residual Clinton luvvies in Australia are still in the thrall of their failed candidate. I think it is high time they got over it.

Today’s issue is not Trump versus Clinton. It’s not even Republican versus Democrat. It’s the struggle to create a new social order based on equality, fairness and science versus the headlong plunge into chaos, conflict and ignorance led by Washington.

Echoes from the past

British Prime Minister Theresa May fought this week’s General Election on the slogan that only her Conservative Party could establish a “strong and stable” government.

She clearly has never read her history books otherwise she would have been alarmed by the concluding words of a book called Mein Kampf by Austrian author A Hitler:

“November 9, 1923, in the fourth year of its existence, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party was dissolved and forbidden throughout the entire territory of the Reich.

“Today, in November 1926, it stands again before us, free through the whole Reich, stronger and internally more stable than ever before.”

Manchester’s Peterloo Massacre recalled

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn recalled the inspirational poem, The Mask of Anarchy, by Percy Bysshe Shelley to climax his election campaign.

Shelley, 1792-1822, wrote the poem in commemoration of the Peterloo Massacre on 16 August 1819 when heavily-armed yeomanry on horseback charged a large public rally at St Peter’s Field demanding parliamentary representation.

Corbyn quoted the final stanza:

Rise, like lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number!

Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you:

Ye are many—they are few!”

One comment

  1. Brilliant analysis as usual. The Shelley finale strikes the best chords, perhaps to mark the Corbyn manifesto’s obvioys appeal to young people. Hung UK parliament to honour Tory dismay ?
    Solidarity and thanks.

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