Bringing It All Home.
An American businessman has arrived at Ho Chi Minh airport and is questioned going through customs.
Customs officer: ‘Occupation?’
Businessman: ‘No, just a finance conference.’
George Bush and his whisperer walk into a bar, and the bartender asks ‘what’s up?’
Cheney says ‘Well, tomorrow, we’re going to have the troops storm into Iraq and kill thousands of Iraqis and one bicycle repairman.
The bartender replies ‘Oh my god, what did the bicycle repairman do to deserve this?’
Cheney then turns to Bush and patted him on the back and says ‘See, I told you no one would care about thousands of dead Iraqis.’
In just one deadly sortie in 2016 Royal Australian Air Force aircraft killed scores of Syrians.
These were government troops.
Our military allies are as usual unable to agree on a common enemy of the moment to target.
The question raised in all the confusion is ‘Which ‘Terrorists’ are to be ‘taken out’?
The Syrian government is on a different Pentagon ‘hit list’ to Daesh aka ISIS1.
Driven by their vengeful thirst for power,
ISIS finished off those troops who survived, mainly conscripts from a more ecumenical Islam.
The Australian Prime Minister stated: “We regret the loss of life and injury to any Syrian personnel affected.’
Whatever our judgement of the Syrian regime, regardless of whosoever’s forces we suspect have carried out unacknowledged atrocities, these were personnel of one more sovereign country that doesn’t threaten ours.
This on and off ‘ally’ of the U.S. has had no quarrel with Australia.
Ours has been with ISIS in whose caliphate education was restricted and precious books disposed of.
Our ally, the U.S., has been unable to decide firmly on a course of action.
It offered up the Kurds, it’s bloodied battering ram in the fight against ISIS, to another so called ally.
It followed this up with the assassination of the foremost Iranian military commander, a national hero because he was seen as keeping ISIS at bay.
The U.S. Commander was not concerned about the regrouping ISIS forces who he says will return to their countries of origin. This includes Australia.
Political and military manoeuvres have to be mindful, not misguided.
They cannot be chaotically impulsive. leaving allies in the lurch, landing the US with an indelible reputation across the Middle East as an unreliable ally.
Our citizenry, ‘the Australian family’ that the PM called us before his ouster, has to know who we’re really up against.
According to the head of ASIO in 2023 Australia has become the hub of a ‘nest of spies’ carrying out costly and often deadly missions.
By obtaining personal data on targets, ‘The spies and their proxies can then use this information to identify, locate, follow, film, harass and intimidate their targets.”
They are thus copying the very tactics used by ASIO back in the sixties.
Who can you trust when no one is who they seem?
The nature of our military relationships incubates such a nesting situation.
Take ours with India for example. We share a positive defence relationship. At the same time India has one with Russia.
We’re militarily involved against Russia whose interference in our affairs we’re constantly warned about.
War, children, it’s just a shot away.
The supremacist U.S. Commander-in-Chief traced ISIS’ path back to its beginning.
Back to base.
Stumbling upon the truth, this fabulous fabulist admitted: ‘Obviously, the war in Iraq is a disaster. It was a big, fat mistake. It shouldn’t have started. It started the chain of events that led to the migration. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East. We get nothing — nothing out of it, nothing. Our endless wars here are stupid and they need to end‘.
Following suit, his predecessor, the one who made the big fat mistake, stumbled upon the same truth when his tongue slipped. He criticised ‘the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq’.
To raise the level of stupidity the conman Commander-in-Chief chose as his national security advisers notorious hawks. Ones who played a significant role in the fabrication of lies leading up to these disastrous wars.
Their prevailing attitude seems to be ‘If it didn’t work then, why not try it again?’
To ‘have another chance at getting the oil’ he threatened to ‘fight fire with fire! With torture.
We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?’
Then dropping the mask of civility and baring his fangs the Human Hand Grenade sent a terrible message. Loud and clear, addressing the North Koreans and Iranians in particular, he taunted impetuously, ‘We can destroy whole countries. We decimated Libya. We can do it to yours if you don’t give us the right deal. He threatened to ‘obliterate’ Iran and bring it to an ‘official end.’
His Secretary of State declared, ‘We can’t perform our mission if we’re not aggressive, vicious, unforgiving, relentless — you pick the word. Every minute, we have to be focused on crushing our enemies.’
His Secretary of Defense was equally brutally blunt: ‘It’s fun to shoot some people. It’s a hell of a hoot .’
As the ratio of civilian-to-military deaths in war has changed, the people who die are more and more and more people who are not in the military.
Following each other’s lead, the global gangs of killers -those who Biden refers to as ‘teams’- bring civilian death and destruction to new levels.
To drive home his point the Commander-in-Chief described the first raid under his direction as ‘absolutely a success.’
It killed nine small children.
By his backing the Saudi onslaught of Yemen, the death toll rate for children became one every ten minutes.
His spokesman repeated that his missile strike on a Syrian airbase, motivated by his reaction to deaths of other children, was an attempt to “destabilise” the devastated country.
During this reign of terror he didn’t know whether he was bombing Syria or Iraq. He told his intelligence heads to ‘go back to school.’
His policies and his rabble rousing words were applauded and mimicked by his white supremacist followers.
They had to carry the can while he could fly off into luxury and immunity.
We know what the US is in line for, were he to get back in. After having incited an armed insurrection, he stands up on stage and says, “You put me back in office, and I will be your retribution.” This is straight out of the authoritarian playbook. This is rhetoric going back to the 1920s and ’30s.
Such destructiveness has lasting consequences for all young people born into an environment of pure extremism.
To drive home their equivalence with the extremist jihadists one of the Commander’s former trusted whisperers would call for public beheading of the F.B.I. Director. He demanded the same for the lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The idea that American people are chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A” because some Arab dictator has been cornered and brutally slaughtered isn’t really reason for rejoicing.
The Commander, a sociocidal man seen by John Howard as given to ‘instability’, threatened deployment of his massively built-up global strike forces at will. With unlimited capability they have no hesitation to incur massive civilian losses.
The combination of the arrogant policy of isolating Iran and rejecting diplomacy in favour of weaponry, together with a policy of regime change is exactly how the Iraq War started. All it needs is a spark in order for this to lead to all out military confrontation.
As the current political climate has shifted back into nuclear mode, the U.S. threatened to destroy North Korea with ‘fire and fury’. The President, described by his acting chief of staff as ‘a terrible human being’, conceded this ‘could kill millions’ from this tiny country resurrected from the ashes of earlier American bombardment and invasion. He warned Iran it risked consequences “the like of which few throughout history have suffered before” if the Islamic Republic makes threats against the United States.
The reality is that when we and our ‘NATO enhanced opportunity’ allies have intervened, in places like Syria, in places like Libya, the consequence has been that things have gotten worse.
For some reason, the people who have led all these interventions are still able to dictate our foreign policy. The United States which gives the orders was the driving force to found NATO.
It is it’s locomotive and the other members collectively the caboose. It called upon them to contribute to confronting Russia as the core republic of the Soviet Union.
It calls on them to contribute to confronting Russia as a rival capitalist state.
Blowing through red warning light after red warning light, the Australian government is behind the proxy war model in which Afghanistan was flooded with NATO member weaponry being repeated in Ukraine.
It feeds into the continued NATO encirclement of Russia, including the bombing of Serbia, it’s traditional ally.. This is more to deal with the instability and nationalistic aggression the alliance’s own continued existence helps cause.
Whole generations of the U.S. military have been brought up with the single minded goal of weakening Russia, whether as the core of the Soviet Union or as another defiant capitalist state. That’s what they know since they were shooting at them in 1920. That’s why they’re enraged they haven’t finished off their long snow job.
The U.S. can use the Russian wars against their former Soviet neighbours not just to defend them, but for it’s own wider strategic objective.
As with the defeats the US coalitions have led us into in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam , we need to know how our countries could have miscalculated so badly.
The Kremlin views this hostile alliance creeping towards its doorstep and vowing to ‘weaken’ it as a threat. This revives Russia’s historical sensation of being surrounded.
The former head of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen has pointed out that trying to back Putin into a corner is the thing you least want to do.
Former Israeli PM Bennett says U.S. ‘blocked’ his attempts at a Russia-Ukraine peace deal’.
Putin’s critics say he’s a crazy, irrational monster but, on the other side, they say, “Well, it’s a bluff. We don’t think that Putin is so irrational as to use nuclear weapons. I mean, come on, which is it?
Looming behind the tug of war would be the threat that Russia’s close neighbour would essentially move into NATO and the West at the expense of cordial relations with Russia. And for all kinds of reasons, real or perceived, the Russians found that profoundly threatening, including to Russia’s vital security interests.
Accidently blurting out the truth in testimony to the European Union Parliament, NATO chief Stoltenberg has made clear that it was America’s relentless push to enlarge NATO to Ukraine that was the real cause of the war.
History shows that countries will absorb enormous amounts of punishment in order to protect their core strategic interests. There is no reason to think Russia represents an exception to this rule.
It was the same rule US President Monroe applied when warning other nations to stay out of the Americas, saying, “We should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.”
While praising “brave” Ukrainians for fighting for survival, trapped between Russian tanks and Western banks, Pope Francis also suggested the situation was not black and white and that the war was “perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented”.
Like his own country’s war against the British forty years ago, it involves two sides whose men went to school together, played and trained together but were induced into a deadly game of bluff that went terribly wrong.
Was this latter day case one of of NATO drawing Russia’s fire after having continually poked it in the eye thus leading Russia to overplay it’s hand?
Whether unintentionally or deliberately, it increased the probability of a Russian crime of this sort. This fitted in with NATO’s purpose of gaining a tactical advantage over their indispensable adversary, to exploit its vulnerability .
Everything in Russian history tells us this threat wouldn’t be tolerated.
The pontiff condemned “the ferocity, the cruelty of Russian troops.’
At the same time he said “we must not forget the real problems if we want them to be solved”.
He included the arms industry among the factors that provide incentives for war. My God, how their money rolls in!
The British Defence Secretary and the US national security adviser suggested Ukraine ought to show more gratitude for the help it has received. The Secretary said Ukraine has a habit of treating allies as if they were an Amazon warehouse with lists of demands for weapons. He observed that Ukraine had a habit of, once it had obtained one type of weapon, immediately starting to lobby for another.
While begging ‘Arms for the poor! Arms for the poor!’ the Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia gave away the game telling us how we too can have a share of the booty: ‘Ukraine is the best testing ground. Where else can you test your military kit. Many defence industry companies throughout the world are testing their equipment in Ukraine now.’ While glorifying the virtues of various brands of weaponry, he argues that by showing off our military hardware, the war will ‘create more jobs’ for Australians, more taxes for the government and increase our defence capability.
Come in spinner-this cynical, attritional setup does nothing but drag all down except the merchants of misery and the dealers of death.
The relentless Western narrative that it and it’s Ukrainian dependant are noble while Russia and China are evil is simple-minded and extraordinarily dangerous.
Where was the need to contain a declining power with an aging population and a one-dimensional economy ?
Gorbachev and Regan had generated an amicable atmosphere following their nations’ Cold War mistrust of each other.
Why did their ensuing shock therapy have to be such tough love for the Russian people?
Why would the jokers be left to run wild?
Gorbachev had kept his side of the agreement by throwing the Warsaw Pact to the wind.
The illegal overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected and pro-Russian president, no matter how corrupt, was the final straw. The Kremlin responded to the extremist and Western backed coup to bring democracy [sic] by taking Crimea, a peninsula it feared would host a NATO naval base, and by working to destabilize Ukraine until it abandoned its efforts to join the West.
The Kremlin is bolstered by this western affront when countries cancel Russian culture and punish Russians collectively. Then many Russians understandably blame the West more than they blame the oppressive regime that is there in Russia. They see NATO as a vestige of the cold war, inherently directed against their country.
Kennedy warned the Soviets, “Here’s my invasion force in Key West and here I am going to threaten nuclear weapons.” However in that case Khrushchev negotiated with him and they did a deal without the Soviet leader being accused of giving in.
Under Putin the Russians are afraid of NATO constructing military infrastructure allowing the launch of missiles which can reach Moscow in five, six, seven minutes.
Great powers are always sensitive to potential threats near their home territory.
Imagine the outrage in Washington today if China built an impressive military alliance and tried to include Canada and Mexico in it.
Analysts committed to a US foreign policy of realism and restraint have warned for more than a quarter‐century that continuing to expand the most powerful military alliance in history toward another major power would not end well.
George Kennan, the intellectual father of America’s containment policy during the cold war, perceptively warned about the consequences of NATO expansion in 1998. He stated. ‘I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else.’
Kennan predicted that NATO expansion would provoke a crisis, after which the proponents of expansion in a spirit of ‘we won’ triumphalism would say that ‘we always told you that is how the Russians are.”
Robert M Gates, who served as secretary of defense in the administrations of both George W Bush and Barack Obama, contended that expansion was a case of “recklessly ignoring what the Russians considered their own vital national interests”.
The current Director of the CIA, William Burns, warned against using Russia’s neighbours as a tool this way for U.S. foreign policy. Calling the bluff of the energy rich nuclear state. Baiting it as they had done to the Soviet Union with regard to Afghanistan, contributing to it’s pulling the trigger on it’s formerly fraternal neighbour.
Subsequently the deep, structural economic relations of the new world order have threatened to break and to plunge many countries into even greater catastrophe.
Does the U.S. really believe the colonialized world cannot see the open, rank hypocrisy they’re engaged in?
Bargaining with the Saudi oligarchs for more oil to save the children of Ukraine by massacring more children in Yemen.
Falling over themselves to decry Russian atrocities in Ukraine while they support very similar atrocities by Israel in Gaza, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Yemen.
Decrying Russia for attacking another sovereign state using similar phony pretexts as those used by the so called Coalition of the Willing to invade Iraq.
The Ukraine war gives the U.S. establishment a convenient opportunity to change the subject of crimes against humanity. Our leaders hold double standards with respect to those who commit them. They rightly decry those committed by the Russians. However their escalating rhetoric against Putin rings hollow as long as the U.S. rejects the ICC but warns those who bring to light those committed by us.
It punishes whistleblowing journalists severely.
Why should we not confront all oligarchs who have been defrauding, plundering and bombing innocents — why not extend our antipathy to ultra rich businessmen beyond Russia?
We need a uniform standard of justice to hold accountable perpetrators of war crimes, wherever they may occur.
It’s almost as if failure is the qualification to be part of dictating what we should be doing against ‘The Axis of Evil’ and ‘The Troika of Tyranny’ (sic!). And against what Australia’s raucous Aukus caucus, pumping up it’s own chauvinist fantasies, refers to in a crude and misleading metaphor as ‘The Arc of Autocracy.’
In this retreaded Cold War spin a supposed Russia and China nuclear armed bloc has to be confronted militarily on both the Ukraine front and on the Taiwan Strait front.
Russia’s war with Ukraine is a proxy conflict that is a subset of a larger competition between the West, led by the United States, even if it’s leadership is somewhat precarious — and the People’s Republic of China.
The Vilnius NATO summit issued a communiqué saying Beijing’s actions are threatening the security of nations.
This would have to be the century’s biggest joke if it weren’t so recklessly provocative.
NATO gave no evidence but was probably basing it’s scaremongering on comments like those of CNN about the shooting down of a stray Chinese weather balloon: ‘For the first time, Americans experienced a tangible symbol of the national security challenge from Beijing.”
Accordingly the Sino-Russian joint target complex has to be encircled by a tight ring of sentinel states or satellites that will carry out the bidding of the Empire.
Why not? We fell into the same trap the Russians fell into in Afghanistan.
We can blunder into the same one they’ve fallen into in Ukraine, a piece of real estate that’s not a vital strategic interest to the U.S. or Australia. NATO has acknowledged this by not taking direct military action over Ukraine. Rather it has led it down the primrose path, pumping its pawn with weaponry so as to fight to the last Ukrainian.
Pumping other countries with military hardware does not make them safer. This does not make the world safer. It certainly doesn’t make us safer.
Can a grandmaster arrive in time to transform the game with a new and unexpected peace gambit?
Talking about Venezuela, according to the Deputy Director of the FBI, the populist President said, ‘That’s the country we should be going to war with. They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door. ‘His national security adviser says that there is oil there and American oil companies should get primary access to it.’
Of course the US can go for less dramatically violent methods to bring down a government overthrow. It can strangle the economies of countries whose leadership doesn’t fit its requirements through economic warfare. By imposing sanctions, it can prevent a designated country from accessing international capital markets and from restructuring its loans. It can push enterprises into default and block its trade This can lead to hyperinflation and plummeting export earnings that cannot be longer used to buy food and medicine. In the case of Cuba during the height of the Covid pandemic President Biden intensified the embargo against it.
The U.S. can confiscate the target’s assets. It believes it can bank on the consequent mass misery and chaos as sufficient to bring about the desired economic collapse and regime change.
It believes the pain caused is well worth it. It was put to Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeline Albright regarding the suffering caused to Iraq under Saddam, ‘We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
To which Ambassador Albright responded, ‘I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.’
It was certainly worth it for the military contractors. Their portfolios tripled and their investments shot up. However they were part of a force that destroyed a country on the basis of a lie in the world, which started a war between armed groups supported by foreign powers, and led to the country today being in pieces. They had empowered many dictators by trying to shoot one. The reality is that freedom can’t be forced on people.
The invasion was envisioned as a way to demonstrate that 9/11 really didn’t mean much of anything and really didn’t matter. It was a way to show that the United States was still the one and only global superpower, that if we sent troops to Iraq, if we beat up and overthrew Saddam Hussein, that that would suffice to erase the obvious implications of the 9/11 attacks.These were that the U.S. were far more vulnerable, far weaker than the post-Cold War claims of being the indispensable nation would seem to suggest. That effort assumed that the United States would win a great, decisive, inexpensive military victory in Iraq. And, of course, that didn’t come to pass.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who helped draft the speech enabling the US to go to war against Iraq, has distinguished frighteningly the nature of the warmongers dominating the Trump administration compared to those before: ‘This is, in a word, a very different U.S. administration, but in the same hands of the military-industrial complex, of the national security state, of all the people who want warfare to be the raison d’être of this empire at the same time. The presidential evangelical team long for the rapture, for the end times, for Jesus coming down to the Earth and killing all the unbelievers with his flaming sword. This is what they are all about. ‘
‘The world is the most dangerous place it’s ever been now because of what our country has done, and is doing, and we have to take it back,” Ramsey Clark, Lyndon Johnson’s attorney general, said while addressing a protest against the inauguration of George W. Bush.
Some American leaders have got it into their head that there is now what they call a unipolar world, that the U.S. is the sole superpower, and with a little help from friends like us, they can run the show.
Following our ouster from Afghanistan, the US, in conjunction with it’s British and Australian allies, would focus it’s attention on China.
At a time when threats to Western liberal democracy seem to be primarily internal, NATO would extend it’s mission creep beyond Russia and Afghanistan to China, declaring it to be a security risk.
So why not take on China after driving the Russians into its arms? If we can’t defeat small sized armies of insurgents, why not prepare a build up of forces to confront a bigger, much more potentially dangerous adversary, particularly one who’s our major trading partner?
As usual the U.S. does like to exaggerate the extent of it’s rivals forces compared to it’s own. The US has about 750 U.S. military bases abroad in 80 countries and colonies. in fact, it’s probably three times the number of all the other countries in the world combined, probably the largest collection of foreign military bases in world history. There are seven bases in Australia. In total, in the Asia-Pacific region, the United States easily has almost 300 foreign military bases surrounding China already.
The U.S. spends more money on the military than the next 10 biggest military powers in the world.
It carried out more than 100 military interventions between 1991 and 2020.
So what basis does the so called threat from this ‘peer competitor’ rest upon?
On what basis does undermining the policy of strategic ambiguity, the One China policy that brought peaceful relations for half a century, rest upon?
Basically it’s the same tired old one I argued about with our Minister for External Affairs over fifty years ago. Today even more than then there is constant talk about this threat, one we are told we have to move expeditiously to contain and limit .
The reality is that the China threat is China’s existence.
The U.S. will not tolerate the existence of a state that cannot be intimidated the way Australia can be, that does not follow U.S. orders the way Australia does, but pursues its own course. That is the threat.
When we talk about the threat of China, we’re talking about the alleged threats at China’s borders. China does plenty of wrong things, terrible things. You can make many criticisms. But are they a threat?
It’s economic activity of voraciously sucking massive amounts of natural resources out of the earth is unsettling, but no worse than that of it’s US competitor.
The Dragon’s strategy of vigorously asserting authority in its own region – including its right to control its “front porch”- is typical of any major power like the U.S.
As such it is a matter of concern and requires a critical, cautionary response, but is it an ominous threat?
Is our support for Israel’s war against two million people in Gaza where hospitals have been targeted by Israel, where newborn babies had to be removed from their incubators, is that a threat to China?
It is a horrible crime, but it is not a threat to China.
While serious abuses that China is carrying out are wrong, you can condemn them, they are not a threat.
Does Japan in it’s military alliance with us pose a threat to China ? Hopefully not. But trying to convince the Chinese of that. They lost millions slaughtered by the Japanese.
Both sides need to step back before there could be an accidental escalation.
By preparing for war, the powers incline themselves. They increase the probability that war will come. From the very apex of power in both Beijing and Washington, all the way down the chain of command, both powers are preparing for war. The leaders are making statements, and their commanders are falling in line with preparations for war. This sets us up for a repetition of past mistakes. This greatly increases the probability of conflict breaking out.
A U.S. intervention in the politics of China, namely, supporting a secession movement, an independence movement, by a portion of China regarded almost universally by Chinese as part of China, supporting it in a way which the Chinese were totally forecasting would lead to war, is as unacceptable to the Chinese as Lincoln accepting the secession of the Confederacy.
How high a price do we have to pay for the US foreign policy establishment’s myopia and arrogance?
Neutrality is the way to go as I argued to our foreign minister.
It hasn’t hurt Sweden, Finland and Switzerland. It wouldn’t do us and Ukraine any harm.
Ukraine should remain a buffer state between Russia and NATO with a guarantee of minority and language rights.
While Australia cannot sit back and let military actions run their course we have to avoid such involvement. We have to resist militarist pressures from NATO and push rather for there to be negotiations and compromises made.
In the furtherance of planetary peace Putin should be offered the same immunity and protective retirement plan as that given George Bush. It’s not worth destroying the world to pursue these two war criminals.
Unstopped these wars we support, chained to the chariot wheels of the Pentagon, accelerate the outflux of even more refugees.
The world is awash in more displaced people than at any time since WW 2.
The United States itself has a huge army of refugees on it’s doorstep, the legacy of it’s covertly aided support of military officers in their seizure of power in Latin America14
Many are children.
They are undocumented. First Nations Americans direct the question at “pilgrims” as to who has the right to identify others as “illegal aliens,” especially since “Mayflower” settlers from Europe arrived in the Americas without “papers.”
We always have to prepare for the time when we have to shoulder our responsibility as we had to after the fall of Saigon.
As Australians we have to measure up to our words.
They should be seen as more than platitudes.
We should match our sentiments with actions.
These should be our values.
We should aim to make amends for any loss of life and injury caused from our alliance in any way possible.
‘We have continually said there can be no military solution in Syria,’ the Coalition Australian Foreign Minister declared,
‘humanitarian assistance is desperately required.’
Albeit less desperately, it’s required here on the home front as well.
A modest number of refugees from the region has slowly been allowed sanctuary in Australia.
‘You’re basically killing each other to see who’s got the better imaginary friend.’
Yasser Arafat (On going to war over religion)
Our governments should drop the tight controls placed on how and by whom refugees and other migrants are taught about our country and culture.
There are pervasive powers against the many willing and available voluntary educators.
These come on top of those already imposed against teachers in schools.
The criteria used for their approval is based on questionable political considerations rather than professional ones.
It’s extreme vetting.
What volunteers can teach is determined by statistical factors, not social or professional ones. They have no say in these matters.
The agencies handling refugee re-settlement are expected to keep ‘a tight rein on ideas for activities.’
They cannot assist volunteers to communicate with each other.
In certain quarters there’s a lack of trust in educators, the refugees and the Australian people.
The Federal Justice Minister told the ABC that some Australian people are prone to falling under ‘diabolical spells’. Those cast by ‘ISIS and the Middle East’.
To catch them he cast a net overly wide and unwieldy.2
He had been led to believe that ISIS is ‘coming after us.’
He wanted to ‘divert people’ moving down their ‘very dark path’
While he sees terrorism as an ongoing threat, the head of ASIO said in early 2023 there’s even more to be alarmed about. He says Australia is facing “an unprecedented challenge from espionage and foreign interference” and says it “feels like hand-to-hand combat”.
So how will this ongoing Middle Eastern nightmare and fomented fear of foreigners affect the cohesiveness of our own society?
Can our educational and re-settlement agencies equip us to deal with the divisiveness and bitterness brought about?
According to long term official figures one in five people in N.S.W. is functionally illiterate.4
Governmental policy on literacy in NSW is influenced strongly by eugenics. 5
The Coalition Justice Minister wanted teachers and community service providers to get a sense of what so called ‘radicalisation’ looks like in terms of changes in people’s behaviour.
To get a true sense of how any such ‘radicalisation’ can arise in N.S.W. schools, we have to understand the intellectual void the system leaves’.
The Justice Minister should have been about filling it.
He depicted the franchised frankenstein’s monster, born in shock and awe, as ‘sophisticated in social media messaging’.
They can be told instantly that 9/11 never happened and if it did it was the Jews behind it.
They can be told to destroy precious artwork and books.
‘We can’t have our young people getting these poisonous terrible messages,’ declared the Minister. He wanted to ‘tear down their propaganda.’
Mission Impossible. The lines have long been crossed.
The global gangs of gung ho gunslingers and jingoistic jihadists are on the same wavelength.
Selling wholesale the same chilling message: To wage this big fat war on the home front as well as abroad, people must be kept in the dark.
Just how ‘sophisticated’ is tweeting and twittering if one can’t read and write properly?
True the youth can use Facebook, Twitter, Snapshot, Instagram and a thousand ways to spew their bile across people they’ve never met. They can update their profile and tell people what they’ve had for breakfast and hope that someone somewhere cares. They can find out ten things they never knew about celebrities who’ve had surgery. They can select rape jokes, slut shaming, revenge porn and an endless tide of depressing misogyny. But how sophisticated is that?
The Justice Minister should have encouraged people to be better able to interpret for themselves what they read and see.
We can educate the young to control their electronic devices by themselves, without the need for government control.
He urged vigilance in making sure that ‘people in community institutions are getting the right messaging’.
Educational, migrant and refugee re-settlement agencies got it.6
What they have been sold is that all problems can solved with more surveillance, with an app or remote learning and telehealth. The aim is to take humans out of the equation. It is humans whether it is teachers in their homes or the parents in their homes, who have helped students learn during the viral attacks. It isn’t just Google Classroom that is doing it.
But humans are being erased from this story. Only they can come up with human solutions with proper control over good technology.
Jihadists like ISIS get it too. It appeals to the mystique their followers crave, exaggerating their actual sway in place and time adding to the resentment they can stoke. It plays right into their ‘us and them’ rhetoric.
Yet there need be no such great fear.
Any such malevolent spells can be cast away through public enlightenment, the sooner the better.
As is said, it takes a whole village to raise a child. Like those our Canadian cousins showed on SBS Dateline.
They offered overwhelmingly to assist their governmental re-settlement program.
This led to it’s extension.
In the documentary, one of the Canadian sponsors of Syrian refugees, Sandra Walsh, encourages us to follow suit: ‘OK, they don’t speak English. You get around it. And they don’t have jobs. We’re getting around it. People of goodwill on both sides, you can make it work.’
The doco also shows the limitations of refugees having to rely on an overwhelmingly online educational approach, the one laid down to re-settlement agencies in Australia at the expense of books.
The one more favourable to the spread of the feared ‘radicalisation’.
It’s a big fat mistake to ape the antics of your declared enemy.
The value of personal interaction between people as well as that via electronic means is crucial.
Books will always have their place in bringing this about .
They can bridge the knowledge gap.
Those who read and love great ones, like the former female N.S.W. Premier, believe these too have transformative powers.
Like the internet intelligently used, they expand the mind. They enlighten.
They provide the basis for knowledge at least as well as smart phones and television sets.
History shows banning books wherever has karmic consequence.
That’s some bad juju.
Robert Menzies, founder of the Liberal Party and Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister argued that policy towards refugees ‘must be applied by a sensible administration, neither rigid nor peremptory but wise, exercising judgment on individual cases, always remembering the basic principle but always understanding that harsh administration never yet improved any law but only impaired it, and that notoriously harsh administration raises up to any law hostilities that may someday destroy it.’
Although I came from another forced migratory tribe, one feared earlier for its ‘fenian papistry’, scoffed at for its mind-bending notions’, Menzies still encouraged me in my studies.7
I went on to actively encourage all in the same pursuit.
That’s what teachers do.
The director-general of ASIO has made it very clear the refugee program is not the source of terrorism in Australia.
The last Coalition federal Treasurer warned of the dangers of going along the path of fearful anti-immigration.
He called for policies that effectively address the concerns of nativists, those opposed to immigration.
A genuine concern is that over language and culture. NSW has huge problems across the board in teaching knowledge of English and our country.
This knowledge is what keeps the support structure for refugees stable.
Remove this and what stability they have is disturbed.
Migrant re-settlement and all governmental agencies must address this problem.
The Coalition Australian Immigration Minister and upcoming Minister for Home Affairs, brought up the matter of ‘mistakes’ in refugee intake.
My late friend Heinz Jacobius was living proof of such mistakes, earlier ones.
Fleeing the Third Reich he was collared and interned at Hay. Our intelligence services feared all Germans of falling under the spell of that terrorist state .
The services had a poor understanding of that monstrous one too.
After the huge mistake was realised, this last remaining of the Dunera Boys joined the Australian Army, transporting chemical weapons.
The former Immigration Minister believes major mistakes in re-settlement were made later by Malcolm Fraser.
‘Mistakes ‘in bringing some people here in the 1970s [ which] we’re seeing today.’
He suggested the families of these people, those who fled from the same region as today, are predisposed to terrorism .
Mr. Fraser gave a different explanation for what he identified as the ‘alienation of modern Muslim youth’. He believed this was ‘because governments had not done enough to help them integrate into the general community.’
He said, ‘I suspect the schools weren’t equipped (and) I suspect the communities weren’t equipped.’
I warned the N.S.W. Department of Education against maintaining these very same inadequacies after teaching at high schools in Auburn and Granville in 1985.
It took immediate action. It issued me another summary dismissal.9
Mr Fraser added, ‘Maybe the very pertinent question is: why weren’t some special efforts made to ward off future difficulties?’
The question is still as pertinent today.
Prime Minister Turnbull said he believes an ‘inclusive society’ is a vital element in countering the rise of violent extremism.
He warned of those who ‘seek to identify weakness and vulnerability and to drive and exploit fear and division.’
‘Actions and behaviours that target particular sections in society merely play into their hands.’
The former Immigration Minister and upcoming Leader of the Coalition Opposition declared, ‘Lessons from past migrant programs should be learnt for people settling in Australia today. We need to be honest in having that discussion.’
He revamped the citizenship test that prospective Australians have to undertake: ‘We need to have a look at the way we welcome people into our country. He saw the outgoing test applied as ‘dictated essentially by questions about Australia trivia. My view is we could look at a test that would more embrace Australian values.’
A position paper obtained by ‘The Australian’ cites national security and the global threat of terrorism as factors in the decision to update the citizenship tests.
A more stringent English language test is being introduced, which will include ‘reading, writing and listening’ components.
Prospective citizens will be required to have increased proficiency with the English language – a requirement Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said is “the single best thing any person coming to this country can do.”
His government added questions to the current test aimed at cracking down on inappropriate attitudes on issues such as violence against women, child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, etc.
These are matters involving a grasp of English that goes much deeper than those required to pass the recommended level of English.
His government said it would consult the public on what questions to ask in order to assess the ‘Australian values’ of a prospective citizen.
The questions I wish to pose relate to the requirements set by the Coalition Foreign Minister.10
Such requirements would deny Australian citizenship to those with attitudes to women like the erratic U.S. Commander-in-Chief. A man in whose hands our national security has been entrusted.
The Government might consider promoting a test which reflects the value of ‘a fair go.’
One in which educators with a resource based, community based approach are allowed some input as to how newcomers are taught and tested.
One in which the newcomer has some choice as to what and how he or she can learn.
One in which he or she is not just compelled to learn about our basic language and laws but is motivated to learn much more.
One which supplements the ‘reading, writing and listening’ components of their courses with a lifetime passport to knowledge.
The Government will require applicants to demonstrate that they have integrated into Australian society.
My approach, one the refugee re-settlement consortium was led to reject, allows newcomers to take such steps. It allows them to provide evidence they assist other newcomers and the native born with poor literacy skills.
Why not start that official discussion now?
This should include that about possible current mistakes and how they can be rectified.
A discussion revolving not around invective but around the activities of both newcomers and old hands engaged in the educational process.
Engaged in activities subject to public and open scrutiny.11
For its part the single best thing the Federal Government can do is relax the restrictions placed on re-settlement agencies.
They should no longer be expected to restrict knowledge of our language and culture.
They should no longer be expected to freeze out volunteers. Those willing and capable of carrying out the P.M.’s stated requirements.
The agencies cannot work effectively towards an inclusivist society through an exclusivist approach.
They should be expected to overhaul their idea of pluralism.
They should hold no brief for maintaining a variety of literacy skills levels ranging from high to low. They should discriminate against it.
They should not be expected to downgrade the most cost effective educational resources.
As to how the nation should best cut its cloth I was guided by Australia’s former director of rationing and postwar reconstruction.
He was charged with promoting ideas designed to make Australia something to live for and fight for.12
Pedagogy trumps demagogy.
It’s the responsibility of all citizens to promote a fully literate populace.
It should not be just content. It must be informed and alert.
To do otherwise is to do so at our peril.
Premier Baird of N.S.W. declared of education: ‘Everyone counts. Every single person has something to contribute and sometimes being a leader is about ensuring that everyone gets the chance to show their talent.’
Couldn’t his successor, a self-confessed bibliophile, have ensured this?
Her Armenian grandparents were orphaned during the death marches and attacks.
She has said, “We are a lucky country and it’s about making sure we are compassionate for people in desperate need of a home.”
Premier Baird declared the problem of ‘radicalisation’ will be dealt with broadly with the whole community.”
Why not start now?
I brought up the matter with Malcolm Fraser in the Quadrangle of Sydney University.7
I gave those gathered to discuss championship my pick of the greatest athlete of our times. Muhammad Ali.
I thanked Mr. Fraser for letting in those from the earlier refugee influx. He appreciated that.
Along with others, including John Howard, we welcomed the South African President who graced us with his presence.8
His vision was of ‘a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world’.
He was on the long term U.S. Terrorist Watch List.
This should not be held against me or John Howard.
I have something to contribute to the education of both newcomers and old hands.
I can help supply the ‘vital element’ the P.M. calls for.
I should have the chance to show my talent.
“The Australian people are quite savvy,” says John Howard, “You should never underestimate their common-sense and intelligence. They have a great capacity not only to see through people who are phoneys, but also to understand and support something, provided it meets two tests.
The first test is it’s got to be in the national interest: they’ve got to believe it’s good for Australia. The second thing is it’s got to be fair; not something that imposes a disproportionate burden on one section of the community. If you can satisfy people on those two counts, you can normally, over a period of time, win an argument.”
I passed this test with the Australian people. They testified to this fact.
Prefaced with a special consideration, I made the following appeal to the Premier and the public:
“The crimson thread of kinship runs through us all”
Fellow citizens and residents of New South Wales:
A cloud has gathered over the arrival of refugees in our land.
We have not always welcomed refugees in this fear-ridden way. In 1947 the Commonwealth of Australia began to bring thousands of Displaced Persons from Europe to Australia.
This policy dramatically changed the face of Australian immigration. The tuition of these refugee newcomers in English was seen as a key factor in immigration policy.
Why did we abandon this program of teaching English to refugees?
Instead today our politicians give dire warnings to Australians today about those who are fleeing the war zones of the world.
And the restlessness and despair among the alienated refugee youth and young among these newcomers are a matter of concern to us all.
Policy has been to move the immigration process offshore and outsource migration management to low-income countries, It is part of a wider strategy deployed by the powerful governments of richer nations, from Australia to the EU, to discourage unwanted arrivals by creating conditions that are hostile or inhumane.
The smooth and harmonious passage of those escaping the bombs into our peace-loving country requires a forward looking vision and approach.
No Australian can any longer ignore these young people.
Addressing this situation requires the vision splendid of Sir Henry Parkes, our respected long term state Premier and father of Australian Federation.
He spoke of forming “a new society based on equality, fairness and justice for ordinary people. If life’s chances are seen as fair and open, there is hope. Without hope, anger and violence breed from despair”.
More than this Parkes believed that all children, regardless of religion or social status “sit side by side” in free, compulsory and secular schools.
Newcomers to Australia of all ages and backgrounds deserve an approach like this today. Their needs are not to be ignored. We can do something about it.
The NSW Department of Education should not kill the very spirit it proclaims it instills.
That’s why I continue to offer my services in a voluntary way.
I continued to offer them to the Metro Assist Community Hub at Campsie, a migrant resources provider.
I am making a proposal to it and the consortium it partners regarding education of migrants in English and in knowledge of our homeland.
I am urging Metro Assist to bring to bear all the educational resources at its disposal on the Welcome Centre for Refugees at Callan Park.13
If you or anyone you know would like to hear more about this and take part in this project, please contact me, Allan Davis, former teacher of English and general studies.
Phone 98183052 during business hours. E-mail: [email protected]
Or contact the Metro Assist Community Hubs: Ashfield: (02) 9798 1701 Address: Ashfield Civic Centre, Suite 1, 260
Liverpool Rd, Ashfield,
Or Strathfield: (02) 9746 8217 – 1b Bates Street, Homebush.
Email: [email protected]
Thanks for your interest.
Pass it on!
Footnotes refer to other portals on this website.
1 Volta Face Find: Wesley Clark
2 Safe Haven Find:A decisive Moment
4 Desiderata Find: one in five
5 Desiderata Find : eugenics
6 Safe Haven Find:A decisive Moment
7 Boom Boom Baby Find: This redoubtable father figure
8 Champion of Champions Find: At the end of the forum
9 Desiderata Find: Back on the Beat
10 Safe Haven Find: For the Sake of Argument.
11 Safe Haven Find: Fellow Citizen of New South Wales
12 ’Making the Science less Dismal’ Find: the public servant’s line of duty
13 A Masterful Plan.
14 Washington Bullets.