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Let us also remember the victims of Canada’s wars

By Yves Engler · November 10, 2015

Trudeau “unveils most diverse Cabinet in Canada’s history”, was how one media outlet described the new Liberal cabinet. It includes a Muslim woman, four Sikhs, an indigenous woman, two differently abled individuals and an equal number of women and men. Half even refused any reference to God at Wednesday’s swearing in ceremony.

But in one respect there was no diversity at all. Every single person wore a Remembrance Day poppy. Even Justin Trudeau’s young children were made to publicly commemorate Canadians (and allies) who died at war.

As we approach the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month expect politicians of every stripe to praise Canadian military valour. At last year’s Remembrance Day commemoration Stephen Harper suggested that Canada was “forged in the fires of First World War”. The former Prime Minister described “the values for which they fought … Justice and freedom; democracy and the rule of law; human rights and human dignity.”

On Remembrance Day what is it we are supposed to remember? The valour, sacrifice and glory of soldiers — and no more?

What about the victims of Canadian troops? Should we abandon the search for truth and learning from our past on this day that is supposedly devoted to remembering?

Why not a diversity of recollection? An honest accounting of what really happened and why — isn’t that the best way to remember?

For example, World War I had no clear and compelling purpose other than rivalry between up-and-coming Germany and the lead imperial powers of the day, Britain and France. In fact, support for the British Empire was Ottawa’s primary motive in joining the war. As Canada’s Prime Minister Robert Borden saw it, the fight was “to put forth every effort and to make every sacrifice necessary to ensure the integrity and maintain the honour of our empire.”

To honour Canada’s diversity, how about this year we remember some of the victims of that empire?

For Africans World War I represented the final chapter in the violent European scramble for their territory. Since the 1880s the European powers had competed to carve up the continent.

Canada was modestly involved in two African theatres of World War I. A handful of Canadian airmen fought in East Africa, including naval air serviceman H. J. Arnold who helped destroy a major German naval vessel, the Königsberg, during the British/Belgian/South African conquest of German East Africa. Commandant of Canada’s Royal Military College from 1909 to 1913, Colonel J.H.V. Crowe commanded an artillery division for famed South African General Jan Christiaan Smuts and later published General Smuts’ Campaign in East Africa.

About one million people died as a direct result of the war in East Africa. Fighting raged for four years with many dying from direct violence and others from the widespread disease and misery it caused. Hundreds of thousands of Africans were conscripted by the colonial authorities to fight both in Africa and Europe.

J.H.V. Crowe was English born, but an individual with deeper roots in Canada, commanded the force that extended Britain’s control over the other side of the continent.

The son of a Québec City MP and grandson of a senator, Sir Charles MacPherson Dobell, commanded an 18,000 man Anglo-French force that captured the Cameroons and Togoland. Gazetted as Inspector General of the West African Frontier Force in 1913, the Royal Military College grad’s force defeated the Germans in fighting that destroyed many villages and left thousands of West Africans dead. Early in the two-year campaign Dobell’s force captured the main centres of Lomé and Douala and he became de factogovernor over large parts of today’s Togo and Cameroon. A telegram from London said “General Dobell should assume Government with full powers in all matters military and civil.”

British officials justified seizing the German colony as a response to the war in Europe, but to a large extent World War I was the outgrowth of intra-imperial competition in Africa and elsewhere. In The Anglo-French “Condominium” in Cameroon, 1914-1916 Lovett Elango points to “the imperialist motives of the campaign”, which saw the two allies clash over their territorial ambition. Elango concludes, “the war merely provided Britain and France a pretext for further colonial conquest and annexation.” After the German defeat the colony was partitioned between the two European colonial powers.

Canada’s massive contribution to World War I propped up British (as well as French, Belgian and South African) rule in Africa. It also added to it. Similar to the Berlin Conference of 1885, which effectively divided Africa among the European powers, after World War I European leaders gathered to redraw Africa’s borders. But this time the Canadian prime minister attended.

World War I reshaped colonial borders in Africa. Germany lost what is now Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and part of Mozambique (German East Africa) as well as Namibia (German West Africa), Cameroon and Togoland. South Africa gained Namibia, Britain gained Tanzania and part of Cameroon, France gained Togo and part of Cameroon while Belgium took Burundi and Rwanda.

The other British Dominions (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) that fought alongside London were compensated with German properties. With no German colonies nearby Ottawa asked the Imperial War Cabinet if it could take possession of the British West Indies as compensation for Canada’s defence of the Empire. London balked.

Ottawa was unsuccessful in securing the British Caribbean partly because the request did not find unanimous domestic support. Prime Minister Borden was of two minds on the issue. From London he dispatched a cable noting, “the responsibilities of governing subject races would probably exercise a broadening influence upon our people as the dominion thus constituted would closely resemble in its problems and its duties the empire as a whole.” But, on the other hand, Borden feared that the Caribbean’s black population might want to vote. He remarked upon “the difficulty of dealing with the coloured population, who would probably be more restless under Canadian law than under British control and would desire and perhaps insist upon representation in Parliament.”

Our racist and colonial past, as well as Canada’s role in exploiting people of colour all over the world, must also be included in our remembrance if we are to build a nation of respect for all people — the essence of real diversity.

November 10, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is the Israeli Lobby in Australia Doing in Interfaith Dialogue?

By Ali Kazak | Dissident Voice | October 11, 2015

For years Israel and its lobby around the world have been trying to normalise their relations with Arabs and Muslims without solving the Palestine Question.

One of the methods they resorted to in the last few years is using human rights and community organizations such as interfaith dialogue and Multiculturalism to achieve this objective and to: isolate the Palestinians, marginalise the Palestine question, end Israel’s isolation, and prevent criticism of Israel, knowing that these organisations will be the first to stand against Israel’s violations, racial and religious discrimination.

The group responsible for this task in Australia is The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC); its Director of International & Community Affairs, Jeremy Jones is in charge of lobbying religious community organizations, specifically Muslims and Christians. Consequently he convened the Faith Communities for Reconciliation, founding participant in the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations and the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims & Jews.

AIJAC is a private political propaganda group. It is recognised as the main Israeli lobby in Australia. It coordinates its activities and works intimately with the Israeli embassy in Canberra and different institutions in Israel. It is privately funded by some Jewish businessmen. It monitors closely Australian politicians, the media, ethnic and religious groups, (especially Arabs and Muslims), unions and academics on their stands towards Israel and the Palestine question.

AIJAC’s task is to spread Israel’s misleading propaganda, targets all those who oppose Israel’s violations and foil the Australian government and community from taking a stand in support of Palestinian rights. Its mouthpiece was Australia/Israel Review renamed later The Review.

The fact that, as a professional pro-Israeli lobby group and not a religious organization or representative of the Jewish community, AIJAC’s self-appointment to represent Judaism and the Jewish community highlights the political objectives it is trying to achieve by serving Israel’s interests and infiltrating ethnic and religious community organizations under the pretext of ethnicity, religion and “religious dialogue”.

Stephen Rothman, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President, said “AIJAC is a private think-tank. It is not a body that is in any way elected or in a democratic sense representative of the community” (“It was mishandled – community president” in Australian Jewish News (AJN) on 7 Nov. 2003).

Adding to this irony is the major role AIJAC has been playing for years in inciting against Palestinians, Arabs, Islam and Muslims in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Region by inviting and organizing speaking tours of anti-Muslim racists, and underneath the surface of its representative Jeremy Jones’s sweet talk and attempt to climb to the highest steps of morality, virtue and principles which he tries to impress his audience with and outbid everyone else, there is an ugly reality that speaks to the contrary.

Let me give you some examples.

Jones was reported in the AJN, on 19 Feb. 1988 as saying “I am concerned at the fact that Islam is today the major non-Christian religion in Australia”! Imagine if someone expressed their concern at the number of the Jews in Australia? This is the man who is disguised as working for reconciliation, the partnership of religious organizations and dialogue.

Jones’s hostility towards Palestinian human and national rights goes back to his activism in the Jewish Union of Students on campus. He intentionally confuses between anti-Semites and critics of Israel’s crimes and violations whom he accuse of having a hidden anti-Semitic agenda. In his “Media Watch” column which Jones wrote in the AJN for eight years as well as his column in The Review he was renowned for attacking all critics of Israel’s crimes from community group leaders, politicians, academics, journalists and Christian, Moslem and Jewish religious leaders such as the Neturei Karta. Furthermore he attacked the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees and called for the Australian government to use its contribution to pressure the UN organization to adopt policies suitable to Israel, the perpetrator of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.

Federal Member of Parliament, the Hon. Leo McLeay, said in a speech to parliament ‘It amazes me how intolerant Mr Jones and the pro-Israeli lobby can be. If you are not an enthusiastic supporter of the Sharon version of the Berlin Wall, you are considered to be anti-Jewish. When will the Jeremy Joneses of this world understand that criticism of the Israeli government and its actions is not anti- Semitism?’ (Hansard 11.8.2003 House of Representatives)

In a letter to the editor F. Pojer wrote in the AJN of 8 November 1991, commenting on the “Media Watch” column “as a loyal reader of the AJN over many years I am speaking, I believe, on behalf of many others, about the content and tone of the regular feature Media Watch. The articles are always written in an aggressive and antagonising manner rather than in a rational and conciliatory style more acceptable to the majority of peace-loving people.” This comment is not in isolation but typical of people who objected to Jones’s extremism.

In 2003 Jeremy Jones, then president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, vigorously attacked the Sydney Peace Foundation for awarding the Sydney Peace Prize to Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent Palestinian activist, academic and Member of Parliament who has been a tireless worker for justice and peace in the Middle East.

Throughout the years AIJAC has been inviting and organizing speaking tours of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racists.

One of the speaking tours they organized in Australia and New Zealand is for David Pryce-Jones, who was reported in the Weekend Australian of 1-2 Dec. 1990, as describing the Arabs as having a “culture of violence”, saying “aggression and war are nearly inevitable in the Arab world” and that “Arab culture is a closed circle of status-seeking from which the Arabs cannot escape”. “When the West tries to be understanding and progressive in its dealing with the Arabs, it is really making the mistake of thinking that the Arabs are just like us”.

And on another speaking tour organized also by AIJAC he was reported by the Melbourne Herald-Sun on 7 Nov. 1995 saying “to shoot one’s prime minister is what the Arabs do, not what the Jews do”, ironically he said that at a time when Israel’s prime minister Rabin was shot by an extremist Jewish terrorist. He furthermore, described the Arabs and Palestinians in particular, as assassins, lawless and living like animals. Arab society he says is a violent society. But this time as a result of a complaint by the Australia Arabic Council, under the Racial Hatred Act, AIJAC was forced to make a public apology which appeared in the Herald Sun on 23 Dec. 1997. If you think that AIJAC’s apology was genuine you are mistaken. More speaking tours were organized by AIJAC for David Pryce-Jones.

Another favourite and regular guest of AIJAC’s is Daniel Pipes, who built his career on preaching hate against Muslims and Islam. A review of one of his books in the Washington Post in 1983 found his work exhibiting “a disturbing hostility to contemporary Muslims… and frequently contemptuous of them.” He has repeatedly called into question the loyalty of American Muslims and singled them out as somehow anti-American.

On a visit to Australia in 1998 Pipes vilified and offended the Australian Moslem community. His aims were to stereotype Moslems and incite the public against them, especially the Jewish community by deliberately mixing Zionism with Judaism and showing Moslems as anti-Jewish rather than against Zionism and Israel’s occupation and racial discrimination.

He was reported in the AJN of 18 Dec. 1998 as saying “Antisemitism is now primarily a Moslem phenomenon… I advise Jewish organizations to take their eyes off the Christians and start focusing on Islam.” And to a question about Palestinians who favour peace? He replied “Show me a moderate Palestinian.”

In an article in The Nation on 11 Nov. 2002, Kristine McNeil wrote: “Pipes is notorious for calling Moslems ‘barbarians’ and ‘potential killers’ in a 2001 National Review article, and accusing them of scheming to ‘replace the [US] constitution with the Koran’. In a 1990 National Review article [he] insisted that ‘Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene… All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Moslem customs are more troublesome than most.”

Another AIJAC guest professor Raphael Israeli, was reported by the AJN of 16 Feb. 2007 urging Australia to cap its intake of Muslim immigration warning “life will become untenable, unless the Muslim population is kept in check … then they control whole section of the economy … even students who apply to come from Islamic countries to the West” and called for a “preventative policy” to protect national security and ensure Muslims remained a “marginal minority.”

Only following a storm of protest over his racist comments, AIJAC was forced to withdraw its support.

An article in the AJN on 23 Feb. 2007 titled “A few facts in the service of gross distortion” expressed the views of many Jews who are unhappy with the extremist activities of some mainstream Jewish organizations and AIJAC, Dr Mark Baker wrote: “One needn’t be a prophet in an age of Google to predict what Professor Israeli would speak about behind open doors. The same can be said for Melanie Phillips, the author of Londonistan, whose visit is being sponsored by AIJAC to provoke the same message of fear and discord. No doubt, the invitation has also been extended to Bat Yeor, author of Eurabia, along with the annual visit by Daniel Pipes, thought-patroller of western academia.”

And Mr. Gordon Drennan wrote:

My congratulations to Mark Leibler and Dr. Colin Rubenstein at AIJAC. It’s quite an achievement to arrange things so that you get to have your cake and eat it too. They invite Professor Raphael Israeli to Australia, knowing full well he’s an Islamophobe. They could not know, they could not have invited him for any other reason – he’s written 20 books. Then they make sure his views end up in the mainstream media so they then get the chance to disown him and say his racist views are repugnant to Jews. But he still gets to stay here, give his talks and spread his race hate, and he gets way more publicity when he does. Masterful. (AJN, “AIJAC Achievement” (9.3.2007)

Those are only some examples of the anti-Muslims and anti-Arabs amongst the numerous guests of AIJAC and some other Jewish organizations in Australia.

It is an absolute farce to have Israeli apologists in an “interfaith dialogue” when Israel is grossly violating both Christian and Muslim Palestinians human and religious rights, ethnically cleansing Muslims and Christians and preventing their return to their homeland just because they are not Jews and preventing those under occupation from moving freely in their own country to go to their Churches and Mosques to worship in Jerusalem.

Since its creation in Palestine in 1948 Israel has destroyed and desecrated thousands of churches, mosques and cemeteries and turned some historic mosques into restaurants-bars.

To mention but a few cases: the mosque of the village of Ain Hud in the Haifa district has been transformed into a restaurant bar. The mosque of the village of Caesaria similarly serves as a restaurant bar. The mosque of the city of Safad in the Galilee has been transformed into an art gallery, while the central mosque of Beer Sheba serves as the city museum. The Tel Aviv Hilton Hotel and the adjacent park, named Independence Park, are built on the site of Abed Al-Nabi Muslim cemetery. The Jerusalem Plaza Hotel and the adjacent park, also named Independence Park, are likewise built on the site of the Mamilla Muslim cemetery.

The pillaging of the historic Islamic cemetery of Mamilla Cemetery with thousands of graves is still ongoing today to build housing, shops and the so called “Museum of Tolerance”!! This is not to mention the massacres, such as Al Aqsa Mosque massacre (8.10.90) and the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre (25.2.94), the frequent desecration and arson attacks against churches and mosques carried out by Jewish extremists who are armed and protected by the Israeli army and their recent murderous arson attack on the Dawabsheh family while sleeping in their home burning alive the father, mother and 18 month old baby, leaving a 4 year old boy orphaned with second-degree burns on more that 60 percent of his body.

In their government-funded schools, Jewish religious extremists teach hatred and racism to the pupils. One example of this is a song sung by children of Kiryat Arba settlement in the West Bank in an SBS Australian Television documentary “A Season inside God’s Bunker” screened on 3 May 1994. The song went as follows:

All the world hates Arabs,
And the main thing is to kill them one by one,
With these feet I stepped on my enemy,
With these teeth I bit his skin,
With these lips I sucked his blood,
And I still haven’t had enough revenge.

AIJAC has never condemned Israel’s racial and religious discrimination against non-Jews in Israel and the 1967 Palestinian occupied territories. How could one support the rights of one indigenous people and not another? Or support multiculturalism and equal religious coexistence in one country and not another?

There is nothing wrong in interfaith dialogue; in fact it is a civilized and healthy conduct if it is held in good faith, for understanding and against all form of religious discrimination. But what is wrong here is that a lobby group which does not represent Judaism or the Jewish community is using the dialogue to advance a political agenda on behalf of one of the most oppressive violators of religious rights in the world today. This is contempt and an affront to the other parties of the dialogue and to the society as a whole and should not be acceptable

Unfortunately, some Muslim groups accept of AIJAC in Australia, out of ignorance of its role. And the establishment of relations with it has given AIJAC credibility and misled other Muslim organizations overseas, such as Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in Indonesia, the world’s largest membership Muslim organisation, which hosted Jeremy Jones recently and introduced him as “a friend of NU and a pioneer in Jewish-Muslim dialogue”. Prior and subsequent to his visit, Jones embarked on a speaking tour organised by the NU participants in this January’s Muslim-Jewish dialogue in Israel hosted by AIJAC.

It was reported that during his visit, he met “politicians, political advisers, human rights NGOs, representatives of both the historic and new organisations of Jewish Indonesians, academics and religious leaders, represented Judaism at the Jakarta Interfaith Hallal BiHallal (a post-Ramadan event designed to improve interpersonal relations).”

Muslim group leaders in Australia, Indonesia, and elsewhere need to review their relations with AIJAC and Jones and put the interest of equality and peace in Palestine above personal and other interests.

Ali Kazak is a former Palestinian ambassador.

October 12, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israelis Linked to Settler Terrorism were from U.S. Families

By Steve Straehley and Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | September 9, 2015

A horrific act of terrorism in the West Bank this summer is suspected to have been perpetrated by Israeli extremists with American roots.

In the village of Duma on July 31, the home of a Palestinian family was firebombed, killing an 18-month-old child, Ali Dawabsheh, who was burned to death, according to media reports. The child’s father, Sa’ed and four-year-old brother Ahmed suffered serious burns, but survived. Ali’s mother, Riham, died Sunday of her burns. Their home was sprayed with graffiti reading “revenge” in Hebrew and featured a Star of David.

“All available evidence suggests that the blaze was a deliberate act of settler terrorism,” Sara Yael Hirschhorn wrote at The New York Times. “More disturbingly, several of the alleged instigators, currently being detained indefinitely, are not native-born Israelis — they have American roots.”

Although not so far charged with the fire that killed the Dawabshehs, four youths believed to be connected to settler terrorism have been incarcerated by Israeli officials. They are Meir Ettinger, 24, grandson of Meir Kahane, a radical American rabbi who served in Israel’s parliament; Mordechai Meyer, 18, the son of American immigrants; American Ephraim Khantsis; and Eviatar Slonim, the child of Australian Jews.

The fire is thought to be a so-called “price tag” attack. Radical Israeli settlers commit such crimes as a response to their government’s efforts to dismantle illegal West Bank Jewish settlements.

To Learn More:

Israeli Terrorists, Born in the U.S.A. (by Sara Yael Hirschhorn, New York Times )

How the Killing of an 18-Month-Old Boy in the West Bank Exposed the Israeli Authorities Failure to Stem Tide of Jewish Extremists (by Ben Lynfield, The Independent )

Israelis Killed more Palestinians Last Year than in any Year since 1967 (by David Wallechinsky and Steve Straehley, AllGov )

U.S. Only Country of 47 to Vote against Investigating Possible Human Rights Violations during Israeli Occupation of Gaza (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov )

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Moscow ready for more sanctions, regardless of Ukraine crisis – Foreign Ministry

RT | September 9, 2015

Russia has no illusion about sanctions being lifted and expects them to be stiffened in future, regardless of developments in Eastern Ukraine. That’s according to a leading Russian diplomat, who says Moscow can live under continuous western pressure.

“We believe that in certain directions, notwithstanding of the developments in Donbass, we should expect toughening of the sanctions pressure,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the Russia Arms Expo 2015 in Nizhny Tagil on Wednesday.

According to Ryabkov, the new set of sanctions introduced by Washington last week against Russian companies, including arms exporter Rosoboronexport, “mirrors the policy of complicating operations of the Russian military-industrial complex and all of the mechanism of government.”

Sanctions come in handy as a “true instrument of aggressive foreign policy” aimed at Russia, the diplomat said.

“Russia’s independent and self-sufficient foreign policy, its decisiveness to protect its sovereignty, and the consolidation of the people with the country’s leadership serve as a thorn in the side of our opponents,” Ryabkov said.

“We presume that the sanctions are there for the long haul,” Ryabkov said. “There are no reasons or illusions that sanctions are going to be lifted in the short term, at least not in the Foreign Ministry.”

“When it comes to international financial services, our colleagues from the US and the EU are set to expand their effort to seal off all capabilities. We understand that and we have to learn how to operate in the given situation,” Ryabkov said, insisting that sanctions will fail to gain the desired effect.

“We’re sorry the US has not learned that truth so far.”

Russian Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukaev said Moscow is going to seek a “symmetrical answer” to American sanctions imposed on September 2.

Washington imposed sanctions on a number of Russian, Chinese, Syrian, Turkish, Sudanese and Iranian companies, believed to be involved in activities which, according to Washington, go against its Nonproliferation Act in regard to Iran and Syria.

“These are not sectoral sanctions, they are personalized, therefore we would consider some kind of a symmetrical answer,” Ulyukaev said.

In March 2014, the EU, the US and some other countries imposed individual sanctions against 21 Russian and Ukrainian officials, subjecting them to asset freezes and travel bans. Within a year, the list was extended to 150 people, including Russian Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Kozak and Dmitry Rogozin, as well as presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and 37 entities that, according to the EU, are “responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

The restrictions have been prolonged until January 31, 2016.

To reciprocate, in August 2014 Moscow introduced a ban on importing meat, dairy, fruit, and vegetable products from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict. The countries included EU member states and Norway, US, Canada and Australia.

European Union sanctions against Russia include restrictions on lending to major Russian state-owned banks, as well as defense and oil companies. In addition, Brussels imposed restrictions on the supply of weapons and military equipment to Russia as well as military technology, dual-use technologies, high-tech equipment and technologies for oil production. No sanctions were imposed against Russia’s gas industry.

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aussie cop charged for leaking footage of fellow officers beating detainee

RT | August 24, 2015

Gold Coast police officer Sergeant Rick Flori may spend up to seven years behind bars for leaking CCTV footage showing his fellow officers brutalizing a young chef, Noa Begic, while he was handcuffed in the Surfers Paradise Police Station basement.

Flori, who leaked the footage of the dramatic incident to the Brisbane Courier-Mail, was formally charged with misconduct in public office after being summoned to police headquarters in Brisbane last week, the newspaper reported. The footage taken in 2012 shows police officers slamming Begic’s face into the concrete floor before the 21-year-old is shoved into the back of a van and brutally punched a number of times by one cop while another holds him.

The video then shows Begic’s blood being routinely washed away by a senior-sergeant who would later quit the force before any adverse findings were made by internal investigators. The senior-constable who threw the punches was only given a suspended dismissal, according to the Courier-Mail. The other two officers involved were reportedly not disciplined at all.

According to Sydney Criminal Lawyers, police allege that Flori, who had spent a quarter of a century in the Queensland Police Force until he was suspended earlier this year, committed the offence by ‘inappropriately obtain[ing]’ confidential surveillance footage from the police CCTV room.

Section 91A of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899 makes it an offence for a public officer, including a police officer, to release information gained as a result of their office. The prosecution must now prove that the act was done with the intention of dishonestly gaining a benefit for Flori or another person, or dishonestly causing a detriment to another person, Sydney Criminal Lawyers report.

The victim of the bashing, Begic, was arrested and charged with ‘public nuisance’ and ‘obstructing police’. The charges against him were later dropped and he won a confidential settlement from the Queensland Police Service, the newspaper reported. After his charges were dropped in June 2012, Begic said it would be “a disgrace” if the officer who leaked the video was punished.

A complaint has been made by Council of Civil Liberties (a voluntary organization concerned with the protection of individual rights and civil liberties) to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) which, according to Sydney Criminal Lawyers, is the same body that made the decision not to prosecute the officers involved in the bashing.

“How is it that the police who were shown on the video as belting the crap out of this particular person have not been charged and yet the person who has leaked it is now being charged with an offence which could put him in jail?” Deputy President Terry O’Gorman told the team of lawyers.

The acting chair of the CCC said she had asked staff involved in the incident to compile details about the matter.

“I accept that needs to be looked at and we agree that police excessive use of force is one of the top five problems with police and we will be looking at that,” she told ABC radio.

Last month supporters of Flori gathered outside the Southport Magistrates Court to praise the officer and show outrage over the four involved in the incident.

August 24, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | | Leave a comment

Aussie cop charged for leaking footage of fellow officers beating detainee

RT | August 24, 2015

Gold Coast police officer Sergeant Rick Flori may spend up to seven years behind bars for leaking CCTV footage showing his fellow officers brutalizing a young chef, Noa Begic, while he was handcuffed in the Surfers Paradise Police Station basement.

Flori, who leaked the footage of the dramatic incident to the Brisbane Courier-Mail, was formally charged with misconduct in public office after being summoned to police headquarters in Brisbane last week, the newspaper reported. The footage taken in 2012 shows police officers slamming Begic’s face into the concrete floor before the 21-year-old is shoved into the back of a van and brutally punched a number of times by one cop while another holds him.

The video then shows Begic’s blood being routinely washed away by a senior-sergeant who would later quit the force before any adverse findings were made by internal investigators. The senior-constable who threw the punches was only given a suspended dismissal, according to the Courier-Mail. The other two officers involved were reportedly not disciplined at all.

According to Sydney Criminal Lawyers, police allege that Flori, who had spent a quarter of a century in the Queensland Police Force until he was suspended earlier this year, committed the offence by ‘inappropriately obtain[ing]’ confidential surveillance footage from the police CCTV room.

Section 91A of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899 makes it an offence for a public officer, including a police officer, to release information gained as a result of their office. The prosecution must now prove that the act was done with the intention of dishonestly gaining a benefit for Flori or another person, or dishonestly causing a detriment to another person, Sydney Criminal Lawyers report.

The victim of the bashing, Begic, was arrested and charged with ‘public nuisance’ and ‘obstructing police’. The charges against him were later dropped and he won a confidential settlement from the Queensland Police Service, the newspaper reported. After his charges were dropped in June 2012, Begic said it would be “a disgrace” if the officer who leaked the video was punished.

A complaint has been made by Council of Civil Liberties (a voluntary organization concerned with the protection of individual rights and civil liberties) to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) which, according to Sydney Criminal Lawyers, is the same body that made the decision not to prosecute the officers involved in the bashing.

“How is it that the police who were shown on the video as belting the crap out of this particular person have not been charged and yet the person who has leaked it is now being charged with an offence which could put him in jail?” Deputy President Terry O’Gorman told the team of lawyers.

The acting chair of the CCC said she had asked staff involved in the incident to compile details about the matter.

“I accept that needs to be looked at and we agree that police excessive use of force is one of the top five problems with police and we will be looking at that,” she told ABC radio.

Last month supporters of Flori gathered outside the Southport Magistrates Court to praise the officer and show outrage over the four involved in the incident.

August 24, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | | Leave a comment

China, India, Russia largest shareholders in China-led bank

The BRICS Post | June 29, 2015

Fifty countries on Monday signed the articles of agreement for the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the first major global financial instrument independent from the Bretton Woods system.

Seven remaining countries out of the 57 that have applied to be founding members, Denmark, Kuwait, Malaysia, Philippines, Holland, South Africa and Thailand, are awaiting domestic approval.

“This will be a significant event. The constitution will lay a solid foundation for the establishment and operation of the AIIB,” said Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei.

The AIIB will have an authorized capital of $100 billion, divided into shares that have a value of $100,000.

BRICS members China, India and Russia are the three largest shareholders, with a voting share of 26.06 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 5.92 per cent, respectively.

Following the signing of the bank’s charter, the agreement on the $100 billion AIIB will now have to be ratified by the parliaments of the founding members.

Asian countries will contribute up to 75 per cent of the total capital and be allocated a share of the quota based on their economic size.

Chinese Vice Finance Minister Shi Yaobin said China’s initial stake and voting share are “natural results” of current rules, and may be diluted as more members join.

Australia was first to sign the agreement in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday, state media reports said.

The Bank will base its headquarters in Beijing.

The Chinese Finance Ministry said the new lender will start operations by the end of 2015 under two preconditions: At least 10 prospective members ratify the agreement, and the initial subscribed capital is no less than 50 per cent of the authorized capital.

The AIIB will extend China’s financial reach and compete not only with the World Bank, but also with the Asian Development Bank, which is heavily dominated by Japan.

China and other emerging economies, including BRICS, have long protested against their limited voice at other multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

China is grouped in the ‘Category II’ voting bloc at the World Bank while at the Asian Development Bank, China with a 5.5 per cent share is far outdone by America’s 15.7 per cent and Japan’s 15.6 per cent share.

The ADB has estimated that in the next decade Asian countries will need $8 trillion in infrastructure investments to maintain the current economic growth rate.

China scholar Asit Biswas at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore, says Washington’s criticism of the China-led Bank is “childish”.

“Some critics argue that the AIIB will reduce the environmental, social and procurement standards in a race to the bottom. This is a childish criticism, especially because China has invited other governments to help with funding and governance,” he writes.

The US and Japan have not applied for the membership in the AIIB.

However, despite US pressures on its allies not to join the bank, Britain, France, Germany, Italy among others have signed on as founding members of the China-led Bank.

Meanwhile, New Zealand and Australia have already announced that they will invest $87.27 million and $718 million respectively as paid-in capital to the AIIB.

The new lender will finance infrastructure projects like the construction of roads, railways, and airports in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Iran, 49 states sign Asia bank charter

Press TV June 29, 2015

Iran on Monday joined 49 countries in signing up to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), bringing Asia’s largest financial lender a step closer to existence.

Finance and Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia put Iran’s signature to the bank’s articles of association at a ceremony in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, which capped six months of intense negotiations.

In April, China accepted Iran as a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank being seen as a rival to the US-led World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Asian Development Bank.

With the signing which amounted to the creation of AIIB’s legal framework, China’s Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said he was confident the bank could start functioning before the end of the year.

Seven more founding members would ink the articles after approval by their respective governments.

The bank will have a capital of $100 billion in the form of shares, each worth $100,000, distributed among the members. Beijing will be by far the largest shareholder at about 30%, followed by India at 8.4% and Russia at 6.5%.

China will also have 26% of the votes which are not enough to give it a veto on decision-making, while smaller members will have larger voice.

Singapore’s Senior Minister for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo said the bank will provide new opportunities for its members’ businesses and promote sustainable growth in Asia.

Seventy-five percent of AIIB’s shares are distributed within the Asian region while the rest is assigned among countries beyond it.

Germany, France and Brazil are among the non-Asian members of the bank despite US efforts to dissuade allies from joining it. Another US ally joining AIIB is Australia but Japan has stayed away from it.

Countries beyond the region can expand their share but the portion cannot be bigger than 30%. Public procurement of the AIIB will be open to all countries around the world.

But the president of the bank will have to be chosen from the Asian region for a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms.

The bank will be headquartered in Beijing and its lean structure will be overseen by an unpaid, non-resident board of directors which, architects say, would save it money and friction in decision-making.

Earlier this month, former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke rebuked US lawmakers for allowing China to found the new bank, which threatens to upend Washington’s domination over the world economic order.

He said lawmakers were to blame because they refused to agree 2010 reforms that would have given greater clout to China and other emerging powers in the International Monetary Fund.

June 29, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NSA Spying Ruled Illegal, But Will Congress Save the Program Anyway?

By Ron Paul | May 10, 2015

This week the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA’s metadata collection program was not authorized in US law. The PATRIOT Act, under which the program began, was too vague, the court found. But the truth is the Act was intended to be vague so that the government could interpret it in the broadest possible way.

But this is really more of a technicality, because illegality and unconstitutionality are really two very different things. Even if Congress had explicitly authorized the government to collect our phone records, that law would still be unconstitutional because the Constitution does not grant government the power to access our personal information without a valid search warrant.

Even though the court found the NSA program illegal, it did not demand that the government stop collecting our information in this manner. Instead, the court kicked the ball back in Congress’ court, as these provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire at the end of the month and the Appeals Court decided to let Congress decide how to re-authorize this spying program.

Unfortunately, this is where there is not much to cheer. If past practice is any lesson, Congress will wait until the spying program is about to expire and then in a panic try to frighten Americans into accepting more intrusions on their privacy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already put forth a new bill as a stop-gap measure to allow time for a fuller debate on the issue. His stop-gap? A five year re-authorization with no changes to the current program!

The main reform bill being floated, the FREEDOM Act, is little better. Pretending to be a step in the right direction, the FREEDOM Act may actually be worse for our privacy and liberties than the PATRIOT Act!

One silver lining in the court decision is that it should exonerate Ed Snowden, who risked it all to expose what the courts have now found was illegal US government activity. That is the definition of a whistleblower. Shouldn’t he be welcomed back home as a hero instead of being threatened with treason charges? We shouldn’t hold our breath!

This week Snowden addressed a conference in Melbourne, Australia, informing citizens that the Australian government watches all its citizens “all the time.” Australia’s program allows the government to “collect everyone’s communications in advance of criminal suspicion,” he told the conference. That means the government is no longer in the business of prosecuting crimes, but instead is collecting information in case crimes someday occur.

How is it that the Australian government can collect and track “pre-crime” information on its citizens? Last month Australia passed a law requiring telecommunications companies to retain metadata information on their customers for two years.

Why do Australia’s oppressive laws matter to us? Because the NSA “reform” legislation before Congress, the FREEDOM Act, does exactly what the Australian law does: it mandates that US telecommunications companies retain their customers’ metadata information so that the NSA can access the information as it wishes.

Some argue that this metadata information is harmless and that civil libertarians are over-reacting. But, as Ed Snowden told the Melbourne conference, “under these mandatory metadata laws you can immediately see who journalists are contacting, from which you can derive who their sources are.”

This one example of what happens when the government forces corporations to assist it in spying on the people should be a red flag. How can an independent media exist in the US if the government knows exactly whom journalists contact for information? It would be the end of any future whistleblowers.

The only reform of the PATRIOT Act is a total repeal. Accept nothing less.

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Trans-Pacific Sellout

Guaranteed profits—at any price

By Jason Hirthler | Dissident Voice | April 26, 2015

Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama told beltway bullhorn Chris Matthews that Senator Elizabeth Warren was “wrong” about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the largest trade deal in American history, linking United States and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in a pervasive and binding treaty. The president was referring to Warren’s claim that the trade treaty will license corporations to sue governments, and her contention that this was, to put it mildly, a bad idea.

Warren isn’t wrong, Obama is. And he knows it. The entire TPP, as understood, is based on a single overarching idea: that regulation must not hinder profiteering. This is a fundamentally anti-democratic concept that—if implemented—would effectively eliminate the power of a demos to make its own law. The final authority on any law’s validity would rest elsewhere, beyond the reach of popular sovereignty. From the TPP point-of-view, democracy is just another barrier to trade, and the corporate forces behind the draft treaty are intent on removing that barrier. Simple as that.

That’s why the entire deal has been negotiated in conclave, deliberately beyond the public purview, since the president and his trade representatives know that exposing the deal to the unforgiving light of popular scrutiny would doom it to failure. That’s why the president, like his mentor President Clinton, has lobbied hard for Trade Promotion Authority, or Fast Track, which reduces the Congressional role in the passage of the bill to a ‘yea’ or ‘nay.’

Cracks have begun to show in the formidable cloak behind which the deal has been structured. A coalition of advocacy groups advanced on the U.S. Trade Representatives office this week. Wikileaks has obtained and released chapters from the draft document. Senator Harry Reid declared his position on Fast Track as “… not only no, but hell no.” Warren has proved to be a persistent thorn in the side of White House efforts to smooth over troubling issues with the deal. But the monied interests that rule the beltway have all pressed for passage. And as a Fast Track draft makes its way through Congress, stakes are high. The TPP is, in the apt estimation of political activist Jim Hightower, a “corporate coup d’état.”

Not for the first time, the president and his Republican enemies are yoked by the bipartisan appeal of privilege against this faltering fence of protest. The marriage of convenience was described in last Friday’s sub-head to a New York Times article on TPP: “G.O.P. Is Allied With President Against His Own Party.”

All The Usual Suspects

Who else supports the TPP? Aside from this odd confection of neoliberals, the corporations that rule the beltway feverishly back the TPP. From the leak of Sony digital data we learn that it and its media peers have enthusiastically pressed for the passage of the deal. Sony is joined by major agricultural beneficiaries (Monsanto), mining companies like Infinito Gold, currently suing Costa Rica to keep an ecology-harming mine pit active, as well as pharmaceutical coalitions negotiating stiff intellectual property rights unpopular even in Congress, and various other technology and consumer goods groups. And don’t forget nicotine kingpins like Philip Morris.

Obama reinforces the corporate line: “We have the opportunity to open even more new markets to goods and services backed by three proud words: Made in America.” Perhaps he isn’t aware that our leading export is the workforce that once took pride in that moniker. We’ve exported five million manufacturing jobs since 1994, largely thanks to NAFTA, the model on which the TPP is built. The TPP will only continue that sad trend. The only jobs not being offshored are the ones that can’t be: bartenders and waitresses and health care assistants. That’s the Obama economy: a surfeit of low-wage service jobs filled by debt-saddled degree holders. As Paul Craig Roberts argued in The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, between 2007 and 2014, some eight million students would graduate from American universities and likely seek jobs in the United States. A mere one million degree-requiring jobs would await them. The irony of Obama’s statement is that the TPP would actually move to strip the use of labels like, “Buy American,” since they unduly advocate for local goods.

In truth, the authors of the treaty already know all this. The bill concedes as much, with Democrats building in some throwaway provisions of unspecified aid to workers whose jobs have been offshored, and a tax credit to ostensibly help those ex-workers purchase health insurance. Cold comfort for the jobless, as they are exhorted by the gutless paladins of globalization to ‘toughen up’ and deal with the harsh realities of a globalized economy. As neoliberal stooge Thomas Friedman has said, companies in the glorious global marketplace never hire before they ask, “Can this person add value every hour, every day — more than a worker in India, a robot or a computer?” Of course, the answer is invariably no, so the job goes to Bangladesh or a robot. No moral equation ever enters the picture. Just market discipline for the vulnerable and ingenious efforts by a captive state to shelter capital from the market dynamics it would force on others.

The Investment Chapter

Despite Obama’s disingenuous clichés about “… fully enforceable protections for workers’ rights, the environment and a free and open Internet,” the trade deal makes it clear that labor law and environmental law are both barriers to profitability. We know this thanks to Wikileaks, which once again proved its inestimable value by acquiring and releasing another chapter from the cloak-and-dagger negotiations. This time it was the investment chapter, in which so much of the treaty’s raison d’etre is expressed.

As Public Citizen points out in its lengthy analysis of the chapter, any domestic policy that infringes on an investor’s “right” to a regulatory framework that conforms to their “expectations,” is grounds for a suit. Namely, the suit may be pressed to “the extent to which the government action interferes with distinct, reasonable investment-backed expectations.”

Here’s what the TPP says about such legislation as it relates to investor expectations:

For greater certainty, whether an investor’s investment-backed expectations are reasonable depends, to the extent relevant, on factors such as whether the government provided the investor with binding written assurances and the nature and extent of governmental regulation or the potential for government regulation in the relevant sector.

Try putting that tax on financial transactions. Forget it. Barrier to a reasonable return. Don’t believe it? Just read the TPP investment protocols that would ban capital controls, which is what a financial tax is considered to be by TPP proponents. Try passing that environmental legislation. Not a chance. Hindrance to maximum shareholder value. Just ask Germany how it felt when a Swiss company sued it for shutting down its nuclear industry after Fukushima. Try enacting that youth safety law banning tobacco advertising. Sorry. Needless barrier to profits. Just ask Australia, which is being sued by Philip Morris for trying to protect kids from tar and nicotine.

Public Citizen has tabulated that, “The TPP would newly empower about 9,000 foreign-owned firms in the United States to launch ISDS cases against the U.S. government, while empowering more than 18,000 additional U.S.-owned firms to launch ISDS cases against other signatory governments.” It found that “foreign investors launched at least 50 ISDS claims each year from 2011 through 2013, and another 42 claims in 2014.” If these numbers seem small, recall that for a crucial piece of labor legislation to be struck down, only one firm need win in arbitration in order to financially hamstring a government and set a precedent that would likely ice the reformist urge of future legislatures.

As noted earlier, the text also appears to suggest to ban the practice of promoting domestic goods over foreign—another hurdle to shareholder value. This would effectively prohibit a country from implementing an import-substitution economy without threat of being sued. Governments would be relieved of tools, like tariffs, historically used to protect fledgling native industries. This is exactly what IMF prescriptions often produce—agricultural reforms, for instance, that wipe out native crop production and substitute for it the production of, say, cheap Arabica coffee beans, for export to the global north. Meanwhile, that producer nation must then accept costly IMF lending regimes to pay to import food it might have grown itself.

Of course, it is rarely mentioned that protectionism is how the United States and Britain both built their industrial economies. Or that removing competitor market protections is how they’ve exploited developing economies ever since. The TPP would effectively lock in globalization. It’s a wedge that forces markets open to foreign trade—the textual equivalent of Commodore Perry sailing his gunships into Tokyo Harbor.

ISDS Tribunals

The bill’s backers point to language in which natural resources, human and animal life, and public welfare are all dutifully addressed in the document. The leaked chapter explicitly says that it is not intended to prevent laws relating to these core concerns from being implemented. So then, what’s the problem? The problem is that these tepid inclusions lack the teeth of sanctions or punitive fines. They are mere rhetorical asides designed to help corporate Democrats rationalize their support of the TPP. If lawmakers really cared about the public welfare, they’d move to strip the treaty of its various qualifiers that privilege trade over domestic law. By all means, implement your labor protection, but just ensure “… that such measures are not applied in an arbitrary or unjustifiable manner, or do not constitute a disguised restriction on international trade or investment.”

If lawmakers cared about national sovereignty, they wouldn’t outsource dispute settlement to unelected arbitration panels, more fittingly referred to as, “tribunals.” (Think of scrofulous democracy hunched in the dock, peppered with unanswerable legalese by a corporate lawyer, a surreal twist on the Nuremberg Trials.) Just have a glance at Section B of the investment chapter. Suits will be handled using the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) model, itself predicated on the tribunal precedent. And in the event a government lost a suit or settled one, legal costs would be picked up by taxpayers, having been fleeced by an unelected committee whose laws it has no recourse to challenge.

Perhaps investor protections like ISDS were once intended to encourage cross-border investment by affording companies a modicum of reassurance that their investments would be safeguarded by international trade law. But the ISDS has been used for far more than that. The ISDS tribunals have a lovely track record of success (first implemented in a treaty between Germany and Pakistan in 1959). Here’s Public Citizen:

Under U.S. “free trade” agreements (FTAs) alone, foreign firms have already pocketed more than $440 million in taxpayer money via investor-state cases. This includes cases against natural resource policies, environmental protections, health and safety measures and more. ISDS tribunals have ordered more than $3.6 billion in compensation to investors under all U.S. FTAs and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs). More than $38 billion remains in pending ISDS claims under these pacts, nearly all of which relate to environmental, energy, financial regulation, public health, land use and transportation policies.

New Era, New Priorities

Now the ISDS is a chisel being used to destroy the regulatory function of governments. All of this is being negotiated by corporate trade representatives and their government lackeys, which appear to have no qualms about the deleterious effects the TPP will have on the general population. But then the corporations these suits represent have long since discarded any sense of patriotic duty to their native nation-states, and with it any obligation to regulate their activities to protect vulnerable citizenries. That loyalty has been replaced by a pitiless commitment to profits. In America, there may have been a time when “what was good for Ford was good for America,” as memorably put by Henry Ford. But not anymore. Now what’s good for shareholders is good for Ford. This was best articulated a couple of years ago by former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond, who bluntly reminded an interviewer, “I’m not a U.S. company, and I don’t make decisions based on what’s good for the U.S.” Those decisions usually include offshoring, liberalizing the labor market, practicing labor arbitrage, relocating production to “business friendly climates” with lax regulatory structures, the most vulpine forms of tax evasion, and so on—all practices that ultimately harm the American worker.

Apple says it feels no obligation to solve America’s problems nor, one would assume, any gratitude to the U.S. taxpayer for funding essential research that Apple brilliantly combined in the iPod and iPhone. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich finally admits corporations don’t want Americans to make higher wages. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce encourages shipping American jobs abroad. World Bank chiefs point to the economic logic of sending toxic waste to developing nations. Wherever you look, there seems to be little if any concern for citizenry.

The Financial Times refers to ISDS as, “investor protection.” But what it really is, is a profitability guarantee, a legal bulwark against democracy expressed as regulation. Forgive me for thinking that navigating a fluid legislative environment was a standard investment risk. Evidently the champions of free trade can’t be bothered to practice it. Still the White House croons that it has our best interests at heart. If that were true, it would release the full text, launch public charettes to debate its finer points, or perhaps just stage a referendum asking the American people to forfeit their hard-won sovereignty. No such thing will ever happen, of course. As it turns out, democracy is the price of corporate plunder. After all, the greatest risk of all is that the mob might vote the wrong way. And, as the language of the TPP makes explicitly obvious, there are some risks that should be avoided at all costs.

Jason Hirthler can be reached at:

April 26, 2015 Posted by | "Hope and Change", Civil Liberties, Economics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Protests Mark Australia’s Invasion Day


Invasion Day, Melbourne | Photo: Tim Dunn
teleSUR | January 26, 2015

In Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, around 800 people marched to mark Invasion day. Other protests, actions, and cultural events were also held around the country, while national and local governments organized formal celebrations of “Australia Day.”

On January 26, 1788, the first British fleet arrived on Australian coasts, marking the beginning of the invasion of that land, and the deliberate policies of genocide, slavery, child stealing, land stealing, and discrimination against the Indigenous peoples, as well as over 500 unpunished deaths in custody.

The Melbourne Invasion Day march this year marched to the official Australia Day march and pushed aside the barricades and occupied the space. Attendees reported that those at the official march “didn’t seam to know what to do.” Some members of the Invasion Day march chatted to those in the official march and explained the history behind the date. Some activists, according to GreenLeft Weekly, reported that there was some sympathy from those in the official march, who joined the Invasion Day march instead.

“No pride in genocide,” was one of the chants of the Invasion Day march.

“Today was the best Invasion Day protest I have ever been to. There was a real feeling of Aboriginal pride and resistance,” stated march participant and Socialist Alliance councilor, Sue Bolton.

Organizers of the Invasion Day march stated that the day “is a day of mourning for us Indigenous people, but its also a day to make our voices heard, to take a stand … to demonstrate our resistance to colonization and genocide. We have never ceded our sovereignty, and remain committed to the cause of decolonization.”

According to the ABC, in Sydney 10,000 people participated in the Yabun Festival, held to celebrate 40,000 years of Indigenous culture. In inner city Sydney, around 1,000 people marched for Indigenous land rights.

Australian private and mainstream media coverage has been biased against the Invasion Day marches. The Age headlined, “Aboriginal rights protest disrupts Australia Day Parade in Melbourne” while the Herald Sun said the marches had “interrupted” and “mar(ed)” events, but did not use the same language for official Australia Day events. Other media ignored the Indigenous rights marches.

January 26, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Video | | Leave a comment

Reflections on MH17

RT Documentary | January 16, 2015

The tragedy of MH17 in which 298 people lost their lives, made the conflict in Ukraine real for many other countries. While the international community awaits the outcome of the crash investigation, speculation in the media continues to fuel the blame game. RTD travels far and wide to interview international experts on what has hindered the investigation, what procedures were needed to collect vital evidence and what might have brought down the ill-fated Boeing 777.


OCSE monitor mentions bullet holes in MH17

Original source… – OCSE monitor Michael Bociurkiw mentions bullet holes in #MH17, not able to find any missile so far.

January 17, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Why the Secrecy on the Mh17 Investigation?

By JAMES O’NEIL | CounterPunch | December 19, 2014

On 17 July 2014 Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over the Eastern Ukraine.

Although the precise circumstances were at that point unknown the western media were quick to blame Ukrainian “rebels”. The means by which MH17 was destroyed, the media alleged, was a surface to air BUK missile supplied to the “rebels” by Russia.  For a host of reasons it was almost certainly not a BUK missile that caused the crash.  The stage was set however, for a demonization of Russia in general as the alleged supplier of the missile, and President Vladimir Putin in particular. The relentless propaganda enforcing this view has continued unabated to this day, although the evidential foundation for the allegations remains at best remote.

The Russians produced an initial denial of involvement.  Four days after the tragedy however, as anti-Russian hysteria was escalating to extreme levels, the Russian military held a press presentation. The fact of this presentation was barely reported in the western media. The content, more importantly, was either ignored or misrepresented.

The Russians disclosed, inter alia, their radar and satellite data. These data showed that MH17 had been diverted from its scheduled route so that it flew directly over the war zone in eastern Ukraine. They asked for an explanation but one has never been forthcoming. These data also showed that MH17 had been shadowed during its last minutes by two SU25 fighter jets, a model flown by the Ukrainian air force. Again the Russians asked why this had happened.

The main response was a claim that the SU25 could not fly above 10,000 metres. Not only is this untrue, as an examination of military resources readily demonstrates, but the Wikipedia entry on the SU25 had been altered days before the shoot down to claim that the SU25’s operating ceiling was only 7000 metres. Again the western media ignored this obvious alarm bell.

The Russians further disclosed that at the precise time of the shoot down an American spy satellite was directly overhead the scene and would have recorded the sequence of events. The Russians invited the Americans to share these data with the official investigation that had been launched, but to date the Americans have failed to do so.  Again, the western media are singularly incurious as to the reason for this lack of cooperation.

Under IATA Rules, the parties responsible for the investigation would be the Malaysians, as owners of the plane and home country of the airline, and the Ukrainians over whose territory the atrocity occurred. It was the Dutch however, who took the lead role, citing two facts: the plane had departed from Amsterdam; and they had suffered the largest number of their nationals as victims. The Malaysians were initially excluded from the inquiry for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained. They were finally invited to join the Joint Inquiry on 2 December 2014.

Instead, the initial inquiry group consisted of Ukraine, the Netherlands, Australia and Belgium. The Australians suffered the third largest loss of life but had no standing to be one of the investigatory nations, and certainly less of a claim than the Malaysians. The Australian Prime Minister and some other politicians had been at the forefront of making extreme allegations against Russia and President Putin. Why Belgium was included remains a mystery.

On 8 August 2014 these four investigating nations signed an agreement that the results of the investigation would not be published unless all four countries agreed. This gave one of the prime suspects in the atrocity, Ukraine, an effective veto over any investigations result that attributed blame to them. This is an astonishing situation and probably without precedent in modern air crash investigations.

More significantly however, is that the existence of this secret agreement was not announced by the Australian government, nor to the best of my knowledge has any report about the existence of the agreement or its extraordinary terms, been published in any mainstream publication.

The Dutch magazine Elsevier, under Dutch Freedom of Information laws, sought a copy of the agreement. On 19 November they announced that the request had been refused on the grounds that it “could endanger the relations with other countries involved.”

An Australian citizen (name redacted) wrote to the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development (Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss) seeking a copy of the agreement. By letter dated 15 October 2014 the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) replied on behalf of the Minister, refusing the requester a copy of the agreement as its contents were “classified.”

The present writer wrote to DFAT on 21 August 2014 seeking a copy of the agreement of 8 August 2014 under the Freedom of Information Act. The department declaimed responsibility and said that they had passed my request on to the Attorney-General’s Department. This was odd, but even odder was advice from the Attorney General that my request had been passed in turn to the Australian Federal Police who were the responsible body.

This must be the first time in Australian history since 1901 that negotiations and agreements between sovereign nations had been conducted on Australia’s behalf by the Federal Police.

On 2 December 2014 the Australian Federal Police finally gave their decision on the FOI request. It was declined on the basis that disclosure of the document (which they acknowledged existed) under section 33 would, or could reasonably be expected to, cause damage to:

(i)            the security of the Commonwealth; or

(ii)          the defence of the Commonwealth; or

(iii)         the international relations of the Commonwealth.

The refusal also relied upon section 37(1)(a) of the Act which exempts a document if it could reasonably be said to prejudice the conduct of an investigation.

Thirdly, the Federal Police relied upon section 37(1) (c) where disclosure could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of a person.

The fourth ground of refusal was under section 37(2)(b) which exempts disclosure where it might reasonably be expected to prejudice an investigation by disclosing methods of investigation or detection of unlawful activity.

In the circumstances of this case it is very difficult to see how any of those provisions would apply. The agreement, it should be remembered, is to give any one of the four investigating countries a veto over publication of the results. A final report would be entitled to withhold details of the investigation that would truly prejudice matters of national security.

An investigation of a crash of an aeroplane is however, carried out under IATA Rules and its procedures are well established and well documented. Whose life or safety might be endangered by releasing the agreement is unspecified.

One is left with the conclusion that 33 (iii) is the real ground and the “international relations” referred to are the difficulty Australia and other nations have got themselves into by prematurely blaming Russia when all of the emerging evidence points squarely at Ukraine.

Given the existence of this agreement it is difficult to see how anyone can have any confidence in whatever final report is published by the Dutch. The preliminary report was careful not to apportion blame or even state the cause of the crash other than to say that the plane was hit a by a large number of “high velocity objects” which were undefined.

Another major question is why have the mainstream media kept up a barrage of misinformation up to and including the recent G20 debacle, when they know, or ought to know that the investigation is a sham?

It is also difficult to see how the continued demonization of Russia and Mr Putin for manifestly geo-political reasons (and the probable reasons for the shoot down in the first place) represents any form of justice for the families of the 298 victims and in particular the 37 who were Australian citizens or residents.

It is clear that the Government’s professed support for Security Council Resolution 2116 (2014) for a “full, thorough, and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines” is no more than window dressing for a much wider geopolitical agenda.

James O’Neill is a former academic who has practiced as a barrister for the past 30 years.  He has a special interest in international human rights issues.  He may be contacted at 

December 19, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , | 3 Comments


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