John Richardson's blog
It would be tempting to dismiss Neil Brown’s ranting Opinion piece as illogical puffery (‘Ruthlessness In Pursuit Of Terrorism Is No Crime’, The Australian, January 9), were it not for the fact that it acts to promote a number of deceitful & dangerous fictions, whilst being afforded prominent & unjustified exposure in our community.
Essentially Brown argues that the US & its allies, including Australia, need to free of any moral & legal constraints & totally ruthless in their prosecution of the alleged “endless war on terror”.
"What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people. And it became always wider.....the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think....for people who did not want to think anyway gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about.....and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated.....by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.....
‘On Christmas Eve, I dropped in on Brian Haw, whose hunched, pacing figure was just visible through the freezing fog. For four and a half years, Brian has camped in Parliament Square with a graphic display of photographs that show the terror and suffering imposed on Iraqi children by British policies.
The effectiveness of his action was demonstrated last April when the Blair government banned any expression of opposition within a kilometre of Parliament.
It is sorely tempting to accept Professor Mirko Bagaric’s thesis that Australians would not benefit from a Bill of Rights Your Right Not To Have A Bill of Rights
The good Professor’s smooth but superficial arguments in support of his thesis range from the simplistic contention that we are already the happiest people in the world (whatever that is supposed to signify), through to an argument that our politicians can’t be trusted with the task anyway.
Paul Sheehan’s opinion piece, Cloud Over Politics Is Pouring Scorn, Herald, December 26, must rank as one of the most superficial pieces of journalism in 2005.
Sheehan opines as his central thesis that ‘Australians receive better leadership than we deserve’. But where’s the evidence to support his claim?
‘On 19 March 2003 President Bush Jnr commenced his criminal war against Iraq by ordering a so-called decapitation strike against the President of Iraq in violation of a 48-hour ultimatum he had given publicly to the Iraqi President and his sons to leave the country.
This duplicitous behaviour violated the customary international laws of war set forth in the 1907 Hague Convention on the Opening of Hostilities to which the United States is still a contracting party, as evidenced by paragraphs 20, 21, 22, and 23 of U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (1956).
‘For 2005, my annual task of reviewing the past year has been complicated by an old adage: oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Here I sit, tangled in a web that many people began weaving way back when the Gipper was protecting us against deadly pollutants released by old-growth forests. It was a jumble out there this year — one that defies linear documentation.
‘I'm sure there are many well-meaning Americans who agree with their president's explanation that it's all a necessary evil (and that patriotic citizens will not be spied on unless they dial up Osama bin Laden).
But the nasty echoes of apartheid South Africa should at least give them pause. While Bush uses the rhetoric of "evildoers" and the "global war on terror," Pretoria talked of "total onslaught."
‘Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years.
Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.
‘The debate regarding war and Militarization raises the broad issue of national sovereignty.
I am particularly gratified as an economist to participate in this important event in the Nation’s capital, in Malaysia, a country which at a critical moment in its history, namely at the height of the 1997 Asian crisis, took the courageous stance of confronting the Washington Consensus and the international financial establishment.
‘This Minority Report has been produced at the request of Representative John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee. He made this request in the wake of the President's failure to respond to a letter submitted by 122 Members of Congress and more than 500,000 Americans in July of this year asking him whether the assertions set forth in the Downing Street Minutes were accurate. Mr. Conyers asked staff, by year end 2005, to review the available information concerning possible misconduct by the Bush Administration in the run up to the Iraq War and post-invasion statements and actions, and to develop legal conclusions and make legislative and other recommendations to him.
‘If America's leaders want to hunt terrorists while transforming dictatorships into democracies, they must recognize that torture, which includes CID, has historically been an instrument of oppression - not an instrument of investigation or of intelligence gathering.
No country needs to invent how to "legalize" torture; the problem is rather how to stop it from happening. If it isn't stopped, torture will destroy your nation's important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East.
If you thought the devil was behind it, you’ve confused a couple blatant liars who strut when they walk!
After well over three years of lying, prevaricating, misleading, and confusing the American people, after killing, maiming and destroying the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Iraqis and Americans at a healthy 20-to-1 ratio, and after the unprecedented destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure, let the record show, on December 14, 2005, Dubya said "I am responsible!"
‘This is a story that implicates all of us. Torture, and fear of torture, are factors in holding costs down in our new-age globalized production system. Take just-in-time delivery, add a touch of submersion in shit, fear of beating, fear of drowning, and voilà! You get Wal-Mart’s everyday low prices.
That’s not quite how the story gets conveyed in the business press, however. When American economists and executives opine about China, you don’t hear about the jailing and abuse of workers who seek decent living standards. There’s nothing new in this: Our guys in the oil business have never said word one about the repressive Saudi regime, and United Fruit was always the Latin American banana-republic dictator’s best friend.
’Iraq, like Vietnam before it, has served to remind us that, like the war on communism, the war on terror is but a charade, a fear engendering escapade, designed to control populations and empower the elite, unleashing fear onto the citizenry while delivering enormous profit to the military-industrial complex. Using Arab men as bogeymen, hidden in the shadows, without faces, countries and, with the help of Hollywood and the corporate media, with a growing brutal reputation, dark skinned Muslims replaced white Soviet Reds as the new American enemy, the new cash cow granting the government and military industrial complex a new generation of destructive war from which to bleed the American taxpayer dry, providing misallocation of resources to the former and enormous profit to the latter.