Tuesday 19th of February 2019

yosemite mal...


yosemite malyosemite mal

Aid groups have criticised the Federal Government's plan to dramatically ramp up defence exports, accusing the Coalition of contributing to a global arms race.

Key points:
  • Current defence exports are worth around $2b per year
  • Aid groups say the Government's plan undermines its claim to be in favour of peace building
  • The Coalition is eyeing growing arms markets in the Middle East and Asia


The Government has declared it wants Australia to be one of the world's top 10 exporters, unveiling a new loan scheme for defence companies which want to sell their products overseas.

Australia's defence exports are worth about $2 billion a year — but Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said he wants that figure to be higher.

"We sell a veritable welter of [defence] products, but we haven't really taken it to the next level, which is to seriously compete in the world for a part of what is a $1.5 trillion part of the world economy," he told the ABC's AM program.

"We have a high reputation for quality and capability — we need to turn that into products and services."

But Marc Purcell from the Australian Council for International Development said the announcement undermined the Government's claim that it champions international peace and stability.

"In a very uncertain international environment where conflict is much more likely, we should be using our diplomatic efforts to build peace," Mr Purcell said.

"We should not be getting into the game of marketing weapons which kill, maim, and bring great sorrow and destruction to communities around the world."

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'stryans using strava fitness apps?


Strava, a fitness-tracking app, is revealing potentially sensitive information about military bases and supply routes via its global heatmap website.

The data map shows 1 billion activities and 3 trillion points of latitude and longitude from "Strava's global network of athletes", according to the American company.

On the weekend, 20-year-old Australian university student Nathan Ruser noticed the map showed the locations and running routines of military personnel at bases in the Middle East and other conflict zones.

EXTERNAL LINK: Nathan Ruse's tweet about Strava's heatmap

Speaking from Thailand, Mr Ruser, who is studying international security at the Australian National University, said he had been following the situation in Syria since 2014.

When he came across Strava's heatmap, he decided to look at the war-torn region and said "the whole thing lit up like a Christmas tree."

When you look at Strava's heatmap in countries like Australia, you see a lot of "noise" from civilians using the app. Sydney, for example, glows gold with people's jogging habits.

That's not the case in the Middle East or Africa, where lone activities stand out against an all-black background.

"In countries where that is not so much a thing, that noise gets filtered out," Mr Ruser said.

"The only people using the apps would be foreign military personnel."

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I would not be surprised if the Russians knew about it for a while and said nothing...

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Australia's arms exporter plan the height of moral depravity



what chance does peace have?

That conversation had begun around questioning the value of opinions: offering them and also learning from them. Then, a day later on social media, I came across a quote from the author Bill Bullard: "Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another's world."

Holding that vision of empathy in mind as a possible truth (and not itself another opinion), I woke to the news that the federal government had decided to unveil a new "defence export strategy" to propel Australia into the big league of global weapons exporters.

Then, in the wake of that news – which has left many speechless, even despairing – comes a newer announcement of a $3.8bn boost to the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation. This is a taxpayer-funded "national interest" loan facility that previously supported the exporting of wine and other relatively harmless products but is now set, with a massive boost to its funds, to finance loans to some of the world's largest arms manufacturers. What's more, those loans do not need to pass any test of "social risk evaluation" – a nod to caring for others - but can be approved at the discretion of Trade Minister Steve Ciobo.

Oddly enough, on the Blue Mountains drive my friend and I had discussed the weapons industries and the influence they have on the global economy. Their power to affect, even to drive governments' policies, is immense. It is also profoundly undemocratic. Governments keep a tight grip on media revelations. The weapons world is "secret men's business" from which the public is definitely shut out. My best sleuthing efforts came nowhere near discovering what this industry is really worth or who profits most. 

What we can know is that these industries – and the governments that applaud them - depend on actual and perceived enemies, a fairly hysterical narrative of "terror" and a disturbing acceptance of the inevitability of armed conflict and war. We can also know that the No.1 exporter of major arms is the USA, followed by Russia. It was easy, too, to discover that between 2001 and 2014, reported global military expenditure rose from US$1.14 trillion to US$1.711 trillion. In a world ruled by greed and highly vulnerable to corruption, what chance does peace have? 


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Empathy is good when it's reciprocal, but it is insufficient... Peace is only achieved with multilateral agreements not to fight and not to steal on all levels — overtly and covertly.

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happy days...


The USA are the masters of deceit. They sow discord, fight and steal around the planet under the banner of helping create "democracy". Presently we should know the value of "their" democracy, which is not even worth the use of a toilet brush. But the armament juggernaut of the USA is reigning supreme over the political idiots, from the Clintons, the Bushes, the Obamas and the Trumps. It started a long time ago with the intent emblazoned on the Dollar bill, to create "a new world order".

The Romans knew how to do this. First you "create disorder" then you present yourself as the saviour of the situation. The US empire is on the move again, though it never stopped, with greater intent to be supremo of this Human species. The major quality of Homo sapiens is deceit. The USA excel at it. This has a great chance of turning ugly and we have to do everything in our power to stop the weapons merchants and manufacturers. Sure the Aussies might only export hats, uniforms, bullet-proof vests and boots... but these are the beginning of the shortening march towards the end. See the end of time...

full of (old) rancid juice...

At the end of 2017, Prime Minister Turnbull promised that 2018 would be the “year of rewards” and that all of us would prosper from the trickledown impacts of cutting company taxes.

So far, it’s just been a continuation of the chaos that dogged the Coalition last year — and the year before that and the year before that one too.

The only person who seems to have been rewarded so far in 2018 is George “Bookshelves” Brandis who has been promoted to the plum and coveted role of Australia’s official representative at the Court of St James.

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rorting with brilliance and aplomb...

It has taken just 29 months for Turnbull’s corruption count to reach 100. That is a rate of 3.5 rorts revealed per month, or almost one a week. By corruption, we mean actions which have benefited – financially or in other ways – Coalition members or their mates at the expense of the community.

For the profound damage done by this incompetent and dishonest regime to be understood – and eventually reversed – the record should be complete. 


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