Saturday 31st of July 2021
























A senior defence official under former United States president Barack Obama says the Five Eyes spy network should be used as a diplomatic grouping to pressure China, in a direct contrast to New Zealand’s attempt to narrow its remit.

Michèle Flournoy, who was at one stage the favourite to be President Joe Biden’s defence secretary, also backed Australia’s hard-line stance against China’s growing assertiveness, saying Canberra was “seen as very courageous in Washington right now”.


Australian officials were blindsided when New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta last week criticised efforts to pressure China through the 70-year-old intelligence-sharing partnership known as “Five Eyes”.

Asked about New Zealand’s position, Ms Flournoy, who was under secretary of defense for policy between 2009 and 2012, said, “New Zealand is an example of a smaller country that is under a lot of pressure and probably feels significant risk with making waves or sort of provoking China”.

“Where we have common interest, where we can identify common positions through consultation, it’s much more powerful for us to make those statements together, and frankly beyond the Five Eyes, including as many others in the region as possible,” she told the Lowy Institute’s The Director’s Chairpodcast.

“Five Eyes is invaluable as an intelligence cooperation mechanism and set of relationships but, honestly, I do think it goes beyond that. It’s really a national security set of relationships more broadly.”

“And, again, I think as a basis for consultation, trying to find common ground where we can, and then expressing that - I think that’s helpful.”

The Five Eyes includes the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and was formed in 1941 to share secrets and signals intelligence during World War 2.


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Free Julian Assange, Mr President...

senior US lackey...

Amid growing hostilities, China hit Australian industries with a raft of trade sanctions and accusations against Australian products.

In a shock move, Chinese authorities claimed a sample of a rock lobster contained excessive levels of the heavy metal cadmium. 

Trade was effectively shut down, with tonnes of live lobster worth millions of dollars stranded on the tarmac in China awaiting clearance.

“I was extremely surprised that southern rock lobster, being a cold-water species, would have cadmium levels in them,” Mr Blake says. 

Four Corners understands testing by Australian government agencies has found no evidence of contamination in southern rock lobster.




Lobster is just one of a raft of industries hit by China’s trade sanctions, including beef, wine and barley. 

Professor Rory Medcalf, who heads the National Security College at ANU, believes China is trying to coerce Australia into “essentially supporting China’s interests”. 

Although China maintains its actions are legitimate, there is a widespread view that the sanctions are being used as a weapon – to punish Australia for adopting policies and positions that China doesn’t like.

 “It looks very much like punishment to me,” says Professor Jane Golley, director of the Centre on China in the World at ANU.


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Please note that the US have been using trade sanctions as punishment for years. Now we should realise how this is impacting "our" productions. Many "sanctioned" countries have reinvented the wheel...



Free Julian Assange NOW !!!!

human rights abuses...


Ahead of a government meeting, a group of Uighurs sent a letter to New Zealand’s authorities calling on them to declare the situation in the Xingjian region a genocide. “We understand that New Zealand is not a military superpower, or a trade superpower, however, New Zealand is a moral superpower”, read the letter.

New Zealand’s Parliament has expressed concern over China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighurs during a plenary session that took place on 4 May. In a move that is likely to raise eyebrows in Washington and London, the Parliament did not support a motion proposed by the ACT party that would have labelled the reported abuses of Uighurs as a genocide.

Deputy leader of ACT, Brooke van Velden, told reporters that she had to drop the word "genocide" from the motion and replace it with "severe human rights abuses" in order to receive support from the governing Labour Party.


"It’s a sad state of affairs that we’ve needed to soften our language to debate hard issues. Our conscience demands that if we believe there is a genocide, we should say so. The world is looking to us now to see what standard we are going to set. Can the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] play us off as the weakest link in the Western Alliance?” Velden said.

New Zealand’s Trade Minister Damien O’Connor told reporters that the use of the word "genocide" would have impacted the trade ties between the countries. He was echoed by opposition leader Judith Collins, who said that bilateral trade was “the elephant in the room” during the discussion.

Beijing is Wellington’s largest trading partner. According to New Zealand's Foreign Ministry, China’s economy offers significant opportunities for the country’s businesses with two-way trade – exports and imports of goods and services – exceeding $23.7 billion.

Following China’s diplomatic rift with Australia, Beijing introduced tariffs and issued warnings to its citizens not to travel to Australia. According to a study conducted by the Perth USAsia Centre, the row disrupted Australia’s exports by up to a $19 billion a year.


Criticism From Allies


New Zealand’s move is likely to upset Wellington’s allies – the UK, Canada, and the United States. The said countries have called the situation with the Uighurs in the Xinjiang region a genocide, a claim Beijing denies. New Zealand has been under pressure from its allies to take a tougher stance on China. In April, British lawmakers criticised Wellington's position on the Uighur issue, with MP Bob Seely saying PM Jacinda Ardern is in a "hell of an ethical mess".

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta defended the government’s decision to not use the term genocide, arguing that Wellington had previously raised concerns with China about the alleged mistreatment of Uighurs.


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Note: all the posturing by the Five-Eyes (minus NZ) about the Uighurs's fate is irrelevant until JULIAN ASSANGE IS FREED FROM PRISON. See: 

the hypocrisy of western governments...

scott from blundering...


Scott Morrison has incorrectly characterised Australia’s policy on Taiwan in a radio interview in which he also declared he “stood for freedom”.

Despite Australian government figures publicly warning about the risk of war in the region, the prime minister appeared to endorse a formula for Taiwan that is actually Beijing’s stated vision for unification with the currently self-governed island.


When speaking about Taiwan, Morrison referred to “one country, two systems” – the principle that China pledged to apply when Hong Kong was returned to Beijing’s control in 1997. But this is not Australia’s policy in relation to Taiwan, and both sides of Taiwanese politics reject the idea.


The prime minister made the blunder on the same day a Chinese government agency suspended a form of economic dialogue with Australia – in what experts described as a mainly symbolic move indicative of the worsening relationship between the two countries.

The freeze is seen as Beijing’s first concrete response to the Australian government’s decision last month to tear up Victoria’s belt and road-related agreements, and confirmation this week of a defence department review of the Port of Darwin lease.


During the Thursday morning interview on Melbourne radio station 3AW, Morrison was asked whether Australia stood with Taiwan, after the island’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, renewed his calls for help to defend it against Xi Jinping’s “expansionism”.

“We’ve always honoured all of our arrangements in the Indo-Pacific, particularly our alliance with the United States,” Morrison told the broadcaster Neil Mitchell.

“We’re very cognisant of the uncertainties in our region, Neil, and I’m not one to speak at length on these things, because I don’t wish to add to any uncertainty. But that’s why we have the security arrangements we have in place.

“We have always understood the ‘one system, two countries’ arrangement, and we will continue to follow our policies there … ‘one country, two systems’, I should say.”

Pressed again on whether Australia stood with Taiwan, Morrison said: “We always have stood for freedom in our part of the world.”

It appears Morrison had meant to note Australia’s “one China policy”, in which it does not recognise Taiwan as a country in the international system but pursues cooperation with the island in areas such as trade, culture and education.

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Penny Wong, said that “in diplomacy, especially on issues of our national security, words matter”.

“There are few more sensitive issues for our security than Taiwan and Mr Morrison’s lack of focus on detail is enough to keep you up at night,” Wong told Guardian Australia.

“Days after his government was beating the drum for conflict over Taiwan, today Mr Morrison appears to have shifted Australia’s bipartisan position to abandoning Taiwan entirely.


“‘One Country, Two Systems’ has never been Australia’s position on Taiwan – it would put Taiwan in the same category as Hong Kong.”

Dr Mark Harrison, a senior lecturer in Chinese studies at the University of Tasmania, said “One Country Two Systems” referred to “a schema for unification between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China first proposed by Beijing [in] 1982”.

“It holds that Taiwan will become part of the PRC but maintain a degree of autonomy in a Two Systems phase that over time will evolve into a single system as development and modernisation between Taiwan and mainland China converged,” he said.

Harrison said the idea had been “applied ultimately to the reversion of Hong Kong to PRC sovereignty”.

After Beijing intensified its crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong last year, Taipei’s leaders raised fears that China was trying to “turn Taiwan into the next Hong Kong”.

Harrison said the One Country Two Systems formula for unification with Taiwan had been reaffirmed by Xi in a major speech in January 2019 – but it had “always been rejected by both sides of Taiwan’s politics”.

“Australia conducts relations with Taiwan under a One China Policy, which is distinct from Beijing’s One China Principle,” Harrison said.

“Australia does not recognise Taiwan as a state in the international system but only goes so far as to acknowledge the position of Beijing that Taiwan is a province of the People’s Republic of China.

“On the basis of this deliberate ambiguity over Taiwan’s sovereignty, Australia maintains good relations with Taiwan in areas of trade, culture and education and wide range of cooperation on global governance issues.”

The Australian government has been increasingly vocal in recent times in pushing for Taiwan’s participation in forums such as the World Health Assembly, and some Coalition and Labor backbenchers have been calling for a free trade agreement with Taipei.

Morrison said on Thursday Australia wanted to “keep the South China Sea free and open for transit” and would work with “whoever is in favour” of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.

The prime minister also told 3AW it was “not the case” that the defence minister, Peter Dutton, had authorised remarks by Michael Pezzullo, head of his former department of home affairs, to speak about the increasing drumbeat to war.


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This "blunder" may actually have been a discreet way for Scomo to tone down the rarah noise of war drum beats from the mad people out there...




China has “indefinitely” suspended all activity under a China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, its state economic planner said in the latest setback for their strained relations.

“Recently, some Australian Commonwealth Government officials launched a series of measures to disrupt the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia out of Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination,” China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a short statement on Thursday about the decision.


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broken bottles...


Australia is to take action in the World Trade Organisation over China’s imposition of anti-dumping duties on wine.

The decision to commence a dispute resolution process was taken following extensive consultation with Australian wine makers, Trade Minister Dan Tehan says.

He says the process is available to any WTO member as a means to resolve trade disputes in a respectful manner.


Mr Tehan says the decision is consistent with the government’s previous use of the WTO and aligns with Australia’s support for a rules-based trading system.

At the same time, Australia remains open to engaging directly with China to resolve this issue.

Australia has already complained to the WTO over China’s blocking of barley, one of several commodities that have become entangled in the growing rift between the countries.

Mr Tehan said last month the government was considering whether to act on its complaint over China putting huge tariffs on wine exports, a move which had virtually wiped out exports.

“We’ve always said that we would take a very principled approach when dealing with these trade disputes, and if we think our industry has been harmed or injured, we will take all necessary steps and measures to try to address that,” he told the ABC at the time.

Asked whether Beijing’s possible retaliation to such actions was part of the government’s considerations, Mr Tehan said China and all other countries use the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO.

“This is a normal course of dealing with these disputes,” he said.

“So, what we want to do is make sure that we have a very strong legal case to be able to take to the World Trade Organisation, because obviously if you take a case, you want to do your best to try to win it.”




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