Saturday 23rd of October 2021

an interview with lazarus — former prime minister...





















Tonight (18/08/2021), Leigh Sales on the Seven Thirty report (7:30) on ABC-TV interviewed John Howard who of course is still fondly enamoured with "the National Interest" and his decision to go to war blah blah blah... I suppose you can see that pathetic little man wriggles out of seeing the damage done while pouring glory upon himself at:


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But I am more interested in watching this frightening satire from 2007 — which never saw daylight on the TV networks of the day, possibly because it was too close to the bone — a satire played by a clever comedian answering questions from Richard Neville — at:


See also: they should be in prison....


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snowden's sadness...


After President Joe Biden announced his decision to end US military presence in Afghanistan on 14 April, amid the withdrawal, the Taliban* Islamic group embarked upon a swift offensive, reclaiming territory from government forces, entering the capital, Kabul, and assuming power in the country on August 15.

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has weighed in on the situation in Afghanistan, in a digital newsletter addressed to subscribers.

He emphasised that the war in Afghanistan, launched nearly 20 years ago in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, was “one of the great cruelties of my generation”.

Now, it had unexpectedly reached its “tragic conclusion”, wrote Snowden on Substack online platform, underscoring that it left him with a “profound sense of regret at the error of it all”.

After President Joe Biden announced his decision to end US military presence in Afghanistan on 14 April, amid the withdrawal, the Taliban* Islamic group embarked upon a swift offensive, reclaiming territory from government forces, entering the capital, Kabul, and assuming power in the country on August 15.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani fled the war-torn country, while Taliban claimed it would support an inclusive new government and respect the religious beliefs and spiritual values of all Afghans.


‘Politicized Agony of 9/11’

The former Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency contractor wrote that the war in Afghanistan was not justifiable, and “forever will be wrong”. Accordingly, he applauded the decision to withdraw forces from the South Asian nation.

Reflecting on the start of the US military campaign, Snowden said his righteousness was manipulated at the time, when his government told him, via media, that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban were harbouring al-Qaeda terrorist group, and that the Taliban and al-Qaeda* hated America for its freedoms. According to him, when George W. Bush, then in his first year of US presidency, stated that, “You are either with us or you are against us in the fight against terror,” he never defined who, exactly, was the enemy.

It is only much later that Snowden, when working for the CIA and later the NSA, was able to “apprehend the nature of our violence in Afghanistan”.

“For all the talk of democratising Afghanistan, it was never clear that it was Afghanistan we were fighting. Weren't we fighting the Taliban? Or Al-Qaeda? And weren't they backed by Pakistan? And what about Saudi Arabia?” wrote the whistleblower.

Snowden, who fled the US and ended up in Russia in 2013 after blowing the whistle on the vast extent of US and UK illegal mass surveillance programmes, underscored that, “Americans were fighting ourselves, or our own governance”. The events of 9/11 had been politicised, according to Snowden.


The Taliban retaking Afghanistan in a matter of weeks as September 11th nears is a tragic symbol of the last decades.

Our governments abandoned law to wage fruitless wars, sacrificed our most sacred rights—and trampled the memory of those they claimed to avenge. Was it worth it?

— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 13, 2021

​The NSA whistleblower slammed the attempt by US President Joe Biden to defend the “honour” of the Afghanistan war and claims that Osama bin Laden had been brought to justice as “offensive”.

“He could have been brought to justice, but we shot him instead. He wasn't even in Afghanistan,” wrote Snowden.

In a reference to the Vietnam War, Edward Snowden suggested that America will again fail to learn from the mistakes from this “tragic sequel”.

“We will just sit by as the people of Afghanistan—many of whom were as deluded by American promises as Americans themselves—cling to hopes and cling to planes and fall, lost to the desert of theocratic rule. Some will say, they didn't fight! They get what they deserve! To which I say, “And what do we deserve?”

Looking ahead at the future the fractious country of Afghanistan faces, “unable to form an inclusive whole; unable to wade beyond shallow differences in sect and identity”, the whistleblower ended on a note of warning, writing:

“Today, the country this describes is Afghanistan. Tomorrow, the country this describes might be my own. “

Edward Snowden initiated a major international scandal after he leaked classified US and UK intelligence information about extensive surveillance programmes to the newspapers The Washington Post and The Guardian.



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the teleprompter says: no chaos...

US forces will stay in Afghanistan until all US citizens are out of the country, even if that means staying beyond the August 31 deadline, President Joe Biden told ABC News in an interview on Wednesday.

The president said he was committed to getting all Americans who want to leave Afghanistan out of the country. His administration had set the end of August as the deadline for all troops to leave.

But he accepted the possible need to stay longer. "If there are American citizens left, we're going to stay until we get them all out," he said.

Will the US evacuate all local helpers?

Biden also reiterated his pledge to help evacuate those Afghans, and their families, who had helped the US army during their 20-year stay in the country.

He said that there were "somewhere between 50 and 65,000" eligible Afghans. However, his remarks regarding whether US security forces would stay longer to help evacuate locals were less clear.


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(IF BIDEN had one grey matter cell left working he would drop all charges against Assange and let him free... But as we know, Biden reads scripts from the teleprompter because he is unable to think for himself...)

time to stop the carnage...


BY Bruce Douglas Haigh — an Australian political commentator and former diplomat.


The American War Machine (AWM) is big and brassy. Sound and light, chest-thumping, shock and awe. It is an extension of the American psyche.


Big, fast, expensive items of metal. Lots of noisy guns, big bombs to ‘lay waste’,  the nasties, the goons, the gooks, slope heads, rag heads, kooni’s, rumjad’s and whatever other racist and dehumanising name that is deployed to describe American military enemies.

The AWM is stuck in the 1960s. It has not moved on from the heavy metal of Detroit. It has to be seen, it has to be admired, it has to inspire respect and fear. It is gunboat diplomacy in overdrive. Pompously sailing around the South China Sea, acres of grey paint. Planes take off from miles and miles of decks. Vroom, vroom, Top Gun.

American diplomacy and negotiating skills are not very good; in the background, to back up the briefcase and power dressing is braid, brass, buttons and miles of medals. Americans get medals for killing people, for not killing people, for learning to kill people, for acting like they can kill people, for assisting people to kill people, for identifying people who should be killed, for tracking people who might get killed.

Americans join the AWM to kill people and mostly they are not disappointed. They kill people overseas rather than in American high schools or shopping malls.

Preparing for war and conducting war is part of the American way of life. Since it became a nation in 1776 America has been at war for 222 of the 245 years. It has been at peace for 21 years. Since 1945 it has fought five major wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan, only the Gulf War can be regarded in any way as a success.

Noting America’s penchant for war, American businessmen created the Military/Industrial Complex. WWII made many millionaires. Once created it had to be fed. Vietnam was very profitable for the Complex as was Iraq and most recently Afghanistan. The Complex has no interest in peace. It is stoking the rivalry between the US and China. US Congressmen and Senators are beneficiaries of largesse from the Complex which reaches into Europe, the UK, Israel, Saudi Arabi, the Gulf States, Canada and Australia. It has as much influence over the US government as the East India Company had over the British government.

It is insidious. It provides substantial financial support to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) to act as an echo chamber for views it wants to be pushed with respect to China. The Morrison government favours ASPI advice over that of its own defence and foreign affairs departments. It would, wouldn’t it.

The United States has an unerring ability to misread the rest of the world, particularly states it feels are inferior and they amount to a lot. American exceptionalism is as lethal as Covid 19. The US saw Vietnam as a backward state whose ‘problems’ could be solved with a bigger payload of American bombs, dropped without any interest in accuracy, on Europe by the allies in WWII. Kissinger advised Nixon to go back to the Paris peace talks when twelve B 52 bombers were shot down over Hanoi in a week in December 1972. Millions of Vietnamese were killed, including with Napalm; Agent Orange still kills and maims Vietnamese children. Despite the deployment of 500,000 troops, America lost the war to a far more determined and skilled army which possessed little of the whiz-bang technology available to the US.

America came out of the war humiliated, its prestige in tatters. Like Morrison and Berejiklian with respect to Covid, it learnt nothing from its ill-judged venture into Asia. After a while, a short while, its self-confidence was restored by an array of new products from the Complex. Like the court jester, the Complex whispered in the ear of Washington that Vietnam was an aberration and that the US was really a very powerful country, particularly with all the new gear available to it.

So, it had a bit of a go in the Gulf. That seemed to work so it had a bigger go in Iraq and that did not work; it created a mess in the Middle East and enhanced the prestige and power of Iran and allowed Israel to get further away from US control.

Faced with this developing mess, the US decided to follow up an earlier mission into Afghanistan and reshape the country in its own image to provide a haven for US power in Central Asia and the Middle East. The problem for the US was that Afghanistan exists as a country only in the minds of other countries and the media. To the people that live there, it is a post-colonial mish-mash. The Pathan tribal grouping is arbitrarily divided by a British decision to draw a line through the tribal area. It is known as the Durand Line and was ratified in 1919. The presence of a large number of Pathans in Pakistan with family and commercial ties on the other side of the border gives Pakistan a great deal of leverage in the affairs of Afghanistan.

There are three other main tribal groupings. The Hazaras and Uzbeks make up about 9% each and the Tajiks 25% of the population. The Pathans are 50% of the population and the dominant tribe, they are Sunni and comprise the majority of the Taliban. They oppress the other tribal groups, particularly the Hazaras who are Shia. Kabul is and will remain a city-state, divorced from much of what goes on in the rest of the country.

The Americans have had to scramble out of Kabul in the last few days in scenes reminiscent of their exit from Saigon. They lost the war for the same reason they lost in Vietnam. Hubris, an over-reliance on technology, a failure of intelligence, US and Afghan troops not committed to the undertaking and enemy troops who were, plus topography, loss of US public support and war-weariness. Additionally, the Taliban were receiving increasing support from Pakistan and financial support from Saudi Arabia and China.

Based on what happened when the Russians announced their intention to withdraw, I did not believe the Afghan army would fight for long and that is what has happened. They never had much to fight for.

American prestige has and will suffer but not for long. The Complex is moving on. Boosting the confidence of US and allied politicians with talk of the inherent inferiority and weakness of the Chinese system of government and the superiority of western democracies in meeting future challenges, a claim that is not immediately apparent when the responses to Covid 19 and Climate Change are factored in.

China is the bright new target in the sights of the Complex. It is a much bigger prize than Iraq and Afghanistan. The Complex is not noted for its social conscience or considerations of long-term consequences. Climate Change does not figure in its plans for a profitable future. It is here and now.

Of course, Australia should never have followed the US into Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. It has cost us dearly in lives lost and hearts and minds damaged as well as money that might have been spent on the greater social good. Australia should certainly not follow the US in China-bashing. We are the yapping dog on the US lead. Take the leadoff and we will run a mile. We have a lot more to lose than the US should ever we find ourselves arranged against an openly hostile China on the side of the US. Our yap dog follies have already cost us over $50 billion in trade with China. There has been no loss to the US, which in fact actively sought and picked up 40% or over $20 billion of that lost trade.

Afghanistan should demonstrate the Australian need for an independent foreign and defence policy but with ASPI leading the LNP by the nose and it, in turn, being cajoled by the Complex it is hard to see how reason will prevail.


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