Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Iranophobia

Re the coronial inquest into last December's Lindt cafe siege:

"The inquest heard that the lies and grandiose statements began virtually from the moment [Man Haron] Monis stepped off the plane, when he sought a protection visa on the grounds that he had been persecuted for his work as a poet and because of his connection to the Amadi [sic] Muslim minority. This was 'almost certainly a fiction', counsel assisting the inquest Jeremy Gormly, SC, said, as was Monis' claim to have been a spy for the Iranian intelligence ministry. Nevertheless, Australian authorities found the aspiring cleric's claims 'plausible', eventually granting him refugee status three years later." (Failed bikie, clairvoyant, preacher and jihadist - the secret life of the Lindt cafe siege killer, Paul Bibby, Nick Ralston, Sydney Morning Herald, 26/5/15)

So why would Australian authorities have found Monis' claims plausible?

In a word, Iranophobia. And where does that come from?

See my 19/12/14 post Paying the Price.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Frankenstein Monster Mark III

The following silliness on the subject of Islamic State comes from former Howard government minister-cum-ABC pundit-cum-Age columnist Amanda Vanstone:

"Islamic State is a hot topic in the media. We see, read and hear about it every day... Thankfully, I do not know anyone who thinks IS can be seen as the good guys. Of all the bad guys that are around at the moment, we can probably agree that they are the worst... The IS ideology comes out of medieval times, but we would be mistaken if we thought that their ideology is everything we need to know about them. In fact, as Mike Marinetto from Cardiff University has pointed out in an article in The Conversation, IS has learnt a lot from the West. They know that money is important, and their securing of territory with plenty of oil fields is no accident. They are the best funded terrorist organisation in the world, with billions of dollars in assets. There is nothing medieval about their finances... Yes, part of the battle is on the ground... However, the bigger battle is for hearts and minds, and that has to be fought in mainstream and social media. Ask yourself this: is there a wordsmith out there to lift our hearts and minds and help us win this battle? There was Churchill in the Second World War, Kennedy in the Cold War; now, we need a new hero." (We need a new hero to show us how the West can win the war against Islamic State, The Age, 25/5/15)

In addition to her nonsense about the need for a new Churchill/Kennedy, Vanstone's piece contains two major misconceptions:

First, there's her inappropriate use of the word 'medieval'.

In fact, IS's ideology doesn't come out of medieval times, an adjective, in any case, applicable to European, not Middle Eastern, history. IS's ideology stems from Wahhabism, the intolerant, puritanical brand of Islam, originating in 18th century Najd in the Arabian peninsula, and peddled by every Saudi king since, including those presiding over Saudi Arabia as we know it today (1926-2015). Those interested in this aspect of IS can read my posts Islamic State's Wahhabi Roots 1 & 2 (1/9/14 & 2/9/14)

Second, and this is the biggie, there's the false notion that the West and IS are poles apart. The simple fact is that IS is to the West as Frankenstein's monster was to its creator.

Just as al-Qaida was a creature of the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan's Afghan jihad of the 80s, and al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) was the by-product of the Ziocon-inspired and US-led invasion, occupation and dismemberment of Iraq from 2003 to 2011, the re-badged AQI - ISIL/ISIS/IS (4/13) - is today a creature of the Ziocon-inspired, US, Saudi, Qatari, Turkish and Israeli manipulation and hijacking of the anti-Assad opposition in Syria.

Typically, while Fairfax is happy to run Vanstone's tripe, it has so far shown no interest in the following recently declassified, SENSATIONAL, August 2012 US Defense Intelligence Report, Syrian Uprising, Gulf Intervention, and Potential for al-Qa'ida Gains, obtained by Judicial Watch ("a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law," judicialwatch.org) through an FOI request:

Department of Defense Information Report, Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence Country: Iraq (IRQ)

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1.The General Situation:
A) Internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction.
B) The Salafist[s], Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.
C) The West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
D) REDACTED
E) The regime's priority is to concentrate its presence in areas along the coast (Tartus and Latakia); however, it has not abandoned Homs because it controls the major transportation routes in Syria. The regime decreased its concentration in areas adjacent to the Iraqi border (Al Hasaka and Der Zor).

2.?

3. AlQaeda-Iraq (AQI):
A) AQI is familiar with Syria... trained in Syria and then filtered into Iraq.
B) AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. AQI declared its opposition to Assad's government because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.
C) AQI conducted a number of operations in Syrian cities under the name of Jaish al-Nusra (Victorious Army), one of its affiliates.
D) AQI... declared the Syrian regime as the spearhead of... Jibha al Ruwafdh (Front of the Shiites) because of its... declaration of war on the Sunnis. Additionally, [it called] on the Sunnis in Iraq, especially the tribes in the border regions... to wage war against the Syrian regime, regarding Syria as an infidel regime for its support to the infidel party Hezbollah and other regimes [considered] dissenters like Iran and Iraq.
E) AQI considers the Sunni issue in Iraq to be fatefully connected to the Sunni Arabs and Muslims.

4/5/6. The Borders: [MERC: Contains data on the geography, sociology etc of the Syrian-Iraqi borderlands.]

7. The Future Assumptions of the Crisis

A) The regime will survive and have control over Syrian territory.
B) Development of the current events into proxy war: with support from Russia, China and Iran, the regime is controlling the areas of influence along coastal territories (Tartus and Latakia), and is fiercely defending Homs, which is considered the primary transportation route in Syria. On the other hand, opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to the western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts. This hypothesis is most likely in accordance with the data from recent events, which will help prepare safe havens under international sheltering, similar to what transpired in Libya when Benghazi was chosen as the control center of the temporary government.

8. The Effects on Iraq 

A) [Start of sentence REDACTED] Syrian regime forces retreated from the border and the opposition forces (Syrian Free Army) took over the posts and raised their flag. The Iraqi border guard forces are facing a border with Syria that is not guarded by official elements which presents a dangerous and serious threat.
B) The opposition forces will try to use the Iraqi territory as a safe haven for its forces, taking advantage of the sympathy of the Iraqi border population, meanwhile trying to recruit fighters and train them on the Iraqi side, in addition to harboring refugees (Syria).
C) If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the regime, which is considered to be the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
D) The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows: 1) This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers as one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.

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3) The Renewing Facilitation of Terrorist Elememts from all over the Arab World entering into Iraqi Arena

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***

Let me run that (8C) past you again:  

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria... AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS WANT IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE [SYRIAN] REGIME.

And just to remind you: that was written in August 2012.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Harry Krishnas

Off topic, I know, but, like doggy-do trodden into the carpet, I'm having difficulty in getting this shit out of my mind. So put this post down to nothing more than the need to vent and accept my apologies in advance:

"The charming prince, the family role models in line to the throne and a baby so cute he can thwart a republic - the bigger question among young Australians is why wouldn't you love the latest crop of royals. 'You've got Prince Harry serving in the armed forces, he's got the whole Captain Wales thing going on,' Sydney University student Gabrielle Hendry, 20, told The Weekend Australian. 'You've got Will and Kate, a really great symbol of family unity and a great marriage. And you've got lovely little baby Prince George, the republic slayer. The image they present for young people is really worthwhile and I think people can relate to this new breed of royals.' It's not just among the ladies that Harry's light shines brightest. The prince's knockabout nature has also hit a chord with the local gents. 'I like Harry, a lot of people like Harry,' Ms Hendry's friend Gareth Guest said. 'He makes a good impression with young Australians - he's a larrikin, he's a fun type of guy, he's young and he's in the armed forces and he's very dedicated to what he does and as a role model I think he's brilliant.' (Knockabout charm, adorable cuteness... what's not to like? Dennis Shanahan, The Australian, 23/5/15)

Notice that the Murdoch hack responsible for this doggy-do nowhere informs us that Hendry and Guest are members of the Australian Monarchist League. Instead, the reader is left with the mistaken impression that the student body, or at least part thereof, is similarly afflicted by Hendry and Guest's folie a deux.

Thank God then for this spot of real journalism in the same day's Fairfax press:

"Australian taxpayers will be billed an estimated $115,000 for Prince Harry's month-long army secondment - including $1000 for bottled water and Gatorade... If the Defence estimates prove accurate, taxpayers are getting off relatively easy this time. They were charged a whopping $150,000 for Prince Harry's two-night visit to Australia in 2013." (Prince Harry's Australian visit to cost $115,000, documents show, Adam Gartrell, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/5/15)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Zio-Buddhism

Who does this remind you of?

"After a flurry of diplomatic activity, the government of Myanmar has finally agreed to a regional meeting in Bangkok next week aimed at resolving the Bay of Bengal crisis and addressing the larger issue of human trafficking. But U Zaw Htay, deputy director-general of the president's office, said that Myanmar had agreed to attend only after being assured that the term 'Rohingya' would not be used. 'The term 'irregular migrant' will be used instead,' he said. 'They can't pressure us. We won't accept any pressure.' Myanmar does not recognise 1 million Rohingya inside its borders as citizens, referring to them as 'Bengalis' and implying they are from neighbouring Bangladesh." (Myanmar: Don't say Rohingyas, New York Times/Sydney Morning Herald, 23/5/15)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Richard Di Natale Reclassified

In my May 7 post on Richard Di Natale, The Green's New Limp Lettuce Leader, I jestingly classified him as being at the iceberg lettuce end of the greens spectrum.

Having just read Di Natale in his own words in The Australian Jewish News of May 22, however, I now realise I was wrong. Even an iceberg lettuce would have a more informed, nuanced and ethical perspective than this:

The two-state solution: "Most people who have followed this issue and care about it, would acknowledge that there really isn't any other [sic] alternative."

Hello? Does anyone seriously believe that Di Natale has ever "followed and cared about this issue"? Even for a nanosecond?

There is "no alternative" to two states? Oh, really?

IOW, there's no alternative to:

a) an ethnocratic, apartheid Israeli state on 78% (+ settlements + Jordan Valley + East Jerusalem) of historical Palestine; and

b) an impoverished, de-militarised, non-contiguous series of Palestinianian bantustans (with no control over borders or airspace) on the bits left over.

Although Di Natale lives in a unitary state blind to ethnicity or sectarian affiliation, he doesn't see it as an alternative to the above?  Well I'll be buggered!

Scary.

Recognising Israel's existence as a Jewish state: "Of course. How can you have a two-state solution when you refuse to acknowledge the right of one state to exist? It's patently nonsense."

Let's get this straight. The occupied Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza (many of whom, BTW, are the descendents of refugees from Israel improper) should recognise Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state which excludes the indigenous, non-Jewish Palestinians it turfed out in 1948 by denying them the right of return?

IOW, he expects the West Bankers and Gazans to kiss international law and basic, inalienable human rights goodbye and recognise an apartheid state based on the permanent exile of most Palestinians?

Apparently so. After all, as far as Di Natale's concerned, anything less is "patently nonsense."
  
BDS: "It's just not the party position. Some time ago we made a very clear statement that we didn't believe that this was a pathway to peace."

I think what Di Natale really means here is that BDS is not a pathway to peace with the Zionist lobby.

'Israeli' technology: "Israelis are at the forefront of innovative technologies around [water-saving]. Why wouldn't we be learning from some of the new technologies that the Israelis have developed?"

Which simply means that he cannot see past the brand Israel hype to Palestinian water tanks riddled by Israeli bullets and Israeli settler swimming pools brimming with water.

On visiting Israel: "Absolutely."

Iceberg lettuce? This bloke's not even a member of the plant kingdom. Is there a mycologist in the house?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Last 'Australian Environmental Charity' Left Standing?

One to watch:

"Any move by the Coalition to narrow the definition of what constitutes an 'environmental organisation' - and strip them of their charitable status as a result - would represent an 'attack on Australian democracy', legal experts have warned. Donors to 600 Australian environment groups, including Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), face losing the right to deduct donations from their tax as a parliamentary committee investigates the register of organisations administered by the federal environment department. Campaigners believe the inquiry is being driven by the mining industry." (Environmental groups find there's no charity in politics, Heath Aston, Sydney Morning Herald, 19/5/15)

That'd be right.

But whichever environmental organisations lose their place on the Register of Environmental Organisations, and hence their tax-deductability status, you can be sure that one particular 'environmental' organisation will remain unscathed, namely, the Jewish National Fund Environmental Association of Australia Inc.

A most interesting outfit this one. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was created at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1901, long before environmentalism appeared on the scene.

Back then, it was simply an integral component of the British-backed Zionist settler-colonial invasion, occupation, and colonisation of Arab Palestine, which began in earnest with the Balfour Declaration of November, 1917 and continues to this day with Palestine almost wiped off the map, and the Palestinian people living either in exile or under occupation.

The JNF's founding details clearly mark it out as a tool of Zionist settlement:

"(1) Ownership of the 'Jewish National Fund' was to be vested in 'the Jewish people'. (2) Administration of the Fund was to be by the Small Actions Committee (executive of the World Zionist Organization). (3) Proceeds of the Fund were to 'be used only for the purchase of land in Palestine and Syria'. (4) No expenditures were to be effected until 'a total to be determined by the Congress had been achieved'; 200,000 pounds was suggested. (5) Of this suggested total, one-half could be used for the purchase of land, the remainder to be held to accumulate interest; 'until colonization on a large scale is possible', annual collections could... be dispersed similarly." (The Jewish National Fund, Walter Lehn, 1988, p 21)

These days, however, with green-washing all the go, the JNF definines itself, in its mission statement, as the 'Environmental arm of the Jewish people. Promoting an improved environment in Israel through support from Jews throughout the world.'

Exactly what this arm of Zionist colonisation and apartheid is doing on a register of Australian environmental organisations is just another of life's little mysteries.

That any parliamentary/bureaucratic tinkering with definitions might prove uncomfortable to the JNFEAA may be gleaned from the following submission, dated 7/12/11, sent by Robert P. Schneider, CEO of JNF & JNFEA to Treasury's Philanthropy and Exemptions Unit. In Re: Proposed introduction of a statutory definition of 'Charity', we find the following cute attempt to internationalise this most national of organisations:

"The JNF is the Australian arm of the Jewish National Fund, an international environmental agency headquartered in Israel but with supporting offices in some 40 countries around the world... The organisation... is entrusted with the conservation of land and natural resources in Israel but through the expertise it has gained over the years - in particular in afforestation and water conservation - this expertise is shared internationally through the organisation's affiliation to world conservation bodies as well as through its various offices around the world including Australia."

The submission goes on to plead that any legislative change should not come at the expense of "a body whose dominant purpose is charitable will not be precluded from being considered 'charitable' by reason only of the fact that it provides benefits in accordance with that purpose in an overseas country or countries." (PDF, treasury.gov.au)

Or countries? Pull the other!

And just in case you're wondering what those benefits might entail, here's the hard-sell from the latest full-page JNF add in the Australian Jewish News (20/3/15):

2015 JNF BLUE BOX PESACH CAMPAIGN: HELP KIDS LEARN FOR A BETTER FUTURE

"Every child deserves the right to live, learn and play without fear. So please help us create new Garden Classrooms for children in Israel's South. These children endure financial hardship and have been traumatised by years of rocket fire from Gaza. The Garden Classroom will become a haven for learning and activity and will give these vulnerable children an opportunity for educational and emotional development."

It's all in the labeling, you see: classrooms are classrooms are classrooms, but call them 'garden classrooms', and they somehow become 'environmental' and can be paid for by untaxed Australian dollars.

[FYI: Read my JNF backgrounder, A Certain Jewish Tree Planting Group (14/6/08).]

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fugly Israelis

Is there any country on earth that relishes a natural disaster (somewhere else, of course) quite like Israel?*

"In a city of broken hearts and broken buildings, the blue-and-white flag of a foreign country has become a symbol of kindness and compassion. 'When I got here I didn't know whose hospital it was and couldn't figure out what language people were talking,' says Beli Madar, waiting on a bench as her father has his leg amputated, after getting caught in earthquake rubble. The big-hearted military field hospital, for most Nepalese here, is the first they have seen of Israel. It's a place where the Israeli army uniform worn by all staff stands for something very different to the fighting it's become associated with, and where hospital directors who are used to valet service and standing ovations at conferences slum down in tiny tents to perform frontline medicine..." (Israel: Saving lives, bringing hope to Nepal, The Australian Jewish News, 8/5/15)

OK, OK, OK, enough already!

That, of course, is how Israel tries to distract us from "the broken hearts and broken buildings" of the Gaza Strip, broken - again and again and again - by those wearing the same army uniform and flying the same blue-and-white flag flaunted in post-earthquake Nepal.

And when the world's 'most moral army' has had its fill of breaking hearts and bones and buildings in Gaza (or kicking heads in the West Bank), many from its ranks choose to roam the world, 'letting off steam', and giving the rest of the planet an inkling of what it must be like for the Palestinians of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.**

When even nice Australian Jewish girls like Nicola Lipman feel they have to take their Israeli 'brothers and sisters' to task for their behaviour abroad, you know something's rotten in the state of Israel:

"I am a Jewish backpacker from Australia traveling through Israel as a part of a round-the-world adventure... However, now that I am here, I would like to have a heart-to-heart conversation with you, my backpacker friend from Israel. Yossi, Yonni, Yael... I'm not sure of your name, but I think you know who you are... Maybe you have just finished the army and are feeling tough enough to take on the world. At least, I hope you are, because you might not like some of the things I have to say. But what I am going to tell you, I assure you, is out of love... With tens of thousands of you out there backpacking at any one time and interacting with countless other backpackers (who are all writing home to their friends), a lot of people are getting the wrong impression about this country.... And those travelers may well go on to be the next politicians or business leaders of their countries - people who we all hope will adopt a positive stance towards Israel. So, Yossi, Yonni, Yael... or whatever your name is, next time you walk over to someone else's hammock, or open your mouth to yell at someone else out there who is just trying to make a living, please think about the impression you are creating and the potential impact on your country. There is enough negative press out there without Israelis giving themselves a bad reputation." (A message to my ugly brother, Nicola Lipman, ynetnews.com, 28/5/06)

Now you'd think Nicola might have twigged to the bleeding obvious connection between Israeli troops throwing their weight around in the occupied Palestinian territories, and the same mob, after swapping guns for backpacks, throwing their weight around in places such as South America and India. But no, she's obviously been inoculated against the bleeding obvious by a good, old-fashioned Zionist upbringing and/or education.

At any rate, what I really found interesting was not so much Nicola's 'message' to her fugly Israeli 'brothers and sisters', but some of the comments in the thread which followed it, so revealing are they of a society which has lived with its boot on the neck of another people for almost 50 years now:

"Working in the Israeli hotel industry in the past, I can relate to the article. Many Israeli tourists staying in Jerusalem hotels often leave enough trash in their rooms to fill 5 large trash bags (this is only after a weekend stay), steal countless towels (that were taken from the maid's cart).Anything on the maid's trolley is fair game: soap, shampoo, anything the maid found (even if left in the chambermaid's closet), sheets, pillow cases, pillows, bed covers, remote controls, even silverware from room service. The Israeli guests usually stay in the room till 11 or 12, hindering the cleaning process, then arrive back at 2 or 3 expecting everything to be cleaned 'tip top', or let you clean while the room is still occupied and instruct you on how to clean. The list goes on... and to top this off not one tip is left! (12. I can relate, Jerusalem, Israel)

"Yet again, another reason why I left Israel. A country totally devoid of human decency. It's nice to hear that they're bringing their special brand of hospitality to the rest of the world." (16. Israelis are nightmares, Jennifer, New York)

"Hate to make generalizations, but the behavior of most Israelis was the major reason why I didn't like Israel when I first went to live there, and I'm going back quite a number of years ago. That feeling never left me. Most of the Israelis I had met in New York were darn obnoxious, but I decided that should not deter me. After all, it couldn't be that these people represented Israeli society in general. How very wrong I was. It was this air of superiority that Israelis were better than everyone else, and in Israeli society, most Israeli Jews do consider themselves better than those who are not Jews. Israeli Jews even have the attitude that they are better than any Jew from anywhere else, especially Americans. I recall how Americans were typically called lazy, that they didn't have to work hard etc. I've traveled a lot and Israel was my great disappointment, also because of the racist attitudes that went along with their obnoxiousness. Yes, there are certainly decent Israelis who are not obnoxious or racist, but very few that I know of. (27. Hate to make generalizations, but, Marlene, New York)

OK, it's one thing for non-Israeli Jews to complain about fugly Israelis, but what if a Palestinian tries it?

"To the author, why don't you come and see how Israelis treat the native Palestinians? Why don't you come and visit Palestine and see the ugliest occupation on earth? Why don't you check on us and see how [Israeli] soldiers humiliate us? We are human beings, deserving to live with dignity in our own homeland. I've dealt with Israelis all my life. Good ones when [they]exist [are] afraid to stand up to bad ones. In all of the places I've visited, whenever I bargained [for] a deal, someone would say sh*t are you a Jew? I heard it many times in the EU and US." (36. Sad but true, Atmawi, Historic Palestine)

OMG, Atmawi, now you've done it!

"The day when you will not feel 'humiliated' anymore is coming soon. It is coming - the day for you to go and live in your right place, among your own, far from Israel. It is coming, the day when you will leave our Land and finally finish your ugly occupation of it. It is near, this day, B"H!" (37. Atmawi, Keren, Sao Paulo)

"Oh, because your brethren are so refined and civilized with your honor killings (don't like lil sister's boyfriend - 'humiliates' your pathetic male penial pride in your crap patriarchal society because she won't marry your mate, Ali - strangle her and shove her down the well), and firing guns in the air at weddings, shooting a few people together. And that is not to mention suicide bombs and wandering around jumping up and down like lunatics after 9/11 singing Ya Osama Ya Chabib. But I suppose I don't understand your culture. Mind you, lots of things can have culture - including rot and mould." (38. Atmawi, The Rational World)

Now what was the AJN saying about those wonderful Israelis in Nepal?

[*See my posts The Company He Keeps (13/10/09); Israel's Best Kept Secret (25/1/10); Me, Myself & I (26/1/10); **The Backman Beat-Up (23/1/09)]