Monday, September 29, 2008

The Lies that Blind

The aerial photograph of Jerusalem's glorious blue and gold Dome of the Rock, Islam's 3rd holiest shrine, was in the 2008 Rosh-Hoshanah supplement to The Australian Jewish News. Bizzarely, the caption read: "Jerusalem is the holiest Jewish city in the world." What, one wonders, were the AJN's readers supposed to make of this shot of Arab East Jerusalem's most famous landmark? What were they expected to see? Only the Wailing Wall (where the 135 Palestinian homes constituting the Mugrabi Quarter used to be before they were bulldozed in the final days of the 1967 war) obscured in the bottom right-hand corner? A demolition-to-be, a future Third Jewish Temple?

The question of what Zionists see, and more importantly don't see, in Palestine was raised by ABC Radio National's Encounter program on 21/9/08. Ties that Bind: Jewish Australians & New Zealanders was produced by Rachael Kohn, presenter of Radio National's The Spirit of Things and the ABC's most shameless spruiker for the Zionist project (see my posts Breathtaking Zionist Hypocrisy (27/6/08), Schmoozing with Aaron Klein! (2/7/08), & Schmoozing with Aaron Klein!2 (3/7/08).

To say that Kohn's piece was one-eyed is an understatement. Indeed, the only Palestinians to put in an appearance (as background noise) are introduced merely as "Arabs hawking postcards." Israel's systematic and daily violation of Palestinian rights is alluded to only in passing as "ongoing tensions with the Palestinians." And such tensions, of course, produce only Israeli victims: an "unprovoked attack" in Ashkalon, for example, and claims that "Gazans are getting better at shooting rockets" because they've been trained in Iran.

Kohn's sole focus is a party of Jews from Australia and New Zealand, "returned to the land of their forefathers." "What does Israel mean to you?" she wants to know. "Everything," says one. "I can't imagine our life without the context and background of Israel and the position of the Jews within it," says another. "A connection to history," says a third. "For most Australians who identify as Jewish Israel has strong emotional ties," concludes Kohn.

How wonderful for her interviewees. Comfortable homes down under, plus the wherewithal to indulge their fantasies. And they get the option of staying as long as they want, or even citizenship if the pull of that nebulous "everything" should prove too strong. That's because they've got the right mothers, Jewish of course. Millions of Palestinian refugees were expelled in 1948 to make way for a state for all Jews, including this lot. Alas, millions of Palestinian refugees, who haven't got Jewish mothers, cannot come and go in the land of their forefathers. Their "emotional ties" - not to mention the title deeds and keys they've clutched now for over 60 years - count for nothing with Kohn and her group huggers.

In keeping with the Zionist propaganda strategy of hyping Australia's role in evicting the Turks from Palestine (see my 1/5/08 post Myth In-Formation) to maintain Australian diplomatic support for Israel*, Kohn & Co visit the Australian Memorial Park in Be'er Sheva ("a gift of the Pratt Foundation") where the Israeli and Australian flags fly side-by-side. And in case that didn't quite sink in, we have Rabbi Aviva Kippin telling us that "among the Anzac Corps there would have been ancestors of the present Jewish community who long pre-date those of us who came from holocaust survivor background."

[*Think I'm exaggerating? Note the caption to the photograph of Frank Lowy in the Sydney Morning Herald, 29/9/08, p 7: "Frank Lowy at age 17, circled, in a unit of the Golani Brigade operating in the Lower Galilee in 1948. Photo from Australia & Israel: A Pictorial History by Leanne Piggott. Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, 2008." That's taxpayer funded propaganda, folks.]

Where the program really gets interesting, however, is Kohn's lament that "... in Australia, there's little understanding... of that Jewish loyalty to Israel. Zionism is a term of opprobrium for so many Australian non-Jews." [Needless to say, there's zero understanding on Kohn's part of Zionism's impact on Palestinians.] Her interlocutor, Rabbi John Levi, responds revealingly: "Yes, I think the anti-Israel campaign [Campaign, what campaign?] has been very successful. However, I also have to say, with very few exceptions, most Australian Federal politicians have either been to Israel or understand the importance of Israel to the Jewish community in Australia [There you have it - as long as we make sure that Australian pollie waffles are well and truly rambammed (See my posts Ram Bam Thankyou Ma'am, 19/2/08 & Rambammed, 23/2/08), that's all that really matters]. We're dealing really with either professional anti-Semites who cloak their anti-Semitism by being unduly critical of Israel, which after all, it's all right [So it's all right to be unduly critical of Israel, but be prepared to be smeared as an anti-Semite]; or the younger generation who find that they really want a great creation [? reaction] to what they're saying, then they stir up trouble on campus and then go their merry way when it's all finished and they have fun teasing their fellow Jewish students [So debating Palestine-Israel on campus amounts essentially to stirring up trouble on campus and teasing Jewish students]."

Just another promo for Israel on Your ABC, courtesy of the Australian taxpayer.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our News & Theirs

This is how The Sydney Morning Herald's Jason Koutsoukis reported (in part) the recent ramming of a group of Israeli soldiers by a 19-year old Palestinian man in occupied Arab East Jerusalem: "The Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, wants the homes of terrorists demolished shortly after they commit an attack as part of a plan to deter further terrorism-related incidents."

Palestinians who attack Israeli civilians are terrorists. So too are those who attack Israeli soldiers. And presumably, Palestinians who look sideways at Israelis are all terrorist sympathisers/apprentice terrorists/guilty bystanders.

"Jonathan Spyer, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Tel Aviv-based Global Research in International Affairs Project, said... Israel needed 'better intelligence from Palestinian sources identifying what exactly is motivating the attacks...' "

Always go for the Israeli expert. Never, repeat never, ask a Palestinian what might motivate such attacks - you'll never shut him up.

"An 800-kilometre security barrier enclosing the Palestinian West Bank... is credited with ending the wave of suicide bomb attacks in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities."

It couldn't possibly be credited with causing the current spate of attacks, now could it? I mean, how can a mere "security barrier," as opposed to an 8 metre high concrete wall which takes away your land and livelihood, drive anyone to murder? A "security barrier," moreover, which merely "encloses," not snakes its way through, the "Palestinian West Bank." Which, BTW, should never be described as the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. Readers should always be shielded from the harsh reality of the 'O' word.

"Joshua Teitelbaum, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle Eastern & African Studies, advocated similar restrictions on movement between East and West Jerusalem. 'That's the stick. The carrot is that Israel has to start investing in East Jerusalem'." (Barak urges swift retaliation on terrorists' homes, 24/9/08)

The Israeli expert again. Always the Israeli expert - or politician. From the Moshe Dayan Centre, no less. Moshe Dayan, loveable hero of the 'Six Day' War, who likened the 1967 Israeli occupations of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to rape. "'The situation between us [he told the Palestinian poet Fadwa Tukan] is like the complex relationship between a Bedouin man and the young girl he has taken against her wishes. But when their children are born, they will see the man as their father and the woman as their mother. The initial act will mean nothing to them. You, the Palestinians, as a nation, do not want us today, but we will change your attitude by imposing our presence upon you'." (1967, Tom Segev, p 478) Such a sensitive soul. And Israel's rape has worked a treat, hasn't it? Of course, Mr Israeli Expert talks of stick and carrot, the latter being Israeli investment in East Jerusalem (never Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem). What kind of Israeli investment? Why, more Israeli settlements of course: "The number of tenders in East Jerusalem has increased by a factor of 38 (1,761 housing units compared to 46 in 2007). (See Eliminating the Green Line - August 2008 at But you wouldn't expect Jason to be onto that, would you?

This is how The Australian's "Correspondents in Jerusalem" reported (in part) the same: "The earlier incidents... have prompted calls in Israel for restrictions on Palestinians living on the Israeli side of the barrier that Israel is building around the West Bank."

Ah, unanimity! The "barrier" is being built "around the West Bank," not deep inside the Israeli-occupied West Bank. And don't you just love that bit about "the Israeli side" of the "barrier," which "Palestinians" just happen to be "living on"? Now how did they get there?

"Earlier yesterday, an Israeli soldier lost an eye and three Palestinians were hurt when a woman sprayed acid at the soldier at a checkpoint near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, the army said." (Driver killed after Jerusalem car attack, 24/9/08)

Strike a light! Another Palestinian gone bezerk and, presumably, Israel continues to have no idea why (Where are the experts when you need them?). Nor do we, because, according to The Australian, the Israeli soldier and 3 Palestinians were hurt "when the woman sprayed acid at the soldier." Presumably, her aim was so lousy her fellow Palestinians copped the acid too. Wrong. What really happened was that the Israeli soldiers decided to do some spraying of their own - with bullets, wounding 3 Palestinians. But that's not terrorism. Only Palestinians do terrorism.

Oh, BTW, when you've got an accompanying pic, as The Australian has, and it shows a Palestinian kid in handcuffs, one uniformed thug grasping one arm while another applies a headlock, make sure, as The Australian does, your caption reads "Israeli police escort a Palestinian youth near the scene of yesterday's attack near the walls of Old Jerusalem." Presumably, every Palestinian within cooee of the car attack was implicated in the dastardly act. Ditto for those Palestinians within cooee of the woman who threw the acid. Breathing the same air I guess.

Now imagine this in an Australian newspaper. The particular Israeli act of bastardry (at the same checkpoint - Hawara) described wasn't of course reported here, the victims were only Palestinians after all: "Nothing helped. Not the pleas, not the cries of the woman in labor, not the father's explanations in excellent Hebrew, nor the blood that flowed in the car. The commander of the checkpoint, a fine Israeli who had completed an officers' course, heard the cries, saw the woman writhing in pain in the back seat of the car, listened to the father's heartrending pleas and was unmoved. The heart of the Israeli officer was indifferent and cruel. For over an hour, he would not let the car with the young woman in labor pass through the Hawara checkpoint on the way to the hospital in Nablus. Not to Tel Aviv; but to Nablus; not for shopping, not for work; but to get to the hospital in an emergency. Nothing helped. Nahil Abu-Rada is not the first woman to lose her baby this way because of the occupation, and she won't be the last. At least a half-dozen checkpoint births that ended in death have been documented here over the years, and nothing has changed. No punishments, no lessons, not even a request for forgiveness from parents who lose their children because of the coldheartedness of soldiers. The occupation kills - never has this slogan sounded so true as on that night, two weeks ago, at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus. No convoluted excuse or explanation from the Israel Defense Forces spokesman (military sources were quoted the day after the incident, making this outrageous comment: 'This baby would have died anyway') can erase the simple, chilling fact that for officers and soldiers in the occupation army we have established, human feeling has become alien, at least when it comes to Palestinians. Or the fact that there are still officers and soldiers in the IDF who behave with such lack of feeling toward a woman in labor who is about to lose her child."

You couldn't imagine the above in an Australian newspaper in a million years, could you? Shit, it even uses the 'O' word - twice! No, you'd have to go to the Israeli daily Haaretz and the honest and morally engaged journalism of Gideon Levy (Twilight Zone/Dead on arrival, 19/9/08) for that. What unbelievable hackery we have to put up with here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bigfoot in Mouth Disease

A friend sent me this because he knows I'm one of Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan's greatest fans. I liked it so much I thought I'd pass it on in this post - followed by the very latest Sheridanism, hot off the presses, for you to cogitate upon:

"This afternoon, President Bush will address Americans and urge them to support his gazillion dollar economic bailout. The latest survey shows that 19% of Americans think that the sun revolves around the Earth. (If you were wondering, it doesn't.) 64% of people in the USA feel that aliens have made contact with humanity, 50% think that UFOs regularly abduct people, and 37% think that the Little Green Men are already in touch with the White House. A third believe in ghosts, 25% in reincarnation and 24% in witches. In fact, Americans (20%) are more convinced that communication with the dead is possible than that Bush is doing a good job; they consider it more likely (19%) that Bigfoot will be discovered than that W will successfully steward their economy. In other words, there's whacked out people across the USA, folks prepared to swallow the most preposterous nonsense - but they draw the line at George Bush. The Republicans would do better to find a witch prepared to speak up for their bailout. All this raises the question: what kind of flakes are the 19% of Bush believers? Well, there's Greg Sheridan at The Australian: 'Let me be the first to offer a bold, revisionist view. George W. Bush may well be judged, ultimately, a great president, especially in foreign policy, especially in the war on terror'. To be fair, Sheridan thinks that a recognition of Bush's true greatness might take twenty or thirty years. Perhaps by then Bigfoot will be president." (George Bush: proof there is life on Mars, Jeff Sparrow, editor of Overland)

To which I add this gem from Sheridan's latest (25/9/08) opinion piece in The Australian: "The US has many tasks in the world and the world is an infinitely better place when the US undertakes those tasks fully." (Financial crisis casts shadow on alliances)

And if you liked that, you'll also like my 29/1/08 post Greg Sheridan: In Praise of 'Great' Men.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hurricane Herzl Fallout

The fallout from Hurricane Herzl (see my 22 & 23/9/08 posts, Storms Forecast & Hurricane Herzl) continues.

To begin with, The Australian's Zionist schadenfreude junkies just had to get in on the act:

"The Sydney Morning Herald editorialises on Monday that the domination of the Jewish majority in Israel is problematic: 'Tzipi Livni's party remains wedded to the problematic idea that the Jewish majority must always dominate Israel (but) they are at least willing to cede land to the Palestinians in order to secure a Jewish state'.

"A new day dawns and a new editorial line is adopted at the SMH on Tuesday: 'In our editorial yesterday, the Herald did not intend to imply that Israel's Jewish majority is in any way 'problematic' in itself. It is those who refuse to recognise Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, who are problematic by dealing themselves out of a constructive peace process'." (Cut & Paste, 24/9/08)

On the same day, the Herald published this letter:

"Vic Alhadeff (Letters, September 23) is wrong to say that non-Jewish minorities have been treated as free and equal citizens since Israel was established. For a start, the majority population in Israel in 1948 were Arab Palestinians. When the war started, many were forced off their land at the point of a gun. Since then, many Christian Palestinians in particular have emigrated because they have been discriminated against by Israeli governments in terms of housing, land ownership and job opportunities." Alexander Lane, Thornleigh

And today, this:

"I object strongly to the editorial statement that 'Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state is beyond question' (Time for Israel to decide, September 23). By putting the issue beyond question, is the Herald trying to ban freedom of thought? Or only of speech? I claim the right to question the legitimacy of the Jewish state in Palestine. The statement also denies reality. It assumes the land is uncontested. It is contested. It may be that the Palestinians have to give up contesting it, but that will be because they don't have any choice." Elizabeth Andrews, Maroubra

Update, 26/9/08: The Australian has an opinion piece by Kenan Malik titled How the West was lost for free speech: Freedom of expression is not just an important liberty but its foundation. Here's an extract: "Today, all it takes for a publisher to run for cover is a letter from an outraged academic. US publisher Random House recently torpedoed the publication of a novel... for fear of setting off another Rushdie affair." Rejig this for Hurricane Herzl and you get: 'Today, all it takes for an editor to run for cover is a phone call(s) from an outraged Israel lobbyist(s). On Tuesday, 23 September, an Australian newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, rewrote its editorial of the day to placate an angry Israel lobby'.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bend It Like Bendle

"It was an eventful week in the war on terror. It began with the conviction of key members of the Benbrika Muslim terror cell in Victoria, whose plans for mass murder included using huge bombs in 'an attack that would kill 1000 people' at railway stations, Crown Casino, and football matches, including the 2005 AFL grand final. And it ended with the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in flames, devastated by a huge truck bomb. Gruesome images showed emergency workers struggling around a gaping crater and through the ruined building, helping maimed survivors soaked in blood, dazed, confused and in pain. People on the upper floors, trapped by flames, were forced to leap to their deaths. At least 60 people were reported to be dead and 200 injured, with possibly many more buried under the debris. Such sinister and tragic episodes are all too common reminders of the extreme levels of destruction planned and executed by modern terrorist organizations." (Radical pacifists deny a murderous reality: Postmodernist terrorism studies at the defence academy could undermine the government's counterterrorism initiatives, warns Mervyn Bendle, The Australian, 22/3/08)

So begins the second instalment (the first being Uni row the new front in culture war, 20/9/08) of The Australian's jihad against Anthony Bourke, associate professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. Bourke had been attacked in Quadrant magazine as "pro-terrorist" by Merv Bendle, senior lecturer in history and communication at James Cook University in Townsville.

To return to the aforementioned second instalment, you don't have to be a senior lecturer in history or a terrorism expert or combination thereof to see that Bendle is 100% correct in claiming that the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the carnage of which he so graphically describes, is indeed terrorism pure and simple. The problem with Bendle, however, is that he goes on to savage Bourke for "his insistence that terrorism is practised by both militant groups and governments" and his alleged refusal "to distinguish between the terrorism of al-Qa'ida, and the military actions of nation states, such as 'the US bombing of North Vietnam and Cambodia, Israel's bombing of Lebanon, or the sanctions against Iraq'."

For Bendle this is not terrorism:

First there was the American airstrike on August 22: "A visitor to the [Afghan] village [of Azizabad] and to three graveyards within its limits on Aug 31 counted 42 freshly dug graves. Thirteen of the graves were so small they could hold only children; another 13 were marked with stones in the way that Afghans identify women's graves... At the battle scene, shell craters dotted the the courtyards and shrapnel had gouged holes in the walls. Rooms had collapsed and mud bricks and torn clothing lay in uneven mounds where people had been digging. In two places blood was splattered on a ceiling and a wall. An old woman pushed forward with a cauldron full of jagged metal bomb fragments, and a youth presented cellphone video he said was shot on the day of the bombing... The smell of bodies lingered in one compound, causing villagers to start digging with spades. They found the body of a baby, caked in dust, in the corner of a bombed-out room. Cellphone images... showed two lines of about 20 bodies each laid out in the mosque, with the sounds of loud sobbing and villagers' cries in the background. An Afghan doctor who runs a clinic in a nearby village said he counted 50 to 60 bodies of civilians, most of them women and children and some of them his own patients, laid out in the village mosque on the day of the strike."

Then there was the American raid: "'I woke up when I heard shooting', Zainab, a 26-year old woman who doctors said was wounded in the attack, said in an interview in the Herat city hospital. 'The shooting was very close to our house. We just stayed where we were because it was dangerous to go out. When the bombardment started there was smoke everywhere and we lay down to protect ourselves'. Yakhakhan, 51, one of several men in the village working for a private security firm... said he heard shooting and was just coming out of his house when he saw his neighbor's sons running. 'They were killed right here; they were 10 and 7 years old', he said. In the compound next to his, he said, four entire families, including those of his two brothers, were killed. 'They bombard us, they hate us, they kill us', he said of the Americans. 'God will punish them'. A policeman, Abdul Hakim, whose four children were killed and whose wife was paralysed, said she told him how an Afghan informer accompanying the American Special Operations forces had entered the compound after the bombardment and shot dead her brother, Reza Khan; her father; and an uncle as they were trying to help her. She said she had heard her father plead for help and ask the Afghan: 'Are you Muslim? Why are you doing this to us?' Then she heard shots, and her father did not speak after that, he said." (Evidence points to civilian toll in Afghan raid, Carlotta Gall, The New York Times, 8/9/08)

But this is not, repeat not, terrorism. Right, Merv?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hurricane Herzl

As predicted in my last post, the Sydney Morning Herald has borne the brunt of a Storm of Outrage by Zionist lobbyists following the mysterious appearance in yesterday's 'Yippee, It's Tzipi' editorial of the heretical suggestion that Israel's 'democracy' is not quite as 'vibrant' as the party line dictates.

God only knows what transpired since yesterday's editorialist unwittingly threw caution to the winds and blurted out the bleeding obvious. Did The Lobby send Juval the Avenger (see my 3/9/08 post The Israeli Mystique) around to rub him out? I'll leave it to your imagination. Whatever happened, it was certainly bloodcurdling enough to force today's editorialist to grovel big time: a whole new 'Yippee, It's Tzipi' editorial (Time for Israel to decide) on "Israel's extraordinarily vibrant democracy."

And this extraordinarily vibrant mea culpa: "[T]he point is that Israel is the Middle East's only democracy, and it abides by the rule of law. In our editorial yesterday, the Herald did not intend to imply that Israel's Jewish majority is in any way 'problematic' in itself. Indeed, it is the raison d'etre for the foundation and existence of the state itself. Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state is beyond question. [Diversion Alert!] It is those who refuse to recognise Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, who are problematic by dealing themselves out of a constructive peace process. [Platitude Alert!] The issue, as ever, is whether Israelis and Palestinians will find the ways and means to live side-by-side in peace and security, each with their own homelands, each forging their own destiny. [Fawning Alert!] How to get to this goal, and how forthcoming Israel can be on issues like the settlements in the West Bank, are at the heart of political debate inside Israel - a debate which Israel is to be commended for holding."

An act of journalistic contrition like no other! But there's more! There, to the right, among the letters to the editor, nestled this little number from "Vic Alhadeff chief executive, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Darlinghurst (See editorial, left.)": "Your editorial attributes to Israel's ruling Kadima party 'the problematic idea that the Jewish majority must always dominate Israel'... This reflects a fundamental minunderstanding of the political realities. Israel is the state of the Jewish people and was established with international endorsement on that basis. While there are 22 Arab-majority states, Israel is the only state in which the Jewish people exercise their right to national self-determination [at the expense of the right to national self-determination of the Palestinian people]. Neither Kadima nor any other major party in Israel believes 'the Jewish majority must always dominate Israel'*. All those parties have long accepted that, as in any democracy, the majority rules, and that non-Jewish minorities, which have been present in Israel since it was established, have the right to live there as free and equal citizens. The tyranny of the majority is no more acceptable in Israel than in any other democracy." [*Well then, why not allow the Palestinian refugees of 1948 to return?]

It would seem that here we have a textbook case of a foreign lobby with the clout to reach into the editorial rooms of the nation's newspapers and, by means to which we are not privy, enforce compliance with its agenda. What an unseemly and disturbing spectacle.

The Lobby - 1, Press freedom - 0

Monday, September 22, 2008

Storms Forecast

The Sydney Morning Herald's editorials on the subject of Palestine-Israel invariably plumb the depths of cliche-ridden, Israel-centric cluelessness.

Today's, on "Israel's rising political star" Tzipi Livni, was for the most part true to form: "For all its problems, Israel's turbulent democracy knows a good woman when it sees one. Golda Meir, who served as prime minister in the 1960's and '70s, used to be called 'the best man in the government'. Ms Livni will require some of that spirit if she is to prevail over her ambitious rivals, engage or defeat her nation's sworn enemies, and achieve what none of her predecessors have done by finding a durable peace that secures Israel's borders and future." (Tough tests for Israel's new PM)

There's the usual glib assumption that Israel is a democracy, the grotesque misrepresentation of the brutalised, occupied Palestinian people as some kind of existential threat, and the truly bizarre notion that Israel has been/is seeking anything other than the peace of the grave. Then there's the invocation of Golda Meir's "spirit" as some kind of example for Livni to follow. That's right, the same Golda Meir who was of the opinion that Israel's "sworn enemies" didn't even exist (See my 17/8/08 post, The Zionist La Passionara).

As I said - abysmal cluelessness. Which is why the following sentence, or part thereof, shook me to the core: "Palestinian leaders have responded positively to her ascent, and while her party remains wedded to the problematic idea that the Jewish majority must always dominate Israel, they are at least willing to concede land to the Palestinians in order to secure a Jewish state."

Let me run that bit past you again: "... the problematic idea that the Jewish majority must always dominate Israel... " Could it be any clearer? The core concept of political Zionism - that Israel should be a Jewish state, which is to say a state with a Jewish majority - is PROBLEMATIC! You bet it's problematic. As problematic as Israel's expulsion of 750,000 Palestinian Arabs so as to ensure an absolute Jewish majority in that part of Palestine (78%) overrun by Zionist forces in 1948. As the Palestinian Jewish community's then leader, David Ben-Gurion, had said in the immediate wake of the UN partition resolution of 29 November 1947, "Only a state with at least 80% Jews is a viable and stable state." (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Ilan Pappe, p 48) As problematic as any nation obsessed with cleansing its indigenous inhabitants to achieve the 'right' kind of demographic balance.

A slip of the pen? A dim but real awareness that the Zionist project in Palestine is fundamentally flawed? Can the Herald really be unaware of what it has unleashed here? Hell hath few furies like the Zionist lobby scorned. Furl the sails. Batten down the hatches. The Herald's surely in for stormy weather.

The Left Hand... & the Right

It doesn't look as though the federal government's left hand knows what its right is doing:

On the one hand: "Deep within the recesses of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, a highly sensitive log is steadily being compiled. It is a secret database of every contact, every communication between Australian diplomats, ministers or other officials and representatives of foreign governments over a 4-year period. Not unlike the privacy diary of a lovelorn teenager, recording kisses or rebuffs from those he would court, it catalogues how other countries feel about Australia. More specifically, it records where 191 countries stand on Australia's bid to win a 2-year seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2013. The vote will take place in 2012. Are they committed to Australia? If not, could they be persuaded to vote for us? Or are they a lost cause?... Despite all the plaudits for the Rudd Government's efforts [the indigenous apology, ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, increase in foreign aid, setting up an International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament etc], however, many UN experts believe it will not be enough. They say Rudd's decision to contest the 2013-14 seat is premature, and his government needs more time to convince the international community of its commitment to the UN. Dr Marianne Hanson, of the University of Queensland, says 'a lot of people aren't aware of how badly Australia's reputation has suffered in the UN and that, unfortunately, is a result of the Howard government's foreign policy'. Australia, says Hanson, is seen as too close to the US, and must defeat the perception that it is America's deputy sheriff without an independent foreign policy. This is particularly important if Australia is to win African and Middle Eastern votes." (UN mission is an uphill battle, Cynthia Banham, Sydney Morning Herald, 6/9/08)

On the other: "Kevin Rudd made perhaps the most important speech of his prime ministership to the RSL national congress in Townsville on Tuesday... Two things about the speech stand out in terms of force structure. Rudd wants an army, not just a special forces unit, that can fight a war if it has to, not merely conduct peacekeeping operations. And the commitment to defending Australia's sea lanes of communication, because of our dependence on trade, is a very long distance indeed from the traditional continental-defence-of-Australia school with which Labor was once associated. Australia's key sea lanes of communication are through the Malacca Straits in Southeast Asia and through the Straits of Hormuz in the Middle East. It is absolutely inconceivable that any Australian navy, no matter how much it was expanded, could conduct operations in those waters on its own. Therefore Rudd is talking about defence of Australia's sea lanes of communication in coalition with the US, the world's dominant naval power." (PM seeks balanced military, Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, The Australian 13/9/08)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Amazing Rose

The Rose Jackson saga continues. For those new to the amazing story of how young Rose pulled off a St Paul on the road to... Jerusalem, just click on the Rose Jackson tag at the end of this post.

Rose is to speak today at a "political-training seminar organised by the NSW Australasian Union of Jewish Students" at Shalom College in Kensington (to be continued on 23/9/08 at NSW Parliament House). She will be sharing the platform with such luminaries as NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal, education minister Verity Firth, Liberal Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell, shadow attorney-general Greg Smith, Coogee MP Paul Pearce , Liberal MLC David Clarke, NSW Jewish Board of deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council director of international and community affairs Jeremy Jones, Woollhara councillor Anthony Boskovitz, former Waverley Council ALP candidate Luke Whittington and others. What a line up!

But all eyes will no doubt be on Rose, whose participation was introduced thus by The Australian Jewish News: "... controversial figure Rose Jackson, councillor George Newhouse's former campaign manager, who copped flack in the press last year [ meaning The Australian] for espousing anti-Zionism. Jackson has since recanted her comments and is tipped to nab a seat on Waverley Council based on initial polling results from last week's local council elections." (Politicos to address AUJS, 19/9/08)

As I wasn't invited, I can only guess at this stage what tune Rose will be singing. Amazing Grace, perhaps? 'Amazing grace/How sweet the sound/ That saved a wretch like me/I once was lost/But now I'm found/Was blind/But now I see'.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Don't Mention the 'T' Word!

Writing about the parents of the new Israeli prime minister, Tzipi Livni, the Fairfax press simply called a spade a spade:

"Livni's parents were senior members of the British Mandate-era Jewish terrorist group, the Irgun, which was responsible for the 1946 bombing of the Mandate headquarters in the King David Hotel that killed 91 people. Born into such a large pro-Zionist family, Livni was long opposed to the idea of an independent state for Palestinians and was a firm believer in the dream of a so-called Greater Israel." (Livni the favourite to become Israeli PM, Jason Koutsoukis, Sydney Morning Herald 13/9/08)

The Murdoch press, on the other hand, reserves the 'T' word for Palestinians, Arabs, and more generally Muslims. Other, pre-9/11 terms, seldom heard in the ms media these days, and never before in Murdoch fish-wrapper*, were trotted out to describe Eitan Livni and Sara Rosenberg:

"Daughter of Eitan Livni and Sara Rosenberg, leaders of the Irgun guerilla movement, which fought to establish Israel in the 1940s." (Golda moment, The Australian, 19/9/08)

"However, the young politician initially stood out largely because of her revolutionary parents, both of whom had held key positions in the Jewish resistance, which had fought British rule before Israel's creation in 1948. Her parents... played key militant roles in the hardline nationalist group, Irgun, which had attacked the mandated British troops for 3** decades in a campaign that was labelled terrorism." (Child of revolutionaries secures real power, Martin Chulov, The Australian, 19/9/08)


[*With one (1) exception: See my 6/8/08 post The 'R' Word. **Chulov and/or his editor is here playing fast and loose with the facts to fit with the myth of a heroic Zionist struggle for independence from the Zionist movement's colonial backer, rebadged as oppressor. For the Irgun terrorists to have been fighting British Mandate troops for "3 decades," the organization would have to have been around in 1918, 4 years before the British Mandate even began (1922), and 13 years before it actually came into existence (1931)! In fact, Irgun terrorists didn't begin knocking off British troops until 1944. Palestinian Arab civilians, however, were a different matter - See my 27/6/08 post, Breathtaking Zionist Hypocrisy.]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Laying It On

Few people do bullshit better than Zionist propagandists:

"This month we celebrate the 80th birthday of a remarkable emissary to mankind, a man who has become the voice of the victims of the Holocaust and a champion of dignity for all people. In a world devoid of true heroes, Elie Wiesel has endured as a guardian of justice and compassion, becoming humanity's greatest moral witness, as well the official bearer of conscience and memory... Although his resolute commitment emanated from the pain inflicted on the Jewish people, Wiesel's crusades encircle the globe, enfolding all peoples and races, such as Nicaragua's Miskito Indians, the Vietnamese boat people, Darfur, Biafra, the suffering children of Cambodia or Bangladesh, Tibetans under Chinese rule, South African apartheid, the genocide in Kosovo, Guatemalan refugees and famine in Africa." (Happy Birthday, Mr Wiesel, Dvir Abramovich, The Australian Jewish News, 12/9/08)

All peoples and races?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Light in the Gloom

Just occasionally - so occasionally I'm moved to write this - The Australian's neocon gloom is pierced by a ray of light.

Let's start with the usual gloom: to whit, foreign editor Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan on Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin (Command of foreign policy exposes candidate's critics, 15/9/08). Predictably, he has the hots for her:-

Her speech at the Republican convention was "brilliant." And, even in unscripted interview (with Charlie Gibson on the American ABC), "with perfect nuance, Palin reflected McCain's foreign policy, speaking knowledgeably about Iran, Russia, Georgia, NATO and the Cold War, and with passion of her support for US troops." Of course, huffed Sheridan, her 'please explain the Bush doctrine' gaffe was no reason to compare her with Pauline Hanson, as did the curmudgeonly "provincial, ill-informed, ignorant and prejudiced" editorial in The Age. Palin "is on top of her brief, has internalised the McCain foreign policy in detail and is more than a match for liberal partisans disgracing the profession of journalism by their inability to deal with reality."

All jokes aside about Sheridan taking The Age to task for "disgracing the profession of journalism" and having an "inability to deal with reality," let's now leave the gloom for the light. Here's Thomas Frank on Sarah Palin in the same issue (Palin's appeal masks a cruel lie*, 15/9/08):-

"It tells us something about Sarah Palin's homage to small-town America, delivered to an enthusiastic Republican Party convention last week, that she chose to fire it up with an unsourced quotation from the all-time champion of fake populism, the belligerent right-wing columnist Westbrook Pegler. 'We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity', the vice-presidential candidate said, quoting an anonymous 'writer', which is to say, Pegler. Small-town people, Palin went on, are 'the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food and run our factories and fight our wars'. They are authentic; they are noble, and they are her own: 'I grew up with these people'.

"But what really defines them in Palin's telling is their enemies, the people who supposedly 'look down' on them. The opposite of the heartland is the loathsome array of snobs and fakers, 'reporters and commentators', lobbyists and others of 'the Washington elite'. Presumably the various elite Washington lobbyists who have guided John McCain's presidential campaign were exempt from Palin's criticism. As would be former house speaker Dennis Hastert, who hymned the 'Sarah Palin part of the party' thus: 'Their kids aren't going to go to Ivy League schools. Their sons leave high school and join the military to serve our country. Their husbands and wives work 2 jobs to make sure the family is sustained'.

"Generally speaking, though, when husbands and wives work 2 jobs each, it is because working one job doesn't earn them enough to get by. The 2-job workers in middle America aren't spurning the Ivy League and joining the military just because they're people of principle. It is because they can't afford to do otherwise. Leave the fantasy land of convention rhetoric, and you will find that small-town America, this legendary place of honesty and sincerity and dignity, is not doing very well. If you drive west from Kansas City, Missouri, you will find towns where Main Street is largely boarded up. You will see closed schools and hospitals. You will hear about depleted groundwater and depopulation. And eventually you will ask yourself how did this happen? Was it those 'reporters and commentators' with their fancy college degrees who wrecked Main Street, USA?

"No. For decades now we have been electing people like Sarah Palin, who claimed to love and respect the folksy conservatism of small towns, and yet who have unfailingly enacted laws to aid the small town's mortal enemies. Without raising an antitrust finger they have permitted fantastic concentration in the various industries that buy the farmers crops. They have undone the New Deal system of agricultural price supports in favour of schemes called 'Freedom to Farm' and loan deficiency payments - each reform apparently designed to secure just one thing out of small-town America: cheap commodities for the big food processors."

[*Originally written for The Wall Street Journal.]

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Presumably, Bren Carlill, "policy analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council," thinks he can get away with peeing on our legs while telling us it's raining (New world in their hands: Palestinians must demonstrate they can establish a viable state before peace can come, The Australian, 13/9/08):

"Since the Palestine Liberation Organization's inception in 1964, 3 years before Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began, its objective was to destroy the Zionist entity and replace it with a Palestinian state." Presumably, the PLO emerged out of thin air. Presumably, it could have no possible reason for replacing "the Zionist entity," aka Israel, with "a Palestinian state."

"By signing the Oslo accords, Arafat signalled a policy reversal." Presumably, PLO policy was set in stone from 1964 to 1993.

"But this didn't happen. The pro-Israel Palestinian Media Watch, established to examine what the Palestinian leadership said about Israel to Palestinians, raised the alarm. Conspiracy theories were rife: Israelis were said to have distributed poisoned lollies in front of Palestinian schools, spread HIV-AIDS in Palestinian society and so on." Presumably, "the Palestinian leadership" (presumably Arafat) turned Palestinians against Israel. Presumably, the mass expulsions of Palestinians in 1948, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, the theft of Palestinian lands to make way for Israeli settlements, walls, roads, military bases and security zones, the daily murder and maiming of Palestinian civilians, their imprisonment and torture, the demolition of their homes, and the strangulation of their economy had nothing to do with it.

"Televised sermons told Palestinians Jews were Allah's enemies." Presumably, Israeli rabbis were as one in telling Israelis Arabs were Jehovah's friends.

"Educational programs prepared Palestinians for a life instead of, not beside, Israel." Presumably, Israeli educational programs have been preparing Israeli citizens for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories for the past 41 years. Presumably, all those settlers who now live beside, around, in the midst of, or on top of, Palestinian towns and villages flunked Civics 101.

"Most shocking was the indoctrination of children. Instead of teaching ideals of peace, maps in schoolbooks omitted the word Israel. Summer camps for children were frequently named after Palestinian terrorists. Hatred of Jews was encouraged not rejected." Presumably, Israeli textbooks overflow with references to Palestine, clearly delineate the Green Line as Israel's border and do not refer to the occupied West Bank as Judea and Samaria. Presumably too, there are no monuments memorialising Israeli terrorists in Israel. The Menachem Begin Heritage Centre, for example, is a figment of the imagination. And presumably, hatred of Palestinians is not only discouraged, but punished - by sending the offenders to live among them, albeit in fortified playpens aka settlements, in the occupied West Bank.

"If Israelis were betrayed by anti-peace Palestinian statements and actions, Palestinians felt betrayed by the increasing number of roadblocks and settlements." [Nice: Israelis are betrayed, Palestinians merely feel betrayed.] Presumably, whenever Israelis talk about peace, hearing-impaired Palestinians only hear piece (of Palestine). This hurts Israelis deeply. They feel rejected, even betrayed!

"The settlement movement began in the late 1960s, after Israel's offer to return the occupied territories in exchange for peace had been rejected." Presumably, the following account, by Israeli historian Tom Segev, is a mere figment of the author's imagination: "Israel offered a withdrawal from Sinai and the Golan in return for direct negotiations for a peace treaty... Under the proposal... Israel would hang on to the Gaza Strip... [and] was also required to agree to a demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula... Syria was asked to give up the disputed territory along the border, which had, until the war, been a demilitarized zone. The Syrians would have also had to agree to demilitarization of the Golan Heights and to undertake not to obstruct the flow of the Jordan River sources into Israel. These proposed peace agreements with Egypt and Syria were mutually exclusive, but both countries were required to disregard Jordan: the offers... included not a single word about the future of the West Bank, or about Jerusalem and its residents." (1967, pp 500-501) " Presumably, a prototype of Barak's 'generous offer'.

"Back in Jewish hands for the first time in milleniums, the West Bank is the biblical heartland. From Amos to Zechariah, almost every personality in the Old Testament lived and operated in the area. [Careful, Bren, your Christian Zionism's showing.] Often religiously motivated, the settlers established communities near culturally significant sites or on the ruins of Jewish villages destroyed 19 years earlier in the 1948-49 war of independence." [Nice: the kibbutz is now a "village." How bucolic!] Presumably, Israeli settlements have God's backing, so they're kosher.

"Despite finding work in the settlements, Palestinians resented their presence." Funny that. Presumably, those about to be shot should be grateful for the grave they're forced to dig first.

"Adding to this resentment, Israeli security measures, enacted because of Palestinian terrorism, affected all Palestinians." Presumably, the Palestinians should have welcomed the Israeli occupation with flowers and handed over their keys and title deeds to the Holy Rollers from the west before hitting the road.

Presumably, the bottom of AIJAC's barrel can't be too far away.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Rose by Any Other Name

[To be read in conjunction with my earlier posts on the Rose Jackson saga: A Faustian Bargain (25/8/08) & Working Out the Mechanics of Our Relationship (18/1/08).]

"The rising Labor star and Waverley Council candidate, Rose Jackson, had an early baptism in politics as campaign manager on George Newhouse's high-profile tilt for Wentworth during the last federal election. Ms Jackson, who was then 22, awoke one morning to a damning front-page story in The Australian accusing her of espousing anti-Zionism in an online student discussion forum. 'I went straight into the bathroom and vomited', she said yesterday. 'I knew I had been misrepresented in such a fundamental way... it not only made me question why I was in politics, it made me feel like my career was over'." (Energy & charisma may take Jackson to a council seat, Josephine Tovey, Sydney Morning Herald, 10/9/08)

Let's get this straight. Rose was heaving over her toilet bowl after reading The Australian. As you would. Specifically, however, after reading a "damning" story "accusing" her of "espousing anti-Zionism." Oh no, not that, not anti-Zionism! Not opposition to colonialism, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, racism, collective narcissism, and general swaggering thuggery!

Guess it just wasn't your day, Rose.

Update: This popped up in The Australian's Cut & Paste of 12/9/08: "Would-be Labor councillor Rose Jackson claims in The Sydney Morning Herald that she was "fundamentally misrepresented" in The Australian: [insert above quote from the Herald] But in an article in The Australian on August 23, Jackson admits she did espouse anti-Zionism as a student activist: 'Rose Jackson said two years ago she opposed Zionism because it calls for the creation of a Jewish state, 'and I think all governments should be secular. No Jewish, Islamic, Christian states... in the world, just good, robust, secular democracies'. 'Looking back, I think I just bought the prevailing polemic on campus at the time that Israel was some sort of quasi-theocracy. Having explored the subject more deeply since then, I understand this is nonsense', she told The Australian Jewish News this week. 'I realise I just misunderstood'."

You're branded for life, Rose.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hamish Does Hasbara

"Israel developed its bomb not because it thought it an essential part of being an independent state, but as a precaution against any of its regional enemies getting one. As the Israeli politician Yossi Beilin once explained it to a group of reporters in New Delhi, this set it apart from the Indians or Chinese. Unlike India, Israel would be ready to trade its bombs away in a genuine and all-inclusive regional non-nuclear pact."

This example of Israeli apologetics cropped up in a Sydney Morning Herald piece, Iran strike a costly attempt to buy time (6/9/08) by Asia-Pacific editor Hamish McDonald.

McDonald's claim that Israel, the Middle East's only nuclear-armed state, is, of course, completely groundless:

"Less than 72 hours before it completes its 2-year term in the 15-member UN Security Council, Syria formally introduced a resolution Monday calling for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the politically volatile Middle East... Syrian Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad... said Syria introduced the proposal on behalf of the 22 Arab countries at the UN. The resolution was also endorsed by the 117 members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the 54-nation Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), he added. If the Council fails to vote on it by Wednesday, Mekdad said, the new Arab member in the Council, Algeria, 'will continue to pursue the objectives of the resolution'." (Syria calls for nuclear free Middle East, Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service, 30/12/03)

"Egypt Wednesday proposed the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East and blasted Israel for standing in the way, at a meeting in Vienna of the UN atomic watchdog... Egyptian ambassador Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy told th 139-nation general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency that 'Egypt will be tabling a draft resolution on... a nuclear-free zone' and hopes for 'a serious international commitment in this area'." (Egypt proposes nuclear-free zone in Middle East, AFP, 28/9/05)

No prizes for guessing Israel's responses.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

American Jihad

What the mainstream media say:

"Over the past decade, every major terrorist attack by Islamic militants against Western interests can be traced back to Afghan training camps and Pakistani madrassas." (Editorial, Afghan challenge: The West cannot waiver in its commitment, The Australian, 9/9/08)

And what they don't say:

"How did right-wing Islamism, an ideological tendency with small and scattered numbers before the Afghan War [1979- 1989], come to occupy the global center stage after 9/11? The answer lies in the Afghan jihad [against the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan], which gave it not only the organization, the numbers, the skills, the reach, and the confidence but also a coherent objective. Before the Afghan jihad, the right wing of political Islam was divided into 2 camps: those identified with pro-American regimes, as in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and those opposed to these same regimes, seeing them as American stooges that had betrayed the Palestinian cause. Unlike Islamists who organized political parties and sought to galvanize ordinary people into political activity, however, the right-wingers had no program outside of isolated acts of urban terror. Until the Afghan jihad, right-wing Islamists out of power had neither the aspiration of drawing strength from popular organization nor the possibility of marshaling strength from any alternative source. The Reagan administration rescued right-wing Islamism from this historical cul-de-sac. The American jihad claimed to create an Islamic infrastructure of liberation but in reality forged an 'infrastructure of terror' that used Islamic symbols to tap into Islamic networks and communities. To understand the deep-seated effects of the decision to ideologize the war as Islamic, it is necessary to look at different aspects of the mobilization that was the American jihad.

"The blueprint for the Afghan jihad was worked out by the CIA, in collaboration with the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. For the actual conduct of the war, the CIA acquired weapons and specialists in guerilla warfare from different countries and delivered them, along with intelligence and surveillance information on Afghanistan, to the ISI. The ISI was responsible for transport of weapons to the border, supervised the training of Afghan fighters in Pakistan, and coordinated their operations inside Afghanistan. While ISI was the main regional proxy in the operation, the second line included the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, with the intelligence services of Britain, China, the Philippines, and even Israel also involved.

"... Beyond the front-line proxy states and their intelligence agencies, increasingly the intermediaries were private institutions, both religious and secular. The overall effect was progressively to privatize the war on an international basis. From this dynamic emerged the forces that carried out the operation we know as 9/11.

"Had the anti-Soviet crusade been organized in a national framework, the CIA would have looked for mainly Afghani recruits to wage it. But with the war recast as an international jihad, the CIA looked for volunteers from Muslim populations all over the globe. Outside of Pakistan, the Arab countries were the main source of volunteers, who became known as Afghan-Arabs...

"The CIA looked for a Saudi prince to lead this crusade but was unable to find one. It settled for the next best, the son of an illustrious family closely connected to the Saudi royal house... Bin Laden was recruited, with US approval at the highest level, by Prince Turki al-Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence. According to Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, Osama bin Laden first travelled to Peshawar in 1980 and met mujahideen leaders there, and for the next 2 years he returned frequently with Saudi donations for the cause. In 1982, he decided to settle in Peshawar. In 1986, bin Laden worked as the major contractor to build a large CIA-funded project: the Khost tunnel complex deep under the mountains close to the Pakistani border. The Khost complex housed a major arms depot, a training facility, and a medical center for the mujahideen. It is the Khost complex that President Clinton decided in 1998 to bomb with Tomahawk cruise missiles. It is also in the Khost complex - the famed mountain caves - that the United States later fought al-Qaeda remnants in its own Afghan War.

"Though Osama bin Laden had been a student of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, the first Afghan-Arab gatekeeper of the jihad in the mid-80s, a break between Azzam and bin Laden came towards the end of the Afghan jihad. The parting of the ways was the result of a disagreement in 1989 over the future of the jihad: bin Laden 'envisioned an all-Arab legion, which eventually could be used to wage jihad in Saudi Arabia and Egypt', whereas Azzam 'strongly opposed making war against fellow-Muslims'. Soon after, Azzam and 2 of his sons were blown up by a car bomb... A meeting was held toward the end of 1989 in the town of Khost to decide on the future of the jihad. One of the 10 at the meeting was a Sudanese fighter named Jamal al-Fadl. He testified in a New York courtroom in one of the trials connected with the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in East Africa that a new organization was created in that meeting to wage jihad beyond the borders of Afghanistan. The organization was al-Qaeda, 'the Base'. Bin laden thus emerged as the organizer and patron of the most prominent privatized arm of the American jihad."(Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror, Mahmood Mamdani, 2004, pp 129-133)

"As the turf war culminated in a seesaw battle for Kabul, the [Afghan] civil war [which followed the 1989 Soviet withdrawal] turned vicious. When it became obvious that [Gulbuddin] Hikmatyar's forces [Hizb-i-Islami] were losing ground, the Pakistani army shifted its backing to the Taliban, a group mainly comprising students it had trained since 1980 in madrassahs in the North-West Frontier Province. The ISI saw the Taliban as amenable to the tight control and thus a preferable substitute for the now discredited Islamic coalition led by Hikmatyar. With the Cold War over, the focus of official America also narrowed to a percuniary dimension: oil. And for American oil interests - particularly Unocal, the giant oil company that hoped to build a trans-Afghan pipeline from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean as an alternative to going through Iran - any group that could offer security in Afghanistan would do. On October 4, 1996, The Los Angeles Times reported that a new rumor was making the rounds of Kabul - 'many are sure that the Clinton administration is supporting the Taliban, the victorious Islamic militia' - and added that the conspiracy theory was 'plausible, given the great mystery that shrouds the Taliban's rise and rapid advance: How did a ragtag force that emerged in late 1994 among Muslim religious students in the southern region of Kandahar and adjacent areas of Pakistan grow so quickly that, two years later, it has become master of three-quarters of Afghanistan? Who paid for its weaponry, ammunition and vehicles? Who organized its training and logistics? Is intelligence or military assistance received from outside one of the reasons the Taliban has enjoyed astonishing, and relatively bloodless, successes over experienced mujahideen who, for nearly a decade, fought occupying Soviet forces?' It cited 'generous support' from Pakistan but still wondered whether the United States was involved. A ranking UN official said: 'The U.S. wants law and order in Afghanistan, and the Taliban now seem like the best bet'. A local director of a foreign charity was equally cynical: 'There are two different things - American state interests and human rights. For the politicians running America, human rights take second place.' And a Kabul university graduate who worked as a translator asked the reporter, 'How can your country want to deal with people who whip women for not conforming to their dress code?' After a State Department meeting with a visiting Taliban delegation on February 3, 1997, a senior U.S. diplomat explained his government's point of view: 'The Taliban will probably develop like Saudi Arabia. There will be Aramco, pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that.' " (ibid, pp 159-161)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bloody Fools & Rabid Dogs

In my 19/5/08 post, Supping With the Devil, on Israel's arms exports, I cited Australia's projected purchase (initiated by the Howard Government) of Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The following updates (3/9/08 & 5/9/08) have appeared in The Australian:

1) "The axe is poised to fall on... the $150 million contract to buy UAVs for the Australian Defence Force... The Israeli-built 1-View 250 UAV system is dogged with technical problems and more than 2 years behind schedule. The relationship between the partners in the project, US aircraft builder Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries, has deteriorated in recent months... A new regiment... had been raised to operate the Tactical UAVs, which are designed to provide the army with airborne surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaisance capabilities for ground operations." (Defence contract faces axe, Mark Dodd)

2) "The Rudd Government last night confirmed it would axe a troubled $150 million defence contract to buy a UAV capability for the army... The ADF will still get a UAV capability, Defence Procurement Secretary Greg Combet told The Australian last night. 'This Government wants nothing more than to get a UAV capability into theatre (Afghanistan) for the army... This is important to counter emerging threats such as IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and the Government is currently investigating alternatives', Mr Combet said... The federal Government was committed to spending $100 billion over the next 10 to 15 years on defence contracts... " (Defence axes $150m Boeing drone deal, Mark Dodd)

$100 billion!!!? To blow on blowing away those who don't get with the Israeli/American program in the Middle East? What bloody fools we are.

Exactly what we are squandering our billions on emerged earlier in the week: "Suspected Taliban militants arrested by Australian special forces in Afghanistan have been detained in 'dog pens' in actions that have left Australian Muslim groups outraged and prompted a protest from the Afghan ambassador in Canberra." (Fury as diggers admit Taliban held in dog pens*, The Australian, Mark Dodd, 2/9/08) Notice how the word "Taliban" in The Australian's headline gives way in the body of the article to "suspected Taliban"?

Of course, that rag's letter writers were fairly frothing and foaming at the mouth at the very idea that local Muslims might take offence at such goings-on.

Graham Pinn of Buderim, Qld frothed: "Perhaps the solution would be for the Australian special forces to tow an air-conditioned mobile prison into the mountains, complete with a mosque and gourmet halal food." IOW, suspects should be presumed guilty.

Irene Buckler of Glenwood, NSW foamed: "... Australian Muslim groups should be expressing outrage that the Taliban keep Muslim women and girls penned up permanently." Outrageous Islamophobic smears? No problemo for The Australian.

Graeme Manning of West Hobart, Tas frothed: "If an Australian Digger were to be captured by the Taliban, he would be very lucky to reach a dog pen." What are "Australian Diggers" doing there in the first place?

Ralph Clark of Hervey Bay, Qld foamed: "A more important question is why this matter deserves front-page headlines when the continued killings of countless non-combatants by the Taliban** does not." But I thought this was supposed to be a conflict between Civilization & Barbarism?

Peter West of The Vines, WA frothed: "Does it occur to those protesting about the SAS treatment of Taliban prisoners that if the Taliban stopped behaving like mad dogs, then the SAS would have no occasion to treat them as such." So the suspects were bona fide mad-dog Taliban, were they?

Alice Murphy of Unley, SA foamed: "What is the Afghan ambassador... and the Islamic High council going to say or do about my cultural sensitivities being abused by the murder of aid workers in Afghanistan?" Hello? Because aid workers are being murdered, it's OK for Australian troops to degrade Taliban suspects?

K Moncrieff of Stafford Hts, Qld frothed: "It's to be hoped that the IHC expresses the same degree of concern for Australian troops and Afghan civilians killed and injured by the al-Qa'ida-backed Taliban terrorists** in Afghanistan, as it does for the 4 Taliban suspects imprisoned in dog pens for 24 hours..." The question of what the hell Australian troops are doing there in the first place never arises (See my 27/2/08 post Bush's Taxi to the Dark Side).

The only exception to the above instances of froth & foam was this from Ian Semmel of Maleny, Qld: "Whenever allegations of torture and cruel punishment arise in the so-called war on terror, the defence is always that we are dealing with really bad people and they deserve it. Mark Dodd invokes this defence* when he writes that the use of dog pens to detain the Afghan prisoners 'pales into insignificance compared with the atrocities committed by the Taliban...' But the 4 Afghans involved were 'suspected Taliban insurgents', not convicted prisoners. Most of the inmates of Guantanamo Bay are in a similar position and what we have there is innocent people being tortured. If the Australian military believes it has the right to do whatever it likes in Afghanistan, all our troops should be withdrawn immediately."


[*Mark Dodd's 'report' was interesting in another respect. Dodd quoted a defence "spokesman" as saying, "'... this holding area provided the best secure, safe and isolated short-term accomodation until the following day'." This was followed by: "And the use of pens pales in significance compared with the atrocities committed by the Taliban before the regime was ousted in the aftermath of the US terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Then, alleged adulterers were stoned to death. Remnants of the regime are still committing abuses. Earlier this month suspected Taliban extremists abducted and executed a Japanese aid worker. His death was preceeded days earlier by the killing of 3 Western women aid workers just outside the capital Kabul." As these sentences are not attributed to the aforementioned defence "spokesman," one can only assume that either Mr Dodd (or his editor) deliberately threw them in to in some way mitigate the Australian troops' penning of Taliban suspects. If this is the case, Dodd/his editor have turned what should have been a straight news report into a reportorial.]

[** "To the villagers here [in Azizabad], there is no doubt what happened in an American airstrike on Aug. 22: more than 90 civilians, the majority of them women and children, were killed. The Afghan government, human rights and intelligence officials, independent witnesses and a UN investigation back up their account, pointing to dozens of freshly dug graves, lists of the dead, and cellphone videos and other images showing bodies of women and children laid out in the village mosque... For 2 weeks, the United States military has insisted that only 5-7 civilians, and 30-35 militants, were killed in what it says was a successful operation against the Taliban..." Evidence points to civilian toll in Afghan raid, Carlotta Gall, The New York Times, 8/9/08)]

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Israeli Mystique

How many death squad leaders do you think could make it to Australia on a tour sponsored by a 'local' women's organization, and be given a platform in a major broadsheet to lecture its readers on security? But it's OK. He's Israeli and that's sooo cool. His name is Juval Aviv. Juval supposedly* "led a deadly team of 5 assassins to avenge the 1972 massacre of 11 Israeli athletes [at the Munich olympics.]" He's "on an Australian tour sponsored by the Women's International Zionist Organization." And he's appeared, complete with pic, to proffer his pearls in the Sydney Morning Herald (A bloody & vengeful claim to fame, Daniel Flitton 2/9/08).

What a mensch is Juval!

Herald journalist Flitton was spell-bound: "This much is clear. Mr Aviv is a fascinating storyteller with strong views on the present-day terrorist threat."

If only the former Howard government had listened to Juval back when and followed his sage advice, we would never have joined the Coalition of the Willies! Cop this: "I'm in the loop, I'm seeing a lot of information, and I can tell you that Australia was always far away, the dark side of the moon... You were isolated, you were in a bubble, and you were secure... Australia's troop deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan make it a bigger terrorist target, lifting it to rank alongside the US, Israel and Britain." Oh, John/Peter/Alexander & Co, what have you done?

But now, warns Juval darkly, "That bubble has burst... Australia today is exactly where America was before 9/11 - gullible, believing you are secure because you are an island. You have done a lot [fridge magnets?], but you are light years away in Australia from really being ready for an attack. A lot of people really don't believe it is going to happen."

Shit! Juval, save us! Waddawegonnado, O Great "White House & Congressional Counter-Terrorism Consultant"? - You "should sit down and work out emergency plans, including places to meet if [your family] cannot return home and who will pick the children up from school." Gee, thanks, Juval, I feel so much better prepared now. - You're welcome, just make the cheque out to my "New York private investigation firm."

Enough of the banter - what really interested me in Flitton on Juval was the light shed by the latter on Israeli law enforcement methods: "We found those 11 terrorists, and one by one, we brought them to justice - which we only know how to do in Israel, as I always say." You m-m-m-mean, stammered Flitton, as a chill ran down his spine, "executions"? The "stocky and smiling" Juval nodded. "At the time, " he said, we had "to send a message of strength."

There you have it: Israeli 'justice' has always been more about bloody corpus than habeas corpus.

* 'Supposedly'. As in 'according to Juval'. Have the good ladies of WIZO been conned? Has Juval's "700-strong audience in Melbourne last week" been dudded? Is Juval really who he claims to be? I'm sure it doesn't matter to WIZO, of course. Political Zionists thrive on delusion. What actually happened is neither here nor there for them. Truth, like Australian or American politics, always boils down to 'Is it good for Israel?' Anyway, fact or fiction, Juval has no doubt stiffened the spines of the Zionist faithful wonderfully, so I'm sure WIZO got their money's worth. And the audience most likely found his tales of derring-do as spell-binding as Flitton did. The latter, of course, did note that "[Juval's] story has been challenged by Israeli intelligence officials" - but that, folks, isn't the half of it:-

Ponder this excerpt from Secret Agent Schmuck: The spooky truth behind the media's favorite 'spy' by Chris Thompson, writing in The Village Voice of 16/10/07: "... Aviv has built a remarkable career for himself. In 1989, following the Pan Am 103 bombing that killed 270 people in Lockerbie, Scotland, airline officials hired Aviv to investigate the incident. His report - alleging that the bombing was a CIA gun-and-drug smuggling operation gone terribly wrong - was leaked to the press, reportedly by Aviv himself. News outlets like Time, NBC, ABC, and Barron's picked up the story. But as more skeptical journalists began to examine Aviv's report, Pan Am officials suddenly dropped their plans to use it as a defence, and the media outlets that had run Aviv's allegations squirmed under the scrutiny. A Brooklyn federal magistrate later found Aviv's report to be utterly without merit. Today, American intelligence officials who were charged with investigating the Pan Am 103 bombing are still furious with Aviv - and they fume over the fact that national television outlets treat him as anything but a fraud. 'This crud, this piece of dirt, went around inventing stories about how this plane got destroyed, because he was paid money to do so', says Vincent Cannistraro, the former chief of operations and analysis at the CIA's Counterterrorism Centre. 'The man is not worth being in human company, frankly'. 'This guy's full of shit', says Larry Johnson, who served in the CIA and as a deputy director in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. 'What's true is, yes, he has a security and corporate-intelligence firm, and he's big at playing up the Israeli mystique. If you say it with a foreign accent, you're good to go'." (

And how's this for chutzpah: according to Flitton, secret agent schmuck wears "a round badge with the CIA emblem proudly pinned to his lapel." Nice!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Kicking for Justice?

"About 160 Muslim, Jewish, Aboriginal and Christian youth from various schools... huddled together last Thursday for a chance to kick balls with the Israeli-Palestinian team, which is competing in the AFL International Cup this week. Vic Alhadeff, CEO of the Jewish Board of Deputies (NSWJBD), welcomed the youth to the Auskick Harmony Day clinic, a joint venture of the Australian Chapter of the Peres Centre, AFL NSW/ACT, Erebus International and the NSWJBD. 'We leveraged the presence of the Peace Team to promote a message of goodwill, harmony and acceptance of difference here in Sydney', he said. 'I watched the team train in Israel 6 months ago, and it is inspirational to see Muslim and Jewish young men overcome logistical and cultural barriers and work together as a unit. The symbolism is very powerful'." (Kicking for peace, Chantal Abitbol, The Australian Jewish News, 29/8/08)

Quite! But if Palestinians are good enough to play football with, why aren't the Palestinian refugees (and their descendants), ethnically cleansed by Israeli forces in 1948, good enough to return to Israel as equal citizens? Wouldn't it be "inspirational" to see Israeli Jews and former Palestinian refugees "working together as a unit" as equal citizens of a secular, binational state of Palestine/Israel? Now there's an idea to kick around, Vic.