Letting the Side Down: Prince Andrew, the Royal…

The choking cloud of Jeffrey Epstein’s paedophilic legacy has been floating over…

Now is the time, Mr Morrison.

"In this bucket is my house", Aaron Crowe tells other unquiet Australians…

Climate Change: Is it now Benign or Catastrophic?

By Keith AntonysenThe science of climate change began through Jean Fourier believing…

Open Guidelines: The Foreign Interference Problem in Australian…

Education has always been a political matter, whatever the apolitical advocates of…

Money and power completely out of balance

Reading today of Bill Gates being once more top of the tree…

Children's Letters To ScoMo

A few weeks ago, Scott Morrison sent a tweet about a letter…

Government idiocy costing us billions

With a headline like that, I could go on to discuss innumerable…

I have nothing but contempt for Scott Morrison

I write today with heavy spirit and considerable anger about men and…

«
»
Facebook

Sean is a former sound engineer turned professional record collector living on the NSW south coast. A self described reluctant academic, lazy political commentator and sloppy social analyst, he unabashedly reduces the noble art of citizen journalism to the standard of public nose picking. When he’s not picking his nose in public, you’ll find him in the studio working on a his latest album, tentatively titled Country Songs in C.

Trumpism: a kinder, gentler fascism.

“Those who are against Fascism without being against capitalism, who lament over the barbarism that comes out of barbarism, are like people who wish to eat their veal without slaughtering the calf. They are willing to eat the calf, but they dislike the sight of blood. They are easily satisfied if the butcher washes his hands before weighing the meat. They are not against the property relations which engender barbarism; they are only against barbarism itself. They raise their voices against barbarism, and they do so in countries where precisely the same property relations prevail, but where the butchers wash their hands before weighing the meat.” Bertolt Brecht, “Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties” 

The new US administration is beginning to take shape, and it’s as bad as we expected – a mix of bible thumpers, climate deniers, white supremacists, homophobes, ant-semites and generally the most unsavoury elements of American tea party conservatism. I guess a lot of people will be saying I-told-you-so.

Told us what, exactly? That things would be bad under Trump? This seems to overlook the fact that things were already pretty awful.

Two million signatures have so far been collected to petition the Electoral College to reverse its decision on Trump – two million butthurt liberals sore that after rigging their own primaries they lost the general election to a scarecrow, are now desperately trying to put the blame on anyone but themselves. They blame ‘the Russians’, ‘the internet’, and ‘the white vote’ (really a 6% decline in black and Latino voter turnout). They call “fascist” and denounce Trump as racist for his plans to deport between 2 and 3 million undocumented migrants. HELLO! Obama has already deported 3.5 million.

Indeed on examination of the 2016 Republican Party platform, there is not much that stands out as being particularly to the right of current policy settings. Mass surveillance, prosecution of whistle blowers, banker bailouts, cuts to food stamps, massive military expansion, war with seven countries, direct support of terrorists, millions of refugees, hundreds of thousands dead… Uncle Tom has served his masser real good.

Much to the alarm of the presstitutes, the Butcher of Libya’s transition to power suffered a last minute derailment, signalling the end of 25 years of bipartisanship on foreign policy. The Bush era neocons are finally gone, replaced by a giant three year old with an orange bouffant, leading army of conservative cockwombles who believe that evolution is wrong because there are still monkeys, and that climate change is a communist plot. Never mind, it’s not like the Fracking Queen and her pals the Koch Brothers were going to do anything for the climate anyway.

The US is now officially an idiocracy. The elevation of a TV reality star to the most powerful office in the land is appropriate in a number of ways. Mostly it reminds us that the US exists in a virtual world of unreality. It has a virtual economy of finance capital where wealth creates wealth – the real economy has moved to China, Mexico, Brazil and other countries where labour is cheap. It has a virtual polity where class struggle has been replaced by the petty politics of gender and race. It has a virtual democracy that offers once every four years a choice between cholera and plague.

In this virtual world the working class have become the “middle class”; a fallacy concocted to exclude the growing ranks of great unwashed; the immigré, the out of work, the old and the afflicted, left behind by the march of progress. Government is for the rich and by the rich – a den of snakes in which no rational, ethical person could ever hope to survive. The law exists to protect property rather than to serve justice – witness the protests at Standing Rock.

In this virtual world, individualism and profit-seeking go hand in hand with mass incarceration, surveillance, and toxic trade pacts. Real wages and living standards are in permanent decline as stock prices soar to record highs. 43 million Americans rely on food stamps, but still see themselves as Steinbeck’s temporarily embarrassed millionaires.  The US has become a parody of itself, the headquarters of Democracy Inc. where post-democratic bourgeois liberalism masquerades as popular self rule.

Into this dystopian nightmare unreality strides Donald J Trump. Trump is a paradox – a capitalist technocrat and yet anathema to the establishment. Conservative on identity-politics while toting a Santa-sack full of postwar liberalism, he plays to the anxieties of the oppressed working class “Five, 10 years from now — different party. You’re going to have a worker’s party, a party of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years, that are angry”, he said in an interview in May. On foreign policy, Trump eschews the aggressive stance of past administrations and seeks détente with China and Russia. Sadly, instead of being all over his more progressive policies like flies on chopped up pieces of Syrian children, the party of the so-called left is determined to oppose him every step of the way. Instead of holding his feet to the fire over promised reforms to healthcare, welfare and the student debt crisis, they will simply obstruct.

“There’s just a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free health care — that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough, and we just need to go as far as Scandinavia — whatever that means. They’re the children of the Great Recession and they are living in their parents’ basement.” – HRC via WikiLeaks

The Clintons have been rightly excoriated for selling American democracy to Wall Street in the 90s, but the rot set in well before this. Honourable mention should also go to Jimmy Carter, who first signed on to trade liberalisation and privatisation, setting up the framework for Reaganomics – a system of socialism for the rich and capitalism for everybody else. This is the reality we now live in – there are not two political parties but one, and it is neither Democratic nor Republican. Carter correctly described the US as an oligarchy, a fact which has been laid bare in the recent election.

Those who see in Trump as some sort of neo-fascist have not been paying attention. The conditions for fascism existed well before this. Its seeds were sown with the weakening of anti-trust laws in the 1890s. This is the birth place of the modern American corporation, and arguably the birth place of US imperialism. Lobbying power in the hands of big business, combined with an emerging steel and ship building industry, gave rise to what is now known as the military industrial complex. It is this behemoth which has set the agenda for more than a century of war.

If WWIII is not going exactly to plan, it is because the West has a bad habit of underestimating Russian resilience. In their hubris, the neolib-cons thought they could subjugate post-Soviet Russia with trade sanctions. In response, Russia has forged stronger ties with its traditional strategic and economic partners. It’s no surprise to see the Philippines, Egypt, Turkey, not to mention China, now distancing themselves from Washington. In response to this realignment, Trump presents an opportunity for the empire to save face, to back away from a war which it was clearly losing, without appearing weak – an opportunity to regroup and change tack. But as with the nautical analogy, this should not be seen as a radical course correction, merely a change of approach. The objective remains the same; other ways must now be found to achieve it.

If Brexit was a rejection of the neoliberal, capitalist, imperialist EU, then the US election result must be seen in the same light – a vote of no confidence in the business-as-usual politics of endless war and poverty. The new CEO needs to take heed of this, but more importantly, so does the anti-war left. After eight years of hibernation, it’s time for liberal identitarians to wipe the rainbow fairy dust from their eyes and see that things have actually gotten worse under Obama and Hillary.

A period of isolationism would probably be a good thing for the US, and would certainly be good for the rest of the world. But even if the establishment were to tolerate an isolationist president (unlikely), it doesn’t change the fact that we are sailing toward an iceberg. A reawakening of class consciousness is our only bulwark against fascism. Until there is economic justice there can be no social justice. Until people come to recognise their place in the social order, they will continue to vent their fear and frustration against each other. This is as true for the bourgeois left as it is for the alt-right.

 “He said a bayonet, that’s a weapon wi’ a working man at either end
Betray your country, serve your class. Don’t sign up for war my friend
Don’t sign up for war.” – Alistair Hullet

 

Dr. Strangehair or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Donald.

“Well I think I am probably a little bit against the establishment and he probably is also… The only difference is he can’t do anything about it, and I can.” – Donald Trump on Bernie Sanders.

While Soros-backed colour-revolutionaries descend on major US cities in their thousands to protest the recent election result, smearing faeces, damaging property, burning flags, chanting co-opted slogans like “no justice, no peace”, and generally making a nuisance of themselves, President-elect Donald Trump has met with outgoing president Barack Obama to discuss his transition into office. After last Thursdays’ meeting Obama announced that he would not attempt to push the toxic Trans Pacific Partnership agreement through the ‘lame-duck’ session of congress between the election and inauguration of the new president. Shortly thereafter Mr Trump quietly conceded he will not be proceeding with his promised repeal of Obamacare, the crowning achievement of Obama’s questionable 8 year legacy. The new president is likely to make some refinements to the single-payer healthcare package including cutting back on some of the generous concessions to big pharma, and making it transferable across states.

In other news Trump has laid out a plan to tackle the problem of student debt which some are calling the most liberal since the inception of the Federal Student Aid program. In a radical departure from the Republican tradition of fiscal conservatism, Trump’s plan will cap payments at 12.5% of income and reduce the loan repayment period from 20 to 15 years, after which time outstanding debt would be forgiven. “Students should not be asked to pay more on the debt than they can afford,” Trump told one journalist recently, “and the debt should not be an albatross around their necks for the rest of their lives.”

This comes on top of his promise to introduce a 21st century version of the 1933 Glass Steagall act which would require the separation of commercial and investment banking, a policy backed by the 2016 Republican Party platform. Glass Steagall was repealed by Bill Clinton in 1999, leading directly to the financial crisis of 2008.

When questioned on his planned deportation of ‘illegals’, one of the more controversial pillars of his campaign platform, Trump once again surprised journalists, suggesting he favoured amnesty for some undocumented migrants and had plans to speed up the documentation process, in short, sending illegal immigrants back to their home countries and then allowing the “good ones” to return in an “expedited” fashion.

Most significantly, the new president-elect has promised a thawing of tensions with Russia and a radical repositioning of American foreign policy in the Middle East. Appearing on CBS This Morning during the campaign Trump said “I view ISIS as very important, and I love the fact that Russia is hitting ISIS”. He went on to denounce US regime change operations in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, saying “Look what happened after we got rid of Gaddafi. Look what happened after we got rid of Saddam… Had our politicians gone to the beach and enjoyed the sun, we would be in a better position than we are right now.” This is a chord which resonates with his base.

Trump is a chameleon: The US’ first billionaire-grifter celebrity-superstar president. A realist through and through, he approaches politics with the cold logic of a businessman. Unlike the 14 US presidents before him, he is an isolationist who sees the US pursuing a more narrowly defined set of foreign policy interests. This places in jeopardy the US’ much prized vocation as dominant world superpower and ultimate guarantor of global order. It’s no wonder the neocons have their knickers in a twist. Meanwhile the Atlanticists are shaking their fists in rage, demanding the US redouble its commitment to the NATO alliance.

It’s no secret that the US has for years been engaging in regime change operations against foreign governments which don’t subscribe to its socioeconomic model of private wealth accumulation and capitalist exploitation. Trump’s stunning victory is more than a middle finger salute to the globalists and their endless pointless wars; it’s also a rejection of the liberalisation of global trade which has seen a long term decline in wages and living standards and led to 20% real unemployment.

For the first time since the 1930s the establishment has lost its grip on power. Hillary campaigned on the myth of American exceptionalism, but that myth has been roundly rejected. What has emerged in its place is a rebirth of nativism. Trump’s basket of deplorabes aren’t expecting him to rebuild America’s industrial economy in the image of Henry Ford. They want their republic back – a point sadly lost on bourgeois feminists pissed that they never got to break their ‘glass ceiling’. People are sick of war, sick of a system that has taken away their jobs and their liberties. They want control of their borders, and they want government by the will of the people.

In a poetic twist, what the US establishment has dished up to other countries over 70 years is now coming back to bite them on the tail. This is indeed a revolutionary moment, but it’s not a purple revolution led by shit-smearing participation-prize millennials or safety-pin-wearing liberal identitarians. It is a revolution of everyday working people screwed over by years of failed economic policy; the mums and dads who lost their homes through predatory lending; the grandparents who lost their retirement incomes when the banks gambled away their savings; the migrants with legitimate visas and green cards who can’t find work, the deeply distrusting, anxious public who cherish their second amendment. This is a revolution of the forgotten American working class.

Despite the repeated accusations of racism prevalent throughout the campaign, America now has its first foreign-born First Lady in over 200 years. Despite the apoplectic fear-mongering of corporate media, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has now called for cooperation with the US, and Russian President Vladimir Putin says he’s ready to restore positive relations. Despite the dire forecast that a Trump victory would send the economy into a death spiral, the Dow Jones industrial average has set an all time record, and the US dollar is at a multi-decade high against the Chinese renminbi. Despite the predictions of civil unrest, the biggest danger to public safety now is the mobs of angry Hillary supporters rioting in the streets.

The election is over. The democrats lost. Not because of Wikileaks, not because of Putin, not because of Facebook, not because of the “white” vote, but because they fielded a rotten candidate. Trump is clearly not Batman – billionaire businessman with a tower named after him tho he may be – but nor is he Mussolini. He has the potential to be a good president. If he can control the extreme right wing of his party and negotiate his much needed progressive reforms through a conservative majority congress, he might even be a great one.

A million vagina march on the capitol on inauguration day will not save the US from the tyranny of corporate fascism – that horse has long since bolted. It’s time for liberal do-gooders to stop their crying and get on with the job of reforming their own party.

Donald J. Trump: Unlikely hero of the working class.

In recent days the mainstream liberal media has been flooded with analysis and dissection of the US presidential election. The agreed narrative seems to be that that America is a “white trash racist country” and that white supremacy elected Trump. In truth, the Democratic party brought the election result on themselves by cheating Bernie Sanders out of his rightful nomination, replacing him with the most unpopular candidate ever to run for president, and expecting identity politics to work as it had in the past – counting on the votes of women, blacks and Hispanics to get them across the line while betraying their traditional base, the white working class.

As Waleed Aly correctly points out in his recent SMH column, this election put class warfare front and centre of the debate for the first time in decades, and propelled to power the most unlikely hero the working class has ever seen, a repulsive, divisive caricature of a candidate who now faces the challenge of ‘binding the wounds of division’ and ‘governing for all Americans’. Considering Julian Assange himself said just days out from the election that Donald Trump would “not be allowed to win”, this has caused considerable embarrassment among pundits.

Of course the entire farce has been controlled by the media from the get go. Wikileaks has revealed how the DNC handpicked its opponent from a list of 30 possible candidates as the most easy to defeat. 10 months of campaigning has seen vicious attacks on Trump’s personal life, tax records, and general bad manners. His racism, sexism and pussy-grabbing have been constantly in the spotlight while absolutely nothing of substance has been debated, and the corruption of the Clinton campaign has been completely swept under the rug by mainstream media. Did the DNC really think it could sweep aside four decades of consolidated attacks on the working class with a single empty promise of breaking the “glass ceiling”? The results show just how arrogant and out of touch the traditional party of working people has become.

In the wake of the election we are told by the liberal media that Trump will unleash a wave of fear and loathing unseen since 1930s Germany, emboldening the gutter politics of the Hansons and Marine le Pens, setting brother against brother, causing the nations to tremble and other pseudo-religious gibberish. “This is a terrible moment for America. Hold your loved ones close”, proclaims The Guardian. Give me a break. It’s not like the GOP hasn’t been in power every 8 years since forever. This is how American politics works – the ball is kicked from one team to the other to give the illusion of choice, while the same elites continue to run the show. This good cop-bad cop routine has kept the elites in power from time immemorial. As Marx said, “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”

In many ways the Obama administration has been far worse than anything which happened under Bush. The unknown senator from Illinois, swept into power on a message of hope and change, quickly became the “house nigger”. From his first day in office he represented the Wall Street banks, rewarding them with taxpayer funded bailouts for criminally and wilfully crashing the global economy. His assassinations by executive order, illegal use of drones which target mostly civilians, and persecution of whistle blowers would have seen democrats baying for blood if carried out by a Republican president. Where were the outraged liberals when Obama reneged on his promise to shut down Guantanamo, or when he promised to end Bush’s war legacy, but instead expanded it? Where was the popular protest when he supported a murderous coup in Ukraine, or when he militarised the police force with surplus army stocks?

None of this should come as any surprise from a Democratic president, after all it was Bill Clinton’s policies in the 90s which took welfare payments away from single mums, created the prison industrial complex, deindustrialised the US economy while exporting tens of thousands of jobs to lower wage paying countries, overturned the 1933 Glass Steagall act which prevented the banks from gambling with people’s deposits, and destroyed Yugoslavia.

In recent decades we’ve seen an unprecedented level of policy overlap between the Republican and Democratic parties – in fact it’s fair to say the US has enjoyed 28 years of virtual one party rule. Considering the seldom disputed fact that GHW Bush managed Reagan’s presidency from behind the scenes from the time of the assassination attempt in 1981, this could easily be stretched out to 35 years. 35 years of rule by two families as close to American royalty as it gets; The Bushes with their family ties to American oil and gas, and the Clintons with their addiction to power and wealth, and their private pay-for-play slush funds funnelling hundreds of millions of dollars into Hillary and Bill’s private bank accounts in return for State Department favours. And liberals really wonder why the white working class rejected Hillary? This was a rejection of the whole rotten establishment.

If Reagan’s career as a b-grade movie actor failed to cast even a shadow of illegitimacy over his presidency, it’s no wonder this boorish reality TV host has no trouble cutting through. Throughout his campaign Trump’s rhetoric has taken populism to a whole new level. Trump will say literally anything, no matter how offensive, to appeal to potential voters, and just as readily change his mind afterwards. As president elect he seems to have backed away from some of his key policy pillars. His promised ban on Muslim immigration is now conspicuously missing from his website, (a sensible move, since it was unconstitutional anyway.) He’s promised to uphold LGBT rights, going as far as to say that transgender people can pee wherever they like as far as he’s concerned. Instead of lowering taxes, he’s now talking about raising them, and he’s indicated his support for deficit spending and single payer healthcare. On foreign policy however, there remain two key points on which he has been very consistent, and which clearly set him apart from his opponent: He will work with Russia to defeat ISIS, and he will not use a nuclear first strike option.

In a speech which may be one of the oddest of Trump’s entire campaign, delivered to a group of more than 700 evangelical pastors in Orlando Florida in August, Trump had this to say: “…this will be an election that will go down in the history books and for evangelicals, for the Christians, for everybody, for everybody of religion, this will be maybe the most important election that our country has ever had, so go out and spread the word and once I get in, I will do my thing that I do very well. And I figure it’s probably maybe the only way I’m going to get to heaven. So I better do a good job. Okay?”

Given his isolationist stance and opposition to free trade agreements, more neoliberal reforms seem unlikely, so what is this thing he plans on doing once in office? Will he live up to his promise to audit the Federal Reserve? Will he follow through on his plan to introduce lobbying reforms and term limits on representatives and senators? Dare we even countenance the thought that Trump and his merry band of anti LGBT, anti women’s reproductive rights, anti Muslim, Ayn Rand loving, climate-denying dominionist theocrats might be about to break with the tradition of villainy which has plagued Washington for decades? Could this explain the Bushes throwing their last minute support behind the Clinton campaign, betraying their traditional party allegiances? Could this signal a coup d’état to end 35 years of Bush-Clinton collusion and corruption? All of this will depend on how Trump stacks his cabinet, but the appointment of Trey Gowdy to Attorney General is a positive sign that a newly minted President Trump may be gunning for the dodgy insiders, think tank cronies, banksters, Bush neocons and career scumbags who have controlled the levers of power for decades.

Trump has already promised to kill off the TPP, and according to many alternate media sources, his conciliatory approach to Russia has in all likelihood saved us from the very real threat of nuclear confrontation in the coming months. As the US Empire faces its inevitable decline, will Trump side with Zbigniew Brezinski and withdraw from the Washington Consensus, allowing a new mulipolar world order to emerge unchallenged? Or will he continue in the Kissinger tradition of imposing US hegemony at gunpoint? For what its worth I don’t really hold high hopes, but by his very election Trump has proven that anything is possible. If early indicators can be trusted, he may be well advised not to plan any trips to Dallas in the near future.

From Terra Nullius to Nauru: Racism as the blunt instrument of political expediency

On 27 February 1933, the Reichstag, edifice to the Imperial Diet of the German Empire, was set on fire and burnt to the ground. In the wake of the fire a young Dutch communist by the name of Marinus Van der Lubbe was arrested, imprisoned and executed. Within 24 hours Hitler would enact the Decree for the Protection of People and State, giving the Nazis power to imprison anyone considered an enemy of the state, indefinitely and without trial. While this initially enabled the rounding up of communists and other political dissidents, it would not be long before these far reaching powers were used against a different enemy. The comparison to the events of September 11 2001 and the signing into law of the Patriot Act could not be more compelling. Each event would become a pretext for global conflict, and each would eventually be used to justify its government’s particular brand of genocidal anti-Semitism.

Today the West’s undeclared war against Muslim countries has created the greatest refugee crisis in history. With hundreds of its victims now languishing in indefinite detention in Australia’s offshore gulags, suffering rape, physical abuse and mental torture, one wonders how a nation built on the idea of the fair go could have descended to such a level of moral depravity. Or was it ever thus?

From the arrival of the first white settlers to rise of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, there is a pernicious strain of xenophobia which runs through Australian culture. We saw it in the genocide of the first Australians, sacrificed in the hundreds of thousands. We see it in the survivors who have struggled for recognition ever since. We saw it in the “yellow peril” and the riots against Chinese labourers on the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s. We saw it again in 1888 when the newspapers whipped the public into a frenzy of paranoia over the arrival of the SS Afghan. We saw it in attitudes towards southern European migrant labourers in the late 19th century. We saw it in the White Australia policy which effectively banned non European immigration. We saw it in labour disputes in the Queensland cane fields in the 1930s, in anti-Asian sentiment throughout the 1950s and 60s, and in the Cronulla race riots of 2005.

Racism, so it seems, is part of our cultural identity. But there is also a strain of anti-racism which goes back just as far, from stories of early convict labourers taking the side of the local Aboriginals against their British oppressors, to the 1967 referendum; from the Vietnam moratoriums of the 1970s, to the counter-protests which seem to erupt spontaneously whenever flag-waving/wearing bigots take to the streets to protest the building of a new mosque.

Clearly there is more to this picture than meets the eye.

Racism has always been a tool of the oppressing class; an integral part of the strategy of divide and rule. The dispossession and genocide committed against Australia’s first inhabitants was not by convicts and labourers, but by uniformed men in service of British ruling elites and pastoralists. To make these actions seem somehow acceptable, indigenous people were labelled as animals and savages. Two hundred years later John Howard would nakedly put the interests of mining companies ahead of indigenous people in his attempts to water down the small but significant victories achieved for aboriginal land rights. We saw the same politicisation of race in Howard’s refusal to apologise to the stolen generations, and of course in the infamous Tampa incident, in which he falsely accused refugee parents of throwing their children into the sea. This was Howard’s Reichstag fire, shrewdly and cynically manipulated to ensure electoral victory while lowering the bar on the standard of basic human dignity with which refugees and asylum seekers are treated.

Howard was indeed a master when it came to playing the race card. Hanson and her acolytes are grasshoppers in comparison; convenient shills to be used as “controlled opposition” – someone to do the government’s dirty work, allowing those in authority to maintain their “moderate” veneer. Being the liberal society we claim to be, we tolerate their extreme viewpoints as “free speech”. Vulgar as they are, they still represent the views of a large portion of the voting public, so we are told. Hanson’s party is now using its numbers in the Senate to support an amendment which will prevent people whose only crime is to have exercised their legal right to seek asylum from ever applying for an Australian visa. In her own words, this will send a clear message that refugees are not welcome in Australia. Would the public have voted for such a law?

Today’s anti-immigration sentiment has been contrived and cultivated through mass media, reflecting a changing political climate where approval is sought by first inciting, then appealing to mass anxiety and paranoia. This is the Hegelian dialectic played out through fearmongering: An external threat is first concocted, which leads to a widespread reaction of fear and panic. Our leaders then hope to secure their jobs with the promise of keeping us safe from the imagined threat. This is why national security, border control and the ever present threat of terrorism are such hot button issues. Of course none of this would be possible without a manufactured bogeyman – racism is the glue which holds it all together.

Beneath today’s racism lies a nonsensical but nonetheless powerful conflation of followers of Islamic faith with terrorism. Of course it is rarely proffered as such, rather worded in more subtle tones. Islam is incompatible with Western values, we are often reminded, when in fact Islam’s teachings uphold personal liberty, justice, and democratic principles. Islam is not a religion, but a political ideology, screeches Hanson, flatly ignoring the fact that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are three closely related manifestations of the same Abrahamic faith. Islam never had a reformation, according to former PM Tony Abbott, himself an unreformed Christian. And so it goes…

Seldom do we hear of the Islamic Golden Age, the original scientific revolution upon whose foundation much of contemporary mathematics, language and medicine was built. Acceptance of this historical fact would mean acknowledging a common heritage which predates European science, art and literature by 700 years. Likewise we are rarely told that the 19 Saudi hijackers aboard the planes of 9/11 liked to drink alcohol, snort cocaine and hang out with pink haired strippers, because this would make them, by definition, not practicing Muslims, let alone Islamic fundamentalists. Instead we are shown images of CIA trained guerrillas burning children in cages and told that this is the face of Islamic terrorism, and by extension, Islam itself.

Marxist theorists, many of whom happened to be Jews, were among the first to call out race politics, calling instead for an internationalist movement which transcends the divides of race and gender. The labour movement in Australia (if not always the Labor party) has a proud history of fighting for aboriginal rights and the rights of migrant workers. It really is just common sense that when rights apply equally to all, migrant workers cannot be used to force down wages and conditions. Of course cries of “they took our jobs/benefits” will always appeal to the fearful, but this is an irrational fear based on a false premise. The old adage united we stand, divided we fall has more than a poetic ring to it. It is a universal truth. Acknowledging racism as a tool of oppression is a vital step toward emancipation. Reaching across the racial divide empowers us, where Hansonism leaves us fighting among ourselves.

Australia now faces, or rather refuses to face, a crime surely equal in depravity to the stolen generations; a crime for which, at some point, a future Prime Minister, perhaps reading from a teleprompter, with tearful eyes and a sombre tone, will make a sincere and heartfelt apology. This apology will of course be too late. In pursuing a policy of deliberate cruelty as deterrence, we put ourselves in the company of such illustrious persecutors of minorities as apartheid South Africa, Myanmar, North Korea and modern day Israel. While the flames of racism may be fanned by so-called patriots who choose to wear the flag as a bandana, the direction comes from the highest levels of executive government, authorised by the legislature, and implemented by the security apparatus. This is a humanitarian crisis of our own making; we imprison and persecute refugees as a matter of public policy.

The modern surveillance state allows our personal data to be harvested and sold back to us in the form of advertising. It also assures a level of compliance and conformity among its citizens. It could not exist absent the idea of some existential threat, real or imagined. The War on Terror, or rather, the war on brown people, feeds the weapons manufacturers who prop up the Wall Street banks. Without it the entire global financial system would come crashing down like a house of cards. Similarly, this war could never have been waged without a bogeyman, yet Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction turned out to be a bald faced lie. Are we seeing a pattern yet?

The dispossession and colonisation of Australia was based on the lie of Terra Nullius. The illegal imprisonment of men, women and children on Nauru and Manus is based on the lie that locking people up and torturing them is the only way to prevent deaths at sea. The savage cuts to welfare proposed by the current government are based on the lie that Australia has a spending problem, yet ignores the fact that we spend $400 000 per person per year in administering a policy of deliberate cruelty to refugees.

Just weeks after breaking the Don Dale detention centre scandal and reporting on the Nauru files, our national broadcaster is being rounded on by the immigration minister for leading a “crusade against government policy”, and reform of section 18c of the racial discrimination act, apparently dead buried and cremated under the previous government, appears to be back on the table again. When Malcolm Turnbull’s polling is so low that he must drag out the most unpopular policies of his predecessor to appeal to the conservative base of his party, and make deals with One Nation to pass his unpopular budget measures, it’s not racism driving politics, but the other way around.

Trustworthy sycophants: How Australia became America’s lapdog.

In memory of Desmond John “Des” Ball AO (20 May 1947 – 12 October 2016)

When George H W Bush first publicly coined the phrase New World Order, a term previously proscribed to conspiracy buffs, it came as both a declaration of unilateral power, and a brash ultimatum to anyone who didn’t like the way America does business. The sentiment was recently echoed in outgoing President Barack Obama’s final sales pitch for his embattled the TiSA, TPP and TTIP trade agreements.

Speaking at the 71st meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Obama used his valedictory address to spruik the importance of globalisation and free trade, calling on the world to “work together to see the benefits of integration are more broadly shared.” After a quarter century of US economic hegemony in which we’ve witnessed the widespread deindustrialisation of Western economies and attendant decline in living standards, his words ring out with the moral authority of a wet fart.

One doesn’t need an economics degree to see that the current round of trade agreements, far from sharing the benefits of integration, represent a decisive effort to isolate the world’s third largest economy and its population of 1.3 billion from the benefits of global trade. In Obama’s own words “The US, not China, should write the rules of the global economy.”

In keeping with this policy directive comes Washington’s Pivot to Asia, announced by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an October 2011 Foreign Policy article titled “America’s Pacific Century”. The initiative aims to bring together Australia and other US allies in a joint naval deployment to encircle China from the Marshall Islands to the Indian subcontinent. With the US dollar under increasing pressure from the Chinese tariffs, and a Sino-American trade war looming, this can only be seen as a desperate ploy to head off China’s imminent rise to superpower status.

The idea of following the US into a hot war with China is not something any of us wants to think about, but the prospect of losing 40% of our GDP to a failed export market isn’t a particularly cheerful one either. As an island nation, Australia is largely reliant on maritime trade, a large part of which involves supplying China, Japan and South Korea with low cost-per-ton ores and agricultural products. We also rely on a strategic partnership with the US to secure our sea lanes. This relationship, perhaps better described as a protection racket, has now become an exceedingly complex issue.

Australia’s regional security has often come at a high price. While we face no direct military threat from any of our neighbours, either now or in the foreseeable future, for over a century we’ve aligned ourselves with great naval powers, firstly Britain, then the US, to protect our sea lanes and safeguard the backbone of our economy. In return we’ve been called on to supply cannon fodder for imperialist wars in Africa, Europe, South-East and Central Asia, and the Middle East.

To fully understand how a largely self-serving political class is happy to send Australian servicemen and women to kill innocent children in faraway lands, but does nothing to prevent the wholesale export of our manufacturing jobs to third world countries, we must examine closely the relationship between geopolitics and global capitalism.

 

Initially established as a British penal colony, Australia has always remained to a large degree a vassal. Our loyalty to Britain was not so much challenged as usurped by the polarising shift in global power which came about after WWII, when the US formally took the reins of the British Empire.

The post war years saw the transformation of the US into a permanent war economy. Military Keynesianism created jobs and boosted economic output, while social spending decreased proportionately. War as it turns out is not just good for business, it is essential to the American business model, accounting for 54% of all federal discretionary spending (as much as the rest of the world’s defence budgets combined.) The world’s three biggest arms manufacturers, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman together raked in well in excess of $100bn last year alone.

Australia for its part has committed $24bn to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which has been widely described as a lemon; overpriced, too slow, lacking manoeuvrability and highly visible to radar. This comes on top of a $32bn annual defence budget and a further $50bn for 12 new submarines. Meanwhile we are told we must tighten our purse strings and cut social spending in the name of budget repair. It hardly makes sense.

Alas the postcolonial apple never falls far from the tree, and while we’ve been busy fighting America’s wars abroad, at home we’ve seen the rapid transformation of a relatively successful proto-Scandinavian economy into an American-styled fascist oligarchy. When $50bn worth of tax cuts for the rich must come at the cost of slashing already inadequate welfare spending, something is arse about.

The Trans Pacific Partnership is the trade deal to end all trade deals. TPP calls for the elimination of tarrifs and absolute protection of property rights. (No more cheap generic drug substitutes or plain packaged cigarettes.) Add an investor-state arbitration process allowing corporations to sue governments for lost profits and you have a recipe for complete corporate control over governments and citizens. With the levers of power now firmly in the hands of big business, this deal will be pushed through by hook or by crook.

Some call it neoliberalism, but fascism by any other name would smell as foul. The dislocation of the working classes, dismantling of public institutions and removal of civil liberties we see today are the hallmarks of a corporate coup d’état. That the same agenda was advanced by the corporatist movement in Germany, Italy and France during the 1920s should be cause for consternation.

 (1) shift power directly to economic and social interest groups;

(2) push entrepreneurial initiative in areas normally reserved for public bodies;

(3) obliterate the boundaries between public and private interest — that is, challenge the idea of the public interest.

– John Ralston Saul, The Unconscious Civilization. (1998)

Today we are witnessing a relentless attack on the welfare state which affects every aspect of our lives. From our early education to the ‘news’ and entertainment we consume, we are hoodwinked into a culture of victim blaming, invited to believe that that merit, rather than exploitation, is the pathway to success; that the rich earn their privileged status, and the peasants deserve their poverty. This normalisation of moral bankruptcy has affected a massive transfer of wealth and power to a predator class commonly referred to as the one percent.

The rich get richer, the poor get the picture, and the only solution offered is more of what got us here in the first place – further deregulation and the wholesale privatisation of public services. Everything from prisons to hospitals to the triple zero emergency service is now for sale. This is capitalism off the chain, doing what it does best; increasing profits and driving down the cost of labour. The social contract is being put through the shredder while our leaders are either bought and paid for, or simply lack the moral courage to imagine a future which benefits anyone but themselves and their crony mates.

“Australia is a lucky country run by second rate people who share its luck”, wrote Donald Horne in 1964. It was meant as a chastisement, not a metaphor for sun, sand and surf. In 1976 he added “In the lucky style we have never ‘earned’ our democracy. We simply went along with some British habits.”

Unfortunately Britain, and more recently the US, have not been the best of role models. Our blind pursuit of Thatcherism and Reaganomics has led us into an economic cul-de-sac. In skilfully unburdening ourselves of a cumbersome manufacturing sector dependent on government handouts, we have become the definition of a third world economy, subsisting on primary production, tourism and a questionable ‘service’ industry. Instead of building a robust and diverse economy, we’ve undermined ourselves at every turn. Rather than learning to stand on our own feet, we’ve become a nation of obsequious sycophants; the trinket consuming white niggers of the antipodes.

Having acquiesced to the US dictum of preferential free trade, manufacturing will now be shipped offshore in pursuit of cheap labour. Ford will make its cars in Thailand for $6 and hour, while our whitegoods will be made in China for $3.50 an hour. Meanwhile garment manufacturers in Bangladesh will continue to be paid 21c an hour. Behold the New World Order which George Bush forespoke.

Australia today finds itself backed into a corner. Hitching our wagon to the greatest military power on earth has shaped our nation in two ways: Able to scratch a modest living digging up rocks in our backyard and flogging them cheaply to our neighbours, we’ve neglected to develop our economy much beyond primary production. Meanwhile with US military power largely unchecked since the end of the cold war, we find ourselves locked into a relentless cycle of military aggression, spending blood and treasure on foreign battlefields to line the pockets of the Bushes, Cheneys, Murdochs, Rothschilds, Exxon-Mobils and Raytheons.

Finally there is the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who currently resides in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, unlawfully and arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom at the behest of the United States on trumped up allegations of sexual misconduct. (Apparently speaking truth to power has not yet made it into the statute books as an extraditable offence.) What a sad indictment that a small country like Ecuador is prepared to stand up to US bullying and defend the rights of an Australian citizen, when all it would take is the jot of a pen to have the AFP escort him to the nearest airport, put him on a plane, bring him home and grant him diplomatic asylum in his own country. What is the US going to do about it? Withdraw its military bases? Surely we are owed some quid pro quo.

If politics is the art of the possible, then our current strategic alliance may be our only short term option. But what about the future? What happens when US interests directly conflict with our own? Do we really want to be drawn into a regional conflict with a major trading partner? And what of our future economic prosperity? Will we continue to allow free trade agreements to be rammed down our throats at the cost of local jobs? Do we really want a US-style health system? These are all serious questions which must be addressed with long term thinking. Unfortunately our political class seem to have their fingers in the till or their heads in the sand, or both. We talk of being nimble, yet do our utmost to stifle innovation. Instead of putting the welfare of our citizens first, we pander to multinational corporate interests and their rapacious greed. Risk averse, conservative to the core, perennially lazy, blinkered with ignorance, and too short sighted to see the car crash ahead of us, we remain as ever the obedient servants of the empire.

The changing of the guard – An optimist’s guide to the New World Order.

I closed my last post with a series of rhetorical questions. Why are RAAF jets flying missions inside Syria? Why are we following the United States blindly halfway around the world to drop bombs on a country with whom we are not at war? And why do we now appear to be supporting ISIS? In hindsight these questions could have been answered in a single bullet point: Australia is a client state of the US, and we do exactly as we’re told. The question then becomes, what is the US doing in Syria? To understand this we must turn back the clock a few decades.

In 1945, having financed both sides of a war which had brought Britain to its knees, the US was ready to take the reins of the world’s first truly global Empire. To this end an agreement was reached between 730 delegates from 44 countries which would establish the US dollar as the world reserve currency, backed by gold at $38 an ounce. Sister agencies the International Monetary Fund and World Bank were created to regulate finance markets and provide loans for post war reconstruction, effectively giving the US a license to print money for the rest of the world.

When suspicions rose that there were more US dollars in circulation than there was gold to back them, certain countries, in particular France, began to make noises about wanting their gold back. In 1971, fearing a run on gold reserves, Richard Nixon unpegged the dollar from the gold standard, and in 1973 a deal was struck with the corrupt House of Saud which would make the most precious commodity of the industrial age, oil, denominated in US dollars, the new reserve currency. So it was that the world’s most indebted country (currently $21tr) became its economic hegemon, through near complete control of the global oil market.

Today the US petrodollar faces an existential threat brought about by a growing resistance to US foreign policy. After years of sanctions and military interventions, the rebels are now taking the fight to the Empire. New Silk Road project, the Asia Infrastructure Development Bank, and the BRICS alliance (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa, recently joined by Iran), have the globalists in panic, which has prompted military escalation in three main theatres: the Ukraine, the Middle East and the South China Sea.

Committed to a 100 year old doctrine borrowed from geostrategist Halford McKinder, the US’ prime objective is to encircle the heartland (the Eurasian plate), taking control of its resources and transport routes. This involves applying pressure in an arc stretching from the Korean Peninsula to Eastern Europe, rounding the Diego Garcia naval base and taking in Northeast Africa from Somalia through to Libya. Meanwhile NATO along with strategic partners Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are busy bombing the last remaining free states in Arabian Peninsula and the Levant, and ‘flooding’ Europe with refugees to fuel the rebirth of Nazism.

Having taken Iraq off the political map with the 2003 illegal invasion and removal of Saddam Hussein, the goal now is to replace the 1916 Sykes Picot agreement with newly created Sunni, Shia and Kurdish territories. This would serve two purposes – firstly rendering Israel’s immediate neighbours smaller, weaker and more compliant, as mandated by the Yinon Plan. Secondly it would call for an expanded US military presence and unlimited free money for defence contractors, civil engineers, and insurance companies. Dick Cheney’s Haliburton netted a cool $39bn from a war that cost the lives of over a million Iraqis. What price will the IMF and World Bank put on “rebuilding” war ravaged Syria and Yemen?

 

WWII may have officially ended when with the fall of communist East Germany, but the cold war scarcely stopped for breath. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the US has tightened its grip on Russia economically and militarily. Regime change in Syria would give the US unfettered US access to Arab oil, increasing its stranglehold over the Russian economy which relies heavily on Europe’s oil and gas markets. It would also bring Washington’s Islamist chaos closer to Russia’s southern flank.

The strategy is currently being coordinated by US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter. A neocon war criminal and one of the original architects of the “War on Terror”, Carter is the embodiment of a particularly racist idiom. His Department of Defence is now an authority unto itself, and won’t be brought to heel by Obama or Kerry. He is ‘off the reservation’. Beneath the veneer of bureaucracy the US war machine is more than ever under the direct control of international banks, oil companies and weapons manufacturers. Within this corporate hierarchy Obama’s exalted position is not that of CEO but rather media liaison.

“Barack Obama has always supported, to my knowledge, cooperation with Russia and confirmed this during the meeting with Putin in China. It seems to me that the military does not listen to the commander.” Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov interviewed on “Pozdnyakov”, NTV, September 26, 2016

For the first time in history we have a global empire; a rotten to the core transnational oligarchy of oil, guns and exploited labour, parading under the stars and stripes of free market capitalism. With over 800 military bases in 70 countries, the US is more than just an exceptional state, it is a rogue state. It is not the world’s policeman; it is the jackboot of imperialism in the face of the working classes. It’s not the shining city on the hill; it is white phosphorous and sarin gas, pesticides and fracking waste-water. It promises freedom and democracy but delivers poverty and endless war. The values which it boasts are spiked with reality TV and Ritalin to make them palatable, but the world has no more appetite for its junk food.

Fortunately there is an alternative, one in which the world’s emerging economies are heavily invested. While Syria, Russia, China and Iran must deal with the military threat posed by Washington’s doctrine of full spectrum dominance, there are also economic challenges to be met. A return to asset based currencies and a shift toward a decentralised, multipolar world order is essential to our common future. With principles of international law and national sovereignty in the balance, not to mention the safety, security, health and happiness of all seven billion humans on spaceship earth, this could be our final chance to write our history.

 

 

 

Kunduz Redux: Australia joins US in Deir al-Zour cock up.

On Saturday at 5pm local time US Central Command launched airstrikes on a Syrian army garrison in Deir al-Zour in the Thardeh Mountain region, killing 62 Syrian Aran Army soldiers and leaving over 100 injured. The air strike enabled Islamic State militants to advance, leading to accusations by the Russian foreign ministry that the White House is defending the terrorists. According to a statement issued by US Central Command, “the raids were halted immediately when coalition officials were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military”.

Details of Australia’s involvement in this ‘mistake’ have slowly begun to emerge, but it is still unclear at time of writing which our F/A-18A Hornets, Wedgetail command planes and RAAF KC-30 aerial refuellers were involved in the attack. In deference to our betters, Defence issued a statement today stating “As Australians would expect, the US-led Coalition will review this incident thoroughly and Australia will cooperate fully [bend over as far as possible] with this review.”

In the wake of the attacks Russia convened an urgent UN Security Council meeting, in which Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin made it clear that the US had violated the terms of the current cease fire agreement by attacking a Syrian army position. US Ambassador Samantha Power was dismissive, accusing Russia of joining the Assad regime and playing the pot-kettle-black card, repeating allegations of Russian attacks on refugee camps and hospitals. (Power appears to suffer from selective amnesia regarding the events of 3 October 2015, when a United States Air Force AC-130U gunship attacked the Kunduz Trauma Centre operated by Médecins Sans Frontières in northern Afghanistan, leaving 42 people killed and over 30 injured.)

The 2003 invasion of Iraq and lynching of Saddam Hussein cost the lives of over a million innocents, destroyed an entire country, and, so we are repeatedly told by the MSM, set the stage for the rise of Islamic State. Less than a decade later, the US is supplying weapons and giving air support to so-called moderate rebels in a bid to topple the Syrian government and its elected leader. Needless to say, turning Syria over to Islamist terrorists intent on imposing Sharia law would mean the complete destruction of the last secular democracy in the Middle East.

So please tell me again. Why are RAAF jets flying missions inside Syria? Why are we following the United States blindly halfway around the world to drop bombs on a country with whom we are not at war? And why, in the name of all that is holy, do we now appear to be supporting ISIS?

Michael Yabsley, please shut up.

Given to bouts of masochism, I periodically torture myself with what passes for news and current affairs on our national broadcaster, the ABC. Last night I watched aghast as former NSW Liberal MP Michael Yabsley regurgitated one of the most repugnant, self righteous and utterly racist memes to emerge in the last 15 years. “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims”, is an assertion which Mr Yabsley insists “has some truth in it.”

The point was made in the context of Senator Pauline Hanson’s Islamophobic outburst in the Senate, which caused all 9 Greens Senators to stand up and walk out (seems only fitting – the Greens are used to giving speeches to an empty chamber.) Hanson’s maiden speech was awful, riddled with errors of fact, and not fit for comment. Mr Yabsley’s response however was a bald faced lie which should not go unchecked.

Fortunately a 5 minute google search produced a list of syndicated non-Islamist terror organizations of sufficient notoriety to make this a moot point: The IRA, UDA and RIRA (Ireland) The Lord’s Resistance Army (Uganda), Kahane Chai (Israel) Aum Shinrikyo (Japan), New People’s Army (NPA) (Philippines), Golden Dawn, (Spain) Shining Path, Epanastatikos Agonas (Peru), Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias De Colombia (FARC), were among the first to pop up.

Leaving aside the joint Saudi-Israeli-CIA coordinated attacks of September 11 2001, of the total number of deaths attributed to terrorism on American soil in recent years, only a small fraction (6-7%) have been blamed on Muslims. Interestingly a similar percentage of terrorist murders are attributed to Jewish extremists, while Catholic Latinos make up by far the largest ethno-religious group. Let’s not forget the murder of 100 million Native Americans, or the lynching of blacks which was still taking place in 1968. Australia’s black history is equally tragic, but I digress…

Just last year former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee correctly identified the Obama regime as the “leading state sponsor of terrorism”. Leaked emails show that Hillary Clinton’s State Department funded ISIS, just as previous administrations funded al Qaeda and the Taliban. From Bosnia and Kosovo to Indonesia and the Philippines, from Cuba and Nicaragua to just about every other country where there’s been a major civil war in the last 70 years, the US has used terrorists to wage war by proxy. Today both the CIA and State Department work hand in glove with so-called moderate opposition groups in Syria, often fighting on opposite sides. Like Star Wars Episode VII, the latest installment in the ISIS propaganda film franchise shows the same old actors with better special effects but a less convincing plot.

Britain is the world’s second biggest arms dealer and profits from selling weapons to Saudi Arabia which are paid for in US petrodollars. These weapons are then given to ‘jihadists’, some of whom are known to receive instruction in Jordanian training camps run by British SAS before being funneled into neighbouring Syria. When they are injured they are treated in Israeli field hospitals. Who was it again who told us about an axis of evil?

We are told that ISIS recruits its manpower from 100 different countries and likes to target a particular demographic: the 15-16 year old disgruntled sons of low paid immigrant workers who are easily radicalised by the internet. But just like the 19 Saudi actors of September 11 who liked to drink alcohol, snort cocaine and hang out with pink haired strippers, most ISIS jihadis couldn’t recite a verse from the holy Qu’ran over their own mother’s grave.

Call me cynical, but if you wanted to raise a paramilitary outfit in the Middle East, there’s no shortage of skilled labour available; from the remnants of Saddam’s republican guard and the virtual slave army of Saudi political prisoners forced to choose between military service or summary execution, to the tens of thousands of private security contractors already deployed throughout the region to protect Western assets. (These same contractors are also charged with operating Australia’s illegal offshore detention regime, and ‘protecting’ the Dakota Access pipeline from indigenous activists.)

If Mr Yabsley wants to have a conversation about terrorism (n. the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims), let’s start with Abu Ghraib, where young boys were raped in front of their mothers by US soldiers. Then maybe we can discuss what goes on in our own detention centres, where women and men are systematically and routinely tortured or driven to insanity for the dubious crime of traveling in international waters without a valid visa. When it comes to pointing the finger, both Hanson’s deplorables and Abbott’s bible thumping backbenchers would do well to take the advice of their patriarch: “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Suffice it to say that all terrorists aren’t Muslims, just as all politicians aren’t intellectually-vacant, pleasantly-grinning, xenophobic, hetero-tragic tossbuckets.

911 In Memoriam: Celebrating 15 Years of Bombing Muslim Countries

The anniversary of the tragic events of September 11 2001, the single greatest act of terror ever carried out by a government against its own people, should give us pause; not just to reflect on the horrendous loss of life, by now measured in the millions if we include the hundreds of thousands of innocent Afghanis, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and other ethnic Muslim populations who have been relentlessly pursued as part of the Global War On Terror, but also on the Orwellian dystopia in which we presently find ourselves, with its mass surveillance, legalized torture, extrajudicial killings and massive government overreach.

The facts surrounding the collapse of the World Trade Centre buildings on 9/11 could fill volumes and would still not bear any resemblance to the official narrative. The pile of smouldering concrete and steel which continued to burn for weeks after the event is clear evidence of the presence of explosives, specifically nano-thermite. Three buildings collapsing perfectly into their own footprints at freefall speed when only two were apparently struck by planes is further evidence of a controlled demolition, putting the lie to the official narrative.

The fact that the attacks were linked to al Qaeda before any official investigation had even commenced, and the decision to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty taken not 24 hours after the towers fell, speaks further to the conspiracy. The Global War on Terror was commenced in earnest on the 7th of October 2001 with the invasion of Afghanistan. As Prof Michel Chossudovsky rightly points out, one does not put together the logistics of a large scale theatre war in 26 days. The GWOT was planned well in advance of the September 11 attacks.

Much has already been written about the destruction of the WTC buildings and it is not my intention to go over old ground, or to make a case which has already been convincingly argued. Anyone who still accepts that this was the work of 19 Saudi hijackers should refer to the extensive research by Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth, or to any of the scores of quality documentaries freely available on the internet. It is strange that even in the face of such overwhelming evidence, anyone who dares question the official narrative is immediately labelled a tinfoil hatter. This speaks to a deep cognitive dissonance, and understandably so; if our governments have lied to us about this historically pivotal event, then what else are they hiding?

But what if our governments have been telling us the truth for years? What if so much of this so-called conspiracy is already a matter of public record, hiding in plain sight? Would we be more readily inclined to accept the truth?

Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century, is a policy document written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The PNAC document calls for escalation of US foreign policy on a scale which could not be justified “absent some catastrophic and catalysing event – like a new Pearl Harbor,” The document was drafted by Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol who would go on to senior advisory positions in the second Bush administration. Kagan is married to Victoria Nuland, a name which should be familiar to anyone following the events unfolding in Ukraine.

A similar public policy document, entitled Catastrophic Terrorism: Imagining the Transformative Event, was prepared by Phillip Zelikow and current US defence secretary Ashton Carter in 1998. Speaking of the failed 1993 WTC attacks it states “the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America´s fundamental sense of security… Like Pearl Harbour, the event would divide our past and future into a before and an after. The United States might respond with draconian measures scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects and use of deadly force. More violence would follow, either future terrorist attacks or U.S. counterattacks. Belatedly, Americans would judge their leaders negligent for not addressing terrorism more urgently.”

What we see here are the official directives for legitimizing a police state, instigating a succession of illegal wars and sanctioning the murder of millions, spelled out in black and white and payed for by the taxpayer. The arrogance beggars belief.

Moving forward to 2008 we see a blueprint for the current war against Syria presented under the guise of the U.S. Army-funded RAND report entitled Unfolding the Future of the Long War, which states:

“Divide and Rule focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. This strategy relies heavily on covert action, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces.”

“… the United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch proxy IO campaigns to discredit the transnational jihadists in the eyes of the local populace…”

“U.S. leaders could also choose to capitalize on the ‘Sustained Shia-Sunni Conflict’ trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world….”

With 70% of the world’s oil and gas reserves in in Muslim countries, it doesn’t take an exceptionally cynical person to see the strategy at play behind the Global War on Terror. This is a war of conquest by the Anglo American Empire; a war based on the pretext of an entirely fake event.

911 was a criminal fabrication which has been used to justify a war without end, to usher in an Orwellian police state apparatus in most western countries, and to give rise to the scourge of populist Islamophobia which threatens the very fabric of our multi ethnic global community. The war on terror is a farce. The truth must be exposed, and those responsible brought to justice.

Anatomy of a lie: Justifying the unthinkable.

“It’s often been observed that the first casualty of war is the truth. But that’s a lie, too, in its way. The reality is that, for most wars to begin, the truth has to have been sacrificed a long time in advance.” – L. Neil Smith

A lie of omission occurs when an important fact is deliberately left out of an argument in order to foster a misconception. An example of this might be Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull telling a national television audience that Australia has no children in detention. Of course what he means to say is Australia has no children in ‘mainland’ detention, but why split hairs?

A similar lie of omission occurred when Barack Obama refused to sign the US–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement in 2012, which would have left 10,000 soldiers in Iraq to continue training and equipping the Iraqi Security Forces. 10 000 troops may sound like a big deal, but not so much when you already have 80,000+ personnel on the ground employed by private security contractors to maintain supply lines.

As it turns out it these are the very same private security firms which enforce the ugly side of Australia’s strict border control policy. Australia’s offshore detention regime operates under a legal subterfuge. Our offshore gulags technically fall under the legal jurisdiction of Nauru and PNG, while reporting directly to the Australian government. How paradoxical that non-citizens with no constitutional rights should find themselves imprisoned at the hand of a transnational corporation by order of a government which has no legal authority to detain them.

Moving from the realm of grey areas to more blatant falsehoods, a ‘lie of commission’ occurs when something is said which simply is not true. An example of such can be found in the false testimony given before a congressional hearing by Nayirah al-Ṣabaḥ, the 15 year old daughter of a Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, in which she claimed having witnessed Iraqi soldiers take babies out of incubators and leave them to die. Although later discredited, Nayirah’s story was fully corroborated at the time by Amnesty International – all too often a willing mouthpiece when it comes to spreading atrocity propaganda. This very same technique would be employed by John Howard in his 2001 election campaign when he claimed asylum-seeker families were throwing their children into the sea. Australians are still living with the consequences of this deliberate, bald faced lie.

Governments lie. They lie all the time. They lie when they reach into our pockets and tell us there’s a budget emergency. (There isn’t one – Australia’s gross government debt is the third-smallest in the OECD after Luxembourg and Estonia.) They lie when they want us to go to war. Colin Powell lied through his teeth to the UN Security Council when he pushed for a resolution to invade Iraq, arguing that Saddam was producing chemical and biological weapons. Tony Blair repeated the same lie to the British people. So brazen was the deception that Canadian PM Stephen Harper and Australian PM John Howard actually gave the EXACT SAME SPEECH in their respective parliaments!

Remember Slobodan Milošević, the butcher of Bosnia? (or was that Butcher of the Balkans – my memory is foggy?) In news conspicuously absent from mainstream media, Milošević has just been exonerated by the ICC. Apparently there is no evidence of any of his alleged war crimes; crimes which were used to justify the Clinton administration’s illegal war against a sovereign state, the large scale bombing of its factories, and the mass murder of its civilian population. It’s a pity Milošević never lived to see the day – he died awaiting trial in The Hague in March 2006, after being denied treatment for a heart condition.

Doesn’t it seem even a little odd that the US has been at war in 70 countries in as many years, while never actually declaring war? The modus operandi is generally as follows: If a foreign power fails to cooperate with US economic policy then that country is targeted for regime change. The first step is to engineer an atrocity which in which the legitimate government can be accused of violating human rights, (shooting down a passenger aircraft, use of chemical weapons etc) and make sure the media is there to report on it. The head of state is branded a “dictator”, the military “thugs” and the government a “regime”. Meanwhile, NGOs are used to stir up trouble inside the country, supporting political dissidents (usually ultra-nationalist opposition parties) who then attempt a phony revolution/coup. Once a state of emergency is declared pressure is brought to bear by the UN to establish a Government of National Unity, code for a Washington-friendly puppet regime. With the new regime installed the plunder begins in earnest. The state is systematically dismantled, cronies appointed to government portfolios, public assets sold into private ownership for pennies on the dollar, while government expenditure on pensions, healthcare, education and essential services is slashed in the name of austerity.

Such deliberate acts of aggression may well constitute war crimes under the Rome Statute, but again, why split hairs, especially with CNN, France24, the BBC and Al Jazeera in your corner? Time and again corporate media is used to spread war propaganda and justify armed aggression. Just like Milošević, Hussein, Ghadaffi, and countless others before them, Basher al Assad has become the latest target of Western prevarication, accused of committing genocide against his own people, dropping barrel bombs on civilian populations, holding his own cities under siege and blowing up hospitals. Fortunately independent news sources have long since belled the cat on this, but it hasn’t stopped the mainstream corporate media playing the same tired old tune and expecting us to dance to it. As though the invasion of Iraq set some kind of legal precedent for unilateral action, Washington isn’t even waiting for a Security Council resolution on Syria this time, with a de-facto no-fly zone already in place.

Bosnia, Ukraine, Iraq, Libya, Syria; could any of these wars have been justified based on anything but blatant lies? The war against Syria, the murder of half a million of its citizens and displacement of over half its population has had but a single purpose: to allow Saudi oil and gas to flow directly into Europe, undercutting Russia’s energy market. This is the cold war all over again, but without the dubious safety net of mutually assured destruction. This time there is only one superpower, and what Washington can’t take by stealth it is determined to take by force.

Afghanistan is rightly described as America’s longest war, which does not include the nine year period of “Soviet occupation” commonly referred to as the Soviet-Afghan war, in which up to 2 million Afghanis lost their lives. Contrary to Western mythology, the Soviets didn’t suddenly decide to invade and occupy Afghanistan. They intervened at the behest of a sovereign government (albeit socialist and pro-Russian) which was under attack from Islamist guerillas – the bastard offspring of US foreign policy and Saudi Wahhabism who would later become the Taliban, al Qaeda, and ISIS. Afghanistan, which sits on a trillion dollar trove of rare earth minerals, is today the hub of a multi billion dollar opium trade run by the CIA. Pardon my cynicism, but when Senator Dick Black proclaims “We Have Never Done Anything More Loathsome or Despicable Than What We’re Doing in Syria”, one wonders what he was doing during the Reagan years.

It comes as no surprise that Time Magazine has just declared Russia, Syria and Iran the new “Axis of Evil” – this from the same venerated Western media sewage outlet which named Adolph Hitler Man of the Year in 1938. Neo-Kremlinology has become the latest buzzword, and Vladimir Putin is now being blamed for everything from the rise of radical Trumpism to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Meanwhile John Kerry has admitted to snorting Joseph McCarthy’s ashes off a State Department toilet seat, but insists he didn’t inhale. In other stories to escape the mainstream news this week, Hillary Clinton’s goldfish was reportedly found dead in the early hours of Sunday morning. Initial police reports suggest suicide, despite 19 gunshot wounds to its back…

Trump: Dangerous demagogue or Democrat shill?

This November Americans will have the opportunity to bestow upon one of two establishment vetted candidates the ill-deserved title of Leader of the Free World. Given seventy odd years of rigged elections and historically unpopular candidates, it’s surprising that there is any level of interest at all in this farce known as the presidential race. You really have to hand it to Americans when it comes to entertainment. Who will wear the crown this time? Will it be the grotesque clown whose particular brand of demagoguery excludes all but the whitest and most privileged of privileged white males? Or will it be the equally repulsive Clinton; a self-professed feminist who claims to speak for the very minorities she systematically represses?

Recent wikileaks revelations expose the murky depths which the Democratic Party has plumbed to secure the nomination of its preferred candidate. Even more interestingly, leading neocons traditionally more at home within the GOP establishment – the likes of Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan who crafted much of Bush Jr’s foreign policy – now seem to have moved into the Clinton camp.

This is hardly surprising. The Democratic Party gave up the disguise of tyranny with a friendly face during the first Clinton administration. With mass deregulation of banking and finance, trade deals like NAFTA which gutted manufacturing and took away tens of thousands of jobs, punitive welfare reforms which created homelessness on a scale not seen since the great depression, and an expanded drug war at home and abroad, the traditional party of the left moved itself squarely to the right of centre. Add mass incarceration and prison privatisation to the list and you have a suite of policies of which Benito Mussolini would have been proud.

Unbelievably to some, the last Democratic President to be swept into office on the promise of change has instigated even more wars of aggression and approved more arms sales to terrorists than his Republican predecessor. Perhaps being the ‘first black President’ gave Obama some political capital to spend, but frankly the same level of constitutional overreach under Bush and Cheney would have seen Democrats baying for blood.

Given the recent history of the Democratic Party it’s easy to predict what a second Clinton administration will look like. From her voting record and her long list of paid speaking engagements we know that Hillary is bought and paid for by Wall Street. Generous donations to the Clinton Foundation and corresponding approvals of arms sales to ‘special’ clients show that she is also firmly in the pocket of the military industrial complex. None of this is surprising.

What is surprising is Donald Trump, surely the most unlikely presidential candidate ever fielded by a major party. Given his close ties with the Clintons (Bill and Donald are reportedly golfing buddies; their daughters BFFs) some have argued that Trump is nothing but a paid actor whose job it is to keep the Republicans out of the White House. Accordingly, Trump is accused of deliberately turning up the crazy to sabotage his own campaign. It’s a persuasive argument, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

Aside from his populist stance on immigration and stated objection to trade deals like the TPP and NAFTA, there is a crucial difference in Trump’s platform which lamestream media consistently and deliberately fails to draw attention to. Trump is on record as saying that NATO has passed its used by date and that the US should withdraw from it. He’s also expressed the view that the US military has no business in the Middle East, and that any anti-terrorism operations should be undertaken with the cooperation of Russia and other regional partners. He’s further angered the mainstream commentariat by expressing his admiration for President Putin. In contrast to Hillary, these views seem positively enlightened, such that one might begin to wonder is it all just theatre? Or is there substance to Trump’s arguments?

Without a doubt, the American project is crumbling from within. As it neglects its own citizenry so begins the descent into social chaos. Poverty, paranoia, mass surveillance, mass incarceration – the hallmarks of an empire in decline, while government digs deeper into taxpayers’ pockets to pay for endless military adventures abroad. $80bn a month in new money creation has failed to stimulate markets, and there are widespread fears of an imminent financial collapse as second-tier economies look for alternatives to the US dollar. The empire is also losing support militarily. Events surrounding the recent attempted coup in Turkey have seen the loss of an important strategic partner, while mass protests call for the removal of missile bases in Japan and Germany.

For those of us who dare to imagine a better, safer world, and for the families of the countless men, women and children murdered in senseless wars of aggression, the final collapse of the US Empire might be cause for celebration. But for the sake of its 319 million citizens, perhaps we should at least consider how America, or some version thereof, might be saved from a fate which now seems inevitable.

The Hillary option sees the US pursuing more of the same aggressive foreign policy we’ve seen since the end of WWII and particularly since 9/11, spreading chaos throughout the world in a win-or-die-trying approach to securing global hegemony. The alternative which Trump appears to portend is an isolationist approach more in keeping with what the founding fathers might have envisioned: less intervention, less of the bi-lateral trade deals which have led to large scale de-industrialization, and a great big wall to stop the flight of capital and influx of cheap labour. These arguments carry a surprising amount of intellectual weight – so much so that one has to seriously question just who is advising Trump? Is his rhetoric backed by actual policy? Or is he just a Hillary shill?

From democracy to despotism – Erdogan’s turnaround is a game changer.

The Ottoman Empire’s entry into WWI came as something of a surprise to Britain, which had figured on its support. Despite having no formal alliance with the Empire, there had been historical precedent in the Cyprus Convention of 1878, and the annexation Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary had fomented enough hostility toward Germany and its allies. No one expected the attack on Russia’s Black Sea coast on 29 October 1914 which led to a declaration of war by Russia, followed in short order by Britain and France. If any lesson can be drawn from this, it’s that one should never take Turkey’s loyalty for granted.

In recent days a rapidly unfolding chain of events has altogether changed the face of Middle Eastern geopolitics. A formal letter of apology sent by Turkey’s Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was made public on June 27. In the letter Erdogan expressed his condolences to the family of the Russian pilot who was killed when a Sukhoi bomber was downed over the Syrian-Turkish border last November, and called for the restoration of “traditional friendly ties” between the two countries. The letter also seems to have coincided with Turkey signalling the normalisation of relations with Syria.

In the wake of this apparent policy shift a ‘pro democracy’ coup was mounted against Erdogan, ostensibly by Kemalist factions within the Turkish military. (Kemalism is a movement which takes its name from Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and emphasises the importance of democracy and secularism – quite the opposite of Erdogan’s Salifist agenda.) The coup was swiftly put down, with thousands of army personnel arrested, and Erdogan has since renewed his call for the extradition of Muhammed Fethullah Gülen, whom he holds personally responsible. (Gulen, once one of Erdogan’s closest allies, now lives in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.)

Watching the ‘official narrative’ come together has been interesting to say the least. Fox news initially rolled out its experts who praised the coup leaders, pulling out all the usual pet names for Erdogan: strongman, megalomaniac, paranoid, delusional, etc. Oddly enough the mainstream media seemed to change its tune when the imminent failure of the coup became apparent. Iran was quick to come to the defence of the Turkish government, with secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani stating “We support Turkey’s legal government and oppose any type of coup — either domestically or supported by foreign sides.” Putin has also gone on record, describing the coup as “unacceptable”

Some, including Gulen himself, now suggest that Erdogan mounted his own coup, as a means to purge Kemalist elements from the military and further entrench his own power – the counter-coup has seen a crackdown on tens of thousands of dissidents and adversaries, including senior Turkish army officials, soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers. However the fact that Ankara has taken the extraordinary measure of seizing and blockading the US airbase in Incirlik, repository for some 25% of NATO’s nuclear armaments and munitions, casts doubt on this false-flag theory.

It seems rather that the coup attempt was directed from Washington, in response to Turkey and Russia’s recent rapprochement and Erdogan’s backflip over the US led war of terror in Syria. This theory is confirmed by whistleblower reports which also mention Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France and the UAE as collaborators. Evidently Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) had sufficient prior knowledge of the plot to make limited preparations, putting the military on lock down, imposing a no fly zone over Turkish air space and rallying pro-government supporters to the streets. The leaked intel is likely to have come from a Russian army intelligence unit deployed in Khmeimim in Northwestern Syria, perhaps Putin’s way of saying “apology accepted.”

Notwithstanding Erdogan’s naked ambition and appalling human rights record, this latest move is a game changer for the Middle East, bringing us closer to the end of the crisis in Syria. As Turkey pivots toward Eurasia and multipolarity it can now be expected to act on Russia’s advice to seal its southern border, cutting off support for US and Saudi backed terrorists. Erdogan’s decision to “end differences with neighbouring states” also means the he now has a target on his back. From here we can safely predict what the next round of Washington-style ‘humanitarian intervention’ and ‘promoting democracy abroad’ might look like.

Dawn of the demagogues: How the left dropped the ball on Brexit

Despite the insistence of 95% of polls, pundits and politicians that Brexit would lead to the sky falling, the sun rose at the usual time over Britain on June 24. Equally predictably, the venerated organ of liberal hypocrisy which calls itself The Guardian responded with a tasty opinion piece headlined “We need a second referendum. The consequences of Brexit are too grave.” Democracy can be such a pest when it doesn’t deliver the results we want.

For those still dumbstruck by the result of this once in a generation poll, let’s pause and consider some of the many reasons which might have led Britons to this acrimonious divorce.

The idea that the fate of some 570 million Europeans should be decided by an unelected bureaucracy in a secret chamber in Brussels isn’t exactly what one would call democratic. In fact the EU has a convincing lead on communist China as the most profoundly anti-democratic political institution of the modern era. Mario Draghi, Jean-Claude Juncker, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Donald Tusk, Martin Schulz. Ask the average Joe who any of these folk are and they’re certain to respond with a shrug of the shoulders. Yet these five presidents of Europe wield much more power and are paid salaries orders of magnitude greater than any of the heads of their constituent member-states.

If the idea of socialism for the rich, with monetary and fiscal policy, foreign policy, and banking and financial markets centrally controlled by a small group of unelected technocrats appeals to the majority, then Britain would have ample reason to remain a member of the EU. But given the colossal failure of this post-war experiment, with its stagnant markets, rising unemployment and declining living standards, it’s no wonder that many are calling this Independence Day.

As well as running a protection racket for uncompetitive industries, dumping millions of tons of food to keep prices suitably inflated, and imposing trade barriers to stifle otherwise profitable business interests, a substantial part of the tribute demanded by the EU of its vassals goes toward the European branch of the US military industrial complex known as NATO. From Bosnia to Belgrade, Syria to Somalia, Libya to Liberia, the north Atlantic Terror Organization has always been at the frontline of Washington’s imperialist adventures abroad, and has for decades helped to maintain the cold war strategy of tension across Europe. Despite what the corporate media would have us believe, the recent upheaval in Ukraine and aggressive posturing toward Russia are about as popular in Europe as the engineered migration of millions of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.

The European Union is an ill conceived and poorly designed bureaucracy which wields far too much power and is wholly unaccountable to its citizenry. The vote to leave should be welcomed by all, as should the news of David Cameron’s pending resignation. A Britain free from burdensome EU macroeconomic policy settings offers great opportunity to redress fundamental inequalities imposed by decades of neoliberal dogma. Alternately, things could get much worse – what a post-Brexit Britain will look like is really anybody’s guess.

The tragic disappointment of the whole affair has been Labour’s spectacular failure to position itself on the right side of the debate and lead the charge. It seems that generations of Blairites and Brownites have moved the political centre so far to the right that most Labour politicians wouldn’t recognise class struggle now if it biffed them in the nose. Consequently Jeremy Corbyn may now find himself hung out to dry by factions within his own party.

June 23 was indeed an historic day for Britain, but it wasn’t a victory for the left, other than perhaps by accident or default. The Brexit referendum was not a show of working class solidarity against the established order, nor a f*ck-you to the decimation of the welfare state. It wasn’t a popular revolt against neo-feudalism, nor a rejection of the diktats of finance capital. It wasn’t a pronouncement of judgement on decades of illegal wars, nor an abnegation of the crimes of Empire. It was, at best, a blind stab in the dark, born out of anger, frustration, xenophobia and far right nationalism. Its ringleaders have been the lunatic fringe; the Farages, Johnsons and Trumps. Throw Geert Wilders into the mix and you have some truly vile politics on display, not to mention a serious amount of bad hair.

This could have been a victory for the left, but instead we see Nigel Farage prancing around with a shit eating I-told-you-so grin on his face, while Scotland is flagging a fresh independence vote. Sadly, a decision which might have brought much needed unity to a divided nation may instead leave city pitted against city and generation against generation, with ethnic minorities likely to become the scapegoats of misdirected aggression.

As much as optimistic scholars have tried to frame the result as a rejection of global corporate capitalism and a kick in the private parts to the neoliberal world order, in the current climate any such outcome is at best an unintended consequence.

Gun culture, extremism and private security – The pathology behind the Orlando shooting

The recent tragedy at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando Florida in which 29 year old former security contractor Omar Mateen mowed down 49 patrons with a SIG MCX assault rifle has provoked a variety of responses from community groups, media, and public figures – some genuinely heartfelt, some simplistic and naïve, and some downright vulgar.

Social media is ablaze and conspiracy wing-nuts are foaming at the mouth. It seems everyone has something to say, but from second amendment rights activists to religious apologists, most seem to miss the point. This tweet from Tasmanian Family First candidate Peter Madden is an example of some of the abhorrent opining which speaks more to the sickness within the broader culture than to the crime itself.

orlando

US republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has shamelessly described the tragedy as an act of radical Islamic terror, while others have been quick to point out that Mr. Mateen was not a practicing Muslim, nor a migrant, but in fact American born and bred. We are left to conclude that this heinous act could not have been religiously motivated, nor was it an act of terrorism by any definition, be it organised, ‘lone-wolf’, or other.

It is totally unsurprising that politicians would use this tragedy to push their own agendas. For Obama and Clinton the issue is gun control. For the likes of Trump and Pauline Hanson it’s about keeping Muslims out of the country. For Malcolm Turnbull it’s about national security. None of this speaks to the pain felt by the victim’s families or the LGBTI community.

With each new mass shooting we reflect on America’s gun culture and the absurd right wing libertarianism which holds the right to kill as sacrosanct while staunchly defending the right to life. However the proliferation of military grade weapons in public hands does not in itself explain what motivates someone like Omar Mateen to go postal on a club full of innocent people.

It has been revealed that Mateen had previously spent nine years working for for G4S, the world’s largest private security company which manages everything from private prisons to supply lines in war zones. It is also known that he had a history of partner abuse. A 2012 report published by the International Journal of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences found that among a sample group of 445 security guards, 14.8% had experienced psychosis, 25.4% had experienced depression and 33% had moderate to high antisocial personality disorder. 100% of those surveyed admitted to some degree of substance abuse while 45% had anger issues manifesting in behaviour ranging from violent language to physical aggression.

One only has to look at the allegations of rape and physical abuse by security guards in our own detention centres to see that a systemic problem exists within the private security industry. The list of complaints against G4S employees is endless, and all too often covered up by government bureaucracy. What is it that attracts narcissists and psychopaths to this line of work? And what happens when you take someone already predisposed to violent behaviour and give them a gun and a uniform?

Take a closeted homophobe with anger issues; remove constraints such as training, disciplinary oversight and accountability; put him in an environment where excessive use of force is commonplace and even expected, and when he suddenly snaps and kills a bunch of people we blame it on ISIS and the gun lobby?

The modern capitalist state decrees that we are but consumers in a marketplace, where law and order are commodities to be bought and sold at the most competitive price. Words like public interest have no place in the lexicon of capitalism, and yet they are the very essence of policing and security. In our relentless pursuit of individualism have we lost all sense of community? If private security really serves the public interest, then how the hell did we end up at Orlando?

German tanks cross into Poland in historic re-enactment.

WWII was fought between the Allies and the Axis Powers, so our textbooks tell us. What is not so often told is that five times as many soldiers died on the Eastern front as the West. The fact that some 22 million slain Russians are widely regarded to have been victims of Stalin’s megalomania could suggest a somewhat lopsided account of history.

History is written by the victor, so we are told. Accordingly it is conservative anticommunists and free market capitalists who have brought us the sordid tales of famines, purges and labour camps in which tens of millions allegedly perished. But far from enlightening us, this web of unsubstantiated, anecdotal horse shit serves rather to conceal a singular historical fact: WWII was primarily a war against Bolshevism, in which Russia was set up by Western bankers and industrialists as the primary target of Nazi aggression.

Between 1924 and 1929 the US made enormous investments in Germany’s military-industrial economy, and by 1930 the Anglo American banks had full control of the German financial system. I.G. Farben funded 45 percent of Hitler’s 1930 election campaign.  J.P. Morgan owned ITT, AEG and Siemens which accounted for all German radio and electrical industry. The DuPont family’s General Motors owned Opel which produced aircraft parts for the Luftwaffe and tanks for the panzer division. Henry Ford held a 100 percent stake in Volkswagen and went on to receive the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest honour Nazi Germany could bestow on a foreigner. Brown Brothers Harriman, Dow Chemical, Coca Cola, Chase Manhattan Bank and Prescott Bush, venerable grand pappy of the Bush dynasty, also appear high atop the list of the Nazi Party’s most prominent aiders and abettors. (The list of German scientists and top military brass who went on to work for the CIA after the war is also illuminating.)

Hitler wanted control of Russia’s resources and markets. The Bushes, Fords and Rockefellers were anxious to stop a socialist revolution spreading to all corners of the world and undermining their respective profit margins.

In 1936, seeing the certain destruction which lay ahead for Germany, senior officials of the Wehrmacht had proposed to Neville Chamberlain the prospect of a coup d’état against Hitler. Chamberlain notably declined. Fascism for the likes of Chamberlain and Churchill was much preferred to the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism and the cancerous growth of Bolshevism. During the 1930s Stalin had made repeated appeals to the West for help against a rapidly re-arming Germany, and was repeatedly rebuffed. In the end, and at terrible cost, it would be Stalin’s armies who would end the Nazi domination of Europe.

In the east, the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and Sakhalin Island was also strategically decisive, leaving Japan no option but unconditional surrender. This victory would have doubtless transpired with or without the diabolical acts of terror perpetrated against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nowadays even the most hardline historians accept that these dual atrocities, far from ending the war, were intended as a shot across Russia’s bow, signalling the beginning of the cold war.

“Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brain.” – Vladimir Putin

Seventy years later, with the Soviet Union dismantled and the reds under the beds scare long abated, Washington still cries foul when Russia dares to project power within 100 miles of its own borders. Where communism had once polarised the geopolitical landscape, today a new ideology gnashes defiantly in the face of US hegemony: Russia and China’s push toward multipolarity portends significant redistribution of power and influence among global players.

Tired of years of crippling economic sanctions and preferential trade deals, a handful of nation states not yet crushed under the iron fist of global corporate capitalism have recently set up a joint investment bank and begun trading in each other’s currencies. The BRICS alliance has dared to challenge the supreme authority of the US pretrodollar, much to the chagrin of the neolibcon Imperialists, who have been forced to bring forward their plans for world domination.

One doesn’t need x-ray specs to see the hand of US imperialism behind the recent ousting of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff; neither should US embassy warnings of imminent terror attacks in South Africa come as any surprise. In the same week that India and Pakistan were made full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Washington has played host to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as it seeks to draw India into its South China Sea adventures. The BRICS are now facing pressure from all sides.

Meanwhile an engineered migration crisis has set the stage for a resurgence of far right nationalism across Europe. Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union is waning in the opinion polls as the right wing populist Alternative for Germany rises, and with a year to go before the next general election, the future is not looking good for the ruling coalition. As the familiar saying goes, good riddance to bad rubbish. Merkel’s lasting legacy will be to have turned Greece into a dumping ground and spread unemployment and hopelessness across Europe. What could possibly be worse?

Actually I can think of a few things…

As though the memory of June 1941 had been blotted from history, a headline in today’s UK Times reads: “Bring back the Panzers to bolster NATO”.

Germany, unlike Japan, was allowed to keep its military after the war, which is unsurprising considering who paid for it. Now it seems the US is once again preparing to use its assets against Russia, as NATO launches its aptly named Saber Strike drills in the Baltic States. With 10 000 troops from 13 NATO member states currently performing military operations in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, somehow I can’t help thinking we’ve been to this movie before. Did we all fall asleep and miss the ending?

Scroll Up