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Day to Day Politics: When you tell a lie.

Thursday 20 April 2017

1 Like many others, I suspect, I was extremely sceptical of G W Bush’s claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The accusations always looked a bit sus as we Australians are apt to say. There are even suggestions that Bush knew that there were none. Even United States Secretary of State Colin Powell holding a model vial of anthrax while giving a presentation to the United Nations Security Council looked fake.

On many occasions during that period I asked myself the question, ”why doesn’t Howard ask Bush for greater assurance before we make a commitment?”

As it turns out, there were none. There has never been to my knowledge a satisfactory explanation as to why the US Spy Agencies got it so wrong. Were we the victims of a gigantic lie, an excuse for a war that would revenge 9/11? Or was it just incompetence-telling your masters what they want to hear.

In recent weeks Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been accused of a pattern of chemical attacks.

Quoting Time.com:

”The bomb fell at around midday. Dropped from a helicopter, the barrel burst open and spawned its contents onto the pavement: at least four metal cylinders that ripped open to release a greenish gas that smelled of bleach. Within minutes, residents began to hack on the fumes.”

Chemical attacks represent a special brand of horror for civilian victims. That chemicals were used is beyond dispute. What is, is the truth of just who is responsible. The experience of Iraq highlights the need for truth over raw emotion.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

”And given that samples from the victims showed conclusively that they had been exposed to sarin gas, there is only one conclusion: that the Assad regime almost certainly gassed its own people in breach of international law and the rules of war.”

I for one am yet to see any  solid, cast in concrete, beyond reproach evidence of who in fact was responsible. And until I do I shall preserve a healthy scepticism on the matter.

An observation.

“Any meaningful resolution to the problems in the Middle East (and elsewhere for that matter) cannot be resolved without the transformation of the minds of men and consideration of the effect religion has on people”

 2 The Essential Poll. Labor leads Coalition 54% to 46% in two-party preferred vote. Labor is well ahead of the Coalition on the two-party preferred measure

Some interesting results in their surveys.

Pauline Hanson has a higher disapproval rating from voters than approval. The poll showed 48% disapproved of her performance, while 32% approved.

An observation.

”She thinks climate is the only thing you can do with a ladder”.

Voters gave the thumbs down to the idea of the Australian government providing military support for US actions in Syria. Fifty per cent disapproved while 31% approved.

3 Pauline Hanson tweeted that ”The Government will deny their tough talk on immigration & plan to ban 457 visas is because of One Nation but we all know the truth!”

Well she is right. The Government decision on 457 Visas was more to do with race than Australian jobs. It was an attempt to win back those who because of their adversity to others who are different have gone over to One Nation.

Shorten is winning votes on the left. Hanson winning votes on the right. Turnbull is being squeezed in the middle.

Just a few points on this. One, explain to me Australian values that aren’t universal ones. Two, are we so incapable of training a few thousand nurses, motor mechanics, carpenters, auto-electricians and young waiters? Three, is it because Abbott/Turnbull took $3 billion out of TAFE education? It was a race announcement under the pretext of a jobs announcement.

Lastly, it’s a bit rich when you have been in power for so long to then blame Labor for a problem you could have fixed ages ago.

On this day last year I wrote:

The average single pensioner receives $794 per fortnight. Bronnie will get $9614.

My thought for the day.

“When you tell a lie you deny the other person’s right to the truth”.

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25 comments

  1. Pappinbarra Fox

    Evidence cast in concrete? Cripes that is beyond reasonable doubt as a test. I haven’t seen any evidence that would pass the “on the balance of probabilities” test.

  2. Terry2

    It also seemed strange to me that Assad, at a time when he had been engaged on a charm offensive and was having some success with the retaking of Aleppo, would then use chemical weapons on his own people.

    This, as events have shown, was the worst possible thing that Assad could have done at a time when he was fostering international support.

    Had you been an enemy of the Assad regime you could not have dreamed up a more heinous crime to damage your enemy.

    Certainly needs a full enquiry.

  3. Arthur Tarry

    Yes, politicians are prone to invoke the concept of un-Australian and/or Australian values. What do they mean? My values are vastly different, I am sure, than most of the senior politicians who trot out this notion. Furthermore, I doubt these politicians know very much about the world most of us live in as they live in Disneyland.

  4. Halfbreeder

    ‘…smelled like bleach’. Sarin gas is odourless so this sounds like chlorine gas.

  5. Keitha Granville

    Even if one holds the belief that Assad is not the best leader in the world, there MUST be concrete proof. We cannot blindly follow Trump who is prepared to launch pre-emptive strikes at the mere suggestion of regime atrocities. Goodness knows how small a provocation he will need to push the nuclear button.
    At least it will all be over quickly. The planet will eventually recover without people messing it up.

  6. Möbius Ecko

    Halfbreeder @ 7:16 am

    I think you will find that description of an attack from a helicopter was for chlorine gas. It was not describing the supposed sarin attack, but instead attempting to describe that Assad had a pattern of using chemical weapons so as to infer the sarin attack was not beyond him.

  7. king1394

    Time describes chlorine gas (green, smell of bleach) and film reports showed people frantically washing the victims, who show respiratory symptoms. Chlorine is relatively easy to obtain, and use, unlike sarin. Aum Shinyiko was a very wealthy cult and who built a specialised facility to make it. The journalist, Seymour Hersh, popularised the idea that sarin could be made in the backyard with easily obtained chemicals, but this is untrue. http://warincontext.org/2013/12/11/how-easy-is-it-to-make-sarin/

  8. Terry2

    The National Party are flexing their muscles within the coalition and shoring up their support in the bush : this is Fiona Nash yesterday :

    “All portfolio ministers will be required to report back to cabinet by August on which of their departments, functions or entities are suitable.

    “Departments will need to actively justify if they don’t want to move, why all or part of their operations are unsuitable for decentralisation. ”

    If carried through this could potentially mean thousand of families being being forced to sell up their homes, move out of cities like Canberra,change their kids’ schooling arrangements and disrupt the careers of their partners to satisfy the National Party. It could also cost hundreds of millions of dollars and contribute to family breakdowns.

    I thought Canberra was already a regional city !

  9. Zathras

    Julie Bishop saying “North Korea will soon have missiles that could reach Australia” sounds a lot like Tony Blair’s claim that “Saddam Hussein has WMDs that could reach Britain in 20 minutes” and may be another attempt to soften up public opinion before we get involved in another fiasco.

    The 457 and “Australian Values” changes are a Howard-worthy dog-whistle attempt by the Government to claw back some Hanson voters while trying to wedge Labor. It’s a shame that they gutted the TAFE system that left us short of skilled workers in the first place.

    Meanwhile local workers are being ripped-off with fake traineeships and attacks on pay rates. Concern for locals only seems to go so far and only under certain circumstances.

    As for the gas attack, we will never know the truth behind it, only the consequences. Politics is all about impressions – not facts.

    Assad “killed his own people”. So did Saddam Hussein. So did Abraham Lincoln, So did almost every British King and Queen, in fact so did every country throughout history that ever had a government revolution. It’s always the people who suffer.

  10. Terry2

    It appears that we will be asking potential citizens if they support female genital mutilation (not male genital cutting I note), child marriages and using violence against one’s spouse at home.

    This is part of what Dutton is calling ‘Australian Values’ even though the areas in question are already dealt with by Australian laws (other than male penis cutting) and as journalists are currently trying to clarify with the PM and Dutton is how do you stop people lying and surely you call upon all Australians to uphold the law : this sounds very much like Dutton’s dog-whistling Muslims to me and pandering to One Nation.

    The joint Turnbull/Dutton press conference came to an abrupt end once the assembled journalists started asking some tough and probing questions

  11. wam

    I was hoping to be able to compare Ahok’s defeat to ‘rabbottism’ but that is on hold. Can hardly wait till you hit the pollies on ‘property’ especially the slimneyX. Would love you to attack the ‘in my wife’s name’ and ‘family trust’ rorts.
    if it was possible to force publication, but, as donald’s tax returns show, pollies can avoid truth, conceal motives or simply ignore laws, with impunity. Unless murdoch’s mob decide to seek a rating’s boost

    Back to the future, Lord, WoMD, a lie or a believable excuse? Perhaps Assad’s helicopter missed the pool with the chlorine or was it a trial for the london Mangle?
    PS bill is at last hitting the FTA and unlimited visas no checks for chinese Automotive Electrician, Cabinetmaker, Carpenter and Joiner, Diesel Motor Mechanic, Electrician, Motor and Motorcycle Mechanic? Any of the 1.5 billion chinese has access to a two year visa, without any skill testing or direct testing, by the Aust labour market?

  12. helvityni

    “Lastly, it’s a bit rich when you have been in power for so long to then blame Labor for a problem you could have fixed ages ago”.

    That cry from the Libs infuriates me, and I usually shout back: why have you not fixed it, things are not set in concrete…

    One of my other pet-hates is the talk of ‘Australian values’. Good values are GOOD VALUES in any society, in any language…

    And re your thought for the day “When you tell a lie you deny the other person’s right to the truth”. Only yesterday I had a ‘discussion’ about that: insecure, dominating people are NEVER wrong…they also lie a lot and the other side is ALWAYS wrong. 🙂

  13. Alan Baird

    Could we REALLY join in with a war based on flimsy (read fake?) evidence? You betcha! If there’s a polly from Lib or Lab in office, yep, yep, yep. Nothing better than to be recorded talking to the troops, especially if they’ve already been “blooded”. I have to say that Trump sure disposed of his domestic Putin problem double quick with the classic “Syria Defence”. I can’t remember if “patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” is American, but it should be. Mind you, Australia can hold its head up high! We’ve got some of the best grade A scoundrels in the world, seemingly able to react with the speed of a foot whose actuating knee above has been struck with a light hammer… and with just as much thought! They are knee- jerks… with the emphasis on the latter word. Politicians bemoan the fact that they’re derided, sneered at and despised before they even open their mouths. Why? It saves time. You just know you’re going to be derided, sneered at and despised by being “sold a pup” and being regarded as a “wood duck” in second-hand car dealer language. They’re related “professions” by the way.

  14. Matters Not

    Re Australian values. The implication being that Australian values are somehow unique or peculiar to the local citizenry. Hilarious!

    Jingoism writ large. Perhaps having an Australian flag draped across the patio or fence will become mandatory? Perhaps Mal will get a new tattoo?

    I fear we have some way to go with this nonsense.

  15. Tracie

    George Venturini had written about the lies coming from GW Bush and Howard at the time. Also, from what I had read of the Chilcot Report and FOI Documents, the main reason for invading Iraq was so that Bush and Howard (in particular, because they quickly didn’t trust Blair) could carve up the northern part of Iraq with regards to oil.

    It was all about oil, and how much money they could make. There were no weapons of mass destruction, and they all knew there was none. It was all an excuse to try to bamboozle as many people as possible into it.

  16. James O'Neill

    John, if it were sarin gas the fake White Helmet “rescuers” would all be dead. As to what happened I am amazed that you do not cite the analysis of Ted Postol, an acknowledged independent expert who has thoroughly debunked the White House version so faithfully parroted by our nincompoop politicians. There are a number of good commentaries available. For an Australian perspective you should check out John Menadue’s excellent website Pearls and Irritations.

  17. helvityni

    I forgive the old fuddy duddy Howard, a stuffy little suburban lawyer, for rattling on about Oz values, but it sounded cringe-worthy coming from Mal’s mouth, the suave urban man of the world, who visits Venice Biennales and dines in New York….

  18. silkworm

    I have read recently that when the US destroyed Libya, they took Gaddafi’s chemical weapons and transported them to the CIA-backed rebels in Syria, hoping to foment regime change there. Assad destroyed his chemical weapons in 2013, and the only people to have chemical weapons in Syria now are the CIA-backed rebels.

    What probably happened is that the Russians bombed an Al Nusra hideout in Khan Shaykoun, dispersing the chemicals from that hideout.

    On the other hand, the fact that the vision of the chemical attack was provided to the Western media by the CIA-backed White Helmets should in itself be cause for doubt about the report. I have already posted a video here of the White Helmets staging a fake rescue using actors, and it has crossed my mind that the vision of the chemical attack at Khan Shaykoun could have been staged using actors.

  19. 1petermcc

    Former UK Ambassador to Syria is less than convinced. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LKsn4ZutxQ

    Ever since Trump’s polling went South I have been expecting a war. It’s what Conservatives do when popularity drops and it still works.

  20. David Bruce

    I hope the people of Australia remain as skeptical as you John! Bush, Howard, Blair, Obama and Trump were just following orders from the elite puppet masters whose ancestors ordered the false flag events of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1916, Pearl Harbor, and the fake Gulf of Tonkin Incident, all of which embroiled the US in wars that the public would not otherwise have allowed. We know who they and their greatest fear is naming and shaming exposure, resulting in the masses taking up their pitchforks.

  21. lawrencesroberts

    Terrible to think that all these deaths are to stop a pipeline or that the million dead in Iraq where for Dick Cheney ‘ s oil mates?

  22. michael lacey

    The Western media were so certain; the New York Times, The Washington Post, European media, Australian media all spewing out the same repetitious nonsense from sources that are connected to the war mongers in way or another; Even less main stream outlets spewing it out even before an investigation started or was ever started at all .

    The United States nearly went to war in 2013 in Syria on the same fabrications of chemical attacks! The trouble is we go to war on a lie and then when the lie is exposed it has served its purpose it is too late!

    No one talks about wars of aggression being criminal acts and a violation of the UN Charter! That’s why I look for sites that are not so quick to go to war and do some real analysis.

    James O’Neill mentioned John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations one such sight that produces excellent articles by a variety of authors with great credentials.

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