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The ‘tough cop on the beat’ approach does not work

Australian society is comparatively peaceful and cohesive but the more we employ the ‘tough cop on the beat’ approach, the more we are factionalising and marginalising different groups and splintering society as a whole into chanting antagonists.

Instead of working with Aboriginal communities to help them achieve self-determination, we impose draconian rules on them such as in the NT intervention, we lock them up for trivial infringements of the law, we disempower them with welfare management, we try to repeal native title laws so we can mine their traditional lands, we try to force them to become part of the market economy, and we cut off services to remote communities because we can no longer fund their ‘lifestyle choice’ of remaining on the land of their ancestors.

To get them to school, we employ truancy officers and threaten to cut off payments if attendance is not satisfactory. To deal with substance abuse, we employ more police and build more jails.

Instead of working with the Muslim community to address the tragedy of radicalisation, we campaign against halal food and the building of mosques, we have dawn raids rounding up Muslim youth filmed by tv crews, we choose refugees by their religion, and want to stop women from choosing to wear a veil.

Instead of programmes to help people feel part of the community, we pass laws to spy on everyone and to remove judicial oversight and appeal. There is no evidence that storing everyone’s metadata leads to more prosecutions and the sheer volume of material would make the job of identifying suspects even harder.

Instead of foreign aid programmes to help educate and empower poor people, we go in with all guns blazing to free people from tyrannical regimes with no thought as to what will happen once we stop the bombs, dust off our hands and go home.

Instead of a policy to help asylum seekers, we hijack their boats in international waters, send them back where they came from or incarcerate them indefinitely, give them no hope for the future, and abrogate any responsibility for their well-being.

Customs and Immigration have morphed into some kind of armed paramilitary force who may or may not be asking to see your papers should they cross paths with you and the Immigration Minister has become judge and jury who needs present no evidence for his decisions.

Instead of preventative programs that deal with respect, relationships, and anger management, and the provision of crisis accommodation and legal assistance for victims, we seek to impose harsher penalties for domestic violence perpetrators and spend lots of money on advertising.

Instead of facilitating negotiation and dispute settlement for employers and employees through Fair Work Australia, we are set to reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission with its extraordinary powers of interrogation and investigation outside the confines of accepted legal practice. Despite the claims of widespread criminality, Dyson Heydon’s report referred only two former union officials to police for prosecution. One of the duo was Kathy Jackson.

Instead of politicians working to bring our society together, we have people like George Christensen speaking at Reclaim Australia rallies, Andrew Nikolic saying civil liberties have become redundant, Dennis Jensen telling us that climate change is crap, Greg Hunt describing legitimate legal action by environmental groups as ‘vigilante lawfare’, and Michaelia Cash describing union bosses as ‘louts, thugs, bullies, thieves and perjurers.’

People on welfare are leaners and women claiming PPL are double-dipping. Disability pensioners are rorters and age pensioners are a burden.

I have had a great deal of experience in dealing with troubled teenagers and I have never known punishment to produce a positive long term result. Giving them vocational, life, and emotional skills, giving them strategies to deal with their anger and the self-esteem to believe they can achieve goals, helping them through troubled times back onto the path to becoming productive contributors to society, expecting and giving respect, getting them to consider and even help others – all of these things bring far better results than punishment.

This continual blame and punishment routine, this heavy-handed approach by government, will never achieve anything positive. When our politicians are dictated to by global corporations and foreign governments, the best interests of people are often forgotten. When advice only comes from business, everything will be judged by the financial cost, never the social cost. While politicians think their most important goal is re-election, they will make decisions for the wrong reasons – acquiescing to appease a certain demographic, or opposing to highlight division. Politics trumps ethics and doing the right thing has degenerated into whatever it takes to get you into power.

Far more could be achieved if affected parties were part of finding informed, negotiated solutions – but current day politics doesn’t work that way. Choose the right person to write a report that suits the result you want. Commission consultants and restrict terms of reference. Sack public servants who give frank and fearless advice. Withhold any findings that contradict the desired narrative, justifying this secrecy by saying ‘it’s a report to government, not by government’ while ignoring the fact that the people of Australia pay for all those reports and modelling. Establish ‘tough cop on the beat’ bureaucracies and keep the populace scared.

The political divide has become vitriolic and it seems unlikely that we will change any time soon. What a pity – we could be so much better than this.

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  1. Colin

    Any chance of Kaye standing for Parliament? There are few if any politicians on any side making as much sense as she does.

  2. richard grant

    Great article.

  3. Matthew Oborne

    Thats the thing “tough cop” “carrot and stick” if they want to beat us with sticks even metaphorically they are not fit, if they confuse being a politician with being a tough cop they are not fit.

    A society based on punishing people, demonising any poor bugger who doesnt own a mine, and god forbid getting the sack because Abbott tanked the economy.

    Imagine being a sacked Holden worker this year as they are put onto a demoralising and punishing dole queue going from the pride of a good days work to being one of Hockey’s leaners.

  4. mars08

    I’m alright Jack. They have to assimilate. If you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear…

  5. Rob

    Nah those Holden workers just have to re skill as software engineers or maybe brain surgeons or even baristors, I hear we’re short of baristors. Simples.

  6. Kaye Lee

    It seems to me our decision making is arse up. We should decide what we need as a society. Business should then negotiate with us, not the other way around. Unless there is a social contract with all parts of society contributing it will not work. Unless we recognise our responsibility as a global citizen it will not work regardless of what governments and businesses say.

    Those who accumulate obscene amounts of money must recognise their obligation to contribute to the well-being of the society that has provided the environment for them to succeed. They should willingly reinvest in the health and education of their workforce, the security, stability and sustainability of their workplace, and the prosperity of their customers.

    How sad that we must regulate to make businesses recognise what is not only right but in their own long term interest.

  7. Matthew Oborne

    Even sadder that wanting a greater slice of the mineral wealth that by law belongs to the commonwealth is an election losing proposition, Even sadder that business that has high union participation has been slowly decimated to the point that even the public service union is now being challenged by putting people on contracts to diminish unions in our country.
    Sadder still that we are not subject to a choice of great big ideas this election.

  8. mark delmege

    our evolutionary path got stuck between 99 cents and $1.00

  9. diannaart

    I used to have a boss who was described by her, er, cronies(?) as a carrot and stick type leader, “fair but hard” they said – they never had answer for me when I asked, well, enough of the stick, when am I going to see a carrot any time soon?

    To which the answer was; “In the fullness of time”. Still waiting – not unlike refugees but more fortunate than they.

    Anyone who works with children, the disabled, the disappointed and other animals well know and understand that positive reinforcement works best for most of us, most of the time. I call that win/win.

    Negative reinforcement only creates resentment or compliant little vegetables or worse – win/lose/lose – I diverge from the traditional binary win/lose, because we tend to wind up with broken pieces when we get tough and lay down the law – so the winners are; those who are tough and lay down the law, the losers are; those who quietly ferment until…. they die or explode, those who are permanently marginalised, those who turn to nefarious means of survival.

    Which are you?

  10. Maureen Walton (@maureen_walton)

    Great article Kate much food for thought there.

    Notice though that when a lot of politicians retire their Brains start to change and they suddenly find a Heart with Caring and Kindness attached to it. Why? How come so suddenly they change, is it because they no longer have to follow their parties rules or could it also be that they do not have to worry any more about upsetting the big Corporations and the money they donate to their parties?…I Often wonder how their children grow up with all the lies they tell. Just listen to Michaelia Cash her father was a Politician and she is one person I really think is quiet disgusting with the way she acts and talks (well really yells at any one who is not a LNP person)

  11. win jeavons

    SO wise, Kaye . We must restore the economy as a sub-set of society, not , as is now the case, the other way round. Human societies existed for thousands of years before the rise of economists and their political lackeys. Some of them functioned more equitably than our current kleptocracy. Make love, not money !

  12. Miriam English

    Well said Kaye. All my experience with training animals confirms what you say. Using positive reinforcement gives you a trusted ally. Negative reinforcement just gives you an anxiety-riddled, broken slave… and turns you into a monster.

    Weird that those in charge seem unable to see this. I guess they figure they were broken by their monsters, so that’s how it should be for everybody.

    I rather pity them.

    (Perhaps we should never allow people in charge of anything if they come from an authoritarian background.)

  13. Sen Nearly Ile

    Sorry, Kaye, the amoral nut beat you to it:
    I firmly believe that our party is better than this, that our government is better than this and, by God, that our country is so much better than this.”
    As your piece shows, the twit is wrong on every count.
    ps jeavons if the chinese take up your suggestion the next generation will see 5 billion in china

  14. stephentardrew

    Thanks once again Kaye for a first class article.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Malcolm’s plan is to offer greater protection to investors and entrepreneurs and that will fix all of society’s ills – that and more people walking around with guns.

  16. madeleinekingston

    Really nicely put Kaye Lee. Thank you for touching on some of the pertinent gaps in appropriate public policy and political responses to human, civil and political rights issues.

    As to Malcolm Turnbull’s approach, I have more than once referred to perceptions of a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I stand my ground. We deserve better than improved salesmen in the political arena. The public has been historically let down through successive governments in terms of community expectations.

  17. madeleinekingston

    Thanks again Kaye Lee

    On the isolated issue of indigenous rights in the Australian context, may I reiterate and publicly support the perspectives of such groups as:

    • Aboriginal Disability Justice, [ADJC] on whose behalf which Patrick McGee has conscientiously published and promoted substantiated perspectives worthy of the consideration of the Australian population and politicians at large

    • Recognize Australia

    • Many other not-for-profit groups and individuals working tirelessly for the general and specific rights of such groups, seen to be repeatedly targeted and grossly over-represented in the correctional system across the board, from arrest processes and perceived undue force to incarceration, not restricted to indefinite detention of Aboriginals, seen by many to go way beyond exercise appropriate law enforcement control and procedures

    I have been a recipient of postings on behalf of ADJC. One such recent posting advises as follows:

    1. Aboriginal People with Disabilities Get Caught in a Spiral of Over-Policing
    Police have become the default frontline response to Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities. In the absence of culturally responsive and therapeutic community-based support, regular police contact from a young age sets this group up for a lifetime of “management” by the criminal justice system.
    We visited Aboriginal communities in regional and remote New South Wales and the Northern Territory as part of the Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Justice System project. We found that police are often the first and only service to show up to a crisis involving Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities.

    2. But people told us that police often don’t recognise that someone has an intellectual disability or brain injury due to their lack of training in this area. They often assume Aboriginal people are drunk or having a drug-induced mental health episode. This means police don’t respond appropriately, and an interaction can escalate quickly and badly.

    3. Our study shows Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities have frequent contact with police from a younger age than non-Aboriginal people with disabilities. Their age of first contact with police was 3.4 years younger than the non-Aboriginal people in our study.

    5. Aboriginal people in our study had a higher rate of contact with police than non-Aboriginal people, both as a victim and an offender. This was the case for women in particular. Many Aboriginal people told us they felt poorly treated and targeted by police.

    6. Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities can have long histories of offending, often as a result of behaviour connected with their disability. Common among Aboriginal people in our study, for instance, were charges for offences such as offensive language or behaviour, resisting or hindering a police officer, or breaching bail conditions.

    7. People told us that these histories then become used to justify police “hyper-surveillance” of Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities. Even when they are the victims, police often view this group as offenders. One Aboriginal health worker told us:

    8. When they do start out in the jail system and they get themselves a record, nothing is ever in the past. So how can you get help, do the right thing, get your life on track when as soon as the police see them they start harassing them?

    9. Aboriginal people see this kind of negative over-policing as evidence of systemic racism. They highlight the stark contrast between high levels of funding for police in their towns and a lack of funding for Aboriginal community-based mental health and disability services.

    10. One remote NSW town we visited has a long history of poor relations between police and the Aboriginal community. Its population is 2300 people, about 1000 of whom are Aboriginal. There are more than 40 police already based in the town. And the police station has recently had a $16 million upgrade and its police cells expanded to hold more people.

    11. Elders told us that there had been no prior liaison with the local Aboriginal community about this upgrade. Earlier this year, they wrote to the then-NSW attorney-general and justice minister about this. They raised the lack of mental health services and growing numbers of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system with mental and cognitive disabilities – women in particular – as a matter of great concern to the Elders, families and the community. They’re still waiting for a response.

    12. The way police approach Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities needs to change, one disability worker told us:

    13. We had two particular young coppers, straight out of the academy, full of their own importance and new-found power, who used to badger and stalk my client [who has an intellectual disability] … They went slowly slowly past him, then sped around the block, then slowly slowly passed him, then sped around the block, five times. To the point that he got so frustrated he picked up a handful of rocks and threw it at them and told them to piss off. So they then pulled in to arrest him for throwing rocks, then they pushed him against the paddy-wagon that hard that they made the dint in the paddy-wagon, and were going to charge him with [malicious damage].

    14. Many Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities have violent interactions with police. One Aboriginal community member told us:

    15. She was off her medication at that time too, pregnant, and she was confronted by the police and she became irrational in that situation. I don’t think the police over here have learnt how to deal with people with mental illness appropriately. So she became irate, they then dragged her into the police station and took her down in the foyer because, well, their excuse was the way she was acting.

    16. We also heard examples of police officers trying to assist young Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities to get support from human services. But a dire lack of culturally responsive, therapeutic community-based options means that police become default “care managers” and start to manage this group as offenders from a young age.

    17. Greater understanding, accountability and community-police collaboration is urgently needed to build more positive approaches and alternatives to supporting Aboriginal people with mental and cognitive disabilities in their communities.

    This is the third in a series of articles by this research team. Click here to read more on the Indigenous Australians with Mental Health Disorders and Cognitive Disability in the Criminal Justice System (IAMHDCD) Project.

    Ps Just as an aside there have apparently been a few peer-reviewed criticisms over many years of the quality of the Psychiatric Statistical Manual known as the DSM, the current version for which is DSM-V, perceived by many experts as still falling short.


    Conversion Date: October 1, 2015

    I recognize that some of these matters are beyond the scope of the article’s foci, but nevertheless ….

  18. madeleinekingston

    So then, If once more into the Breach Dear, Friends, if I may stretch my luck, May I cite again from Patrick McGee’s blog on indigenous matters, citing directly and seeking immediate and widespread support in this cause

    In the context of Once More into the Breach, Dear Friends, pleas extrapolate

    “Dear ADJC Supporters

    Please find below the link to the Senate Report on Abuse Neglect and Exploitation – this is a very important report as it details the issues in a comprehensive manner

    I am writing in relation to the committee’s inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings, including the gender and age related dimensions, and the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability. The committee tabled its report of the inquiry in the Senate on 25 November 2015.

    A copy of the committee’s report can be accessed on the committee’s website via the following link:

    Kind Regards

    Patrick McGee
    ADJC Coordinator”

  19. mark delmege

    respect and honesty is/are lacking on so many levels – maybe on most levels. Thats a big problem and it is built into our system of society. good luck with that.

  20. SailorV

    Right wingers believe that punishment is its own reward! We know that the punishment regime known as corrective services is neither a service to the community, nor does it do much to ‘correct’ inmates’ behaviour. By shovelling money at private enterprise to run our prisons and detention centres, our governments are committing horrendous crimes against humanity. We encourage them to do so by voting for candidates with obnoxious views. It is obvious that although the Axis powers lost World War II, the Nazis and Fascists are now sitting on the winners’ thrones.

    I think it might be time we took a close look at our politicians, and decided if we want to be part of the evil that is rule by global corporations, or if we should, perhaps, look at a more humane way of running our country.

  21. Miriam English

    SailorV, I’ve often said that to people. We actually lost WorldWar II and the Cold War. Our “side” destroyed the fascist organisations and the surveillance-obsessed police state’s economic structure, but we never actually won against them because they are growing here, inside our own countries. The fascists and racists who believe eugenics is a good thing (instead of deeply evil) are running our governments and police forces and border control. The insane control-freaks who want to surveil the entire population and straitjacket everybody in a police state are growing inside our governments and police forces and spy organisations. We never really won. But how can you fight against human nature with guns and bombs? We need different tools — information, openness, education, empathy — these are the only tools we can use against those evils that lie within us all.

  22. gee

    one thing you can rely on with the LNP is psychological transferrence. i.e. Michaelia Cash describing union bosses as ‘louts, thugs, bullies, thieves and perjurers.’

  23. mark

    we have lost the art of loving,sadly.mark

  24. SailorV

    Miriam, Miriam. If only I’d heard you saying that, you would have heard me cheering in support. I do hope that you did not forget to mention that we, the goodies, did aid and Abetz many Nazi activists to evade capture at the end of the war. The excuse used at the time was that these guys, the baddies, were needed for their expertise to defeat the ex-goody, then baddy, and now semi-goody Russian menace. And while we’re on the subject, just how much richer did Dick Cheyney become from the Bush/Blair/Howard illegal war on Iraq? Was that the first overt move in the program to privatise all Western governments? Sorry, you can’t stop us rabid conspiracy theorists one we get started. Praps I’d better have another valium.

  25. Miriam English

    SailorV, some conspiracy theories are crazy, but some are descriptions of genuine conspiracies. The difference lies in the evidence. We have plenty of evidence for the corruption that ushered in the illegal war against Iraq and theft of the spoils for Halliburton and other corporations. Allowing Nazis to settle here (and elsewhere) after the war instead of facing the music in war crimes trials is another thing that there’s plenty of evidence for. But I’d suggest that those Nazis are actually the same as us. This is what scares me most about this crazy desire to brand a nation or a people or some other named group as evil — it prevents us seeing that we are really all the same.

    The monsters who flogged slaves to death, the jihadists who blow themselves up in crowded shopping centers, the Nazis who conducted experiments on Jews to see how long they could survive eating only sawdust (yes that was real), the Brits who ordered the Dresden firestorm, the USA doctors who gave blacks fake treatment for syphilis in racist experiments, the idiots in our own government who think poor people deserve to be poor… the brilliant artists, musicians, and writers creating our greatest works, the space scientists sending amazing robots to explore our solar system, the doctors developing cures for the world’s most deadly diseases, the engineers helping the world’s poorest people with water wells and solar energy, the programmers who created and maintain Wikipedia, the teachers inspiring the next generation to do wonderful things… we are all virtually the same. There is very little that separates me from Albert Einstein and Josef Mengele, Helen Keller and Margaret Thatcher, the misogyny of Picasso and the self-destructive tragedy of Amy Winehouse, one of my friends who programs virtual worlds in Europe and another friend born intellectually subnormal but the sweetest person I’ve ever known. Hero or monster, winner or loser, we are essentially the same… mostly environment and a smattering of genetic variability is all that stands between those two opposites.

    Be angry about the morons in power doing horrible things, but always remember that they are us. If we were in the same position as they are and had the same upbringing then we would be doing exactly the same stupid, immoral things. We need to change the world by changing how people view the world.

    How? Ah. That is the question.

    It is being done… slowly. Each generation is smarter, gentler, more moral, and more respectful of each other than the one preceding it. Websites like this and DailyKOS in USA, organisations like Avaaz, GetUp, Amnesty International,, EFF, Greenpeace, Doctors Without Borders, Engineers Without Borders, the Malala Fund, SumOfUs, and many, many more are changing the world for the better. The days of those who grow up bent into cruel, wicked minds are dwindling. Knowledge, empathy and understanding are gradually healing society.

    Giant multinational corporations can attempt to do horrible things, but when people realise it they can stop them because we now band together in our millions around the world. When Pepsico realise they can’t sell their product they will stop funding the destruction of rainforest. When people see the evidence that Exxon’s and other fossil fuel companies’ own scientists knew about climate change 35 years ago and that those companies embarked upon a deliberate campaign of misleads and lies we will see a big shift to alternatives. Things are changing. I know it feels slow, but they are actually changing faster than ever before in history. For example, solar panels are being taken up faster than mobile phones. Wind power farms are being built in a fraction of the time it takes to build “conventional” power stations.

    The fossil fuel companies, other corrupt giant corporations, and extremist conservative politicians don’t realise it but they are already in their last days.

  26. terry

    kaye, running the country into the ground like they have , gives them justification for change. classic liberal . remember ANL shipping . the sheep just following cause we got a movie star for pm . bloody good headworkers this mob . simple as that . still think abbott will return to front bench soon , pulls it all together

  27. mark delmege

    Miriam English I can’t let it pass without comment that you promote groups like Avaaz. I don’t believe they make the world better – but worse. These are front groups for empire and intervention. I could comment on some of the others that you mention… but Avaaz is the worst of them.

  28. Miriam English

    mark delmege, that’s an odd thing to assert.

    Listing some of Avaaz’s most recent campaigns:
    – trying to get ANZ to stop funding fossil fuels
    – helping to coordinate the massive climate change protests around the time of the Paris talks
    – trying to help the Syrian refugees
    – speaking up in defense of Muslims to prevent ISIS succeeding in pitting the West against Muslims
    – trying to stop BP drilling in the Great Australian Bight in a baby whale nursery
    – attempting to turn part of the Amazon rainforest in Peru into a national park
    – trying to save Saudi protesters from being beheaded
    – trying to stop the TPP and Monsanto’s pressure to get it passed
    – trying to get the EU to outlaw factory farms’ massive, routine use of antibiotics
    – trying to stop the Abbot Point dredging from going ahead
    -trying to stop a 500 year old forest being levelled in South Korea for a 4 day ski event

    Hmmm… doesn’t sound very evil and imperialist to me.

    What reason do you have for believing they are a front for empire-builders?

    A while back there was a big disinformation campaign by some right-wing groups attempting to discredit various green and socially progressive groups. Perhaps you fell victim to that.

  29. mark delmege

    I’ll just stick to two issues. Libya and Syria. In both they have falsified reality and called for US intervention. If you remember Libya has been destroyed and as the US (and NATO) were bombing, al qaeda and the likes were taking over on the ground. Syria they characterise as a civil war when in reality it is being invaded by Saudi Qatari Turkey and US backed jihadists. Getting these so wrong should be enough to question their motives.

  30. Miriam English

    I’ve just looked through mailouts from Avaaz over the past 6 years. I can’t find a single instance of them calling for USA intervention. They called for the UN Security Council to step in, and criticised USA and France for supplying arms in the Syrian conflict. They also criticised USA and India for delaying the UN declaration of a no-fly zone over Libya. There were calls to bring Assad’s torturers to the international court. There were calls to donate radio equipment to people in Libya so they could get information out regarding what was happening there, and calls for donations for Syrian protesters.

    Do you have any examples of what you say? Could you be repeating charges perhaps from someone who, unbeknownst to you, has an axe to grind with Avaaz? Remember, they have pissed off a lot of wealthy and powerful people who have tried to smear Avaaz.

  31. Miriam English

    I’m not saying I have absolute proof Avaaz are innocent, but based on what their mailouts say, it doesn’t sound like they are the bad guys. Trying to get information out of a blacked out area doesn’t sound like they are aiding the USA, especially if the USA is bombing the place. Also trying to get a no-fly zone would make it harder for the USA to go on bombing sprees too. Criticising the USA in numerous instances doesn’t sound like something that promotes the USA’s agenda. Calling for UN intervention is almost antithetical to USA involvement, because the USA seems to have a real bee in its bonnet about the UN, generally opposing UN actions and scorning the organisation.

  32. Chris

    Mind you it’s completely ok to export some kinds of militants to overseas conflicts….
    No fly zones never apply to the US. The US always veto anything that applies to them (or Israel). The US always uses the UN to justify its wars (that it never declares). The US never ratifies UN treaties or agreements…. Nothing the UN does ever applies to the US.

  33. Chris

    “In Libya, anti-Gaddafi rebels, most of whom were al-Qaeda affiliated militias, were protected by NATO ‘safe havens’ (aka ‘no fly zones’).”
    “US Vice President Joe Biden, for instance, admitted last year that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Islamist rebels in Syria that metamorphosed into ISIS.”

  34. mark delmege

    Miriam, Chis is on the right track. In Libya No Fly Zones were the pretext for aggression and regime change. Avaaz also called for them in Syria (as they did in Libya)

    A few articles of criticism chiefly against Avaaz but also some of the others you mentioned. Human Right Watch deserve a mention too – they have taken some despicable stances.


    The Decline of Political Protest

    Avaaz: Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Protectors of the Oligarchy, Trusted Facilitators of War | Part I

    MOSAIC SYRIA: Another Actor in the Anti-Syria War Propaganda Theatre

  35. Roswell

    Mark, your comment was caught up in the spam filter too. That can happen with comments that have a number of links in them.

    Lucky that I’m up late. 🙂

  36. mark delmege

    cheers (weren’t you on x-files)?

  37. Roswell

    Yep, that’s me.

    I was a big X Files fan, and also a couple of people have told me I’m a lot like the bloke who played Mulder in my personality/mannerisms. I think it was meant to be a compliment. Well I took it as that all the same.

  38. mark delmege

    on tv here tonight multiple episodes – even caught a few I missed..ha I bet you do a good californification too

  39. Miriam English

    mark delmege, I’ve been reading through the links and the supporting links within those pages and watching the videos linked to in those pages for some hours this morning. I haven’t waded through all of it yet, but my preliminary feeling is that those who decry Avaaz are doing so unfairly.

    The idea that a no fly zone is a declaration of war is plain ridiculous. A no fly zone is a no fly zone, instituted to stop aggressors bombing civilians. Does it work? So far, no. It has only been used a few times and in almost every case has been badly subverted by the USA and NATO to do nasty things, but to blame Avaaz for the things done by USA and NATO is misdirected sourness. By all means blame USA and NATO, but Libyans on the ground were pleading for a no fly zone.

    I’ll continue reading through the links when I have time (I must get back to work), but I have to say that far from coming up tainted, Avaaz actually do appear to be genuine. I am very motivated to find the truth of this because I don’t want to be associated with a front organisation that misuses my vote and/or funds.

    As to why the, often anonymous authors, of some of the articles make dark accusations about Avaaz, I’ve often wondered why people want to see shadows where there might be none. I’ve had friends who firmly believed the Icke nonsense about reptilian overlords, other friends who believed that the USA engineered the Twin Tower attacks on their own soil, and I’ve been emphatically told that I’m a zionist conspiring against the Arab world, despite being an Australian atheist of Scottish/Irish/English descent who is proud to have as friends many people of various nationalities, including some Iranian and Pakistani Muslims.

  40. Miriam English

    mark delmege, I’ve just noticed that you list Metapedia as one of your recommended readings. That is not a good place to frequent as it is exactly the kind of group that has vested interests in smearing democracy-oriented groups such as Avaaz. Metapedia represents far-right, white nationalist, white supremacist, white separatist, antisemitic, and neo-Nazi points of view.

    Its criticism of Avaaz actually makes me feel more strongly that Avaaz is on the correct path.

  41. Chris

    Metapedia does sound like a ‘bad place’ but that doesn’t alter the fact that progressive groups or organizations are not always what they seem or serve the purposes they purport to.
    Any discussion of these sorts of networks and associations is easily derailed by associations with ‘pointless conspiracies’ or ‘distasteful groups’ or individuals……just doubt and double (triple) check everything.
    The point is much of the ‘progressive left’ supported and called for policies that coincided with CIA and US foreign policy when it came to Syria, Libya, etc. You would have to wonder why……?
    The Neo-Con Attempt to Rewrite the History of World War II
    Also beware of anything associated with David Horowitz
    ….and NGO monitor is not good either

  42. mark delmege

    I don’t really want to get bogged down on this but as soon as I read the no fly resolution 1973 the day it was passed I knew exactly what it was – a prelude to war. And that was the intention. Sure a lot of so called liberal left supported the motion – like Bob Brown and many other Greens and Labor people but it was always a bad idea (if you are on the side of humanity). They were conned by propaganda like so many were about Saddam’s WMD’s and al-Assad’s Ghouta chemical weapons attack and Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Thats why propaganda is so effective.
    And sure there were (jihadist) people in Libya – some – who were calling for a no fly zone just as there are some still calling for the overthrow of al-Assad – but that doesn’t make them intelligent or right. You wanna trust Avaaz – well thats your right. I can’t make you understand what they are really all about but hopefully others will be more cautious.

    ‘The idea that a no fly zone is a declaration of war is plain ridiculous.’ But calling for and sponsoring a No Fly Zone and then bombing a country killing tens of thousands of people and destroying the most developed country in all of Africa … really, have you lost your marbles? (when has a US intervention in the last 60 years been a good idea?)

    As for articles without authors the only one I noticed was Metapedia. But yeah it does look a bit dodgy.

  43. Chris

    She just totally ignores anything I say…… : /

  44. mark delmege

    you get that, Chris. But to be fair she is probably busy with other matters. (I have only just got home from work)

  45. Miriam English

    Actually Chris, I was about to thank you for your links. Mark is right. I have been very busy.

    Chris, you are quite right to caution that progressive groups could possibly be something different from what they claim. This is why, as I mentioned, I am seriously motivated to ensure I’m not throwing my lot in with a duplicitous organisation.

    I deeply hate the way the CIA messes with the truth. All that power and information — they could be doing honestly great things for humanity, but instead they choose to screw with truth… the idiots. What kind of person continues working for an organisation that has the track record they do? Government destabilisation, assassinations, torture, installation of dictators, training death squads and terrorists…. After I finish my current book my next one will feature a person who believes they are on the side of good until something happens to make him realise he is working for the bad guys, and many things he’s done have brought about unforgivable misery, suffering, and death. All I have to do is imagine what it would be like for someone working for the CIA to suddenly wake up and listen to their conscience and check their moral compass.

    When it is difficult to believe what information you are given it is really hard to make correct decisions. The expediency in politics makes it especially hard.

    An example of the way things get messed up when politicians and “Intelligence” organisations screw with the truth is in how altering the facts after Three Mile Island has affected safety standards for nuclear radiation. The information from that catastrophe was altered to ignore all the thousands of people affected and all the resulting cancer deaths from it. This screwing with information makes nuclear far more dangerous than it would be if we had safety standards based upon truthful data. But you can’t blame doctors who act upon the lies written into the falsified data. You can’t even blame the nuclear engineers who believe the data they’ve been given.

    In the same way I don’t blame Avaaz for acting on the calls for a no fly zone. There were only two previous times a no fly zone has been instituted (Iraq, and Bosnia/Herzegovina). In the case of Iraq the USA used it like they used everything around that time to get what they wanted and destroy everything they could. I am not so sure of the one in Bosnia/Herzegovina. Given that, it is less simple to forecast that it would go down the way it did in Libya. Hindsight makes it easy… But before the fact? Not so simple. And if you have people on the ground hurting because of Gaddafi’s desperation to hold onto power then that makes it even harder to work out what is right.

    Looking at all the other good that Avaaz has been involved in I give them some benefit of the doubt. Though I will be more careful in scrutinising their political calls in future.

  46. Miriam English

    mark delmege, I’ll check the video tomorrow. My internet is too slow to watch videos online and I have to download them when the net speeds up off-peak after midnight. I’m not optimistic about gaining much genuine info from it though.

    Very few things I’ve seen or read are much more than opinion pieces. People tend to believe the stories and conspiracies that fit their particular view of the world. Unfortunately in all the stuff I’ve read about Syria it seems you peel off a layer of lies and there are more lies underneath. Every side seems to be lying about everything. I have no doubt that USA is playing politics casually with vast numbers of people’s lives. They have a long history of doing that. But everybody else appears to be doing the same. Assad seems to be no innocent either. The only innocents appear to be the poor bastards fleeing the area, and they’re the ones being spit upon by all sides.

    The only thing I can be pretty sure about is that anybody who is certain they know what’s going on in Syria is definitely wrong. How can anybody be certain of any of it when pretty-much everybody involved lies?

    (Incidentally, that’s a novel misspelling of my name.)

  47. mark delmege

    Don’t take it personally – we all have our obsessions and I certainly have mine. I see patterns of behaviour repeated in conflict after conflict and to me this (Syria) is little different in many respects to others I have watched closely over the past 30 years. Meanwhile we are hurtling towards even more serious conflicts all over the world and we are being led by bad media and bad public officials who seem to have no idea of just how bad it is.

    Just to change topic if anyone is reading I wouldn’t mind seeing a thought I have had for many years discussed

    In Australia when Men do bad things they are criminalised (he’s bad) and when Women do bad things they are medicalised (she’s mad).

    A lot of people end up being misjudged.

  48. diannaart

    Well observed, Mark

    I agree, women tend to be stereotyped as hysterical whereas men get the ‘bad boy’ label. Both men and women suffer. The only significant difference would be that ‘mad’ people can be locked away indefinitely, without trial by peers, whereas the ‘bad’ people, usually serve a finite sentence and return to the community.

    Neither option is a solution.

  49. Chris

    Thanks for the reply Miriam. Keep us posted on your book.
    As far as Avaaz being involved in good causes….It is easy to do that to maintain credibility and cover for other possible agendas.
    Did you read that Michael Moorcock interview I posted a while ago addressed to you ? He covers similar themes of ‘misplaced motivations’ (?) An interesting writer….

  50. Miriam English

    Chris, yes, a group could pretend to be good by doing some good things as cover for other bad things, or they could be genuinely good and get sucked in by what they thought were reliable reports. The fact that Avaaz often criticise USA makes it more likely to me that they have made honest mistakes. Beware of dismissing people without genuine understanding of their motives. See this brilliant video:

    it is titled “Bending Truth”, but it is about people classifying others as bad and the no-win methods they often use to do so. I heartily recommend all the videos by the guy who calls himself “ThereminTrees”. He is careful and thoughtful. Often his videos have to be watched a few times to get everything from them, so densely packed with concepts are they.

    I did read that Michael Moorcock interview. It was interesting to see what he is up to these days. I used to read some of his stuff years ago — not his fantasy though, as my real interest is hard science fiction. I always felt Moorcock had a few screws loose. The article put that in context for me. Thanks for the link.

    You might be interested in some of my stories (or you might not). I have no idea whether I’m a good writer or not. I simply keep on writing stuff… mostly for myself. I do have some hope that it might appeal to others, but it almost doesn’t matter. You can check out my talentless crap at where more recent stuff is at the top of my stories page and older, crappier stuff is at the bottom. I’ve made covers for the books and am also working on illustrations for some of the stories. Much of what I write has a political aspect, but through humanism and genuine, solid science. Of the 5 novels there (well, “Shirlocke” is really just a novella) the one that I feel has the strongest political dimension is “Prescription”, though all the others have political aspects to them too. You might like “Shirlocke” — it is only short, has some humor, and the political aspect might appeal to you. A number of my short stories have political aspects too, for example “Sympathy for Pests” is about the recent promotion of thorium-powered nuclear reactors, “Pet” discusses why violence is fated to die out, “Skin Deep” punctures the way people generally, but women in particular, are judged by their appearance.

    mark delmege, I watched the video and was surprised that it did give some useful info, however much of it was opinion that is impossible to tell apart from the mess of lies from all sides in this horrid conflict. I feel so very sorry for the poor bastards caught up in the middle of this. The scene of the people trying to throw goods across a road to avoid a sniper is heart rending. For what it’s worth, I tend to think that Assad is not blameless, but has been heavy-handed and brutal, though possibly not as nasty as he’s being painted to be by our mainstream lying media. I think USA and other Western powers want Syria in order to steal the wealth under it, control the region, and isolate Iran, and they don’t care who they lie to, hurt, murder, or torture in order to get their way. But of course, I’ve never been to Syria, I’ve never met anybody from there, and I’m just relying upon third-hand information like everybody else, so I could be completely wrong.

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