Episode 251 – Both China and the USA threatened Australia
In the same week, we learned that China threatened us with economic sanctions for wanting a coronavirus inquiry and the USA threatened our alliance if we refused to sign the TPP.
Guess which threat got more publicity.
The Afghanistan War: Australia’s longest running deception
What our prime ministers said about Australia’s longest running military engagement, the War in Afghanistan. Michelle Fahy’s report follows secret information about the Afghanistan war obtained by The Washington Post.
After a three-year legal battle, The Washington Post in December 2019 secured formerly top secret US government information about the Afghanistan war, collected for an internal review, Lessons Learned. It contains interviews with hundreds of military leaders, diplomats, aid workers and Afghan officials. Their account of the war ‘violently contradicts’ what the US government and three successive US presidents have told Americans, and the world, about Afghanistan.
Key revelations by The Washington Post:
- Behind-the-scenes consensus was that the war was not well-managed. There was no strategy, no real plan, no real knowledge of who the enemy was.
- What started as retaliation for 9/11 to fight al Qaeda soon became muddled. Within six months al Qaeda’s leaders had been captured, killed or had fled.
- Confusion reigned about why Americans were still there, and what the US was fighting for. Planning was a disaster.
- Leaders knew things were not going well. Yet, in public, they were claiming “it’s a tough fight, but we’re making progress: we just need more money and more troops.”
These revelations came as no surprise to Australians who remembered Vietnam, and who have read accounts of Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan, much like Clinton Fernandes in 2019. Australian prime ministers, other senior politicians, and military leaders, have known this for years. The latest online bulletin from Australians for War Powers Reform have collected statements from our leaders in a three-part series, together with revelations from WikiLeaks cables. It shows that the same long-running deception of the public about Afghanistan occurred in Australia.
Australia in Afghanistan
Australia has been involved in Afghanistan since 2001. It’s the longest war in Australia’s history. Despite our participation, which continues, the revelations by the Washington Post have engendered no corresponding examination by Australian media of the parallel 18 year trail of lies and obfuscation by successive Australian governments and military leaders under five prime ministers. There’s been no public grilling of former PMs or military chiefs as to what they knew of the chaos in the US government and how that impacted decision-making in Australia. Why not?
The cost of the war to Australia has been significant:
- More than 26,000 Australian soldiers served in Afghanistan from 2001-2014
- 42 Australians have been killed while serving in Afghanistan
- 261 personnel have been seriously wounded
- The cost to date exceeds $10 billion, comprising military expenditure of $8.3 billion (to 30.6.19) and official development assistance of $1.8 billion (to 30.6.20, figures here and here). This does not include additional programs such as the police training program
War in Afghanistan: 18 years of lies and obfuscation
The Washington Post stories and interviews show that the people in charge of the Afghanistan war in the United States were constantly disparaging how it was being carried out: planning was a disaster, things were not going well. Yet, in public, those same people were claiming otherwise: it’s a tough fight, but we’re making progress. We’re turning the corner. It’s worth investing more money and sending more troops.
KEVIN RUDD: prime minister 3.12.07–24.6.10; foreign minister 14.9.10–22.2.12; prime minister 27.6.13–18.9.13
6.1.08 (WikiLeaks revelation 10.12.10): “Afghanistan scares the hell out of me”… no common strategy for winning the war or winning the peace… the national security establishment in Australia was very pessimistic about the long-term prognosis for Afghanistan.
20.12.08 Kevin Rudd…no plans to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan but committed to the war and believed the Australians were making progress.
10.12.10 WikiLeaks revelation: The government is deeply pessimistic about Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan and officials have described as hopeless the key task of training the Afghan national police. Despite repeated public assurances that gains are being made in Afghanistan and that long-term success is possible, secret US embassy cables reveal that…officials hold grave concerns about the prospect of success in the nine-year war that has claimed the lives of 21 Australian soldiers.
4.4.11 I’ve been back to Afghanistan four or five times in recent years. On this occasion I felt some genuine basis for optimism. I’m not Pollyannaish about this… there’s been an effective, I think, strategy for Afghanistan which brings in the military, the civilian and the political since about a year and a half ago to be quite honest.
JOEL FITZGIBBON: defence minister 3.12.07–4.6.09
15.2.08 Fitzgibbon has denounced the handling of the war in Afghanistan… says the allies are disunited, lack a clear plan… In a scathing assessment…Fitzgibbon yesterday laid out a string of failures and warned that a new strategy was required to ensure the Australian contribution was not “for nil”. Fitzgibbon has resisted recent calls…to increase troop levels, saying Australian forces have been hampered by a failure by their “political masters” to develop a clear plan. “What surprised me most was the extent to which Australia had been denied access to important war information and excluded from the strategic-planning processes.”
21.10.08 “If properly resourced and coordinated political, civil and military plans are embraced, I am absolutely confident that we can achieve relative peace and security for the people of Afghanistan.” Fitzgibbon said there had been recent debate on progress in Afghanistan with British Commander Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith declaring the war against the Taliban unwinnable. He said he shared his frustration at lack of progress but not his pessimism… Fitzgibbon said Australian troops continued to do real and meaningful work in and beyond Oruzgan province. Special forces were enjoying real success in taking the war to the Taliban.
PETER LEAHY: chief of army 2002–2008
22.2.16 After nearly 15 years, the security situation…has not much improved. Al Qaeda remains, the Taliban are resurgent, IS has a growing presence, the Afghan government is divided, and corruption and poverty are commonplace… We are still struggling to find an exit strategy… Over time, our politicians did not tell us much of our strategy. There is a good excuse – we didn’t have one.
The mission might have been clear at the start…But beyond tightly constrained successive missions of reconstruction, mentoring and training, the coalition struggled for a strategy and then, after 13 years, we decided to leave the country, ‘ready or not’. Even that didn’t work and… the withdrawal has been put aside and about 270 Australian troops remain in Afghanistan today – seemingly tied to an American presence… Along with Iraq, Afghanistan must be one of the most little reported wars in Australia’s military history.
JULIA GILLARD: prime minister 24.6.10–27.6.13
4.10.10 …our troops are making progress there… It is difficult work but they are training the Afghan National Army and they are making progress and of course our aid workers and our Australian Federal Police are making progress too, progress in health and education, in aid work and also progress in training Afghan police.
19.10.10 I can report tentative signs of progress to date… The challenges that face Oruzgan, and Afghanistan, are immense. But I do believe we should be cautiously encouraged…
7.6.11 I can promise you this – Afghanistan is not endless war and it is not a war without a purpose.
31.8.12 We’ve been very clear about the progress we’re making… We wouldn’t have made that judgment call about saying Oruzgan is ready for transition unless we believed it to be true, and there’s nothing that has happened since that suggests to me, that suggests to Defence, that we should change our perspectives on the time.
JULIE BISHOP: shadow foreign minister 16.2.09–18.9.13, foreign minister 18.9.13–28.8.18
4.4.11 Until last weekend when the UN personnel were attacked, there had been great progress in Afghanistan, particularly over the last 12 months… Australia cannot withdraw its support for its allies now just when we’re on the cusp of making real progress.
9.3.18 Our diplomatic, defence and development engagement is helping the Afghan Government and its international partners create long-term security and development.
TONY ABBOTT: prime minister 18.9.13–15.9.15
17.4.12 [Opposition Leader] Abbott said he believed it should be possible to “finish the job” in Afghanistan “sooner rather than later.” “I have been twice to Afghanistan, I have been lucky enough to talk to our senior commanders on the spot, to talk to our troops on the ground. They think that they are doing very good work, they think that very significant progress has been made, is being made, will be made.”
16.12.13 on the Australian withdrawal:
GUARDIAN Australia’s involvement ending, “not with victory, not with defeat, but with, we hope, an Afghanistan that is better for our presence here.”
ABC “If you look at the benefits for our country, for Afghanistan, and for the wider world, then my conclusion is yes, it has been worth it…Uruzgan today is a very significantly different and better place than it was a decade ago. The infrastructure is better, the Government functions much better; girls go to school, medical facilities are in place.” Mr Abbott said the war had reaped broader rewards for international security. “We have seen the replacement of the Taliban. We have seen the driving out from their safe havens and bases of Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda sympathisers.”…The Prime Minister has rejected concerns that Afghan authorities will not be able to maintain stability in the country. “We can’t predict the future, we have no crystal ball… it’s very easy to be defeatist at a time like this and I don’t think there’s all that much evidence to justify it.”
MARK BINSKIN: chief of defence force 30.6.14–6.7.18
10.2.16 Afghan insurgents are getting the upper hand in many districts around the former Australian military base in Tarin Kowt… Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin has told a Senate estimates hearing…“Insurgents have increased their freedom of movement and generally contain Afghan National Defence and Security Forces units to their bases and their checkpoints…towards the end of 2015 the Taliban started to realise they could start to move around with a little bit of impunity.”
MALCOLM TURNBULL: prime minister 15.9.15–24.8.18
4.4.17 Since 2001 we have supported Afghanistan in its efforts to tackle terrorism and build a stronger, more stable and resilient nation. Afghanistan has made real progress during this period, particularly in education, healthcare, women’s empowerment and human rights – improving the everyday lives of Afghans.
25.4.17 On a visit to middle east: An invaluable opportunity to assess the progress of the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. By confronting and defeating the terrorists on the battlefield, we are helping make the world – and Australia – a safer place.
23.8.17 Turnbull has conceded the war against terror in Afghanistan will continue for a “very long” time as he signalled his openness to considering any US request for extra Australian troops.
SCOTT MORRISON: prime minister 24.8.18–present
22.12.18 Statement: Since 2001, the purpose of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan has been to support the Afghan Government to help contain the threat from international terrorism… Australia last month reiterated its ongoing commitment to support Afghanistan’s transition to stability and self-reliance, and welcomes recent progress towards a political settlement. Like our coalition partners, Australia recognises there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.
China threatens Australia with economic pain if it pursues an inquiry and the USA threatened Australia with security pain if it pursued an economic policy.
Guess what – everyone threatens everyone
From the SMH
And what has China’s official representative in Canberra done? Ambassador Cheng has openly threatened Australia with trade boycotts.
Why? Because Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week dared to suggest an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. “The Chinese public is frustrated, dismayed and disappointed with what Australia is doing now,” Cheng said in an interview with The Australian Financial Review’s Andrew Tillett, published on Monday.
“If the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think, ‘Why should we go to such a country that is not so friendly to China? The tourists may have second thoughts.
“The parents of the students would also think whether this place which they found is not so friendly, even hostile, whether this is the best place to send their kids here.
“It is up to the people to decide. Maybe the ordinary people will say, ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?'”
Cheng said that it was a political move in league with the US: “So what is being done by the Australia side, the proposition is a kind of teaming up with those forces in Washington and to launch a kind of political campaign against China.”
Also, when you spoke about America only following their own interests, a great example is when Barack Obama pressured Malcolm Turnbull to sign onto the TPP. Obama’s national security advisor said that by not signing Australia was putting the alliance at risk. If all it takes is not signing a trade agreement, they are very flaky friends.
Should we download?
Hanson and Barnaby are against it.
If don’t download then turn off all other location capabilities
Criminal picked up on the street
Even VPN is not safe
Pros and Cons
For: potentially save lives by early and comprehensive warnings. Has security safeguards. No worse than existing apps.
Against: Not so much because of the app itself as the people who are behind it, agreeing to it encourages state surveillance. And (from Crikey) the saving lives argument is only a minor variation of the argument always put forward by governments, that we could all be safer if we gave up more rights, more freedom, more privacy, in the name of fighting crime, defending terrorism, stopping drugs — anything that saves lives and makes the community safer. Do you agree with facial recognition software using CCTV?
Not quite the same because this app allows you to opt in and out. You can delete it.
Paid in arrears by government. In other words, businesses have to front the money to pay their workers for each month, and then claim it back through the tax office.This has left many businesses, particularly in the sectors worst hit such as hospitality, with an unbridgeable gap of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars that they need to pay now to get into the program, but just don’t have.
Sometimes pay staff 1500 when normally 500
If staff earn more than 1500 then have to pay full amount
Also, have to pay Super on top of 1500
Cardinal Pell complains of tax
From The Guardian
“Does the ABC’s role in your persecution concern you?” Bolt asked.
“Yes it does,” Pell replied. “Because, I mean, it’s partly financed by Catholic taxes.” Some might think of that as an additional reason for scrutiny of the church, of course.
Pell said: “I acknowledge the right of those who differ from me to state their views. But in a national broadcaster to have an overwhelming presentation of one view, and only one view, I think that’s a betrayal of the national interest.”
Frydenberg on tax
From The Courier Mail
TREASURER Josh Frydenberg has resurrected company tax cuts from the Coalition’s policy scrap heap, arguing they will be key to reviving the economy after the coronavirus.
Despite dumping the tax cut before the last election, Mr Frydenberg he was looking at all policy options to turbocharge businesses out of hibernation on the other side of the pandemic.
“We’ll look at tax reform as an area of interest because we’re always looking for opportunities to cut taxes,” he said.
“Our company tax rate is still very high by international standards ; at the top rate it’s 30 cents in the dollar whereas if you go to the US its 21 cents in the dollar, in the UK it is 19 cents in the dollar and in Singapore it’s 17 cents in the dollar.”
However one tax option he seemed to rule was any change to the GST, saying there were “no plans” to increase the rate above 10 per cent.
Opposition treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers said Labor would consider any suggestions from the Government to grow the economy.
“But we also think this crisis shouldn’t be an excuse just to dust off all of the things that they’ve put forward in the last seven years which haven’t been supported by the community,” he said.
Japan’s Nobel prize winning Professor of Medicine, Professor Dr Tasuku Honjo, created a sensation today by saying that the Coronavirus is not natural.
“If it is natural, it wouldn’t have adversely affected the entire world like this. Because, as per nature, temperature is different in different countries. If it is natural, it would adversely affect only those countries having the same temperature as China. Instead, it is spreading in a country like Switzerland, in the same way it is spreading in the desert areas. Whereas if it were natural, it would have spread in cold places, but died in hot places.
I have done 40 years of research on animals and viruses. It is not natural. It is manufactured and the virus is completely artificial. I have worked for 4 years in the Wuhan laboratory in China. I am fully acquainted with all the staff of that laboratory. I have been phoning them all, after the Coronavirus surfaced. But all their phones are dead for the last 3 months. It is now understood that all these lab technicians have died.
Based on all my knowledge and research till date, I can say this with 100% confidence – That the Coronavirus is not natural. It did not come from bats. China manufactured it. If what I am saying today is proved false now or even after my death, the government can withdraw my Nobel Prize. China is lying and this truth will one day be revealed to everyone”.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT!
It is not man made – says scientists
The coronavirus pandemic circling the globe is caused by a natural virus, not one made in a lab, a new study says.
The virus’s genetic makeup reveals that SARS-CoV-2 isn’t a mishmash of known viruses, as might be expected if it were human-made. And it has unusual features that have only recently been identified in scaly anteaters called pangolins, evidence that the virus came from nature, Kristian Andersen and his colleagues report March 17 in Nature Medicine.
Lies damn lies and statistics
“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent’s point.
The phrase derives from the full sentence, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”; it was popularized in the United States by Mark Twain and others, who mistakenly attributed it to the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli. As is now widely discussed, the phrase is not found in any of Disraeli’s works and the earliest known appearances were years after his death. The phrase was attributed to an anonymous writer in mid-1891 and later that year to Sir Charles Dilke, but several others have been listed as originators of the quote, including frequent erroneous attribution to Twain himself.
Waz and Belgium
Unlike many other countries, the home of the European Union’s top institutions counts deaths at nursing homes even if there was not a confirmed infection.
Meanwhile in NY
More than 27,000 New Yorkers have died since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak in March — 20,900 more than would be expected over this period and thousands more than have been captured by official coronavirus death statistics.
As of Sunday, the city had attributed 16,673 deaths to coronavirus, either because people had tested positive for the virus, or because the circumstances of their death meant that city health officials believed the virus to be the most likely cause of death.
But there remains a large gap between this number and the total deaths above typical levels in the last six and a half weeks: more than 4,200 people whose deaths are not captured by the official coronavirus toll.
Coronavirus treatment spruiked by chef Pete Evans
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has announced an investigation into a $14,990 device spruiked by celebrity chef Pete Evans as a treatment for the coronavirus.
Evans shared an Instagram video, since taken down, discussing the BioCharger NG — a “hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform” which claims to “optimise and improve potential health, wellness and athletic performance”.
It is listed under the lifestyle products section of Evans’s website and claims to replicate light, frequencies, harmonics, pulsed electromagnetic fields and voltage that are found in nature.
The My Kitchen Rules judge said he used the device most days and claimed it could help with the coronavirus, which has been responsible for 55 deaths in Australia and more than 95,000 overseas.
“It’s programmed with a thousand different recipes and there’s a couple in there for the Wuhan coronavirus,” Evans said in the video.
CELEBRITY chef Pete Evans has been fined $25,200 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for false claims.
The Channel 7 My Kitchen Rules star said in a live post on April 9 that the Bio-Charger , which he sells for $14,900, “is a pretty amazing tool that will take you down some a rabbit holes and it will take me an hour or two to explain it” before suggesting it could help coronavirus.
The TGA investigated and found the claims had “no apparent foundation” . “Any claim that references COVID-19 is a restricted representation under therapeutic goods legislation,’’ it said.
Nearly three-in-ten Americans believe COVID-19 was made in a lab
From Pew Research
ECAJ calls on Dymocks to cease selling certain editions of Mein Kampf
National bookseller Dymocks is currently marketing various editions of Adolf Hitler’s manifesto for the Nazi Party Mein Kampf some of which have commentaries appealing to far-right factions.
In a letter sent to the owner and chairman John Forsyth, co-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim wrote that Mein Kampf “is based on theories of racial superiority and hatred which have been thoroughly discredited by scientists and other scholars” and that is “the implementation of the ideology of Nazism, as stated in Mein Kampf, resulted in the deaths of 75 million people and the displacement and injury of hundreds of millions of others between 1933 and 1945.”.
He pointed out “antisemitism was (and remains) at the core of Nazism’s racial ideology and was the pretext for the genocide by the Nazi regime of 6 million European Jews, including 1.5 million Jewish children, known as the Holocaust”.
Wertheim wrote that there 60 separate editions of Mein Kampf on sale as at the beginning of the month.
He attached a document prepared by The Jewish Community Council of Victoria revealing that only six of the 60 editions contained commentaries written by recognised scholars and academics. Wertheim writes: “Another seventeen editions include commentary other than from recognised scholars, or are accompanied by marketing material, such as online descriptions or back cover blurbs, which raise significant concerns. Much of this commentary and marketing material explicitly glorifies the Nazi regime, seeks to sanitise and rehabilitate Nazi ideology (including by downplaying its antisemitic nature and its central role in the Holocaust), or promotes white supremacist, antisemitic or other racist ideologies. In effect, these editions lend themselves as a recruiting tool for neo-Nazi and other racist groups.”
37 editions contained no documentaries or annotations so have no reference of the purpose of the manifesto.
In his letter, Wertheim wrote: “We are asking Dymocks stores likewise to cease selling all editions of Mein Kampf which do not contain detailed historical commentary and annotations by recognised scholars.”
He pointed out that editions not including commentary by academics could breach the Racial Discrimination Act.
According to the letter, Amazon and UK-based bookselling giant WH Smith have removed offending editions for sale.
At time of publishing, no answer has been received.
Dr Jereth Kok
Five years ago, abortion became legal in Victoria, Australia. The law is carefully written to allow women to undergo the procedure without compelling doctors to perform it. Medical professionals who are morally opposed to abortion may refuse (except, as I understand it, in exceedingly rare circumstances where the patient’s life is imminently at risk). They are obligated, under the law, to advise women where to go instead, and the answer can’t be “to hell.” The patient has to be referred to another doctor, one who can help her.
In the words of Daniel Mathews, a pro-choice mathematics lecturer and blogger Down Under,
The law thus balances rights of women, on the one hand — rights to autonomous control of their own bodies, self-determination of their own lives, freedom of conscience, and religion — with the rights of doctors to freedom of conscience and religion, on the other.
And as a practical matter, physicians certainly need not engage patients in uncomfortable, unwelcome discussions:
[They] can simply notify patients of any objection in advance, through a notice in the waiting room or on their website. The Australian Medical Association has even provided templates for this purpose.
In 2011, Dan Mathews’ Facebook feed lit up with a discussion that got his attention. The most noteworthy participant was a suburban Australian medical doctor he didn’t even know, a fervent Christian named Jereth Kok. In response to a post about abortion, Kok wrote that
I get a request for abortion referral about once every 3 or 4 months. I tell the woman politely that it is against my moral principles to advise on this issue, and they need to find someone else to help them. (In a few instances I have attempted to talk them out of it.) Yes, I’m breaking Victoria’s new abortion laws, but I don’t give a stuff — I am not going to soil my conscience by being complicit in the slaughter of children.
Another Facebook commenter reminded Kok of the dangers of back-alley abortions, and the doctor gleefully ran with it, saying that if a woman dies on a quack abortionist’s table,
That’s exactly what she deserved for trying to kill her own child.
I have a 3-month-old baby. If someone snuck into his room with a knife and tried to kill him, but accidentally slipped over and stabbed themselves through the heart, that would be exactly what they deserve. …
“He who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword.” — Jesus Christ, Matthew 26:52
Actually, with that verse, Jesus advocated non-violence, but such a charitable reading of scripture apparently didn’t appeal to Kok.
The RSA and others are barking up the wrong tree.
I would not want to debate Martyn Iles on this.
Iles on jereth kok
Land of the Humans
Renewables are not the answer.
Watch it on YouTube
The right will say “stupid lefties” and the left should say “evil corporations”.
Burning woodchips is considered green!
Plus the huge cost of extracting minerals to make renewable energy infrastructure.
Indigenous Footballers played the culture card
This article is from the April 28 issue of The Courier Mail Digital Edition.
By Paul Kent
Josh Addo-Carr and Latrell Mitchell
“Mate, it was cultural gathering,” he texted Sydney journalist Phil Rothfield, no doubt hoping for an avalanche of support from the Left.
“Learning about our land and our culture. Learning how to hunt, live off the land.”
What culture is that? Riding motorbikes without helmets and shooting .22s? And how, exactly, does the virus know to leave that culture alone?
Maybe somebody should make Addo-Carr aware weddings across the country have been cancelled because socialdistancing laws forbid more than five people attending. Or only 10 can gather at funerals.
Indigenous Funeral allowed 80 people
From … Sky News ugh
Queensland Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander says the Queensland Government’s decision to permit 80 people to gather for the funeral of a significant indigenous elder is “inconsistent, it’s not equal treatment of Australians… and it’s plain wrong”.
On Thursday, the Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young granted a special exemption to the government’s isolation restrictions, allowing up to 80 people to attend the funeral of an indigenous elder in Mackay.
The Federal Government has enforced a strict 10-person limit at funerals as part of the new social isolation rules. Mr Mander said “here we have an example not of a couple of extra people but of 70 extra people at a time when the messaging is that we have to do the right thing and socially isolate”.
“On this particular case the message has also been that our indigenous communities are incredibly vulnerable”.
This decision “flies in the face of every message we have been given,” he told Sky news host Peta Credlin.