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Will the Australian Government Join in a “Nuremberg Class” Attack on Iran?

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo welcomes Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne to the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on January 30, 2019.
Credit: U.S. Department of State/ flickr
By David Macilwain | American Herald Tribune | June 24, 2019

As my father used to say in response to difficult questions – “ask no questions and you’ll be told no lies”. This seems to be the approach of Australia’s media organizations to our government’s extraordinary silence over events in the Gulf of Oman. Barring an anodyne statement condemning the attacks on civilian shipping, neither Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne nor Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ventured an opinion on who might have been responsible for these provocative actions. This remains the case even when subsequent developments included a narrowly averted war with global repercussions, with no questions asked and no lies proffered.

In the aftermath of recent attacks on journalistic freedoms and intimidation of whistleblowers, many people have expressed the view that it is the job of journalists to hold governments and public servants to account. That the governments of both Australia and its parent Britain seek to avoid such scrutiny is clear from their actions. Draconian punishments now apply to those who are thought to “threaten national security” by revealing inconvenient truths.

So we might wonder whether the ABC’s failure to ask questions of Government ministers about the dangerous confrontation in the Persian Gulf is connected to these recent developments, which included a highly provocative police raid on the headquarters of the ABC. The ABC purports to be independent of Government, and is expected to interview ministers on behalf of the public when necessary, as well as seeking the view of shadow ministers from the opposition Labor party.

In those recent raids, which concerned an Australian equivalent of the “Collateral Murder” crime exposed by an insider in Australia’s Special Forces in Afghanistan and leaked to an ABC journalist two years ago, there was a widespread shock at the actions authorized under the police warrant. In examining the ABC’s files relating to the case, it was revealed that the recently expanded powers of police forensic officers included the deletion and alteration of computer files – though this was explained as limited to the removal of irrelevant material and identities. This could be true given that the need to rewrite history is now minimized thanks to current controls over access to information.

What was more shocking to some, however, was a widely expressed but ill-informed view from the “Murdoch Right” that the ABC raids were justified, as its actions had endangered national security. Similar views were expressed over the alleged crimes of Julian Assange, whether “narcissist” or “cyber-terrorist”, with little sympathy from fellow Australians for his persecution and torture by the UK regime.

Australian sentiment towards the Islamic Republic of Iran is similarly prejudiced, so persuading the public that Iran would have launched an attack on two tankers near the Straits of Hormuz on the basis of minimal evidence was never going to be difficult; a mere dog-whistle sufficed. What now seems worrying is that “Central Narrative Control” knew this in advance – that they could show a blurry video of Iranian forces rescuing a ship’s crew, while saying it showed them “removing a limpet mine”, and the US aligned media audience would believe that this was what they saw.

But how could people be fooled by this ridiculous story, presented with a video that didn’t stand the slightest scrutiny?  Why anyway would Iran sabotage two ships as a direct provocation, while trying to make it look as though the US or its allies were responsible? This wouldn’t make any sense, as the US would have no motive for such an attack – other than to frame Iran for it as a pretext for what has now followed!

The corollary of this perverse provocation by the US or its local agents is that while an Iranian strike on the two tankers could have been understood as a response to newly imposed sanctions targeting Iran’s petrochemical industry, such an attack on civilian shipping by the US with the sole object of framing Iran would be an undoubted war crime. As in fact, it was – and we need to remember this as subsequent events and silence from the media relegate it to a later investigation, or the memory hole. (Iran has also registered a protest over the US accusations with the UN)

Those subsequent events, which we now discover have brought us to the point of a major military escalation, allow current news reports to state that “following the Iranian attack on two ships in the Gulf of Oman” – tensions on both sides are increasing; no longer is the ship attack “alleged”. Instead, a new “limpet mine” narrative has been created to reinforce the idea of the Iranian threat, and this, in turn, feeds into talk of new Uranium enrichment above the agreed levels in the JCPOA, despite this being an entirely legitimate Iranian response to the US’ failure to keep to the agreement. Contrary to the immediate wild accusations from the usual suspects that Iran is now “again” working on a nuclear bomb (it never was, since 2003 [if ever] ), the renewed enrichment remains only to the 3.7% base limit, as those nuclear-armed suspects know perfectly well.

The need to be reminded of these stages in the development of the false narrative that Iran is the aggressor is that the silence from both media and politicians has actually enabled it, simply by drawing on the prejudices of the population. It seems that only those who doubt or deny the US-led accusations against Iran have noticed the deafening silence of Australia’s leaders and the failure of the main media to ask them to show their hand. Is it possible that we could find ourselves supporting the real aggressors in a criminal attack on a peaceful and friendly nation – a classic case of “sleepwalking into war”?

Well, now it appears that this is the case. The ABC hasn’t thought to ask the foreign minister whether we agree with the US story, and whether we would support them in military action against Iran despite the lack of evidence, because there is already that assumption. Despite the early skepticism of US claims from some mainstream commentators, and parallels drawn with the proverbial Iraqi WMD fraud, those reservations appear to now be forgotten. With this comes the realization that my father’s riposte does not apply to our national broadcaster; it doesn’t fear being told lies but rather fears having to admit the obvious truth, which is that of course, we believe the US story, and will support any action that our alliance demands.

Such blindness to the truth, and blind submission to the whims of the world’s most dangerous state, was brought home by this quote from Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Michael Bachelard:

“Some have likened the escalating atmosphere to the feeling leading up to George Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. So why are we suddenly using the “w” word in the Middle East again, and should Australia brace to be invited into another Coalition of the Willing?”

Bachelard presents – and perhaps believes – “Australia” to be a well-intentioned onlooker on the mixed-up politics of the Middle East, whose “contribution” would always be towards peace and security and resolution of conflict. It is a rosy-eyed view of Australia sadly prevalent amongst people whose own intentions are honorable – assuming that the leaders of our traditional allies and partner “democracies” share their honesty and integrity and benevolence. By contrast, these same people seem happy to assume the worst about our “enemies”; Bachelard’s inappropriate use of a photo of a smiling President Assad greeting Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran in February in the above article nicely reflects this ingrained prejudice.

The reality of Australia’s role in Middle Eastern politics, on the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and over Palestine and Israel is sadly very different. Despite a “modest contribution” to the Iraq invasion force, John Howard was George Bush’s closest ally, notably refusing to accept that Saddam Hussein had no WMD until around 2010. More recently the involvement of Australian fighter jets in the 2016 US coalition attack on the Syrian Army near Deir al Zour was symptomatic of Australia’s illegitimate presence in Syria, and complicity in NATO allies’ support for the insurgent forces. This intimate alignment with the US also saw Australia copying Trump’s “recognition” of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite the damage this did to relations with our closest neighbor Indonesia.

In the light of this record, and the catalog of unasked questions and untold lies, we can only speculate on the Australian Government’s RSVP to America’s “invitation” to join in a “Nuremberg class” attack on Iran. With Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s record of meetings with both Pompeo and Bolton, and our shared bases and assets in the region, it seems likely such an invitation was a mere formality, likely preceding the first strikes on tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

And as with the story of the war crimes in Afghanistan, there won’t be any desire to rewrite the history of how the third Great War began, should the truth finally surface. That history has already been certified as true by the silence of “Australia’s most trusted news source” and recorded in the mind of the nation; no-one would now believe otherwise.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Australian feds raid broadcaster’s office over Afghan war crime stories

RT | June 5, 2019

Australian police have raided national broadcaster ABC’s headquarters over a 2017 story series exposing crimes committed by special forces in Afghanistan, the second raid on journalists in two days.

Six officers, including three police technicians, descended on the broadcaster’s Sydney offices with a warrant explaining the raid was “in relation to allegations of publishing classified material, contrary to provisions of the Crimes Act 1914.” The classified material in question? Hundreds of pages of leaked defense documents marked AUSTEO (Australian Eyes Only) that formed the basis of ABC’s 2017 story series ‘The Afghan Files.’ The warrant names the report’s authors, Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, as well as ABC news director Gaven Morris.

The officers rounded up ABC’s IT staff to assist in examining their email server looking for “a series of key words,” while others scoured a hard drive, according to John Lyons, ABC executive editor and head of investigations department, who live-tweeted the raid. Officers helpfully told him they were interested in “very specific matters” and “certain things,” dryly noting “this could take some time,” Lyons reported. Four hours into the raid, they had collected over 9,200 files and were deciding which could be seized under the warrant.

“It is highly unusual for the national broadcaster to be raided in this way,” ABC managing director David Anderson told news.com.au, promising to support its journalists, protect its sources, and “continue to report without fear or favor on national security and intelligence issues when there is a clear public interest.”

The federal police released a statement after the raid on Wednesday claiming “no arrests are planned today as a result of this activity” and denying it was connected to an intimidating visit paid to another journalist in Canberra the previous day – though it’s hard not to see a connection, given both were publishing stories on government misconduct based on documents unavailable to the public.

Officers raided News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home on Tuesday, triggered by a story she wrote last year revealing the government’s plans to dramatically expand the Australian Signals Directorate’s spying on its own citizens, giving the agency power to secretly access bank records, text messages, and emails without an individual’s knowledge. Officers reportedly spent seven hours picking through Smethurst’s possessions; an unauthorized “leak of national security information” was cited as the cause.

That same day, 2GB radio host Ben Fordham said he had been contacted by the Department of Home Affairs in an effort to find out how he’d obtained “highly confidential” information for his reporting on asylum seeker vessels.

Condemning the “disturbing pattern of assaults on Australian press freedom,” the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Australia’s journalists’ union, called the raids “nothing short of an attack on the public’s right to know.”

“It seems that when the truth embarrasses the government, the result is the Federal Police will come knocking at your door.”

The Afghan Files describes a number of incidents in which Australian special forces shot civilians in addition to the insurgents they were supposed to be fighting and reveal Afghan authorities “were becoming increasingly agitated over Australians allegedly killing unarmed civilians” to the point that they “threatened to stop working with Australians.”

PM Scott Morrison has refused to condemn the raids, declaring all Australians must abide by national security laws. He won a “miracle” reelection last month, giving his Liberal National party a third straight term in power. Morrison appears to be using his mandate to crack down on antagonistic journalism, the MEAA noted.

June 5, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

Aussie Feds Raid News Corp Journalist’s Home After Government Spying Exposé

News Corp Australia’s Annika Smethurst, Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton​​​​
By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | June 3, 2019

Australian federal police officers are raiding the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst over an April, 2018 story accusing the government of radical new espionage powers allowing the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) to monitor citizens for the first time, according to the Daily Telegraph (via the Herald Sun).

Ms Smethurst, the political editor for News Corp Sunday titles including The Sunday Telegraph, was at home preparing to leave for work this morning when several Australian Federal Police officers arrived with a warrant from an ACT magistrate giving them authority to search her home, computer and mobile phone.

Ms Smethurst complied with the warrant and is presently waiting for the raid to be completed. She has declined to answer questions apart from confirming her identity. –Herald Sun

Smethurst’s article revealed that the emails, bank accounts and text messages of Australian citizens could be secretly accessed by government spies without a trace under the proposal, as long as the Defense and Home Affairs ministers approved the plan.

The raid comes three weeks after the federal election returned the Morrison government to power, leaving Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton at the helm.

Ms Smethurst’s original story included images of top-secret letters between the secretary of Home Affairs, Mike Pezzullo, and his counterpart in Defence, Greg Moriarty, outlining a plan to potentially allow government hackers to “proactively disrupt and covertly remove” onshore cyber threats by “hacking into critical infrastructure.” –Herald Sun

Current Australian law prohibits the ASD from spying on citizens – a power left to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, the country’s domestic spy agency.

Smethhurt revealed that Dutton and former Defense Minister Marise Payne had reviewed the proposal, however it had not moved beyond that stage to be formally presented to the government.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Australia’s electoral officials ‘work with social media to tackle misinformation

RT | April 18, 2019

Australian electoral authorities have for the first time set up a cybersecurity task force, an official said on Thursday.

They are also working with social media companies to tackle misinformation in the run up to general elections on May 18.

Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said safeguarding the election’s integrity gained priority “due to experiences in other countries,” AP reported.

Rogers is having daily briefings with the Electoral Integrity Assurance Task Force, which comprises the nation’s major security agencies and government departments. He declined to detail the task force’s functions, saying they included dealing with disinformation spread through social media.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Australian Defence Strategy Still Locked in A Past Era

By James O’Neill | American Herald Tribune | March 28, 2019

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (25 March 2019) the coalition government, if re-elected, would spend $2.5 billion on an air defence system. The object of the expenditure is said to “bolster Australia’s capacity to intercept enemy aircraft”. The new system will also defend against helicopters, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial systems.

The cost is divided between an initial acquisition price of $1.5 billion and a further $1 billion to operate and maintain it over two decades. The Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, said that the project had great export potential.

Once again, one has to wonder exactly what planet our defence politicians and their advisors actually inhabit. While the cost of this touted new system is small change compared to the tens of billions of dollars being lavished on expensive boondoggles such as the F35 joint strike fighter and the French built submarines, it is another illustration of wasted expenditure on military equipment not fit for purpose.

The stated object is to be able to defend against four intruders: helicopters; unmanned aerial systems; enemy aircraft and cruise missiles. Why one would need a $1 billion system to defend against helicopters, with their low altitude, short range, slow moving and noisy character simply boggles the mind.

Exactly what is meant by ‘unmanned aerial systems’ is not defined, but presumably refers to drones. The same point applies here as to helicopters. The more serious question relates to enemy aircraft and cruise missiles, and the source of those hostile intruders.

There is no obvious reason for Australia to be attacked by Indonesia, Papua New Guinea or any other country for whom Australia would be within the range of its bombers. The unspoken “enemy” here is presumably China, although again that raises the obvious question as to why China would wish to attack Australia. The only obvious answer to this is as a defensive reaction to an attack upon China itself.

Australia would only do that as part of yet another United States led “Coalition”, but why Australia would wish to be involved in such a foolhardy exercise against its largest trading partner should not be seriously contemplated by our defence planners, and if it is they need to spell out their rationale in clear terms.

Let us assume for arguments sake that China did attack Australia. It would not be with helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles or bombers. It would be done with one or more of its repertoire of supersonic missiles from the Dong Feng family of missiles, most probably the DF41. This missile system travels at hypersonic speed (Mach 20) and has 8 to 10 independently targetable nuclear warheads.

There is nothing in the current repertoire of United States or Australian missile defence systems that can defend against such an attack, and the heroic claims of former defence minister Christopher Pyne that it will be a “highly effective defence system” is simply nonsense.

If Australia did get into a shooting war with China, that war would likely involve China’s strategic partner Russia, whose missile systems (for example, Zircon, Burevestnik, Avangaard and Kinzhal) are decades ahead of US military technology, as even the United States itself admits (www.news.com.au 19 December 2018). For details of these Russian systems see Martyanov www.unz.com 5 March 2018; and Vineyard of the Saker www.thesaker.is 24 January 2019.

If Australia was serious about having a missile defence system then the world leader by a significant margin is the Russian S400 system, recently bought by China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and India among others. Turkey, a NATO member, is proceeding with the purchase of the S400 despite overt threats by the Americans. The Saudis, huge purchasers of US military equipment in the past, also know where to go in order to purchase the best available system. Quite why a similar degree of realism is not allowed to intrude upon discussions of Australian defence strategy remains a puzzle. Has Australia become so “joined at the hip” with the Americans that it is willing to compromise on real military defence strategy? Instead of coherent debate we are fed the mindless pap exemplified in the SMH article referenced above.

March 28, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | | 1 Comment

Douma “Chemical Attack”: Still Waiting for an Apology

By James O’Neill | OffGuardian | March 13, 2019

On 7th of April 2018 an alleged chemical attack took place in the city of Douma in the Syrian Arab Republic. Dramatic footage of the “victims” was widely broadcast throughout the western mainstream media. Particularly prominent were images of children foaming at the mouth and being hosed down.

The footage for these dramatic depictions was almost entirely sourced from a group known as the White Helmets. They are invariably depicted in the western media as a form of civil defence organisation. They are in fact an arm of Britain’s MI6, trained by the British and financed by the UK and the United States.

The alleged “chemical attack” was used by the US, UK and French governments to make a missile attack upon Syrian targets. The approximately 100 missiles fired destroyed buildings and caused civilian casualties. Many of the missiles failed to reach their target, being either deflected or shot down by Syrian air defences.

Speaking to a press conference on the Sunday following the attacks, the then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made a series of unqualified assertions. He gave his government’s “strong support” for the military action, and urged Russia to exercise its authority to ensure that the chemical weapons were destroyed.

He further called on Russia to use its influence to ensure the “most recent chemical weapons attack is thoroughly investigated.” He blamed the Assad government for the incident and described the military action by the US, UK and France, “targeted, proportionate and responsible.”

He even attempted to link the Douma incident with the Skripal events in Salisbury, England, using both as a stick with which to beat the Russians over the head. Both the timing of and the linking of the two incidents were not a coincidence. They were clearly part of a campaign to discredit Russia, whose intervention in the Syrian war proved a decisive turning point, to the chagrin of the “regime changers” in Washington and London.

As is now almost invariably the case there is a marked distinction between the political rhetoric and the actual situation, both in terms of the relevant international law, and the facts on the ground. That has become glaringly obvious in the Skripal case, as has been well documented elsewhere, by for example, www.theblogmire.com 3 March 2019.

Dealing briefly with the legal situation in the Syrian bombing, there is no such thing as a “targeted, proportionate and responsible” bombing of a sovereign state unless two pre-conditions are met. It must either be in self-defence, if the countries taking the action have themselves been attacked, and that was manifestly not the case; and secondly, in the alternative, it must be an action authorised by the United Nations Security Council. That didn’t happen either.

As in so many of Australia’s military forays around the world, the legal basis for the Syria involvement is notably absent, although in this particular case their role was limited to being cheerleaders on the sidelines. Australia’s participation in the so-called coalition of forces fighting in Syria and allied to the United States, a serial offender against international law, has no legal foundation whatsoever. The Australian government has had legal advice on the matter, and has had such advice since 2014. If it was confident of its legal position, why then does it continue to refuse to release that advice?

The facts on the ground do not support the Turnbull position either. Turnbull criticized Russia for using its Security Council veto to block motions to investigate chemical weapons crimes. In fact, both Russia and Syria asked the Organisation for the Prevention of Criminal Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the Douma incident.

The OPCW fact-finding mission began their investigation on 21 April 2018, two weeks after the alleged attack. Jihadist groups blocked their initial investigation and they were only able to enter the relevant areas with protection provided by the Syrian army and the Russian military police.

An interim report was published on 6 July 2018 in which it concluded, “no organophosphate (sarin) nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or the plasma samples taken from the alleged casualties.” The use of sarin had been one of the principal accusations against the Syrian government. This interim conclusion received minimal media attention.

The OPCW Final Report of the investigation was released on 1st of March 2019 although one will hunt in vain for an accurate account of that report in the western mainstream media. The reason for the media silence is not difficult to discern. The 0PCW Report effectively destroys the arguments advanced by US President Trump, UK Prime Minister May and Turnbull.

The OPCW’s investigation was hampered in significant ways. The White Helmets and their jihadist allies had either cremated or buried all the deceased “victims” of the alleged chemical attack. Those burial locations were not disclosed to the investigators. No autopsy material was therefore available.

The evidence of the medical staff in attendance at the Douma hospitals at the time began receiving “victims” prior to the timing of the alleged chemical attack. None had symptoms of chemical or nerve agent attack.

The OPCW investigation team carried out a number of analyses from areas said to have been affected by the chemical attack. Again, they found no traces of any banned chemical substances.

They were shown two yellow cylinders claimed to have been responsible for the casualties. Even that “evidence” was compromised as the two cylinders had been moved by the jihadists and were located in two places and in such a manner that they had no probative value.

The OPCW team was unable to say how the cylinders might have been used to release any toxins. Given that no toxic traces could be found anywhere, the likely inference is that the two cylinders were simply stage props.

This inference is reinforced by the fact that the OPCW team did find a further yellow canister similar to the two mentioned above. That canister however, was found in a jihadist workshop that also contained a variety of chemicals and equipment associated with bomb production. Insofar as this finding received any media coverage, it was to suggest that the Syrian government had planted the material. The OPCW made no such suggestion.

What the OPCW team did find were traces of chlorine. Chlorine however, is a common household substance and for that reason it is not on the list of banned chemical weapons. Chlorine would not in any case be likely to cause death, much less the significant casualty figures claimed.

The evidence of the medical professionals interviewed by the OPCW team was that the victims they treated at the hospital were suffering from the effects of dust and smoke inhalation. None had life threatening injuries and none died in hospital.

There was accordingly no basis in fact for the missile attack by the US, UK and France (quite apart from its illegality) and therefore no justification for Turnbull’s unequivocal assertions of Syrian culpability and Russian complicity in a chemical weapons attack upon the civilian population.

Notwithstanding the OPCW’s demolition of the claims made by the US and others, including Turnbull’s ill-advised unequivocal support, the US and mainstream media still refer to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons as a reason to justify their continued occupation of Syrian territory.

That occupation itself is a violation of international law. The “debate” within US ruling circles about whether Trump’s original professed desire to leave Syria (since resiled from) should be carried out or not has a surreal tone to it. It never seems to occur to them that they are neither welcome nor legally entitled to be there at all.

Perhaps the final word should go to a senior BBC TV producer, Riam Dilati. On 13 February 2019 he tweeted: “after almost 6 months of investigations I can prove without a doubt that the Douma hospital scene was staged.”

If our own media and politicians could show a similar degree of honesty and integrity, they would be offering Syria and Russia the long overdue apologies to which they are entitled.

That may however, be a long wait.

James O’Neill is a barrister at law and geopolitical analyst. He may be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au.

March 13, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Australia’s Strategic Bubble: Denial in the Face of Changing Geopolitical Realities

By James ONeill – New Eastern Outlook – 11.01.2019

The next election in Australia is expected to be held on a date between March and May 2019. If two years of opinion polls are a reliable guide, the Opposition Labour party is expected to win comfortably. It should present an opportunity for a fresh start in Australia’s foreign and defence policies. That is unlikely however to be the case.

The leader of the Opposition and likely next Prime Minister Bill Shorten (assuming the current interim prime minister actually survives until the election, which is by no means a foregone conclusion) has given no indication in speeches or policy documents that a future Labour government would do other than follow the policies of past decades. (The spectre of the 1972 US-UK coup casts a long shadow).

There are a number of reasons why that is neither a viable policy option, nor is it in Australia’s national interest to remain wedded to the policies of the past.

The essential basis of Australia’s defence policy and its foreign policy corollary was set out in the 2016 Defence White Paper. That document is remarkable for its capacity for delusional thinking and a false historical narrative, as well as having an inability to anticipate radical changes in the geopolitical and strategic framework, notwithstanding that those changes were clearly discernible well in advance of the White Paper’s publication.

Under the heading ‘Strategic Outlook’ for example, it states support for a “rules based global order which supports our interests” (p19). The United States, it says, “will remain the pre-eminent global military power over the next two decades” (p43). Australia’s alliance with the United States “is based on shared values and will continue to be the centerpiece of our defence policy” (p46).

The ANZUS Treaty provides the formal basis of Australia’s defence relationship (p123). It (the Treaty) “obliges each country to act to meet the common danger” (p123).

Taking the last point first, what the treaty actually provides (Article III) is that “the parties will consult together whenever in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened in the Pacific.”

Other provisions in the ANZUS Treaty provide for any measures taken by the parties to be referred to the United Nations Security Council. The parties undertake (Article I) to settle any international disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter.

Since the treaty was signed (1951) and came into force (1952) Australia has been part of a United States led coalition that has attacked North Vietnam (1962-72), Afghanistan (2001 and continuing), Iraq (2003 and continuing), and Syria (2015 and continuing).

None of these countries posed a threat to the “territorial integrity, political independence or security” of any of the Treaty’s participants. Neither are any of those countries in or anywhere near the Pacific.

The ANZUS Treaty in short, is not what it is claimed to be and should not be used (assuming it even continues) as a fig leaf of respectability for the blatant geopolitical and imperial ambitions of the United States. That all of the above mentioned wars were and are manifestly in breach of international law and of the United Nations Charter is not a subject of discussion in Australia. Neither could it be claimed that these wars fulfilled the requirement to settle disputes by peaceful means.

The second element is the claim that Australia’s alliance with the United States is “based on shared values.” Politicians frequently repeat this phrase, in one form or another. What are those alleged shared values?

Is it the United States’ history of waging war? It has after all been at war for 222 out of 239 years since Independence in 1776. Just taking the post World War 2 period alone, it has attacked, undermined or overthrown the governments of more than 70 countries, killing between 30 and 40 million people in the process.

Is this really a “shared” value that Australia subscribes to? To claim that the United States presence in the Indo-Pacific (and globally) over the past 70 years has underpinned peace and stability is to take the Orwellian misuse of language to fresh heights.

The major delusion however, is to claim that the United States will remain the pre-eminent military power over the next two decades. Certainly, as long as the United States continues its long standing policy of attacking essentially defenceless countries it can continue to project military power with devastating consequences. Iraq for example is a graphic illustration of this point.

Faced with a power with the ability to fight back, a radically different picture emerges. The two most important opponents of US hegemony in this context are the two countries that the United States National Defence Strategy (December 2017) labeled “dangerous revisionist powers”, i.e. China and Russia.

In looking at the military prowess of those two “revisionist” countries, the dangerous delusions of Australian (and United States) foreign and military policy are brought into stark relief.

The Chinese for example have developed the Dong Feng (East Wind) series of missiles. There are at least 15 variations of this model. Two should be noted for their special relevance to Australia. The DF-21D is an anti-ship ballistic missile that travels at Mach 10 (12,000kmh) with a range expected to reach 8000km by 2020. It’s effectively forces United States aircraft carriers to move well beyond the range within which their aircraft can be used. General John Hyten, head of the US Strategic Command, acknowledged in Senate testimony (21 March 2018) that the United States was powerless against hypersonic missile attacks by China (or Russia).

The DF41 is an intercontinental ballistic missile with a 12,000 km range. It is accurate to within 150 metres, and would reach the United States (and nearly everywhere else in the world) in less than 15 minutes from launch. It has a top speed of Mach 25 and carries up to 10 independently targetable nuclear warheads. The whole of Australia is of course well within its range.

Australian political commentators have almost completely ignored China’s advanced military capabilities, preferring instead to focus (usually with little understanding) on issues such as China’s alleged “aggression” in the South China Sea. The nuanced strategic thinking that underpins Chinese defence policy, as set out for example in a recent essay by Professor Zhang Wenmu from China’s Centre of Strategic Studies in Beijing in Taipinyan Xuebao, August 2017.

These same commentators and indeed politicians and military strategists, display even less awareness of Russia’s advanced state of hypersonic missiles. Again only two of these systems need to be mentioned to make the point. More detailed analyses are really available. (See for example, www.thesaker.is 4 August 2018)

The Avangard is a highly maneuverable ICBM reaching Mach 27 at maximum speed. It totally nullifies any United States defence system (which in any case is vastly inferior to the Russian S400 and S500 anti-missile systems). It can reach almost anywhere in the world, from any direction, in 20 minutes or less. As the aforementioned General Hyten acknowledged, the United States “has no defence.”

The other weapon worth noting is the Kinzhal (“Dagger”) that Andrei Martyanov (www.unzreview.com 5 March 2018) accurately notes as a “complete game changer, geopolitically, strategically, operationally, tactically and psychologically.”

Like the Chinese DF-21D the Kinzhal has rendered carrier-based battle groups obsolete against peer enemies. Its ability to eliminate surface ships, essential for their support role for submarines, raises an important question in the Australian context: what is the point of its $50 billion projected submarine fleet (which will not in any case become operational before 2030?)

The psychological element Martyanov notes is significant because one consequence of the revelations about Russia and China’s military superiority is that it should help shatter the dangerous delusions (as exemplified in the White Paper) of United States geopolitical and military superiority.

The Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). Her model was in the context of someone being advised as having a terminal illness, but it is applicable in the geopolitical context as well.

The initial United States reaction to President Putin’s speech of 1 March 2018 when he outlined the abyss between the United States and Russian missile systems was one of denial. Anger quickly followed and then, in classic US fashion, by demands for more money. These new funds would follow the trillions of dollars already wasted on their incredibly corrupt military industrial system whose latest fiscal and technical disasters include the F35 joint strike fighter (also bought by Australia!)

A bipartisan Congressional committee said that the “solution” to the United States’ technological gap with Russia was a 3-5% annual increase in military spending, (which would of course come at the expense of America’s crumbling infrastructure, education and health systems).

The other plan was to develop more scenarios involving the first use of nuclear weapons (Dinucci www.voltairenet.org 13 December 2018). This is itself based on a fundamental delusion that the United States could somehow avoid massive and devastating retaliation should it be so stupid as to attack either Russia or China.

In Australia’s case however, political and military planners seem to have adopted a new stage of Kubler-Ross’s model: ignoring the reality of a radically changed geopolitical space and, by reiterating old clichés and falsehoods about the United States alliance, hoping that the problem will simply disappear.

No such luxury is available. As Martyanov (op cit.) says, “the world can no longer afford a pretentious self aggrandizing and hollow bully which knows not what it does and threatens the world’s stability and peace.”

That is a reality that needs to be grasped by the incoming government. On past performance however that seems a vain hope.

James O’Neill, an Australian-based Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst.

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Australia’s Shameful Gift to Netanyahu

By Jeremy Salt | American Herald Tribune | December 17, 2018

Australia and Israel are white settler states, established violently over the heads of the indigenous people, without the benefit of any treaty arrangement. ‘A land without people for a people without land’ was the Zionist lie. ‘Terra nullius’ was the Australian white settler equivalent.

Australian aboriginal ownership was collective and traditional. Palestinian ownership was collective, traditional and individual but in both cases, the land was stolen. How can the foundations of any state established on stolen land be said to be legal? What will white Australians say if someone comes along and takes ‘their’ country from them? ‘You can’t do this to us’?

The essential differences between Israel and Australia are numbers and hinterland. The land the white settlers called Australia was inhabited in the late 18th century by about half a million people. They had lived in this island continent and its small heart-shaped island off the southern coast, Tasmania, for more than 60,000 years, making the oldest recorded civilizations in the Near East look like newborns. They had their own languages, traditions, art, and oral history, the ‘dreaming,’ which is the most wondrous telling of the experiences of their ancestors.

But they were not numerous. They had no written laws and – most importantly – no modern weaponry. Killed, driven off their land and stricken by the diseases the white settlers brought with them, they were soon decimated. There was no-one to whom they could turn for help, no sympathetic similar civilization living nearby that could spring to their assistance. They were all on their own.

Contrast this with the Palestinians. Their land was also taken from them but they lived according to written laws and contracts which Europeans could understand even if they violated them. They were not sufficiently well-armed to defend themselves against a colonial-settler minority backed by outside governments but they were far more numerous than the settlers, 90 percent of the population in 1920, even after 40 years of Zionist colonization, and still two-thirds of the population at the time of the war of conquest in 1948.

By 2018 the Israeli population stood at 8.4 million, of which number 6.1 million (about 75 percent) is Jewish and mostly Zionist. The Palestinian world population of about 12 million includes about 4.4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or Gaza and about 1.4 million within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. Within a few years, the Palestinian population between the Mediterranean and the River Jordan is expected to surpass the Jewish population.

These numbers aside, as part of an Arab-Islamic civilization with a rich history, the Palestinians also have the support of a vast hinterland. The population of the Arab world stands at about 420 million. The world Muslim population is about 1.8 billion. Corrupt and undemocratic Arab governments may collaborate with Israel but the people are behind the Palestinians, as are Muslims everywhere as well as Christians and those of no particular religious or ideological affiliation who know right from wrong and, as a matter of conscience, must support the Palestinians.

In the face of these demographics, Israel’s continuing war against the Palestinians would seem to be suicidal. Palestine as an issue is not going to go away. In the long term, this is a war Israel cannot win. It holds Palestine by force, not by right, law or morality. All three are on the side of the Palestinians and not on the side of an Israeli state which continues the illegal settlement of their land.

No plan, no UN resolution gave Israel any right to drive the Palestinians from their homes and out of their homeland. No resolution gave the Zionists any sovereign right to Jerusalem. It was a Palestinian city which, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, should have remained the property of the Palestinian people, overwhelmingly Muslim and Christian, in their own state or as part of a Syrian state.  Instead, their land and the right to choose their future was taken from them.

Here are some relevant land ownership figures, compiled in 1945 by the British mandatory authorities (one dunam is the equivalent of 1000 sq. meters or about 0.245 of an acre):

Jerusalem district (Hebron, Jerusalem, Ramallah):

Arab ownership – 3,3993,001 dunums.

Jewish ownership – 39, 679 acres.

In the Jerusalem region, the ‘Arabs’ (mainly Palestinian Muslims and Christians) owned 1,326, 571 dunums against 33,401 dunums owned by Jews. In 1946 the UN produced a map showing that 62 percent of the Jerusalem district was ‘Arab’ and only 38 percent Jewish, despite the heavy Zionist settlement.

While the demographics of Jerusalem city showed a Jewish majority, as many incoming Jews preferred to live in cities rather than work on the land, most properties even in West Jerusalem (about 70 percent) were Palestinian-owned in 1948.

Almost all of the east – the old city – was. The fine stone buildings, the walls, the cobbled streets and the arches were designed and built over the centuries by Muslim and Christian Palestinians. They were part of the booty that fell to the Zionists when the city was taken over, first installment 1948 and second 1967, with the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian population continuing until the present day.

In law, all Jerusalem – not just the eastern sector – is an occupied city. It is an Israeli city, Israel’s ‘capital’, only according to the occupier’s law, which in fact is not a law at all but a gross violation of international law.

Yet, with two of the world’s most populous Muslim countries, Indonesia and Malaysia, not far away and objecting loudly, the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has announced his government’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its recognition of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital when the time comes. He was speaking in Sydney at the Zionist think tank, the Lowy Institute, started by, and named after, Frank Lowy, a billionaire businessman of Czech origin who, as a member of the Haganah, helped to ethnically cleanse Palestine in the war of 1948 before migrating to another ethnically cleansed country, Australia, in the early 1950s.

Of course, Zionism never had any intention of sharing Palestine, let alone sharing Jerusalem as the capital of two states. Morrison has pledged to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state when the time comes. He must know that Israel is determined to make sure the time will never come. Israel, of course, is only partly happy because Australia is only-half recognizing its claim to Jerusalem.

Had the indigenous Australian people been more numerous, had they had the weapons to defend themselves and had they the support of a hinterland willing to support their resistance to white settlement, Australia could well have been driven openly in the direction of Israel or apartheid South Africa.  Israel is now pursuing the same goal that white settler Australia managed to achieve, the reduction of the indigenous population to an insignificant minority, whose rights are covered up with tokenism, as exemplified in the ‘sorry’ movement and the verbal acknowledgment of traditional land ownership at every conference or workshop, at a time rural aboriginal communities are treated with the same neglect as before. Out of sight, out of mind.

Why did Morrison do this? Out of his Christian religious convictions?  (He worships at a Pentecostal church in Sydney, which boasts of its adherents speaking in tongues when being baptized. Morrison has denied ever speaking in tongues himself, even though it would clearly be good practice for anyone planning a political career).

Does Morrison have some idea that the ‘Jewish vote’ will swing the next federal election his way? Did not the Wentworth byelection in 2018, lost by his government, show him that while there is a strong and influential Zionist lobby in Australia, there is no such thing as a Jewish vote, but individual Jewish voters, who may support Israel, but not Netanyahu’s Israel, and might see the Morrison decision as inflammatory and not helpful in the long term to anyone, including Israeli Jews.

Like Israel, Australia began life as a colonial settler state. Its Foreign Minister, H.V. Evatt, played a significant role in imposing Israel on Palestine in 1948. There have been exceptions, but by and large, all Australian governments have given open-ended support to Israel ever since. Their criticisms of its frequently vicious behavior never amount to more than a mild slap on the wrist, delivered for propaganda purposes.

It is no wonder that in Malaysia and Indonesia, Australia is widely regarded as a post-colonial remnant, still dependent on distant countries, first Britain and now the US, and still unable to pluck up the courage to carve out a genuinely independent future.

When Israel refuses to abide by international law, on Jerusalem, on the West Bank, on Gaza, on the occupied Golan Heights, on the return of the Palestinian people to their homeland and on the laws of war, why give Netanyahu the gift of recognizing even the western half of an occupied city as his capital?

Almost everyone writing on Australian politics seems to believe that Morrison will be out of government after the federal elections in 2019. Bill Shorten, an ALP (Australian Labor Party) machine man all his political life, has criticized Morrison over Jerusalem, but is he just playing politics, scoring points, or when he takes over as Prime Minister, will he rescind this unnecessary and provocative decision?

December 19, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Australia Announces Moving its Embassy to Jerusalem: Is there any Surprise?

By James ONeill – New Eastern Outlook – 18.12.2018

When the current Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison floated the idea that Australia might move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it was widely suggested that this was an attempt to curry favour with the relatively large (12%) Jewish population in the electorate where a by-election was being held.

Following the government’s humiliating defeat in an electorate it had held for more than a century, the idea was expected to die. That possibility was reinforced by the widespread criticism that followed the prime minister’s announcement. That criticism was couched almost solely in terms of the damage such a move would do to Australia’s relationships with its near neighbours such as Indonesia.

Supporters of the Prime Minister also argued that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would enhance progress in the “two state solution” to the problem between Israel and the Palestinians.

More recently however, the Australian cabinet has approved the idea that the embassy should be moved, but not immediately. The delay was purportedly on cost grounds, financial cost that is, not reputational.

Almost completely missing from news bulletins and mainstream media analysis are the arguably far more important elements in the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem equation.

The first of these is the legal question. In considering that point, regard has to be had to Australia’s professed support for what it terms “the rules based international order.” That term, while widely used, is never clearly defined. In fact, as the experience of recent decades has conclusively shown, it means a western version of the international rules selectively employed to support an American centred hegemonic order.

The term “international law” is now avoided in political discourse, for the very good reason that the actions of the western powers do not sit well with adherence to international law.

The invasions, occupations, and attacks upon Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, among others this century alone make the point. In all of these illegal endeavours Australia has been a willing, indeed eager, participant. This is quite apart from Australia’s own violations of, for example, the Convention on Refugees and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Australian politicians also regard themselves as immune from accountability for participating in illegal wars. Unlike the British and the Dutch for example, there has never been a public inquiry into the lies and illegalities at the base of the Iraq invasion in 2003.

The Australian government has never held a debate on its participation in the Syrian War, even defeating a Green Party motion in 2015 to even debate that decision to join yet another illegal war. What little has been said publically by the relevant Ministers about that war and the reasons for joining it are at best vague and more often untruthful.

It is this disregard for international law that is at the root of the decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That decision needs to be put in the context of Australia’s record with regard to the Middle East, and more particularly, as it pertains to the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian and Syrian territories.

From the inception of the Israeli State, the city of Jerusalem was accorded special status. In the Palestine Partition Resolution 181 of 1947, the United Nations General Assembly resolved that “the city of Jerusalem be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”

That special status has been reaffirmed in every General Assembly or Security Council resolution on the matter from then until as recently as December 2018. It did not take long for Israel to disregard the special status of Jerusalem. A map showing Israeli and Palestinian territory at the time of partition, and a contemporary map show very different situations, as Israel has persistently encroached upon Palestinian territory to establish Jewish only settlements.

The 1948 war commenced this process in a significant way. The 1967 so-called Six Day War reinforced that process, with Israel capturing East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, and other parts of what was supposed to be the basis for a future Palestinian State.

Completely contrary to international law, Israel has continued to occupy the land it acquired through conquest. Judging by its actions and the statements of successive political leaders, up to and including the current Prime Minister Netanyahu, it has no intention of ever relinquishing its hold on the occupied territories.

In 1980 the Israeli parliament passed a law purporting to extend Israel’s law, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. This was again in defiance of international law. UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967) had unanimously confirmed that Israel should withdraw from territories it occupied in the Six Day War.

Following the passage of the Israeli law in 1980, the UN Security Council by 14:0 (with the United States abstaining) condemned Israel’s non-compliance with previous UNSC resolutions; condemned the attempt to change the status of Jerusalem as a violation of international law and therefore null and void; and demanded that the law be immediately rescinded.

While not specifically approving Israel’s blatant disregard for international law, and UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, neither did Australia go out of its way to be critical either.

Politicians in successive governments, either Labor or Liberal, have, with rare exceptions, refrained from criticism of Israel’s actions. If silence implies consent, then from 1947-2018 the overwhelming inference to be drawn is that Australia tacitly at the very least approved Israel’s actions.

In recent years that support has become more overt. In 2014 the government of the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that it had decided to drop the word “occupied” when describing Israel’s settlements in East Jerusalem. The then Attorney General George Brandis said that the word “occupied” was “freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful.”

To describe that claim as fatuous would be an understatement.

Australia’s tacit approval of Israel’s unlawful actions has now been made explicit. In a series of votes in late November and early December 2018, Australia was one of 6 countries to vote against a General Assembly resolution demanding an end to Israel’s occupation of the occupied territories; voted against a resolution demanding a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (along with only seven others); and abstained on a further resolution (along with 13 others) with 2 votes against (Israel and the United States) demanding an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan heights.

None of these votes, all of which were carried by overwhelming majorities, were featured in the Australian mainstream media.

The announced decision to move the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, where it would join only the United States and Guatemala, is therefore not a decision that should be seen in isolation. It simply reflects a long-standing tolerance of Israel’s persistent violation of international law.

As noted above, the Australian government also claims that shifting the embassy will facilitate the “peace process:” aimed at a two state solution. Apart from the United States and Israel, Australia must be the only country in the world to make such a claim.

The “two state solution” has been one of the great fallacies and enduring myths of the modern era. It is doubtful if it was ever more than a vain hope, and what little prospect there may have been in 1948 has been shattered by the repeated actions of successive Israeli governments that Australia supports.

A claim that moving the embassy will facilitate the peace process is on a par with Abbott and Brandis hoping to eliminate the word “occupied” from a discussion of Israeli actions in Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights.

The conclusion must be that Australia has no serious interest in the resolution of the Israel/Palestine question. By its public statements and voting record in the United Nations there can now be no question that Australia is firmly in the Israeli camp.

Quite how that accords with the oft-repeated claim of a belief in the “rule of law” and support for the legitimate aspirations of an oppressed people is awaiting an explanation. Given the Australian mainstream media’s complicity in ignoring the reality of Israeli’s daily violation of the rights of the Palestinians, and equal complicity in concealing Australia’s actual voting record in the UN on Israel related questions, it may be a long wait.

Both of the major political parties are equally complicit in refusing to address any of these issues in Parliament. Quite why the politicians and the media take the stance they do is a separate question. A further separate question is why the government seems so determined to proceed in the face of expert advice and widespread opposition on a course of action so manifestly at odds with Australia’s national interest, its security, and its professed beliefs.

December 18, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 3 Comments

In first, US endorses Israeli occupation of Golan, votes against 9 anti-Israel resolutions

Press TV – November 16, 2018

The US has, for the first time, endorsed the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights by voting against an annual UN resolution that condemned the occupation and was unanimously approved along with several other resolutions against Tel Aviv.

The resolution titled “The occupied Syrian Golan,” adopted on Friday with 151 votes in favor, two against (Israel and the US), and 14 abstentions, condemns Israel for “repressive measures” against Syrian citizens in the Golan Heights.

The resolution, which was adopted during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee), expresses deep concern that the Syrian Golan, occupied since 1967, has been under continued Israeli military occupation.

The non-binding annual resolution takes issue with the “illegality of the decision” taken by Israel “to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan,” which is illegal under international law.

The US’ vote against the annual resolution signaled a dramatic shift in Washington’s policy toward the territory, as it used to abstain in previous cases. The administration of Donald Trump had announced its changed policy ahead of the vote.

“If this resolution ever made sense, it surely does not today. The resolution is plainly biased against Israel,” outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement.

During the debate, Syrian envoy Bashar al-Jafari vowed that Damascus would recapture the heights by peace or by war.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and has continued to occupy two-thirds of the strategically-important territory ever since, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

The Tel Aviv regime has built dozens of illegal settlements in the area since its occupation and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government

Tel Aviv has also been pressing the US administration under Israel-friendly President Trump to recognize its claim to sovereignty over the occupied territory in defiance of international law.

Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

Eight other resolutions against Israel

The resolution on the occupied Syrian Golan was one of the nine separate resolutions which condemned the Israeli regime.

Through these resolutions, the UN reinforced the mandate of its Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and renewed the mandate of its “special committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.”

Other resolutions included “Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues”, “Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities”, “Applicability of the Geneva Convention… to the Occupied Palestinian Territory…”, and “Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East”.

The member states also unanimously voted for a resolution titled “Assistance to Palestine refugees”.

Apart from the US, which voted against all the nine resolutions, only a few member states – including Canada and Australia – cast nay votes. The majority of member states voted for the resolutions.

View the resolutions and voting results here: https://t.co/WlLL5EBZ4q
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) November 16, 2018

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Australia and its Israel Embassy: What are they Thinking?

By James O’Neill | OffGuardian | October 18, 2018

According to recent media reports, the Liberal candidate in the Wentworth (Sydney) by-election, former diplomat David Sharma said he “was open” to the idea that Australia’s embassy in Israel could be shifted from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In a separate tweet he went further and said Australia “should consider recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The ostensible reason is that it would be following the lead of the United States.

In separate reports, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is said to be making an announcement in Canberra on 16 October also suggesting that Australia should follow the US lead.

Sharma did qualify his suggestion that Australia’s embassy shift to Jerusalem “should be looked at in the context of a two-state solution (to Israel-Palestine)“.

It is possible that both Sharma and Morrison have timed their statements to coincide with the by-election by making a pitch for the Jewish vote in that electorate. According to census data, Wentworth has 12.5 percent of its population professing the Jewish faith, a significant figure in electoral terms. That is the kindest interpretation that can be placed on their remarks.

More likely, it is yet another example of Australia blindly following the United States in adopting a policy that is clearly in breach of international law. The Guardian and other mainstream media outlets have noted that the American policy has thus far only been followed by Guatemala. No mainstream media outlet has raised the issue of such a policy being in breach of international law. The special status of Jerusalem has been completely ignored.

Jerusalem is an international city under United Nations protection, and has been so since Resolution 181 of 1947, which declared Jerusalem a “separate entity.”

In June 1980, UN Security Council Resolution 476 was unanimously passed (i.e. including the US), declaring that “all actions by Israel, the occupying power, which purports to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of international law.”

UNSC Resolution 478, also passed unanimously, called upon all “States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.” UNSC resolutions are binding on all States. There is no room for ambiguity here, and even if Sharma and Morrison (and the Australian media) choose to ignore this issue, that is not an excuse. It has to be presumed that the legal advisors to the government in the Department of Foreign Affairs are cognisant of the legal implications of the government’s proposed shift in policy.

Sharma’s qualification that such a move would be in the context of a two state solution is absolutely meaningless. The Israeli government is totally uninterested in such a development, as its actions since 1948 make abundantly clear. Its ongoing theft of Palestinian land, the blockade of Gaza, the daily shootings of Palestinian men, women and children and its complete ignoring of multiple General Assembly resolutions over decades are all symptomatic of a violent, apartheid regime for whom international law is just an impediment to fulfillment of the Yinon Plan for a Greater Israel.

That Australia should even contemplate moving its embassy to Jerusalem beggars belief. UNSC resolutions are binding on member states. The fact that the United States chooses to ignore international law comes as no great surprise, even when, as with the Jerusalem resolutions they were a party to their formulation and voted for them.

The latest suggestions about Australia moving its embassy to Jerusalem puts them in the same dubious company as the US and Israel, both serial violators of international law. Does Australia really want to be in that company? Its voting record in the UN on Israel-Palestine issues tends to answer that question in the affirmative. This latest disregard for international law is consistent with Australia’s disregard for its international obligations toward the treatment of refugees on Manus and Nauru. It therefore marks a continuing downward slide from its earlier proud role as a supporter of a principled approach to foreign policy issues, and especially issues of international law.

This degradation of policy has not been matched with a reduction in the rhetoric of Australia’s professed belief in the “rules based international order.” The manifest hypocrisy of that position is now exemplified even more by the proposed shifting of the Australian embassy to Jerusalem. Australia’s policies are no more than a hollow sham.

James O’Neill is a Barrister at Law and geopolitical analyst. He may be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au

October 18, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 8 Comments