JIM DOWLING. Did Aussies really vote for these sociopaths?

I walked into the kitchen the other day and our illustrious defence industries minister Chris Pyne was on the radio answering a question relating to the recent horrific suicide bombing in Kabul which left 100 dead and 250 wounded. Aussies making more weapons seemed to be the answer! 

“No, this was not a sophisticated military exercise”, he explained,  “But all Australians can see why we need to be there, still.”

Ah, usual dribble coming from a minister of war-making, I thought.  After all, last time I looked, most Australians were very dubious about our role in Afghanistan, including veterans of that war who are suiciding at terrible rates. Way back in 2003 polls showed over 60% of Aussies did not support the pending invasion of Iraq. Howard’s (and Pyne’s) government took us there anyway, and Howard effectively doused most opposition with the line: “We may not all agree, but now we should all get behind our troops”.

As Pyne talked on, I discovered he was not talking about the problems of the Afghan people, but using their pain to help justify our Government’s latest goal of massively expanding our country’s international arms trading. He wants to loan nearly $4 billion to any entrepreneurs with a similar goal. Pyne and Turnbull are hoping to make us one of the most successful merchants of death in the world. (Now we are a pathetic 20th in International arms sales. Shame!)

Now, I believe a sociopath is someone with no conscience, and certainly no interest in the truth; someone who will use even the most horrific acts to advance their own selfish goals. Yes, this seemed to be what I was hearing on the radio.

I may not be thinking straight here, not being an expert in “defence” industries like Mr Pyne, but it struck me that the international arms industry may not be the solution to the problem.  The strange thought even occurred to me that the arms merchants may even be the cause of some of this murder and mayhem engulfing Afghanistan.

Let’s have quick look at all those attempting to “defend” Afghanistan for the last 40 years and those supplying weapons for this important and difficult task. After the Russians invaded in 1979, the US and Saudi Arabia supplied most of the weapons used by the Afghan warlords and others to fight the Russians (who of course claimed they were the ones “defending” the Afghans). Surely Pyne and Turnbull would have been happy to supply the Mujahedeen freedom fighters, if we only had a bigger “defence” industry at the time.  I am old enough to clearly remember Ronald Regan referring to the Mujahedeen as “freedom fighters” at the time. This is why he authorised the CIA to help fund the Pakistan madrassas that established the Taliban and other terrorists (er., sorry, “freedom fighters”). One of those freedom fighters was Osama Bin Laden, of course.

When the dust settled and a million Afghans had died fighting the Russians, the warlords turned their weapons (er., I mean defence exports from the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) on one another to see who would seize power. Kabul was decimated by a continuous new civil war. Enter the Taliban! They defeated all the warlords and “liberated” Kabul. Sadly, the Taliban proved to be just as brutal as the warlords. But the West never cared until 9/11 happened and the Taliban happened to be harbouring Osama Bin Laden.

This meant the monster(s) we had helped create had gone feral and needed to be eliminated – “with extreme prejudice”. Unlike in Apocalypse Now, however, it was not just a matter of killing one man but destroying two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan.  This Australia has helped do with great success.

Now back to the topic of real success, making money from the Arms Industry. (Time to really rub our hands together now, Malcolm and Chris!) Billions of dollars (probably more than a trillion) has been made by mostly US (British, French and others got some too, of course) weapons manufacturers in the so called “war on terror”.

Just one little snippet about my favourite, the Raytheon corporation: Within a week of 9/11 Raytheon shares rose a staggering 40%.  Of course, the average sociopath knew it was time to buy up big! You see Raytheon made the infamous Cruise missile at around $600,000 each (as well as smaller things like cluster bombs). Hundreds of Cruise missiles were dropped on Afghanistan and Iraq at the start of their respective wars, and hundreds more have been dropped since, as we continue to “defend” those poor people.

Seriously though, how 17 years of war proves we need to manufacture more weapons to make the world a better place I am not sure. Perhaps only a sociopath could work that one out.

The very day before I heard the above radio news item, I had finished reading the fascinating book, “Merchants of Menace” by Peter Butt, about the Nugan Hand Bank.  It too has to do with arms dealers (also drug dealers and money launderers).   In the 1970’s Michael Hand, a much-decorated US Vietnam/CIA veteran, teamed up with Aussie Frank Nugan to form the Nugan Hand Bank. They hoped to become as rich as possible, by any means necessary. The bank they started illegally laundered money for drug dealers, arms dealers, rogue states, and the CIA.

During the short life of the bank, before Frank Nugan shot himself (or was murdered), Hand went off to South Africa, Rhodesia and elsewhere to sell arms personally, as well as helping the CIA supply them to rogue states. In 1980 after his partner (and best friend for many years) Frank Nugan was found dead, Hand’s immediate comment to another business partner was: “Now the prick has left us to deal with this shit all by ourselves”.  A sociopath, no doubt! Now, Mr Pyne thinks we can deal with the shit we helped create in Afghanistan by making more weapons, and no doubt selling them to the present “good guys” over there.

After much work, in 2015 Peter Butts finally tracked Michael Hand to a small town in the US where he had started a new life with a new name, despite numerous Australian appeals to the FBI to help bring Hand to justice. Butts found Hand running a company to supply tactical weapons for US Special Forces, Special Ops, and hunters.

Now I am sure Mr Pyne or Mr Turnbull could benefit from a visit to Mr Hand to find the secrets of his successful career.  After all Hand’s crimes of retail murder, drug dealing etc, are minor compared to the ones they will be complicit in when we become one of the world biggest arms dealers.  And, hey, maybe the ice trade could do with a few new faces as well………..

Oh yes, one more thing, if you think I am being too harsh on Turnbull and Pyne, just watch Mr Turnbull gleefully tell us the only thing the arms industry is about here.

Jim Dowling has been part of the Brisbane Catholic Worker Movement and an anti-war activist for over 30 years.

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4 Responses to JIM DOWLING. Did Aussies really vote for these sociopaths?

  1. Ted Egan says:

    I won’t say for a moment that I am ‘fed up’ with tirades like this, because I recently applauded Mungo on the same topic; I want to give Mr Dowling a standing ovation – and I’ve only done that twice before. But talking and writing on the subject are not sufficient. I want to be involved – petitions, old-fashioned demos, whatever – in some action that is going to get the support of a majority of Australians. We need to demonstrate to the PM and his government, in the only language they know – votepower – that armourers are murderers.

  2. Jim Dowling says:

    Thanks for replying Ted.
    The worst part of this ‘news” announcement is the dis-interest by most folks.
    I am not sure how to achieve your suggestions, after 30 years in the “peace movement”. For better or worse my methods of change have been in nonviolent resistance rather than traditional methods you mention. (Though I have used them all as well). IPAN and ICAN both lobby traditionally. (ICAN won the nobel peace prize!).
    I am sure you are aware of our recent action in Alice Springs/Pine Gap.
    You are most welcome to join our next action, or contact IPAN to see what they are up to.
    All the best
    Jim

  3. Robin Wingrove says:

    What amazed me almost as much as the sickening thought that we want to become merchants of death is the thought by our so-called ‘betters’ that the existing armament manufacturers will gladly welcome a new player into the market thus taking profit from them. Not only is it evil, it just wont happen unless we become a branch manufacturer for the existing armaments manufacturers. We do have sociopaths for leaders and in my experience, sociopathy is actively encouraged in society.

  4. Hey Ted, My esteemed friend Jim Mr Dowling, forgot to mention the excellent work of his friends at Wage Peace.

    You can sign up at
    https://wagepeace-waca.nationbuilder.com/
    or follow us on FAcebook.

    We worked last year for a couple of months on http://www.closepinegap.org

    This year we interested in the movements of the weapons trade the heart of Australia PINE GAP [yes that’s now our heart] and into the board rooms and parliamentary workspaces.

    We now have a General a Brigadier and a SAS commander in the Parliament. Brigadier Reynolds was on the board of Raytheon Oz . The General oversaw the destruction of Fallujah and the SAS Commander Hastie was involved in an incident which resulted in the civilian deaths of nomad children and killed goodness knows how many young men classed as military because they were over the age of 15 and were male. These people are supposed to understand civilian community development and diplomacy.

    You can sign up at
    https://wagepeace-waca.nationbuilder.com/
    or follow us on FAcebook.wagepeaceau which is where we go when we are gathering strength and resources for a renewed effort – Join us. Or send money!

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