Category Archives: Defence/Security

GREG LOCKHART. On the back of the great crime against humanity in Iraq.

It was ‘a bloody mess’. So said one Iraq veteran heavily involved on the logistics side of things and quoted in Dr Albert Palazzo’s recently declassified studies The Australian Army and the War in Iraq 2002-2010 (572 pages, 2011) and … Continue reading

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CAVAN and ALEX HOGUE. Cyber legislation – the oldest trick in the book.

The proposed legislation on cyber powers raises some questions that need to be answered.  The debate has been rhetorical and has not addressed the technical or legal aspects of the legislation in any detail. Has the implementation been thought through … Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Why do crime-busters need ASIO-type powers?

Any political cynic will see excellent reasons for giving the Australian Federal Police a lead role in the crusade against online child pornography, the grooming of children for sexual abuse, and other sexual abuse of children, matters which might ordinarily … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The Occupation of the Australian Mind.

Fear and apathy have taken up residence in the collective political consciousness of Australia. Indeed, it may be that they have achieved that most desirable of states for governments seeking to remain in power, or oppositions sensing their imminent ascendency … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | 2 Comments

ANDREW FARRAN. War and the national Interest.

Since the Korean War in the early 1950s, the US has committed a series of political and strategic misjudgements in its war decisions. Does this give us confidence about its future decisions and for a policy of going along with … Continue reading

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BEVAN RAMSDEN. Caught in the middle of US-China contention, Australia sides with the US in their efforts to contain and keep China out of the Western Pacific.

Australia is currently facing a major change in strategic circumstances and the argument for pursuing a truly independent foreign policy, for the economic benefit and security of the Australian people, has never been so great. 

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DAVID STEPHENS. If the Australian War Memorial holds “the soul of the nation” why is the Memorial Council so full of brass?

The Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, often tells us that in the Memorial can be found ‘the soul of the nation’.   The Prime Minister said the same thing, just the other day.  Accepting for the … Continue reading

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GARETH EVANS. Australia in the world: it’s time to punch our weight.

In this lecture, Gareth Evans calls for “Less America … More self-reliance … More Asia … More global engagement”.  See below, extracts from Gareth Evans’ Tom Uren Memorial Lecture delivered in Balmain 2 December 2018.  

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JIM KABLE. Oz not even a footnote to US victory in the Pacific.

One is constantly reading or listening to the loud declarations of eternal friendship – blood-brotherhood in so many words – of our Australian federal politicians and their US counterparts, including military leaders, generals and so forth. But what is the truth … Continue reading

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JAMES O’NEILL: New Revelations About Australia and the Iraq War

A new ABC report reveals, quoting from a previously classified document, that the Australian government decided in early 2002 to join the American led Iraq War, but failed to disclose that to Parliament or the public.

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JAMES O’NEILL. America’s permanent war complex: a comment on Porter’s argument.

A recent article by US commentator Gareth Porter raises many issues that should be of concern to Australians.  That they will in all probability be ignored points to some wider changes needed in our society.

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MACK WILLIAMS. Australia-US Defence Relationship: Are we in the “prudent planning“ phase already?

The publication by the ABC of a previously highly classified analysis of the ADF’s logistic problems in the early phase of Gulf War 11 has shed some critical light on the process by which Australia joined in that war. It … Continue reading

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ANDREW GREENE. Australian Defence Force’s Iraq war secrets revealed in newly declassified report (ABC News)

A secret Army study has detailed the widespread logistical problems faced by Australian forces in Iraq 15 years ago. ‘The Howard government had decided early in 2002 to begin planning the  Iraq War, a year before John Howard announced Australia’s … Continue reading

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GARETH PORTER. America’s permanent-war complex. (The American Conservative, 15.11.2108)

What President Dwight D. Eisenhower dubbed the “military-industrial complex” has been constantly evolving over the decades, adjusting to shifts in the economic and political system as well as international events. The result today is a “permanent-war complex,” which is now … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The ascendancy of the age of Thorby (Part 1 – The state’s justification for requiring passive citizens)

Contrary to popular belief, modern democracy does not welcome an active, engaged citizenry especially between election campaigns because its interventions would hinder the operations of the state. The preferred condition is one of citizen passivity in which the authorities go … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The age of Thorby (Part 2 – The addictive denial of transparency and the protection of malfeasance)

Where matters defined under the rubric of national security are concerned, the intelligence agencies of the state demand nothing less than the indulgence to act with unwarranted secrecy – secrecy beyond that which is absolutely essential.  Over the last 80 … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. China, The US and the Manus Island naval base.

APEC, Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, was really Bob Hawke’s idea.  The Prime Minister of the day envisaged it as a purely economic gathering, a meeting of finance ministers to deal with the growing impact of globalism and ensure dialogue and the rule … Continue reading

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KELLIE MERRITT. Stepping up to the war crease.

Unaccountable spin and double standards are the stuff of “good bloke” politicians. It’s a skilful charade that perpetuates unchecked executive power and distances the parliament and public. Kellie Merritt’s husband Paul was killed “whilst on operational duty” in Iraq. She … Continue reading

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RICHARD TANTER and BUSINES INSIDER INDIA. Darwin, the Marines, and touring the American empire of bases

The idea of ‘US imperialism’ may be seen as a fiction of the ideological left, or as an overblown presentation of the presence of a few US bases in different countries. But the US military does indeed operate on a … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE- Sacrifice is being politicised. Militarism is becoming the norm.

Remembrance is morphing into  acceptance of conflict. The culture war about remembrance being waged by conservatives and the military is winning with little opposition.  The never ending stories of Gallipoli, the Western front and Armistice go on and on. We are … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. Has the Cavalcade of Commemoration Finally Halted?

With Remembrance Day behind us we may finally have some relief from the relentless commemoration of conflict which began twenty years ago and climaxed with the centenary of the First World War. Historians of the future may well wonder where … Continue reading

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GREG BARTON. Morrison wants Muslim leaders to do more to prevent terrorism, but what more can they do? (The Conversation)

With the simple statement “more needs to happen”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was emphatic. In the wake of the terror attack on the crowded streets of Melbourne’s CBD last Friday, it is difficult to argue against any plan to do … Continue reading

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PETER STANLEY. PM Hughes said ‘I bid you go fight for White Australia in France’- WW1 as the war for White Australia

Peter Stanley reviews Peter Cochrane’s Best We Forget: The War for White Australia, 1914-18 Australians’ racial anxiety towards Asia in general and  Japan in particular in the decade before 1914 made Australians’ political leaders prepared to underwrite an imperial war … Continue reading

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MICHAEL MULLINS. The politicisation of remembrance

In Australia there is a highly selective regime of remembrance that chooses to exclude the Frontier Wars that killed large numbers of indigenous Australians, and also the many unsavoury aspects of war such as the mistreatment of women by our … Continue reading

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KIM WINGEREI. The Turnbull Legacy Hour

Malcolm Turnbull appeared on a special edition of the ABC’s QandA last Thursday. Charming, at times evavise and polite as ever, we didn’t learn much, but is this the end of his political career as he claims, or the beginning … Continue reading

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GREG LOCKHART. Armistice and Remembrance Day in Australia

The signing of the armistice at 11 am on 11/11/1918 did not raise great enthusiasm among members of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), because their first thought was for sleep. It then took a year for the battlefield silence to … Continue reading

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DOUGLAS NEWTON. For Armistice Day: Lest we forget the realities of the Armistice

Armistice Day dawns. Supposedly, it marks ‘the end of the First World War’. It was not. There was no peace. Wars and civil conflicts continued to rage across Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. Moreover, the victors cruelly maintained … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has become a ‘go to’ organisation for anti Chinese commentary A repost

The important agents of influence in Australia are organisations linked ‘hip to hip’ to the US and its military/industrial complex. One of these is the Australian Strategic Policy Institute which is an enthusiastic supporter of almost all things American including … Continue reading

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DEAN ASHENDEN. Don’t mention the war (Inside Story, 05.11.18)

The Australian War Memorial and its embarrassing director Brendan Nelson are getting some of what they deserve, but only some. The AWM’s (successful) bid for half a billion public dollars to house its tribute to those who have served and … Continue reading

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DOUGLAS NEWTON. What are the real lessons of the First World War?

The Centenary of the Armistice of 1918 is almost upon us. There will be sincere and solemn events. But prepare also for a hurricane of media puffery, a cascade of clichés, narrow nationalism, the familiar medley of cheers and tears … Continue reading

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