Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ruddock: 'No One Told Me'

Former Attorney General takes a leaf out of Howard's book by claiming 'no one told me' when faced with embarrassing facts.

When referring to “the circumstances of [Habib's] rendition [and almost certain torture]”, Ruddock told The Australian, “We were never informed about where he was or what had happened to him”.

Toohey points out:

[Then ASIO chief Dennis] Richardson is a meticulous public servant. He would not tell the senate that ASIO had definitely established where Habib was merely on the basis of supposition. Nor would he tell the senate about something as important as Habib’s “rendition” by the CIA to Egypt, where he was almost certainly tortured, without first ensuring that his minister was informed.

Howard's 'no one told me' approach to awkward issues that he knew he didn't want to know about seems to have been transformed into a general method of administration.

Aggressive war, official propaganda, "state-sponsored lies pursued with a determination reminiscent of the worst regimes of the 20th Century", racism, concentration camps, extra-judicial killings, torture: Howard's government in obsequiously following the Bush regime in a lunge to nazism is more than embarrassing, it is damning and something that they will never be able to live down.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mad Max in Afghanistan

Nato with their brilliant strategy in Georgia have just successfully cut their own emergency alternative supply route into Afghanistan via Russia. Meanwhile Iran has refused a request for its territory to be used as a supply route. Can't imagine why they would have done that. An airlift of fuel into Afghanistan is impossible due to the huge volumes required.

Moon of Alabama does the math and calculates the resistance can strangle the occupation by targeting the road fuel convoy from the Pakistani port of Karachi to Kandahar and to Kabul via the Khyber pass.

“In the summer months, I would expect to be attacked once or twice a week,” said one manager, unwilling to speak on the record.

“Last week, we were caught up in an attack on a convoy of fuel trucks on a road we are working on. It looked like a war zone, with five diesel tanks burst open by [rocket propelled grenades] and burning diesel flooding out over the road.”

The security companies are circumspect about how many tankers they lose, but he said “multiple dozens” have been lost in the south each month during the summer. In June, fighters set upon a convoy of more than 50 tankers, setting fire to them about 65km south of Kabul....

Forty fuel trucks were destroyed in March near the crossing between the two countries.

However, a western security executive told the FT that for a period last summer some military bases in the south were almost running on empty, “stopping all non-essential movement and offensive operations because of fuel shortages”....

An al-Qaeda member told Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity, "The single strategy of severing NATO's supply lines from Pakistan is the key to success. If the blockage is successfully implemented in 2008, the Western coalition will be forced to leave Afghanistan in 2009, and if implemented next year, the exit is certain by 2010."

Several al-Qaeda cells have apparently been activated in Karachi to monitor the movement of NATO supply convoys....

"Without Russia's support in Afghanistan, NATO would face a new Vietnam, and this is clear to everyone. Militarily, NATO and Russia have a very good and trusting relationship," [Russian Ambassador to Nato] Rogozin said from his Brussels office....

A commenter says:

I would doubt the Russians would seriously imperil Nato supplies lines to Afghanistan. Actually, I would think the more precarious the situation, the more lucrative the operation and thus the Russian oligarchs would be only too happy to deal.

b replies:

Even Russian oligarchs are nationalists ... still you may be right ... why not let NATO slowly bleed to death in Afganistan ...

Mr Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia: Troops. Afghanistan. OUT. NOW!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beijing Olympics: Protest Song

The Truth is Still There (free mp3 download)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bin Laden Driver Convicted


What next? His barber? Actually they should probably get that bloke too - he's done a shocking job on Bin Laden's facial hair. Get his tailor and his cobbler while you are at it. A man of Mr. Bin Laden's reputed wealth really should be better served.

The 'trial' however was a complete farce. The 'jury' of military officers brought down a guilty verdict and a sentence of five and a half years, but "as soon as the sentence was issued, however, the Pentagon made it clear that it had no intention of releasing Hamdan. It says that it retains the right to keep him in prison for an indefinite period."

A travesty of justice, no more than a show trial. An incompetent show trial at that. This can only do harm to the reputation of the United States, and for no gain. If you are going to have a show trial, you need to get the tortured dupes to admit to some substantial crime, like murder, bombing or sabotage. If the guy is no more than a driver, then all the publicity can only backfire if you bring down a verdict of guilty and an award of a life sentence.

Meanwhile President Bush, a major war criminal, has the chutzpah to "denounce the detention of political dissidents and religious activists" in China ahead of his visit to the Beijing Olympic games.

The Guantanamo Bay concentration camp should be condemned by the Australian Government as well as by all decent observers as a grave injustice which should be immediately closed.