All we see are terrorists but this is so blatantly one sided

I had started a post 2 days ago and with other things going on I didn’t post it.

Tonight the ABC and no doubt other channels have plastered a video of a car in Jerusalem apparently running over some people and killing a 3month old baby. Immediately the report goes to an interview of an Israeli policeman calling it ‘a terrorist attack’. The driver was shot dead by Israeli police or IDF. Shocking incident…..and empty, lazy reporting.

What follows is the drafted repost of a report from earlier this week. We never saw anything about this or previous premeditated murders of Palestinian children by rampaging Zionist Settlers. I have not got the url for it… The reason I had not posted was I intended to write about the issue after further research. Tonights news pushed this post up on my ‘tell the whole truth’ priority list.

Here is the original …I will reference later. I dont blog well on my phone!

“A kindergarten girl Sunday died of her wounds, while another was seriously injured after an Israeli settler deliberately ran them over while they were on their way home from kindergarten near a village to the north of Ramallah, according to medical sources.

Sources said that a settler deliberately ran over Inas Khalil and Toleen Asfoor, both aged five, while walking home from kindergarten near the entrance of the village of Sinjil; a settler, coming from nearby settlements, drove toward the two girls and ran them over before fleeing the scene.

The two girls were severely injured and were transferred to hospital for treatment, where Khalil died of her critical wounds, while Asfoor is still in a very critical condition.

To be noted, Settlers are continually involved in hit and run accidents against Palestinians.

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Among his achievements, Palestine- the unmentioned Gough Whitlam stance.

Today the visionary Gough Whitlam, PM of Australia 1972-1975, died at the age of 98.

Much will be written about his legacy as the greatest Statesman Australia ever had on the world stage.

His government’s achievements in sweeping social change and reform through implementation of government policy is unsurpassed in Australia. He changed the way Australia though about itself………

  • Abolished conscription
  • Vietnam troop withdrawal
  • Reduced voting age from 21 to 18
  • Introduced equal pay for women and other policies to support womens rights (see here)
  • Engaged with China as first Western leader (in opposition)to do so.
  • Recognised China
  • Free tertiary education (thanks Gough!)
  • Universal health insurance (Medicare)
  • Universal Childcare reform
  • Death penalty abolished
  • Anti-discrimination laws introduced
  • ‘No fault’ divorce
  • Aboriginal land rights recognised for the first time.

All this and more in such a short time………..

The one black mark that remains about the Whitlam government was their complicit silence on Indonesia’s take over of  Timor Leste in 1975. Despite this Gough has a legacy of significant social reform in this country.

One area that will get no press mention and where Gough held a position completely contrary to PM’s (Liberal or Labour) before him or since, is his stance on Israel/Palestine. Something highly significant  that has not been mentioned in any of the long lists of sustained achievements by the great man of Australian politics.

Perhaps it is best left to the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs to enlighten us on his position on Israel with a section of the article from 2007 by Dr. Colin Rubenstein, (Nov. 14th 2007) “A Distant Affinity: The History of Australian-Israeli Relations” (full article here)

…..It is generally agreed that, despite a solidly pro-Israeli record up until that point, the election of an ALP government under Gough Whitlam (December 1972-November. 1975) marked a sharp departure in Australian policy toward Israel and Arab-Israeli issues. The Middle East was not a matter of controversy during the campaign and did not feature in the platform of either major party. Whitlam, speaking to Jewish gatherings during the lead-up to the campaign, emphasized his fraternal ties with the ruling Israeli Labor Party and friendship with leaders such as Golda Meir and Yigal Allon, and received a majority of Jewish support.[52]

In office, however, the Whitlam government moved farther from the United States and closer in its foreign policy to the nonaligned movement, where condemnation of Israel was the norm. Although Whitlam described this policy as “even-handedness and neutrality,” such neutrality was a far cry from the sort also proclaimed by his conservative predecessors.

The effects of this new policy became most apparent during the 1973 Yom Kippur  War when Australia failed to condemn either the Egyptian and Syrian attacks that launched it or the Soviet airlift of arms supplies to the Arab combatants. However, once the United States began to airlift arms and supplies to Israel, the Australian UN representative, on instructions from Canberra, condemned both airlifts with a particular emphasis on America’s. Even before this, there had been repeated one-sided condemnations by Australia in the United Nations of all Israeli reprisals for terrorist and cross-border attacks, but silence about anti-Israeli aggressions.

In a meeting with predominantly ALP-affiliated Jews called to clear the air, Whitlam apparently became angered by hostile questioning. He equated Israeli responses with terrorism, said an Israeli reprisal raid on a PLO base in Lebanon had been “not only a mistake, but a crime,” and cited the growing Australian Arab community becoming “more articulate” as a reason to change Australian policy. Most controversially, he referred to those present as “You people”; asked about the failure to condemn the Arab attacks that had launched the war, he responded: “You people should realise that there is a large Christian Arab community in this country.”

Under Whitlam, Australia also voted for a resolution equating Zionism with racism at a UN women’s conference in Mexico, though it voted against the equivalent resolution in the UN General Assembly. Whitlam later approved the establishment of a PLO liaison office in Canberra and became embroiled in scandals involving the acceptance of Arab loans to Australia and the ALP. In the 1974 Khemlani affair, Australia sought to borrow $4 billion from dubious Arab sources, repayable as a lump sum after twenty years. Even more controversially, during the 1975 election campaign Whitlam secretly approved a scheme to obtain a substantial sum, often said to be $500,000, from the Iraqi Baath Party to help fund ALP campaign expenses. It later emerged that the man at the center of the Iraqi loans affair, ALP activist Bill Hartley, had also written to Yasser Arafat seeking PLO funds for the party. Approaches for funds also were reportedly made to Saudi Arabia.

Following his highly controversial dismissal by the governor-general and subsequent loss of an election in 1975, Whitlam continued to maintain that his stances were justified by the existence of the growing Arab community in Australia. He also criticized Australian Jewish leaders for having “blackmailed” him, and implied that Israel dominated U.S. foreign policy and that the international media was monolithically pro-Israeli”.

What the article fails to mention of course, is that the reason for seeking the money through Khemlani was because the hostile Senate continuously blocked supply to the incumbent government. Gough needed the $4 billion to ostensibly buy ‘back the farm’, to buy back our mining resources from foreign ownership. He did not succeed and his now historic “dismissal” eventuated.

The media Whitlam spoke of is the Murdoch press, a player in his rise and a key player in his demise.
RIP Gough

 

Take the Political Compass Test. Where do you stand?

A friend put me onto Bill Mitchell’s Blog. I was told, Bill is an economic genius…. Modern Monetary Theory, macroeconomic reality  …..”you’ll really like him”.

I have a distinct avoidance of economics but I know I should find out more, it’s just that anything with $ sign in front makes me go weak at the knees…… from fear!

Well, he does seem to really know his stuff and I will need to read more of it, but in small doses so I can absorb. Bill writes about other things and is a really interesting guy and for Economics buffs you probably can’t go past his site.

Direct from his ‘About’ page Bill is “a Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. He is also a professional musician and plays guitar with the Melbourne Reggae-Dub band – Pressure Drop. The band was popular around the live music scene in Melbourne in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The band reformed in late 2010.

You can find music and other things on his Home Page.

I found his link to this little ‘Political Compass Test’ and here’s my results.

Yes there I sit in the bottom left hand corner. Exactly where I chose to sit in class.

My 'Political Compass' Test Outcome 19/10/2014 Economic Left/Right -9.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian -8.97

My ‘Political Compass’ Test Outcome 19/10/2014
Economic Left/Right -9.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian -8.97

There’s an analysis and you’ll also be able to compare political leaders, though the field is incomplete. It’s really interesting to see Netanyahu closer to Al-Assad than either would like to think!

I will leave you to link and play.

A Research Piece and the Exposed Moral Distance of Australia’s New Anti-Terror Laws.

Mark Nolan wrote a chapter in the book, Fresh Perspectives on the ‘War on Terror’ called ‘Lay Perceptions of Terrorist Acts and Counter-Terrorism Responses: Role of Motive, Offence Construal, Siege Mentality and Human Rights’ (Canberra: ANU ePress, 2008) 85-107. Quite a title!

The chapter examines the perceptions of people towards terrorist acts and counter terrorism initiatives in Australia. Nolan’s motivation for the chapter is the phrase “exceptional law for exceptional times”. He suggests this phrase sums up the arguments of those who consider ‘much of the tradition and principle of law less relevant now and creating undue risks in the prevention or regulation of political violence.’

People like George Brandis I guess given the new terror laws.

Nolan examined public perceptions of politically motivated violence and perceptions of the counter terrorism initiatives to combat the use of such violence in Australia. Interestingly he uses constructs from professor Daniel Bar-Tal’s (Tel Aviv university) examination of siege mentality in Israel.

Bar-Tal attempted to explain some social relationships in the Middle East in terms of the ongoing socialisation of Israeli Jews with a siege mentality or “a socialised psychological belief orientation that shapes the view of the ‘other’ especially conceptions of Palestinians perpetrating politically motivated violence.” In seige mentality, outsiders are perceived to want to harm the group, the threat is faced alone and in relative isolation from potential allies and coalitions.

The four consequences of such a mentality are,
1. negative attitudes against the world
2. intergroup mistrust
3. pressure towards intragroup conformity
4. self protection and self reliance

Perceived isolation in the face of negative attitudes ‘against the world’ brings an associated attitude towards the use of international institutions and concepts such as international human rights norms. Nolan interestingly  notes that in principle this mentality could be equally held by victims and perpetrators of politically motivated violence.

Nolan’s work included the scenario of police investigation of “a food tampering incident effecting supplies to a leading multinational hamburger food chain established in Australia.”

Two explanatory paragraphs about the incident or crime were used, one using ‘anti-corporate conditions’ for the crime and the other ‘jihadist conditions’.

1. Anti-corporate conditions
There has been no claim of responsibility yet but police report that anonymous threats have been made to restaurant owners that state; “Don’t trust the safety of any of your food supplies today. Action has been taken so that people will stop trusting the lies of multinational corporations who control our diet.

2. Jihadist conditions
There has been no claim of responsibility yet but police report that anonymous threats have been made to restaurant owners that state; “Don’t trust the safety of any of your food supplies today. Action has been taken so that infidels will be stopped in the name of Allah!”

Participants were asked to express the apparent motive of the alleged perpetrators in their own words to both instances and then to scale the extent to which that motive is the most important factor in judging the ‘blameworthiness’ of the act.

Nolan’s research was undertaken in 2005 and his study contained more extensive material that I have not included specifically because of the difference in likely readership. However some of Nolans findings are relevant to the current focus on Australia’s proposed new ‘terror laws.’

Firstly, Nolan found no link between siege mentality and the responses of his participants, primarily because his participants did not appear to have a siege mentality and did not feel ‘alone in the world due to terrorist threat’.

This is not surprising at all, given Australia shirt tales the US on most things and it’s regularly said by our government that “we share the same values”, thus one country in the world definitely sharesany sense we might have that there is a ‘terrorist threat out there’. Similarly the UK, our parent country, obviously shares this concern, given the responses of Cameron’s government. Even recently, the sense in this country appears to be one of being more buffered than most countries, despite recent raids on supposed jihadist incitement bookshops, the shooting of an 18yo who allegedly attacked police with knives following the raids and IS fighters in Iraq and Syria being identified as Australian.

The really interesting outcomes of Nolan’s work for my part is that;
1. Even people with a low terrorist siege mentality, who did not support the idea that civil rights be weakened by asserting the right to security, still believed that jihadist motives rendered the same act more blameworthy than anticorporate political and ideological motives.

2. There was an overall rejection that national security justified general treatment of suspects by police, court or correctional services inconsistency with international human rights and laws or standard criminal practice.

For Nolan the first of these two outcomes raised concerns about “possible impact on juries of evidence of the intention to advance political religious or ideological causes”. Nolan suggests “judges may need to use jury instructions to combat attitudinal bias against defendants alleged to be pursuing particular motives.”

My concern is greater than Nolan’s. Judges instructions to juries are often lost on juries in my experience in the courts (I have numerous examples in sexual assault cases where juries may be instructed in often lengthy diatribes that the time taken to report an assault is not considered a significant factor or that prior sexual history of the victim should not be given equal consideration with other facts I the case). The outcome here suggests that merely the term jihad is highly misunderstood by most non-Muslim Australians. A more relevant term would be violent jihad where the violence is what is considered as believing in jihad which literally means to struggle or strive which is not of itself violent. This omission of clear definition shows up both the research and the general understanding of the term in the Australian community.

On the second point I am relieved to think the large majority of the 123 respondents in the study maintained a moral stance supporting consistency of police courts and correctional services with respect for human rights even when ‘national security’ appears under threat, with only 4 dissenters to that position. However, we all know how difficult it is to ‘watchdog’ from the outside or whistleblow from the inside in these services.

Luckily senator David Leyonhjelm raised concerns that “beefed-up legislation includes immunities for special security operations that are so wide as to allow for certain forms of torture, including drugging, sensory bombardment and sleep deprivation. Additionally two senior legal experts who advised the Liberal Democratic Party on the legislation who spoke to Fairfax Media, “confirmed that the immunity provisions open a wide legal grey area and are broader than any such state power in the United Kingdom, Canada or New Zealand”. see here

The new laws have rightly raised concern but only in small doses (See video of parliamentary members with concerns and read SMH article here . The cross bench committee advising changes to the proposed laws has at least recommended the ridiculous 10 year ‘sunset’ clause be 2 years but……

We’re a complacent lot really.

I Just Absolutely Love This Photo

Demo in Beirut -  Lebanese activists dressed as politicians smoke cigars with their heads covered in stockings during a demonstration against the extension of parliament, near the parliament building, downtown Beirut, Oct. 1, 2014. Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/galleries/day;jsessionid=6C53900A5E9562F57F639A7ADF9BEE4F?displayTab=demo-in-beirut#ixzz3F91sMobp

Demo in Beirut –
Lebanese activists dressed as politicians smoke cigars with their heads covered in stockings during a demonstration against the extension of parliament, near the parliament building, downtown Beirut, Oct. 1, 2014.
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/galleries/day;jsessionid=6C53900A5E9562F57F639A7ADF9BEE4F?displayTab=demo-in-beirut#ixzz3F91sMobp

Thoroughly pissed off that a near finished post I have been working on re the Lebanon Tribunal in the Hague has disappeared off my laptop……….No return. So you have to laugh don’t you?