Adani and the Wangan and Jagalingou people

Adani the transnational mining company states on it’s site….
The Adani Group is an integrated business employing about 9,000 people across its operations, whichspan several countries. We are a young and dynamic organisation with trust, courage and innovation at the core of our values.
Companies like this sprout shit. They talk of trust….they speak about indiginous ‘participation’. Bollocks!
Then they say…
We respect the traditional owners of the land

Adani has always positively engaged with traditional owners and has come to agreements with all relevant groups regarding Cultural Heritage and has signed Cultural Heritage Management Plans  with all relevant groups.

It has always been Adani’s policy to reach mutual agreement with all groups and sign Indigenous land Use Agreements (ILUA) that cover the Adani Mine, Rail and Port projects. Negotiations have resulted in two ILUAs signed, two with agreements in Principle reached and we will always continue to work constructively with indigenous stakeholders.

BUT WAIT….
THATS ONLY IF THEY GET WHAT THEY WANT…..

It’s Adrian Burragubba here. I’m writing to you again because we need your help. 

After I first wrote to you and others, were overwhelmed by the response. To know Wangan and Jagalingou people that more than 90,000 people have chosen to stand with us as we fight to protect our land and our culture from Adani has given us real strength and confidence. On behalf of Wangan and Jagalingou people who are opposed to this mine, we sincerely thank you. 

But Adani is playing dirty, and the fight is even bigger than we expected. 

we rejected Adani’s offer to exploit our land they took aggressive legal action to overrule our rights just six days later. Now we have to fight to protect our land in court. 

They have betrayed our trust and are getting set to destroy our land and our culture. You’ve pledged your support, but now I’m going to have to ask you, if you can, to help me again. 

We face losing everything that is our inheritance. But to mount this fight to protect our heritage, we need more than our conviction and courage. We desperately need funds to mount a legal challangeand appeal against Adani’s action. Can you please make a donation so we can fight Adani in court? 

Adani is trying everything, and from the beginning have shown their arrogant, disrespectful treatment of our law and customs. They have misrepresented us, and they have betrayed us. They have now taken action to remove our rights through a legal system designed to favour big mining over the rights of Indigenous peoples. It seems they’ll stop at nothing to get their mine, which will destroy our ancestral land and the underpinnings of our lore and culture. 

If we can raise enough money, we will appeal the National Native Title Tribunal’s decision to allow the Queensland Government to issue mining leases to Adani, despite our refusal to enter an agreement with the company. The Tribunal even recognised that we have not given our consent or agreement to the mine, but still overruled our internationally recognised rights in favour of Adani. 

The Tribunal has sanctioned the destruction of our ancestral lands and cultural heritage on the grounds that it’s in the ‘public interest’. We will contest the idea that building one of the world’s largest coalmines is good for the people and the country. 

Our right to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent is being trampled. 

We have to fight back, but we can only do it with the help of our supporters. Can you please get behind us to fight for our rights and our land in court by donating to our fighting fund? 

The truth is we’re up against a multi-billion dollar company and a legal system that makes it very tough for traditional owners. We know we’ve got a strong, righteous case to run, but we’re not going to leave it at that. 

We’ll continue to fight for our rights through the courts, and look to international law if need be. We will visit investment banks around the world to stop the project getting funding. And if it comes to it, we will take our fight all the way to the United Nations. 

This fight will define our people and be a landmark moment for Indigenous rights and climate change in Australia. Can you help us defeat Adani by donating to our fighting fund? 

Adani think they can walk all over us but they’ve never seen anything like this. Our lands and our way of life, and the legacy of our ancestors, mean too much to our people to rollover. We are here to fight and we won’t stop until our land is protected. 

Adrian Burragubba, 
on behalf of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners Council 
for the Wangan and Jagalingou people 

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The Tragedy of Uglegorsk: Exodus from the “City of the Dead”

Excellent Post- Civilians are just pawns, countries just strategic stepping stones and peoples wishes simply ignored. The Photo’s are precious inroads to what the people are feeling. Again excellent post

SLAVYANGRAD.org

Original: Komsomolskaya Pravda
Translated by Alya Bailey / Edited by @GBabeuf
Photo credits: Aleksandr Kots, Dmitriy Steshin

uglogorsk_head

The Militia opened a humanitarian corridor for the residents and organised the evacuation. The Ukrainian side did not want to let the civilians cross their front line.

People started leaving the town early in the morning. We ran into the first group of refugees already on Gorlovka’s outskirts. Packed cars with windows steamed on the inside and white sheets, scarves on aerials and mirrors. People had hardly any belongings with themthey escaped with only the clothes they were wearing and had filled the vehicles to the brim. Then we saw a few Urals with children in the cabs. The first transfer point is at the administrative building of one of the mines. Here, the Militia is checking ID papersa lot of Ukrainian soldiers are left in the city, hiding…

View original post 1,422 more words

IS and the Yezidi

So what is going on for the Yezidi in Sinjar? Why did this massive ‘problem’ fall off the radar after US decision to bomb IS in Iraq and Syria? What do the 200 girls taken by Boko Haram have that the Yezidi don’t in order to make their situation stay on a public radar? Does  our  media  only care about Christians and Jews?

I subscribe to Syria Comment and received this post yesterday. It is a fascinating 26 minute youtube video of an interview with Mathew Barber where Joshua Landis probes the circumstances in Sinjar for the Yezidi with IS fighters and discusses the situation in Mosul for Christians confronted by IS. The nonsensical framed hierarchy of religious fundamentalism is discussed with a focus on the simplistic term of being “of the book”.

Take some time with this its worth it. All you people with free downloads and unlimited spare a thought for those of us who pay exorbitant rates for bytes and think yourself privileged! For others get to a free wi-fi spot now.

 

Brief Post Script: On worthy blogging, ‘pain blindness’, bloody Tony Abbott and his Nazi friends

I have had some time away from my blog to consider where it is going and where it is taking me. Someone said they other day if my blog was about Arabs or Israeli’s they were ‘over that shit’ and we should just ‘nuke them all’ because things would ‘always be fucked over there.

I defended my postings saying the problem I was confronting was this sense that people who were comfortable didn’t care about most things happening outside their own lives until it directly effected them.

They recognised this was the case but maintained their position on ‘nuke em!’.

I then pointed out that mainstream information was pap and lies designed to deceive and maintain that ‘dumbed down’ zone.

They agreed and said they were sick of hearing about IS. They asked if I was writing about Putin.  I told them I had some posts on the Ukraine situation, and said my work was not solely on the Middle East. ( I must remember to put something on Abbot’s disgusting ‘matey’ bullshit with Poroshenko yesterday but maybe it’s enough to give you a link to read Stephen Lendman’s article on Global Research Dec 7th in new window, here. )

I told them I also had some music, I had posted political cartoons that might not be seen oversees and some posts relating to issues for Aboriginals and that I was not solely writing about the Middle East.

I was basically told I was wasting my time because most people didn’t want to read this stuff, especially if it was too long.

Point taken, and stored for further reflection. Like many bloggers I am not writing for ‘followers’ I am writing because I have an interest in  questioning dominant discourse – especially bleedingly obvious lies and propaganda. But the black holes are equally intriguing if not more so.

‘Compassion fatigue’ was a term used to describe the withdrawal of people particularly in the ‘helping professions’ from the pain of others tragic tales. I think that was a very generous term when it was globally used to define populations.

The term I prefer to use is ‘Pain Blind’.

I would still like to catch some ‘pain blind’ readers if I can to provide them with something to think about.

I have also made some blogging decisions;

  • Only re-blog if;

a) Its interesting and not something readily available.

b) Put some of yourself into the repost, why you like it what it says to you etc.

  • Hone your writing skills.
  • Master categories and tags.
  • Chose your battles, write soundly.

 

Israeli Naval attacks on Palestinian Fisherman

Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coastline. Israel has an imposed 6 nautical mile limit to the distance they can fish from the shore. Image by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.

Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coastline. Israel has an imposed 6 nautical mile limit from the Gaza shore on the distance they can fish . Image by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.

This is a daily harassment of people’s rights to harvest food and has a direct link to the monetary gain for Israel in the gas fields off the Gaza shore.
Ask yourself, what does this have to do with Israeli security?
What right does Israel have to impose a 6 nautical mile sea limit?
 Sedwith, 10.12.2014
A direct report below from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights…….

Israeli Naval Forces Escalate Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza Sea; 12 Fishermen Arrested, 5 Fishing Boats Confiscated and Fishing Equipment Damaged.

Report

from Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Published on 07 Dec 2014

 

Israeli gunboats stationed in the Gaza Sea chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the limit allowed for fishing and opened fire at them. They arrested 12 fishermen, confiscated 5 boats off al-Waha shore in Beit Lahia town in the Northern Gaza Strip and damaged fishing equipment. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and is concerned over the continued targeting of fishermen and their livelihoods.

Economic and social rights of fishermen have been violated by the illegal naval blockade imposed by Israeli authorities on the Gaza Sea.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:30 on Saturday, 06 December 2014, Israeli gunboats stationed off northwest of al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2-3 miles and then surrounded 5 fishing boats boarded by 12 Palestinian fishermen. Israeli forces arrested all fishermen and took them to an unknown destination. They also confiscated the five boats and fishing nets. The fishermen, who are so far under arrest, were identified as:

· Safwat ‘Abdel Malek Hasan al-Sultan (30) and Sa’ed Ziyad Mahmoud Zayed (32); both from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were on a boat belonging to Fahmi Mahmoud Mohammed Zayed. Israeli forces confiscated their boat and fishing nets.

· Mahmoud Mohammed Mohammed Zayed (29) and his brother Ahmed (30), from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were both on a boat belonging to their father. The boat was confiscated and fishing nets were cut and confiscated.

· Mohammed Amin Rushdi Abu Wardeh (22) and his brother Yousif (19); from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were both on the board of a boat belonging to their father. The boat was confiscated and fishing nets were cut and confiscated.

· Belal Abu ‘Odah (23), Mahmoud Naser Mahfouz (23), Sofian Mahfouz (25), Yaser ‘Othman Meqdad (26), his brother Adham (27), and Bahaa’ al-Deen al-Najjar (22); all of them from al-Shati’ refugee camo, west of Gaza City. They were on the board of two boats that were confiscated with fishing nets.

PCHR condemns the continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and:

  1. Calls for immediately stopping the policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishermen, and allowing them to sail and fish freely;
  2. Calls upon Israeli forces to release the detained fishermen and compensate them for the material damage that might have incurred to them; and
  3. Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to immediately intervene to stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen and allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza Sea.

Necessity the mother of innovation in Gaza

I have reposted the Al Monitor Gaza contributor Mohammed Othman’s post in full. Posted December 4, 2014

As a muddy builder who has built an octagonal home, this post struck a chord and made me happy.  The devastation in Shajaiya by Israeli warmongers was soul destroying and the shekel control of goods to rebuild the Gaza Strip is yet more testament to the Zionist push to rid Palestinians completely from their invaded homeland.

The ‘product’ still costs and I wonder why they can’t just make muddies and air dry them? Perhaps I should investigate further, unless readers can offer some more information.


Houses under construction by Imad al-Khalidi’s company Ammar Heritage are seen in the northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 15, 2014. (photo by Ammar Heritage)

Gaza engineer develops new technology to replace cement

Author: Mohammed Othman, Translator:Joelle El-Khoury

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Salameh Bihar, 56, who was displaced after Israel destroyed his house in Gaza’s Shajaiya neighborhood in the recent war, is still waiting to rebuild his three-story house. But he is not optimistic about succeeding.

Engineer Imad al-Khalidi has developed a replacement for cement to help the Gaza Strip deal with its housing crisis, after the Israeli war left many homes damaged or destroyed and in the face of Israel continuing to prevent the entry of construction materials.

He explained to Al-Monitor that materials are expensive and difficult to obtain. “The way construction materials are entering Gaza is unfair. For instance, a cement unit is worth 27 shekels [$6.70] for affected citizens, but how are they supposed to afford its price when their homes are destroyed? Moreover, the unit cost exceeds 150 shekels [$37.50] for average citizens [not affected by the war], which raises the price of construction operations,” he explained.

Gazans who had their homes destroyed in the war have been complaining about the slow reconstruction process and the lack of entry of building materials.

The pressing needs of Gazans has inspired innovators to develop solutions through available tools. Three successive Israeli wars in the last six years have devastated the Gaza Strip, most recently the war in July that destroyed or damaged more than 84,000 houses.

Engineer Imad al-Khalidi may have found a temporary solution to help alleviate the lack of construction materials, prevented by Israel from entering the Gaza Strip. In 2008, he started to conduct experiments on natural materials to be used in construction instead of cement, and succeeded in creating a new technique.

Khalidi, a soil expert in organic architecture, said that the search for alternatives was based on materials found in Gaza. “We wanted to use local materials as an alternative, to save ourselves and provide the displaced with shelters, as nearly 5,000 housing units were destroyed in the 2008-2009 war. We examined various types of soil in Gaza, and found a suitable type rich in natural welding materials, such as potassium carbonate, magnesium, metal oxides, limestone and sand,” he explained.

He pointed out that the natural materials he found act like cement in its different stages, but they are more solid and can last hundreds of years.

Khalidi explained the process: “We compose a homogeneous mixture by conducting a soil treatment through pressure, to which we add welding natural materials such as potassium carbonate, ground limestone powder and a small quantity of gypsum, to form an initial coherent product in the brick production. Yet, the strong cohesion begins after it is used and continues to solidify for hundreds of years, and to harden dozens of times more than its initial form. This means that the brick increasingly hardens with time, and has its own characteristics.”

Khalidi established in 2009 his own private factory to produce local bricks in different sizes. At first, he designed machinery operated manually, then he created hydraulic machinery. “We have evolved, and we are now only relying on automated pressure systems. As some donor institutions demanded services to accommodate those affected by the wars, the work has increased in our factory with a production capacity reaching up to 50,000 bricks per day,” he said.

Khalidi said that after he developed his new product, he started working in small workshops, as there was a lack of oil and electricity. But today, he owns another factory. “We have developed a technique to be able to produce bricks without the need for any kind of power, by using the same materials and introducing some improvements so that we can overcome the power crisis,” he added.

Although the material from which the brick is produced is solid, Khalidi believes that it does not consist of a substitute for traditional materials. The long blockade has prevented the reconstruction of destroyed homes, not to mention the natural population increase in the Gaza Strip, which, according to Khalidi, requires 80,000 housing units to be built over the next five years.

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A near completed housing project by Ammar Heritage, northern Gaza Strip, Nov. 15, 2014. (Photo by: Ammar Heritage)

“The significant devastation in Gaza is accompanied by a new and great challenge, namely the provision of shelters. There would be at least 3,000 trucks loaded with construction materials in the Gaza Strip per day, in case there is a serious will to rebuild. For this reason, we are currently using this new technique only to help provide shelters,” Khalidi said.

Khalidi has kept the price the same as cement for locals looking to build homes, while upping the price for commercial projects. “The price per square meter ranges between $350 and $400 for ready-to-move-in private construction projects, and between $150 and $160 per square meter for shelter projects. As for the ordinary citizens who did not suffer any damages [to their homes] and would like to build their own home, it will cost them $220 [per square meter], which is the same price as cement.”

Safwat Mushtaha, chairman of Mushtaha and Hassouna Co., a construction company in Gaza, said that modern technology can help in light of the shortage of traditional construction materials because of the Israeli blockade.

Mushtaha told Al-Monitor that by using the new product, “the owners of destroyed homes will save 25% of the original cost of the building process with traditional materials.”

While Khalidi’s product is yet another example of Gazans exploring innovative solutions to help cope with the crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade, it is no replacement for the need to end the siege.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/12/palestine-gaza-reconstruction–siege-new-technology.html#ixzz3LLg700WK

In latest peace plans for Syria, Assad can stay -Al Monitor

Vitaly Naumkin recently wrote this interesting post for Al Monitor-

Posted December 1, 2014 (Translator Franco Galdini)

I was unable to do a direct share so have copied it below. The article shows some real opportunity through some sensible negotiations to get past the US Mantra “Assad must go!”

UN special envoy De Mistura speaks with Assad BBC photo

UN special envoy De Mistura speaks with Assad BBC photo

The UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura appears  to have made some progress, considering a ‘freeze’ where everyone gets to keep their weapons and currently held territory, the Saudi’s are said to have rethought the ‘Assad gone’ precondition,  the Russian Foreign Minister Segey Lavrov has a proposal for talks in Russia.  The plans actually looks like they’re going somewhere……has anyone checked with IS?

Just two questions:

…..Is this what a freeze looks like?

My apologies to the political cartoonist but I do not have the source for this photo. Enough to say whoever did it is brilliant.

My apologies to the political cartoonist but I do not have the source for this photo. Enough to say whoever did it is brilliant.

…..when do the 3 million refugees get to go back home to safety?

Syrian Refugees at Turkish Border

Syrian Refugees at Turkish Border

Article from Al Monitor below in full. (Or visit the site direct: here )

IN LATEST PEACE PLANS FOR SYRIA, ASSAD CAN STAY

A significant number of global and regional players have been forced to reconsider their strategies in Syria with the bloody civil war having morphed into a clash in which the main belligerents are now the most radical jihadists, represented by the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra, and government forces.

Writing Nov. 14 in Foreign Policy, James Traub quotes David Harland, executive director of the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD Centre), which operates inside Syria, and his collaborator, Nir Rosen, as saying that “rebel commanders have come to accept that Assad’s departure cannot be a precondition for talks.” Rosen also suggested that the “rebels’ foreign backers, including the Saudis, have begun to reach the same conclusion.” On the basis of his discussion with his interlocutors, Traub contends that President Bashar al-Assad will “not be going any time soon, if at all.”

The heart of the matter is that retaining Assad and his regime is seen as a way to save the Syrian state itself, which could otherwise turn into a new Somalia. Harland succinctly summed up this argument: “Better to have a regime and a state than not have a state.”

The strategic shifts that have taken place in the Syrian theater of military operations, along with the apparent failure of various plans to settle the conflict, have given rise in recent months to some new initiatives by international players that have made a stir in the media. These include the Russian plan for an intra-Syrian meeting in Moscow; the plan by Staffan de Mistura, the UN secretary-general’s special envoy to Syria, for “freezing” hostilities starting in one area; and the plan of local cease-fires developed by the HD Centre under Harland’s leadership. Are the three plans in opposition to each other or can they be complementary? Which one has the best chance of being implemented? Will they lead to the resumption of the peace process that ended with Geneva II?

Moscow’s policy on the Syrian conflict initially stemmed from the need to reconcile the fighting parties. While putting forward its own ideas, Russia only rejected other peacemaking proposals if they began with the mantra “Assad must go.” Although the details of Moscow’s new initiative have yet to be made public, its main elements can be inferred from statements by officials and diplomatic contacts.

At an Aug. 20 news conference, Abbas Habib, coordinator for the Council of Syrian Tribes, had talked about a proposal by Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister and the president’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa, “to convene a preliminary conference, a consultative meeting in Russia, after which the intra-Syrian conference would move to Damascus, where the tribal sheikhs would also participate.” The sheikhs agreed to this. At the time, Habib stated that the “preliminary meeting could take place in Moscow, and then in Syria in an enlarged format.”

The idea was later further developed. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s official website noted Nov. 20 that Bogdanov had received Qadri Jamil, leader of the Syrian opposition’s Popular Front for Change and Liberation. “An exchange of views [took place] concerning the Russian idea to conduct a consultative meeting of representatives of the Syrian opposition in Moscow, to promote the launch of an inclusive intra-Syrian negotiation process on the basis of the Geneva communiqué of June 30, 2012.”

Shortly before that, on Nov. 7, it became known that the former leader of the Syrian political opposition, Moaz al-Khatib, was scheduled to arrive in Moscow. According to Bogdanov, in Khatib’s talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, “the possibility of resuming intra-Syrian negotiations” was broached. “There was a very constructive discussion about the need to move from the Syrian conflict to a political process,” Bogdanov continued, adding “in this regard, they talked about the necessity to reopen intra-Syrian dialogue with the assistance of external players — such as Russia and the US, as well as the main regional countries — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt.”

It was significant that Khatib supported highlighting two tasks, namely, the fight against IS and reconciliation of the conflicting parties (that is, the government and the opposition). It is important that the Russian Foreign Ministry does not consider the plan for a “Moscow I” meeting to be an alternative to the Geneva process, but a bridge in preparation for Geneva III. This is why the negotiations for Moscow I are expected to be conducted on the basis of the Geneva Protocol.

Russian analysts have concluded that those representatives of the Syrian opposition who have agreed to meet will come to Moscow and compare positions, and then a meeting between them and a delegation from Damascus will take place. It was thus predictable that in talks with Lavrov in Sochi Nov. 26, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem would announce Damascus’ agreement to the Russian plan.

It is noteworthy that Lavrov and Moallem were unanimous in the view that there is no military solution to the Syria conflict. Yet, Lavrov also stated, “There won’t be another Geneva II.” He elaborated further, stating, “If you think that a conference will be announced similar to the one that was held in … January this year with the participation of 50-odd states, thousands of journalists, bright lights, there won’t be such a conference.”

Even as it promotes its plan for Moscow I, Russia continues to support de Mistura’s proposal to freeze the conflict, which is also backed by Syria, according to Moallem’s declarations. Assad had earlier declared that the de Mistura plan was “worth exploring.”

De Mistura has outlined three main points: “One is the need to focus on the real threat of terrorism as defined by the resolutions of the Security Council. Second is to reduce violence … Three, through the reduction of violence, try to reach as many people as possible in Syria and outside Syria who have been suffering due to this ongoing conflict; and through that, hopefully facilitate it and use that as a building block in the direction of a political solution.”

The city of Aleppo was designated as the first site where the freeze would be enforced, because it is, in de Mistura’s words, “a symbol of culture, of multi-culture and of religious and historical heritage in Syria.” It seems, however, that of no less importance in the selection of Aleppo is that there are no radical jihadist groups there. In accordance with the plan of the UN special envoy, all units based in the city — the government’s and the opposition’s — not only would retain control over the territory they hold, but they would also get to keep their weapons.

This is one of the main differences between the de Mistura plan and the local cease-fires implemented in the past, such as, for instance, the one in Homs in February that some opposition forces interpreted as a surrender of their positions to the regime. Herein lie some of the contradictions between the freeze plan and the Harland cease-fire plan. It is certainly no accident that de Mistura has stressed that the “concept of a ‘freeze’ [is] different from previous cease-fires,” as it provides “a new way for approaching the de-escalation of violence.”

As for the Harland plan, David Ignatius commented Nov. 4 in The Washington Post on the leak of a document setting forth a proposal to enter into a series of local cease-fires. Here, too, it was assumed that they would later lead to a process of political reconciliation. Some experts believe that there was no leak and that the authors probably gave the document to the media to draw attention to it. The plot thickens, as after that Harland gave Traub, writing for Foreign Policy, a detailed account of the project. As the document itself remains undisclosed, Traub does not cite it, but explains the main points. According to him, the plan is supported by the Syrian authorities and could, in the long term, lead to “an end to the war, a comprehensive reform of the constitution, and internationally-supervised elections.”

Hegel argued that “history is cunning, [and] that human actions do not have the consequences that those who perform them intend.”​ It is to be hoped that the German philosopher’s sarcastic observation will not apply to the fate of the plans designed to save the troubled Syrian state.

 

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