14 January 2005. Thought for the Week: Are we approaching a period when the horrors of war are so repulsive that the feelings of ordinary people finally overwhelm the power-seekers? If the dimensions of this tragic tsunami disaster helped speed the advent of a peaceful world, it just might be worth it. Is it coincidence that it happened on Christmas Day? "Peace on Earth ..?"
COMPARISONS ARE ODIOUS - BUT NECESSARY
by Jeremy Lee
Yet the massive death toll is nowhere near that of the two wars and the intervening sanctions in Iraq -- let alone the inclusion of Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories. There, the same helicopters have destroyed homes, obliterated water and electricity systems and left the same corpses littering the streets. The civilian death toll in Iraq - the women and children - is estimated at over 100,000, although no-one bothers to count. The gulf between the attitudes of politicians and ordinary people has never been greater.
The last great expression of the feelings of
ordinary people came when Bush, Blair and Howard decided that war in
Iraq was the way to go. The biggest and most spontaneous demonstrations
in favour of peace that the world had ever seen failed to prevent the
holocaust that has unfolded since.
WHAT HAPPENED TO EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS?
The revelation that many hours passed before
the tidal waves hit the shores of some countries - and yet urgent efforts
were not made to warn the people of the approaching disaster is appalling.
A natural disaster of such magnitude is beyond human powers to prevent
-- but the subsequent loss of life is another matter altogether.
Although the Diego Garcia naval base reported
'no damage', it was directly in the path of the tidal wave -- and close
to the epicentre. If there was 'no damage', why has the US/UK aid been
sent from the home bases? Why not from Diego Garcia, with personnel,
equipment and stores more or less on the spot?
What of the Indian nuclear facilities?
OUR LINKS WITH THE PAST
by Betty Luks
It is not much good trying to convince people their liberties are now being seriously eroded if they have no clear understanding of what is liberty and why they should fight for it. It is not much good trying to convince people of the threats to their representative democracy if they have no concept of what a 'representative democracy' is, never mind its background historical roots.
Republicans will tell you they want to install a republic so that we can be a 'more democratic' nation. Not necessarily so. Many republicans confuse the form of government with the type or substance of government. Ours is a Constitutional Monarchical form of government, but as for its type, inherent within its type is representative democracy.
Australians don't know that they are the rich inheritors of a parliamentary tradition with roots reaching back at least 750 years. When setting up the legal framework for the Commonwealth of Australia, the founding fathers just didn't, from scratch, sit down and write the Commonwealth Constitution Act. They had access to the practical political wisdom and experience of their own British peoples to draw upon. The founding fathers brought with them the recorded parliamentary wisdom, knowledge, custom and experience of a people which stretched back over a thousand or more years. They placed the laws and customs in a local framework and modified and improved for a different age and time.
ONLY TWO BASIC PHILOSOPHIES
The philosophy influencing the trials and errors and undergirding the development of the British people in their striving for liberty, for freedom within the rule of law, stemmed from the Christian Faith. Their history shows they were a people who had not compartmentalised their lives into the 'religious' and the 'secular'; their faith influenced their morals, ethics and their social and political life.
There are just two basic philosophies in the
world, and, because these philosophies are diametrically opposed to
each other they give rise to conflicting policies. The first philosophy
is one which conceives of all power and authority arising from a point
external to the individual.
The first philosophy automatically gives rise to policies which require a certain type of organisation in order to impose certain conditions upon the individual. This philosophy results in the individual being subordinated to the State, the System, or some other abstraction.
The second philosophy which conceives of reality as an environment in which the individual can make the greatest progress towards self-development, gives rise to a social structure in which there is the greatest possible decentralisation of all policies. This realistic philosophy is that which Jesus of Nazareth stated as the realistic philosophy: "The Kingdom of God is within you."
The undergirding values upon which this nation was founded are those in harmony with the Christian Faith, but we are now in great danger of having an alien philosophy overwhelm us.
Safeguarding our liberties
JOIN THE TELSTRA CAMPAIGN
There is the very important Telstra issue which
we must fight for - and win! On this issue, Mayor Peter Davis and his
Council Members of Port Lincoln, South Australia have given us all a
magnificent lead. As true servants to their community, they have given
us an example of service we should expect from all councillors and politicians.
Mayor Peter Davis wrote:
We, the people, need to remind our elected members
of the fundamental responsibility of Government:
ONLY ONE WAY TO PREVENT TELSTRA SALE
SUGGESTIONS FOR ACTIONISTS
US HAD ADVANCE WARNING OF TSUSAMI
by Khalid Hasan
Prof. Michel Chossudovsky of the University of
Ottawa asks in an analysis produced for the Venus Project why fishermen
in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand were not provided with the same warnings
as the US Navy and the US State Department.
Prof Chossudovsky writes that the US authorities had initially recorded 8.0 on the Richter scale. As confirmed by several reports, US scientists in Hawaii, had advanced knowledge regarding an impending catastrophe, but failed to contact their Asian counterparts. According to him, Charles McCreery of the Pacific Warning Centre in Hawaii confirmed that his team tried desperately to get in touch with his counterparts in Asia. According to McCreery, the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's centre in Honolulu, the team did its utmost to contact the countries.
Statements 'at odds' with Timeline
"This statement is at odds with the Timeline of the tidal wave disaster. Thailand was hit almost an hour before Sri Lanka and the news reports were already out. Surely, these reports out of Thailand were known to the scientists in Hawaii, not to mention the office of Sec. Colin Powell, well before the tidal wave reached Sri Lanka," argues the Canadian professor.
"We wanted to try to do something, but without a plan in place then, it was not an effective way to issue a warning, or to have it acted upon," Dr. McCreery said. "There would have still been some time -- not a lot of time, but some time -- if there was something that could be done in Madagascar, or on the coast of Africa," he added.
The Canadian academic finds the statements 'inconsistent.'
The tidal wave, argues Prof. Chossudovsky, reached
the East African coastline several hours after it reached The Maldives
islands. According to news reports, Male, the capital of the Maldives
was hit three hours after the earthquake, at approximately 4.00 GMT.
By that time everybody around the world knew.
Charles McCreery, director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, said, "We don't have contacts in our address book for anybody in that part of the world." The fact is that only after the first waves hit Sri Lanka did workers at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre and others in Hawaii start making phone calls to US diplomats in Madagascar and Mauritius in an attempt to head off further disaster. "We didn't have a contact in place where you could just pick up the phone," Dolores Clark, spokeswoman for the International Tsunami Information Centre in Hawaii has said. "We were starting from scratch."
Prof. Chossudovsky argues that these statements on the surface are inconsistent, since several Indian Ocean Asian countries are in fact members of the Tsunami Warning System. There are 26 member countries of the International Coordination Group for the Tsunami Warning System, including Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. All these countries would normally be in the address book of the PTWC, which works in close coordination with its sister organisation the ICGTWS, which has its offices in Honolulu at the headquarters of the National Weather Service Pacific Region Headquarters in downtown Honolulu. The mandate of the ICGTWS is to "assist member states in establishing national warning systems, and makes information available on current technologies for tsunami warning systems."
U.S. Congress to investigate: why only Australia and Indonesia notified
The US Congress is to investigate why the US government did not notify all the Indian Ocean nations in the affected area: "Only two countries in the affected region, Indonesia and Australia, received the warning. Although Thailand belongs to the international tsunami-warning network, its west coast does not have the system's wave sensors mounted on ocean buoys. The northern tip of the earthquake fault is located near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and tsunamis appear to have rushed eastward toward the Thai resort of Phuket.
"They had no tidal gauges and they had no warning," said Waverly Person, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Centre in Golden, Colorado, which monitors seismic activity worldwide. "There are no buoys in the Indian Ocean and that's where this tsunami occurred."
Prof. Chossudovsky framed three questions:
Why were the Indian Ocean countries' governments not informed?
Were there "guidelines" from the US military or the State Department regarding the release of an advanced warning? According to the statement of the Hawaii based PTWC, advanced warning was released but on a selective basis. Indonesia was already hit, so the warning was in any event redundant and Australia was several thousand miles from the epicentre of the earthquake and was, therefore, under no immediate threat.
Did US authorities monitoring seismographic data have knowledge of the earthquake prior to its actual occurrence at 00.57 GMT on the 26th of December? The question is whether there were indications of abnormal seismic activity prior to 01.00 GMT on the 26th of December.
The US Geological Survey confirmed that the earthquake which triggered the tidal wave measured 9.0 on the Richter scale and was the fourth largest quake since 1900. In such cases, one would expect evidence of abnormal seismic activity before the actual occurrence of a major earthquake.
Why is the US military Calling the Shots on Humanitarian
The USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike-group, which was in Hong Kong when the earthquake and tsunamis struck, has been diverted to the Gulf of Thailand to support recovery operations. Two Aircraft Carriers have been sent to the region. Why is it necessary for the US to mobilise so much military equipment? The pattern is unprecedented ... Why has a senior commander involved in the invasion of Iraq been assigned to lead the US emergency relief program?"
POLES SEEK JEW FOR TORTURE/MURDER
by Paul Fromm, Canada
We've long opposed the witchhunt against Slavs and Germans characterised as a search for "war criminals." It's now nearly 60 years -- more than half a century since the end of hostilities -- yet, you'd think that Hitler had just fallen from power yesterday when you consider the court cases and tens of millions of dollars spent bedevilling octogenarian Ukrainians and Germans in Canada.
Virtually, none of these men were officers or "players." One of the most famous cases, Volksdeutsche Helmut Oberlander of Kitchener, Ontario, was a 17 year-old in the Ukraine who spoke German, Russian and Ukrainian. He was ordered by the S.S. to accompany them as a translator. Yet, nearly 50 years after he emigrated to Canada to become a successful builder and developer, the Canadian government, agitated constantly by bitter Zionist groups, tried to strip him of his citizenship for lying about his affiliation with the SS. He claims that, like so many other would-be immigrants, he was never asked. Of course, all records of the interviews have long since disappeared. So, there's no proof he ever lied.
But, today, lying is no problem. The politicians do it all the time. Immigration officers are directed not to detain "refugee" claimants who have lied about their names or documents, unless they can be certain they're a danger to the public. However, the government is concerned about those who fought on the losing side in World War II who may have lied but who have lived blameless lives here. It's nothing more than ethnic vengeance and German and Slav-bashing.
No clamour for trials of monsters who ran the Gulags
You'll note that since the fall of the Soviet
Union, there's been no clamour for trials of the monsters who ran the
Gulags and the Lubyanka torture chambers, or for those who perpetrated
the vile brutalities against Slavs and Germans in 1944-1945, or of those
Russians who massacred in cold blood 16,000 Polish officers in Katyn,
or those who deported the intelligentsia and leaders of Latvia, Lithuania
and Estonia on June 14, 1941.
Nevertheless, Poland (is now) trying to put on trial one of the perpetrators of bestial torture and death inflicted on Germans, mostly civilians, after World War II in communist concentration camps in Soviet-occupied Poland. Somehow, Hollywood has never gotten around to doing a documentary or movie about the sufferings of these Germans. After all, they were only Germans. No "holocaust" or atrocity memorials in many Western cities for them! No lachrymose whorish politicians declaring a national day to commemorate their sufferings.
Well, the Poles are trying to shed some light on a sordid episode in their country during the long communist occupation.
DETENTION -'FOR LIFE'IN THE LAND OF THE FREE?According to a Washington Post report, the Bush Administration (in 'the land of the free and the home of the brave') is preparing plans for the possible lifetime detention of suspected terrorists, including hundreds whom the Government does not have enough evidence to charge in ordinary courts of law.
Citing intelligence, defence and diplomatic officials, the newspaper reports that the Pentagon and the CIA have asked the White House to decide on a more permanent approach for those it would not set free or turn over to the courts at home or abroad.
As part of a solution the Defence Department, which holds 500 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, plans to ask the US Congress for $A32 million to build a 200-bed prison to hold detainees who are unlikely to ever go through a military tribunal for lack of evidence. The newspaper reports that the new prison, dubbed Camp 6, would allow inmates more comfort and freedom than they have now.
DEEP CONTRADICTIONS, FEARS, HATREDS NOW EVERYWHERE
As U.S./Israeli occupation elections loom, as the Baghdad Governor and bodyguards are assassinated, as bombs continue to explode throughout Iraq and Baghdad, MiddleEast.Org sources insist:
"Once again the xenophopic self-centered Americans are only able to see things through their own constricted and convoluted politics, continually oblivious to a world whose values and perceptions remain far different than their own."
Washington - 4/1/05: With the U.S. having brought about a civil war in Iraq at immense expense in blood and treasure the country teeters on the verge of further explosions and historic schism. The Americans who insisted they would be welcomed as liberators face an "insurgency" - an event the neo-con officials now coyly say out loud "no one expected".
And now the Americans are committed to an occupation election where the very Iraqi leader who has refused to ever meet with any U.S. officials is dominant (Ayatollah Sistani), and to whom the very neighbouring "axis of evil" (Iran) will be closer in values and interests than ever. In occupied Palestine the contradictions, fears and hatreds are different; but also very deep and maybe even more difficult to overcome.
Having prevented elections for years when it suited them, the occupation regime -- now having evolved since the decade-long 'Oslo Peace Process' debacle into a dual Israeli-CIA one in crucial ways -- promotes a candidate and entourage who has been forced to run on the very policies of his long-time partner whom the Americans and Israelis refused to deal with, and who, oh-so conveniently, they blamed for all the problems they themselves created.
Moreover the Israelis are locked into policies with regard to all the key issues -- West Bank territory and settlements, Jerusalem, and refugees -- which can only lead in the end to Palestinians Abu Mazen, Abu Alla, and Nabil Shaath being cajoled and twisted and bribed to do precisely what they have repeatedly now promised their people they will never do.
Two pseudo, partial, controlled, occupation elections now loom in the Arab and Muslim lands directly occupied by the U.S. and Israel. And the American neocons, lead by a substantial Jewish Zionist neocon core, will be symbolically taking power more completely than ever before in history. And, into the foreseeable future -- the real fighting for the future and struggling to throw off the occupations will begin to escalate anew with the key unresolveable quagmires coming back to the forefront again and again for immediate attention: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, the 'Arab client regimes' on top of the growing potentially cataclysmic instabilities in such places as North Korea, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia."
IMPORTANT NEW BOOKS
"How to Kill a Country" by
Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon & John Mathews. Australians have
been sold out by their so-called political representatives for far too
long. The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement with the United States of
America must be the last straw. This book by three Australian academics
discloses the devastating trade deal our so-called political representatives
and bureaucrats have made with the Americans.
"1215: The Year of Magna Carta"
by Danny Danziger & John Gillingham.
"On Target" is published by the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052. G.P.O. Melbourne 3001.