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"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"
Edmund Burke
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On Target

3 May 2002. Thought for the Week: "Most people of necessity, and especially in these days of mass propaganda, form their opinions at second hand, and a great deal of opinion formed in this way is purely negative. Little or no critical faculty is applied to it, but on occasion, it is regurgitated as though it has been formed as a result of personal experience. This is always true, but when the opinion refers to a complex or subtle problem, it is a mathematical certainty that what is registered is either a minority opinion popularised, or has no intrinsic value. Legislative action based on proposals submitted to a large electorate must, from the very nature of the case, place the population at the mercy of a trained bureaucracy, and if, as in the case of the British Civil Service, this is irremovable and, to the public, irresponsible, the result is indistinguishable from a dictatorship of a most undesirable character."
C.H. Douglas "The Nature of Democracy"

COVERING UP THE JENIN HORROR

by Jeremy Lee
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the UN, has put together an investigative team to reveal the truth about the West Bank town of Jenin. But Israel is going to make life difficult for such an idea. Even the most dispassionate of journalists are now asking aloud whether Israel has something to hide. Such speculation is appearing in papers which have always favoured the Israeli cause.

The Australian (23/4/02) reprinted a full page article by Marie Colvin from Britain's Sunday Times which does not make pleasant reading. She was one of the first journalists on the scene:
"....As the rescue teams spread out over Jenin camp last week after the Israeli army claimed victory in its battle against several hundred armed Palestinian radicals, it was clear something cataclysmic had occurred .... UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen cuts right through the propaganda by stating the obvious: 'No military operation can justify this scale of destruction. Whatever the purpose was, the effect is collective punishment of a whole society.' .... ".... My conclusion after interviewing scores of refugees is that there is no evidence Israeli troops entered the camp aiming to massacre Palestinian civilians. But in many cases they shot first and did not take much care to find out if the target was a civilian or not. "Under the fourth Geneva Convention, they are required to protect the civilian population and wilful killing of a civilian is a potential war crime. "I am also certain that numerous Palestinians were held hostage in their homes while Israeli troops used the building as a base or a firing post, and that others were taken door to door as human shields, sometimes thrown into rooms ahead of Israeli troops. "Both are violations of international law, which protects civilians in wartime. "As for the bulldozing of the Hawamish area, this seems to have been out of a combination of fear and revenge rather than premeditated ...."

What Israel needs now is another war somewhere – anywhere – which will replace the grim images leaking out through the media with a fresh sensation. In an interview with Maxine McKew on the 7.30 Report on Tuesday, April 23rd, one of Israel's top historians expressed the belief that it was Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's intention to expand the War across the Middle East.


HOUSEHOLD DEBT AND INTEREST RATES

The threat of future interest rate increases looms ahead. The theory is that, as inflationary pressures take off, increasing interest rates will put a brake on borrowing, slowing economic activity until inflation is curbed. It's a dreadful theory in which immense damage to Australians loaded with debts and mortgages results in an increase in bankruptcies at both industry and home levels. More homeless destitute become the tool of financial regulation.

We have quoted the household debt figures recently, showing them to be at levels not experienced in Australia before. The Australian (23/4/02) reported:
" .... Australia now has one of the highest household debt levels in the Western world, and the Reserve Bank is widely expected to begin lifting official rates at its May meeting...... Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday show debt as a percentage of disposable income grew to a record 119 percent, one of the highest rates among developed nations.
"In the fourth quarter of last year alone, household borrowing increased by 24 percentage points to $559 billion. The Standard & Poor's Report says average credit card debts increased by 15 percentage points to $1,965 last year, while the average home loan in December was $157,969 – nearly 20 percent higher than a year earlier. ..... Normally the largest drivers of default are unemployment, divorce and personal trauma ....Divorce is up 17 percent in the past 10 years and personal bankruptcies have increased 30 percent in the past 12 months ...."

All that was during periods of record low interest rates. Rate increases will result in harrowing stories across Australia. And GATS, with imported 'rice-bowl' work forces, should top it off nicely!


WHAT IS A 'CONSCIENCE' VOTE?

About once in a blue moon a Bill comes before Parliament in which the Prime Minister allows a "conscience vote". Party members are unshackled from the Whip and allowed to make up their own minds on the merits (the rights or wrongs) of the Bill in question. Because he has announced a "conscience vote" the Government does not stand or fall on the Bill. What would happen if an enlightened Prime Minister announced that a "conscience vote" was required on every Bill? Surely, we'd get a much more intelligent and less fearful vote on all legislation? Members could become 'representatives' again, instead of mere party hacks. The Opposition would be able to abandon the current situation where they are duty-bound to oppose everything the Government proposes. The merits of Bills would rise above the "footy-team" approach. And, to cap it all, non-elected Party Whips would be out of a job.

Is there not something distasteful ( not to say illegal) in requiring a Member of Parliament to swallow his conscience and vote according to orders? Doesn't such a process automatically bring the worst type of representative to the top, while automatically disqualifying those who have some integrity?

Prime Minister Howard, after some deliberation, has decided there will be NO conscience vote on Stem Cell Research. What's he really saying? "I have decided that all members of the Coalition Government will vote as I tell them, whatever they believe to be right or wrong. And, if they don't, disciplinary action will be taken against them! That's democracy! That's the Westminster System! And that's the way its gonna be!"

Gilbert and Sullivan, the geniuses of comic light opera, put it this way in The Mikado:
"When in that House M.Ps divide,
If they've a brain and cerebellum too,
They have to leave that brain outside,
And vote just like their leaders tell 'em to."

Another far greater Teacher said something to the effect that "No man can serve two masters ...."


THE SUMMIT CALLED FOR DOUBLING AUSTRALIA'S POPULATION

Those who missed feedback from the Melbourne "Population Summit: 2002" – the "brainchild of the brainstorming bizoids"* from the 'top end of town' – will find the extracts from an article (Ballarat Courier, 5/3/02) by student Alice Barnes of interest.

"I was one of the few Ballarat students to represent regional Victorian youth at The Population Summit," wrote Alice. "I suffered through the economic debate, a debate where everyone supported the notion (except One Nation's representative Robyn Spencer .... Ed) that an increased population was part of Australia's future, despite our decreased fertility rate (of 1.7 percent).
"In the environmental forum, during which Dr. Barry Jones and Dr. Tim Flannery spoke sceptically about our capitalist consumption habits ... they too supported the proposed growth. The last session I went to before our lavish lunch paid for by Richard Pratt, fellow students and teachers alike heard the humanitarian side of the argument, with Rev. Tim Costello and friends also pushing the case of the population expanders.
"A group of panellists were asked where were all of these extra people going to live, and the vision (or nightmare?) is for 100 more cities the size of Canberra and our capital cities would become larger. Why do these people want to double the population within 50 years? So that they have queues of people buying more goods, so that they can make more money, so that they have queues of people buying more goods, so that they can make more money ... ad infinitum.

*'Bizoid', the new word coined by Deidre Macken (AFR, 2-3/3/02) to describe those from the business end of town who want the 'doors to remain open' and Australia's population to double in number.


WHY DO WE COMMEMORATE THE ANZACS?

by Betty Luks
Australians observed Anzac Day again this year. We remembered the war dead, the cream of our youth of a number of generations. We acknowledged and gave recognition to the acts of human courage and bravery displayed in such terrible circumstances and conditions. Reference would have been made to our young men and women serving in the Armed Forces in Afghanistan, East Timor and other trouble-spots around this troubled world. Their attendance to duty, their loyalty, etc., would have been noted as well as their bravery on the battlefields. And so it should.

But we live in an age of incessant propaganda, and too few apply their 'critical faculties' to the examination of the question, why the war/s and should we, as a nation, enter into these conflicts – is it 'right'? The same sentiments Australians express about their brave fighting men has been and is accepted by other peoples and cultures.

The Law of Magnanimity:
• "Death is better for every man than life with shame." Anglo-Saxon Beowulf.
• "Death is to be chosen before slavery and base deeds." Roman, Cicero.
• "Courage has got to be harder, heart the stouter, spirit the sterner, as our strength weakens. Here lies our lord, cut to pieces, our best man in the dust. If anyone thinks of leaving this battle, he can howl forever." Anglo-Saxon Maldon.

For what reasons would these men risk their lives? What values would stir these men to give all in the battles? Surely those self-same values which made us, once, a civilized people? Values which all civilized people would share. The love and protection of individual life, the right to be free, the law of mutual love and co-operation and much else.

The Law of General Beneficence:
• "In Nostrand (= Hell) I saw murderers." Old Norse Volospá.
• "I have not brought misery upon my fellows. I have not made the beginning of every day laborious in the sight of him who worked for me." Ancient Egyptian Confession of Righteous Soul.
• "He who is cruel and calumnious has the character of a cat." Hindu Laws of Manu.
• "I have not caused hunger, I have not caused weeping." Ancient Egyptian Ere.
• "Love the stranger as thyself." Ancient Jewish Old Testament.
• "Do to men what you wish men to do to you." Christian New Testament.

The treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli military is not civilized and should be condemned by all decent people.
(Further reading: "Yes Virginia: There is Right and Wrong" by Kathleen M. Gow, Ph.D. Available from all League book services).


NEWS FROM THE TRENCHES

From a Canadian On Target friend
"This was forwarded to me by a friend who is still in Ramallah, under continuous occupation and siege conditions, while the city is now being surrounded by barbed wire. It just keeps getting worse. Ramallah will be turned into the Warsaw Ghetto. Feel free to correspond with and reply to her and give her support. She is an American citizen and lawyer, on the Palestinian Negotiation Support Team of foreign consultants helping with the peace process. Things are tough in her corner of the world right now. I'm sure you're following the media on this, but you won't get the true facts from the mainstream. The IDF buried 500 people with bulldozers in Jenin and have detained over 4,000 to date. These are the facts. April 12th, 2002."

EGREGIOUS CRIME COMMITTED AGAINST PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

To Kofi Annan, Secretary General, United Nations.
Your Excellency, I write today to inform you of an egregious crime committed against hundreds of Palestinian civilians in the Jenin refugee camp. The Israeli occupation army has buried at least 500 bodies of residents, at least half of whom are women and children, of the camp in mass graves and is now attempting to cover the truth. Simultaneously, the occupation army is forbidding the international press from uncovering the truth and in turn exposing it to the entire world. In fact, Mr. Ahmed Al-Tibi, the Member of Knesset had formally requested an explanation from the Israeli Minister of "Defense" over the ongoing discussions in the Israeli military regarding the location of these mass graves. He requested an explanation for the army's reported deliberations on how and where these mass graves should be hidden; whether in the West Bank or inside Israel proper.

It is a disgrace that the White House had called Ariel Sharon "a man of peace" on the same day that he commenced making mass graves to conceal the wicked massacre that he had ordered in Jenin. Entire families have been annihilated. At least half of the victims were killed as a direct result of the indiscriminate Israeli shelling and missile attacks against the shanty homes in the refugee camp. Moreover, at least fifty victims were summarily executed, some in front of their own families; some were men who had already been arrested, others were civilians rounded up and executed.

We call on you to dispatch an international investigation team to the refugee camp immediately in order to expose Ariel Sharon's, America's "man of peace", newest massacre. There are numerous survivors and witnesses who are ready to testify to the horrors they have witnessed in the camp. We regard silence as tantamount to collaboration.

Furthermore, it is shameful and indicative of immense racism that Israeli military sources have justified these mass graves by alleging that the army had buried the victims' bodies, including those of women and children, in order not to be used for the benefit of the Palestinians in the media. Worse yet, some of these sources even alleged that these mass graves were made for "health reasons"! These more than 500 women, children, and men are human beings with names and families. The least these victims deserve is a proper and dignified burial in addition to exposing those responsible for their slaughter.

We condemn all those who maintain silence towards this massacre; a massacre that should and must be exposed to the entire world. Your inaction will mean that additional such heinous massacres will take place in the near future. You are responsible for what has happened and what may happen in the future for silence is only interpreted as agreement. Let history judge you as having been part of exposing this villainous crime and preventing others from happening, rather than collaborating to cover them up.
Sincerely, Yasser Abed Rabbo, Minister of Culture and Information, Ramallah, Palestine.


DEEDS ARE WHAT COUNT

Make the following issues your targets. Actionists must take up pen and paper, telephone and e-mail and write/call their parliamentary representatives, insisting they act as representatives of the people. Whether the matter is the Palestinian people, or the proposed treaty of GATS, it is only those, having taken action, who can honestly say, I have fought the good fight, I have run the race. Don't forget the local newspapers.

DON'T WEEP TEARS FOR ARGENTINA ALONE

What makes us think our situation is any better than Argentina's? The latest "New Times Survey" re-publishes Greg Palast's explanation of what happened to bring on Argentina's woes. Greg is an investigative journalist for the Observer, UK. Below are a few snippets from the article:

"Inside Corporate America"
"Once upon a time, government-owned national and provincial banks supported their nation's (government's, as well as private debts...ed) debts. But in the mid-1990s, President Carlos Saúl Menem's government sold these off to foreign operators such as Citibank and Boston-based Fleet Bank. Former World Bank advisor Charles Calomiris told me these bank privatizations were a "really wonderful story." Wonderful for whom? With the foreign-owned banks unwilling to repay Argentine depositors, the government froze savings accounts December 3rd, effectively seizing money from the middle class to pay off the foreign creditors. To keep the foreign creditors smiling, the IMF "understanding" also required "reform of the revenue sharing system." This is the kinder, gentler way of stating that the US banks would be paid by siphoning off tax receipts that the provinces had earmarked for education and other public services. The "understanding" also found cash in "reforming" (cutting from) the nation's health insurance system. (Sound familiar dear reader? Haven't we recently heard about our medical insurance schemes being in trouble? ...ed ) And when cuts aren't enough to pay creditors, one can always sell "grandma's jewels," as Argentines describe the privatizations.

The government sold much of the nation's water system in 1995 to Vivendi Universal. The French conglomerate promptly cut staff and raised prices, including 400 percent hikes in some areas. In his confidential memo, the World Bank's Wolfensohn sighs, "Almost all major utilities have been privatized," so now there's really nothing left to sell. The coup de grâce, spelled out in the "understanding," was the imposition of "an open trade policy." This pushed Argentina's exporters (with their products priced in U.S. dollars, via the peg) into a pathetic, losing competition against Brazilian goods priced in that nation's devalued currency....

Wolfensohn's memo summed up the program
All Argentina needed to do was "reduce the cost of production," a step that required only a "flexible workforce."
Translation: further cuts in pensions and wages or, better yet, no wages at all.

To the dismay of Argentina's elite, however, the worker bees proved inflexibly obstinate in agreeing to their impoverishment..."
Website: https://www.gregpalast.com

No wonder one demonstrator was heard to shout on SBS television news, "We voted for these thieves without realizing they are the Mafia!"

Send for "New Times Survey" April 2002, $3.00 posted from the Australian League of Rights, Box 1052, GPO, Melbourne, 3001.
Isn't it time you understood how the money system works against you? "A Matter of Life or Debt" by Eric de Maré, $10.00 posted, all League Book Services.


GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES - GATS

Don't forget the horrific General Agreement on Trade in Services, originally signed by Australia in 1994, with a ten-year implementation period. Australia is required to ratify the Treaty in November of this year. GATS will be part of a general package called the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations, launched in Doha last November. Trade Minister Mark Vaile in a Press Statement (Weekend Australian, 20/4/02) has called for the public to make submissions on the whole package, without specifically mentioning GATS. General information on the Doha package can be obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website at www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/consultations australians.html, or by writing to: Trade Policy Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, R.G. Casey Building, John McEwen Crescent, Barton, ACT, 0221.

Submissions should be typed and either submitted electronically to: wfo.submissions@dfat.gov.au, or to the postal address above. The deadline for submissions is May 31st, 2002.

Every possible effort must be made to expose and oppose the threat of GATS. One excellent e-mail newsletter which concentrates on the World Trade Organisation, and is in touch with a growing network opposed to GATS (The Alliance to Expose GATS is one) is gumbus@powerup.com.au. The computer-literate should look it up. Then pass the word around and get into action themselves. Every individual or group submission will count!

Make quite sure you write to your federal representative and instruct him you do not want the Howard government to ratify this Agreement.


BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS

"September 11" by Noam Chomsky: In this timely book, Noam Chomsky uses his broad understanding of the United States' foreign policy in the Middle East and South Asia to shed light on the rapidly shifting balance of world power. His wide-ranging comments on 'the war on terrorism', Osama binLaden, the US involvement with Afghanistan and the long-term implications of America's military attacks are informed, provocative and perceptive. Price posted $23.00.

"Taliban" by Ahmed Rashid: The Taliban was a major player in the new 'Great Game' harking back to the late 19th century British and Russian confrontation in the region. Competition between Western Oil Companies was involved, manipulation from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as covert operations by the CIA. The prize: access to the new oil fields and transit routes for oil pipelines, not to mention the allure of the narcotics trade. Price posted $25.00.

"Vigilance" by Ashley Mote: "Some people seem to think the United Kingdom has effectively been abolished. Not so. But we will cease to exist as a free and sovereign nation unless we reverse the erosion of our ancient rights, freedoms and customs by the endless interference in British affairs by the European Union," warns Ashley Mote. If you are concerned about the activities of the EU and its impact on the British way of life, then this book is for you. Price posted $45.00.

"In This Age of Plenty" by Louis Even: French-Canadian Louis Even had a wonderful gift, the gift of teaching, and in this compilation of his printed material into book form, is the essence of what he taught on Social Credit. "Old economics was ruled by the presence of gold or any other rare commodity, when production itself was scarce. But it is to go against progress and logic, to want to keep an instrument linked to scarcity, to confer claims on automated production. In This Age of Plenty clearly shows that we are now dealing with an economy of plenty, in which the access to the huge possibilities of modern production is made easier for all." Price is $28.00. Posted $32.50, from all League book services.

Contact your State League Book Service and order today.


AUDIO TAPE

"Investing in the Present Climate": At the recent Conservative Speakers' Club in Adelaide, Mr. John Bligh gave his audience some wise suggestions for choosing investments and outlined the guidelines he uses for making decisions. Self-funded retirees could find much of benefit from what he has to say. He stresses it is not intended as professional advice, but as a former merchant banker who understands how the system works, this tape could prove quite valuable.
Available from Mayo Tapes, Box 6, Hahndorf , SA, 5245. Price posted $6.00.

TOOWOOMBA STATE WEEKEND – PLEASE NOTE CORRECT DATES

Queenslanders should be marking their diaries for their State Weekend which will take place Saturday, 25th, and Sunday, 26th May, 2002. (Sorry to have got the dates wrong in earlier editions of On Target ...ed) The theme for the seminar is "The Unnecessary Tragedy: Suicide". Guest speakers will be Mrs. Fanita Clark of the White Wreath Association; Mr. Derek Tuffield of Lifeline, Darling Downs; Pastor David Blair of Toowoomba City Care; and Mrs Betty Luks of the Australian League of Rights. We are pleased to have Mr. Phillip Butler of Melbourne as the guest speaker for the Dinner on the Saturday evening.
© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159