18 July 2003. Thought for the Week:
"Death is to be chosen before slavery and base deeds."
"Death is better for every man than life with shame."
Anglo Saxon, Beowulf.
"To take no notice of a violent attack is to strengthen
the heart of the enemy. Vigour is valiant, but cowardice is
vile." Ancient Egyptian, Pharaoh Senusert 3rd.
"There are two kinds of injustice; the first is found
in those who do an injury, the second in those who fail to
protect another from injury when they can." Roman,
WHY AUSTRALIA GOES TO WAR
It is interesting to note the gradually
changing reasons offered by the Prime Minister for the recent
war in Iraq. He now finds himself in conflict, not so much
with the Labor Party, for which he has always had a healthy
contempt, but with his partners in "the Coalition of
the Willing", Tony Blair and George Bush, who are very
much on the defensive about their intelligence sources. Both
have publicly conceded that claims prior to the war were wrong.
It wouldn't matter so much if weapons of mass destruction
had been found in Iraq. But they haven't, making the whole
edifice of "incontrovertible evidence" flimsy and
contrived. Blair is in real trouble in his own Parliament,
from his own party, and both Republicans and Democrats in
the US are asking penetrating questions about Bush and his
White House 'cabal'.
Now we have the Office of National Assessments in Australia
making an unprecedented public statement that it had evidence
that one of Prime Minister Howard's claims prior to the war
was wrong, but that it hadn't told him.
Will anyone be sacked? We doubt it.
Howard's current stated reasons for war have shifted from
"a threat to the world" to "humanitarian intervention".
In other words, it is our duty to liberate other nations from
brutal dictators. All dictators? Or just those that might
offer a future threat to our security? Like the Solomons?
All very noble, of course. But why not take Australians into
his confidence? What about Mugabe in Zimbabwe? Is he less
brutal than Saddam Hussein?
THE PICTURE IN ZIMBABWE: A recent E-mail from a contact
in Zimbabwe provides a picture which should nudge Howard's
zeal for humanitarian military action:
"No transport, no fuel, no power, just sackfuls of banknotes
- a report from a collapsing nation.
My maid, Nyarai, failed to turn up for work yesterday. There
was no public transport and private minibuses have doubled
their charges since a 283 per cent increase in petrol prices
a month ago. She was unable to call because the telephone
boxes no longer work. Nyarai would have come if she could.
Her boyfriend is on forced leave because the textile factory
where he works as a machinist can work only half time because
of power cuts.
Zimbabwe is a country rich in resources and with great potential.
It used to have a well-oiled infrastructure that even South
Africa, with its far bigger economy, envied. It was robust
enough to withstand the first two decades of President Mugabe's
rule but it has now reached the point of collapse. An advanced
society is returning to the primitive.
Turn-of-the-switch technology for heating, cooking and water
is being replaced by fuel-gathering, wood fires and water
collection on foot. The bizarre and dysfunctional is the norm
and very little surprises people. The expression "the
wheels have come off" is on everyone's lips.
In Colquhoun Avenue, an upmarket area of embassies and apartment
blocks, a young man uses a long metal rod to break twigs from
trees for kindling. On Samora Machel Avenue, hundreds of battered
white Japanese minibuses - the core of Harare's commuter street
- form a mile-long queue for petrol. Roads into the city from
townships on the outskirts are thronged with people who have
to walk to work.
The country's sole sugar refinery closed this week. There
is ample locally-grown raw sugar but no coal for the refining
process. Wankie Colliery, the state-owned company that sits
on one of the world's biggest coalfields, has suspended production.
The massive dragline that scoops opencast coal was halted
when it ran out of spares. There is no foreign currency to
import new ones.
Harare Hospital, which serves the capital's townships, is
on the verge of closing. Unable to purchase coal, the hospital
has its boilers out of action and cannot sterilize instruments,
launder bedding or cook food. Air Zimbabwe, the state-owned
airline, could soon be grounded. It confirmed this week that
it had only "two or three days" of fuel. That is
more than most motorists have. A two or three day wait in
a fuel queue no longer ensures a full tank. Most queues outside
service stations are referred to as "hope queues",
where people leave their cars for a week at a time.. When
a petrol tanker arrives, bedlam erupts. Opportunists cut in
front of those who have waited. Fights break out and sometimes
shots are fired.. Riot police arrive late, blaming the fuel
In the past month, the South African and Mozambican utility
companies that supply Zimbabwe with power have declared the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, the state company run
by Mr Mugabe's brother-in-law, as an "interruptible customer"
because of its failure to service its 22 million-pound debt.
This means that the company gets only ten minutes' notice
of power cuts.
Factory machinery jerks to a halt. Companies moulding tyres
or plastics are left with hard, useless lumps oozing from
moulds. The Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce estimates that fuel
and electricity crises have cut industrial output to 35 per
cent of normal. Officially inflation is running at 228 per
cent. In reality it is out of control. The official exchange
rate is 824 Zimbabwe dollars to one US dollar but on the black
market it is 2,200. A white loaf cost five Zimbabwe dollars
in 1998; it now costs 350. A businessman carjacked in the
affluent suburb of Borrowdale last month offered ten million
dollars as reward for his year-old Mercedes SUV. That was
the sum listed in the national budget ten years ago for procuring
vehicles for the entire police force. The central bank still
refuses to print denominations bigger than 500 dollars. At
banks, depositors line up with sacks of money. At the withdrawal
counter, tellers and customers can barely see each other over
the wall of notes.
The 500 dollar note is nicknamed the Ferrari because it is
red and goes fast. It is disappearing from the streets as
people hoard it. The central bank is not printing more because
it has no foreign currency to import the high-quality watermarked
paper and silver strips. Commercial bank officials say that
it costs 700 Zimbabwe dollars to print a single 500 dollar
note. This week a bank told a businessman who buys large quantities
of cotton in peasant areas that it could offer him only 50
dollar notes. "He laughed", the bank manager said.
"He says he needs one billion dollars a week. In fifties,
that's 40 cubic metres of banknotes".
This week it cost me 2,750 dollars to airmail a letter to
Britain containing 3 A4 sheets of paper. I covered the back
and front of the envelope with 100 dollar stamps - the highest
denomination - except for a small patch where I wrote the
address. Interestingly, the stamp features a pretty sketch
of the Tokwe Mukorsi dam, which has not been built because
Cabinet Ministers have been fighting over bribes for the lucrative
tender for the past 15 years.
The cheapest telephone call is now 24 dollars, but the largest
coin is 5 dollars. The coin boxes in busy public telephones
would fill much faster than the post office could collect
the coins, so they have been removed. They would be replaced
by computer chip card phones "depending on the availability
of foreign currency", a spokesman said.
Signs of poverty: Life expectancy at birth: 42.9 years, down
from 56.0 years in 1975.
Proportion of children dying before they are five: 11.7 per
Proportion of adult population with HIV/Aids in 2001: 33.7
COMMENT BY J.LEE
Called up on national service in a British Territorial regiment
in 1953, I did my basic six-months training in Salisbury (now
Harare). Rhodesia as it was then was a beautiful, prosperous
and stable country, self-governed, with a seemingly prosperous
future for all races. Rhodesians were conscious that their
own troops - black and white - were serving alongside Australians
in the Malayan Campaign, where the Communists were defeated.
Twelve years later, under incredible outside pressure for
"one-man-one-vote" democracy, Rhodesia declared
independence, under the leadership of Battle-of-Britain war
ace Ian Smith and a cabinet all of whom had served in World
Against both world economic and trade sanctions - in which
Australia participated - and terrorist warfare directed from
outside its borders, Rhodesia survived, built many industries,
became almost totally self-sufficient and fed its people.
At the time of its independence thousands of Australians and
New Zealander contributed to the delivery of a tanker of petrol
to the Rhodesians, organized by the Australian League of Rights,
as a symbol of affection and kinship. This hit the world news,
and those who had contributed were labeled "racists"
and "nazis" for their trouble. When the war ended
a decade later, Rhodesia had no foreign debt.
Terrorist leader Robert Mugabe became President. The legacy
he will leave the country he re-named Zimbabwe can be seen
in the letter above. All that remains when he is overthrown,
or flees, is for the multinationals and international agencies
such as the IMF and World Bank to move in and complete the
slavery of the once-happy and prosperous people of Rhodesia.
Unless, of course, the "Coalition of the Willing"
- perhaps this time led by Australia's John Howard and his
henchman Alexander Downer - sets out to "liberate"
Zimbabwe in the same fashion as it has "liberated"
Iraq. Surely we can find evidence of some threatening weapons
of mass destruction? Perhaps uranium-depleted knob-kerries?
Or it may be Mugabe is secretly buying enriched uranium from
The ghastly mess that is Africa today - from East to West
and North to South - should not be laid at the feet of long-past
colonial regimes, as is so often done; but the international
agencies and money-lenders who have helped return Africa to
the jungle. Plus the elevation of crude dictators such as
Mugabe to positions of total power.
A MUCH ADO ABOUT
by Betty Luks:
The Jewish group's bid to stop the Melbourne Underground Film
Festival (MUFF) organisers from screening David Irving's video,
"The Search for Truth in History", brings back memories
of the big kafuffles that took place at the League's mid 1990's
video-viewings of the same video in some of the capital cities
At the time, to ensure all was legal and above board, because
the viewings were public, the League sent the video for classification
to the appropriate authorities and given a G-rating: For General
Come the day (in 1993) of showing the videos, "rent-a-crowds'
were organised in the various capital cities (who knows by whom),
to demonstrate and threaten those who went to the screenings.
Managers of the various venues were pressured to cancel the bookings.
To no avail. The videos were publicly shown as intended. David
Irving was, and is, at his entertaining best; plus his knowledge
and attention to detail of historical events is astonishing.
This is a freedom of speech issue
Now we have a section of the Melbourne Jewish community claiming
that this video, a video which has been freely available for the
last ten years, has somehow, overnight, become a threat to them.
One would hardly expect a production classified as "For General
Exhibition" being so offensive as to require it being banned
from public viewing!
Could not the real offence be that things are not going all their
way in the propaganda war now being waged over the Israel/Palestine
Or that the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF) also planned
to show a documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which
features the well-known and respected American commentator, Joseph
Sobran and Palestinian journalist Said Arikat, a correspondent
for the Jerusalem-based Arabic newspaper Al Quds. (Australian
Jewish News, 27th June 2003).
On Monday 7th July, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeal
Tribunal refused a Jewish Community Council of Victoria application
for an interim injunction preventing the Melbourne Underground
Film Festival from showing Irving's "The Search for Truth
Undeterred, the council's president, Michael Lipshutz, said last
night he was seeking an urgent Supreme Court of Appeal hearing
to stop the screening on the grounds it would breach racial tolerance
laws. It is also pursuing the matter in the Victorian Equal Opportunities
David Irving's video and audio, "The
Search for Truth in History" are readily available from
the League's Melbourne Book Shop.
Prices include postage. Video: $35.00. Audio: $10.00. Send
cheque/money order to: Box 1052, GPO, Melbourne 3001. The
League carries the full range of David Irving's books.
The festival's director, Richard Wolstencroft,
said the tribunal's decision was a "victory for Voltaire",
who famously said: "I disagree with what you say, but
I will defend to the death your right to say it".
UNPATRIOTIC? NOT SO!
by Betty Luks
We are sometimes accused of being unpatriotic because of our
criticisms of western leaders such as Bush, Blair and Howard,
and, because we disagree with Australia's involvement in the
wars of aggression against, and occupation of, Afghanistan
and Iraq. After all, we have been reminded by the letter writers,
they are 'our' troops in the war zones. Yes, much to my shame.
My answer is summed up in a scene from Shakespeare's "Henry
King Henry's army captain Fluellen, in confirming his allegiance
to his king declares:
"By Chesu, I am your Majesty's countryman, I care not
who know it; I will confess it to all the world: I need not
to be ashamed of your majesty, praised be God, so long as
your majesty is an honest man." To which Henry V replies:
"God keep me so."
And there you have it. When the so-called
'leaders' of our 'so-called' Christian nations act with honesty
and integrity we will not be ashamed - as we are now! When
their policies are based on Christian civilised values, when
we see their policies result in good fruit, instead of the
evil fruit from wrong policies, when they practise the Golden
Rule, they will be accorded respect.
Can Australian soldiers still legally
claim 'following orders' as a defence?
I would also remind our readers, "following orders"
as a defence was removed from the Australian War Crimes legislation,
so that persons such as Ivan Polyukhovich could be tried for
'war crimes' within Australia. One wonders where that legally
leaves our soldiers in any overseas conflict. To my knowledge
the legislation still stands.
THE BIG IDEA
Remember John Howard's claim of the 'high
moral ground' for the war of aggression against Iraq? Clifford
Douglas gave us the right response in "The Big Idea",
penned in the 1940s:
"I do not think that, at any rate in the first place,
"morality of objective" has much to do with integrity
- I should not deny a much higher degree of integrity to a
New York gangster than to quite a large number of highly esteemed
ecclesiastics. (and politicians
It consists in a certain simplicity and directness - a clear
view of what you want to do, and an indifference to by-products
So far as I can judge, little or no integrity has been applied
to political affairs in this country for some years, but a
great deal to the advancement of politicians and functionaries.
For instance, I should regard Mr. Winston Churchill as a man
of high integrity - I should judge that he regards every situation
from the single-minded point of view of its effect on the
fortunes of Mr. Winston Churchill. What is wrong is that far
too many other fortunes are affected at the same time.
That is to say, a centralised system of totalitarianism requires,
even if it could be made to work, a completely selfless integrity
which is not only unknown, but is not Christian. "thy
neighbour as thyself", presumably means what is says.
So far as I understand Christianity it is the easy (not necessarily
the immediately easy) way - e.g., the proper way - to do things
my yoke is easy, my burden light".
It is not a pathetic and everlasting effort to do the undoable.
The Satanic ideology of work, employment, austerity, sacrifice,
is not an ideology of achievement. Surely anyone can see that.
It is an ideology of sabotage, destruction, corruption and
"The thief comes to destroy and to kill
come that you might have Life."
Further reading: "Churchill's War"
by David Irving. Available from all League Book Services.
A CIVILISATION IS
We couldn't do better than to consider the words of Eric D.
Butler in "The Moral Implications of the Centralisation
of Power", (to be published in booklet form later
"A civilisation is the incarnation, it's the substance
of things unseen, it is the concrete manifestation of transcendental
values. A civilisation is not merely a mechanical contrivance,
but it is a complex form of human association, and this complex
human association, enables individuals, by their diverse attributes,
to enrich and enlarge one another's lives.
The physical death of the individual does not necessarily
mean the death of the values which governed his private, personal
and social activities. These values can, and are, passed from
generation to generation. And, so long as this is achieved
and these values find expression, civilisation continues.
It can continue indefinitely, constantly making it possible
for man to continue to spiritualise his life through self-development
- if we hold fast to these underlying truths!"
by Bill Berkowitz:
"There are so many cartoons where people, press people,
are saying, 'Is it Vietnam yet?' hoping it is and wondering
if it is. And it isn't. It's a different time. It's a different
era. It's a different place." Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld, Pentagon Briefing 30th June 2003
"On May 1, President Bush declared major combat operations
over in Iraq. It's those minor operations, however, that have
resulted in at least 63 dead U.S. soldiers since the president's
much ballyhooed declaration aboard the Abraham Lincoln.
On June 26, in yet another grim report reflecting the everyday
reality in Iraq, the Associated Press reported that bomb and
grenade ambushes resulted in the deaths of one American soldier
and two Iraqi civilians. Two other American soldiers were
reported missing. The day before, a U.S. Marine was killed
"while responding to an ambush in which three other Americans
were wounded." On June 28, the missing soldiers turned
With American casualties growing daily; the streets of Baghdad
snarled by unrest, chaos and confusion; the rest of the country
in a gosh-awful mess; oil pipelines being blown up regularly;
and US officials -- including Paul Bremer, the head of U.S.
reconstruction efforts -- appearing to be improvising rather
than acting from a well written script, all sorts of critics
are starting to point fingers at the administration's lacklustre
post-war performance in Iraq. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld's
protestations to the contrary, despite this being "a
different time" and "a different era" and "a
different place," an old-fashioned Vietnam-style quagmire
appears to be brewing.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services
Committee in late June, Lieutenant General John Abizaid, President
Bush's nominee to replace General Tommy R. Franks as head
of U.S. Central Command, said that while it was "perplexing"
that weapons of mass destruction had not yet been found in
Iraq, he expected that they will soon be discovered.
U.S. and British troops targets of
three primary groups
On the issue of U.S. troops in the country, General Abizaid
said that there may be a troop reduction from the 145,000
still in Iraq, but that "for the foreseeable future,
we will require a large number of troops for Iraq." General
Abizaid, who speaks Arabic fluently and is a Middle East expert,
warned that U.S. and British troops would continue to be the
targets of three primary groups: foreign fighters, remnants
of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and common criminals.
Several members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on
a late-June fact-finding trip to Iraq, urged President Bush
"to be more forthcoming about the breadth of the U.S.
commitment and the cost of rebuilding Iraq," Reuters
"I think we're going to be there in a big way with forces
and economic input for a minimum of three to five years,"
Sen. Joseph Biden, the committee's ranking Democrat, told
reporters in Baghdad.
Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the committee's
chairman and fellow panel Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska
"agreed that five years was a realistic figure."
At home, both the Senate Armed Services and Senate Intelligence
committees were taking up the issue of "the accuracy
of prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction,"
the Associated Press reported. However, New York Times
columnist Nicholas Kristoff recently told NPR's Terry Gross
that he wasn't expecting very much to come out of these investigations:
"Given whose leading them
they're unlikely to be
and it's not going to be as thorough
as it should."
Permanent chaos in Afghanistan
And then there's that messy business in Afghanistan where
the situation has atrophied into permanent chaos: President
Hamid Karzai is basically a captive in Kabul while warlords
and their well-armed militias control much of the countryside;
intermittent U.S. patrols net a Taliban remnant here and there
as well as an occasional American casualty; aide money is
scarce and no one is clear on how it's being spent; and U.S.
cluster bomblets continue to scatter the body parts of Afghan
civilians around the landscape.
Come clean on Iraq
The Senators visiting Iraq weren't the only folks counselling
the president on the mess in Iraq. Perhaps the weirdest bit
of advice came from John Lott Jr., the now-discredited resident
scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Lott, who believes
the American people would be safer if we all are armed, suggested
that trying to force Iraqis to turn in their guns was a mistake.
A monumental 'bog up':
"Is it really clear that our soldiers are better off
by attempting to disarm Iraqi citizens? ... If guns are banned,
who would turn them in? Presumably the most law-abiding citizens
-- not the terrorists and Ba'ath Party members whom our troops
should be concerned about."
Guns don't kill U.S. soldiers, bad Iraqis do.
"There is no longer any way to tap dance around the responsibility
of the administration for what more and more looks like a
monumental bog up," Thomas Houlahan told United Press
International in late June. Houlahan is a former paratrooper
with the 82nd Airborne Division and staff officer with the
18th Airborne Corps, and is currently the Washington-based
director of a military assessment program for James Madison
The CFR's 'serious' advice
For 'serious' advice, you can turn to the Council on Foreign
Relations (CFR) -- the prestigious establishment foreign policy
outfit -- which recently cranked out a policy paper suggesting
ways to reverse the current downward spiral in Iraq.
Candidly admitting that the administration's post-war policy
for Iraq has been a disappointment, former UN Ambassador Thomas
R. Pickering and former Defense and Energy Secretary James
R. Schlesinger, the co-chairs of CFR's Independent Task Force
on post-war Iraq, recommend that President Bush give a "major
address" to the nation and outline the U.S.'s long-term
goals and objectives in Iraq.
The president needs to explain to the American people "the
importance of seeing the task through, as well as the costs
and risks of U.S. engagement in postwar Iraq," they write.
"So much of the future effectiveness of U.S. foreign
policy, particularly in the Middle East, will turn on whether
we can help Iraqis to a better future and whether others around
the world see this is happening," Pickering and Schlesinger
write in a paper called "Chair's Update," which
is an addendum to the Task Force's.
CFR's Independent Task Force report
"Iraq: the Day After" - a chilling read
Pickering and Schlesinger synthesize and update a series of
recommendations that came from a late May meeting of the Task
Force. They focus on a broad range of policy areas that are
being either overlooked, mishandled or insufficiently dealt
with by the administration. Included in their analysis are
suggestions that the US: "Develop a clearer political
vision and strategy"; "Employ a wiser approach to
communicating with the Iraqi people"; "Promote security
and the rule of law"; "Improve management and operations
in the oil industry"; "Share the burden with international
partners"; and "Prepare for the next peace stabilization
and reconstruction challenge after Iraq."
In light of Bush's glaring post-war policy
failures, the fact that Pickering and Schlesinger suggest
that the US needs to get on the right track so that it will
not jeopardize or inhibit the preparation "for the next
peace stabilization and reconstruction challenge," is
chilling. That these folks are still thinking about future
interventions and invasions might be the most startling part
of their entire report. (emphasis added).
And in a move that is guaranteed to stir up more discontent:
On June 28, the Washington Post reported that "U.S.
military commanders have ordered a halt to local elections
and self-rule in provincial cities and towns across Iraq,
choosing instead to install their own handpicked mayors and
administrators, many of whom are former Iraqi military leaders."
WEBSITE - www.bankwatch.info - LAUNCHED
One of the latest initiatives of the League
was launched at the Adelaide Conservative Speakers' Club this
last week. The website, www.bankwatch.info was named after the
movement set up by activists Bill Carey and Jim Cronin from the
west coast of South Australia. In the late 1980s at an 18th Birthday
celebration and idea started to ferment and led Jim Cronin and
Bill Carey to attempt the impossible -- to get some desperate
farmers out of trouble with the banks. The story of what happened
after that was set out in detail in a book "Operation Bankwatch".
The book is the first introduction to the visitor to the site.
An audio copy of their address to the Conservative Speakers' Club
is available from the:-
Mayo Tape Library, P.O. Box 6, Hahndorf, S.A. Speakers: Mr. Jim
Cronin & Mr. Bill Carey of "Bankwatch". The title
of their joint address is "An Update on Bankwatch".
BETTY LUKS FOR TASMANIA
National Director Betty Luks will be in Tasmania for a number
of League 'in-house' and public meetings, including the Launceston
Conservative Speakers' Club, Wednesday 16th July 2003. The
visit will be from Friday 11th through to Wednesday 16th July.
Details are: Hobart Friday, 11th July; Launceston Monday,
14th July, North/West Coast Tuesday, 15th July, Launceston
Conservative Speakers' Club Wednesday, 16th July.
For further information please phone: 03 6331 6414.