Articles by: Dr Binoy Kampmark

Breaching Human Rights: Australia, Climate Change and the Torres Strait Islands

Breaching Human Rights: Australia, Climate Change and the Torres Strait Islands

Australia has a mixed relationship with the United Nations Human Rights Committee.  Irritation, dismissal and even the occasional openly hostile comment, have registered.  But in 1994, the Toonen decision filtered through the Australian legal process, leading the federal government to remove archaically noxious provisions in the Tasmanian criminal code criminalising sodomy. The UNHRC has since found Australia’s compliance with the[Read More…]

by 25/09/2022 Comments are Disabled Climate Change
Shoddy Consultations: Santos, Drilling and First Nations Peoples

Shoddy Consultations: Santos, Drilling and First Nations Peoples

Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg has been in the environmental news again, this time throwing a large judicial spanner in the works of Santos and its drilling efforts in the Timor Sea. On this occasion, the Federal Court found that the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority should never have approved the Barossa Gas Project off the Tiwi[Read More…]

by 23/09/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Offence by Another Name: Suppressing Anti-Royal Protest in Britain

Offence by Another Name: Suppressing Anti-Royal Protest in Britain

The right to protest, fragile and meekly protected by the judiciary in Britain’s common law tradition, did not really hold much force till European law confirmed it.  In the UK, condemning other countries for suppressing rights to protest is standard fare.  So it was with some discomforting surprise – at least to a number of talking heads – that people[Read More…]

by 22/09/2022 Comments are Disabled World
“I Do Not Think I Know”: Scott Morrison’s Submarine Deception

“I Do Not Think I Know”: Scott Morrison’s Submarine Deception

When it was revealed that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had not only shown contempt for his own government in secretly appointing himself, via the Governor-General’s approval, to five portfolios, the depths of deception seemed to be boundless.   His tenure had already been marked by a spectacular, habitual tendency to conceal matters.  What else would come out? The latest[Read More…]

by 20/09/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Back Door Proliferation: The IAEA, AUKUS and Nuclear Submarine Technology

Back Door Proliferation: The IAEA, AUKUS and Nuclear Submarine Technology

In Vienna, China’s permanent mission to the United Nations has been rather exercised of late. Members of the mission have been particularly irate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and its Director General, Rafael Grossi, who addressed the IAEA’s Board of Governors on September 12. Grossi was building on a confidential report by the IAEA which had been circulated the[Read More…]

by 17/09/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Royal Money: Charles III and the Wealth Dimension

Royal Money: Charles III and the Wealth Dimension

Once the fixated adoration with the late Queen Elizabeth II starts cooling, the accountants of public welfare and decency will be stunned to realise the costs and wealth associated with the royal institution.  Her successor, Charles III, is continuing in that vein, a jarring note of wealth and pomp even as prices rise and the hefty bills for citizens (should[Read More…]

by 16/09/2022 Comments are Disabled World
When Killers Become Choosers: Resurrecting the Thylacine and Other Species

When Killers Become Choosers: Resurrecting the Thylacine and Other Species

Here we go again, playing God and toying with Promethean fire.  Having done a comprehensively brutal job of killing off the thylacine, known in popular parlance as the Tasmanian Tiger, along with a growing number of other species, there is interest in reviving and ultimately returning them to the wild.  And, as with any deity, the choice resides in the[Read More…]

by 14/09/2022 Comments are Disabled Environmental Protection
Queenly Saturation

Queenly Saturation

Turn on the television. Move to the screen.  Switch on the device – if you ever left it off.  Queen Elizabeth II may have passed, but she is everywhere in very lively fashion, a spectral manifestation that has utterly controlled large chunks of a transfixed global media system. It helps that she has captured the media mecca that is the[Read More…]

by 13/09/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Casting Malevolent Shadows: Liz Truss Wins the Tory Leadership

Casting Malevolent Shadows: Liz Truss Wins the Tory Leadership

10 Downing Street is set to be bathed in social media guff with the victory of Liz Truss.   Confirmed as Boris Johnson’s successor, the new British Prime Minister won by a slimmer margin over rival contender Rishi Sunak than anticipated.  Nonetheless, 81,326 votes to 60,399 was sufficient to guarantee her a secure margin – for the moment.  (The turnout had[Read More…]

by 06/09/2022 Comments are Disabled World
It’s All Political: Julian Assange Appeals his Extradition

It’s All Political: Julian Assange Appeals his Extradition

Julian Assange’s legal team has taken its next step along their Via Dolorosa, filing an appeal against the decision to extradite their client to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 based on the odious US Espionage Act of 1917. Since his violent eviction from the Ecuadorian embassy in April 2019, much to the delight of the national security[Read More…]

by 28/08/2022 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Whistleblowing at Twitter: Mudge Spills the Beans

Whistleblowing at Twitter: Mudge Spills the Beans

It must have been music to Elon Musk’s ears.  Twitter, a platform he has had a patchy relationship with, has been the recipient of various blows inflicted by Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the company’s former head of security.  This was no mean feat, given the company’s reputation as being essentially indestructible.  But Mudge was left with every reason to seethe; his[Read More…]

by 27/08/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Spears in place of Bridges: Australia, China and Fashioned Ignorance

Spears in place of Bridges: Australia, China and Fashioned Ignorance

There is an overwhelming boisterous ignorance that characterises Australia’s foreign policy approach to China.  When Beijing was boxed and derided as emerging, weak and well-behaved, everyone supposedly got on.  Washington remained the region’s patriarch and Australia its policing deputy.  Everyone could get on plundering resources and making some ruddy cash along the way.  Then, assumptions started being challenged: the cheeky[Read More…]

by 25/08/2022 Comments are Disabled World
The Many Lives of Ayman al-Zawahiri

The Many Lives of Ayman al-Zawahiri

Ayman al-Zawahiri is dead – or so we are told.  Al-Qaida’s chief and successor to the slain Osama bin Laden, he was deemed the chief ideologue and mastermind behind the audacious September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.  On July 31, he was supposedly killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, while standing on his balcony. Terrorism[Read More…]

by 23/08/2022 Comments are Disabled World
The Maybe Mob and the Rushdie Attack

The Maybe Mob and the Rushdie Attack

He has survived death threats and attempts on his life since February 1989.  But Salman Rushdie’s luck just about ran out at the Chautauqua Institution, southwest of Buffalo in New York State.  On August 12, at a venue historically celebrated for bringing education to all, the writer was stabbed incessantly by a fanatic who felt little sense of guilt or[Read More…]

by 18/08/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Europe Dries Up

Europe Dries Up

Scenes and pictures have been circulating of broken earth, lacking moisture, cracked and yearning.  But these are not from traditional drought-stricken parts of the planet, where the animal carcass assumes near totemic power amidst dry riverbeds or desert expanses.  Neither Australia nor Africa feature on these occasions – at least in a prominent way.  Europe, continent of historical arable sustainability,[Read More…]

by 14/08/2022 Comments are Disabled Climate Change
A Looting Matter: Cambodia’s Stolen Antiquities

A Looting Matter: Cambodia’s Stolen Antiquities

Cambodia has often featured in the Western imagination as a place of plunder and pilfering.  Temples and artefacts of exquisite beauty have exercised the interest of adventurers and buccaneers who looted with almost kleptocratic tendency. In 1924, the French novelist and future statesman André Malraux, proved himself one of Europe’s greatest adventurers in making off with a ton of sacred[Read More…]

by 11/08/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Punishing Whistleblowers at the United Nations

Punishing Whistleblowers at the United Nations

The United Nations prides itself on exposing, monitoring and noting the travails and vicissitudes to be found on this troubled planet.  It also prides itself on being the premier international institution that protects, or at the very least keeps an eye out for, the principles of the Charter that underpin its existence.  But as with all bodies with mighty aspirations[Read More…]

by 09/08/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Going Global with NATO

Going Global with NATO

Regional alliances should, for the most part, remain regional.  Areas of the globe can count on a number of such bodies and associations with varying degrees of heft: the Organization of American States; the Organisation of African Unity; and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  Only one has decided to move beyond its natural, subscribed limits, citing security and a[Read More…]

by 08/08/2022 Comments are Disabled World
The Fuss about Monkeypox

The Fuss about Monkeypox

The World Health Organization has been one of the easier bodies to abuse.  For parochial types, populist moaners and critics of international institutions, the WHO bore the brunt of criticisms from Donald Trump to Jair Bolsonaro.  Being a key institution in identifying public health risks, it took time assessing the threat posed by SARS-CoV-2 and its disease, COVID-19. Little time[Read More…]

by 04/08/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Nancy Pelosi, you Silly Biddy

Nancy Pelosi, you Silly Biddy

Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s visit to Sarajevo in 1914 was an instructive lesson on how the dumb do, at some point, ask for it.  Bosnia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, was desired by the Kingdom of Serbia.  With the Serbs also well represented in Bosnia, a visit by the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was always to be tricky, if[Read More…]

by 03/08/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Penal Assassination: The Gradual Effort to Kill Assange

Penal Assassination: The Gradual Effort to Kill Assange

They really do want to kill him.  Perhaps it is high time that his detractors and sceptics, proven wrong essentially from the outset, admit that the US imperium, along with its client states, is willing to see Julian Assange perish in prison.  The locality and venue, for the purposes of this exercise, are not relevant.  Like the Inquisition, the Catholic[Read More…]

by 31/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Facial Recognition Technology Down Under

Facial Recognition Technology Down Under

The language is far from reassuring.  Despite being caught red handed using facial recognition technology unbeknownst to customers, a number of Australia’s large retail companies have given a meek assurance that they will “pause” their use.  The naughty will only show contrition in the most qualified of ways. It all began with an investigation by CHOICE which found that the[Read More…]

by 29/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Chaff Candidates: The Race for the UK Tory Leadership

Chaff Candidates: The Race for the UK Tory Leadership

As UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson set the scene in spectacular fashion.  All who sought to confine him to history, perished.  He was the only one who seemed to survive, and reject, one diabolical scandal after the next – till now. No leader with such a destructive sense of presence could do anything but impair those who followed him.  But[Read More…]

by 27/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
International Accountability: Myanmar, the ICJ and the Genocide Question

International Accountability: Myanmar, the ICJ and the Genocide Question

The indomitable spirit of Raphael Lemkin, bibliophile, assiduous documenter of humanity’s dark deeds and inexecrable conduct, is bound to be an unsettled one.  This brilliant, committed and peculiarly dedicated creature took years to come up with what would, in time, become a word so horrifying as to transfix judges of international law.  The amalgam word of genocide stalks the conscience[Read More…]

by 25/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
AUKUS, Technology and Militarising Australia

AUKUS, Technology and Militarising Australia

Thinktanks across Australia, tanked with cash from US sources and keen to think in furious agreement, are all showing how delighted they are with the AUKUS security pact and what potential it has for local, if subordinated industry.  The United States Studies Centre, a loudspeaker for Washington’s opinions based at the University of Sydney, has added its bit to the[Read More…]

by 22/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Get Gota: Holding a War Criminal Accountable

Get Gota: Holding a War Criminal Accountable

The fall and ignominious retreat of Sri Lanka’s Gotabaya Rajapaksa has enlivened one distinct possibility.  Having formally resigned as Sri Lankan President, a point made via email from Singapore, those wishing to see him account for war crimes may get their wish. There have been various efforts in train regarding a man who ruthlessly concluded his country’s civil war in[Read More…]

by 16/07/2022 Comments are Disabled South Asia
Barely Legal: The Global Uber Enterprise

Barely Legal: The Global Uber Enterprise

The lobbying of Uber should, along with those of other corporate giants, only surprise those prone to pollyannaish escapism.  Its hungry, desperate behaviour takes place in plain sight, and denials merely serve to emphasise the point.  It resembles, in some crudely distant way, the operating rationale of the notorious British sex pest Jimmy Savile, who preyed upon his victims with[Read More…]

by 12/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Hoisted by their own Petard: Wimbledon’s Russian Player Ban

Hoisted by their own Petard: Wimbledon’s Russian Player Ban

It was, all and all, an odd spectacle.  The Ladies’ Singles victor for Wimbledon 2022 had all the credentials that would have otherwise guaranteed her barring.  Being Russian-born, news outlets in Britain walked gingerly around The All England Club’s decision to ban Russian players yet permit Elena Rybakina to play.  Sky News noted that, “Moscow-born Elena Rybakina, who represents Kazakhstan,[Read More…]

by 10/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Abandoning the Sinking Rat: Boris Johnson Resigns

Abandoning the Sinking Rat: Boris Johnson Resigns

Like the political equivalent of a cockroach, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived and endured one strike after another.  His credibility was shot, his mendacity second to none.  He lost the confidence of a party that delighted in his buffoonish performances and appeal.  Fearing electoral punishment, senior ministers and aides have left his side.  Labour opposition leader, Sir Keir Starmer,[Read More…]

by 08/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
AUKUS Submarines: Beasts of Nuclear Proliferation

AUKUS Submarines: Beasts of Nuclear Proliferation

When faced with the option of acquiring nuclear technology, states have rarely refused.  Since the splitting of the atom and the deployment of atomic weapons in war, the acquisition of a nuclear capacity has been a dream.  Those who did acquire it, in turn, tried to restrict others from joining what has become, over the years, an exclusive club guarded[Read More…]

by 06/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
The Major Questions Doctrine: The US Supreme Court Blunts the EPA

The Major Questions Doctrine: The US Supreme Court Blunts the EPA

The US Supreme Court has been frantically busy of late, striking down law and legislation with an almost crazed, ideological enthusiasm.  Gun laws have been invalidated; Roe v Wade and constitutional abortion rights, confined to history.  And now, the Environmental Protection Agency has been clipped of its powers in a 6-3 decision. The June 30 decision of West Virginia v[Read More…]

by 04/07/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Convenient Omissions: The Ukraine-EU Candidacy Show

Convenient Omissions: The Ukraine-EU Candidacy Show

Instances of sympathy are rarely excuses to throw out the rule book.  In the case of the European Union, throwing out the rule book about admission has tended to be a feature of enlargement.  Credentials of candidate states have been, when needed, boosted or cooked for the occasion.  Others, whatever the progress, have been ignored.  For a collective that really[Read More…]

by 30/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Overruling Roe v Wade: The International Dimension

Overruling Roe v Wade: The International Dimension

American exceptionalism can be a dreary thing, and no more so than each time a US president promotes the country’s imperial credentials and continued prowess.  But in matters of literacy, shared wealth, and health care, the US has been outpaced by other states less inclined towards remorseless social Darwinism. The overruling of Roe v Wade by the US Supreme Court[Read More…]

by 29/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
The Brutality of “Bulldozer Justice” in India

The Brutality of “Bulldozer Justice” in India

It looks all too eerily similar as a method: the expulsion of individuals from their home, the demolition of said home and the punishing of entire families.  All excused by a harsh reading of local regulations.  But this method, used by Israeli authorities for years against vulnerable Palestinians, has become a weapon of choice for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata[Read More…]

by 26/06/2022 Comments are Disabled India
Top Gun: Maverick: The Pentagon Recruitment Drive

Top Gun: Maverick: The Pentagon Recruitment Drive

Hollywood, like the US press, has not been spared the influential hand of government.  Under the mask of various projects, the defence establishment has sought to influence the narrative of Freedom Land’s pursuits, buying a stake in the way exploits are marketed or, when needed, buried. The extent of such collaboration, manipulation and interference can be gathered in National Security[Read More…]

by 23/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Latha Bollapally, with her son Rajesh Goud, holds a picture of her husband, Madhu Bollapally, 43, a migrant worker who died in Qatar. Photograph: Kailash Nirmal

Deadly Games: The Labour Casualties of Qatar’s World Cup

A sordid enterprise, nasty, crude and needless.  But the World Cup 2022 will be, should anyone bother watching it, stained by one of the highest casualty rates amongst workers in its history, marked by corruption and stained by a pharisee quality.  The sportswashers, cleaning agent at the ready, will be out in force, and the hypocrites dressed to the nines.[Read More…]

by 21/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition

Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition

The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner.  In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was “duty-bound” to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17[Read More…]

by 18/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange in Ithaka

Julian Assange in Ithaka

“Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is where you’re destined for.” C. P. Cavafy, trans. Edmund Keeley John Shipton, despite his size, glides with insect-like grace across surfaces.  He moves with a hovering sense, a holy man with message and meaning.  As Julian Assange’s father, he has found himself a bearer of messages and meaning, attempting to convince[Read More…]

by 15/06/2022 1 comment World
Weapons of Faith: The Arming of American Schools

Weapons of Faith: The Arming of American Schools

The United States remains a country of tenacious faith.  The nature of that faith stretches from the digital pulpits of Silicon Valley, where cool technology occupies the seat of majesty, to the hot Bible Belt of spiritual endurance and suffering, where the good Lord holds sway in stern disapproval.  In between, market fundamentalists take time to worship the invisible hand[Read More…]

by 13/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Fighting the First UK-Rwandan Refugee Flight

Fighting the First UK-Rwandan Refugee Flight

June 10 bore witness to a valiant effort on the part of refugee groups and a trade union to stop what promises to be the first journey of many as part of the UK-Rwanda plan.  Their attempt to seek an injunction failed to convince the High Court.  Next Tuesday, the first flight from the UK to Rwanda filled with asylum[Read More…]

by 11/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
United States representative Mike Pompeo speaks to a rally of general aviation workers at Cessna Aircraft in Wichita, Kan., Monday, March. 21, 2011. The rally was attended by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Governor Sam Brownback, Senator Jerry Moran and an estimated 2,000 aircraft workers of general aviation companies in the Wichita area. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Mike Hutmacher)

A Spanish Court Calls: Mike Pompeo, We Want You

On June 3, Judge Santiago Pedraz of Spain’s national court, the Audienca Nacional, issued a summons for former CIA director and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify in an ongoing investigation into the conduct of private security firm UC Global and its founder, David Morales. The security firm is said to have been hired by US intelligence operatives[Read More…]

by 08/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Dear Times and Costly Cricket: Australia’s Sri Lankan Tour

Dear Times and Costly Cricket: Australia’s Sri Lankan Tour

For a country experiencing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, the picture of a touring team pampered and fussed over might cause consternation.  But the Australian cricket tour to Sri Lanka has only been met by praise from the country’s cricket officials, where logic is inverted, and the gaze of responsibility averted.  Not even a shortage of[Read More…]

by 07/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Platinum Jubilees and Republican Questions

Platinum Jubilees and Republican Questions

The platinum jubilee will bore and cause some to yawn.  It might certainly agitate the republican spleen in the fourteen countries where Queen Elizabeth II remains a constitutional head of state.  But the question remains: How does the institution this figure represents endure, if it should at all? A rash of countries have expressed an interest in severing ties with[Read More…]

by 05/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
New Brooms, Old Stories: The Australian Labor Party and Julian Assange

New Brooms, Old Stories: The Australian Labor Party and Julian Assange

After having a few lunches with Australia’s then opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, John Shipton felt reason to be confident.  Albanese had promised Assange’s father that he would do whatever he could, should he win office, to bring the matter to a close. In December 2019, before a gathering at the Chifley Research Centre, Albanese also referred to Assange.  “You don’t[Read More…]

by 03/06/2022 1 comment Human Rights
Turkey Spoils the Big NATO Party

Turkey Spoils the Big NATO Party

Complacency has been the hallmark of NATO expansion.  Over time, it has even become a form of derision, notably directed against Russia.  As with many historical matters, records ignored can be records revisited, the second time around sometimes nastier than the first. With the Ukraine conflict raging, a few of Russia’s neighbours have reconsidered their position of military non-alignment and[Read More…]

by 02/06/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Election Gambit: Australia, Sri Lanka and Politicising Asylum

Election Gambit: Australia, Sri Lanka and Politicising Asylum

When it comes to the tawdry, hideous business of politicising the right to asylum, and the refugees who arise from it, no country does it better than Australia.  A country proud of being a pioneer in women’s rights, the secret ballot, good pay conditions and tatty hardware (the Hills Hoist remains a famous suburban monstrosity) has also been responsible for[Read More…]

by 31/05/2022 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
George W. Bush, Freudian Confessions and Foiled Assassinations

George W. Bush, Freudian Confessions and Foiled Assassinations

Death, remarked Gore Vidal about Truman Capote’s passing, was a good career move.  The novelist Saki also considered the good qualities of shuffling off the mortal coil.  “Waldo,” he writes in “The Feast of Nemesis”, “is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death.”  But what of those instances when death is foiled, the Grim Reaper cheated?[Read More…]

by 29/05/2022 Comments are Disabled World
The Economy of Tolerable Massacres: The Uvalde Shootings

The Economy of Tolerable Massacres: The Uvalde Shootings

Societies generate their own economies of tolerable cruelties and injustices.  Poverty, for instance, will be allowed, as long a sufficient number of individuals are profiting.  To an extent, crime and violence can be allowed to thrive.  In the United States, the economy of tolerable massacres, executed by military grade weapons, is considerable and seemingly resilient.  Its participants all partake in[Read More…]

by 26/05/2022 Comments are Disabled World
The British Art of Black Propaganda

The British Art of Black Propaganda

Never underestimate the potency, and deceptive malice, of the British political mind.  In responding to the threat posed by Imperial Germany during the First World War, the British propaganda campaign made much of the atrocity tale, the nun raping German and the baby bayoneting Hun.  The effectiveness of the campaign was so impressive it sowed doubt amongst a generation about[Read More…]

by 17/05/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Morbid Matters: Estimating COVID-19 Mortality

Morbid Matters: Estimating COVID-19 Mortality

It has dominated news cycles, debates and policies since 2020, but COVID-19 continues to exercise the interest of number crunchers and talliers.  While the ghoulish daily press announcements about infections and deaths across many a country have diminished and, in some cases, disappeared altogether, publications abound about how many were taken in the pandemic. The World Health Organization, ever that[Read More…]

by 16/05/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Rogues and Spyware: Pegasus Strikes in Spain

Rogues and Spyware: Pegasus Strikes in Spain

Weapons, lacking sentience and moral orientation, are there to be used by all.  Once out, these creations can never be rebottled.  Effective spyware, that most malicious of surveillance tools, is one such creation, available to entities and governments of all stripes.  The targets are standard: dissidents, journalists, legislators, activists, even the odd jurist. Pegasus spyware, the fiendishly effective creation of[Read More…]

by 14/05/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Leaking for Roe v Wade

Leaking for Roe v Wade

The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious.   For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form.  It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the forerunner to[Read More…]

by 05/05/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Australia’s Pacific Neglect: Distractions from Climate Change Security

Australia’s Pacific Neglect: Distractions from Climate Change Security

The hysteria in Canberra and Washington over the Sino-Solomon Islands security pact has shown, again, how irrelevant the individual affairs of Pacific Island states are in the chess game of geopolitics. The one thing conspicuously missing has been the issue of climate change, near and dear to those whose lands are gradually being inundated by rising sea levels. In a[Read More…]

by 30/04/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Anzac Day: The Slaughter of the Unthinking by the Unaccountable

Anzac Day: The Slaughter of the Unthinking by the Unaccountable

Secular religions are hard to battle in terms of their misplaced assumptions.  In some ways, they are even harder to fight than those based on mythical gods and superstitious foundations, many drawn from desert religions and sandy practice.  ANZAC, the name of the Australian New Zealand Army Corps, hardly sounds promising as the basis of a religion.  But since the[Read More…]

by 25/04/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Forgotten Sovereignty: Hysteria and the Solomon Islands-China Security Pact

Forgotten Sovereignty: Hysteria and the Solomon Islands-China Security Pact

Visits to Honiara, part plea, part threat.  Delegations equipped with a note of harassment.  That was the initial Australian effort to convince the Solomon Islands that the decision to make a security pact with Beijing was simply not appropriate in the lotus land of Washington’s Pacific empire. Despite an election campaign warming up, Senator Zed Seselja found time to tell[Read More…]

by 23/04/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Bernard Collaery’s War Against Secret Trials

Bernard Collaery’s War Against Secret Trials

In terms of labyrinthine callousness and indifference to justice, the treatment of lawyer Bernard Collaery by the Australian government must be slotted alongside that of another noted Australian currently being held in the maximum-security facility of Belmarsh, London.  While Collaery has not suffered the same deprivations of liberty as publisher extraordinaire Julian Assange, both share the target status accorded them[Read More…]

by 22/04/2022 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
To the Home Office We Go: The Extradition of Julian Assange

To the Home Office We Go: The Extradition of Julian Assange

It was a dastardly formality.  On April 20, at a hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, Julian Assange, beamed in via video link from Belmarsh Prison, his carceral home for three years, is to be extradited to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 based on the US Espionage Act of 1917. The final arbiter will be the UK Secretary[Read More…]

by 21/04/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Obscene Outsourcing: The UK-Rwandan Refugee Deal

Obscene Outsourcing: The UK-Rwandan Refugee Deal

This month, the government of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined an ignominious collective in announcing a refugee deal with Rwanda, seedily entitled the UK-Rwanda Migration Partnership.  The fact that such terms are used – a partnership or deal connotes contract and transaction – suggests how inhumane policies towards those seeking sanctuary and a better life have become. In no[Read More…]

by 19/04/2022 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Law’s Limits: The Passage of the Antilynching Bill

Law’s Limits: The Passage of the Antilynching Bill

In 1900, Representative George Henry White of North Carolina, the sole Black law maker in Congress at the time, dared to introduce legislation (HR 6963) that would make lynching a hate crime.  To back his case, he submitted an anti-lynching petition from New Jersey residents protesting the lynching of Black Americans for alleged offences, from the most fleetingly minor, to[Read More…]

by 11/04/2022 Comments are Disabled World
AUKUS in the Hypersonic Missile Wonderland

AUKUS in the Hypersonic Missile Wonderland

If further clues were needed as to why AUKUS, the security pact comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, was created, the latest announcement on weapons would have given the game away.   Australia, just as it became real estate to park British nuclear weapons experiments, is now looking promising as a site for hypersonic missile testing, development, and[Read More…]

by 07/04/2022 Comments are Disabled World
President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, February 15, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Joe Biden’s Democracy Gaffe

It does not pay to be too moralistic in politics.  Self-elevation can lead to tripping up.  Sermonising even as your stable needs cleaning can enfeeble the argument. But Bidenism, this gaffe-prone ideology currently doing the rounds in a barely breathing administration, has identified the simplest of binaries to work with. In his State of the Union address, US President Joe[Read More…]

by 04/04/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Give Me that Flipper Shane

Give Me that Flipper Shane

For more terrestrially grounded people, writing about cricket can be seen as an exercise in distant planetary speculation.  The Nobel laureate Harold Pinter did not think so, calling this old English game “the greatest thing that God ever created on earth.”  Others might disagree with mild disgust, finding it archaic, jargon heavy and slow. In the early 1990s, one figure[Read More…]

by 03/04/2022 Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
A Nine-Year Obscenity: The Australia-NZ Resettlement Deal

A Nine-Year Obscenity: The Australia-NZ Resettlement Deal

Obscenities occupy the annals of State behaviour, revolting reminders about what governments can do.  One of Australia’s most pronounced and undeniable obscenities is its continuing effort to gut and empty international refugee law of its relevant foundations.  Instead of being treated as a scandal, populists and governments the world over have expressed admiration, even envy: If they can get away[Read More…]

by 31/03/2022 1 comment Human Rights
Aroused by Power: Why Madeleine Albright Was Not Right

Aroused by Power: Why Madeleine Albright Was Not Right

When involved in war, those who feel like benefactors are bound to congratulate the gun toting initiators.  If you so happen to be on the losing end, sentiments are rather different.  Complicity and cause in murder come to mind. The late US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will always be tied with the appallingly named humanitarian war in Kosovo in[Read More…]

by 26/03/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Ukraine, Russia and the Sporting McCarthyites

Ukraine, Russia and the Sporting McCarthyites

The cultural vandals and iconoclasts have been busy of late, removing Russians from the stables at short notice and demanding what might be called a necessary affirmation of disloyalty.  It’s all good to talk about world peace and the resolution of disputes, but that will hardly do for the flag bearing choirs who have discovered their object of evil.  Do[Read More…]

by 23/03/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Troubled Ideas: A Nuremberg Tribunal for Putin

Troubled Ideas: A Nuremberg Tribunal for Putin

In a good number of Western states, the ruling classes, former and current, have lost their heads.  Bugbear and boogieman Vladimir Putin’s efforts in Ukraine have lent themselves to some rather extreme suggestions, ranging from assassination to potential war crimes trials.  This is not to say that the Russian leader has nothing to account for.  As ever, it all depends[Read More…]

by 22/03/2022 2 comments World
Normal Butcheries:  Saudi Arabia’s Latest Mass Execution

Normal Butcheries:  Saudi Arabia’s Latest Mass Execution

Great reformers are not normally found in theocratic monarchies.  Despite assertions to the contrary, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains archaic in the way it deals with its opponents.  In its penal system, executions remain standard fare.  With liberal democratic countries fixated with the Ukraine conflict and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, it was prudent for Saudi authorities to capitalise. On March[Read More…]

by 18/03/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Homicidal Drives: US Dreams of Killing Putin

Homicidal Drives: US Dreams of Killing Putin

Wars disturb and delude.  The Ukraine conflict is no exception.  Misinformation is cantering through press accounts and media dispatches with feverish spread.  Fear that a nuclear option might be deployed makes teeth chatter.  And the Russian President Vladimir Putin is being treated as a Botox Hitler-incarnate, a figure worthy of assassination. The idea of forcing Putin into the grave certainly[Read More…]

by 17/03/2022 1 comment World
Rotten Rulings: Julian Assange and the UK Supreme Court

Rotten Rulings: Julian Assange and the UK Supreme Court

Julian Assange, even as he is being judicially and procedurally tormented, has braved every legal hoop in his effort to avoid extradition to the United States.  Kept and caged in Belmarsh throughout this farce of judicial history, he risks being extradited to face 18 charges, 17 based on the US Espionage Act of 1917. District Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser initially[Read More…]

by 15/03/2022 1 comment Human Rights
Business as Usual: Facebook, Russia and Hate Speech

Business as Usual: Facebook, Russia and Hate Speech

Seedy, compromised and creepy, the surveillance machine of Facebook, now operating under the broader fold of its parent company Meta Platforms, is currently giving out the very signals that it was condemned for doing before: encourage discussions on hating a group and certain figures, while spreading the bad word to everyone else to do so. The Russian Federation, President Vladimir[Read More…]

by 13/03/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Cutting Ties: The West, Ukraine, and the Russian Academy

Cutting Ties: The West, Ukraine, and the Russian Academy

Working with Russian academics and institutions.  The attack upon Ukraine by Russia. These are two features playing out heavily in university discussions.  As typifies such chitchat, nuance features rather less than cant and sanctimony. As writer and lecturer Paolo Nori of Milano-Bicocca University stated after discovering that his course on Fyodor Dostoevsky would be cancelled in response to the war,[Read More…]

by 08/03/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Advertising Gimmicks: Australia’s Nuclear-Powered Submarines

Advertising Gimmicks: Australia’s Nuclear-Powered Submarines

Never trust anything that comes out of a politician’s mouth in an election year.  Pledges are made to be broken; promises are made to seduce, not convince.  When the subject matter involves fictional submarines, even greater care should be taken. The prolonged, costly nightmare of Australia’s submarine policy took another turn on March 6.  The Defence Minister Peter Dutton could[Read More…]

by 07/03/2022 Comments are Disabled World
The Ukraine War and the “Good” Refugee

The Ukraine War and the “Good” Refugee

“These people are not people we are used to… these people are Europeans.” – Kiril Petkov, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Associated Press, March 1, 2022 In the history of accepting refugees, countries have shown more than an erratic streak.  Universal human characteristics have often been overlooked in favour of the particular: race, cultural habits, religion.  Even immigration nations, such as the[Read More…]

by 04/03/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Outing the Iraq War White Washers

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: Outing the Iraq War White Washers

The guilty can be devious in concealing their crimes, and their role in them.  The greater the crime, the more devious the strategy of deception.  The breaking of international law, and the breaching of convention, is a field replete with such figures. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has presented a particularly odious grouping, a good number of them neoconservatives, a[Read More…]

by 03/03/2022 1 comment World
The She’ll Be Right Mate Syndrome: Australia’s Doomed Koalas

The She’ll Be Right Mate Syndrome: Australia’s Doomed Koalas

In a country expert in killing off mammal species at a rate exceeding that of others (to be fair, there are so many more to destroy, with more to come), Australians now face the prospect that the koala, one of its most singularly recognisable animals, has its days numbered. Divergent attitudes to such animal species, notably indigenous ones, has been[Read More…]

Antarctica: Where Realpolitik and Science Meet

Antarctica: Where Realpolitik and Science Meet

A frozen continent.  Another potential frontier for conflict and competition.  Antarctica is a part of the world were realpolitician meets scientist; the desire for finding exploitable resources meets environmental expectations and fears.  Countries have vied for their little slice of ice, sometimes citing reasons of scientific collaboration, and often national self-interest.  Much of this culminated in the establishment of the[Read More…]

by 25/02/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Anti-war protesters gather in front of the White House to demonstrate against escalating tensions between the United States and Russia over Ukraine on January 27, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Innate Warmongering: Seeing Conflict in Ukraine as Inevitable

US President Theodore Roosevelt never had much time for peace, seeing its returns as distinctly less than those of war.  Despite his love of military conflict and its touted benefits, he was rewarded with the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in brokering peace in the Russo-Japanese War.  But for old Teddy peaceniks were sissies, degenerates, and probably sexually dubious.[Read More…]

by 22/02/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Paralysing Afghanistan: Washington’s Regime Change Agenda

Paralysing Afghanistan: Washington’s Regime Change Agenda

Nation states are habitually doomed to defeat their best interests.  Conditions of mad instability are fostered.  Arms sales take place, regimes get propped up or abandoned, and the people under them endure and suffer, awaiting the next criminal regime change. Nothing is more counter-intuitive than the effort to isolate, cripple and strangulate the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.  For all the[Read More…]

by 21/02/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Failure in Moscow: Liz Truss loses Britannia’s Way

Failure in Moscow: Liz Truss loses Britannia’s Way

Incompetent politicians and diplomats are on the level with ill-prepared generals fighting current wars with dated methods.  They err, they stumble, and they may well be responsible for the next idiotic slander, misfire or misunderstanding.  UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is synonymous with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s idea of groping diplomacy.  Graceless, all confusion, and much ignorance besides, she has[Read More…]

by 17/02/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Great Barrier Reef Fantasies: The Morrison Government’s Electoral Ploy

Great Barrier Reef Fantasies: The Morrison Government’s Electoral Ploy

There are some things that strain credulity.  There are the dubious accounts of virgin births.  There are the resolute flat earth theorists and denialists of the moon landing.  To this can be added the environmental stance of Australia’s Scott Morrison and his ministers, one resolutely opposed to the empirical world.  We are now at the phoney stage of an electoral[Read More…]

by 08/02/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Hemispheric Gangsterism: The US Embargo Against Cuba Turns 60

Hemispheric Gangsterism: The US Embargo Against Cuba Turns 60

It all seems worn, part of an aspic approach to foreign policy.  But US President Joe Biden is keen to ensure that old, and lingering mistakes, retain their flavour.  Towards Cuba, it is now 60 years since President John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Proclamation 3447 imposed an embargo on all trade with the island state. The proclamation was packed with Cold[Read More…]

by 06/02/2022 Comments are Disabled World
With Intent to Harm: The CIA, Schizophrenia and Denmark’s Children

With Intent to Harm: The CIA, Schizophrenia and Denmark’s Children

It has become common fare to read ghoulish stories of child abuse in institutions supposedly created to care for the vulnerable.  Orphanages, homes, religious orders have tended to feature, along with their assortments of innumerable sadists and pederasts.  But in December, another institution caused ripples for its alleged role in abusing children. A Danish Radio documentary series, The Search for[Read More…]

by 31/01/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Serbia Stomps on Rio Tinto’s Lithium Mining Project

Serbia Stomps on Rio Tinto’s Lithium Mining Project

On the face of it, there seems to be little in the way of connection between the treatment of Novak Djokovic by Australian authorities and the cooling of the Serbian government towards Rio Tinto.  The Anglo-Australian mining giant was confident that it would, at least eventually, win out in gaining the permissions to commence work on its US$2.4 billion lithium-borates[Read More…]

by 27/01/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Off to the Supreme Court: Assange’s Appeal Continues

Off to the Supreme Court: Assange’s Appeal Continues

With December’s High Court decision to overturn the lower court ruling against the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, lawyers of the WikiLeaks founder immediately got busy.  The next avenue of appeal, strewn less with gold than obstacles, would be to the Supreme Court.  The central question remained: Should the publisher be extradited to face 18 charges, 17[Read More…]

by 26/01/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Arise, Pandemic Profiteers

Arise, Pandemic Profiteers

History’s annals are filled with war profiteers and hustlers for the opportunistic return.  They come in the form of hoarders, arms manufacturers and wily business folk making a steal on slaughter and mayhem.  But the other conflict – that of battling a pandemic – has also shown that profits exist for those willing to exploit the crisis. With the global[Read More…]

by 19/01/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Dangerous Precedents and Hypothetical Threats: The Deportation of Novak Djokovic

Dangerous Precedents and Hypothetical Threats: The Deportation of Novak Djokovic

Australia’s treatment of Novak Djokovic, the tennis world number one, has been revelatory.  Unintentionally, this has exposed the seedier, arbitrary and inconsistent nature of Australia’s border policies.  The approval by the Australian Federal Court of the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to re-cancel the prominent Serb’s visa left the country a heaving precedent that will be invoked, in future, with[Read More…]

by 17/01/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Enduring Stain: The Guantánamo Military Prison Turns Twenty

Enduring Stain: The Guantánamo Military Prison Turns Twenty

Anniversaries for detention centres, concentration camps and torture facilities are not the relishable calendar events in the canon of human worth.  But not remembering them, when they were used, and how they continue being used, would be unpardonable amnesia. On January 11, 2002, the first prisoners of the absurdly named “War on Terror”, declared with such confused understanding by US[Read More…]

by 15/01/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange: A Thousand Days in Belmarsh

Julian Assange: A Thousand Days in Belmarsh

Julian Assange has now been in the maximum-security facilities of Belmarsh prison for over 1,000 days.  On the occasion of his 1,000th day of imprisonment, campaigners, supporters and kindred spirits gathered to show their support, indignation and solidarity at this political detention most foul. Alison Mason of the Julian Assange Defence Committee reiterated those observations long made about the imprisonment[Read More…]

by 13/01/2022 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Djokovic versus the Australian Commonwealth

Djokovic versus the Australian Commonwealth

January 10, 2022 will be remembered as one of the odder days in the annals of sport.  For one, it had little to do with physical exertion.  Tennis proved secondary to the claims of one Novak Djokovic, currently the world’s number one ranked player.  Instead of finding himself training on court in preparation for the Australian Open, he found himself[Read More…]

by 11/01/2022 Comments are Disabled World
The Mauling of Novak Djokovic

The Mauling of Novak Djokovic

Rarely can the treatment of a grand sporting figure by officialdom have caused such consternation.  Novak Djokovic, the tennis World Number One, has always had a tendency to get under skin and constitution, creating a large following of admirers and detractors.  But his current treatment by Australian authorities, and his subsequent detention as an unlawful arrival despite being granted a[Read More…]

by 10/01/2022 1 comment World
Sir Tony Blair: Bloody Knight of the Realm

Sir Tony Blair: Bloody Knight of the Realm

Awards and honours bestowed by States or private committees, republican or monarchical, are bound to be corrupted by considerations of hypocrisy, racketeering and general, chummy disposition.  From the Nobel Peace Prize to the range of eccentric and esoteric orders bestowed each year in Britain by Her Majesty, diddling and manipulating is never far behind.  You are bestowed such things as[Read More…]

by 06/01/2022 Comments are Disabled World
In Search of Shallow Doctrines: Joe Biden and Trumpism Shorn

In Search of Shallow Doctrines: Joe Biden and Trumpism Shorn

The US presidential doctrine is an odd creature.  Usually summoned up by security wonks and satellite personnel who revolve around the President, these eventually assume the name of the person holding office.  They are given the force of a Papal bull and treated by the priest pundits as binding, coherent and sound. Much of this is often simple mythmaking for[Read More…]

by 05/01/2022 Comments are Disabled World
Voices of Concern: Aussies for Assange’s Return

Voices of Concern: Aussies for Assange’s Return

With Julian Assange now fighting the next stage of efforts to extradite him to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 of which are based on the brutal, archaic Espionage Act, some Australian politicians have found their voice.  It might be said that a few have even found their conscience. Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was sufficiently exercised[Read More…]

by 23/12/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Jailing Former Immigration Ministers: Denmark’s Inger Støjberg

Jailing Former Immigration Ministers: Denmark’s Inger Støjberg

It’s not the sort of thing you encounter regularly.  A member of a government cabinet, responsible for arguably one of the country’s most important portfolios, found both wanting and culpable for their actions after leaving their post.  But this is what former Danish immigration minister Inger Støjberg found when she was convicted for illegally separating asylum seeking couples arriving in[Read More…]

by 15/12/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Journalism, Assange and Reversal in the High Court

Journalism, Assange and Reversal in the High Court

British justice is advertised by its proponents as upright, historically different to the savages upon which it sought to civilise, and apparently fair.  Such outrages as the unjust convictions of the Guilford Four and Maguire Seven, both having served time in prison for terrorist offences they did not commit, are treated as blemishes. In recent memory, fewer blemishes can be[Read More…]

by 11/12/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Ineffectual Boycotts: The Beijing Winter Olympics

Ineffectual Boycotts: The Beijing Winter Olympics

Making moral statements in the blood and gristle of international relations can often come across as feeble.  In doing so, the maker serves the worst of all worlds: to reveal a false sense of assurance that something was done while serving no actual purpose other than to provoke.  Anger, and impotence, follow. The Biden administration is proving to be particularly[Read More…]

by 09/12/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Punishing the Unvaccinated: Europe’s COVID-19 Health Experiment

Punishing the Unvaccinated: Europe’s COVID-19 Health Experiment

Forget any notions of juicy carrots; the stick approach of savage punishment is in vogue with the Greek government in pushing vaccination rates.  It is far from the only one.  Across a number of countries in Europe, governments wishing to drive up levels of COVID-19 vaccination have decided to abandon suasion and the generous supply of medical information in favour[Read More…]

by 07/12/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Omicron and the Travel Ban Itch

Omicron and the Travel Ban Itch

Stick to the script: owe that duty of care to your population, so the legal experts in government tell you.  Self-interest pays, if in small amounts.  These rigid, formulaic assumptions have done wonders to harm and deter any spirit of cooperation regarding dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. History’s record of humanity’s response to plagues, pandemics and disease is one of[Read More…]

by 06/12/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Backing Horses: Australia’s Solomon Islands Intervention

Backing Horses: Australia’s Solomon Islands Intervention

The history of humanitarian or policing missions is a history of taking sides, disruptive partiality and the forfeiture of the very object powers claim when intervening in another country.  Things become particularly absurd when the individual or government pleading for such help to an outside force is struggling to survive yet making grand statements about democracy and the like. Take[Read More…]

by 04/12/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Where there are Tailings, No Grass Grows: Serbians Protest against Rio Tinto

Where there are Tailings, No Grass Grows: Serbians Protest against Rio Tinto

Another fault line has opened in the mining wars.  In Serbia, resistance is gathering steam against various deals made between Belgrade and companies that risk environmental degradation and lingering spoliation. In this regard, the globe’s second largest metals and mining corporation, features prominently.  Rio Tinto, bruised in reputation but determined in business, finds itself in a hunting mood in the[Read More…]

by 02/12/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Arming Against China: The US Global Posture Review

Arming Against China: The US Global Posture Review

Get the Marines ready.  Store the supplies.  Marshal the allies.  The United States is getting ready for war (the preferable term in Washington is policing) in the Indo-Pacific region, and is hoping to do so with a range of expanded bases across client states, or what it prefers to call friends. On November 29, the Pentagon announced that US President[Read More…]

by 01/12/2021 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
Foreseeable Risk: Omicron Makes its Viral Debut

Foreseeable Risk: Omicron Makes its Viral Debut

It has been written about more times than any care to remember.  Pliny the Elder, that old cheek, told us that Africa always tended to bring forth something new: Semper aliquid novi Africam adferre.  The suggestion was directed to hybrid animals, but in the weird pandemic wonderland that is COVID-19, all continents now find themselves bringing forth their types, making[Read More…]

by 27/11/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Off to the Solomon Islands: Australia’s Civilizers Get Busy

Off to the Solomon Islands: Australia’s Civilizers Get Busy

A small riot.  Unrest.  Risk of collapse.  All given a ballooning effect and inflated for policy makers across the ocean.  Before much time elapses, Australian security forces are skirting off to restore order in their vast watery neighbourhood.  It is a reminder that such relations in the Pacific region are a mixture of intervention, forcible charitable guidance and, at times,[Read More…]

by 26/11/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The Establishment Panic at Cryptocurrency

The Establishment Panic at Cryptocurrency

When Kingsley Amis encountered the works of D. H. Lawrence, he was left unimpressed by yet another great denouncer and missionary the English send “themselves to tell them they are crass, gross, lost, dead, mad and addicted to unnatural vice.”  With little charity, Amis suggested leaving the didactic novelist on “on his pinnacle, inspiring, unapproachable and unread.” Leaving aside matters[Read More…]

by 21/11/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Britain’s Two Job Politicians

Britain’s Two Job Politicians

The role of the parliamentarian, historically, is one of service.  The desire to hold two jobs, or more, suggests that such service is severely qualified.  In the quotient of democracy and representation, the MP who is ready to tend to the affairs of others is unlikely to focus on the voter.  I represent you, but I also represent my client[Read More…]

by 18/11/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Manufactured Cruelties: Belarus, Poland and the Refugee Crisis

Manufactured Cruelties: Belarus, Poland and the Refugee Crisis

Refugee crises are often manufactured by governments.  They can be done at the source: war, famine, rapacious institutions.  They can also be manufactured by the refusal of governments to accept those seeking asylum, sanctuary and refuge. The latter is very much in evidence in Europe: governments of the European Union are staring down desperate humans keen to travel into the[Read More…]

by 16/11/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Gasbagging in Glasgow: COP26 and Phasing Down Coal

Gasbagging in Glasgow: COP26 and Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions.  They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness.  At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact. COP26, or the UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021, had a mission of “Uniting the world to tackle climate[Read More…]

by 15/11/2021 Comments are Disabled Climate Change
FW de Klerk: A Negotiator Before Defeat

FW de Klerk: A Negotiator Before Defeat

Rarely is the pragmatist admired.  Be it in policy or politics, such a figure induces suspicion, a concern that principles will have to be subordinated to broader goals.  True dreamers and visionaries, for all their glaring faults, can take the accolades; the pragmatists can be given lower pegging. These differences have proven stark with the late FW de Klerk, South[Read More…]

by 12/11/2021 Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Ning-Nong Diplomacy, China and Paul Keating

Ning-Nong Diplomacy, China and Paul Keating

Former Australian prime ministers tend to be less conspicuous in public life than their counterparts in other countries.  Occasionally, they make an appearance at political functions and events to remind us that they are still alive, their estate still breathing, their lawyers still working.  For the most part, the pronouncements are less than profound, let alone relevant.  But there are[Read More…]

by 11/11/2021 1 comment World
Blacklisting the Merchants of Spyware

Blacklisting the Merchants of Spyware

In a modest effort to disrupt the global spyware market, the United States announced last week that four entities had been added to its blacklist.  On November 3, the US Department of Commerce revealed that it would be adding Israel-based companies NSO Group and Candiru to its entity list “based on evidence that these entities developed and supplied spyware to[Read More…]

by 08/11/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Hypersonic Panic and Competitive Terror

Hypersonic Panic and Competitive Terror

During his eventful time in office, US President Donald Trump took much delight in reflecting about the lethal toys of his country’s military, actual or hypothetical.  These included a hypersonic capability which, his military advisors had warned, was being mastered by adversaries.  Such devices, comprising hypersonic cruise missiles and hypersonic boost-glide vehicles, have been touted as opening a new arms[Read More…]

by 06/11/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The CIA, Empty Assurances and Assange’s Defence

The CIA, Empty Assurances and Assange’s Defence

The second day of appellate proceedings by the United States against Julian Assange saw the defence make their case against the overturning of District Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s January ruling.  Any extradition to the US, she concluded, would be so oppressive to the publisher as to render it unjust under UK extradition law.  Before the UK High Court, both Edward[Read More…]

by 29/10/2021 Comments are Disabled Uncategorized
Crystal Ball Jurisprudence: The US Appeal Against Assange Opens

Crystal Ball Jurisprudence: The US Appeal Against Assange Opens

It’s time to ready yourself for ghoulishly bad behaviour.  Shred your bill of rights or whatever charter of liberties you have handy. Flatulent, dangerous and fatuous, the US prosecution of Julian Assange took to the UK High Court on October 27, opening its effort to overturn the January ruling by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser.  In a judgment poor on press[Read More…]

by 28/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Congress, Skulduggery and the Assange Case

Congress, Skulduggery and the Assange Case

Is the imperium showing suspicions about its intended quarry?  It is hard to believe it, but the US House Intelligence Committee is on a mission of discovery.  Its subject: a Yahoo News report disclosing much material that was already in the public domain on the plot to kidnap or, failing that, poison Julian Assange.  Given that such ideas were aired[Read More…]

by 27/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Cancelling Cartoonists

Cancelling Cartoonists

On January 7, 2015, the staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo found themselves facing a form of cancel culture before it became fashionable in the Twaddle sphere.  It was of the most severe, lethal sort.  Twelve people were butchered and the fanatic’s credo asserted.  The assailants Chérif and Saïd Kouachi had been offended by the magazine’s cartoon depictions[Read More…]

by 26/10/2021 1 comment World
Space Dildoing with William Shatner

Space Dildoing with William Shatner

Overpaid breakfast hosts on an Australian network sniggered, wondered and pondered.  Why is that top throbbed Blue Origin capsule heading to space shaped that way?  Is Jeff Bezos’s effort nothing more than a phallic spurt into the heavens?  The implications are flowing: Can he hold it?  Will he come in the appropriate atmospheric strata? Giggles aside, the scandalous venture that[Read More…]

by 22/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Melbourne: The Longest in Lockdown

Melbourne: The Longest in Lockdown

As a city, Melbourne previously prided itself with the air of a prim and proper heiress, one without peer in Australia: a gastronomic wonder, a sporting goddess, and a place of orderly public transport.  The Economist Intelligence Unit glowed with praise, designating the city the world’s “most liveable” for seven years running.  There were few law and order issues; nothing[Read More…]

by 21/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Colin Powell: Establishment Warrior

Colin Powell: Establishment Warrior

History is strewn with the broken branches of twisted irony.  An individual who found himself entangled in it was the late Colin Powell, who, as a military man, gave a doctrine his name only to forgo it as a diplomat. The Powell Doctrine was one of certitude and caution: do not engage in conflict except in conditions whereby you could[Read More…]

by 20/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
War Talk from the Mad Monk: Tony Abbott goes to Taiwan

War Talk from the Mad Monk: Tony Abbott goes to Taiwan

No one can stop him.  He can barely stop himself.  The former Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, seems to be everywhere, fighting the poor cause.  At the very least, he is everywhere with the press cameras, the niggling concerns, the irritations that make it into the twenty-four-hour news cycle before sinking with toxic charm.  He is the perfect ingredient in[Read More…]

by 19/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Cheap Grace and Climate Change: Australia and COP26

Cheap Grace and Climate Change: Australia and COP26

It was not for everybody, but the shock advertising tactics of the Australian comedian Dan Ilic made an appropriate point.  Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a famed coal hugger, has vacillated about whether to even go to the climate conference in Glasgow.  Having himself turned the country’s prime ministerial office into an extended advertising agency, Ilic was speaking his language.[Read More…]

by 16/10/2021 Comments are Disabled Climate Change
Sportswashing at Tyneside: Saudi Arabia moves into English Football

Sportswashing at Tyneside: Saudi Arabia moves into English Football

The recent acquisition of the Newcastle United football club by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, along with financier Amanda Staveley and the billionaire Reuben brothers, was a source of much excitement for some former players.  Old boy Alan Shearer did little to conceal it.  “We can dare to hope again,” he rejoiced. In The Guardian, Barney Ronay was less enthusiastic,[Read More…]

by 09/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Blowing the Whistle at Facebook

Blowing the Whistle at Facebook

The only surprise was that it did not come sooner.  Big Tech whistleblowers are not exactly running out of the offices of Silicon Valley, so it was with some excitement that Facebook could produce a person willing enough to show us the laundry, with the dirt still caking the content. And the laundry in question proved to be bountiful, with[Read More…]

by 07/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Trump, Twitter and the Digital Town Hall

Trump, Twitter and the Digital Town Hall

The merits are hard to stomach for partisans long jaundiced by presumption and dislike, but the cheer at the deplatforming of Donald Trump by a range of social media platforms said as much about the nature of any sentiment about democracy as it did about those claiming to defend it.  For one, it shut off a valve of fantastic, instant[Read More…]

by 05/10/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Britannia Turns Back The Boats

Britannia Turns Back The Boats

Pushing people back across borders; turning asylum seekers away from shores.  When such tactics were openly adopted and used with impunity by Australia’s navy and border force, it caused outrage and concern in the maritime community and pricked the interest of border protectionists the world over. Disgust and outrage have, in time, been replaced by admiration at the sheer chutzpah[Read More…]

by 03/10/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Murderous Fantasies: The US Intelligence Effort Against Assange

Murderous Fantasies: The US Intelligence Effort Against Assange

If there was any reason to halt a farcical train of legal proceedings, then the case against Julian Assange would have to be the standard bearing example.  Since last year, the efforts by the US government to pursue his extradition to the vicious purgatory of American justice has seen more than a fair share of obscene revelations.  While prosecutors for[Read More…]

by 30/09/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Trumpism with a Biden Face: US Haitian Policy

Trumpism with a Biden Face: US Haitian Policy

With that orange haired brute of a president supposedly ushered out of the White House with moralising delight, the Biden administration was all keen to turn over a new leaf.  There would be more diplomacy, and still more diplomacy.  There would be a more humanitarian approach to refugees and asylum seekers – forget, he claimed, the Border Wall.  Kindness would[Read More…]

by 24/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The Right to Clean Air in Jakarta

The Right to Clean Air in Jakarta

It seems utterly beyond debate but acknowledging legal rights to clean hair has assumed the makings of a slow march over the years.  The 1956 Clean Air Act in Britain arose from the lethal effects of London’s 1952 killer smog, which is said to have taken some 12,000 lives.  The Act granted powers to establish smoke-free zones and subsidise householders[Read More…]

by 21/09/2021 Comments are Disabled Environmental Protection
Bitcoin the Messiah: El Salvador Goes Crypto

Bitcoin the Messiah: El Salvador Goes Crypto

In a particular deli store in South Melbourne, a tongue-and-cheek message is attached to the cash register.  “Bitcoin accepted there,” it proclaims brightly.  Naturally, it is nothing of the sort, a teasing ruse for the punters and those casting an eye in the direction of the store.  Cold hard cash remains king, albeit one with a tarnished crown; pandemic times[Read More…]

by 14/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Messianic Failure: Pursuing the GWOT Jabberwock

Messianic Failure: Pursuing the GWOT Jabberwock

Anniversaries can provide occasions for reflection and deep consideration.  Past errors and misjudgements can be considered soberly; historical distance provides perspective.  Mature reflections may be permitted.  But they can also serve the opposite purpose: to cake, cloak and mask the record. The gooey name GWOT, otherwise known as the Global War on Terrorism, is some two decades old, and it[Read More…]

by 11/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Paul Wolfowitz: Deluded and At Liberty

Paul Wolfowitz: Deluded and At Liberty

It was all marvellous for Paul Wolfowitz to get on Australian television (why bother?) to brusquely discuss those attacks on US soil in September 2001 and criticism of the invasion of Iraq by US-led forces.  After two decades, the former US deputy secretary of defense has not mellowed. With each show, interview and podium performance Wolfowitz gives, there is a[Read More…]

by 10/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Patriotic Snitch: Bob Hawke as US Informant

Patriotic Snitch: Bob Hawke as US Informant

Larrikin is a word often, and inaccurately used, in Australian political lingo.  Australia’s longest serving Labor Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, was known as one such figure.  He was praised as the great communicator and healer between the forces of labour and capital, enjoyed imbibing, his sports and varied female company.  He could also be vain and ruthless. In June, a[Read More…]

by 05/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The village of Kulusuk in Greenland. (Photo: Ville Miettinen/flickr/cc)

Blinken Says No to Greenland Real Estate

In May, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a visit to Greenland.  In a rather unedifying way, he was called ‘Tony’ by his hosts, a disarming point that was bound to open the floodgates of insincerity.  For all the convivial stuffing, there was a certain sting to the occasion: the previous Trump administration had revisited a fantasy long nurtured[Read More…]

by 03/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Droning Disasters: A US Strike on Kabul

Droning Disasters: A US Strike on Kabul

No more profoundly disturbing statement was needed.  In the dying days of the official US departure from Kabul, a US drone etched its butcher’s legacy with a strike supposedly intended for the blood-lusty terrorist group ISIS-K, an abbreviation of Islamic State in Khorasan Province.  Its members had taken responsibility for blasts outside Harmid Karzai International Airport that had cost the[Read More…]

by 01/09/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The Neocons Speak: Afghanistan as Political Real Estate

The Neocons Speak: Afghanistan as Political Real Estate

When the tears dry, it is worth considering why there is so much upset about the fall of Kabul (or reconquest) by the Taliban and the messy withdrawal of US-led forces.  A large shield is employed: women, rights of the subject, education.  Remove the shield, and we are left with a simple equation of power gone wrong in the name[Read More…]

by 27/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Amazon’s Drive Into Africa

Amazon’s Drive Into Africa

Since 2004, Amazon has been building a foothold on the African continent.  In Cape Town, it already employs thousands in a global call centre and a range of data hubs.  Its South African career portal is a busy place, with the vast majority of advertised jobs located in Cape Town.  In April, as part of its aggrandising drive into the[Read More…]

by 25/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Reluctant Acceptance: Responding to Afghanistan’s Refugees

Reluctant Acceptance: Responding to Afghanistan’s Refugees

Do not for a minute think that this is a kind, heart-felt thing in the aftermath of Kabul’s fall. True, a number of Afghans will find their way to Germany, to Canada, to the UK, US and a much smaller number to Australia.  But this will be part of the curtain act that, in time, will pass into memory and[Read More…]

by 22/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Wounded Paternalism: Biden and the US Imperial Complex

Wounded Paternalism: Biden and the US Imperial Complex

Civilisation has tended to be seen like a gift by those claiming to grant it.  It is done, in the sense Rudyard Kipling intended it, with solemn duty.  It is a task discharged as a burden borne heavily.  In its modern form, notably in the hands of the US, it comes with fast food, roads, schools and blue chip stocks. [Read More…]

by 18/08/2021 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
The Taliban take Kabul

The Taliban take Kabul

It unfolded as a story of fleeing.  The Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, taking flight to Tajikistan, giving little clue of his intentions to colleagues.  The fleeing of the infamous Abdul Rashid Dostum, a warlord assured to fight another day. The fleeing of tens of thousands of residents out of the city of Kabul, long seen as beyond the reach of[Read More…]

by 16/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Taliban in Kunduz city, northern Afghanistan on Aug. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Abdullah Sahil)

A Taste of Panic: The Taliban Continues its Advance

The historical vectors are moving with conviction and purpose; the weak and lacking in conviction are in retreat and the gun is doing the talking.  The government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the security services and the Afghan National Army, seem to be either huddled in despair, capitulating or fleeing before the inexorable advance of the Taliban.  They have the[Read More…]

by 15/08/2021 1 comment World
Targeting the Medical Evidence: The US Challenge on Assange’s Health

Targeting the Medical Evidence: The US Challenge on Assange’s Health

The desperate attempt by the US imperium to nab Julian Assange was elevated to another level on August 11 in a preliminary hearing before the UK High Court.  The central component to this gruesome affair was the continuing libel of the expert witness upon which District Justice Vanessa Baraitser placed so much emphasis in her January 4 decision not to[Read More…]

by 12/08/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Illustration by CurvaBezier / iStock.

Sanitising Censorship: The Twitter-AP-Reuters News Partnership

This week, Twitter was keen to share the news about its new arrangement with The Associated Press and Reuters “to expand our efforts to identify and elevate credible information” on its platform.  The company reiterates its commitment that people using its service are able to “easily find reliable information” hoping to “expand the scale and increase the speed of our[Read More…]

by 05/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Fighting Malta’s Rule of the Jungle: The Daphne Caruana Galizia Inquiry

Fighting Malta’s Rule of the Jungle: The Daphne Caruana Galizia Inquiry

The Public Inquiry into the murder of the resourceful journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia handed down its findings on July 29.  Firm aim was taken at the Maltese State, which had “to shoulder responsibility for the assassination because it created an atmosphere of impunity, generated from the highest levels in the heart of the administration of the Office of the Prime[Read More…]

by 04/08/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Rio Tinto in Serbia: The Jadar Lithium Project

Rio Tinto in Serbia: The Jadar Lithium Project

The company has been looking forward to this for some time.  For an outfit found wanting in dealing with inhabitants of a land whose culture it eviscerated in a matter of hours in May last year, Rio Tinto could think grandly about another future. The Anglo-Australian mining giant could add its name to a sounder, more environmentally sensitive programme, join[Read More…]

by 03/08/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Papers Instead of Human Lives: The Sentencing of Daniel Hale

Papers Instead of Human Lives: The Sentencing of Daniel Hale

In May 2019, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, that famous bastion of anti-whistleblowing fervour, unsealed an indictment charging former intelligence analyst Daniel Everett Hale with five counts of providing classified information to a reporter.  The first four focused on obtaining national defense information, retaining and transmitting that information, causing the communication of that same information[Read More…]

by 28/07/2021 1 comment World
Afghan children walk past a Taliban Red Unit, an elite force, Alingar district, Laghman province in eastern Afghanistan (File photo) 

Afghanistan, Failure and Second Thoughts

It is a country other powers simply cannot leave alone.  Even after abandoning its Kabul post in ignominy, tail tucked between their legs, Australia is now wondering if it should return – in some form.  The Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs has been sending out a few signals, none of them definitive.  “We will not comment on intelligence matters,”[Read More…]

by 27/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Greenwashing the Tokyo Olympic Games

Greenwashing the Tokyo Olympic Games

“The gap between rhetoric and reality is a persistent one when looking at the sustainability of commitments of Olympic Games hosts”. Martin Müller, European Urban and Regional Studies, 2015 The organisers of the Olympics have always been into appearances and grand theatre.  And the International Olympic Committee has always been keen in keeping them up, from the barely credible notion[Read More…]

by 24/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Pegasus Rides Again: The NSO Group, Spyware and Human Rights

Pegasus Rides Again: The NSO Group, Spyware and Human Rights

They keep insisting they don’t do it. But companies such as the Israeli NSO Group are global vendors for regimes, whatever stripe or colour, for surveillance tools to spy on those they deem of interest.  The 2013 revelations by Edward Snowden that exposed the warrantless world of mass surveillance by entities such as the US National Security Agency and Britain’s[Read More…]

by 21/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Infectious Follies: Britain’s Freedom Day

Infectious Follies: Britain’s Freedom Day

He can scant resist a slogan, but UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s insistence on describing Britain’s exit from lockdown as Freedom Day came with its usual kitschy quality.  All would be splendid as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in the “move to step 4.”  Social contact rules would be scrapped, along with mask mandates in various public spaces.  Nightclubs could reopen;[Read More…]

by 20/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
When Football Did Not Come Home

When Football Did Not Come Home

They were in with a shot.  The English team, deliriously floating on chants of Football’s Coming Home, had made it to their first major tournament final since 1966.  The UEFA European Football Championship would be decided at Wembley against an Italian side unblemished by defeat since September 2018.  But the English, coached by the much admired Gareth Southgate, succumbed in[Read More…]

by 15/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Australia’s Hermit Nation Strategy Unravels

Australia’s Hermit Nation Strategy Unravels

Australia, like other island states, has had spells of isolationist fancy and hermit dispositions.  Protected by geography, distant and vast, the country’s first bit of legislation in 1901 was the Immigration Restriction Act.  This nasty little statute came to be colloquially known as the White Australia Policy.  Doors would remain open to Europeans and preferably those of Western stock. Fortress[Read More…]

by 13/07/2021 1 comment World
The US Appeals the Assange Ruling

The US Appeals the Assange Ruling

It took over half a year, but the US government’s case against Julian Assange continues its draining grind.  Even the Biden administration, which claims to tolerate a free press and truthful dialogue with the fourth estate, has decided to exhaust its legal options in seeking the publisher’s scalp. On July 7, the UK High Court of Justice agreed to hear[Read More…]

by 08/07/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Thordarson’s Fabrications: Another Hole in the Julian Assange Prosecution

Thordarson’s Fabrications: Another Hole in the Julian Assange Prosecution

The tyrannical, brutal cynicism of keeping Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison remains one of the more inglorious marks of the British legal system and, it should be said, its sponsors and colluders. Having won his case against extradition to the US, if only in deeply qualified terms, the UK keeps the WikiLeaks publisher banged up as the appeals process stutters.[Read More…]

by 05/07/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Leaving Bagram Airbase: The Day the US Imperium Turned Tail

Leaving Bagram Airbase: The Day the US Imperium Turned Tail

From the Bagram Airbase they left, leaving behind a piece of the New York World Trade Centre that collapsed with such graphic horror on September 11, 2001.  As with previous occupiers and occupants, the powers that had made this venue a residence of war operations were cutting their losses and running. Over the years, the base, originally built by the[Read More…]

by 04/07/2021 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
The Known Knowns of Donald Rumsfeld

The Known Knowns of Donald Rumsfeld

“On the morning of September 11, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld ran to the fire at the Pentagon to assist the wounded and ensure the safety of survivors,” expressed a mournful George W. Bush in a statement.  “For the next five years, he was in steady service as a wartime secretary of defense – a duty he carried out with strength, skill,[Read More…]

by 02/07/2021 1 comment Life/Philosophy
Let the Vandalism Begin: Adani Strikes Coal

Let the Vandalism Begin: Adani Strikes Coal

He began on RN Breakfast by claiming that he, and his company, would be open and transparent about mining operations.  But Lucas Dow, chief executive of Adani’s Australian operations, soon revealed in his June 25 interview that his understanding of transparency was rather far from the dictionary version.  When asked how the Carmichael Coal Mine was getting its water, he[Read More…]

by 26/06/2021 Comments are Disabled Environmental Protection
The Insurgency Against Big Oil

The Insurgency Against Big Oil

While Australian politicians languish in a world blotched by climate change scepticism and fossil fuel love-ins, global oil and gas companies have been shaken.  Three titans of oil fame – Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron – faced a range of decisions in May that promise to dramatically shape their future operations.  The point is not negligible, given that this triarchy produced,[Read More…]

by 24/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The Great Barrier Reef Wars

The Great Barrier Reef Wars

To float over such an aqueous body is to find a majestic creature unparalleled in beauty and expanse, stretching at 2,300km.  There are other stunning formations on the planet, but the Great Barrier Reef has such dimension, form and cocksure brilliance as to make others shrink, not so much because of beauty as due to sheer scale and ecological variety.[Read More…]

by 23/06/2021 Comments are Disabled Environmental Protection
Vaccine Failings: The European Commission and AstraZeneca

Vaccine Failings: The European Commission and AstraZeneca

In the messy, underhanded world of global health responses to COVID-19 it was only appropriate that lawyers should find themselves enriched on respective sides of a dispute about vaccine supply.  The pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has been getting a good deal of bad press, with its COVID vaccines seen to be a riskier proposition, notably to younger adults, than those of[Read More…]

by 21/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Publicity and Exploitation: Fortress Australia and the Family from Biloela

Publicity and Exploitation: Fortress Australia and the Family from Biloela

Australian officials and paper mad types are running out of ideas as to how to be cruel towards refugees.  We need to give them some credit: for years they have tried to do what most autocratic and murderous regimes do in a heartbeat: ignore international law, treat it with disdain and use those feeble excuses in the service of sovereignty.[Read More…]

by 15/06/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Vague Alternatives and G7 Summitry: The Build Back Better World Initiative

Vague Alternatives and G7 Summitry: The Build Back Better World Initiative

Summits often feature grand statements and needless fripperies.  In Cornwall, the leaders of the G7 countries were trying to position and promote their relevance as the vanguard of democratic good sense and values.  They, the message went, remained relevant, valuable and essential to the order of the earth, despite challenges posed by the autocrats. Never let contradiction get in the[Read More…]

by 13/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Less Freedom, More Money: Tony Blair’s Vaccine Passport

Less Freedom, More Money: Tony Blair’s Vaccine Passport

Sincere Tony is again on the stump, promoting his vision of how best to return to a lovely, unruffled world of capitalist endeavour, circuit lecturing and summit meetings that no longer need to be held online.  And when Blair has visions, they are bound to be highly selective and keen in terms of his own bank account, not to mention[Read More…]

by 11/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
ET, You Bore Me: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and the Pentagon

ET, You Bore Me: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and the Pentagon

Those of you drawing sustenance and stimulation from the traditional acronym UFO best brace yourselves.  The less exciting and dull term accepted by the defence clerks – unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) – is renewing its march into the extra-terrestrial hinterland. On June 25, the Pentagon’s UAP Task Force will release a declassified report to Congress that will do little to[Read More…]

by 09/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Denmark Offshores the Right to Asylum

Denmark Offshores the Right to Asylum

This has been a fantasy of Danish governments for some time.  There have been gazes of admiration towards countries like Australia, where processing refugees and asylum-seekers is a task offloaded, with cash incentives, to third countries (Papua New Guinea and Nauru come to mind).  Danish politicians, notably a good number among the Social Democrats, have dreamed about doing the same[Read More…]

by 07/06/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Of Plagues and Rodents: Australia’s War Against Mice

Of Plagues and Rodents: Australia’s War Against Mice

Not a day goes by these days without a casual remark about animal extermination in Australia.  Mice have moved to the front of the queue in terms of animal species Australians would most like to liquidate.  The language used has various registers: sombre and regretful; grave and scientific; panicked and bloody. This is all ordinary fare and is characterised by[Read More…]

by 06/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Suicidal Games: Tokyo’s Coronavirus Olympics

Suicidal Games: Tokyo’s Coronavirus Olympics

A pandemic crisis.  A state of emergency.  Overwhelming public opinion bristling with alarm.  Notwithstanding these factors, Tokyo is still on track to host the Olympics that was cancelled last year in response to the global pandemic.  The first sports team – Australia’s softball crew – has touched down.  Is all this folly, bravery or self-interest? On a daily basis, the[Read More…]

by 03/06/2021 Comments are Disabled World
How It All Went Wrong: The Global Response to COVID-19

How It All Went Wrong: The Global Response to COVID-19

The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response was never likely to hand down a rosy report with gobbets of praise.  Organised by the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last May, the panel’s gloomy assessment was grim: the COVID-19 pandemic could have been avoided. Almost nothing in the main report could be seen as remarkable in these jaded[Read More…]

by 27/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The Gilt Comes Off: Singapore Goes Into Lockdown

The Gilt Comes Off: Singapore Goes Into Lockdown

A clean, technology driven dystopia.  A representation of our techno future.  These were the introductory descriptions to a piece by science fiction author William Gibson on Singapore for Wired in 1993.  “Imagine an Asian version of Zurich operating as an offshore capsule at the foot of Malaysia; an affluent microcosm whose citizens inhabit something that feels like well, Disneyland. Disneyland[Read More…]

by 18/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Elbowed and Hustled: Australia’s Yellow Peril Problem

Elbowed and Hustled: Australia’s Yellow Peril Problem

With the babble about Cold War paranoia becoming a routine matter in Canberra, the treacherous ground for war with China is being bedded down and readied.  The Yellow Peril image never truly dissipated from Australia’s politics.  It was crucial in framing the first act of the newly born Commonwealth in 1901: the Immigration Restriction Act.  Even as China was being[Read More…]

by 15/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Held to Ransom: Colonial Pipeline and the Vulnerabilities of Critical Infrastructure

Held to Ransom: Colonial Pipeline and the Vulnerabilities of Critical Infrastructure

It should be making officials in the White House tremble.  Critical infrastructure supplying 45% of the East Coast’s diesel, gasoline and jet fuel, left at the mercy of a ransomware operation executed on May 6.  In the process, 100 GB of data of Colonial Pipeline was seized and encrypted on computers and servers.  The next day, those behind the operation[Read More…]

by 11/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Spending More On Nukes: STRATCOM’s Nuclear Death Wish

Spending More On Nukes: STRATCOM’s Nuclear Death Wish

Being sufficiently able at your job is a good thing.  But beware the trappings of zeal.  When it comes to the business of retaining an inventory for humanity’s annihilation, the zealous should be kept away.  But there Admiral Charles Richard was in April this year, with his siren calls, urging the US Senate to consider a simple proposition.  “Sustainment of[Read More…]

by 06/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Going to Court: The EU Sues AstraZeneca

Going to Court: The EU Sues AstraZeneca

It has been a relationship of characterised by bitterness and misunderstanding.  It began with a poorly negotiated agreement – poor, that is, from the European Union perspective – between Brussels and AstraZeneca for the supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses.  Less rigorous in terms of penalties and consequences than the UK-AstraZeneca deal, the EU version was very much the poor cousin,[Read More…]

by 05/05/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Quibbling Over Cruelties: Human Rights Watch, Israel and Apartheid

Quibbling Over Cruelties: Human Rights Watch, Israel and Apartheid

Criticism of Israel’s policies towards Palestinians has always induced a defensive rage from its defenders and advocates.   A Threshold Crossed, a report by Human Rights Watch, lit several fires of rage and disapproval.  Israel, according to the authors, is responsible for apartheid policies. The word, and the application of its meaning, is immemorially nasty.  This deeply though through policy of[Read More…]

by 03/05/2021 Comments are Disabled Palestine
Forgetting Citizenship: Australia Suspends Flights from India

Forgetting Citizenship: Australia Suspends Flights from India

As India is being devastated by COVID-19 cases that have now passed a daily rate of 400,000, affluent and callous Australia has taken the decision to suspend all flights coming into the country till mid-month.  The decision was reached by the Morrison government with the blessing of the State Premiers and the Labor opposition. Not happy with banning flights from[Read More…]

by 02/05/2021 2 comments World
Joe Biden, Recognition and the Armenian Genocide

Joe Biden, Recognition and the Armenian Genocide

Attributing names to the brutal acts humans are capable of inflicting upon each other is never without problems.  There are gradations of terror, hierarchies of atrocity and cruelty.  In these, the pedants reign.  Disputes splutter and rage over whether a “massacre” can best be described as a crime against humanity or a counter-measure waged with heavy sorrow against a threatening[Read More…]

by 27/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Ethnic Engineering: Denmark’s Ghetto Policy

Ethnic Engineering: Denmark’s Ghetto Policy

The very word is chilling, but has become normalised political currency in Denmark.  Since 2010, the Danish government has resorted to generating “ghetto lists” marking out areas as socially problematic for the state.  In 2018, the country’s parliament passed “ghetto” laws to further regulate the lives of individuals inhabiting various city areas focusing on their racial and ethnic origins.  The[Read More…]

by 25/04/2021 1 comment World
Greed and the European Super League

Greed and the European Super League

Suffocating the grassroots.  Mocking the working class origins of the game.  World football, and primarily European club football, has long done away with loyalties in favour of cash and contract.  The professionalization of the game has seen a difficult relationship between fan, spectator and sporting management, none better exemplified than the price of tickets, the role of branding and sponsorship.[Read More…]

by 20/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Coronavirus Strikes Papua New Guinea

Coronavirus Strikes Papua New Guinea

There was a time when it seemed Papua New Guinea had managed to dodge a bullet.  Instances of SARS-CoV-2 were minimal, along with its disease, COVID-19.  Through 2020, the country of eight million people recorded a mere 900 cases.  The World Health Organization praised the PNG government in a September 2020 news release in “taking the threat of the pandemic[Read More…]

by 19/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Children in Afghanistan - Photo credit: cdn.pixabay.com

Exiting Afghanistan: Biden Sets the Date

It had to be symbolic, and was represented as such.  Forces of the United States will be leaving Afghanistan on September 11 after two decades of violent occupation, though for a good deal of this stretch, US forces were, at best, failed democracy builders, at worst, violent tenants. In his April 14 speech, President Joe Biden made the point that[Read More…]

by 16/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Beautiful Plots: Israel Sabotages the Natanz Nuclear Facility

Beautiful Plots: Israel Sabotages the Natanz Nuclear Facility

Over the weekend, Iran marked National Nuclear Technology Day.  The stars of the show were going to be new advanced centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.  Unfortunately, the stars did not shine and President Hassan Rouhani and his officials were left with a reminder of the previous time the centrifuges at Natanz crashed.  In 2010, a joint US-Israeli operation[Read More…]

by 13/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Nimble Failure: The Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Nimble Failure: The Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Program

“I am not going to be talking about numbers today,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told Australia’s Radio National on April 12.  This echoed suggestions from the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who had adopted the position that Australia best forget meeting any clear vaccination targets.  Having left battling the pandemic to State governments, the Federal government has found[Read More…]

by 12/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Fatuous Defence: Australia’s Guided Missile Plans

Fatuous Defence: Australia’s Guided Missile Plans

Even in times of pandemic crises, some things never change.  While Australia gurgles and bumbles slowly with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, there are other priorities at stake.  Threat inflators are receiving much interest in defence, and the media is feeding on it with a drunken enthusiasm.  We live in a dangerous environment, and think-tankers, parliamentarians and commentators are starting to[Read More…]

by 08/04/2021 1 comment World
Priti Patel and the Death of Asylum

Priti Patel and the Death of Asylum

Nothing makes better sense to the political classes than small time demagoguery when matters turn sour. True, the United Kingdom might well be speeding ahead with vaccination numbers, and getting ever big-headed about it, but there is still good reason to distract the voters.  Coronavirus continues to vex; the economy continues to suffer. In February, the Office of Statistics revealed[Read More…]

by 04/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The Adani Business Formula: Dealing with Myanmar’s Military

The Adani Business Formula: Dealing with Myanmar’s Military

Corporate morality can be a flexible thing.  Some companies see tantalising dollar signs afloat in the spilt blood of civilians and dissidents.  Military governments, however trigger crazed, offer ideal opportunities; potentially, corners can be cut, regulations relaxed.  The Adani Group has shown itself to be particularly unscrupulous in this regard. In many ways, it is fitting.  The group’s record in[Read More…]

by 01/04/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Cancelling Art, Dark Mofo and the Offended Classes

Cancelling Art, Dark Mofo and the Offended Classes

Last week, Australians found themselves delighting in another fit of cancel culture, this time in the art world.  Tasmania’s Dark Mofo art festival prides itself on being gritty but the mood was very much about removing any grit to begin with.  Interest centred on the project of Spanish artist Santiago Sierra, who had proposed soaking a Union Jack Flag “in[Read More…]

by 29/03/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Increasing Nukes and Trimming the Military: Global Britain’s Skewed Vision

Increasing Nukes and Trimming the Military: Global Britain’s Skewed Vision

Campaigners for the abolition of nuclear weapons had every reason to clink glasses with the coming into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in January.  Nuclear weapon states and their allies still persisted in calling the document unhelpful and unrealistic; the self-appointed realists have preferred the go-slow approach of disarmament, a form of moderated insanity. In[Read More…]

by 25/03/2021 Comments are Disabled World
      Baz Ratner/Reuters US troops in Afghanistan, June 2011

Confused in Afghanistan: The Biden Administration’s Latest Trick

The Biden administration continues to engage in that favourite activity White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki can only describe as “circling back”.  And much circling is taking place in the context of Afghanistan. The cupboard of calamities is well stocked, with the US facing an emboldened Taliban keen to hold Washington to its word in withdrawing the last troops by[Read More…]

by 24/03/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Green Passes and Dark Inequalities: The Push for COVID Immunity Passports

Green Passes and Dark Inequalities: The Push for COVID Immunity Passports

Sensible, ideal, wonderful – if you happen to be in the European Union.  This is the air of confidence surrounding the March 17 proposal for a digital COVID immunity passport, or what is officially being called the Digital Green Certificate. The Digital Green Certificate is actually a bundle of three: vaccination certificates stating the brand of vaccine used, data and[Read More…]

by 19/03/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The University Deception: Rankings and Academic Freedom

The University Deception: Rankings and Academic Freedom

Forget the global university rankings of any list.  The global university promotion exercise is filled with snake oil and perfumed refuse, an effort to corrupt the unknowing and steal from the gullible.  The aim here is to convince parents, potential students and academics that their institutions of white collar crime are appealing enough to warrant enrolment and employment at. Writing[Read More…]

by 15/03/2021 1 comment World
Eyes on China: The Quad Takes Scattered Aim

Eyes on China: The Quad Takes Scattered Aim

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue has had its fits and starts, but nothing encourages such chats than threats, actual or perceived.  In 2017, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono felt that it was time that a strategic dialogue between Japan, the United States, Australia and India should be revived.  The Quad, as it was termed, was on the way to becoming a[Read More…]

by 11/03/2021 Comments are Disabled World
COVID-19 Vaccines, Access and the Intellectual Property Wars

COVID-19 Vaccines, Access and the Intellectual Property Wars

By now, anybody speaking about vaccine equality and equity of access must surely be coming across as slightly deranged.  In the field of COVID-19, traditional proprietorial instincts remain.  Add to this the disparity in terms of manufacture, bureaucracy and the nasty flavour of politics, and we would all be entitled to long draughts of cynicism. The COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global[Read More…]

by 08/03/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Brawling over Vaccines: Export Bans and the EU’s Bungled Rollout

Brawling over Vaccines: Export Bans and the EU’s Bungled Rollout

The European Union has been keeping up appearances in encouraging the equitable distribution of vaccines to combat SARS-CoV-2 and its disease, COVID-19.  Numerous statements speak to the need to back the COVAX scheme, to ensure equity and that no one state misses out.  And EU member states could be assured of a smooth vaccine rollout, led by the EU apparatus,[Read More…]

by 07/03/2021 Comments are Disabled World
      Baz Ratner/Reuters US troops in Afghanistan, June 2011

Biden, Afghanistan and Forever Wars

The papers are full of suggestions on what US President Joe Biden should do about his country’s seemingly perennial involvement in Afghanistan.  None are particularly useful, in that they ignore the central premise that a nation state long mauled, molested and savaged should finally be left alone.  Nonsense, say the media and political cognoscenti.  The Guardian claims that he is[Read More…]

by 04/03/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Delusions of Self-Defense: Biden Bombs Syria

Delusions of Self-Defense: Biden Bombs Syria

Every power worth its portion of salt in the Levant these days seems to be doing it.  On February 25, President Joe Biden ordered airstrikes against Syria.  The premise for the attacks was implausible.  “These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq,” claimed Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, “and to ongoing threats to[Read More…]

by 02/03/2021 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
Culpability and Recalibration: MBS and the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi

Culpability and Recalibration: MBS and the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi

It was a brutal way to go, and it had the paw prints of the highest authorities.  On October 2, 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian insider turned outsider, was murdered by a squad of 15 men from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  He was dismembered and quite literally cancelled in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. This state sanctioned killing[Read More…]

by 27/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
War Mongering for Artificial Intelligence

War Mongering for Artificial Intelligence

The ghost of Edward Teller must have been doing the rounds between members of the National Commission on Artificial Intelligence.  The father of the hydrogen bomb was never one too bothered by the ethical niggles that came with inventing murderous technology.  It was not, for instance, “the scientist’s job to determine whether a hydrogen bomb should be constructed, whether it[Read More…]

by 26/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Refriended in Defeat: Australia Strikes a Deal with Facebook

Refriended in Defeat: Australia Strikes a Deal with Facebook

The Australian Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, was unconvincing in his efforts to summon up courage.  The Australian government had been left reeling in the wake of Facebook’s decision to scrap and block Australians from sharing and posting news items on hosted pages. The company’s target of opprobrium: the News Media Bargaining Code. The Code’s ostensible purpose is to address the inequalities[Read More…]

by 24/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Facebook Unfriends Australia: The Triumph of Epistemic Chaos

Facebook Unfriends Australia: The Triumph of Epistemic Chaos

Creepy and ruthless Facebook has again impressed with its steely indifference to civic responsibility, as if a company established by a sociopath could ever be a model of human improvement. On February 18, Mark Zuckerberg’s antisocial company took aim at Australia by blocking those in that country from sharing local and international content.  As the company notice to those trying[Read More…]

by 20/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The “Return” of America: Biden’s Maiden Foreign Policy Speech

The “Return” of America: Biden’s Maiden Foreign Policy Speech

Few could have been slack-jawed at the first significant foreign policy speech of US President Joe Biden.  It can easily be filed under the “America is back” label.  Back as well, as if the previous administration had been incapable of it, was a promise for that practice unflatteringly called jaw-jaw.  “Diplomacy,” the President states from the outset, “is back at[Read More…]

by 16/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Missions to Mars:  Mapping, Probing and Plundering the Red Planet

Missions to Mars:  Mapping, Probing and Plundering the Red Planet

In the first month of 2020, Forbes was all excitement about fresh opportunities for plunder and conquest.  Titled “2020: The Year We Will Conquer Mars”, the contribution by astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter was less interested in the physics than the conquest.  A potentially very crowded scene was described.  Various countries would send their cluttering devices to “orbit, rove, sample, dig,[Read More…]

by 14/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Trouble in Vaccine Land: The Wiliness of South Africa’s Coronavirus Variant

Trouble in Vaccine Land: The Wiliness of South Africa’s Coronavirus Variant

It began as a shudder through the scientific and public health establishments.  A new variant of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 had been found, mutating in South African climes, potentially outwitting human responses to it.  Vaccines such as Oxford-AstraZeneca’s would have to be brushed up.  Rollouts would have to be reconsidered. The South African variant has been given a few designations:[Read More…]

by 12/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Continuing Prosecutions: Assange and the Biden Administration

Continuing Prosecutions: Assange and the Biden Administration

With changes of presidential administrations, radical departures in policy are always exaggerated.  Continuity remains, for the most part, a standard feature.  It is precisely that continuity being challenged by groups fearful of the continuing prosecution of Julian Assange. The effort by the US Justice Department to extradite Assange from the UK on eighteen charges based on the Espionage Act and[Read More…]

by 11/02/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Information Interruptus: Bing, Google and the News Media Bargaining Code

Information Interruptus: Bing, Google and the News Media Bargaining Code

It’s looking a touch quixotic, but the News Media Bargaining Code has become Australia’s weapon of choice in attempting to redistribute proceeds from big tech into the coffers of a withering fourth estate.  It has now reached a point of sufficient concern for Google as to become threatening, winding its way to a Senate Committee Inquiry before going to Parliament[Read More…]

by 10/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Let the Investigation Begin: The International Criminal Court, Israel and the Palestinian Territories

Let the Investigation Begin: The International Criminal Court, Israel and the Palestinian Territories

International tribunals tend to be praised, in principle, by those they avoid investigating.  Once interest shifts to those parties, such bodies become the subject of accusations: bias, politicisation, crude arbitrariness.  The United States, whose legal and political personnel have expended vast resources on the machinery of international courts and jurisprudence, remains cold to the International Criminal Court.  The sceptics have[Read More…]

by 07/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Coronavirus Education: Learning and Teaching from the Margins

Coronavirus Education: Learning and Teaching from the Margins

The coronavirus student, a species brought forth in the world of education by a pandemic that has killed over 400,000 people in the United States and 100,000 in the United Kingdom, is a troubled creature.  When universities and schools across the globe were given varying and often contradictory messages on the safety of continuing in class teaching and participation, the[Read More…]

by 04/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Cowardly History: Australia Day and Invasion

Cowardly History: Australia Day and Invasion

It’s the sort of stuff that should have been sorted years ago in Australia: a murderous, frontier society ill disposed to the indigenous populace; the creation of a convict colony that was itself an act of invasion rather than settlement; the theft of land and its rapacious plunder. Even some of the rough colonists were not oblivious to such a[Read More…]

by 02/02/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Boris Johnson and the Deaths of the Hundred Thousand

Boris Johnson and the Deaths of the Hundred Thousand

Not exactly Thermopylae.  Not even close.  The hundred thousand who have now been taken by COVID-19 in Britain were not determined warriors holding up the forces of a mighty empire to save their land.  They were the innocent victims of infection, mismanagement and miscalculation.  Central to the policy which led to such losses was a practised bumbling which has become[Read More…]

by 29/01/2021 1 comment World
Immortal Wins: India Defeats Fortress Australia

Immortal Wins: India Defeats Fortress Australia

It was never meant to be like this.  After the Indian cricketing team met misery and disaster in the first test match at Adelaide, registering a paltry 36 in its second innings, little hope was had for the touring side.  Australia threatened rout and massacre.  The Border-Gavaskar trophy seemed within the home side’s grasp. And the home side had every[Read More…]

by 22/01/2021 Comments are Disabled India
Trigger Finger for Armageddon: Trump and the Thermonuclear Monarchy

Trigger Finger for Armageddon: Trump and the Thermonuclear Monarchy

It is the sort of breezy, skimpy and careless reasoning that is laying the ground for the Biden Republic.  A person, kicked off a social media babbling platform and having the means to incinerate the human race multiple times over, seen as corollaries of each other.  There should be an obvious difference, but Silicon Valley has managed to make public[Read More…]

by 17/01/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Encircling China and Praising India: The US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific

Encircling China and Praising India: The US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific

The feeling from Rory Medcalf of the Australian National University was one of breathless wonder.  “The US government,” he wrote in The Strategist, “has just classified one of its most secretive national security documents – its 2018 strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific, which was formally classified SECRET and not for release to foreign nationals.” Washington’s errand boys and girls in[Read More…]

by 15/01/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and Australia’s Complicity

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks and Australia’s Complicity

Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, said little in the statement from her department, which was a good thing, as it might have been dangerously useful.  The finding of a UK court on whether Julian Assange would be extradited to the United States was made “on the grounds of his mental health and consequent suicide risk.”  She does not care to[Read More…]

by 13/01/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Twitter Nukes Trump

Twitter Nukes Trump

This was Twitter Safety’s January 8 post, full of noble concern: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them – specifically how they are being received and interpreted off Twitter – we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Is it ever wise for a social[Read More…]

by 12/01/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Trump, Insurrections and the 25th Amendment

Trump, Insurrections and the 25th Amendment

How strange it must have seemed for US lawmakers to be suddenly facing what was described as a “mob”, not so much storming as striding into the Capitol with angry purpose.  A terrified security force proved understaffed and overwhelmed.  Members of Congress hid.  Five people lost their lives. With the US imperium responsible for fostering numerous revolutions and coups across[Read More…]

by 09/01/2021 Comments are Disabled World
Proxy Jailor: Denying Assange Bail

Proxy Jailor: Denying Assange Bail

History, while not always a telling guide, can be useful.  But in moments of flushed confidence, it is not consulted and Cleo is forgotten.  A crisp new dawn can negate a glance to the past.  Having received the unexpected news that Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States for charges of breaching the Espionage Act of 1917 and computer intrusion[Read More…]

by 07/01/2021 1 comment Human Rights
In Diversity We Trust: Joe Biden’s Cabinet Choices

In Diversity We Trust: Joe Biden’s Cabinet Choices

Perfumed and tailored for a certain brand of folksy, identity politics, Pete Buttigieg hoped to blast his way to the White House having run a community of 102,000 constituents in South Bend, Indiana.  Mayor Pete was hoping for the best, though his effort did not so much stall as fall over early on before the somnambulist who eventually won both[Read More…]

by 06/01/2021 Comments are Disabled World
“It’s not as bad as Iwo Jima, I suppose”: The Julian Assange Extradition Verdict

“It’s not as bad as Iwo Jima, I suppose”: The Julian Assange Extradition Verdict

The barrister-brewed humour of Edward Fitzgerald QC, one of the solid and stout figures defending a certain Julian Assange of WikiLeaks at the Old Bailey in London, was understandable.  Time had worn and wearied the parties, none more so than his client.  Fitzgerald had asked for water, but then mused that its absence could hardly have been as bad as[Read More…]

by 05/01/2021 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Tinkering with National Anthems: Australia’s Patriotic Song for Children

Tinkering with National Anthems: Australia’s Patriotic Song for Children

It was a New Year gimmick that would have warmed advertising executives across the country.  For the first time since it was proclaimed as Australia’s national anthem on April 19, 1984, Advance Australia Fair has been tinkered with.  The jarring words from the second line, “For we are young and free” have been amended to “For we are one and[Read More…]

by 02/01/2021 Comments are Disabled World
The Julian Assange Pardon Drive

The Julian Assange Pardon Drive

The odds are stacked against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher who faces the grimmest of prospects come January 4.  On that day, the unsympathetic judicial head of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser will reveal her decision on the Old Bailey proceedings that took place between September and October this year.  Despite Assange’s team being able to marshal an impressive, even astonishing[Read More…]

by 30/12/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
UK Parliamentarians, the British Press and Julian Assange

UK Parliamentarians, the British Press and Julian Assange

The number of figures extolling the merits of Britain’s Westminster system and how it supposedly embodies a glorious model of democracy are too numerous to mention.  This is despite exploits by the government of Boris Johnson, marked by the appointment of unelected advisers with enviable, unaccountable powers and a record of assault on Parliament’s scrutineering functions.  “As the government blunders[Read More…]

by 18/12/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Abuse on the Mainland: Australia’s Medevac Hotel Detentions

Abuse on the Mainland: Australia’s Medevac Hotel Detentions

Governments that issue press releases about the abuse of human rights tend to avoid close gazes at the mirror.  Doing so would be telling.  In the case of Australia, its record on dealing with refugees is both abysmal and cruel.  It tends to be easier to point the finger at national security laws in Hong Kong and concentration camps in[Read More…]

by 16/12/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Fish Wars and Brexit

Fish Wars and Brexit

Warring over fish in the twenty-first century might seem an unlikely proposition.  But the deployment of four Royal Navy ships to deter European fishing vessels from encroaching on British waters in the event of a no-deal Brexit has tongues wagging.  The prospects of a trade pact between the EU and UK by the end of this month are becoming cold[Read More…]

by 14/12/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange: Covid Risks and Campaigns for Pardon

Julian Assange: Covid Risks and Campaigns for Pardon

Before the January 4 ruling of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser in the extradition case of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher will continue to endure the ordeal of cold prison facilities while being menaced by a COVID-19 outbreak.  From November 18, Assange, along with inmates in House Block 1 at Belmarsh prison in south-east London, were placed in lockdown conditions.  The[Read More…]

by 10/12/2020 Comments are Disabled World
THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK  (Courtesy of The Globe and Mail)

“I Told You So. You Damned Fools”: 75 Years of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Leafing – or in this case scrolling through – the commemorative issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists after 75 years of publication is a tingling exercise of existence.  The subject matter pushes you to the edge.  You threaten to fall off.  Death is promised; extinction contemplated.  Nuclear holocaust.  Your sanity is called into question.  The Bulletin’s own Doomsday[Read More…]

by 09/12/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Think Tankers Against China: The Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Think Tankers Against China: The Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Security think tanks are the leeches of industry.  Attached to their appropriate field, they compile analysis that is supposedly masterful, insightful and even useful.  Reports can recommend courses of action, from a troop surge in a failing war, to an increase of defence spending in bolstering cyber capabilities.  Bunkered in these institutes, the think tanker achieves eminence by detecting what[Read More…]

by 07/12/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Trump Exits Somalia

Trump Exits Somalia

These are things that might have been done earlier.  During the last, flickering days of the Trump administration, activity is being witnessed across countries which have a US troop presence.  Numbers are being reduced.  Security wonks are getting the jitters.  Is the imperium shrinking?  Will President elect Joe Biden wake up and reverse the trend?  With the Beltway foreign policy[Read More…]

by 06/12/2020 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
Picture of Aussie soldier gulping beer from ‘prosthetic leg of dead Taliban fighter’

Imperfect Releases: Andrew Hastie, War Crimes Reports and Australia in Afghanistan

If one were to get into the head of Australian government MP Andrew Hastie, a security tangle of woe would no doubt await.  Having been a captain with the Special Air Services and having also served in Afghanistan, he has been none too thrilled by the publicity soldiers he served with have received.  The report by New South Wales Court[Read More…]

by 05/12/2020 1 comment World
The David McBride Case: Whistleblowing, Afghanistan and Australian War Crimes

The David McBride Case: Whistleblowing, Afghanistan and Australian War Crimes

Much complaint can be had of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report. It exempts political actors of responsibility for alleged atrocities and war crimes. It suggests that those in the highest echelons of the Australian Defence Forces are ignorant in incompetent innocence.  It spares the desk warriors and flays the field operatives. Heavily redacted, this document[Read More…]

by 03/12/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Not Adding Up: Australia, Iran and the Release of Kylie Moore-Gilbert

Not Adding Up: Australia, Iran and the Release of Kylie Moore-Gilbert

Australia’s ambassadorial offices and political leaders have a consistent record of ignoring their citizens in tight situations.  David Hicks, Mamdouh Habib and Julian Assange are but a few names that come to mind in this inglorious record of indifference.  In such cases, Australian public figures and officials have tacitly approved the use of abduction, torture and neglect, usually outsourced and[Read More…]

by 28/11/2020 1 comment World
Biden’s Promise: America is Back(wards)

Biden’s Promise: America is Back(wards)

With President Donald Trump all but conceding to the transition team that will take over after January next year, interest now shifts to President-elect Joe Biden’s choices for cabinet.  On the national security front, the imperial-military lobby will have reasons to be satisfied.  If Trump promised to rein in, if not put the brakes on the US imperium, Biden promises[Read More…]

by 27/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Keeping the Empire Running: Britain’s Global Military Footprint

Keeping the Empire Running: Britain’s Global Military Footprint

A few nostalgic types still believe that the Union Jack continues to flutter to sighs and reverence over outposts of the world, from the tropics to the desert.  They would be right, if only to a point.  Britain, it turns out, has a rather expansive global reach when it comes to bases, military installations and testing sites.  While not having[Read More…]

by 25/11/2020 1 comment Imperialism
Skewed Responsibility: Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan

Skewed Responsibility: Australian War Crimes in Afghanistan

The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry was always going to make for a gruesome read – and that was only the redacted version.  The findings of the four-year investigation, led by New South Wales Court of Appeal Justice and Army Reserve Major-General Paul Brereton, point to “credible evidence” that 39 Afghan non-combatants and prisoners were allegedly killed[Read More…]

by 24/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Saudi Arabia's War in Yemen Has Failed - Council on Foreign Relations

The Yemen Civil War Arms Bonanza

“Making billions from arms exports which fuel the conflict while providing a small fraction of that in aid to Yemen is both immoral and incoherent.”  So thundered Oxfam’s Yemen Country Director, Muhsin Siddiquey after consulting figures from the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) showing that members of the G20 have exported over $17 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia[Read More…]

by 21/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Dim Halos: Suppressing the Cult of Pope John Paul II

Dim Halos: Suppressing the Cult of Pope John Paul II

As chief conductor of the saint factory, Pope John Paul II was always going to be, in time, canonised.  Almost 500 saints were created under his watch.  The previous 600 years had seen 300.  But declaring him a saint in 2014, a mere nine years after his death, was speedy by the standards of the Vatican.  Critics, and those more[Read More…]

by 20/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Covid Offices and the Religion of Remote Work

Covid Offices and the Religion of Remote Work

Masks can prove liberating.  The hidden face affords security.  Obnoxious authority breathes better, hiding in comfort.  Behind the material, confidence finds a home.  While tens of millions of jobs have been lost to the novel coronavirus globally, security services, surveillance officers and pen pushers are thriving, policing admissions to facilities, churning through health and safety declarations, and generally making a[Read More…]

by 18/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
A Dedicated Obsession: Washington’s Continuing Iran Sanctions Regime

A Dedicated Obsession: Washington’s Continuing Iran Sanctions Regime

One dogma that is likely to persist in US foreign policy during a Biden presidency will be the sanctions regime adopted towards Iran.  Every messianic state craves clearly scripted enemies, and the demonology about the Islamic Republic is not going to go begging.  Elliot Abrahams, the current US special representative for Iran, told Associated Press on November 12 that, “Even[Read More…]

by 15/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Rolling Heads at the Pentagon: Trump as Sacker-in-Chief

Rolling Heads at the Pentagon: Trump as Sacker-in-Chief

A sense of redundancy might encourage calm.  The job is done, however well or poorly.  The legacy charted.  But in the case of President Donald Trump, there is still much to be done.  Leaving aside his priority of fortifying himself in the White House against any bailiff onslaught by president-elect Joe Biden, he is busy making decisions.  One of them[Read More…]

by 13/11/2020 Comments are Disabled Uncategorized
Petitions, Probes and Rupert Murdoch

Petitions, Probes and Rupert Murdoch

Australia has given the world two influential and disruptive exports in the field of media.  One, currently in London’s Belmarsh Prison, is facing the prospect of extradition to the United States for charges that could see him serve a 175 year sentence in a brutal, soul destroying supermax.  The other, so the argument goes, should also be facing the prospect[Read More…]

by 12/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Fur Trades and Pandemics: Coronavirus and Denmark’s Great Mink Massacre

Fur Trades and Pandemics: Coronavirus and Denmark’s Great Mink Massacre

“The worst case scenario is a new pandemic, starting all over again out of Denmark,” came the words of a grave Kåre Mølbak, director of the Danish health authorities, the State Serum Institute.  According to the Institute, COVID-19 infections were registered on 216 mink farms on November 6.  Not only had such infections been registered; new variants, five different clusters[Read More…]

by 07/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The US Presidential Election: The View from Outside

The US Presidential Election: The View from Outside

It was now the turn of other states to vent about, and at, the United States.  The 2020 US presidential elections were coming down to a razor sharp wire.  The Democrats were starting to feel confident in the swing states.  Republicans and the Trump camp were mustering aggressive arguments on potential electoral fraud, lawyering up the heavies.  The picture is[Read More…]

by 06/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Trump, Blue Mirages and False Polls

Trump, Blue Mirages and False Polls

The great bard remarks in Henry VI: Part II that all the lawyers ought to be killed.  In entertaining this homicidal formula, William Shakespeare had yet to encounter that barnacle breed known as the pollster.  There is much to suggest that those practising this dark and futile art ought to be done away with, with their special ability to suggest[Read More…]

by 05/11/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Sawing the Sacred: Felling the Djab Wurrung Directions Tree

Sawing the Sacred: Felling the Djab Wurrung Directions Tree

“Djab Wurrung women are in an abusive relationship with Victoria’s government.” Sissy Eileen Austin, The Guardian, Sep 14, 2019 It was a penultimate day in the Australian state of Victoria.  The state government had announced that some of harshest coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the developed world would be easing.  Melbourne’s restaurants, bars and cafes could resume inviting customers through their[Read More…]

by 02/11/2020 Comments are Disabled Environmental Protection
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27:  Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn presents documents related to post-Brexit UK-US Trade talks as he speaks during an election policy announcement on the NHS at church house n Westminster on November 27, 2019 in London, England. The United Kingdom's will go to the polls in a general election on December 12. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Factionalising Antisemitism: The British Labour Party Suspends Jeremy Corbyn

Whatever stance taken by followers of the British Labour Party on the subject of antisemitism within its ranks, the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn must be seen as an exercise of muscle on the part of Sir Keir Starmer.  Since coming to the leadership, Starmer’s popularity has risen, catching up to that of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  But Corbyn and the[Read More…]

by 31/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Begging Outrage: British Journalists for Assange

Begging Outrage: British Journalists for Assange

Even that title strikes an odd note.  It should not.  The Fourth Estate, historically reputed as the chamber of journalists and publishers keeping an eye on elected officials, received a blast of oxygen with the arrival of WikiLeaks.  This was daring, rich stuff: scientific journalism in the trenches, news gathering par excellence.  But what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks did was[Read More…]

by 30/10/2020 1 comment World
Google meets the Sherman Act

Google meets the Sherman Act

“Ambition is the subtlest Beast of the Intellectual and Moral Field,” wrote John Adams to his son, John Quincy Adams, in January, 1794. “It is wonderfully adroit in concealing itself from its owner.”  Father Adams was thinking of Thomas Jefferson in penning these words, that sly devil of a man who sought to gain power while falsely claiming to eschew[Read More…]

by 29/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Cultivated Lunacy, Nuclear Deterrence and Banning the Nuke

Cultivated Lunacy, Nuclear Deterrence and Banning the Nuke

Is international relations a field for cautious minds, marked by permanent setbacks, or terrain where the bold are encouraged to seize the day?  In terms of dealing with the existential and even unimaginable horror that is nuclear war, the bold have certainly stolen a march. The signature of Honduras was the 50th required for the entry into force of the[Read More…]

by 27/10/2020 1 comment World
Impunity and Carefree Violence: Australia’s Special Forces in Afghanistan

Impunity and Carefree Violence: Australia’s Special Forces in Afghanistan

In 2016, Australian Major General Jeff Sengelman approached the then chief of the Australian army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell with a nagging worry. The concern lay in allegations that Australian special forces had committed various war crimes in Afghanistan.  Sengelman was then special forces commander; Campbell was chief of the army.  Sociologist Samantha Crompvoets was duly commissioned to write a[Read More…]

by 26/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Trusted Demonologies: US Electoral Interference, the Proud Boys and Iran

Trusted Demonologies: US Electoral Interference, the Proud Boys and Iran

Iran, Russia and electoral interference.  It is all part of the delicious mess that any observer of US politics has come to expect.  Were the US body politic capable of being examined on the clinician’s couch, historical fears, psychic disturbances, and a range of unsettling syndromes would be identified.  The issue of electoral interference would certainly be at the fore;[Read More…]

by 23/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Follow the Money: Banking, Criminality and the FinCEN Files

Follow the Money: Banking, Criminality and the FinCEN Files

It was all a fitting reminder of Bertolt Brecht’s remark that bank robbery lies in the province of amateurs.  The real professionals of plunder establish banks.  Last month, the labours of Buzzfeed and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealed just that.  Centre stage: international banking misbehaviour. And my, was there much to go on. The journalists had been combing[Read More…]

by 20/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Sloppy Methodology: Social Media, Censorship and New York Post’s Hunter Biden Story

Sloppy Methodology: Social Media, Censorship and New York Post’s Hunter Biden Story

It was highly probable.  Given the howls of concern that social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook nurse and nurture a bias (every choice on content entails one), a gift was made to critics to show just that.  Last Wednesday, Twitter prevented users from posting links to a New York Post story.  The story, claimed Twitter, was “potentially unsafe,”[Read More…]

by 19/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Britannic Impunity: The UK Overseas Operations Bill

Britannic Impunity: The UK Overseas Operations Bill

It was praised by Michael Clarke, former Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute, as “clear and entire laudable” – at least up to a point.  The UK Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill would “give [British] troops serving overseas much-needed extra protection against fraudulent or frivolous claims against them of criminal behaviour.”  It was also part of a[Read More…]

by 18/10/2020 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
Dropped Prosecutions: The Afghan Files, Public Interest Journalism and Dan Oakes

Dropped Prosecutions: The Afghan Files, Public Interest Journalism and Dan Oakes

In July 2017, two journalists working for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, wrote of a stash of incriminating documents, running into hundreds of pages.  They were “secret defence force documents leaked to the ABC”.  These documents gave “an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations in Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of troops killing[Read More…]

by 16/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Boris Johnson at Sea: Coronavirus Confusion in the UK

Boris Johnson at Sea: Coronavirus Confusion in the UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence.  Much of this is due to such errors of communication as committed last month, when he got into a tangle over new coronavirus restrictions in England’s northeast. In[Read More…]

by 13/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Back on the Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin Wins Over Spirit

Back on the Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin Wins Over Spirit

In March, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal upheld an original jury finding that Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven did not infringe copyright in Spirit’s 1968 song Taurus.  Michael Skidmore, who had filed the suit in 2014 as trustee of the estate of the late Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe, was hoping that the US Supreme Court would take time[Read More…]

by 11/10/2020 Comments are Disabled Arts/Literature
Matters of International Justice: Challenging Trump’s ICC Sanctions

Matters of International Justice: Challenging Trump’s ICC Sanctions

On September 2, US sanctions – the sort normally reserved for fully fledged terrorists and decorated drug traffickers – were imposed on the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda and her colleague Phakiso Mochochoko, head of Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation.  For Balkees Jarrah, senior counsel for Human Rights Watch, it was a “stunning perversion of US sanctions,[Read More…]

by 08/10/2020 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
Lunar Lunacy: Competition, Conflict and Mining the Moon

Lunar Lunacy: Competition, Conflict and Mining the Moon

The discussion about mining the Moon resembles that of previous conquests: the division of territory; the grabbing of resources; language of theft and plunder.  All of this is given the gloss of manifest destiny and human experiment.  Such language is also self-perpetuating: the plunderer is only as good as the amount taken; success is dependent on constant replenishment and expansion.[Read More…]

by 05/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Eighteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Abuse of Power, Breaching Attorney-Client Privilege and Adjournment

Assange’s Eighteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Abuse of Power, Breaching Attorney-Client Privilege and Adjournment

October 1, 2020.  Central Criminal Court, London: The Old Bailey has been the venue for a trial that should never have taken place. But during the course of these extradition proceedings against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder accused by the US Department of Justice for violating the US Espionage Act (17 charges) and one under the Computer Fraud and Abuse[Read More…]

by 02/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Seventeenth Day at the Old Bailey: Embassy Espionage, Contemplated Poisoning and Proposed Kidnapping

Assange’s Seventeenth Day at the Old Bailey: Embassy Espionage, Contemplated Poisoning and Proposed Kidnapping

September 30.  Central Criminal Court, London: Today will be remembered as a grand expose.  It was a direct, pointed accusation at the intentions of the US imperium which long for the scalp of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.  For WikiLeaks, it was a smouldering triumph, showing that the entire mission against Assange, from the start, has been a political one. [Read More…]

by 01/10/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Sixteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Special Administrative Measures, Unreliable Assurances and Espionage

Assange’s Sixteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Special Administrative Measures, Unreliable Assurances and Espionage

September 29.  Central Criminal Court, London.: Julian Assange’s defence team spent the day going over, reemphasising and sharpening the focus on what awaited their client should he, with the blessing of Her Majesty’s Government, make his way to the United States.  Not only will he confront 17 charges under the US Espionage Act and one under the Computer Fraud and[Read More…]

by 30/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Fifteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Solitary Confinement and Parlous Health Care

Assange’s Fifteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Solitary Confinement and Parlous Health Care

September 28.  Central Criminal Court, London.: Throughout the sham process formally known as the Julian Assange extradition trial, prosecutors representing the United States have been adamant: the carceral conditions awaiting him in freedom’s land will be pleasant, accommodating and appropriate.  Confronting 17 charges under the US Espionage Act and one under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Assange and his[Read More…]

by 29/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Fourteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Elections, Cracking Passwords and Failures of Proof

Assange’s Fourteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Elections, Cracking Passwords and Failures of Proof

September 25.  Central Criminal Court, London: On this Friday, the Assange trial moved into the rarefied realm of computer hacking and the less than rarefied world of when final arguments will be made.  The WikiLeaks publisher is confronting the prospect of extradition to the United States for 17 charges under the US Espionage Act and one under the Computer Fraud[Read More…]

by 27/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Dean Jones: Life of a Cricketing Entertainer

Dean Jones: Life of a Cricketing Entertainer

He was very much one of those cricketers who made the pulse race, a figure for the advocates of a faster variant of the game.  Nothing of the solid blocker in the man, though he could, if needed, linger at the crease.  Australia’s Dean Jones sported equipment perfect for the shorter format of the game: lightning quick between the wickets,[Read More…]

by 27/09/2020 Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Assange’s Thirteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Mental Health, Managed Risk and Publication Chronologies

Assange’s Thirteenth Day at the Old Bailey: Mental Health, Managed Risk and Publication Chronologies

September 24.  Central Criminal Court, London: The lion’s share of today’s Old Bailey proceedings in Julian Assange’s extradition trial was spent on battles over mental health and dire risk.  The prosecution continued its attempt to minimise the dangers facing Assange were he to be extradited to the United States for 17 charges under the US Espionage Act and one under[Read More…]

by 25/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Twelfth Day at the Old Bailey: Autism, Suicide and Prisons

Assange’s Twelfth Day at the Old Bailey: Autism, Suicide and Prisons

September 23.  Central Criminal Court, London.: Following the script sheet of the previous day, the non sequitur, pop medical view of the prosecution was again in sharp evidence at the Old Bailey.  In an effort to make the road for Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States for 17 charges under the US Espionage Act and one under the Computer[Read More…]

by 24/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Eleventh Day at the Old Bailey: Suicide, Hallucinations and Psychological Torture

Assange’s Eleventh Day at the Old Bailey: Suicide, Hallucinations and Psychological Torture

September 22.  Central Criminal Court, London: Today, the prosecutors in the Julian Assange case did their show trial predecessors from other legal traditions proud.  The ghosts of such figures as Soviet state prosecutor Andrey Vyshinsky, would have approved of the line of questioning taken by James Lewis QC: suggest that Assange, accused of 17 counts of violating the US Espionage[Read More…]

by 23/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Tenth Day at the Old Bailey: Bolting Horses, Death Penalties and Plots of Eviction

Assange’s Tenth Day at the Old Bailey: Bolting Horses, Death Penalties and Plots of Eviction

September 21.  Central Criminal Court, London: Today was one of reiteration and expansion.  Computer scientist Christian Grothoff of the Bern University of Applied Sciences supplied the relevant chronology on what led to the publication of unredacted US State Department cables, the subject of such concern for the prosecution.  This proved a mild taster of what was to come: the alleged[Read More…]

by 22/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Ninth Day at the Old Bailey: Torture Testimonies, Offers of Pardon and Truth Telling

Assange’s Ninth Day at the Old Bailey: Torture Testimonies, Offers of Pardon and Truth Telling

September 18.  Central Criminal Court, London. The extradition trial of Julian Assange at the Old Bailey moved into a higher gear today.  Testimonies spanned the importance of classified information in war journalism, the teasing offer of a pardon for Assange by US President Donald Trump, torture inflicted by the US Central Intelligence Agency, the chilling effect of indictments under the[Read More…]

by 20/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Eighth Day at the Old Bailey: Software Redactions, the Iraq Logs and the Extradition Act

Assange’s Eighth Day at the Old Bailey: Software Redactions, the Iraq Logs and the Extradition Act

September 17.  Central Criminal Court, London. The extradition trial of Julian Assange at the Old Bailey struck similar notes to the previous day’s proceedings: the documentary work and practise of WikiLeaks, the method of redactions, and the legacy of exposing war crimes.  In the afternoon, the legal teams returned to well combed themes: testimony on the politicised nature of the[Read More…]

by 18/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Seventh Day at the Old Bailey: Diligent Redactions and Avoiding Harm

Assange’s Seventh Day at the Old Bailey: Diligent Redactions and Avoiding Harm

September 16.  Central Criminal Court, London.  Proceedings today at the Old Bailey regarding Julian Assange’s extradition returned to journalistic practice, redaction of source names and that ongoing obsession with alleged harm arising from WikiLeaks releases.  John Goetz of Der Spiegel added his bit for the defence, making an effort to set the record straight on the events leading up to[Read More…]

by 17/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Sixth Day at the Old Bailey: US Prison Conditions and Politicised Prosecutions

Assange’s Sixth Day at the Old Bailey: US Prison Conditions and Politicised Prosecutions

September 15.  Central Criminal Court, London.  Today, witnesses appearing in the extradition trial of Julian Assange fleshed out some points touched upon the previous day: the fate awaiting the WikiLeaks publisher in the US prison system, and the political nature of process.  Before commencing, Judge Vanessa Baraitser was a touch peeved.  She noted that one defence witness who took the[Read More…]

by 16/09/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Assange’s Fifth Day at the Old Bailey: Supermax Prisons and Special Administrative Measures

Assange’s Fifth Day at the Old Bailey: Supermax Prisons and Special Administrative Measures

Having had a coronavirus scare towards the end of last week, necessitating a brief suspension of proceedings for September 11, the extradition proceedings for Julian Assange resumed with Eric Lewis.  The chairman of the board of Reprieve, who has cut his teeth on representing Afghan detainees in US custody and those in Guantánamo, has not been shy in arguing against[Read More…]

by 15/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Rio Tinto turns Cultural Vandal: The Destruction of the Juukan Gorge Caves

Rio Tinto turns Cultural Vandal: The Destruction of the Juukan Gorge Caves

It was a calamity in cultural terms likened to the destruction of the Buddhist statues of Bamyan and the ancient city of Palmyra.  The explosive eradication of two Aboriginal sites in West Australia’s Juukan Gorge in May, said to be 46,000 years old, moved Peter Stone, the UNESCO chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace, to call it “a black[Read More…]

by 14/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Fourth Day at the Old Bailey: COVID in the Courtroom

Assange’s Fourth Day at the Old Bailey: COVID in the Courtroom

As James Lewis QC for the prosecution, representing the US government, revealed, “I’m just saying about my charger.  It’s in court and I’m going to run out of battery.”  It was one of those moments that said much about the fourth day of proceedings at the Old Bailey regarding one Julian Assange, publisher, Australian national and wanted by the US[Read More…]

by 11/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Third Day at the Old Bailey: Bias, Politics and Wars on Journalism

Assange’s Third Day at the Old Bailey: Bias, Politics and Wars on Journalism

The third day of extradition proceedings against Julian Assange at the Old Bailey resumed on the point of politics.  Assange as a figure of political beliefs; Assange as a target of the Trump administration precisely for having them.  The man sketching the portrait was Paul Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University. It is no mean feat trying[Read More…]

by 10/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Assange’s Second Day at the Old Bailey: Torture, Drone Strikes and Journalism

Assange’s Second Day at the Old Bailey: Torture, Drone Strikes and Journalism

The highlights of the second day of Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings at the Central Criminal Court in London yielded an interesting bounty.  The first was the broader public purpose behind the WikiLeaks disclosures, their utility in legal proceedings, and their importance in disclosing instances of US extrajudicial killings, torture and rendition.  The second involved a discussion about the practice of[Read More…]

by 09/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Sinking Transparency at the Old Bailey: The Assange Extradition Hearing Resumes

Sinking Transparency at the Old Bailey: The Assange Extradition Hearing Resumes

The fine circus that is British justice resumed at London’s Central Criminal Court on September 7, with the continued extradition proceedings against Julian Assange.  Judge Vanessa Baraitser was concerned that approximately 40 individuals had received remote video access they apparently should not have.  “In error, the court sent out orders to others who had sought access.  I remain concerned about[Read More…]

by 08/09/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Vaccine Nationalism, Big Promises and Warped Speed

Vaccine Nationalism, Big Promises and Warped Speed

From sneering dismissiveness of the coronavirus as nothing more than a common cold to a grand promise to find a vaccine, President Donald Trump is all promises. “We remain on track to deliver a vaccine before the end of the year and maybe even before November 1st,” he told a White House news conference on September 4.  “We think we[Read More…]

by 07/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Fruits of Illegality: The NSA, Bulk Collection and Warrantless Surveillance

Fruits of Illegality: The NSA, Bulk Collection and Warrantless Surveillance

He has become part of the furniture when it comes to discussions about privacy rights and personal liberties, arguably an odd sort of thing for a man who also dealt in the shadows of intelligence secrets.  But Edward Snowden has been doing his bit to reveal and chip away at the foundations of the national security state that continues to[Read More…]

by 03/09/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Sentencing of Brenton Tarrant: Jailing the Man, not the Great Replacement

The Sentencing of Brenton Tarrant: Jailing the Man, not the Great Replacement

  Brenton Tarrant was sentenced last week.  The Australian national who butchered, with relish, 51 individuals in Christchurch at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre, found himself facing something unique in New Zealand: jail for life without parole.  He pleaded guilty to 51 charges of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one of terrorism.  He also faced[Read More…]

by 31/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Australia-China Relations: Down Under Squabbling

Australia-China Relations: Down Under Squabbling

These are proving testy times for Australian-Chinese relations.  Last week, Chinese authorities announced that an investigation would be conducted into claims that Australia has been using unfair dumping practices for its wine on the Chinese market.  This was not what Australian wine makers wanted to hear, given that exports of Australian wine to China grew from AU$268 million in 2015/16[Read More…]

by 29/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Waiting for the Old Bailey: Julian Assange and Britain’s Judicial Establishment

Waiting for the Old Bailey: Julian Assange and Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture.  The US Department of Justice hungers for their man.  The UK prison authorities are doing little to protect his health.  The end result, should it result in his death,[Read More…]

by 28/08/2020 1 comment Human Rights
On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Greenpeace volunteers fly Peace Doves, bearing messages of peace, "No More Hiroshima", "Yes to Peace",  "No to Rokkasho" in Japanese and in English, beside the A-Bomb Dome Memorial in Hiroshima. 
Greenpeace renews their calls for peace and make this anniversary a message to world leaders to make real their commitments to nuclear disarmament, including the Japanese government to abandon plans to produce nuclear weapons.

Catholics Against Nukes: Archbishop Wester’s Hiroshima Vigil

In what is a turn-up for the books, a senior voice of the Catholic Church made something of an impression this month that did not incite scandal, hot rage, or the commencement of an investigation.  It did, however, agitate a few editors.  Archbishop John C. Wester of San Fe, in speaking at the online Hiroshima Day vigil, had put up[Read More…]

by 26/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Hymn for a Broken Empire: Republican National Security Officials for Biden

Hymn for a Broken Empire: Republican National Security Officials for Biden

If fodder is needed for the argument that a Deep State is running wild and determined to depose President Donald J. Trump, this will surely help.  In a statement by self-titled “former Republican National Security Officials”, a hand-on-heart allegiance is made to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.  The authors are intent on moving the incumbent out of office, “profoundly concerned[Read More…]

by 24/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations.  They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest.  Google has given us an example of this in an open letter published on August 17 to all Australians – the generosity that comes with transparency – that does[Read More…]

by 18/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Foiled in the Security Council: The United States, Extending Arms Embargoes and Iran

Foiled in the Security Council: The United States, Extending Arms Embargoes and Iran

There are no official policing authorities as such when it comes to international relations.  Realists imagine a jungle of states, the preyed upon and the predators, a grim state of affairs moderated by alliances, agreements and understandings. But there is one body whose resolutions are recognised as having binding force: the Security Council, that most powerful of creatures in that[Read More…]

by 17/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
In Denial: Australia, Human Rights and Climate Change

In Denial: Australia, Human Rights and Climate Change

When the complaint was lodged in May 2019, there was a sense of the audacious about it.  Eight Torres Strait Islanders had taken the trouble to petition the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Committee, citing climate change and Australian violations as their main concern.  Australia, they claimed, had violated their fundamental rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[Read More…]

by 15/08/2020 Comments are Disabled Climate Change
Macron Lectures Lebanon: The Condescending Politics of Aid

Macron Lectures Lebanon: The Condescending Politics of Aid

The explosion in a Beirut portside warehouse containing over 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate on August 4 has done its bit to light more fires under Lebanon’s ruling powers.  With the blast still bloodily fresh and traumatic – the destruction of the city’s port with over two hundred deaths and thousands injured – promises of assistance and messages of solidarity[Read More…]

by 12/08/2020 1 comment World
Don’t Stigmatise the Nuke! Opponents of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

Don’t Stigmatise the Nuke! Opponents of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

It would seem a logical step, at least from an existential perspective: to ban something so utterly horrendous to life; to forbid its use in any circumstances, whatever rationale employed to justify its use. But the nuclear weapon has its admirers.  There are those who continue to worship its sovereign properties, and those who leave gifts at the shrine of[Read More…]

by 11/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Selective Maritime Rules: The United States, Diego Garcia and International Law

Selective Maritime Rules: The United States, Diego Garcia and International Law

There are few more righteous sights than the paunchy US Secretary of State savaging the People’s Republic of China with his next volley on Chinese territorial aspirations.  In July, Mike Pompeo released a statement putting any uncertain minds at ease on where Washington stood on the matter. “We are making clear: Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the[Read More…]

by 09/08/2020 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
Foiled at Toronto: The Tiger Squad’s Canadian Outing

Foiled at Toronto: The Tiger Squad’s Canadian Outing

Silencing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul was a feat of primeval brutality that sent a shudder through even the most hardened officials.  The House of Saud, and in particular certain members of it, had gotten a taste for blood. Soon after Khashoggi’s slicing and dicing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at the hands of a specially assembled hit[Read More…]

by 08/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities

Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities

When US President Harry S. Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, followed by another on Nagasaki a few days later, he was not acting as an agent untethered from history.  In the wheels of his wearied mind lay the battered Marines who, despite being victorious, had received sanguinary lashings at Iwo[Read More…]

by 07/08/2020 1 comment World
Big Tech Antics: The Data Robber Barons Appear Before Congress

Big Tech Antics: The Data Robber Barons Appear Before Congress

Silicon Valley continues to sprawl in influence, and its modern robber barons bestride the globe with a confidence verging on contempt.  The technology giants that mark that region of California are praised as “virtuosos of ingenuity,” to use Steve Forbes’ words, “creating and supplying products and services that were once unimaginable and that have been enabling us to survive the[Read More…]

by 06/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Crossing the Creepy Line: Google, Deception and the ACCC

Crossing the Creepy Line: Google, Deception and the ACCC

Belief in Google’s promises is much like believing in virgin births.  For a company so proud of its pursuit of a transparent information environment, it has remained committedly opaque about informing customers on the way it gathers user data.  Statements from the company over the years have not been reassuring, and should foster prolonged scepticism and dread.  “Google policy,” former[Read More…]

by 03/08/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Coronavirus Criminality: Bolsonaro and the International Criminal Court

Coronavirus Criminality: Bolsonaro and the International Criminal Court

This could be the stuff of fiction. But then again, many legal principles began, at some point or rather, in the sludge of speculation before hardening into legal briefs and prosecutorial documents.  Holding heads of state to account for crimes against their people remains a perennial project with a patchy record.  This is particularly the case when it comes to[Read More…]

by 30/07/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange’s Political Indictment: Old Wine in Older Bottles

Julian Assange’s Political Indictment: Old Wine in Older Bottles

The book of hours on Julian Assange is now being written.  But the scribes are far from original.  Repeated rituals of administrative hearings that have no common purpose other than to string things out before the axe are being enacted.  Of late, the man most commonly associated with WikiLeaks’ publication project cannot participate in any meaningful way, largely because of[Read More…]

by 29/07/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Climate Change Litigation: The Australian Government Gets Sued

Climate Change Litigation: The Australian Government Gets Sued

“It’s time the government told the public about the impact climate change will have on our future and the economy.” Katta O’Donnell, The Guardian, Jul 24, 2020 While coronavirus ravages life, dominates policy and clouds debate, that other pressing issue of addressing climate change has moved into a more modest gear.  That has not prevented some bubbling activity from taking[Read More…]

by 24/07/2020 Comments are Disabled Climate Change
All About Me: The Kanye West Campaign Rally

All About Me: The Kanye West Campaign Rally

In many ways, rapper and footwear mogul Kanye West fits the mould.  That mould – the star or celebrity running for high office – had already been made by the actor-cum-amnesiac Ronald Reagan, who, with his dabbling in astrology and conveniently re-imagined reminiscences, did much to prepare the White House for what one might call the “reality show”.  The fruit[Read More…]

by 21/07/2020 Comments are Disabled World
A Matter of Citizenship: Shamima Begum, Islamic State and Natural Justice

A Matter of Citizenship: Shamima Begum, Islamic State and Natural Justice

Rarely do terms such as “Islamic State” and “natural justice” keep company.  Both seem alien, uncomfortable, fundamentally ill-suited.  For one, Islamic State’s own approach to natural justice, archaic and stone-age obscurantist, has tended to be distinctly unnatural and particularly brutal.  But it has also invited, in response to its particular brand of terrorism, a troubling approach on the part of[Read More…]

by 18/07/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Spiteful Authority: Malaysia Goes for the Journalists

Spiteful Authority: Malaysia Goes for the Journalists

Malaysia’s record on letting journalists be is a blotted one.  This month, authorities have been kept busy intimidating the independent news outlet Malaysiakini, with a seven-member federal court panel agreeing to hear contempt proceedings against its editor-in-chief Steven Gan.  Charged under section 114A of the Evidence Act, Gan and his outlet are said to have permitted the publication of over[Read More…]

by 12/07/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Mosques, Museums and Politics: The Fate of Hagia Sophia

Mosques, Museums and Politics: The Fate of Hagia Sophia

When the caustic Evelyn Waugh visited the majestic sixth century creation of Emperor Justinian, one subsequently enlarged, enriched and encrusted by various rulers, he felt underwhelmed.  “‘Agia’ will always win the day for one,” he wrote of Istanbul’s holiest of holies, Hagia Sophia, in 1930. “A more recondite snobbism is to say ‘Aya Sofia’, but except in a very sophisticated[Read More…]

by 11/07/2020 Comments are Disabled World
us supreme court

The Hypocrisies of Recognition: The Supreme Court, Native Americans and the McGirt Case

The Supreme Court of the United States has barely had time to gather its collective breath this last few days.  Among its decisions, including those dealing with President Donald Trump’s financial records, was that of McGirt v Oklahoma. The case furnishes a detailed discussion on the extent Native American self-governance survived the assaults of the US Congress and the creation[Read More…]

by 10/07/2020 Comments are Disabled Uncategorized
The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections and Rising

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections and Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection.  In time, other unfortunates may well catch up.  Brazil, with a president freshly diagnosed as having COVID-19, is currently on[Read More…]

by 09/07/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive

Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive

Land seizures, annexations, and conquest.  These are words axiomatic to the state of Israel.  In the main, the state has maintained an uncomfortable position based on patience and attrition.  We have waited this long; you will wait longer.  Be it dispossessed Palestinians and their aspirations for state recognition or what are loosely described as the objections of the “international community”,[Read More…]

by 08/07/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Criminalising Journalism: Australia’s National Security Craze

Criminalising Journalism: Australia’s National Security Craze

There has been a lot of noise made in Australia about the need for broader protections when it comes to the fourth estate and the way it covers national security matters.  In a country lacking a backbone in terms of constitutional free speech, journalists are left at the mercy of authorities when it comes to exposing egregious abuses of power. [Read More…]

by 03/07/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Killing Koalas: The Promise of Extinction Down Under

Killing Koalas: The Promise of Extinction Down Under

The British conservationist Gerald Durrell once remarked that the koala was “the most boring of animals”.  Its brain size, proportionally the smallest of any mammal, evolved to cope with its slow metabolism.  But the spectacle of these singed, toasted animals was a terrifyingly cruel one to behold.  As good stretches of Australia burned over the last bushfire season, the sheer[Read More…]

by 02/07/2020 Comments are Disabled Environmental Protection
The Kafkaesque Imperium: Julian Assange and the Second Superseding Indictment

The Kafkaesque Imperium: Julian Assange and the Second Superseding Indictment

The Kafkaesque Imperium has taken yet another absurd step towards mean absurdity with another superseding indictment against Julian Assange.  This move by the US Department of Justice seems to have surprised those involved in his extradition proceedings.  Mark Summers QC, one of the members of the Assange legal team, did not conceal his astonishment at the call over hearing at[Read More…]

by 30/06/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
A Trendy Rage: Boycotting Facebook and the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign

A Trendy Rage: Boycotting Facebook and the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign

Rage can be that most trendy of things, and social media rage has become modish. If you dislike something, scream it in a certain number of characters and post it on every network you subscribe to.  You might even feel good about it.  When the pot is taken off the boil, the matter goes away. Things cool till other ingredients[Read More…]

by 29/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Indicting Hashim Thaçi: The Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office Gets Busy

Indicting Hashim Thaçi: The Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office Gets Busy

When it comes to the touchy, violent matter of Kosovar affairs, history keeps company with the devils of nationalism and vengeance. Serbia remains scornful of the aspirations of the territory, whose legitimacy it does not recognise; Kosovo remains spiteful of Serbia’s continued interest, and attempts, at any given turn, to frustrate their neighbour’s effort at European integration.  Blood tinged memories[Read More…]

by 26/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Bolton’s Memoir Bolts from the Stable

Bolton’s Memoir Bolts from the Stable

President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton would have been confident.  His indulgent The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir pitted him against the administration in a not infrequent battle over material that is published by former officials recounting their giddy days in high office.  On June 17, the US government filed a civil suit seeking[Read More…]

by 25/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Obvious Maladies: Prepublication Reviews and Trump’s Bolton Problem

Obvious Maladies: Prepublication Reviews and Trump’s Bolton Problem

Again, they cheered, and again, the Schadenfreude chorus sounded off key.  It was another atrocious week for US President Donald Trump, whose efforts to prevent the publication of his former national security adviser’s memoir seemed more than a touch childish. For one, John Bolton is hardly the administration’s most sympathetic figure.  When he was admitted to the inner circle, it[Read More…]

by 20/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Reverse Logic: Trump Sanctions the International Criminal Court

Reverse Logic: Trump Sanctions the International Criminal Court

The decision by the Trump administration to sanction members of the International Criminal Court defies logic, in so far as there is any logic to sanctions.  As a policy tool, such tools are supposedly designed to target specific members of a regime that has fallen into bad ways.  In practice, they act as instruments of collective punishment.  When used economically,[Read More…]

by 19/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Conviction of Maria Ressa: Press Freedom in the Philippines

The Conviction of Maria Ressa: Press Freedom in the Philippines

It has long been said that countries in Southeast Asia take a dim view of the fourth estate.  Various legal measures have been deployed against those irritable scribblers over the years: old, colonial-era security legislation; defamation suits; traditional forms of lengthy detention without charge.  Such states have mastered the supreme sensibility of their colonial forebears:  Maintain the appearance of propriety;[Read More…]

by 18/06/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Sticks, Stones and Death in Galwan Valley

Sticks, Stones and Death in Galwan Valley

Things along the Indian-Chinese border in the Himalayas have rarely lacked interest, notably along the secretive, heavily patrolled 3,488 km Line of Actual Control.  Neither China nor India have ever quite sorted out their differences on that front, plagued by territorial claims over unclearly demarcated boundaries.  The administration of Narendra Modi might well have wooed global governments, but China’s Xi[Read More…]

by 17/06/2020 1 comment World
The Narrative of the Leakers: Collateral Murder and the Assange Indictment

The Narrative of the Leakers: Collateral Murder and the Assange Indictment

When the superseding indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia against Julian Assange on May 23, 2019, there was one glaring omission.  It was an achievement, it might even be said the achievement, that gave the WikiLeaks publisher and the organisation justified notoriety.  Collateral Murder, as the leaked video came to be called,[Read More…]

by 16/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Trump at West Point: Un-Policing the World

Trump at West Point: Un-Policing the World

Donald Trump claims to be the law-and-order president of the United States.  There does not seem much sign of this as the stitching of the Republic gets undone.   Protestors have been given a considerable roughing up across several states; police forces are in retreat before proposals of defunding while protocols for arrests are being changed. Police chiefs are resigning and,[Read More…]

by 15/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Corrupt Propositions: AstraZeneca, Public Institutions and the Coronavirus Vaccine Drive

Corrupt Propositions: AstraZeneca, Public Institutions and the Coronavirus Vaccine Drive

Putting your destiny into the hands of a drug company is much like seeking reassurances from an opportunistic pimp.  The returns are bound to mixed, dressed up in deceptive language.  The promises, however, are always remarkable.  The back-breaking pace in finding a vaccine for COVID-19 is something that is bringing out the pimps of industry, notably those in Big Pharma.[Read More…]

by 14/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Open Wounds: Sweden Drops the Olof Palme Case

Open Wounds: Sweden Drops the Olof Palme Case

It’s the sort of thing that ruffled the image of a composed and tranquil existence.  In some countries, doing away with political leaders is a periodic affair, deemed necessary to clean the stables.  But in Sweden, change is barely discernible, stability nigh guaranteed and institutions revered.  “It’s in the tradition of Sweden to put itself forth as a moral role[Read More…]

by 11/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Altars of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest and Black Face

Altars of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest and Black Face

Be wary what you protest about.  The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club.  Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out and eviscerated on the altar of hypocrisy. The latest round of huffing and strutting on moral[Read More…]

by 10/06/2020 2 comments World
Radical Reforms: Disbanding Police Forces in the US

Radical Reforms: Disbanding Police Forces in the US

“I’ve been saying for the last several years … American policing is at a crossroads.” Mike Cutone, former Massachusetts officer, June 5, 2020 If you can envisage the commencement of a police force as a band of auxiliaries to keep slaves in check, capture escapees and sow much terror, it becomes that much clearer.  Such men were not stewards to[Read More…]

by 09/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Let’s Burn the Whole Thing Down: Death, Protest and George Floyd

Let’s Burn the Whole Thing Down: Death, Protest and George Floyd

Mobs are unruly, headless things.  The message is the action.  The platform is often violence.  But what is happening across the United States cannot simply be labelled as a looting-leads-to-shooting episode.  It ranks as another chapter of enraged despair and untidy opportunism. It all began with a savage act in South Minneapolis, a killing grotesque for its indifference.  The hunter[Read More…]

by 01/06/2020 Comments are Disabled World
U.S. President Donald Trump departs at the end of a news conference in New York, U.S. September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1297B30D30

Sinister Flatulence: Trump versus Twitter

Sawing off the branch you sit on can hardly be the best of policies.  But that all depends on the nature of the branch.  US President Donald Trump has huffed himself into another small historical moment, going on the offensive against social media companies using the very language his faux progressive opponents use against them.  All seem to be in[Read More…]

by 30/05/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Battles over Barley: Australia, China and the Tariff Wars

Battles over Barley: Australia, China and the Tariff Wars

It promised to be bruising to both dignity and wallet.  However brazen Australian politicians have been drumming up support for an international inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus, the first ones to be slapped in anger would have to be those in agriculture.  Barley exporters find themselves facing a suffocating, and potentially market killing tariff, of 80.5 percent. [Read More…]

by 20/05/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Why Thinking Makes it So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

Why Thinking Makes it So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth.  Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed.  Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.  Finding himself in hot water (did he ever leave it?) Trump has been sowing the seeds of “Obamagate”,[Read More…]

by 19/05/2020 1 comment World
Inglorious Bastardry: Hacking for Vaccines

Inglorious Bastardry: Hacking for Vaccines

If you cannot discover or create something, best steal it.  It has been the operating principle for everything from wealth to technology.  With the efforts to discover a vaccine to the novel coronavirus being all but bound by solidarity, the race on plundering secrets has already begun in earnest.  No one party can claim particular innocence in this endeavour.  All[Read More…]

by 19/05/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Mouse Roars: Australia, China and a Coronavirus Independent Inquiry

The Mouse Roars: Australia, China and a Coronavirus Independent Inquiry

Australia matters little when it comes to international muscle.  It is the retainer and pretender of power, a middle-distance runner who runs out of puff on the final stride.  The big boys and girls look, agog. Why did you even bother?  In the recent international relations shouting match (for Australia, shouting; for China, sotto voce with a touch of menace),[Read More…]

by 16/05/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Liabilities of History: The Dangers of Pandemic Compensation

The Liabilities of History: The Dangers of Pandemic Compensation

Smug assertions of liability in history are often incautious things.  They constitute a fruit salad mix: assertions of the wishful thinkers; hopes of the crazed; the quest of genuinely aggrieved generations who feel that wrongs need to be rectified (the Elgin Marbles and transatlantic slavery come to mind).  Before you know it, the next historical act will require compensation, the[Read More…]

by 14/05/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Patriotic Vaccines: The Divided Coronavirus Cause

Patriotic Vaccines: The Divided Coronavirus Cause

When it comes to the politics of medicine and disease, the United States has always attempted to steal the limelight, while adding the now faded colouring of universal human welfare.  In 1965, Washington pledged financial and technical support to the international effort to eradicate smallpox, though the initiative had initially been spurred by the Soviet Union at the behest of[Read More…]

by 11/05/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Tara Reade, the Democrats and Joe Biden’s Woman Problem

Tara Reade, the Democrats and Joe Biden’s Woman Problem

The Me Too movement was meant to be more than a howl or rage with a trending hash tag.  It was a surge that threatened to pulverise all before it, arming accusers with weapons of merit and disarming predators who had, for decades, acted in beastly fashion from positions of power.  It did net some mighty scalps and also, at[Read More…]

by 07/05/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Muting Justice: Rescheduling Julian Assange’s Hearing

Muting Justice: Rescheduling Julian Assange’s Hearing

“When we think of the repression of journalists, we automatically evoke foreign lands.  We rarely, however, evoke or remember our own dissidents.” Peter Oborne, Middle East Eye, May 5, 2020 It all spoke well of British justice, which meant poorly.  As one correspondent from the Australian Associated Press put it in describing the latest case hearing for Julian Assange, “There[Read More…]

by 06/05/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Pandemic Revisionism: The George W. Bush Whitewash

Pandemic Revisionism: The George W. Bush Whitewash

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful.  And so are we.  They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people.  And neither do we.” President George W. Bush, Aug. 5, 2004 Hatred is disorientating, and becomes, over time, a form of enduring fanaticism.  The attacks on US President Donald Trump tend to fall into this camp. [Read More…]

by 05/05/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Rohingya in Malaysia: Coronavirus and Alibis for Paranoia

The Rohingya in Malaysia: Coronavirus and Alibis for Paranoia

Rounding up undocumented workers, migrant and refugees is part of a brutal order of things in Malaysia.  When matters economic are going well, authorities turn the blindest of eyes.  The money pours in; development goals are being met.  During times of crisis, the eye sharpens in the search for scapegoats.  With the enervating effects of the COVID-19 response, the vulnerable[Read More…]

by 04/05/2020 1 comment Human Rights
Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell and Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell and Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell.  He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly cavalier approach, to public health.  Tegnell T-shirts featuring him as a medieval liberator are available for purchase;[Read More…]

by 02/05/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Harvard’s Fossil Fuels Formula: Engagement before Withdrawal

Harvard’s Fossil Fuels Formula: Engagement before Withdrawal

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it,” urged the Earl of Chesterfield in a letter of advice to his son penned in 1749.  “No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”  This has not tended to be the view of university governors the world over,[Read More…]

by 30/04/2020 Comments are Disabled Climate Change
Pandemic Delays: Postponing the Assange Extradition Hearing

Pandemic Delays: Postponing the Assange Extradition Hearing

“Mr Assange will be facing a David and Goliath battle with his hands tied behind his back.” Edward Fitzgerald QC, lawyer for Julian Assange, April 27, 2020 Julian Assange must have had time amidst cramped and hostile surrounds, paper work, pleas and applications, to ponder what circle of Dante’s Hell he finds himself in.  Ailing but still battling, the WikiLeaks[Read More…]

by 28/04/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Despots and Disease: Gossiping over Kim Jong-Un

Despots and Disease: Gossiping over Kim Jong-Un

Illness can often fall into the category of the obsessive, becoming a sport for mugs, sufferers and observers alike.  The following often feature: the hypochondriac, the speculator of disease, the gossip about how far gone a person is who has contracted something or rather.  When it comes to tyrants, such speculation becomes a thrill of sorts, with rich lashings of[Read More…]

by 26/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
An Odd Little Commemoration: ANZAC Mythology during Coronavirus

An Odd Little Commemoration: ANZAC Mythology during Coronavirus

War commemorations nurse a dirty secret, though it is one displayed with a peacock flourish.  The victors bring out the celebratory paraphernalia and talk about noble ideas; the defeated, quite simply, do not.  We won, we celebrate and we, somehow, got things right.  You, defeated, eat it, beat it.  This does not quite work well with the ANZAC tradition, born,[Read More…]

by 23/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Climbing the Revenue Mountain: Google, Facebook and the Publishers’ Right

Climbing the Revenue Mountain: Google, Facebook and the Publishers’ Right

They are rather good at raking in the cash; rather poor at sharing it.  Google and Facebook have radiated, strafed and shrivelled hundreds of news outlets across the globe with their information sharing platforms while celebrating choice, advertising revenue and traffic.  The idea of whether such content is news is irrelevant: what is shared, be it news, rumour or supposition,[Read More…]

by 22/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Donald Trump’s Governor Problem: Debates on Opening Up the Economy

Donald Trump’s Governor Problem: Debates on Opening Up the Economy

Things are getting dizzy in the White House on what, exactly, is being done to “open the economy”.  Cranky advocates for the financial argument over the restrictions of public health have been attempting to claw back some ground.  As Jonathan Chait puts it, “The anti-public health faction either believes the dangers of the coronavirus have been exaggerated, or that the[Read More…]

by 20/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Coronavirus Liability Craze: Holding China Accountable

The Coronavirus Liability Craze: Holding China Accountable

Politicians, as any political class, will nurse their favourite prejudice.  And when there is a crisis, those prejudices will be fanned and praised to the heavens.  For some politicians, who find the whole business of lockdowns and business restrictions all too much, someone has to pay for COVID-19. Australian Senator Malcolm Roberts takes up the theme that is being pushed[Read More…]

by 18/04/2020 1 comment World
Cutting the Funding: The WHO, Trump and the Coronavirus Wars

Cutting the Funding: The WHO, Trump and the Coronavirus Wars

The US president is in a warring mood.  Having declared himself a president at war, a meaningless gesture given that the US is always, somewhere in the world, at war, finding necessary enemies in distraction was always going to be a priority.  Donald Trump already had the “China virus” in his artillery, attaching nationality to pathogen. Now, and it took[Read More…]

by 17/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Fire Fauci Brigade

The Fire Fauci Brigade

The intemperate volcano that is the US President has done much to burn its way through prominent appointments.  As the title of former GOP strategist Rick Wilson’s book goes, Everything Trump Touches Dies.  There seem few more important individuals in the United States than Dr Anthony Fauci, and that, for the White House, is a problem.  No burning bushel can[Read More…]

by 15/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Hell is Other People: Pandemic Lifestyles and Domestic Violence

Hell is Other People: Pandemic Lifestyles and Domestic Violence

In No Exit, the translated title of Jean-Paul Sartre’s play, Huis Clos, three deceased characters find themselves in a room, ostensibly in Hell, in what transpires as a permanent wait.  Locked after being ushered in by a valet, with quite literally no means of escape, they are confronted with each other’s moods, lies and eventual confessions.  Sadism, cowardice and mendacity[Read More…]

by 14/04/2020 Comments are Disabled Patriarchy
Worshiping and Defiling Britain’s NHS

Worshiping and Defiling Britain’s NHS

Tories worshipping Britain’s National Health System are akin to fanatical carnivores who suddenly extol the virtues of vegans.  Has the grave response to COVID-19 signalled a change of heart?  In the case of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, it was all heart, quite literally.  It might have stopped beating and that scruffy, buffoonish essence of a man, a compulsive hand[Read More…]

by 13/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange: One Year In Belmarsh

Julian Assange: One Year In Belmarsh

It should not be a matter of distinction, but Julian Assange is a figure who is becoming the apotheosis of political imprisonment.  This seems laughable to those convinced he is an agent without scruple, a compromiser of the Fourth Estate, a figure best packed off to a prison system that will, in all assuredness, kill him. That’s if he even[Read More…]

by 12/04/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
The Coronavirus State: New Zealand and Authoritarian Rumblings

The Coronavirus State: New Zealand and Authoritarian Rumblings

It’s all about the lever of balance.  Laws made for public protection, within which public health features prominently, provide grounds for derogation authorities can exploit.  Like plasticine, the scope of power during times of an emergency extends.  But at what point does a state of public health become a police state?  In time, we may find these to be not[Read More…]

by 11/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
A Victory for the Fogeys: Bernie Sanders Drops Out

A Victory for the Fogeys: Bernie Sanders Drops Out

Champagne corks will be popping in the Trump Empire, for good reason.  Whatever happens come November, the exit of Senator Bernie Sanders from the US presidential race will be a relief.  The fractured republic can be reassured that the Democrats have not moved on, stuck, as it were, in the glades of vengeful melancholia and supposedly safe bets.  Divisions will[Read More…]

by 10/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange and Lockdown Injustice

Julian Assange and Lockdown Injustice

Scribes of the Julian Assange case must surely gawk with a sense of horrified wonder at each proceeding unfolding at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.  Assange is in a battle that can only be described as titanic, seeking to avoid the clutches of the US Justice Department, not to mention its legal system, and convince District Judge Vanessa Baraitser[Read More…]

by 08/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Banal Terrors: Pandemics and the Ordinary Business of War

Banal Terrors: Pandemics and the Ordinary Business of War

The twaddle of framing the confrontation of the coronavirus as a “war” has proven to be a cheapening, misguided exercise.  France’s president Emmanuel Macron has deemed COVID-19 the “invisible, elusive enemy”, making it sound like an adept guerrilla specialising in sneak attacks.  China’s Xi Jinping has gone for the language of the “people’s war”, suggesting that the virus has certain[Read More…]

by 07/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Coronavirus Socialism for the Wealthy

Coronavirus Socialism for the Wealthy

When capitalism screeches to a halt and starts its old business of killing off the adventurous but weakened, the enterprising but foolish, those who initially benefited, shed tears.  Losses mount, accountants tally up current and future losses.  Huge profits somehow do not matter now, as the diminishing balances bite and impress.  As this happens, the corporatocrats start to search.  Options[Read More…]

by 06/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
University Bailouts, Funding and Coronavirus

University Bailouts, Funding and Coronavirus

In a set of stable circumstances, funding higher education should be a matter of automatic persuasion.  If you want an educated populace, the tax payer should muck in. In some countries, however, this venture is uneven.  In the United Kingdom, the system remains divided, an echo of class stratification.  In Australia, which took so many of its behavioural and policy[Read More…]

by 05/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Boastful Pay Cuts: The Coronavirus Incentive

Boastful Pay Cuts: The Coronavirus Incentive

It has become a source of pride.  Highly salaried executives – often, it should be said, receiving pay very much disconnected from the value of their work – making voluntary pay cuts and telling everybody else about it.  In sport, celebrated figures such as Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have chosen to reduce their enormous pay packages for the sake[Read More…]

by 04/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
An OEB class on evolutionary genomics and museum collections underscores a multi-university initiative to integrate museum collections into classroom teaching.  Post-doctoral fellow Sarah Kocher teaches the class, which is joined remotely by others via video. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Signing in and Dropping Out: Coronavirus and the Virtual University

It was made with little thought but a good deal of high-minded urgency: Evacuate your office, take what you can, and prepare for the virtual world.  Fill in a form, tell us if you actually pinched the office computer.  This was the message that was sent to academic staff across Australia in the second half of March.  Australian universities were[Read More…]

by 01/04/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Swedish Alternative: Coronavirus as a Grand Gamble

The Swedish Alternative: Coronavirus as a Grand Gamble

As draconian lockdowns, punitive regimes and surveillance become the norm of the coronavirus world, Sweden has treaded more softly in the field.  This is certainly in contrast to its Scandinavian cousins, Denmark and Norway.  The rudiments of a life uninterrupted generally remain in place. Cafes, restaurants and shops, for the most part, remain open and stocked.  As do gyms and[Read More…]

by 31/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
An Inglorious Opportunity: Coronavirus and Emergency Powers

An Inglorious Opportunity: Coronavirus and Emergency Powers

There has been a hurried spate of cancellations and suspensions of elections across the globe because of the risk posed by COVID-19.  The trend is unsurprising.  In the age of post-democratic process, suspending the procedure should only induce a cough of recognition.  But it is troubling for those who take the ceremonial aspect of these things seriously. Such tendencies have[Read More…]

by 30/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Barbaric Decisions: Coronavirus, Refusing Bail and Julian Assange

Barbaric Decisions: Coronavirus, Refusing Bail and Julian Assange

“To expose another human being to serious illness, and to the threat of losing their life, is grotesque and quite unnecessary.  This is not justice, it is a barbaric decision.” Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, March 26, 2020 Social distancing is not a word that seems to have reached certain parts of the British legal system.  Granted, it is an[Read More…]

by 28/03/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Coronavirus and the Prison Industrial Complex

Coronavirus and the Prison Industrial Complex

The legacy of the coronavirus pandemic, at least in so far as responses are concerned, is thickening by the day.  Behavioural changes are being urged, language is rapidly evolving (spot the “covidiot” amongst you) and the policy of health surveillance is being pushed.  Another field where the virus has triggered interest is the very idea of incarceration.  Prison may be[Read More…]

by 25/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Business as Usual: Coronavirus, Iran and US Sanctions

Business as Usual: Coronavirus, Iran and US Sanctions

Never discount the importance of venality in international relations.  While pandemics should provide the glue for a unified front in response – we keep being told of fighting this horrendous “invisible enemy” – it’s business as usual in other respects.  The United States, with a disparate, confused medical system that risks being overwhelmed, remains committed against that other country floundering[Read More…]

by 23/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Pandemic Surveillance State

The Pandemic Surveillance State

In anticipation of the post-COVID-19 world, bold statements are being made on how we will, as a race, be wiser, even kinder; cautious, and reflective.  If history is ever a lesson on anything, such statements are bound to be the fatuous utterances of a moment, soon forgotten.  What is left, instead, are the policy legacies, the detritus of bad decisions[Read More…]

by 22/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Moralising Hoarding, Panic Buying and Coronavirus

Moralising Hoarding, Panic Buying and Coronavirus

Hoarding as moral aberration and ethical breach: the term has recently become the subject of scorn in coronavirus chatter.  In terms of mental disorders, it is “characterized by persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions”, though the Coronavirus Hoarder is a breed that adds urgent bulk acquisition to the shopping equation. If you part with it, take advantage of making[Read More…]

by 21/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Viral Reactions: The Smugness of Celebrity Self-Isolation

Viral Reactions: The Smugness of Celebrity Self-Isolation

The rush to elevate self-isolation to Olympian heights as a way to combat the spread of COVID-19 has gotten to the celebrities.  Sports figures are proudly tweeting and taking pictures from hotel rooms (Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton being a case in point).  Comics are doing their shows from home.  Thespians are extolling the merits of such isolation and the[Read More…]

by 19/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Surf the Internet Instead: Britannic Herd Immunity and Coronavirus

Surf the Internet Instead: Britannic Herd Immunity and Coronavirus

Epidemiologist William Hanage was more than perplexed by the plan.  “When I heard about Britain’s ‘herd immunity’ coronavirus plan,” he reflected in The Guardian, “I thought it was satire.”  Much public policy, foolishly considered and expertly bungled, tends to succumb to satire; having Prime Minister Boris Johnson leading the show provides an even better chance of that happening. Herd immunity,[Read More…]

by 18/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Taliban Scores a Coup

The Taliban Scores a Coup

It threatened to disappear under the viral haze of COVID-19, but February 29 saw representatives from the US and Taliban, loftily acknowledged as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, sign the “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan”.  After two decades of conflict, the agreement sets in motion the process that should see American troops leave Afghanistan within 14 months.  Initially, 8,600[Read More…]

by 17/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Release of Chelsea Manning

The Release of Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning’s release last Thursday by order of Virginia District Court judge Anthony Trenga had an air of oddness to it.  “The court finds Ms. Manning’s appearance before the Grand Jury is no longer needed, in light of which her detention no longer serves any coercive purpose.” Her detention had never served any coercive purpose as such – she remained[Read More…]

by 16/03/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
For Heaven’s Sake Sanitise!  Coronavirus as a Way of Life

For Heaven’s Sake Sanitise!  Coronavirus as a Way of Life

“Anything we say in advance of a pandemic happening is alarmist; anything we say afterwards is inadequate.” Michael Leavitt, US Health and Human Services Secretary, March 30, 2006 A crew of gathered customers were busying themselves this Friday evening at the BWS (Beer, Wine and Spirits for the uninitiated) along Elizabeth Street in Melbourne, sporting shirts heavy with sponsorship.  Some[Read More…]

by 14/03/2020 1 comment World
Coronavirus Offerings and Job Losses: University Reliance on China Bites

Coronavirus Offerings and Job Losses: University Reliance on China Bites

It was predicted, warned against and is happening.  Universities fattened by the Chinese student market are now in a state of financial shock, cutting losses, trimming courses and doing what over managed institutions do best: remove working productive staff while preserving the gouty managerial class.  COVID-19 was but a catalyst for something that was already deep seated, a doomsday scenario[Read More…]

by 11/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Golden Anniversaries for Flawed Treaties: The NPT turns Fifty

Golden Anniversaries for Flawed Treaties: The NPT turns Fifty

In an era where agreements have been abandoned as “bad”, to use that favourite word of US President Donald Trump, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons continues to feature on the books of diplomacy.  But age seems to be wearying it and decoding sober readings from hype-filled tat has been a testing task. United Nations Secretary General António[Read More…]

by 11/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Crimes in Afghanistan: Fatou Bensouda’s Investigative Mission

Crimes in Afghanistan: Fatou Bensouda’s Investigative Mission

It seemed an unlikely prospect.  The International Criminal Court has tended to find itself accused of chasing up the inhumane rogues of Africa rather than those from any other continent.  It has also been accused of having an overly burdensome machinery and lethargy more caught up with procedure than substance.  Critics fearing a behemoth snatching soldiers from the armed forces[Read More…]

by 08/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Toilet Paper Blues: Coronavirus and Pandemic Pantries

Toilet Paper Blues: Coronavirus and Pandemic Pantries

Fears of imminent apocalypse tend to be midwives to absurdity.  The stockpiling fever that has gripped various populaces in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has taken various forms.  “Pandemic pantries” are becoming the norm, suggesting that hoarding in the crisis tends to be a precursor to petty crime. In the United Sates, the price of hand sanitizers has[Read More…]

by 05/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
(FILES) A picture taken on December 25, 2010 shows Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak waving during the annual conference of the ruling National Democratic Party in Cairo. An Egyptian court on August 21, 2013 ordered the conditional release of Mubarak in one remaining case against him, judicial sources told AFP.    AFP PHOTO/STR-/AFP/Getty Images

Strong Man Legacies: Burying Mubarak

Reviled strongmen of one era are often the celebrated ones of others.  Citizens otherwise tormented find that replacements are poor, in some cases even crueller, than the original artefact.  Such strongmen also serve as ideal alibis for rehabilitation: Look at who we have come to bury! Fittingly, Egypt’s late Hosni Mubarak was given that most traditional of rehabilitative occasions, a[Read More…]

by 03/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
The Viral Blame Game: Xenophobia, Attribution and Coronavirus

The Viral Blame Game: Xenophobia, Attribution and Coronavirus

Moralising the way diseases and viruses are transferred is a very human, and particularly nasty trait.  “We don’t need this kind of riff-raff on our shores,” screamed The New York Times in 1892 in response to Russian Jewish immigrants arriving at Ellis Island by boat.  (The occupants hosted lice which, in turn, led to typhus.) Italian immigrants in the United[Read More…]

by 01/03/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange, the Glass Cage and Heaven in a Rage: Day Four of Extradition Hearings

Julian Assange, the Glass Cage and Heaven in a Rage: Day Four of Extradition Hearings

Thursday, February 27, Woolwich Crown Court.  The first round of extradition hearings regarding Julian Assange’s case concluded a day early, to recommence on May 18th.  It ended on an insensible note very much in keeping with the woolly-headed reasoning of Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who is of the view that a WikiLeaks publisher in a cage does not put all heaven[Read More…]

by 28/02/2020 1 comment Human Rights
Julian Assange, Political Offences and Legal Restraints: Day Three of Extradition Hearings

Julian Assange, Political Offences and Legal Restraints: Day Three of Extradition Hearings

Wednesday, February 26, Woolwich Crown Court.  Today, the focus shifted to the protagonist himself and the nature of the US-UK Extradition Treaty of 2003, a contentious document that shines all too favourably for US citizens. Julian Assange, whose deteriorating condition has been noted for months by psychologists, doctors and UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer, has been making a[Read More…]

by 27/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange Against the Imperium: Day Two of Extradition Hearings

Julian Assange Against the Imperium: Day Two of Extradition Hearings

The second day of extradition hearings against Julian Assange and by virtue of that, WikiLeaks, saw Mark Summers QC deliver a formidable serve for the defence at Woolwich Crown Court.  “It’s difficult to conceive of a clearer example of an extradition request that boldly and blatantly misstates the facts as they are known to be to the US government.”  The[Read More…]

by 26/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Julian Assange and the Imperium’s Face: Day One of the Extradition Hearings

Julian Assange and the Imperium’s Face: Day One of the Extradition Hearings

If we are to believe it, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, the man behind showing the ugliness of power, is the one responsible for having abused it.  It is a running theme in the US case against this Australian publisher, who has been given the coating of common criminality hiding the obvious point: that the mission is to make journalism on[Read More…]

by 25/02/2020 1 comment World
Mixed Returns for the Huawei Bashing Tour

Mixed Returns for the Huawei Bashing Tour

The US imperium is rattled, so much so it’s letting everyone else know about it.   Move over the trade war with its bitchy insistence on redressing imbalances, surpluses and deficits; the next phase of conflict with China is being waged in matters of technology, with Huawei’s 5G prowess featuring prominently.  As the veteran Australian journalist Tony Walker soberly notes, “The[Read More…]

by 24/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Viral Losses: Australian Universities, Coronavirus and Greed

Viral Losses: Australian Universities, Coronavirus and Greed

There are few things more richly deserved than the punishment of a profligate ruler who finds himself fending off a hungry citizenry.  But such matters lie in the realm of government, elections, holding representative office.  Universities, notably in Australia, are oblivious to accountability and have, over several decades, become a booming corporatocracy.  Institutionally, they constitute a white collar criminal class[Read More…]

by 21/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Pardoning Julian Assange: Donald Trump, WikiLeaks and the DNC

Pardoning Julian Assange: Donald Trump, WikiLeaks and the DNC

The central pillar to Democratic paranoia and vengefulness regarding the loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016 was the link between Russian hacking, the servers of the Democratic National Committee and the release of emails via WikiLeaks.  Over time, that account has become a matter of hagiography, an article of faith, with grave conclusions: WikiLeaks and Russia elected Donald Trump. The[Read More…]

by 20/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange

“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange

“I think that now it is time that the government I am a part of needs to be standing up and saying to both the UK and the US: ‘enough is enough, leave our bloke alone and let him come home.’” George Christensen, Australian conservative MP, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 19, 2020 An odd crew and perhaps the sort Julian[Read More…]

by 19/02/2020 Comments are Disabled Human Rights
Corporate Occupations: The UN Business “Black List” and Israel’s Settlements

Corporate Occupations: The UN Business “Black List” and Israel’s Settlements

Mikhail Bakunin, in that charming anarchist tradition, regarded the state as an evil to be done away with.  Such collective formations were criminal, oppressive, eviscerating to the individual.  The corporation might be regarded as a similar collective, adopting and aping elements of the state with, in some cases, greater latitude to achieve its object.  At times, they collude with states[Read More…]

by 17/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Intelligence Spats: Australia, Britain and Huawei

Intelligence Spats: Australia, Britain and Huawei

A note of fraternal tension has been registered between the United Kingdom and Australia.  It began with Britain’s decision to permit China’s technology giant Huawei a role in the construction of the country’s 5G network.  While the decision is qualified to non-core functions, as UK officials term it, the irritations to the United States and, it follows, Australia, have been[Read More…]

by 16/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Fashion Fetishism, Surgical Masks and Coronavirus

Fashion Fetishism, Surgical Masks and Coronavirus

Entering Singapore’s Changi Airport gives the visitor a glimpse of a mask fetish.  Security guards wear it.  As do the nurses and the various personnel who man cameras like anti-aircraft batteries, noting the approaching passenger in transit with due suspicion.  The passenger, in turn, wishes to avoid showing anything that might be construed as a suspect symptom.  Whatever you do,[Read More…]

by 14/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Failed Prosecutions: Donald Trump Survives the Senate

Failed Prosecutions: Donald Trump Survives the Senate

Never undertake a prosecution unless you have good grounds, and prospects, for a solid conviction.  In the case against President Donald Trump, there was never a serious prospect that the Senate would cool sufficiently to give the Democrats the votes necessary to affirm vote of impeachment in the House.  The GOP remains very much in Trump’s pocket, a remarkable if[Read More…]

by 07/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Triumphal Divisions: Trump’s State of the Union Address

Triumphal Divisions: Trump’s State of the Union Address

In this year of the presidential elections, President Donald J. Trump shows little sign of cowering. It had been some time in coming, but here was a businessman talking to a Congress long in the pocket of business, a seemingly seamless order of things that would have made the Founding Fathers cringe. Trump’s rule has remade political practice in the[Read More…]

by 06/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Teflon Lies and Mowing Lawns: The Afghanistan Papers

Teflon Lies and Mowing Lawns: The Afghanistan Papers

Afghanistan is a famous desert for empires, a burial ground which has consumed those in power who thought that extra fortification and trading most might benefit them.  It remains a great, and somewhat savage reminder about those who suffer hubris, overconfidence and eagerness in pursuing their agendas.  But the country has also served another purpose: a repository for the untruths[Read More…]

by 04/02/2020 Comments are Disabled Imperialism
united kingdom exit from europe relative image

Brexit Day

London: Parliament Square is the site, muddied by rain, trodden by hundreds who have made it their celebratory space.  The Leave Means Leave official website had been busy for weeks, thrilled about January 31 and the fact that that Britain would finally be leaving that beastly collective they know as the European Union.  Those who promised to be in attendance[Read More…]

by 01/02/2020 Comments are Disabled World
Paranoid Groundings and Technocratic States: Hillary Clinton versus Mark Zuckerberg

Paranoid Groundings and Technocratic States: Hillary Clinton versus Mark Zuckerberg

It is another one of those contests and disagreements where the contestants should all loose, or at the very least, be subjected to a torturous stalemate.  Hillary Clinton remains the nasty sprinkle on the Democratic Party in the United States, ever hopeful that some door might open to enable her to come sliding in, taking the reins to what she[Read More…]

by 30/01/2020 Comments are Disabled