Category Archives: Law/Geopolitics/ Politics

Australia’s Foreign Affairs White Paper Looks to the Past

02.12.2017 Author: James ONeill


The latest Australian White Paper on foreign affairs published in November 2017 was the first such attempt to define Australia’s place in the modern geopolitical world and how it might appropriately respond to regional and global challenges since 2003.

The world has changed significantly in that time and one might have expected to see more recognition of that in the White Paper. Certainly, there were phrases in the document, and particularly some diagrams, that revealed the extent to which fundamental changes are occurring. For example, figure 2.4 presents the Treasuries estimate of GDP growth in some key economies in period 2017 to 2030, a span of only 13 years.

That graph shows Australia’s GDP going from one trillion US dollars to 1.7 trillion, but that is dwarfed by China’s GDP which is predicted to grow from $21.4 trillion 42.4 trillion in the same period. The US has an expected growth from 18.6 trillion to $24 trillion. $24

This has enormous implications for China’s geopolitical role, but the White Paper fails to analyze what China’s growth vis-à-vis that of the United States will translate to in terms of geopolitical power.

Instead, the White Paper is trapped in a conceptual framework of seeing the world is it used to be, rather than as it actually is and in particular how it is likely to be over the 10 year horizon of the White Paper. This conceptual imagery my more probably be described as delusional.

This delusional thinking manifests itself in a number of ways. There are three in particular that I wish to note. This analysis will focus only on the Asia region, as that is the one of the most relevance to Australia. It should be noted however, that the White Paper makes a series of statements about NATO, Russia, Ukraine and Syria that merely reflect the Washington propaganda machine’s view of those entities than it does reality.

The most egregious example is in Syria.  The White Paper claims that Australia’s approach to international relations is “anchored in international law, universal standards of human rights, good governance, transparency and accountability”.  Yet the government lied about seeking legal advice before entering that war; refused to disclose that legal advice; breached international law in entering that conflict without the consent of the sovereign government of Syria; is a party to war crimes carried out in Syria by its all the United States; refuses to disclose to Parliament what its troops are doing in Syria; and is silent on the recent announcement by the US Secretary of Defence that the US intends to stay in Syria despite its presence being both illegal and unwelcome.

The first point of note about the White Paper is that its view of post-World War II history bears little or no resemblance to reality. Both in the White Paper itself and in comments made at the time of its release by both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, the view is repeatedly expressed in one form or another that the United States has been a force for stability in progress in what the white paper insists on calling the Indo-Pacific region, and indeed elsewhere in the world.

That is a view unlikely to be shared my other countries in the Asian region who in the post-World War II period have seen United States foreign policy:

-Intervene in the Korean civil war, taking advantage of the USSR’s temporary absence from the UN Security Council to justify a United Nations military action that destroyed the North’s agriculture, cities and infrastructure and killed at least 3 million North Koreans (Cumings The Korean War: A History 2011).

Such American interference in Korea goes back to at least the 1880s; created an artificial division of Korea in 1945 without reference to the population of either regions; lent their support to the brutal Rhee dictatorship; renounced a negotiated non-proliferation nuclear agreement with North Korea that is a direct antecedent of the current crisis; and continues to this day with bellicose statements and provocative military exercises. Russian and Chinese proposals aimed at defusing the situation and leading to a lasting peace treaty are simply ignored.

– In 1965 and Indonesian coup organized by the CIA replaced President Sukarno with the dictator Suharto who ruled for the next 30 years.  The US supplied the Indonesian military with a kill list of communist or suspected communist sympathizers. Between 500,000 and 1 million Indonesians were killed as a direct result.

– Indochina, we’re American involvement began in 1954 by blocking the agreement reached at the Geneva accords to hold nation wide elections because the “wrong man” i.e. Ho Chi Minh, would have won.

That war gradually escalated until the Americans were unceremoniously dispatched in 1975. They left behind at least 3 million Vietnamese dead, a landscape devastated by defoliants, and a genetic time bomb from the same causes.  The devastation extended to Cambodia and Laos, the consequences of watch plague those countries to this day.

– Afghanistan was invaded in and 2001 on the pretext of their alleged responsibility for the attacks of 11 September 2001. The Americans are still there and showing no inclination to leave. Apart from hundreds of thousands of dead Afghani’s, and millions forced into exile, the major “achievement” appears to be the restoration of Afghanistan is the opium capital of the world, producing some 93% of the world’s supply.

Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan are singled out for mention because each of these wars involved in the enthusiastic support of the Australian governments of the time. A similar willingness to follow the US into its illegal wars of choice was manifest in the invasion of Iraq in 2003(more than 1 million dead) and Syria in 2015(more than 400,000 dead and millions displaced).

As has been well documented by William Blum(America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy 2015) and others, these are but a tiny fraction all of countries invaded, bombed, plundered or who suffered regime change at the hands of the Americans over the past 70 years. The numbers of people killed as a result of these various interventions already exceeds 30 million.

To describe this record as an example of global leadership to be applauded and supported and as the White Paper clearly hopes, will continue, is to suffer delusion of the highest order. The White Paper sees Australia’s role is upholding international law, universal standards of human rights, good governance, transparency and accountability. Those are enviable goals and one wishes that they actually reflected Australian Government practice of recent decades.

The White Paper is also very ambivalent as to how Australia should approach its relationship with China, which as the figures quoted above suggest, is already the dominant economic power in the world on a parity purchasing power basis.

This is partly because of the impossible conundrum that Australia faces with China. On the one hand, China is Australia’s largest trading partner by a very considerable margin, and the single most important reason for Australia’s unprecedented run of wealth and prosperity over the past 30 years.

On the other hand, the US sees China, correctly, as the great power most likely to replace the US’sprevious hegemonic position, backed as that power invariably has been by the brutal exercise of military force. That military force has been used to enforce commercial advantage, to control the production and distribution of raw materials, especially oil, and to ensure political subservience.

For the first time in modern history, the US is being outclassed in every sphere, including military technology. It cannot win a war with China (some delusional Washington thinking to the contrary) and especially so given that China is forging ever-closer economic, political and strategic links with Russia. The Russian-Chinese combination is for all practical intents and purposes unbeatable.

Instead, the US will continue to wage proxy warfare, using different militant groups as it has done since at least Operation Cyclone in the 1970s to sabotage and impede Chinese and Russian progress. The hundreds of military bases that currently encircle both Russia and China are clearly intended in part to serve as forward bases for that activity. The Australian spy base at Pine Gap fulfills a critical role in the American war machine, and as such Australia is a party to the daily commission of war crimes carried out by the Americans in theirworldwide military operations.

Quite apart from Pine Gap, the Australian military is increasingly integrated with the US, and that puts Australia, certainly in Chinese eyes, on the wrong side of history.   The conundrum that Australia faces manifests itself for example, in Australia’s attitude to the South China Sea dispute.

The White Paper alleges that China’s actions in the South China Sea are an illustration of its alleged disregard for international law and the rules based system Australia professes to uphold. The claims of China within the so-called Nine Dash Line however, were first espoused by the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai Shek in 1947, two years before the People’s Republic of China came into existence. The present day government of Taiwan echoes those claims.

As to the alleged militarization of the South China Sea by China’s island building activities, it is true that the PRC government has constructed eight such atolls. Vietnam has also constructed a similar number of militarily reinforced atolls, as have other littoral states including the Philippines and Taiwan, doing exactly the same. As China but minus the criticism leveled against China. Their activities do not merit a mention in the White Paper.

The White Paper ignores all of this other relevant activity in its anxiety to make a propaganda point against China. The White Paper seems similarly ignorant of the fact that China and the ten ASEAN nations have reached an agreed framework under which they will settle outstanding issues in the South China Sea. Significantly neither Australia nor the United States are parties to this agreement, but this has not stopped either nation from proffering opinions nor carrying out actions that do nothing to reduce tensions and achieve a settlement.

Australia’s ambivalence to the rise of China is reflected in its attitude to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the world’s greatest infrastructure project to which more than 65 countries have already signed up. Australia was specifically invited by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang earlier this year to join the project and declined. There has been no plausible explanation for this reluctance.

Although the White Paper makes a passing acknowledgement to the BRI it is silent as to the project’s enormous potential. This is to say the least curious, particularly as there is considerable potential for Australia to benefit from the BRI. The BRI is, to use president Xi’s term, a “win-win” situation we’re all parties derive a benefit. They do so on the basis of infrastructure and related investment without a shot being fired. The contrast with the Anglo American model of colonial exploitation and gunboat diplomacy of the past 300 years could not be greater.

Australia’s failure in this regard reflects a wider problem that permeates the White Paper. Australia seeks the restoration of a world that never really existed. That is, a world where the US was the international policeman bringing peace, democracy and the rule of law to less fortunate nations.

As long as Australia clings to this delusional fantasy it will be forever doomed to being the colonial handmaiden of a western power. As the semi-official Global Times of China editorialized, “Australia is difficult to be reasoned with or comforted. Fortunately, the country is not that important, and China can move its ties to Australia to a back seat…………… China should prepare a friendly face and a cold shoulder.”

If China does indeed decide to cold shoulder Australia, the economic consequences will be devastating. This is insufficiently appreciated in Australia, and certainly not acknowledged in the White Paper.  The facts are that Russia, the Central Asian and Southwest Asian nations linking to the BRI all produce the commodities that Australia has grown rich on in the past four decades supplying to China.

A White Paper truly concerned with defining Australia’s national interest and proposing policies to benefit Australia would recognise these economic and geopolitical realities. Unfortunately it does neither. As Hugh White (The Guardian 27.11.17) succinctly puts it, (the Australian) “government has onceagain failed to come to terms with the full implications of the profound shifts that are transforming our international setting. It is a triumph for wishful thinking over serious policy…………… until we find leaders with the imagination to see what is happening and the courage to start talking frankly about it, Australia has no chance of adapting effectively to the new Asia into which we are being thrust.”

I could not agree more. It is a message that will be read in Canberra but in all likelihood ignored. When the inevitable deleterious consequences flow from that blindness we will have only ourselves to blame.


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A Nuremberg Tribunal for ISIS and Friends

03.09.2017 Author: Gordon Duff


A dozen nations armed ISIS, protected them, some provided air support, others funneled jihadists from the far reaches of the Pacific to battle fields in Iraq and Syria.

Half a trillion dollars in oil, antiquities, entire factories, not to mention endless thousands of human slaves enriched those behind ISIS. Most involved aren’t Muslims. Many are Americans, the same corporations that profited from the War on Terror, backed ISIS as well.

Every NATO nation was involved as was Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. This was a war of corporations and banks, a commercial venture building on the real lessons learned after 9/11.

War is too important for governments, politicians can be bought and sold like any other commodity and everyone has a price. Behind it all, the media and their darlings, Assange and WikiLeaks, the Murdoch organization, the BBC, all enthrall to international thuggery on a scale previously unseen. We begin.

In early 2014, I met with Iraqi Sunni leaders to discuss security concerns. Iraq’s Sunni’s are a complex interrelationship of tribal units, complex family ties further diffused by tenuous alliance with Saddam and his Baathist regime.

As the post 9/11 US occupation dragged on, Iraq’s Sunni minority, which includes most of the business community, increasingly looked south to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates for stability. Many were fearful of Iran’s influence.

Despite warnings, this led many, including military leaders, to cozying up to ISIS. The hand of Saudi intelligence services was always there as well, promises made but seldom kept. A few short months later, many I met with had their heads displayed on pikes, their “dance with the devil” unsatisfactory and unfulfilling.

Thus, overnight, ISIS found itself in control of the vast city of Mosul and billions in American military hardware, all handed over to ISIS. Behind this was not only Saudi intelligence but the Mossad as well, the Israeli intelligence service that had set up a large headquarters in Mosul as early as 2003.

There, they played Christians and Muslims against each other and began their dance with Turkey, supplying intelligence to Turkey on the Kurdish PKK, a group Israel had helped establish some years ago. This is the reality, one never reported.

As the ISIS juggernaut rolled on, fueled by jihadists magically moved through airports around the world, rumored aided by the Israeli controlled airport security firm ICTS of 9/11 fame, all the rules of conventional warfare were set aside. ISIS, reputedly a non-state player, became the stepchild of security forces of the US, Britain, France, Israel, Turkey, India, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

Eventually, even Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Romania would join in as well, channeling both NATO and Eastern Bloc weapons through Turkey, aided by non-governmental organizations such as the White Helmets and dozens of phony refugee aid and relief groups.

From the South, vehicles by the thousands flowed into Syria and Iraq for ISIS, specially modified Toyota Hilux trucks and almost the entire production of Land Cruisers. All paid for by Saudi royal funds and, according to sources, upgraded and reinforced in Israel, larger cooling systems and heavier suspension. No serial number has ever been traced, Toyota has never been held to account, no invoices checked, not for entire container ships of “technicals” moved into Israel and then to Jordan through Aqaba, and up into the warzone.

Similarly, until Russian aerospace forces pointed it out, the river of trucks, 12,000 plus strong, mostly passing openly through Kurdish controlled regions, Erbil and Duhoc, into Turkey, the invisible partnership that funded ISIS and the political families of several nations as well, unseen, unquestioned.

Where do 12,000 oil tankers come from? Easy answer, they come from America, bought up by brokers, shipped out of the Port of Houston. Most now lie burned wrecks in Syria and Iraq. Not one serial number ever checked, no one wants to know that they once plied the interstate highways of America carrying fuel for BP, Exxon and so many others.

We mentioned antiquities. Most moved openly through the auction houses of London, Paris and New York while those reputedly investigating, I was told by Syria’s former Minister of Justice, Najm Hamad al-Ahmad, may well have been acting as “spotters” for antiquity thieves themselves.

Time now to talk Turkey. When Aleppo “fell” to ISIS, it wasn’t ISIS at all. It was Turkey. Aleppo was the industrial heart of Syria and was picked clean by “gleaners” from Turkey. According to the Syrian Ministry of Justice, every major manufacturing facility in Northern Syria was stripped clean, machine tools, inventory, even copper wire and plumbing, trucked into Turkey and either sold off or reassembled and put back into production with ISIS a business partner.

The goods and materials involved has flowed for years into the European Union.

How do we explain Raytheon Corporation, one of the best supervised and controlled entities of America’s military sector, manufacturer of key weapons systems vital to America’s defense. Their production of TOW missiles, a huge sector of their corporate profitability, has been moving directly into the hands of terrorists for years. Damascus has a warehouse of captured Raytheon weapons, taken from al Qaeda and ISIS. Why is no one held to account?

The answer is obvious, a tribunal. Let us hold those who backed ISIS to account. This includes the journalists and their reports of phony gas attacks and imaginary atrocities by the Damascus government, and all those involved in keeping ISIS and al Qaeda supplied with drones, satellite phones, signals intelligence and top quality and highly restricted military electronics.

All can easily be tracked, from the EU, from Ukraine and Georgia, but most from Turkey, followed by Saudi Arabia, then Jordan and, of course, Israel.

There are 500,000 dead and up to 10 million refugees. Perhaps a few politicians, Israeli for sure, the Saudi Royals, Americans by the hundreds, an entire Turkish regime, endless thousands of traitors in Syria and Iraq, and corporations around the world need to be held accountable for these deaths.

What is owed? Reparations for sure, every jihadist from Indonesia and the Philippines had to get to Syria somehow. Every drop of oil, every antiquity, every ton of copper wire, every human slave, all need to be priced, not just money but prison time and perhaps a few hangings as well, perhaps on a massive scale.

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

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Large-scale manoeuvres encircling Venezuela

On 11 August 2017, the U.S. President, Donald Trump put on the table the option of taking military action against Venezuela. As Manlio Dinucci substantiates in this article, President Trump was not plucking words out of the air. The Mobility Guardian drill has just taken place in the United States, with the armies of 25 states participating and another 12 states observing. This was a repeat exercise for a prompt transport of forces of an enlarged Nato to the conflict zone.

| Rome (Italy) | 23 August 2017


The political media reflectors shine their spotlight on what is happening within Venezuela yet leave a shadow cast over what is happening around Venezuela. As the Pentagon has plotted out the world, Venezuela falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Southern Command (Southcom). This is one of U.S.A.’s six “unified fighter commands”. The US has sliced the world up into six and given a slice to each of these commands, as their domain of responsibility.

So Southcom’s slice means that it is responsible for the 31 countries and 16 territories that form Latin America and the Caribbean. To police this area, SouthCom has land, naval and air forces as well as a marine corps. It also has special forces and the following three specific task forces:
• The Joint Task Force Bravo: stationed in the air base of Soto Cano, Honduras, it is organizing multilateral drills and other operations;
• The Joint Task Force Guantanamo: stationed at the naval base bearing the same name in Cuba, this carries out “operations of detention and interrogation in the context of the war against terrorism”; and
• The Joint Interagency Task Force South: stationed at Key West, Florida, the official task of which is to coordinate “anti-drug operations” across the whole region.

The ratcheting of SouthCom’s activity makes it clear to us that when President Trump declared on 11 August that “We have many options for Venezuela, including possibly a military option” – this was is no idle threat.

Last June, a special force of marines equipped with military helicopters was stationed in Honduras for regional operations meant to last for six months. Still under the remit of Southcom, the Tradewinds drill was carried out with forces from 20 countries of the Americas and the Caribbean participating. In July, a Unitas naval operation took place in Peru, with 18 countries participating; while Paraguay was the locus for the competition – a drill of special forces from 20 countries. From 25 July to 4 August, hundreds of officials from 20 countries have taken part in Panamax, a drill officially designed to “defend the Panama Canal”.

From 31 July to 12 August, at Joint Base Lewis–McChord (Washington), Mobility Guardian took place. This was the “biggest and most realistic drill for air mobility”. In it participated 3,000 men and 25 international partners, notably the Colombian and Brazilian air forces which were trained in day time and night time missions together with US, French and British air forces.

The “realistic scenario” involves a large-scale air operation to swiftly transport forces and arms to the zone of intervention. This is therefore proof of the military intervention in Venezuela, threatened by Trump.

The main base for this operation would be Venezuela’s neighbour, Colombia. The latter was hooked up to Nato in 2013 through a partnership agreement. “The Colombian military personnel – reports Nato – has taken part in a number of courses at the Nato academy in Oberammergau (Germany) and at the Nato Defense College at Rome, as well as participating in many high level military conferences”.

That a plan for military intervention in Venezuela in in place is confirmed by the Admiral Kurt Tidd, the Southcom Commander: at a Senate Hearing on 6 April 2017, he declared that the “escalating humanitarian crisis in Venezuela could require a regional response”.

To make good on the “military option” threatened by Trump, the same strategy actioned in Libya and Syria could be adopted, although the context would be somewhat different. What is envisaged is the infiltration of special forces and mercenaries who, with petrol, inflame Venezuela’s raw nerves, where social tensions have accumulated: an exercise to provoke armed confrontations. Then the government could be charged with massacring its own people which would open the door for “humanitarian intervention” by a coalition, with the U.S.A., the leader of the pack.

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