The Third Eye

Australia has just signed an agreement with the United Kingdom and the United States for the the U.K. and U.S. to provide resources and know-how for Australia to build 8 nuclear powered attack submarines. Named AUKUS, the deal means 8 nuclear powered submarines ( but currently without the nuclear weaponry), are to be built in Adelaide over the next few years using British and American technology.

This is indeed a nuclear triad based on racism., arrogance and stupidity.

While there is no mention of China in the three ‘white’ anglo-saxon allies’ press releases on the agreement; the message is clear, these very expensive submarines are not designed for coastal defence, as the now defunct diesel submarine contracted with France were going to be; these are submarines designed to stay unseen far away from Australia coastlines – and also be completely reliant on nuclear fuel from either the U.K. or the U.S.

While Australian prime minister Scott Morrison is not, as we say in New Zealand, the sharpest knife in the box , the move is a calculated one by the Australians.

Some commentators on the new AUKUS agreement have argued that Australia has been blackmailed by the U.S. into signing up for these incredibly costly, wasteful and provocative armaments; ( the U.S. ‘you are either with us or against us’ argument), and there is no doubt some truth in that.

For the short-term, the Australian’s calculations that the U.S. will remain the most powerful domineering and ruthless military on the planet is likely to hold; but for how much longer?

However in the short to medium term, Australia is also likely to lose even more of its China trade than before as a result of this deal and other China provocations ‘astutely’ managed by Scott Morrison and his team!.

Combine that with the extensive economic COVID 19 impacts in the states of New South Wales and Victoria, and the strong likelihood that devastating forest fires and heat are going to increasingly grip much of Australia in a vice; the future for Australia does not look good.

As Joseph Camilleri notes: The greatest loser in all of this is Australia. It has saddled itself with a vast military project of unknown cost and duration and dubious effectiveness. It will contribute to an ever-increasing defence budget that will divert scarce resources from urgent social and economic priorities.

Reliance on the United States for one’s salvation is certainly not the best and smartest option, as the French have now found, having been pushed out of the Australian submarine contract by the U.S., despite being America’s strongest ‘European ally’.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s repeated rationale for U.S hostile policies to China about China’s ‘aggression’ and ‘economic coercion’, pail in comparison to the United States’ 200 years of wars for economic gain and its brutal use of its control over the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to ensure third world countries requiring loans were subject to extreme conditions that often destroyed their economies and the lives of their poorest populations.

But predominantly this is the work of ‘cunning persuasion” by the U.K. and U.S.. By using Australians well known and documented racism to non-white countries and refugees, Scott Morrison has been conned into thinking that he is protecting Australia from the ‘Yellow Peril’ hordes supposedly about to sweep down on Australia from the Asian steppes any day now.

We have seen this many many times before- the setting up by major powers of foreign bogey-men for gullible smaller nations to support. Whether it was the Chinese supposedly attempting to invade the rest of Asia via their North Korean allies in the early 1950s, or the Vietnam War . Australian officials in 1966 were noting “the determination of Communist China to establish hegemony throughout South-East Asia working in the first place through the agency of her North Vietnamese puppets.”

By being in the front line in the South China Sea when the U.S. Japan and the U.K launch more provocations to ‘protect Asian maritime routes’ (noting that 22% of all marine traffic in the South China seas actually originates from Chinese ports)

Australia is being set up as the fall guy by its ‘allies”. This is most certainly therefore, not an exercise in protecting shipping lanes or ‘free democratic institutions from the scourge of communism, this is an exercise in threat. Understand China that America is the ‘exceptional nation’ who rules the world, or face blockades of your trade routes by our ‘allies’.

In turn, as the Guardian notes, BoJo in the U.K. has been set up by the Americans to finally exhaust its colonial resources in a last-gasp farcical “Global Britain” approach, by running sitting-duck aircraft carriers through the South China Sea, in a re-run of British gun-boat diplomacy of the 19th Century when Britain really did rule the waves and could forcibly coerce the Chinese into accepting opium, and ceding ports like Hong Kong for the drug trade into China

While New Zealand (4000 kms to the east of Australia) is not (and could not afford to be ) a member of the select AUKUS group ( the new acronym would be appalling) because of its longstanding anti-nuclear policy, its prime minister Jacinda Adern has in a public statement, welcomed the agreement and commented on the importance of maintaining the ‘international ruled based order’. It is important to note that the ‘rule based order’ she mentions is not the International agreement processes of the United Nations, it is code for ‘whatever the U.S. decides, is what everyone must obey, regardless of international law’. And there was not one word from New Zealand about the AUKUS decision severely impacting New Zealand’s vision of a nuclear-free Pacific. Hence, while New Zealand is not a party to the AUKUS agreement, it is actively supporting these new threats to China.

It would be advisable for New Zealand to distance itself from these extraordinarily inept and unnecessary provocations, and to show it truly can provide leadership in a post-colonial world as a small nation.

Postscript

Indonesia, which borders Australian territory south of Papua New Guinea, is now sending warning signals about the implications of the Australian nuclear submarine sales to its security and there are clear indications of a potenital arms race in the region

France too has now called in its ambassadors to the the U.S. and Australia following the breaking of its contract for diesel submarines by Australia at the behest of the United States. Potentially this could lead to a much stronger impetus for the development of the often called for ‘European Army’.

Subsequent to this discussion, it is becoming apparent that the real reason for the AUKUS agreement is to induct Australia into the U.S. nuclear sphere as a major forward military nuclear base for the Americans in any attack on China.

_________________________________________

Links

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/sep/15/alliance-with-australia-and-us-a-downpayment-on-global-britain

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2021/09/aukus-jacinda-ardern-welcomes-united-kingdom-united-states-engagement-in-pacific-says-nz-nuclear-stance-unchanged.html

https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/defence-and-foreign-affairs/nuclearpowered-submarines-a-terrible-decision-which-will-make-australia-less-safe/video/bc91f5690c3f4e5cc6deb68482bdada1

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/09/16/australia-continues-its-plunge-into-authoritarianism-and-military-brinkmanship/

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/australia-build-eight-nuclear-powered-submarines-under-new-indo-pacific-security-2021-09-16/

How Provocative Are Australia’s Nuclear Submarines?

https://johnmenadue.com/ausuk-security-pact-a-story-of-recklessness-and-delusion/

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2021/09/22/commentary/world-commentary/aukus-geopolitical-ramifications/

A ‘Terrorist’ in New Zealand

On 3rd September 2021, a Sri Lankan refugee,  Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen, 32, living in Auckland New Zealand , stabbed 6 people with a knife he had just picked up from a supermarket shelf.

According to later reports the man had been once again seeking asylum in New Zealand for some years, but had been denied because of previous violent actions and an interest in ISIS literature, and had been released from a New Zealand prison 3 years before the attacks.

During the subsequent years from Ahamed’s release, he had been constantly followed by Police when out and about in Auckland, to monitor his actions and keep others safe.

Auckland was in lockdown 4 at the time of the supermarket attack- masks required and no less than 2 metres between people in places like supermarkets. Within hours the New Zealand prime minister was announcing that this was a ‘terrorist attack’, and that the man was known to her. However Ahamed Aathill Mohamed made no known statements about allegiance to ISIS immediately before his death, and no terrorist organization attributed the stabbings to themselves.

The terror, trauma and physical danger to those he attacked is beyond question, and this blog does not in any way endorse his or any other person’s violent behaviour to others.

With 60 seconds of his knifing of 6 people in the supermarket, he was fatally shot 7 times by Police with semi automatic weapons, who had been following him.

We might contrast his fatal shooting with the response of the Police to a knife attack by a New Zealand European in Dunedin some 4 months before, when at least 4 people were injured. The man was apprehended without injury, and is now in gaol, and has been described as having a mental health issue.

Or again the horrendous Mosque shootings in Christchurch in March 2019 where 51 people were killed and 40 injured, by a white supremacist using automatic rifles, the white male was subdued, unharmed, heroically by a police officer.

While we acknowledge that every violent incident is different and must necessarily be handled differently by Police, it does seem strange that a man in an enclosed supermarket aisle with a kitchen knife, could not be subdued without fatal consequences, by a number of police officers who were presumably wearing protective clothing.

Police subsequently noted that their policy is to shoot for the largest body surface area (i.e. the torso) so that they don’t miss the target, but clearly other options than shooting the attacker were possible, or alternatively those seven shots could have immobilised him in that enclosed space, without causing his death.

We know that Ahamed’s life history before his arrival in New Zealand as a young man was incredibly traumatic- witnessing his father being kidnapped and almost killed, and himself being tortured by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

The Spinoff notes that Ahamed ‘had been in New Zealand since 2011 when he arrived on a student visa. He made a claim for refugee status soon after, but was declined. He appealed, and was granted the status the following year. The prime minister said on Friday that his claim was based on a fraudulent document’

We also know that Ahamed had been on remand (i.e. charged with an offence but not convicted in court) in New Zealand for threatening activities for some years before his conviction – during which time he was held in prison, but was not able to access any supports that might have reduced his risk to himself or others because he had at that stage not been convicted and the government was attempting to deport him. Additionally once released from gaol after his conviction, he was constantly tailed by armed Police; actions which would not have helped his fear and paranoia.

It is clear that Ahamed was acutely distressed because of his trauma, but did not receive the necessary supports by New Zealand authorities to reduce the impacts of that trauma and distress. Instead, he was immediately labelled a ‘terrorist’ by the New Zealand prime minister and the New Zealand media after his death, and there was no call for an independent review into his death.

Is it coincidental that 3 violent attacks were handled so very differently by Police; that a dark skinned man could so easily be deemed a terrorist and shot dead, but two white males, despite the acute violence of their attacks, be subdued without fatality?

We are informed that the New Zealand government, in a knee-jerk reaction to this attack, now wants to ‘tighten’ the responses around ‘terrorist activities’. Andrew Geddis has noted that the draft legislation’s proposal, allowing for people to be prosecuted for planning an activity, but not actually executing that plan , is currently an unheard of judicial procedure in New Zealand.

Listen to the University of Otago Peace and Conflict studies debate about the ‘terrorist attack’ below.

We need to acknowledge too, that no act of violence is acceptable; whether it be in a persons’ home, a random attack in public, a terrorist attack, or violence by the state.

The terror of those 2997 killed, and the trauma experienced by those many bereaved and the first responders to the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001, are very real and still raw. However the barbaric responses to those attacks by the United States and their ‘Coalition of the Willing’, defies both logic and humanity. Millions of people in Arab nations killed, economies and environments ravaged, and thousands tortured or drone murdered, with the rationale being suppression of terrorism, rather than the reality of more arms sales and theft of foreign resources, and the resultant creation of more angry terrorists.

As Chris Hedges notes, those responses are the work of evil killers. The fact that ex President George W Bush can stand up on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and be applauded in Western media for his demonic destruction of Iraq, and Afghanistan, defies belief.

In any sane and just society, such a man ( along with the deranged Tony Blair and their other neoliberal cronies)

Tony Blair shaking hands with Mike Pompeo (ex U.S. Secretary of State)

would have long ago been locked away for their lifetimes – for the common good.

What we desperately need now is for ex-colonial states like New Zealand, to show global leadership in addressing terror threats, in the absence of leadership from the larger powers.

We need to undertake more research to explore opportunities to better respond to threats of violence, to implement strategies that reduce group and individual threats of terror; through acknowledging the genuine basis of the anger, trauma and fear that created those threats, acknowledging that often our state responses to ‘terror’ threats by ‘others with dark skins’ is a relic of our racist and colonial history, (as witnessed by New Zealand Police’s infamous ‘anti-terrorist’ raids into the Ureweras in 2007); and beginning to treat responses to terror threats as a normal and just and equitable part of our range of enforcement and judicial responses to violence, which respects everyone’s human rights, rather than something that needs to be responded to beyond the normal rule of law.

________________________________________

Links

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300384815/man-shot-dead-by-police-six-injured-after-terror-attack-at-aucklands-lynnmall-countdown

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/09/auckland-terror-attack-new-zealand-reacts-in-shock-to-new-lynn-stabbing.html

https://www.dw.com/en/new-zealand-man-stabs-5-in-supermarket-knife-attack/a-57479834

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchurch_mosque_shootings

https://www.police.govt.nz/major-events/new-lynn-incident-operation-rally

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/05/new-zealand-stabbings-officials-tried-for-years-to-deport-terrorist-prior-to-auckland-attack-jacinda-adern-says

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/341457/ten-years-on-from-the-urewera-raids

A ‘Terrorist’ in New Zealand

On 3rd September 2021, a Sri Lankan refugee,  Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen, 32, living in Auckland New Zealand , stabbed 6 people with a knife he had just picked up from a supermarket shelf.

According to later reports the man had been once again seeking asylum in New Zealand for some years, but had been denied because of previous violent actions and an interest in ISIS literature, and had been released from a New Zealand prison 3 years before the attacks.

During the subsequent years from Ahamed’s release, he had been constantly followed by Police when out an about in Auckland to monitor his actions and keep others safe.

Auckland was in lockdown 4 at the time of the supermarket attack- masks required and no less than 2 metres between people in places like supermarkets. Within hours the New Zealand prime minister was announcing that this was a ‘terrorist attack’, and that the man was known to her. However Ahamed Aathill Mohamed made no known statements about allegiance to ISIS immediately before his death, and no terrorist organization attributed the stabbings to themselves.

The terror, trauma and physical danger to those he attacked is beyond question, and this blog does not in any way endorse his or any other person’s violent behaviour to others.

With 60 seconds of his knifing of 6 people in the supermarket, he was fatally shot 7 times by Police with semi automatic weapons, who had been following him.

We might contrast his fatal shooting with the response of the Police to a knife attack by a New Zealand European in Dunedin some 4 months before, when at least 4 people were injured. The man was apprehended, and is now in gaol and has been described as having a mental health issue.

Or again the horrendous Mosque shootings in Christchurch in March 2019 where 51 people were killed and 40 injured, by a white supremacist using automatic rifles, the white male was subdued unharmed heroically by a police officer.

While we acknowledge that every violent incident is different and must necessarily be handled differently by Police, it does seem strange that a man in an enclosed supermarket aisle with a kitchen knife, could not be subdued without fatal consequences, by a number of police officers who were presumably wearing protective clothing.

Police subsequently noted that their policy is to shoot for the largest body surface area (i.e. the torso) so that they don’t miss the target, but clearly other options than shooting the attacker dead were possible, or alternatively those seven shots could have immobilised him in that enclosed space, without causing his death.

We know that Ahamed’s life history before his arrival in New Zealand as a young man was incredibly traumatic- witnessing his father being kidnapped and almost killed, and himself being tortured by the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

The Spinoff notes that Ahamed ‘had been in New Zealand since 2011 when he arrived on a student visa. He made a claim for refugee status soon after, but was declined. He appealed, and was granted the status the following year. The prime minister said on Friday that his claim was based on a fraudulent document’

We also know that Ahamed had been on remand (i.e. charged with an offence but not convicted in court) in New Zealand for threatening activities for some years before his conviction – during which time he was held in prison, but was not able to access any supports that might have reduced his risk to himself or others because he had at that stage not been convicted and the government was attempting to deport him. Additionally once released from gaol after his conviction, he was constantly tailed by armed Police; actions which would not have helped his fear and paranoia.

It is clear that Ahamed was acutely distressed because of his trauma, but did not receive the necessary supports by New Zealand authorities to reduce the impacts of that trauma and distress. Instead, he was immediately labelled a ‘terrorist’ by the New Zealand prime minister and the New Zealand media after his death, and there was no call for an independent review into his death.

Is it coincidental that 3 violent attacks were handled so very differently by Police; that a dark skinned man could so easily be deemed a terrorist and shot dead, but two white males, despite the acute violence of their attacks, be subdued without fatality?

We are informed that the New Zealand government, in a knee-jerk reaction to this attack, now wants to ‘tighten’ the responses around ‘terrorist activities’. Andrew Geddis has noted that the draft legislation’s proposal, allowing for people to be prosecuted for planning an activity, but not actually executing that plan , is currently an unheard of judicial procedure in New Zealand.

Listen to the University of Otago Peace and Conflict studies debate about the ‘terrorist attack’ below.

We need to acknowledge too, that no act of violence is acceptable; whether it be in a persons’ home, a random attack in public, a terrorist attack, or violence by the state.

The terror of those 2997 killed, and the trauma experienced by those many bereaved and the first responders to the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001, are very real and still raw. However the barbaric responses to those attacks by the United States and their ‘Coalition of the Willing’, defies both logic and humanity. Millions of people in Arab nations killed, economies and environments ravaged, and thousands tortured or drone murdered, with the rationale being suppression of terrorism, rather than the reality of more arms sales and theft of foreign resources, and the resultant creation of more angry terrorists.

As Chris Hedges notes, those responses are the work of evil killers. The fact that ex President George W Bush can stand up on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and be applauded in Western media for his demonic destruction of Iraq, and Afghanistan, defies belief.

In any sane and just society, such a man ( along with the deranged Tony Blair and their other neoliberal cronies)

Tony Blair shaking hands with Mike Pompeo (ex U.S. Secretary of State)

would have long ago been locked away for their lifetimes – for the common good.

What we desperately need now is for ex-colonial states like New Zealand, to show global leadership in addressing terror threats, in the absence of leadership from the larger powers.

We need to undertake more research to explore opportunities to better respond to threats of violence, to implement strategies that reduce group and individual threats of terror; through acknowledging the genuine basis of the anger, trauma and fear that created those threats, acknowledging that often our state responses to ‘terror’ threats by ‘others with dark skins’ is a relic of our racist and colonial history, (as witnessed by New Zealand Police’s infamous ‘anti-terrorist’ raids into the Ureweras in 2007); and beginning to treat responses to terror threats as a normal and just and equitable part of our range of enforcement and judicial responses to violence, which respects everyone’s human rights, rather than something that needs to be responded to beyond the normal rule of law.

________________________________________

Links

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300384815/man-shot-dead-by-police-six-injured-after-terror-attack-at-aucklands-lynnmall-countdown

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/09/auckland-terror-attack-new-zealand-reacts-in-shock-to-new-lynn-stabbing.html

https://www.dw.com/en/new-zealand-man-stabs-5-in-supermarket-knife-attack/a-57479834

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchurch_mosque_shootings

https://www.police.govt.nz/major-events/new-lynn-incident-operation-rally

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/05/new-zealand-stabbings-officials-tried-for-years-to-deport-terrorist-prior-to-auckland-attack-jacinda-adern-says

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/341457/ten-years-on-from-the-urewera-raids

‘Highly Likely’ in Afghanistan

The last United States and its ‘partners” troops have now left Afghanistan after almost 20 years of futile war with the Taliban.

The chaotic tragedy over the last week of desperate Afghans wanting to leave Afghanistan via Kabul Airport for a better and safer life, is now also over.

In the final few days of the exodus, the Taliban apparently informed United States forces of a likely threat from ISIS Khorasan forces at Kabul Airport. A suicide bomber duly arrived at one of the U.S. entry points to the airport and blew himself up, killing himself, an indeterminate number of Afghans (in the 100s), and 12 U.S. force personnel.

It would appear from Afghan accounts on the ground that the U.S. soldiers in the surrounding watchtowers then panicked and opened fire with automatic fire on the Afghans below- killing at least another 100 people.

Subsequent to the ISIS attack, the U.S. president stated in the usual petulant child-like way of American presidents that, ‘vengeance shall be ours’; rather than a thoughtful and lawful approach to such acts of premeditated murder which act to limit the risks of further attacks.

 “To those who carried out this attack … we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down and make you pay.”-Joe Biden

(Interesting to note that President Jo Biden also noted the ‘droned’ Iranian General Suleimani as a terrorist threat they had ‘eliminated’ in the past. Suleimani has been well vindicated as the key person managing the destruction of the ISIS threat in Iraq

Miraculously U.S. forces already knew the location of the planners of the ISIS attack and duly dispatched a drone to kill the planners and further attackers. (why the attackers weren’t arrested or killed before the attack is not explained)

The U.S. subsequently reported (as per usual) that it was ‘highly likely’ that the ISIS K planners and bombers had been killed in the drone attack. Given the history of U.S. drone attacks it is also ‘highly likely’ that those killed were guilty of owning several goats that were coveted by a neighbour who had then reported them as ISIS K combatants to the authorities.

One notes that the images of the vehicle supposedly hit by the subsequent U.S. drone attack show a somewhat burnt out vehicle-not a vehicle with a bomb on board, as claimed by the Americans , which would have disintegrated with the explosion of the ISIS bomb, after the drone missile impact.

Unsurprisingly the ruling Taliban have objected to the U.S. launching drone attacks on sovereign Afghan territory, but any objections by the Taliban will be ignored as the U.S. continues to bomb and drone Afghans that it believes are ‘highly likely’ to be terrorists. Only once the Taliban acquire anti-air missiles ( as the Mujahedeen before them did ) will the scourge of drone warfare be over.

With the elimination of U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan, the Taliban are now free to follow up in every corner of the country, the threat that their mortal enemy ISIS, poses to Afghan security.

We know for certain that the United States did indeed facilitate the rise of extremist Wahhabist movements including Al Qaeda across the Middle East-in collaboration with U.K. ‘special’ forces, the Saudis, Turkey and some of the Gulf ministates; initially to confront the Russian forces in Afghanistan in the 1990s, and later to attack any secular government that the American and their ‘partners’ saw as a threat to their control of local resources.

We also know that the Iranians, Syrians and Russians have long complained about the U.S. facilitating the rise and ongoing support of ISIS groups in the Middle East, including the transport by helicopter of ISIS remnants from Syria into Afghanistan, and training and support by the Israelis of ISIS Syrian teams. How true are those statements from the Russians Syrians and Iranians? However we do know that the American’s definition of what they have traditionally called ‘moderate’ jihadists in the Middle East, is not one shared by many.

Despite the calls for an end to the drone murders, it is ‘highly likely’ that the Americans will continue to provide any excuse to continue to “precision’ bomb, drone and assassinate anyone they believe is not in their best economic interests and will support a new Mujahideen to confront the now more moderate ruling Afghan Taliban.

_______________________________________

Other Links

https://richardfalk.org/2021/08/29/crime-and-punishment-in-afghanistan/

https://www.unz.com/pescobar/blowback-taliban-target-us-intels-shadow-army/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09592318.2020.1777618

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201802211061871761-us-helicopters-transporting-daesh/

http://www.news.cn/english/2021-08/31/c_1310158468.htm

https://realalexrubi.substack.com/p/did-the-us-support-the-growth-of

http://www.news.cn/english/2021-08/31/c_1310158157.htm

Western Hypocrisy on Afghanistan

As Hollywood has noted, and later U. S. records confirm, the predecessors to the Taliban, the U.S. funded and armed brutal Afghan Mujahideen or jihadist freedom fighters were instrumental in securing the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s , who were supporting the communist secular Afghan government in Kabul. A government it should be noted, who fully supported the rights of Afghan women to be educated, to work and live a life equal to men.

After several years of extreme violence and turmoil across Afghanistan, the Taliban came to power in the late 1990s,

As Consortium News notes: The triumphant Taliban imposed harsh Islamic law on Afghanistan. Their rule was especially cruel to women who had made gains toward equal rights under the communists, but were forced by the Taliban to live under highly restrictive rules, to cover themselves when in public, and to forgo schooling.

The Taliban also granted refuge to Saudi exile Osama bin Laden, who had fought with the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviets in the 1980s. Bin Laden then used Afghanistan as the base of operations for his terrorist organization, al-Qaeda, setting the stage for the next Afghan War in 2001.

After the 9/11 attacks in New York by Al Qaeda, the Taliban agreed to hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States. However their offer was refused, and instead President Bush launched a war to remove the Taliban from power beginning with a brutal bombing campaign in October 2001

If the purpose of Bush’s Afghan war was not to trap Osama bin Laden – what was the purpose?

The United States had been negotiating with the Taliban for an oil pipeline to traverse Afghanistan from Central Asian oil fields, and appeared to be on relatively good terms with them.

It was only much later that the hype about a humanitarian intervention for women’s rights etc came to the fore in Western media. However this supposed human rights agenda by the United States and the United Kingdom is contradicted by their wholehearted support for the brutal Mujahideen the Saudi regime, and their unconditional support for the Israeli genocidal actions against Palestinians (amongst many other brutal regimes supported and armed by Western governments)

This was simply one more racist colonial invasion; putting more money into the pockets of U.S. war profiteers.

See below, John Pilger’s video ‘Breaking the Silence’ from 10 years ago in Afghanistan

http://johnpilger.com/videos/breaking-the-silence-truth-and-lies-in-the-war-on-terror

As a Western person I oppose discrimination against any person of any gender or race- however I also oppose the barbaric use of violence to impose one’s will on others we do not agree with- something my country New Zealand has been complicit in along with other Western white countries.

Setting up an indigenous Afghan army funded and trained and managed by foreigners to oppose local people who they may in fact know by tribe or family, and who are trying to defend their country from invasion, was always a recipe for failure. Such troops’ only motivation could be their paycheck, not patriotism for their country: so when the occupation force goes in the dead of night, the money goes with them and the local funded military disintegrate- they have nothing to fight for.

Similarly a ‘democracy’ funded and approved and beholden to an occupying power is not a democracy -it is a mockery of ‘democracy’.- and an extraordinarily corrupt one at that– why else would you pretend to lead your country whilst under an occupying power?

As Marshall Auerback and Patrick Lawrence note in ‘The Scrum’: Ashraf Ghani, (the last of the U.S. appointed Afghan ‘Presidents’) was among the more preposterous creations of the Obama administration, a man who personified our American presumption that we can go around the world making all others in our image without reference to histories, cultures, or political traditions. 

We know the colonial occupation forces killed many thousands of civilians (through bombing campaigns, drone murders, the brutal occupation and destruction of villages and people’s homes and the use of torture at Bagram airbase and other locations in Afghanistan- civilian losses that the occupying forces continue to largely deny.

New Zealand’s ex-prime minister Helen Clark’s commentary on the resurgence of the Taliban might be interpreted as disingenuous, were it not for the fact that she is a United Nations employee and knows full well the extent of the indiscriminate murder, torture and destruction, let alone the phenomenal levels of corruption by NGOs supposedly ‘re-building Afghanistan’ committed by the occupying powers in their 20 year presence in Afghanistan.

We might also note the opium and heroin rat lines from the Afghan poppy
fields which miraculously came into full bloom (Afghanistan  now supplies by  far the largest  share of opium in  the world), after the American occupation
and which will now , once again, be shut down by the Taliban. Mysteriously drug trafficking explodes in volume in those areas where Western intelligence
operatives, and particularly the CIA, are heavily involved: Colombia,
Afghanistan, Laos….

The New Zealand presence in Afghanistan is one more shameful example of our complicity in the United States’ war crimes..

While there will be many in Kabul and other major Afghan cities who have come to enjoy Western values, comforts and the easy money that came with the occupiers, there will be many many more Afghans who are thankful that the brutality and systematic racism of the Western occupying powers is finally at an end.

The lessons other vulnerable countries have learnt from Western occupying powers’ brutal occupation of Afghanistan will not be soon forgotten..

Nor will the boys coming home from that 20 year war be immune to its effects on the psyche..

“One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him.”
– Booker T. Washington

That is not to say Afghanistan is going to become some liberal, rights respecting country any time soon: traditional rigid views about women’s rights and other ethnicities and belief systems -particularly in rural areas, are gong to prevail for some time to come. And Sharia law is not exactly a very forgiving dogma; but there are signs that the new Taliban leadership recognise that they will have to adapt to the modern world if they are to be accepted by the wider international community, especially investment from Chinese and  other neighbouring countries. Certainly, as of 17th August 2021, the Taliban command have so far largely behaved with honour and discipline for the defeated.

It should also be noted that the Taliban are not ‘terrorists’ and in no way resemble ISIS or the earlier Mujahideen . While they may have sheltered Al Qaeda in the past, they have no record and no stated intent of terrorist actions outside (or within) Afghanistan.

And it should also be remembered that the Taliban’s astonishing victory in the past week has been at minimal cost of human life and suffering; a victory, as Pepe Escobar notes, contrived by ” lots of persuasion, tribal deals, zero columns of tanks (and) minimal loss of blood”.

It is  time now for the new Afghan  government to  demand reparations from all those Western  occupation governments for the deaths,  torture,  trauma and misery;  and land and property losses of the last 20  years.

Perhaps Westerners could also remember, for the future, that the way for outsiders to encourage change in any other society, is to demonstrate your positive values: your generosity, your honesty, your capacity to forgive and your willingness to listen…

Postscript

As Richard Falks  and others note, what follows next in Afghanistan  will  depend not only on how the Taliban keep  their promises of greater tolerance , but also  on  the United States and its Western  occupying allies respond to the Taliban in power.  To  date Western media is hyping up  the threat  and supposed savagery of the Taliban  to extraordinary  degrees  (my local  New Zealand  TV news channel  interspersed commentary of the Taliban  with video of ISIS troops marching in uniform) and the  U.S.  withholding of Afghan federal  reserve money  and aid by  other Western countries . Without the  Western aid that  Afghanistan infrastructure has come to  rely on  over the last 20  years,  severe hardship  and starvation will  be the lot of Afghans already  brutalised by  this pointless war.

It is now likely that  further Western brutal  adventures, such  as the Afghan occupation , will not be viable options , as China particularly expands its  somewhat  more benign influence in  the region.

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Links

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/16/20-years-invasion-afghanistan-unnecessary-post-imperial-fantasy

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/126081418/utterly-surreal-and-devastating-former-pm-helen-clark-shellshocked-to-be-back-where-we-were-in-afghanistan-as-taliban-take-over

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/08/16/diplomacy-not-bombs-anti-war-voices-say-afghanistan-shows-need-stop-any-further?

https://www.unz.com/pescobar/the-islamic-emirate-of-afghanistan-back-with-a-bang/

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/08/16/afghanistan-history-taliban-collapse-504977

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/08/afghanistan-taliban-press-conference-notes.html#more

https://consortiumnews.com/2021/08/16/hollywoods-dangerous-afghan-illusion-2/

https://thescrum.substack.com/p/and-now?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/17/the-u-s-government-lied-for-two-decades-about-afghanistan/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/16/what-the-classroom-didnt-teach-me-about-the-american-empire/

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/we-failed-afghanistan-not-the-other?

https://www.sigar.mil/interactive-reports/corruption-in-conflict/lessons.html

As Kabul Is Retaken, Papers Look Back in Erasure

https://annebonnypirate.org/2021/08/17/afghanistan-the-end-of-the-occupation/

https://wikileaks.org/wiki/CIA_report_into_shoring_up_Afghan_war_support_in_Western_Europe,_11_Mar_2010

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1232167.shtml

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202108/1232142.shtml

https://richardfalk.org/2021/08/23/everything-went-wrong-in-afghanistan/

John Pilger: The Great Game of Smashing Nations

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/wests-meddling-has-caused-calamity-afghanistan

The ‘Moral Injury’ of Barbaric Wars

The United States has been fighting wars for 234 years of its 245 year existence since 1792. The United States is purely and simply a war machine- a country that profits by war: by extermination, destruction and torture of those who are weaker, for the purpose of extracting money.

The list of ‘foreign’ murdered populations, of genocide, of strangulation of countries through sanctions, blockades and ‘targeted’ killings goes on and on and on. This is a country defined by its barbarism.

Or watch Danny Sjurson’s account of what America stands for…

When, oh when, will countries that launch wars of aggression (which the U.S. is literally constantly doing) going to be forced to pay reparations for the trauma loss, destruction and theft they inflict on foreign ( usually non-white) countries?

Will the threat of reparations be enough to stop further senseless wars?

These are wars by common criminals, and should be responded to as such.

The invasion of Afghanistan 20 years ago by the U.S. and its co-opted ‘allies’ is a supreme example of the total futility, stupidity and simple evil of the United States . Now withdrawing, while retaining the right to continue bombing Afghanistan at will- despite its agreement with the Taliban not to do so- the U.S. leaves behind a country destroyed and many thousands of Afghan lives lost or injured; for absolutely nothing.

And can we choose to forget the other evils that the United States has committed, with genocide against the Japanese civilian population, the Koreans, the Vietnamese, the Serbs, the Libyans, the Syrians… to name just a few recent examples?

Who can put a stop to this relentless wild and brutal rampage?

But as with all bullies, there is a consequence; a payback for those who bully and murder at will. The United States is not the most violent nation on earth without reason- the culture of violence permeates everything in America – leading to more and more mass shootings in the U.S. and a grotesque sense that violence solves every problem: so sublimely portrayed in almost every movie that comes out of Hollywood.

And as Kelly Denton-Borhaug notes, the moral decay and sadly often suicide of those who manage this death machine for the U.S.- the soldiers, the drone operators the ‘intelligence’ officers…the acid that eats away at one’s soul….

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Links

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/07/23/these-3-deceptively-simple-questions-can-shatter-the-mythology-that-sanctifies-u-s-imperialism/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/06/kelly-denton-borhaug-christianity-is-the-linchpin-in-americas-war-machine/

The ‘Coming’ Climate Crisis

We are told that if we do not change our ways, reduce carbon emissions, ‘soon’ it will be too late.

If we haven’t guessed by now , that ‘soon’ is right now. We are already in a climate crisis- of massive fires out of control in the United States, in coastal Mediterranean areas, in Siberia to name just a few. Of “Once in a 100” or 200 year floods, of temperatures in parts of the world that are close to killing any living thing.. We are there – right now…and its not going to get better any time soon- no matter what we do.

This is not a ‘crisis’ that will go away if we just behave ourselves.

This is a crisis that will be with those who survive on this planet for at least the next thousand years- and many more years than that, if we cannot reduce our carbon consumption and start planting trillions of trees.

Even if we were to stop creating more carbon dioxide right now, the planet will continue to warm, the climate will become more unpredictable and unstable. And of course our great politicians are not talking about anything as radical as eliminating our carbon footprint any time soon!- no!- they want us to reduce the ‘rate of increase’ of carbon by 2030 or 2050 or – some other target date far away…that doesn’t impact on their corporate ‘sponsorship’.

However, right now that rate of increase of carbon emissions is just going higher and higher- we are indeed ‘accelerating towards the cliff’.

But somehow many of us continue to believe that those great human minds will save us with some new technology -perhaps detonating some nuclear bombs to provide a nuclear winter for us, or sending dust particles into the atmosphere!

Are we consuming more and more to cope with our fears for the apocalyptic future?- bigger and bigger cars, more and more tinsel and useless consumption, more and more glorification of killing of defenseless animals for pleasure- hunting and fishing ?

But the answer , while not immediate, is simple.

  1. We have to adjust to a world where the climate is warming rapidly- first by accepting that infinite ‘growth’ on a finite world is just plain stupidity. We need to rapidly traverse to global no-growth economies.
  2. We need to try and reverse our rapid destruction of nature around us- encourage insect, bird and other non human populations to rebuild in the face of a rapidly warming world- create new perpetual habitats for other species, stop the chemical spraying, return habitats to their natural states as much and as quickly as possible .. and most importantly, plant more indigenous forest- not for forestry- but for life!
  3. We need to acknowledge that technology is not going to ‘save’ us from the climate crisis- in fact it is one of the significant causes of species loss and habitat destruction that is killing our planet.
  4. We need to acknowledge that humans simply need to support nature to get back to doing its job of making this planet a living world for every remaining species here – there’s nothing fancy about it, it won’t create many new jobs, and it wont seem like ‘progress’ – but it will save us.
  5. We need to encourage politicians to stop lying about what they intend to do about the environment and the climate. There’s no money in it from their company ‘sponsors”, and its not going to boost their fragile egos.
  6. Saving the planet from global heating and species loss is not a side issue to any decisions any of us make. Every bit of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ we make as humans must now put the cost to the climate and species loss at the forefront of EVERY decision. In most cases, human ‘progress’ is not worth the cost to the planet.
  7. We need to accept that we don’t need ‘more’. Teaching people how to be thankful and at peace with what they have and how to re-build their connection with nature – along with a respect for all living things.-that we don’t have a God-given right to treat other living entities as resources.

It’s not going to be easy- but it is simple…..

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Links

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01092-9.epdf?

https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar6/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-is-warmer-than-its-been-in-125-000-years/

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/

https://scheerpost.com/2021/08/09/code-red-for-humanity/

Toeing the U.S. Foreign Policy ‘Line’

New Zealand has been the last 5 Eyes nation to sign up to the American ‘line’ that China is a grave threat to all us righteous white folks.

We are now informed that New Zealand is gravely disturbed by China’s actions , and particularly by its alleged ‘state-sponsored’ ‘malicious-cyber-activity” among many other sins real and constructed. While the ‘evidence’ relies on the usual ‘highly likely” scenario ( i.e. ‘we really don’t know who did it, but we know the Chinese are evil guys, so it must be their fault’), hard facts on the issue are strangely hard to come by….

And strangely too , after sitting on the fence in the ongoing confrontation between the United States and China for some time, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Adern, after a one to one conversation with President Biden before the recent ASEAN online conference, has now confirmed New Zealand hostility to all things China. A little strong-arming of a small Pacific nation goes a long way, in U.S. eyes.

And one assumes that New Zealand’s illustrious ‘intelligence’ community has not heard of the U.S. Vault 7, where ‘cunning’ National Security Agency staffers have constructed hacking tools that can insert other national identity markers (including Russia and China) into their hijack software – to make it seem like the hijacking comes from another country, and not the squeaky-clean U.S.

We may also be puzzled why the New Zealand government and other Western nation, has not raised alarm bells about the Israeli ‘state sponsored “Pegasus” hijacking software- sold everywhere to all good tyrants who want to eliminate their political opposition?

However we can be assured that New Zealand is on the right side of justice in adhering to its good white Anglo Saxon 5 -Eyed heritage 0f the United States, U.K. Canada, Australia and New Zealand (and now the U.S. Asian colony of Japan), in condemning the heinous acts of the Yellow Peril commies in mainland China.

While mainland China certainly has many problems, and many harsh responses to internal opposition, if we were to look closely we might find that our good Anglo Saxon global community is not as squeaky clean in terms of its treatment of internal minorities, and decidedly not in its brutal treatment of people of other ‘races’ in other countries. And we might also find that the U.S security apparatus is one of the predominant sources of cyber breaches and hijacking of IT systems across the globe.

The real issue is simply that mainland China is a mortal threat to the long-standing United States’ brutal and belligerent attacks on other nations for fun and profit. Its ‘rule based order’ – where the ‘rules’ are made by the U.S. regardless of rights, freedom and justice- and the world obeys- is under threat from China as it rapidly becomes the predominant economic global power.

Every day now we see the Western mainstream press hyping up the ‘threat’ of “Communist China”. As always The Guardian is superlative in its role as a propaganda arm for Western intelligence; it’s latest article on how the devious Chinese are going to benefit from re-building Syria (after Western sponsored jihadists and Western military occupiers attempted to create a jihadist hellhole there) is a great case in point.

And just as the United States has systematically brutalised sanctioned and murdered the populations of socialist countries that prefer an independent economic and foreign policy, for fear that the socialist model would in fact prove more efficient and fairer to their populations, and thus a role model for a socialist America; so China’s ultra-efficient decision-making processes which prioritise the health and wellbeing of all of its population, and has brought millions of Chinese citizens out of poverty and hunger in a few decades, is a major threat to America’s ‘world order’.

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Links

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA2107/S00143/new-zealand-condemns-malicious-cyber-activity-by-chinese-state-sponsored-actors.htm

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/war-games-despite-pandemic-threat-great-barrier-reef

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/new-cold-war-china

Where Farming & Environmental Catastrophe Collide

Recent actions by the New Zealand government to improve water quality in rural areas, to establish more natural areas (SNAs) to preserve New Zealand’s unique biodiversity and to improve environmental decision making when human development occurs, have incurred the wrath of rural communities across new Zealand.

Less than 150 years ago most of New Zealand was covered in indigenous forest with a predominantly bird and insect population and just a few species of mammals- (seals, bats and ‘native’ rats (kiore). Within a few decades of European settlement, most of the New Zealand landmass had been cleared of trees for agriculture, leaving a few pockets of native forest on private farms and some larger national parks. Native bird and other indigenous animal specie’s populations plummeted – largely because of habitat loss, but also because of the introduction of European predators like black rats stoats and feral cats along with European species of plants and trees and birds and accidental imports of insects.

With the introduction of beefs and sheep, large areas of New Zealand, including many parts of the mountainous “high country’, have been maintained in grasslands which are frequently sprayed in chemical fertilizers herbicides and insecticides to encourage grass growth. Soil fertility and water quality has consequently plummeted and erosion has become even more common. In many areas rainfall has also substantially declined with the loss of permanent forest, and often its replacement with North American pines for short -term timber production (pines which also dry and acidify the soil) and are then clear-felled, creating enormous damage to ecosystems.

As global temperatures rise, New Zealand as a southern Pacific island nation, is impacted significantly by ocean temperature and ocean current changes and the de-icing of Antarctica . As is occurring throughout the world, parts of the country, particularly eastern areas, are now more subject to both drought and sudden deluges.

As rain decreases overall, farmers rely more and more heavily on rivers and groundwater reservoirs to provide for their ever less sustainable farm management practices. Dairying, with its very high water requirements particularly, has exploded in recent decades in New Zealand.

In response, the New Zealand government has developed a rather half-hearted and inadequate response to the looming environmental catastrophe New Zealand and the world faces. The rural sector, by necessity, is one of the prime targets for changes to environmental processes in the hope that the inevitable environmental catastrophe can be at least delayed.

However, New Zealand’s comparatively rapid increase in human population and urban areas (from a very low base even 100 years ago) has also significantly impacted on the environment. Low land areas near the coast are particularly impacted by housing developments which totally destroy the natural environment and create major polutants, while draining areas of swamp and natural riperian areas with storm water drains – increasing the ocean’s toxicity

Naturally, the rural sector, mostly conservative by definition, rejects both the need for change and the changes themselves and see themselves as unfairly targeted by a predominantly urban voter based government. The proposed changes by this government will inevitably impact on their often substantial incomes by reducing stock numbers, changing to more expensive and holistic farming practice, and reducing the farming and fishing catchment.

Conservatives often believe that what is the reality now , was the reality in the past and will be so in the future. The current and developing Global Environmental Catastrophe will rapidly prove that viewpoint wrong. If the current intense heat and forest fires in North West America and in Siberia and extreme floods in Europe are not enough warning of what is to come- then nothing will- till we fall off the cliff.

Global markets will inevitably begin to retreat and collapse as the risks to global transportation exponentially increase with more frequent climate events, and their consequent insurance, become too costly. Countries will begin to retreat into their own internal trading milieu, state revenues will implode as ‘production’ begins to rapidly decline everywhere. Costs to national governments to preserve coastal urban areas from sea level rise, to relocate populations from at risk areas, and to compensate for more and more adverse climate events, will all impact on the capacity of national economies to ‘grow’ and a dawning realization that a steady state no-growth) economy is the only feasible option.

It is true that no matter what we do to reduce carbon emissions, we will see rapid increases in global warming. But we can start to mitigate the environmental destruction, loss of biodiversity and provide some cushioning from the ever increasing heat our living world will endure, by undertaking large scale plantings of indigenous forest which will not be logged, marine areas will not be bottom dredged and despoiled, but left to store carbon for millenia. And by holding on to our remnants of indigenous ecosystems for the future we ensure those indigenous forests will become precious storehouses of life and knowledge for the millenia ahead.

Farmers and others in the rural sector who simply see the need for the protection of our remnants of biodiversity as a short-term profit and loss equation that they are not prepared to face, are blind to the realities which confront us all.

Rather than face rapid and cataclysmic change resulting from unstoppable environmental pressures, because we think we can ignore the realities of environmental damage, we are all going to be far safer by systematically adapting to a rapidly evolving environment.

Links

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/125732953/enough-is-enough-canterburys-rural-mayors-lend-support-to-rural-protest

Britain (presumably) Keen to Start Nuclear War

The British destroyer HMS Defender was recently instructed by the British government to sail within the Crimean 12 kilometer marine boundary. Russian airforce and marine forces responded strongly to this intrusion into the disputed maritime space.

The BBC noted While Moscow claims the peninsula and its waters are Russian territory, the UK says HMS Defender was passing through Ukrainian waters in a commonly used and internationally recognised transit route.

However, this statement from the UK is simply lies. The ‘Defenders’ passage off the coast of Crimea is not in any way ‘recognised transit route’ to anywhere. This was pure and simple provocation by the British.

As Craig Murray (an expert in maritime rulings) notes: There is certainly a right to pass to the Ukrainian port of Odessa – but that in now (sic) way requires passing close to Crimea. This is therefore not “innocent passage”.

That provocation intent is confirmed by the BBC reporter aboard the ‘Defender’ notes;  (Defender) Weapons systems on board the Royal Navy destroyer had already been loaded.

Perhaps they had hoped to provoke a shooting war with Russian forces just prior to the Nato military ‘Sea Breeze’ exercise in the Black Sea the following week? From a Russian perspective this surely looks like an attempt by NATO to completely surround Russia and attack its borders.

As the History website notes, Crimea had been part of Russia for 200 years until 1954, when it was gifted to the Soviet Republic of the Ukraine by the then Russian Premier, Nikita Khrushchev. This was to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the historic decision by Ukraine to unify with tsarist Russia. At that time, it would have been impossible to foresee that the Soviet Union would collapse and split into separate republics, that the borders would have to be renegotiated and that Ukraine would again be an independent country.

More importantly, Sevastopol had been Russia’s only ‘warm water’ (not shut in by ice over winter) naval base since 1783, when Catherine the Great ‘acquired’ it from the Turks.

And once the Ukrainian 2014 Maidan coup leaders made their decisions to designate Ukrainian Russian speaking citizens second class citizens by making the Ukrainian language the only official language of the Ukraine, the Russian speaking Crimean split from Ukraine was inevitable. That split has however never been recognised by Western powers or Ukraine.

The British report that the Russians did not fire ‘at’ HMS Defender is indeed true, but simply semantics ; warning shots are just that-not fired at the aggressor, but fired just far enough away to demonstrate that the defender will fire directly at the aggressor if they continue to approach.

What the British government was hoping to achieve by this deliberate provocation is hard to know. The action was purely and simply adolescent and stupid and could very easily have lead to a hot war, and potentially a nuclear exchange.

Britannia -despite Boris Johnson’s wish to be some kind of Churchill, no longer rules the waves. As Craig Murray notes, this gunboat diplomacy by Britain is lunacy.

One wonders what would happen should a heavily armed Russian destroyer with weapon systems activated, stroll across Britain’s maritime borders near the Portsmouth Naval Base, or perhaps the illegally occupied Chagos Islands and the huge American military base there at Diego Garcia?; accidentally of course.

British promises to conduct more ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises near Russian Crimea military bases that defend Russia’s southern flank…..

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Links

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/06/these-uppity-brits-need-a-slap-like-lesson.html#comments

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/23/russian-ship-fired-warning-shots-at-royal-navy-destroyer-hms-defender-moscow-says

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57583363.amp