Archive for the 'Recommended Article' Category

25
Apr
17

On ANZAC day: Some overlooked realities behind the ANZAC myth.

Today is Anzac Day, commemorating the date of the landing of Anzac forces at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915.

While it is customary to remember the sacrifices made by a generation of young men in wartime, celebrating bravery and heroism, there is an aspect that is always ignored.

When we say ‘lest we forget’, we choose not to remember some very uncomfortable things.

What Does Glorifying The ANZAC Myth Say About Our Attitudes To Violent Men Today? by Nick Irving

http://junkee.com/what-does-glorifying-the-anzac-myth-say-about-our-attitudes-to-violent-men-today/76563

02
Apr
17

A Blast From The Past: Chemical Weapon Use.

Before Trump, there was another evangelical favourite. Here is a tribute to part of his legacy.

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US criticised for use of phosphorous in Fallujah raids
By Andrew Buncombe
The Independent November 9, 2005

A leading campaign group has demanded an urgent inquiry into a report that US troops indiscriminately used a controversial incendiary weapon during the battle for Fallujah. Photographic evidence gathered from the aftermath of the battle suggests that women and children were killed by horrific burns caused by the white phosphorus shells dropped by US forces….

The 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons bans the use of weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus against civilian – but not military – targets. The US did not sign the treaty and has continued to use white phosphorus and an updated version of napalm, called Mark 77 firebombs, which use kerosene rather than petrol. A senior US commander previously has confirmed that 510lb napalm bombs had been used in Iraq and said that “the generals love napalm. It has a big psychological effect.”

http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2005/051109-phosphorus-fallujah.htm

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Conventional Terror…

Image after image of men, women and children so burnt and scarred that the only way you could tell the males apart from the females, and the children apart from the adults, was by the clothes they are wearing… the clothes which were eerily intact- like each corpse had been burnt to the bone, and then dressed up lovingly in their everyday attire- the polka dot nightgown with a lace collar… the baby girl in her cotton pajamas- little earrings dangling from little ears.

Some of them look like they died almost peacefully, in their sleep… others look like they suffered a great deal- skin burnt completely black and falling away from scorched bones.

The Pentagon spokesman recently said:

“It’s part of our conventional-weapons inventory and we use it like we use any other conventional weapon,”

This war has redefined ‘conventional’. It has taken atrocity to another level. Everything we learned before has become obsolete. ‘Conventional’ has become synonymous with horrifying. Conventional weapons are those that eat away the skin in a white blaze; conventional interrogation methods are like those practiced in Abu Ghraib and other occupation prisons…

Quite simply… conventional terror.

https://riverbendblog.blogspot.com.au/2005_11_01_archive.html#113218124805731713#113218124805731713
scroll down to entry for Nov 17, 2005.

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US used white phosphorus in Iraq

 

 US troops used white phosphorus as a weapon in last year’s offensive in the Iraqi city of Falluja, the US has said.

“It was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants,” spokesman Lt Col Barry Venable told the BBC – though not against civilians, he said.

The US had earlier said the substance – which can cause burning of the flesh – had been used only for illumination.

BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract its denial is a public relations disaster for the US.

 

Col Venable denied that white phosphorous constituted a banned chemical weapon.

Washington is not a signatory to an international treaty restricting the use of the substance against civilians.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4440664.stm

 

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The US used chemical weapons in Iraq – and then lied about it

George Monbiot
15 November 2005

 

White phosphorus is fat-soluble and burns spontaneously on contact with the air. According to globalsecurity.org: “The burns usually are multiple, deep, and variable in size. The solid in the eye produces severe injury. The particles continue to burn unless deprived of atmospheric oxygen… If service members are hit by pieces of white phosphorus, it could burn right down to the bone.” As it oxidises, it produces smoke composed of phosphorus pentoxide. According to the standard US industrial safety sheet, the smoke “releases heat on contact with moisture and will burn mucous surfaces… Contact… can cause severe eye burns and permanent damage.”

Until last week, the US state department maintained that US forces used white phosphorus shells “very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes”. They were fired “to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters”. Confronted with the new evidence, on Thursday it changed its position. “We have learned that some of the information we were provided … is incorrect. White phosphorous shells, which produce smoke, were used in Fallujah not for illumination but for screening purposes, ie obscuring troop movements and, according to… Field Artillery magazine, ‘as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes…’ The article states that US forces used white phosphorus rounds to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds.” The US government, in other words, appears to admit that white phosphorus was used in Falluja as a chemical weapon.

 

 

We were told that the war with Iraq was necessary for two reasons. Saddam Hussein possessed biological and chemical weapons and might one day use them against another nation. And the Iraqi people needed to be liberated from his oppressive regime, which had, among its other crimes, used chemical weapons to kill them. Tony Blair, Colin Powell, William Shawcross, David Aaronovitch, Nick Cohen, Ann Clwyd and many others referred, in making their case, to Saddam’s gassing of the Kurds in Halabja in 1988. They accused those who opposed the war of caring nothing for the welfare of the Iraqis.

Given that they care so much, why has none of these hawks spoken out against the use of unconventional weapons by coalition forces? Ann Clwyd, the Labour MP who turned from peace campaigner to chief apologist for an illegal war, is, as far as I can discover, the only one of these armchair warriors to engage with the issue. In May this year, she wrote to the Guardian to assure us that reports that a “modern form of napalm” has been used by US forces “are completely without foundation. Coalition forces have not used napalm – either during operations in Falluja, or at any other time”. How did she know? The foreign office minister told her. Before the invasion, Clwyd travelled through Iraq to investigate Saddam’s crimes against his people. She told the Commons that what she found moved her to tears. After the invasion, she took the minister’s word at face value, when a 30-second search on the internet could have told her it was bunkum. It makes you wonder whether she really gave a damn about the people for whom she claimed to be campaigning.

Saddam, facing a possible death sentence, is accused of mass murder, torture, false imprisonment and the use of chemical weapons. He is certainly guilty on all counts. So, it now seems, are those who overthrew him

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2005/nov/15/usa.iraq

29
Mar
17

Terrorism: Addressing the Westo-centric Bias.

Where is the sense of balance or proportion.? The data shows that less than 3% of deaths from terrorism occur in Western countries like the UK, the US or Australia.

The US Department of State, in its report on terrorism in 2015, reported that there were a total of 28,328 deaths from terrorism worldwide. The main countries where the deaths occurred were Iraq 6,932; Afghanistan 5,292; Pakistan 1,081; India 281; Nigeria 4,886; Egypt 656; Philippines 258; Thailand 75; Libya 462; Syria 2,748. No Western country was anywhere near in the ‘top’ ten…

…Our media relies on feeds from London or New York and is largely ignorant or unconcerned about the plight of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. After all, they are not people like us!

From: “JOHN MENADUE. Our White Man’s Media again on display in London terrorist attack.”

full article here:
http://johnmenadue.com/?p=9852

More from the same writer:

…terrorist attacks in Australia have claimed the lives of only three people in the last decade’. ‘Australians have little to fear from terrorism at home – here’s why’.

Compare this terrorist risk to other risks in our lives.

  • In the two years 2014 and 2015, more than 318 people, mainly women, died from domestic violence. We spend billions to counter terrorism, but we spend a pittance on protecting women and children in the home.
  • Australia’s daily alcohol toll is 15 deaths and 430 hospitalisations. But blaming Muslim extremists is much easier than taking on the powerful alcohol lobby.
  • …during 2003-12, there were 2,617 homicides, 190 deaths from accidental gun discharges, 137 rural workers and farmers died from falling off vehicles, 206 died from electrocution and 1,700 indigenous people died from diabetes…
  • The Australian Climate Institute estimates that more than 1,000 Australians die each year due to higher temperatures which are very likely caused by global warming…

…But despite all the evidence about these risks being far greater than the risk of terrorism, there is no doubt that Australians are worried about the terrorist threat.

Why is that?

http://johnmenadue.com/?p=9434

29
Mar
17

“Why God Allows Suffering: A Hypothetical Conversation”, by Jeff Weddle

Maybe freedom isn’t what we think it is.

 https://antiitchmeditation.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/why-god-allows-suffering-a-partial-explanation/#like-12113

 suffer

 

23
Mar
17

“The scars of mandatory detention”. (from ABC Radio)

Jamila Jafari was 5-years-old when her family, from the minority Hazaras, fled Afghanistan.

They ended up in Woomera detention centre in South Australia. She witnessed one of the most dramatic chapters in Australia’s refugee policy – the 2002 Australia Day riots.

Now 21, Jamila Jafari has told her story in a new book called They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories from Detention.

Caution. Parts of the testimony on this audio are very disturbing.

from this link.
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/the-scars-of-mandatory-detention/8376414

17
Feb
17

The Last Trump: (Friday 17th February) More from the Evangelical’s choice.

Presidential checklist:

mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

 

Trump’s remarkable press conference: world wrap with Matt Bevan

from here:
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/trumps-remarkable-press-conference-world-wrap-with-matt-bevan/8278830

time

Donald Trump’s anti-press conference would be funny – if it weren’t so scary.
article here:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/16/donald-trump-press-conference-media-criticism-not-funny
Donald Trump news conference: what was all that ‘ranting and raving’ about?
article here:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/16/trump-news-conference-recap-issues-breakdown
‘There is such hatred’: Trump swipes at everything in manic 77-minute blasting of media
article here:
https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/34436744/donald-trump-attacks-press-over-fake-news-in-77-minute-press-briefing/#page1
Fake news and real journalism

from:
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/latenightlive/fact-based-journalism/8275630

 

And watch this brief video. Take careful note of what is actually asked by the questioner, and then see whether the question and the tone in which it was asked has any relationship to the answer given and the attitude in which it was given.

 

 

Brief CNN Summary of the Press Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

 

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Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

 

 

 

19
Jan
17

Richard Flanagan on Syria’s great exodus

In February 2016, Richard Flanagan was invited to Lebanon, Greece and Serbia by the international aid organisation, World Vision, to witness and report on the refugee crisis.

There’s a lot of talk about the refugee problem. I don’t see it. I see a politician problem. I see people who have no morality, no ethics, beyond their own advancement… (Richard Flanagan approx. 39 mins)

51 minute interview here:

(from http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/author-richard-flanagan-on-syrias-great-exodus/7794224 )

xnotes-on-an-exodus_jpg_pagespeed_ic_z0gz7co-nv

Flanagan’s essay “Notes on the Syrian Exodus” is here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/05/great-syrian-refugee-crisis-exodus-epic-inconceivable-witness-lebos-islamic-state




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