From under the linoleum
Old newspapers show Mussolini's imperialism looked a lot like today's

I sat on the floor and picked through the tragedy of the country we now call Ethiopia laid out on the yellowing pages. It was eerily reminiscent of the current Iraq adventure.

A tale for our times
The December 1934 assassination of Sergei Kirov

Seventy years on, the killing of Sergei Kirov casts an eerie light on the events of 11 September 2001, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the “war on Terror” and the state-sponsored hysteria surrounding the shadowy figures of Osama bin Ladin and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Ninety-three years of bombing the Arabs
It was the Italians, hell-bent on acquiring an African empire, who got the ball rolling. In 1911 the Libyan Arab tribes opposed an Italian invasion. Their civilians were the first people in the world to be bombed from the air.

Dispossessed all over again
After spending nearly two months in the West Bank the pull towards my village was growing stronger, especially after being detained twice and threatened with deportation … an Australian Palestinian returns to her ancestral home.

The tragic inevitability of a forlorn hope
Australia slides further into the Iraq quagmire
Cabinet documents recently released under the 50-year rule show that, in 1954, Liberal (conservative) Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, and key figures in his Cabinet were extremely gloomy about the prospects for success in an American war against nationalists in Indochina. But eventually they went to the Vietnam War anyway.

Bombing King David
One man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist

Some historians date the beginning of modern terrorism from the 1946 bombing by Zionist terrorists of the British military HQ in Jerusalem.

Don’t loiter near the exit
Military debacle and economic decline haunt the Bush regime

When I was just a young possum in the school cadet corps there was a hoary old war story that we all knew. It was almost certainly apocryphal, but it ruefully expressed a nasty historic truth about the US role in the demise of the British Empire.


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A desperate choice for desperate times

25 November 1999

"How would you like to be that John Conde from 2UE, I mean what's he going to do now?" Joadja asked.

"Yeah, It's a horrible range of choices. Things were pretty bad at 2UE between Jonesie and Lawsie before all this happened. Imagine how bad they'll be now. A dirty coffee cup left behind in the studio could touch off World War Three".

"And it isn't just between them. What about Mike Carlton? He started off defending Laws and pushed the line about how Laws was just an entertainer, and now he's changed tack and dropped them both in it. Reckons both of them were greedy.

"'Greedy' would need to be enhanced with an adverb, but you're right, both of them are going to hate him", I said, twisting the top off another cider.

"They'll each hate the other and they'll all hate the ABC. I reckon Conde will be under pretty intense pressure to get rid of either Jonesie or Lawsie".

"Sacking Laws looks like the way to go. I mean he's getting on now, and I suppose he'd have been thinking of retirement sooner rather than later ... and he's the more expensive of the two, by a long shot".

"Yeah, but trouble is, Laws has The Voice", Joadja said, "That authoritative soothing voice that sold products with its extravagant sincerity. There's no doubt the famous tonsils sold billions of dollars worth of ads for 2UE. Jones has nothing much in the voice department ... querulous, harrying tones".

"So if Laws goes, much of the advertising might depart with him?"

"Oh, you bet".

"Now Jones is younger, has more years ahead of him, but on the other hand he's the one who seems to have raised more political hackles. Politicians from both the major parties will finally have an excuse to jack up on him: 'Sorry, the minister isn't available this morning he has a meeting with the departmental working party on the Dubbo mouse plague'. They'll become very brave".

"And arguably, Jonesie's the more accident-prone of the two."

"Right. Like the time he featured a top-secret KGB document in his column in the Sun Herald and it turned out that it came straight out of a Frederick Forsyth potboiler -- he got sacked over that -- and there was the abject failure of Alan Jones Live, which came at a bad time for Channel 10". It was all coming back to me now.

"What was that wonderful joke about Alan Jones Live?"

"Bloke rings up his mate, and he says 'Mate, Mate! You'll never guess what's just happened. I was watching Alan Jones Live and there's a knock on the door and I answer it and it's Pamela Anderson and she's only wearing a pink bow and she hands me a cheque for five million dollars and kisses me -- Mate, I've won Lotto!' And his mate says 'Don't bullshit me ... nobody watches Alan Jones Live'".

"Wonderful. And remember his campaign to establish the innocence of the Manly hotelier Andrew Kalazich, the bloke who hired a hitman to murder his wife? That led to an official inquiry which cost us all a packet. I wonder if Alan was remunerated for it?"

"Or his celebrated arrest in the London public toilet."

"That too."

"Well now that you look at it, if I was Conde, I'd sack Jonesie and take my chances with Lawsie's health. A desperate choice for desperate times."

"Yeah, 'keep the dream alive' for a few more months. Hope everybody forgets."

"What a bunch of losers ... as they say down at 2UE."