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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Brushtail Graphics

Face down in the Kitty Litter

1 June 2003

When I went down to the Brushtail Café on Friday evening the joint had divided into tribal enclaves.

A bunch of boofy blokes had gathered at the TV to fondle themselves surreptitiously while they watched a video of Nigella Lawson having sex with food. The woman is the Linda Lovelace of cooking; a culinary hussy who flirts wantonly with the audience as she pops things in her mouth.

In the corner by the window the Victims of Political Correctness Inc. were having a few bitter drinks to mourn the fact that one of their best and brightest, celebrity stockbroker Rene Rivkin, had been found guilty over a small matter of insider trading. Graham “Richo” Richardson was there, together with Alan “The Parrot” Jones, Trevor Kennedy, Laurie Brereton, Ray Martin and old Bill “Bible Basher” Hayden, surrounded by a bunch of gilded youths on the make: beautiful vapid people of various sexes and few morals.

Rene would be spending nine months of weekends pulling weeds on the banks of Parramatta River and the Victims of PC felt it was a harsh and brutal fate but when they began making violent speeches the Nigella fan club lodged an official complaint to the management and Joadja told them to tone it down.

The Victims eyed me with loathing, no doubt because they knew I was still working on the Offset Alpine case, a mysterious accident in 1992 in which the company so many of them held shares in, burned down, just after upping the insurance cover on its print shop -- valued on the books at $4m -- to a handsome $53m. Offset Alpine’s share price more than doubled after the fire and all except the insurers lived happily ever after.

I fetched a cider and wandered over to join Old Possum and Abdul the Cabbie who were mulling over mullahs, and the deepening quagmire in Iraq.

“So now we know how Saddam Hussein escaped and why the war ended so quickly”, Old remarked. “Reuters and AFP got the story from various insiders and I must say it rings true to me”.

“I missed that. What happened?” I asked.

“Well, it seems that Saddam had a number of close shaves with smart bomb attacks and figured out that someone in his entourage was tipping off the Yanks. Then he got word that three of the cousins he’d promoted -- one was a general in the Republican Guard and the other two seem to have been in military intelligence -- were responsible. These blokes were also telling the troops he was dead and encouraging them to abandon their positions and go home.

“So one day -- the Yanks were already on the outskirts of Baghdad -- Saddam decides to find out for sure. He casually remarked to the assembled company that he was just popping down to the restaurant to pick up a falafel. As was apparently his habit he walked out and hailed a cab which was tailed ‘at a discrete distance’ by his security boys.

“So he walks into the restaurant and out the back door and a few minutes later, kaboom, the Yanks send down three smart bombs. Saddam has his proof. He rings up his hitmen and tells them to top the cousins. Now that’s cool. There never was a Mafia gangster with that sort of chutzpah.”

“Yeah, but hang on, They didn’t take out the restaurant, they hit the homes next door, was that just poor targeting?”

“Might have been, but here’s a nastier scenario: He makes the call to the hitmen, leaves the line open and chucks the phone over the back fence into the place next door.”

“Pity about the people living there”.

“Saddam would think it is, like Americans say, ‘collateral damage’, Abdul said. “The Middle East is very hard place. Rulers only survive by being hard man, like tyrant, bastard. This is true if they are nationalist, Baathist, Shi’ia, Emire, Zionist, American doxy, whatever.”

Which is true. And now Saddam’s sitting around in some deep cellar in Baghdad or maybe Tikrit with his sons and great sacks of US dollars, a cheap cassette recorder to make tapes for his followers, shelves full of classy smallgoods and crates of Scotch … and only about three people know the location.

And he’ll be laughing about Bush’s pathetic ‘Roadmap to Peace’ and the American occupation and the forthcoming war on Iran.

Which is understandable. The Bush gang has reproduced the bottomless political mire of the West Bank on a gigantic scale, stretching from Tikrit to the Gulf.

If you think that the Zionist attempt to create a normal society on the basis of evicting the Palestinian Arabs from the land they had lived in for centuries is stone crazy, imagine the burden the US has taken on, occupying a huge nation like Iraq, with 25 million people, most of whom hate their guts.

There’ll be no good outcome to this. The mullahs of the majority Shi’ites hate the Yanks. Sure they were oppressed by Saddam, but they want an Islamic state, which Bush won’t let them have. The minority Sunnis did well under Saddam but the Yanks will have to keep them in positions of power in order the run the place. Trouble is, they hate the Yanks as much as the Shi’ites do and many of them are loyal Ba’athists who still revere Saddam.

It adds up to this: a bunch of young American, British and Australian soldiers are going to spend a lot of time manning sandbagged checkpoints, being shot at and bombed by locals who smiled and said hello as they passed by the day before. A lot of young soldiers will probably die. The deaths will mount slowly -- in ones and twos on some days and none on others -- but the numbers will surely grow. At least the place is as dry as Kitty Litter. Dying for the Empire is always worse in the jungle.