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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The Mohamed Haneef case
How the lie got halfway round the world before the truth got its boots on

23 July 2007

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
HL Mencken

Poor Dr Haneef! Little did the young Indian medico know, when he applied for a job at Southport Hospital, that he’d become a pawn in a war invented by neoconservative idealogues; a war fought with innuendos and lies.

Very fortunately, thanks to the resolution of his barrister, Stephen Keim, Mohamed Haneef’s case has thrown light on one of the key operational techniques used in state frame-ups and false flag operations: control the narrative. Once you’ve established the “official story” you can be sure that virtually every member of the state apparatus will fall into line behind it – even if it means adjusting the evidence to match it and lying to the judiciary.

In its general outline, the “official story” has held sway among our politicians and the mainstream media for several years now: we’re engaged in an open-ended struggle called “The Clash of Civilizations”: Muslims (monolithic, evil, fanatical, backward, growing relentlessly in numbers and influence) versus normal Western folk (nice, democratic, overly-trusting). A shadowy Muslim organization called al-Qaeda spreads its organizational tentacles throughout the world, ordering bombings. A contradictory alternative scenario, peddled by the same official sources, holds that it doesn’t. According to this even more scary theory, a controlling organization isn’t necessary because anytime any two or three Muslims get together they spontaneously form a cell devoted to jihad. Whatever, none of this has anything to do with oil.

Broad acceptance of this narrative leads the mainstream media to pass on, as good coin, whatever their “anonymous sources” in the secret police tell them. Not to do so would be irresponsible and unpatriotic. After all, the journos tell themselves, if they didn’t turn these little “facts” into a story, they wouldn’t have a story and they’d be scooped by the competition.

This insidious habit isn’t limited to the Murdoch press. The “quality press” slips all too easily into it. Consider the Sydney Morning Herald: on Thursday 5 July, three days after Haneef’s arrest, they carried a breathless piece from the UK Telegraph, and below it, another from The Guardian. Both relied completely on a stream of anonymous tips. The lie was already half-way around the world before the truth got its boots on.

The Telegraph's “Whitehall" informants had “at least one” of the arrested doctors on a watch list, but insisted they were all “people who knew people” (a fact that would put 100 per cent of us under suspicion). The police were “desperately” trying to figure out if the alleged conspirators knew each other but they were pretty sure al-Qaeda hadn't “plotted to infiltrate Britain's National Health Service”. Not so, according to the paper's anonymous “American intelligence sources”, who “suggested” that they were recruited by al-Qaeda in Iraq as far back as 2004. The Guardian's anonymous “counter-terrorism officials” also believed the plot was “hatched from outside”.

Unverifiable and contradictory gibberish rapidly morphed into an official line so that by Friday 6 July, when the the media reported that two of the alleged Glasgow bomb plotters had tried to get work in the Australian hospital system, this fact was couched as evidence of a spreading world-wide plot and (no doubt to the joy of the Federal Police) Haneef’s Brisbane hospital job fitted seamlessly into the sinister tale.

But think about it: if these doctors had been trying so hard, to get work in Australia, is it likely they were, simultaneously, working on a methodical plot to launch jihad in Britain from the bowels of the NHS? Isn’t it more likely they were just a bunch of young doctors trying to build careers in the nicest country they could find?

Fortunately, Keim’s release of the interrogation transcript exposed the lies told by the Federal Police to the media, to the Magistrate at Haneef’s bail hearing and in their affidavit to Federal immigration minister Kevin Andrews.

To hear the cops tell it, Haneef had admitted to living with the two British suspects in England and had no explanation as to why he had planned to leave Australia, on a one-way ticket, without getting leave from his job.

Actually, he’d told them that he had at one time lived in the same Liverpool boarding house for young Indian doctors, but not at the same time as the other suspects, he’d been granted emergency leave by Southport Hospital, and he'd given a perfectly logical reason for the one-way ticket, and one that fitted with what was known about his financial affairs. Financially he was living close to the bone and when he had to return to India to see his young wife, his father-in-law paid for his ticket and he was going to pay for his return fare with his next pay-packet.

And, most crucially, the whole yarn about Haneef’s SIM card being found in the vehicle used in the Glasgow incident – on which the whole case for the doctor being a jihadist conspirator rested – has turned out to be convenient fiction peddled by the anonymous “sources”.

But none of this has pricked the conscience of the Howard Government and the Federal Police. Not content with prejudicing the legal rights of Haneef with a stream of lies the Immigration Minister is now saying he has a “secret dossier of evidence” against him (to quote the SMH which has somewhat recovered its credibility of recent days).

What’s the big secret Andrew? If there’s more evidence that’s so compelling, why didn’t the AFP trot it out at the bail hearing?