Australian lawmakers urge end to israel’s abuse of Palestinian children

Australian lawmakers urge end to Israeli abuses of Palestinian children

 

Some of the 49 members of Australia’s parliament who signed a letter urging Israel to end its military detention of Palestinian children participate in a press conference organized by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network in Canberra, 28 November. (via Facebook)

One in five members of Australia’s parliament is calling on Israel to end its systematic abuses of Palestinian children.

“Israel is the only country in the world that automatically prosecutes children in military courts. And only Palestinian children,” dozens of members of the Australian house of representatives and senate say in a letter released by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network on Monday.

“Up to 700 Palestinian children are arrested each year by the Israeli military, and this number is increasing,” the 49 lawmakers add, citing United Nations reports that ill-treatment of Palestinian children is “widespread, systematic and institutionalized.”

The lawmakers call on Israel to comply with its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and “to not arrest or detain Palestinian children unless this is a last resort, and if they are detained, to immediately institute protections for those children including that their safety and best interests are prioritized, and that they are permitted a fair trial.”

Growing debate

The letter is part of a growing debate on Israel’s human rights abuses. Earlier this month, Maria Vamvakinou, a member of the main opposition Australian Labor Party, introduced a motion calling on Australia “to raise concerns with the Israeli government about the treatment of Palestinian children.”

Though parliament has yet to vote on the measure, a number of lawmakers have given speeches calling on Israel to end its abuses of Palestinian children:

“We are very encouraged to see this issue resonating with members of parliament in Australia,” Beth Miller from the human rights group Defense for Children International-Palestine told The Electronic Intifada. “The situation on the ground for Palestinian children is increasingly dire. This is a welcome sign that more leaders are ready to take bold action to ensure justice and accountability.”

International success

The initiative in Australia was the result of international cooperation among advocates for Palestinian rights.

Over the summer, members of APAN – the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network – contacted the No Way to Treat a Child campaign about its successes in winning US congressional support for Palestinian children’s rights.

Led by the American Friends Service Committee and Defense for Children International-Palestine, the No Way to Treat a Child campaign has gained traction in notoriously difficult political territory for those working to hold Israel accountable for its abuses.

“We were thrilled that organizers in Australia heard of our advocacy with members of the US Congress about Palestinian children in Israeli military detention,” Jennifer Bing of the American Friends Service Committee told The Electronic Intifada. “We had several email and Skype exchanges to share strategies and effective messaging with those often silent about Palestinian human rights.”

In June, 20 US lawmakers urged President Barack Obama to send a “clear signal” to Palestinian children that their lives are valued.

In a letter initiated by Minnesota congresswoman Betty McCollum, the lawmakers urged the president to appoint a special envoy to protect the rights of Palestinian children under Israeli occupation.

A year earlier, 19 US lawmakers called on Secretary of State John Kerry to “prioritize the human rights of Palestinian children” in relations with Israel.

While Obama did not act on the lawmakers’ request, and unconditionally awarded Israel the biggest US military aid package in history earlier this year, the lawmakers’ willingness to speak out is a sign of the greater openness and contestation over Palestinian rights within the Democratic Party.

One of the signers of the letter to Obama was Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison, a leading contender to be chair of the party’s top governing body, the Democratic National Committee.

 

Australia, Tagging Along into Other Nations’ Wars

Australia, Tagging Along into Other Nations’ Wars

Since World War II, the U.S. has been the big boss leading a band of lackey nations, mostly in Europe but reaching distant Australia which tags along for the periodic pummeling of some hapless country, as James O’Neill explains.

By James O’Neill

For a country relatively remote from the world’s trouble spots, Australia throughout its short history since European settlement in the late Eighteenth Century has shown a remarkable capacity to involve itself in other people’s wars. With the possible exception of Japan in World War II none of these wars have posed a threat to Australia’s national security.

In the 1850s, Australia provided troops on behalf of the British in the Crimean War at a time when few Australians would have been able to locate Crimea on a map.  Ironically, Tony Abbott as Prime Minister this decade was willing to commit troops to Ukraine, again over Crimea.

australia_71

But Australian knowledge of historical and geopolitical realities in Crimea appeared no greater in 2014 than in the 1850s. The major difference was the infinitely greater threat to Australia’s national security if such a foolhardy plan had occurred in 2014 and Australian troops had found themselves confronting Russian forces.

Australian troops were also committed to the Boer War in South Africa, World Wars I and II, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, to name just the major conflicts. All of these involvements had two major characteristics in common: at no point (with the possible exception of Japan 1942-45) were Australia’s borders or national security threatened; and each involvement was at the behest of a foreign imperial power, often on entirely spurious grounds. The last four named conflicts above – Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria – had the added dimension of being contrary to international law.

A common justification advanced in support of these foreign adventures is that they constitute a form of insurance policy, with the deaths of tens of thousands of Australian servicemen and women being the premium that has to be paid. If we do not pay these premiums, the argument runs, the “policy” expires and our “great and powerful friends” – the United Kingdom and more recently the United States – will not come to our aid if and when we are, in turn, attacked.

It has never been clear just who these aggressors might be, despite endless manufactured potential foes, nor why Australia feels the need to base its foreign policy thus when scores of countries do not feel similarly threatened nor feel the need to pay such a price for their “security.”

The capacity to have an intelligent debate about whether or not there are other, and better, options, is severely hampered by a number of factors. One of the major factors is the concentration of ownership of the mainstream print media. The Murdoch empire controls 70 percent of the nation’s newspapers and is run by someone who is now an American citizen and no longer resides in Australia. The bulk of the balance is controlled by the Fairfax family who at least reside in Australia.

This concentration of ownership results in a degree of uniformity of opinion that Stalin would have recognized and appreciated.  There is a greater diversity of media ownership and opinion in modern Russia than there is in Australia, yet the relentless message in the Australian media is that Russia is an authoritarian state where dissent from an all powerful Vladimir Putin is discouraged or worse. Such a view would be laughable if it were not so dangerous.

The Pervasive ‘Group Think’

Academia is little better. The universities and the so-called “think tanks” rely heavily on subsidies from their American equivalents, or from Australian government departments committed to the government’s policies. There is an obvious reluctance to criticize, for example, American foreign policy when such criticism endangers funding sources, promotions, and comfortable sabbaticals in the U.S.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

A recent example of the intellectual drivel that this can lead to was found in the recent publication of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute entitled “Why Russia is a Threat to the International Order,” authored by Paul Dibb, a former spymaster. It was an ill-informed discussion all too typical of what passes for foreign policy analysis. Not only did it demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of Russian strategic policy, it wholly accepted and American-centered view of the world.

In Dibb’s world, the Americans only act from the best of intentions and for the benefit of the people unfortunate enough to to be the object of their attentions. Any analysis of the way U.S. foreign policy is actually practiced is air brushed from the reader’s attention. The treatment of Ukraine is instructive in this regard.

Dibb completely ignores the February 2014 American-organized and financed coup that removed the legitimate Yanukovich government from power. Dibb ignores the military agreement that provided for the stationing of Russian troops in Crimea; that Crimea had for centuries been part of Russia until Khrushchev “gifted” Crimea to Ukraine in 1954 (without consulting the Crimeans); the overwhelming support in two referenda to secede from Ukraine and apply to rejoin the Russian Federation; the discriminatory treatment of the largely Russian-speaking population of the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine; and the Kiev regime’s systematic violation of the Minsk Accords designed to find a peaceable solution to the Ukrainian conflict.

Instead, he writes that Russia’s “invasion” and “annexation” of Crimea and its attempt through military means to detach the Donbass region in the eastern part of Ukraine have to be seen as a fundamental challenge to the post-war sanctity of Europe’s borders. Such historical revisionism and detachment from reality is unfortunately not confined to Dibb. It is all too common in the Australian media in all its forms.

A selective view of the world, of which Dibb is but one example, extends to a sanitizing of the U.S.’s role in post-war history. The U.S. has bombed, invaded, undermined, overthrown the governments of, and destroyed more countries and killed more people in the process over the past 70 years than all other countries in the world combined. Its disregard for international law, all the while proclaiming the importance of a “rules based system,” is well documented.

A particularly egregious but far from unique example is the war in Syria in which Australia is also involved, even to the comical extent of admitting culpability in the “mistaken” bombing of Syrian government troops at Door Ez Zair.

That the bombing was not a mistake but rather, as several commentators have pointed out (although never in the Australian media), was much more likely to have been a deliberate sabotaging by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s Pentagon element of the American war machine of the Kerry-Lavrov negotiated partial ceasefire.

Syrian intelligence has reported intercepts of communications between the U.S. military and the jihadist terrorists immediately before the bombing in which their respective actions were coordinated. The bombing was followed by immediate terrorist attacks on Syrian army positions in the area and is highly unlikely to have been a coincidence.

Cozy with Terrorists

This is, of course, consistent with American policy in Syria from the outset. The U.S. government has sought to maintain a ludicrous distinction between “moderate” terrorists and the rest.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Before the Russian intervention at the end of September 2015, the U.S. managed to avoid actually stopping the Islamic State advance through large swathes of Syrian territory, and together with Washington’s Saudi and Qatari allies have trained, financed and armed the terrorists from the outset. All of which is part of a pattern of U.S. support for terrorists, as long as they support U.S. strategic goals.

No such analysis appears in the Australian mainstream media which maintains an unswerving allegiance to only one form of analysis. This dangerous group think and intolerance of dissent is exemplified in a recent article by Peter Hartcher, the senior political correspondent of the Fairfax media.

Hartcher described what he called “rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows” by which he meant opponents in Australia of a war with China. The “rats” were politicians “compromised by China’s embrace”; the “flies” are the “unwitting mouthpieces for the interests of the Chinese regime”; the mosquitoes were Australian business people “so captivated by their financial interests that they demand Australia assume a kowtow position”; the “sparrows” were Chinese students and Australia-Chinese associations that exist “specifically to spread China’s influence.”

In Hartcher’s view all four groups were “pests” that needed to be eradicated. To call this reversion to the worst elements of 1950s McCarthyism is probably to do the late junior Senator from Wisconsin a disservice.

Were it simply a case of ignorance it might be simply consigned to the scrap heap where it richly belongs. But it is representative of the same mindset that has led Australia into so many disastrous foreign policy misadventures that it cannot be ignored. Another reason it cannot be ignored is that it represents and affects a widely held view among Australian politicians.

The demonization of Russia in general and Vladimir Putin in particular is clearly evident in the reporting of the situation in Ukraine and Syria. The ignoring of history and the inversion of reality is the default position. Everything that Russia does is a manifestation of its “aggression.” Putin is commonly described as a “dictator” and the appalling Hillary Clinton even compared him with Hitler.

That there is not a shred of evidence to support the many wild allegations against President Putin does not prevent their regular repetition in the Western media.

Ignoring International Law

Similar blindness is evident with regard to the reporting on Syria. Australia is manifestly in breach of the United Nations Charter in its participation in the attacks upon the Syrian government and its forces. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s laughable defense of the presence of the Australian military in Syria, the central plank of which was specifically denied by the Iraqi government, was nonetheless accepted without question by the Australian mainstream media.

The neo-Nazi Wolfsangel symbol on a banner in Ukraine.

The neo-Nazi Wolfsangel symbol on a banner in Ukraine.

There is more preposterous posturing over the South China Sea. The much vaunted “freedom of navigation” demanded for shipping in the South China Sea (although no one can point to a single instance of civilian maritime traffic being hindered in any way) is a concept selectively applied. Just ask a Cuban, Palestinian or Yemeni if freedom of navigation is their recent or current experience of American policy.

Australia partakes annually in a U.S.-led naval exercise, Operation Talisman Sabre that rehearses the blockading of the Malacca Straits, a vital seaway for China that along with dozens of military bases (including in Australia), missile systems surrounding China, free trade agreements that pointedly exclude the world’s largest trading nation, and many other aspects designed to “contain” China, are not the activities of a peacefully oriented nation.

Australia not only participates in clearly provocative actions, but the 2015 Defense White Paper is clearly predicated on planning a war with China. Public statements by senior defense personnel, both civilian and military, reflect a militaristic mindset vis-a-vis China that can only be described as magical thinking given the military capacity of the Peoples Republic of China to obliterate Australia within 30 minutes of hostilities actually breaking out is only part of the problem.

That such thinking takes place in a context where China, the perceived enemy, is also the country’s largest trading partner by a significant margin and the source of much of Australia’s prosperity over the past 40 years reveals a strategic conundrum that the politicians have singularly failed to come to grips with. Worse, it is not even considered a matter worthy of sustained serious discussion.

By its conduct both in Syria and the South China Sea, Australia runs the risk of becoming involved in a full-scale shooting war with both Russia and China. Viewed objectively, there is little doubt that in any such conflagration Russia and China enjoy significant military advantages.  Even that superiority is not to be entertained.  Instead, Australia pursues the purchase of hugely expensive submarines and F-35 fighter planes the strategic and military value of which is at best dubious and more probably, useless.

What then is the benefit to Australia of constantly putting itself in a position where the best it could hope for would be collateral damage? No rational human being would advance on a course of action where the detriments so significantly outweigh the benefits, so why should a nation be any different?

With its crumbling infrastructure, endless wars that it regularly loses, a corrupt money-dominated political culture, technologically inferior weaponry and enormous burgeoning debt, the U.S. is hardly a model protector. To believe otherwise is simply delusional.

As the U.S.-based Russian blogger Dimitry Orlov  has recently pointed out, Russia’s international conduct is governed by three basic principles: using military force as a reactive security measure; scrupulous adherence  to international law; and seeing military action as being in the service of diplomacy. That clearly does not accord with the relentless misinformation Australians are constantly fed but to confuse propaganda with reality is a dangerous basis upon which to formulate foreign policy.

China is also choosing a radically different path in its international relations. The One Belt, One Road, or New Silk Road initiatives, associated as they are with a range of other developments, the significance of which most Australians barely grasp, has the capacity to transform the world’s financial, economic and geopolitical structures in a remarkably short time.

The choice for Australia is stark.  Does it persist in aligning itself with what the late Malcolm Fraser accurately called a “dangerous ally”?  Or does it recognize that the world upon which its comfortable and dangerous illusions are based is rapidly changing and adjust its alliances accordingly.

At the moment Australia has the luxury of choice, but it is an opportunity that will vanish very quickly. Unfortunately, the lesson of history is that Australia will again make the wrong choice.

James O’Neill is a former academic and has practiced as a barrister since 1984

SYRIA FIGHTS COLONIALISM: AUSTRALIA, UK, DEMARK CONFIRM ROLES IN BRUTAL DEIR EZZOR MASSACRE

Syria In The Sun

by Jonathan Azaziah

Weekend massacre executed against Syrian troops atop Deir Ezzor’s Thardeh Mountain now looks like some kind of a murderous colonialist get-together as Australia, the UK and Denmark have all admitted their role in the unspeakable atrocity. Their statements on the crime read just about identically, with each respective Imperialist stain on humanity claiming that they, like the American regime, didn’t “intend” to hit the SAA, that they “regret” what took place and that they offer their “sincere condolences” to the families of the innocent souls whom they had butchered. The reason why this, also like Washington’s bullshit, does not hold even the weight of a termite, is because these are some of the bloodiest regimes to ever grace the stage of geopolitics.

The Australian settler regime wiped out hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal people and played a key role in the overthrow of Indonesian revolutionary Sukarno as well as the Suharto coup regime’s aggression against Eastern Timor. Canberra is also in thick with theusurping Zionist entity and its intelligence services and foreign affairs institutions have literally been outsourced to the Mossad, making it complicit in every criminal act ‘Israel’ carries out. Not to mention, Australia has allowed large numbers of Takfiris to flock to Syria in service of the Oded Yinon balaknization agenda. Denmark, for its part, once ran a hideous colonialist empire, with colonies of theft and mass murder in Africa, India and notably, the Caribbean, where the Jewish-dominated Danish West India Trading Company ran cruel schemes of slave-trading and sugar-thieving. And Britain? Does one really need to enumerate how many countries that the London ZOG colonized, raped and ruined at the height of its colonialist dominance? How much suffering that the London ZOG has inflicted–and continues to inflict–on the entire Global South? As Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei once remarked, the British regime is the “most evil” of all the Western powers. Thus, such regimes cannot feel “regrets”. Such regimes cannot offer “condolences”. Because such regimes are inhuman.

Mark it down and adjust the narrative ladies and gentlemen: Syria and its Hizbullahi, Iranian, Iraqi, Palestinian and Russian allies are not just fighting a foreign mercenary invasion, with terrorists descending upon Bilad al-Sham from 100 different countries. They aren’t merely battling the Najdi-Dönmeh-originated, Khaleeji-financed backwardness of Wahhabi-Takfirism. They are in fact standing their ground and defending the Syrian Arab Republic against a unified colonialist alliance, the likes of which has never been seen before at any other point in history, as this Old Joint Colonialist Conglomerate is attempting to manifest its supremacist bloodlust into a New Zio-Imperialist World Order spearheaded by ‘Israel’ and its main ZOG, i.e. Washington.

Makes the sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army soldiers on Thardeh Mountain that much more heroic; that much more significant; and that much more inspiring, doesn’t it? These men didn’t die to “prop up a regime”. They didn’t give their lives to simply fight “Islamists”. They didn’t depart this world to “serve a dictator”. And they sure as hell didn’t fall whilst “repressing a revolution”. They were martyred, the highest, most dignified honor any individual can attain, struggling on behalf of every decolonized people on Earth, against the filthiest, most all-encompassing hegemony that has ever come into being, and in the name of what none of these genocidal Zionist puppet states will ever be able to understand: Justice, love of country and liberation from oppression. The choicest blessings of ALLAH (SWT) and the most blissful peace be upon the martyrs of the SAA. And death to the Australian, Danish and British regimes who murdered them in cold blood. Death to all these poisonous colonialist constructs and their Takfiri zombie proxies too.

Besides USA, UK ,Denmark & Australia involved in the illegal airstrike which killed 60+ Syrian soldiers

US-Led Strike on Syrian Army Included British, Danish, Australian Jets

British, Danish and Australian warplanes took part in the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrike Saturday that reportedly killed more than 60 Syrian government troops and threatened to unravel the “cessation of hostilities,” military officials said Monday

What International Law permits the American & Australian airforce to fly over Syria? @TurnbullMalcolm

Churkin: US airstrikes on Syrian army positions in Deir Ezzor violate international law

Churkin added, in a press conference held on Sunday morning at the New York-based UN headquarters, that the US carried out a reckless airstrike, wondering why it did it at that time.

He affirmed that the US attack is dangerous and that there are consultations and negotiations among the Security Council’s member states to hold and emergency session.

Churkin said that the US attack violates the international law and it is difficult to believe that this was a mistake, adding that the speech of the US Representative to the UN Samantha Power doesn’t reflect goodwill and doesn’t reflect the reality of things.

He wondered why the US suddenly and without any warnings launched an attack on Deir Ezzor, and why it hasn’t launched such an attack before, indicating that the attack comes in the framework of supporting the armed groups.

Churkin called upon the US to coordinate with Russia if it is really willing to carry out strikes against the terrorist organizations in Deir Ezzor or at any other place, stressing that the US attack against positions of the Syrian army doesn’t have any sense of responsibility.

Answering a question on the US direct collusion with the ISIS terrorist organization, Churkin said that the US should attack Jabhat al-Nusra and the ISIS on the ground, particularly that the attack which it launched on the surroundings of Deir Ezzor Airport was strong and claimed the lives of scores of the Syrian army personnel.

R.J/Ghossoun

Australia also involved in murdering Syrian soldiers & illegally flying over Syria

Australian jets involved in US-led air strike which killed dozens of Syrian soldiers, Defence confirms

Australian aircraft were involved in a US-led coalition operation which killed dozens of Syrian soldiers who were apparently mistaken for Islamic State fighters, the Defence Department has confirmed.

Between 62 and 83 Syrian soldiers who had been fighting IS militants were reportedly killed in the air strikes around the Deir al-Zor military airport in Syria’s east.

“Australian aircraft were among a number of international aircraft taking part in this Coalition operation,” the Defence Department said in a statement.

“Australia would never intentionally target a known Syrian military unit or actively support Daesh (IS). Defence offers its condolences to the families of any Syrian personnel killed or wounded in this incident.”

The Russian military earlier said two F-16s and two A-10 jets that flew into Syrian airspace from neighbouring Iraq carried out the actual attack. Neither type is listed as being in operation with the RAAF.

The strikes came less than a week into a fragile ceasefire aimed at stopping the bloodshed in Syria’s five-year civil war, as Russia accused what it termed “moderate rebels” of causing the truce to fail.

Source

Simple choice for Australia, if you like war choose the USA, if you like peace & trade choose China

Australia Must Choose Between America, China: US Army Official

A senior American military official has called on Australia to confront China’s growing influence if it wants stronger ties with the US.

US Army Assistant Chief of Staff Colonel Tom Hanson told Australian radio on Thursday that Canberra should make a choice between Beijing and Washington, the Reuters reported.

“I think the Australians need to make a choice … it’s very difficult to walk this fine line between balancing the alliance with the United States and the economic engagement with China,” Hanson told  Australian Broadcasting Corp. Radio.

“There’s going to have to be a decision as to which one is more of a vital national interest for Australia,” he added.

Hanson specifically urged Canberra to take a tougher stance against Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea, which channels more than $5 trillion in global trade each year and is believed to be rich in oil and gas.

China has long claimed sovereignty over the sea but those claims are disputed by the US and a number of countries that border the contested waters such as Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The US accuses China of undertaking land reclamation program in the disputed waters and has sent several of its warships to the region to protect what it calls “freedom of navigation.”

Australia, a staunch ally of the US, has drawn fire from China for conducting surveillance flights over a series of Chinese artificial islands in the sea.

To add insult to the wound, Australia has also blocked Chinese investment bids, seemingly on national security grounds.

In late July, China lashed out at the United States, Japan and Australia for issuing a joint statement on the South China Sea, saying it was only “fanning the flames” of regional tensions.

The foreign ministers of the three countries expressed “strong support” for Southeast Asian nations in territorial disputes with China.

“Clearly China believes that they have an opportunity and they feel empowered to flout that, and a demonstration by Australia would be welcome,” Hanson said.

This is while China is Australia’s biggest trading partner and acts as a large source of foreign investment, spending $11.1 billion on Australian assets

 

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