Category Archives: Defence/Security

MIKE SCRAFTON. Some possible implications for Australia’s strategic policy in Trump’s emergency

President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency over illegal immigration on the southern border of the US is destined to bring on a short term constitutional and political crisis in the US. The security of the US/Mexican border is not … Continue reading

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CAVAN HOGUE. Comment on Hugh White’s response to Paul Dibb on ANZUS and Taiwan.

Hugh White has made an effective rebuttal of Paul Dibb’s claim that we should join the US if China takes military action against Taiwan. It is important to stress that ANZUS does not require us to join with the USA … Continue reading

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HUGH WHITE. The US shouldn’t go to war with China over Taiwan—and nor should Australia (ASPI: THE STRATEGIST, 13 Feb 2019)

Paul Dibb, in his recent Strategist post, writes that America’s strategic position in Asia would be fatally undermined if it didn’t go to war with China if China attacked Taiwan, and that Australia’s alliance with America would be fatally undermined if we didn’t … Continue reading

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LINDSAY HUGHES. Saudi Arabia’s Ballistic Missile Programme: The Tip of the Iceberg.

It was recently reported that Saudi Arabia could be working towards developing a nuclear-capable ballistic missile programme. The fact that the news came as a surprise was, arguably, the biggest surprise of all. Saudi Arabia had made it clear, under Crown Prince … Continue reading

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JOHN STAPLETON: Hakeem, the Australian Federal Police and a Truly Desperate Government

Just how many own goals can one government make and still survive?

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The casual talk of war

The casual talk of war heard today is of great concern. War is treated as if it’s a board game and the only pieces are military forces. The experiences of the twentieth-century, and to a lesser extent those of this … Continue reading

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JOSEPH A. CAMILLERI. Just Peace: The only antidote to the age of violence – Part 1

Endemic violence, the hallmark of the last hundred years, shows no sign of abating. The death toll resulting from war in the 20th century is 187 million and probably higher. The number of armed conflicts in the world has risen … Continue reading

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JOHN STAPLETON. Acknowledged Civilian Casualties Only Beginning of Defence Scandal

The truth is military authorities have no idea how many civilians have been killed by Australian bombs in the medieval streets of Iraq and Syria.

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ERNST WILLHEIM. Secret Trials: The illegal bugging of the Timor Leste Cabinet and the extraordinary prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K

Australians reading about secret trials in foreign countries tend to content themselves in the belief that in Australia we have an open court system and an independent judiciary. After all, freedom of speech, the rule of law and an open … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. A Guessing Game

Trump’s extraordinary public attack on the whole of the US intelligence community has fuelled a guessing game: the well established one which questions the relationship between intelligence assessments and policy development; and, a current one, which questions whether Trump has … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The Intelligent use of Intelligence

The United States Intelligence Community presents an annual assessment of national security threats to Congress. President Trump and the US Intelligence agencies are at odds over the 2019 Report. Putting aside Trump’s simplistic and intuitive understanding and his disregard for … Continue reading

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MIKE SCRAFTON. The fissures in NATO.

NATO defence ministers will meet in Brussels over 13-14 February. Member states will struggle to find any accord in the face of an array strategic and political challenges from internal and external sources. Overshadowing all else will be the vagaries … Continue reading

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NICK DEANE. Unravelling the fabric of the Australia/US alliance.

John Menadue has articulated the problems with the Australia/US alliance very clearly. Those who are concerned to change its nature need a weak point at which to challenge it. To unravel the fabric of the alliance, start by opposing the … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. When will it end?

Three days after the Abbott government was sworn in on the 18th of September 2013 the new defence minister Senator David Johnston made a statement to the media. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that he wanted the military to … Continue reading

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GEOFFREY MILLER. Intelligence and the function of government. (Australian Outlook 9.1.2019)

“Intelligence and the Function of Government”, edited by Daniel Baldino and Rhys Crawley, contains a great deal of useful material on the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC), intelligence issues and intelligence in relation to government. It consists of 12 chapters, covering … Continue reading

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KAREN ELPHICK. United States Senate shows President a red light on war powers as Labor promises a war powers inquiry in Australia (Australia Parliamentary Blog 21.12.2018)

  For several years, Yemen has been in a state of civil war between a Saudi-led coalition supporting the Yemeni Government and Houthi forces. The US armed forces are not directly engaged in Yemen but have been supporting Saudi military efforts with … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Our intelligence agencies are out of control -An edited repost

 It seems  likely that the prosecution by the Commonwealth Government  of former spy (Witness K ) and his lawyer Bernard Collaery will be heard in closed court. What a travesty of justice this is. Those who authorised the illegal bugging … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Joined at the hip to a very dangerous ally that is almost always at war. An update

We are a nation in denial that we are ‘joined at the hip’ to a dangerous ally that is becoming even more dangerous with the increasing privatisation of the US ‘war complex’  The complex is less and less under civilian … Continue reading

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ROBERT D KAPLAN. The case for leaving Afghanistan (The New York Times International Edition).

America is spending beyond its means on a mission that might only be helping its strategic rivals.

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MUJIB MASHAL. Afghan units led by C.I.A. leave trail of abuse .Victims and officials say raids are pushing people toward the Taliban (The New York Times International Edition).

Razo Khan woke up suddenly to the sight of assault rifles pointed at his face, and demands that he get out of bed and onto the floor. Within minutes, the armed raiders had separated the men from the women and … Continue reading

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MACK WILLIAMS. Pine Gap: Cabinet Papers.

Lost in the flurry of media comment on the Cabinet papers released on 1 January was an extremely important( if not the most) submission formerly highly classified and titled as “Establishment of a Joint Australia-United States Relay Ground Station at … Continue reading

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HENRY REYNOLDS. The Best of 2018: Australia’s perpetual ‘war footing’.

We should have paid more attention at the time. It was September 2013 and the Abbott government had just been sworn in. The new Defence Minister, Senator David Johnston, gave an interview to a Fairfax journalist which was reported on … Continue reading

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CHRIS MILLS. Australian Defence Organisation Combats Climate Change Effects in Australia.

The Mission of the Australian Defence Force is to defend Australia and its national interests. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 Report assesses that climate change presents a global ‘risk to heath, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security … Continue reading

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GREG LOCKHART. On the back of the great crime against humanity in Iraq.

It was ‘a bloody mess’. So said one Iraq veteran heavily involved on the logistics side of things and quoted in Dr Albert Palazzo’s recently declassified studies The Australian Army and the War in Iraq 2002-2010 (572 pages, 2011) and … Continue reading

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CAVAN and ALEX HOGUE. Cyber legislation – the oldest trick in the book.

The proposed legislation on cyber powers raises some questions that need to be answered.  The debate has been rhetorical and has not addressed the technical or legal aspects of the legislation in any detail. Has the implementation been thought through … Continue reading

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JACK WATERFORD. Why do crime-busters need ASIO-type powers?

Any political cynic will see excellent reasons for giving the Australian Federal Police a lead role in the crusade against online child pornography, the grooming of children for sexual abuse, and other sexual abuse of children, matters which might ordinarily … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The Occupation of the Australian Mind.

Fear and apathy have taken up residence in the collective political consciousness of Australia. Indeed, it may be that they have achieved that most desirable of states for governments seeking to remain in power, or oppositions sensing their imminent ascendency … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, Human Rights | 2 Comments

ANDREW FARRAN. War and the national Interest.

Since the Korean War in the early 1950s, the US has committed a series of political and strategic misjudgements in its war decisions. Does this give us confidence about its future decisions and for a policy of going along with … Continue reading

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BEVAN RAMSDEN. Caught in the middle of US-China contention, Australia sides with the US in their efforts to contain and keep China out of the Western Pacific.

Australia is currently facing a major change in strategic circumstances and the argument for pursuing a truly independent foreign policy, for the economic benefit and security of the Australian people, has never been so great. 

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DAVID STEPHENS. If the Australian War Memorial holds “the soul of the nation” why is the Memorial Council so full of brass?

The Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, often tells us that in the Memorial can be found ‘the soul of the nation’.   The Prime Minister said the same thing, just the other day.  Accepting for the … Continue reading

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