Category Archives: Defence/Security

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

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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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GARETH EVANS. Australia in the world: it’s time to punch our weight.

In this lecture, Gareth Evans calls for “Less America … More self-reliance … More Asia … More global engagement”.  See below, extracts from Gareth Evans’ Tom Uren Memorial Lecture delivered in Balmain 2 December 2018.  

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JIM KABLE. Oz not even a footnote to US victory in the Pacific.

One is constantly reading or listening to the loud declarations of eternal friendship – blood-brotherhood in so many words – of our Australian federal politicians and their US counterparts, including military leaders, generals and so forth. But what is the truth … Continue reading

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JAMES O’NEILL: New Revelations About Australia and the Iraq War

A new ABC report reveals, quoting from a previously classified document, that the Australian government decided in early 2002 to join the American led Iraq War, but failed to disclose that to Parliament or the public.

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JAMES O’NEILL. America’s permanent war complex: a comment on Porter’s argument.

A recent article by US commentator Gareth Porter raises many issues that should be of concern to Australians.  That they will in all probability be ignored points to some wider changes needed in our society.

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MACK WILLIAMS. Australia-US Defence Relationship: Are we in the “prudent planning“ phase already?

The publication by the ABC of a previously highly classified analysis of the ADF’s logistic problems in the early phase of Gulf War 11 has shed some critical light on the process by which Australia joined in that war. It … Continue reading

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ANDREW GREENE. Australian Defence Force’s Iraq war secrets revealed in newly declassified report (ABC News)

A secret Army study has detailed the widespread logistical problems faced by Australian forces in Iraq 15 years ago. ‘The Howard government had decided early in 2002 to begin planning the  Iraq War, a year before John Howard announced Australia’s … Continue reading

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GARETH PORTER. America’s permanent-war complex. (The American Conservative, 15.11.2108)

What President Dwight D. Eisenhower dubbed the “military-industrial complex” has been constantly evolving over the decades, adjusting to shifts in the economic and political system as well as international events. The result today is a “permanent-war complex,” which is now … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The ascendancy of the age of Thorby (Part 1 – The state’s justification for requiring passive citizens)

Contrary to popular belief, modern democracy does not welcome an active, engaged citizenry especially between election campaigns because its interventions would hinder the operations of the state. The preferred condition is one of citizen passivity in which the authorities go … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. The age of Thorby (Part 2 – The addictive denial of transparency and the protection of malfeasance)

Where matters defined under the rubric of national security are concerned, the intelligence agencies of the state demand nothing less than the indulgence to act with unwarranted secrecy – secrecy beyond that which is absolutely essential.  Over the last 80 … Continue reading

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. China, The US and the Manus Island naval base.

APEC, Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, was really Bob Hawke’s idea.  The Prime Minister of the day envisaged it as a purely economic gathering, a meeting of finance ministers to deal with the growing impact of globalism and ensure dialogue and the rule … Continue reading

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KELLIE MERRITT. Stepping up to the war crease.

Unaccountable spin and double standards are the stuff of “good bloke” politicians. It’s a skilful charade that perpetuates unchecked executive power and distances the parliament and public. Kellie Merritt’s husband Paul was killed “whilst on operational duty” in Iraq. She … Continue reading

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RICHARD TANTER and BUSINES INSIDER INDIA. Darwin, the Marines, and touring the American empire of bases

The idea of ‘US imperialism’ may be seen as a fiction of the ideological left, or as an overblown presentation of the presence of a few US bases in different countries. But the US military does indeed operate on a … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE- Sacrifice is being politicised. Militarism is becoming the norm.

Remembrance is morphing into  acceptance of conflict. The culture war about remembrance being waged by conservatives and the military is winning with little opposition.  The never ending stories of Gallipoli, the Western front and Armistice go on and on. We are … Continue reading

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