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Archive for the ‘Iraq War’ Category

Australia invaded Iraq by deceiving Australian people: 43 Australian elders

In Democracy, Iraq War, Margo Kingston on May 23, 2013 at 1:47 PM
An estimated 600,000 Australians participated in Iraq War Protest Marches in  February 2003

An estimated 600,000 Australians participated in Iraq War Protest Marches in February 2003 Pic: Andy Baker

We must return stable, predictable, AND honest government to Australia.‘  Joe Hockey, May 23, National Press Club

By Margo Kingston

May 23, 2013

When I saw Paul Barratt’s tweets today on some momentous Howard government lies, I remembered this letter, which Barratt signed in 2004. The government’s trashing of the elders who signed it triggered the decision of public servant Michael Scrafton to blow the lid on the children overboard lie. Thanks for the memories, Paul. And Joe Hockey, don’t talk about bringing back honest government, please. Your last government’s record does not allow it.

Paul Barratt, AO, former Secretary Dept of Defence and Deputy Secretary Dept of Foeign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)


TIME FOR HONEST, CONSIDERED AND BALANCED FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICIES: A STATEMENT BY A CONCERNED GROUP OF FORMER SERVICE CHIEFS AND AUSTRALIAN DIPLOMATS

Sunday August 8, 2004

We believe that a reelected Howard Government or an elected Latham Government must give priority to truth in Government. This is fundamental to effective parliamentary democracy. Australians must be able to believe they are being told the truth by our leaders, especially in situations as grave as committing our forces to war.

We are concerned that Australia was committed to join the invasion of Iraq on the basis of false assumptions and the deception of the Australian people.
Saddam’s dictatorial administration has ended, but removing him was not the reason given to the Australian people for going to war. The Prime Minister said in March 2003 that our policy was “ the disarmament of Iraq, not the removal of Saddam Hussein”. He added a few days before the invasion that if Saddam got rid of his weapons of mass destruction he could remain in power.

It is a matter for regret that the action to combat terrorism after 11 September 2001, launched in Afghanistan, and widely supported, was diverted to the widely opposed invasion of Iraq. The outcome has been destructive, especially for Iraq. The international system has been subjected to enormous stress that still continues.

It is of concern to us that the international prestige of the United States and its Presidency has fallen precipitously over the last two years. Because of our Government’s unquestioning support for the Bush Administration’s policy, Australia has also been adversely affected. Terrorist activity, instead of being contained, has increased. Australia has not become safer by invading and occupying Iraq and now has a higher profile as a terrorist target.

We do not wish to see Australia’s alliance with the United States endangered. We understand that it can never be an alliance of complete equals because of the disparity in power, but to suggest that an ally is not free to choose if or when it will go to war is to misread the ANZUS Treaty. Within that context, Australian governments should seek to ensure that it is a genuine partnership and not just a rubber stamp for policies decided in Washington. Australian leaders must produce more carefully balanced policies and present them in more sophisticated ways. These should apply to our alliance with the United States, our engagement with the neighbouring nations of Asia and the South West Pacific, and our role in multilateral diplomacy, especially at the United Nations.

Above all, it is wrong and dangerous for our elected representatives to mislead the Australian people. If we cannot trust the word of our Government, Australia cannot expect it to be trusted by others. Without that trust, the democratic structure of our society will be undermined and with it our standing and influence in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Murdoch’s war: 175 generals on song

In Iraq War, Journalism, Margo Kingston, MSM, News Limited on March 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM
davies_writing_on_the_wall

Artist Martin Davies. Writing on the wall

By Margo Kingston
February 19, 2003

Rupert Murdoch is pro-war, and thinks a lower price for oil after Iraq is conquered will be better than a tax cut. After those comments (see Murdoch: Cheap oil the prize), a reader sent me Their master’s voice by Roy Greenslade in The Guardian, which reports that all 175 Murdoch editors around the world just happen to agree with their boss. It begins:

‘What a guy! You have got to admit that Rupert Murdoch is one canny press tycoon because he has an unerring ability to choose editors across the world who think just like him. How else can we explain the extraordinary unity of thought in his newspaper empire about the need to make war on Iraq? After an exhaustive survey of the highest-selling and most influential papers across the world owned by Murdoch’s News Corporation, it is clear that all are singing from the same hymn sheet. Some are bellicose baritone soloists who relish the fight. Some prefer a less strident, if more subtle, role in the chorus. But none, whether fortissimo or pianissimo, has dared to croon the anti-war tune. Their master’s voice has never been questioned.’

The reader wrote: ‘It is unrealistic to think that media owners do not influence media content and this article attests to an agenda beyond – and unfortunately more sinister than – objective news reporting (if there is still such a thing these days). You only have to pick up a copy of the Daily Telegraph to know that Murdoch’s papers are pushing for a war. On one hand, it astounds me that Murdoch is so unabashedly blatant about his pro-war stance as it relates to cheaper oil if the coalition of the willing is successful, and yet I find his honesty a breath of fresh air amid the pretences and lies of Bush, Blair, Howard.’

Jack Robertson was so incensed by yesterday’s Daily Telegraph that he penned a Meeja Watch on Murdoch’s war. Sue Stock in Nimbin, NSW recommends medialens for ‘critical reporting on the media’s role on the Iraq situation, particularly in the UK’. Veteran journalist Phillip Knightley’s speech to an Evatt foundation seminar I attended on Sunday on the death of investigative journalism and what to expect of the impending war coverage is at evatt.

After Jack, expat Kerryn Higgs reports on the rallies in New York and Barcelona. To end, Phil Clarke’s choice of Wilfred Owen’s WWI poems, which “might bring home the reality of war which seems to be missing from the debates”.

“Owen was killed in action 1918,and it is frightening to think that his poems are now nearly 100 years old and still so applicable”.

I’ve just published Harry Heidelberg’s column on Chirac’s untimely outbreak of French arrogance, Chirac blows it. Me, I remember a comment by the Herald’s then foreign affairs correspondent in Canberra, David Lague, when I asked if he was boycotting French goods in protest at its nuclear testing in the Pacific. “Think big picture, Margo. France is the only western nation prepared to take on the United States.”

The war is so dominant in people’s minds that the NSW election can’t get off the ground, but we’ll launch the election webpage next week regardless. I’ve just published the fourth article by our planning and development commentator Kevin RozzoliCommunity consultation: A plan of action, and commentator Noel Hadjimichael’s column on questions voters might like to ask before they vote, Labor’s lost years. He begins:

‘Given the informal acknowledgement by both sides of NSW politics that we facing a short three week campaign – during which time the caretaker Carr administration will do its utmost to play by the rules – voters should look back over the past four years and ask themselves three questions:

1. What has Bob Carr done to improve our lifestyle, job prospects or environment since 1999?

2. Who has performed best in their roles as Ministers over this period?

3. What does the next four years offer?’ Read the rest of this entry »