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August 2013
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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

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Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

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Me on Razor Sharp this morning
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Will the West never learn?

The latest horrific casualties in Syria, suspected of being the result of a chemical weapons attack, have been the occasion for a new round of demands for Western intervention in the country, writes Lindsey German in Morning Star.

While details of the case are disputed, the use of chemical weapons should be condemned, whoever uses them.

But this latest attack should not be used as a pretext for military intervention, which will only worsen the situation there.

This is especially true when those condemning the use of these weapons have few qualms about using them (as the US has done in Iraq and in Vietnam) or of manufacturing deadly weapons, which they happily sell to dictators and despots around the world.

The latest incident in Syria crosses a red line for the Turkish government, which is urging further intervention.

A UN investigation has already begun but that isn’t enough for the Western powers and their allies in the Middle East.

While the UN dresses up the move for further intervention in humanitarian demands, any such step by France, Britain, the US or its regional neighbours will not stop the war now going on in Syria. It will exacerbate it and lead to greater casualties on all sides.

The tragedy of Syria is that the civil war there has turned into a proxy war with implications way beyond its borders and with outside intervention on a scale which resembles the 19th century carve-ups of the Balkans between the various empires of Europe.

A variety of countries have already supplied money, arms and special forces. US, British and other troops are on manoeuvres in Jordan, sending warships to the eastern Mediterranean and recognising and funding a “government in waiting” of the Syrian opposition.

The humanitarian credentials of the intervening countries are threadbare.

Saudi Arabia, which has poured arms and money in to overthrow Assad, who is a close ally of Saudi enemy Iran, is one of the most repressive and illiberal regimes in the world. Its support for brutal repression of demonstrators in Bahrain and its current support for the coup in Egypt which has led to thousands dead, belie any talk of protecting rights, freedoms and human life.

Turkey’s record on human rights, from its persecution and imprisonment of journalists to its long-running war and persecution of the Kurds, demonstrates that its support for the opposition Free Syrian Army is more about its own strategic interests in the region than anything else.

It may be that the ferocious calls to use force are in part an attempt to gain more access to different parts of Syria for the UN weapons inspectors, who are in the country investigating previous claims of chemical weapons use.

Twice in the last century – after the first and second world wars – there was a major reshaping of the Middle East. This was done not in the interests of the people of the region, but of the imperial powers.

Their ability to learn from their mistakes has proved to be zero, while their propensity to repeat the mistakes continues.

Western intervention in Syria, or anywhere else in the Middle East, would deny freedom and justice to its people and fuel greater displacement and war.

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