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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (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)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole
(0)

Sick kids and paying upfront

(0)

Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)

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Operation Phoenix: rising from the ashes in Afghanistan?

Operation Phoenix was a special campaign of assassination and torture in Vietnam aimed at destroying networks of Vietcong sympathisers in the South.

Estimates vary but Operation Phoenix probably killed somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 Vietnamese villagers. It is likely many were not Vietcong supporters.

But many were.  They wanted to see their country free from the foreign invaders. For this US and Australian troops killed them, even though they were civilians.

Indeed so widespread was the support for the liberation forces that the invaders saw killing any civilians as a victory over the enemy.

As history shows, Operation Phoenix was a failure and indeed may have contributed to the defeat of US imperialism in Vietnam by turning supporters into enemies.

Australian troops were involved in those war crimes.

The other day John Hartigan, Rupert Murdoch’s mouthpiece in Australia and head of News Ltd here, argued that newspapers would survive and prosper.  Here is part of what he said:

We have never been challenged as we are now, to justify why someone should pay for our content.

I believe people will pay for content if it is:

 Original…Exclusive… Has the authority – and is relevant to our audiences.

Here is a suggestion for John Hartigan.  Get one of your reporters to investigate Australia’s role in Afghanistan.

Specifically, are our troops engaged in assassinations of villagers similar to Operation Phoenix in Vietnam?

Here are a few clues and signposts.

US imperialism (like all imperialisms) is brutal. It cares nothing about innocent lives in its struggle to protect and expand the US profit system. 

Newly appointed head of operations in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is a butcher.  His record in Iraq is one of cruel barbarity and that is why he is now in charge of Afghanistan. 

Iraq is a defeat in slow motion although McChrystal may have sped up the process.

Increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan shows that the Taliban are a feared enemy. They have support from villages and towns in a number of areas.

So these villagers, as well as the Taliban, could easily become the enemy in the eyes of the invaders.

The Chief of Australia’s Defence Force, Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, in an update on Afghanistan Operations on 28 May, said:

…the Special Operations task group is making inroads in dismantling Afghanistan’s insurgent network.

This is the same language used to describe Operation Phoenix.

Houston also said that key Taliban leaders had been successfully targeted this year, and named a number of assassinated Afghans.

Who are combatants and who are not?

Houston describes those we assassinated as terrorists, insurgents and bomb makers. He would say that wouldn’t he?

Houston spends some time examining claims that Australian troops had killed civilians.  He concludes there is no evidence to support this.

Evidently we make honour payments to the families of those we didn’t kill.

What exactly are Australia’s Special Operations Group troops doing in Afghanistan? Killing villagers perhaps, and then calling them insurgents and terrorists?

That’s why the Labor Government changed the rules to allow Australian troops to carry money to pay off aggrieved parents of kids killed by Australian troops.  The ‘honour’ payments supposedly have to be made quickly to prevent reprisal attacks and to win the Afghanis’ hearts and minds.

This cash for killed kids obscenity hides our war crimes and encourages our troops to murder with impunity. It will only further drive Afghanis into the arms of the Taliban and other insurgents.

I have a better suggestion.  Don’t kill civilians. 

The only way to ensure that is to withdraw our troops immediately.

Then we can put those Australian troops who have been involved in war crimes in Afghanistan on trial,  along with their commanders and the politicians who are ultimately responsible for these crimes against humanity.

Now that sort of story would be an exclusive, and original, wouldn’t it Mr Hartigan?

But I forgot.  News Ltd is a cheerleader for imperialism and won’t investigate the truth.

 

Update. Since writing this I have learnt that Dateline on Australia’s SBS will in fact run a story on the role of the Australian military in Afghanistan.  Their trailer basically says that troops in Afghanistan are under fire in more ways than one – and shows shots of small body bags being moved.

Perhaps SBS has actually done the investigative work I was suggesting News Ltd do. Let’s see what their story brings.

Further update. There wasn’t much analysis in the SBS report.  It left a general impression that Australian troops had killed civilians unnecessarily. It showed that the people of Oruzgan province don’t see us as liberators but as enemies.

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