Traitor: Assange or Major-General John Cantwell? · 11 December 2010
Who scares me the most? Who is more likely to betray me and my “northern suburbs of Sydney” values?
Julian Assange or Major-General Cantwell of the Australian Army?
General Cantwell, commander of Australian troops in the Middle East, derided the “northern suburbs of Sydney view” of the world when defending the fact that six militiamen loyal to Matiullah Khan, a thuggishly dominant figure in the province of Oruzgan, had been brought to Australia for training by the Australian Defence Force.
Cantwell said: “Matiullah Khan might not be the most angelic character, but I’ve got to know him pretty well. He’s effective, he does what he says he’ll do, he’s achieved things we’ve asked him to achieve, he’s our guy and we should work with him”.
In January, 2010, a report entitled “Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan” lead-authored by Major General Michael T. Flynn, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence in Afghanistan, had this to say: “In our experience … civilians are on average better trained at analysis … than military personnel, who are typically cultivated for leadership and management roles rather than analytical jobs”.
And this lack of “analytical” ability shows in the case of Cantwell.
Take the words, “I have got to know him pretty well”! Even the most brutal people can often be very charming. For example, Sergo Beria (son of Lavrenti), who as a young man had direct official dealings with Stalin, wrote about an assignment Stalin gave him: “When he thought it necessary he was able to seduce a Field Marshal just as well as a young man. It was not enough for me to be obedient, I had to be completely with him.”
Take the words, “not … the most angelic character” but “he’s effective … (and) he’s our guy”! Adolf Hitler admired Martin Bormann’s efficiency, saying: “I know that Bormann is brutal. But there is a sense in everything he does and I can absolutely rely on my orders being carried out by Bormann immediately and in spite of all obstacles.” Hitler might have said, “he’s my guy”!
Cantwell is right in that it is sometimes necessary to work with the thuggish material that is already there – as should, perhaps, have been done with elements Saddam Hussein’s regime after the invasion of Iraq in an attempt to maintain some order —but it only makes sense to do so if a coincident effort is also being made to reduce their power and influence.
Cantwell, however, wants to boost the power a Stalin/Bormann type of person because he believes it brings some “leadership and management” changes which help him do his job.
The danger is that boosting the power of such Stalin/Bormann/Khan- types brings short-terms gains at the expense of the longer-term aims. Such people eventually come back to bite you!
Of course, Cantwell is not alone. I have noted in an earlier “blog” on this site that Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, Chief of the Australian Defence Force, defended the training of Matiullah Khan’s men, saying: “I have read some stuff in recent times that indicates that Matiullah is very generous in circumstances. For example, a family lost a father and Matiullah provided support to that family in the absence of the father, and I’m familiar with other similar acts that he has been behind before.”
As I then noted, even Stalin could show such “generousity in circumstances”. Stalin seems to have had a liking and respect for General Vasilevsky – “You command so many armies, yet you wouldn’t hurt a fly” – and during the war sent money orders, in his own name, to Vasilevsky’s father (a village priest) whom Vasilevsky had rejected when he joined the Red Army. Stalin also suggested to Vasilevsky that he visit his parents and “ask for their forgiveness”. However, even when he later showed the money orders to Vasilevsky, Stalin recognised all too clearly the utilitarian spin-off from his act, saying: “It’ll be a long time before you pay off your debt to me.”
Rather than threatening Julian Assange and suggesting that he is a traitor – and clearly trying to help the US dump him in Guantanamo Bay – Julia Gillard and her A-G Robert McClelland would be better-off taking a closer look at the activities of Cantwell and Houston (both of whom may be quite happy to see Assange in Guantanamo Bay).
However, it might be that Gillard and McClelland – and much of the Australian population living outside the “northern suburbs of Sydney” – are basically closet Stalin/Bormann types.
Residents of the “northern suburbs of Sydney” should at least know who their real enemies are – and Assange is not among them!