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Peta Credlin and Abbott, like Hitler-Bormann

5 December 2013

The Abbott-Credlin relationship seems, in many respects, similar to the Adolf Hitler – Martin Bormann relationship. Tony Abbott and his chief of staff Peta Credlin are enforcing a culture of “obsessive centralised control phobia”, according to Liberal National Party senator Ian Macdonald. According to another Coalition member: “The level of control is far in excess of the Howard government at its peak. It’s Peta Credlin who is the problem, she’s a control freak.” In Hitler’s case, Martin Bormann controlled his – and also much more than his official title suggested. This is because Hitler generally did not like to immerse himself in detail and often let Bormann handle such matters. Does this sound like Credlin and Abbott?

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National Security Myth

2 December 2013

On 27 November, 2013 the British High Court – at the urging of Foreign Minister William Hague – blocked the release of government held information on the murder, by radiation poisoning, of the former Russian FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. His wife has continually sort the release of all government-held information for an inquest, but the government has refused to do this. On Wednesday, Justice John Golding of the High Court said: “Nothing we have decided reduces the importance of open justice. However, no court can fail to take into account issues of national security, whatever the litigation may be.” In my view, when the three – narrowly focused intelligence professionals, not always particularly smart politicians, and impressionable judges – come together in a certain mix, the result can easily be a distorted view as to what constitutes “national security”. I strongly suspect that this is what has happened in the case of Litvinenko.

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Obama, Jefferson, slaves, murder, Nobel Prizes

12 December 2012

Gideon Rachman of the “Financial Times” (“America’s drone war is out of control”, December 10, 2012) wrote that “the use of drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists has become a trademark of the Obama administration”. This often involves “killing somebody whose name you don’t even know because his pattern of behaviour suggests to you that he is a terrorist”. “Yet while Guantánamo attracted worldwide condemnation, the use of drones is much less discussed. It is hard to avoid the impression that Barack Obama is forgiven for a remarkably ruthless antiterrorism policy simply because his public image is so positive. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for goodness sake!” “America argues that even signature strikes are precisely targeted and that civilian casualties are minimal. But that is disputed. A recent study by Stanford and New York University law schools endorsed the claim that between 474 and 881 civilians, including almost 200 children, have been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan. One case – in which a meeting of tribal elders called to discuss a mining dispute was hit, killing 42 people – is now the subject of legal action in Pakistan and Britain. (The British are accused of providing intelligence to the US.)” Paul Finkelman (“New York Times”, November 30, 2012, article headed “The Monster of Monticello”) wrote that when looking at the life of Thomas Jefferson, “we seem unable to reconcile the rhetoric of liberty in his writing with the reality of his slave owning and his lifetime support for slavery. Time and again, we play down the latter in favor of the former, or write off the paradox as somehow indicative of his complex depths.” The reality is simpler! Obama does not have “complex depths”, and I suspect that neither did Jefferson. For both Obama and Jefferson, words have the most meaning if they sound good to other people and the words suit their own purposes. Yet, they get away with so much because – in Gideon Rachman’s words – their “public image is so positive”. This raised several possible questions:
(1)Would Jefferson have received the Nobel Prize if it had existed in his day”;
(2)Would Barack Obama have been a slave owner if he had been a white man in the same era as Jefferson?

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Gillard's “personal decision” UN vote!

3 December 2012

Paul Kelly wrote (1 December, “The Australian”) that Julia Gillard’s insistence that Australia vote against UN recognition of Palestine’s non-member state observer status “was a stark demonstration of her will to dominate and tenacious determination to impose her authority”. He writes that we are now witnessing a “psycho-political drama”. Kelly is right, but there may be more to it than he suggests!

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Putin, Gillard, Medvedev, Abbott

19 November 2012

This article briefly summarizes the personalities (psychological make-ups) of the two most important “political” figures in Australia and Russia, and the implications of these for the most crucial economic issues facing these two countries. In the case of Australia, I take the most crucial issue to be dealing with the rising economic and political power of Asia (in particular non-NE Asia). In the case of Russia, I take this to be dealing with internal economic reform and the wishes of the “middle classes” for political power.

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