Alternative political/cultural commentary from an historical New Left working-class counter-cultural perspective.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's July 18, 2013 Letter
(The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge—who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group’s newsletter).
“July 18, 2013
"Hope you’re OK. The world certainly isn’t. Like the bubonic plague, US imperialism has infected every square inch of it through military bases and trade deals, corporate exploitation, debt and a vast communications surveillance network (confirming what many already knew) which has exposed Washington’s reach into every street and hall of power, spying and indiscriminately collecting the emails and telephone records of hundreds of millions of people and largely getting away with it in the name of ‘national security’. More than McDonalds and guns, the empire relies on fear and retaliation, even on its home turf.
"Last week, Obama escalated the war on freedom of the press when a Circuit Court judge ruled that New York Times reporter James Risen must disclose his sources or go to gaol. A blow to US investigative journalism and to whistleblowers, but lord knows how it will affect us here seeing that investigative journalism is almost non-existent. Surveillance on this scale is not a kid’s game of cops and robbers but is a linchpin of a repressive social order with the capacity to strike against anyone who dares to oppose it. Why else have the surveillance? If Washington wasn’t engaged in policies and actions that are illegal, immoral, aggressive, war-provoking and evil, the issue of leaks would never arise. Secrecy is the perfect camouflage to protect the elite’s hidden agenda and its war crimes, with the ballot box a further useful way to shut people up by giving an illusion of democracy.
"In his Brave New World Revisited, writes Pilger, Aldous Huxley describes a new class of people conditioned to accept a normality that is anything but, where the human voice has been silenced so early in their lives they do not fight back. Surveillance is normal in an Age of Regression – as pointed out by Edward Snowden - where ubiquitous cameras are normal, subverted freedoms are normal and public dissent controlled by police is normal. Huxley describes this regression as insane and ‘our adjustment to an abnormal society as a sign of madness. Which just about sums us up, but thankfully, not all of us.
"The more I read about Obama the less I like him. He supports militarisation and a passive constituency that yawns when confronted with climate change, environmental degradation and pollution associated with mining and fracking. Earlier this month, former White House journo Helen Thomas died. She’d been covering the presidential patch since Adam fell in the treacle but lost her job after saying that Israel ‘should get out of Palestine.’ Obama jumped straight in and called her comments ‘offensive’ and sacked her, underpinning his ardent support of Israel’s brutal occupation. No wonder the ‘peace process’ is a sick joke. His Sec of State John Kerry marches around the Middle East brow-beating the Palestinians into signing a dud accord that serves Israeli and US interests and then trumpets a ‘breakthrough’ after twisting the arms of corrupt Netanyahu and corrupt Abbas whose Palestinian Authority was created with Israeli consent and funded by US-led donor countries. When his ‘breakthrough’ comes to an abrupt end you can be sure the Palestinians will cop the blame. Kerry claims to be an anti-war activist, but his brief career in Vietnam and Cambodia was notable for acts of savagery and a lack of contrition for atrocities that in a rational society would be classified as war crimes.
"Polls from all over the world consistently show that Israel and the US are regarded as the two greatest threats to peace and yet these two lawless governments ponce around pretending to be the ‘world’s greatest democracies’. Neither government accepts any accountability to international law, to human rights, to the Geneva Convention or to their own statutory law. They are rogue governments, throwbacks to the Hitler era. For the past 68 years, most military aggression can be sheeted home to these two. It’s Israel that has a nuclear arsenal that is illegal, unacknowledged and unaccountable and it’s Washington morons that have drafted a war plan against China based on a nuclear first strike called ‘AirSea battle. Their supremo electronic spying body, the National Security Agency, is the spearhead for an American version of fascism. We should heed Jimmy Carter’s recent statement – only reported in Germany – that the United States is no longer a functioning democracy. But Israel is in trouble. A binding EU directive due to become effective on January 1, 2014, will pave the way for a complete boycott of Israel’s illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
"Back home, grudging confirmation that Pine Gap is pivotal in US war games. Three of us put out booklets during the 1970s and a book in 1982 (31 years ago) detailing Pine Gap’s role where the US pulls the strings and Australian workers on the base are cooks, guards and bottle-washers and the hush-hush 5-nation UKUSA Treaty signed by Australia, expecting to cause a stir. Silly us! It was attacked by the Right and ignored by the mainstream. Which brings me to censorship and Washington’s unrelenting war on Cuba that it doesn’t want you to know about. In June, a fraternal British group, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, sent money to the US Monthly Review Press to buy 100 copies of a new book The Economic War Against Cuba, but numbskulls in the US Dept of the Treasury seized the money, symptomatic of the lengths to which the US is prepared to go. A big thank-you to those hardy souls who braved the driving rain to take part in the launch of my book – Old Cuba, World Heritage - by Dr Ralph Newmark. A lovely evening despite the weather. Just a thought. Baby George drew breath on July 14, the same date the tumbrels rattled through the mediaeval streets of Old Paris to ferry the Bourbons to Madame La Guillotine. Viva Cuba!