Sunday, October 5, 2014

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's September 28, 2014 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)

"Dear Comrades,

"I've lived through many things during my long lifetime, hot wars and cold wars, and know when something is rotten. And everything about this government--and its state component--is rotten to the core. If there's evil around, it is based in the madness of capitalism and its crazy supporters.

"There was Tony Abbott, surrounded by an army of photographers and sleazy hangers-on, holding the hand of an indigenous child in Arnham Land--after stripping $536 million from the indigenous budget, a quarter of which was for desperately needed health care.

"Standing outside a flash-looking tent, he took us to war: one without borders and one without end. An open-ended conflict against people with no armies, no air forces, no air defenses, no navies and with no clarity of purpose.

"This time we're backing the latest US-installed regime in Baghdad in support of Chevron, Exxon, Marathon Oil and the rest, a war that has expanded into Syria. And how ironic that last year the most powerful nation on earth wanted to pound Assad into oblivion and is now pounding his mortal enemies.

"But Assad is no mug and must be watching with increasing concern as America's air power spreads to more and more targets outside its originally stated aim. How soon, before a missile explodes in a Syrian regime weapons depot or some other government facility, naturally `by mistake.'

"Screaming headlines and `terror plots' engulfed us when 800 police raided 25 homes in Sydney looking for Muslim extremists with media cameras at the ready, while in Melbourne an 18-year-old was shot dead by police. And I doubt we will ever know what really happened there.

"The beheadings by religious lunatics and their off-shoots are horrific. But during the 21 months between James Foley's abduction and beheading, 113 people were reportedly beheaded in Saudi Arabia and 45 foreign maids were imprisoned on death row. But they won't be attacked because they're Washington's `friends.'

"In our insane US-dominated world, it's not aggression when, for the past 13 years, Washington has bombed and invaded seven countries--killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions without a declaration of war. But it is `aggression' when Russia accepts a petition from the Crimeans--97% of whom voted to rejoin Russia, where Crimea had resided for centuries.

"Osama bin Laden was not called a terrorist when he worked for the CIA and was invited to Texas to meet its then-Governor George W. Bush to discuss running an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. Nor was the al-Qaida network, when its members received training in the US as part of the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union and worked alongside NATO in Kosovo.

"Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook blew the whistle on US perfidy when he told the House of Commons that Al Qaida was a product of western intelligence agencies. And that Al Qaida was used by thousands of Islamic extremists who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis in order to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan. It's called `blowback.'

"We are not in a global war between `democracy' and `terror', as we are being asked to believe. The US is not going to look at historical wrongs and injustices and the reasons why it has become so hated around the world. Instead it is seeking vengeance by way of its monstrous arsenal of weapons, which will create even more terror, filtering out what they don't want us to know.

"The `war on terror' is quickly evolving into a worldwide war against all forms of progressive political action--which is why the slogan is so hypocritical.

"The irony is that while Australian governments continue to unquestioningly embrace Washington's deadly campaigns, the US consistently fails to reciprocate, especially in matters of trade, treating us like a pack of servile mugs. It's revealing that the US sends in the army to tackle the Ebola outbreak in poverty-stricken West Africa while Cuba is sending in 165 health workers.

"When Abbott's popularity plummeted post-budget, it was perfect timing to unleash a `national security crisis.' Government hacks are deliberately pushing a campaign of hysteria and then telling everyone to keep calm. And gullible Australians are falling for it.

"I'm not calm. I'm bloody furious at the failure of Labor to put up a fight, especially for failing to stand up for civil society against the raft of draconian `anti-terrorist' laws about to engulf us--without any oversight or pretense of protection or safeguards or the protection of a Bill of Rights.

"ASIO doesn't need new powers. They can already secretly investigate, detain and interview people, bugger up your computer, and do lots more--with habeus corpus and the Magna Carta thrown out the window along with the right of dissent, the lifeblood of a healthy democracy. Its entire edifice rests on the assumption that secret agency personnel are people of integrity with the well-being of our country at heart--when nothing could be further from the truth. The only terrorists we've had in this country were the Utasha: Croatian fascists who were feted by the Liberals, trained with the Australian Army and protected by ASIO.

"C.S. Lewis described the road to hell as a gradual descent, a soft moderate slope that is hardly noticeable until the destination is reached. And that's the path we're on.

"Don't expect any help from our current Governor-General. Back in 2001 when he was Major General Cosgrove, he told an Australian Army Land Warfare Conference that attacks against the US `blurred the hitherto quite distinct boundaries of the functions and responsibilities of the security, law & order and administrative arms of government,' spelling out a clear intent to politicize our army so that it will be prepared to take part in operations against civilian dissidents or militant trade unionists in an industrial situation.

"It is with deep sadness I report the death of comrade Alec Van Engel. Dedicated trade unionist, passionate socialist who never stopped fighting for a better society, Alec always supported Cuba. A thoroughly decent man who will be greatly missed.

"Joan Coxsedge."

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