Thursday, July 28, 2016

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's July 24, 2016 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 24, 2016

“Dear Comrades,

“Sad, sad times for mother earth with its wars and environmental and economic devastation. No wonder so many are unhinged. Evil begetting evil in spades. Some a direct consequence of the Iraq inferno. Six years in the writing, Chilcot’s damning 6000-page report on Iraq (so far we’ve only had a prĂ©cis), spelled out some of the catastrophic consequences, but only told part of the story.

“A Nuremburg trial would have been a better option for the Bush/Blair/Howard war criminals. Blalr snivelled about his dishonourable role and then had the gall to say the world is ‘better and safer’ as a result, with the other two amigos from the Coalition of the Willing agreeing. If they were helicoptered into Iraq, into Libya, into Syria, into Afghanistan, into the Gaza Strip, and left for an indefinite period, they might think again.

“But why is Gulf War One (1990-91) never mentioned? George Bush Snr's ‘Operation Desert Storm’ (launched to catch New York’s evening news) left Iraq on its knees. US men in their killing machines unleashed 90,000 around-the-clock bombing runs, the equivalent of seven Hiroshimas, precipitating one of the great civilian slaughters of the late 20th century.

“The cluster bombs, the fuel air bombs, the napalm, the phosphorous and fearful anti-personnel weaponry with names like Adam, Beehive and Bouncing Betty, went hand-in-hand with a decade of savage sanctions that destroyed Iraq’s entire infrastructure, its electricity, clean water, sewerage, communications, hospitals, schools and agriculture. Spare parts, embargoed like hospital equipment, drugs and pain-killers. Iraq was finished, but apparently not enough for George Bush Jnr and his clique of neo-cons who used 9/11 to unleash ‘Operation Rolling Thunder’ and full-on invasion and occupation, trumpeting it was ‘the greatest moral crusade since the Second World War’, a ‘moral crusade’ Australia rushed to join.

“But this wasn’t a war against generals or presidents. This was a war against ordinary people, people like us walking along roads, travelling in buses, in hospitals, in coffee shops, going to school, going to work, going to the market.

“The bombs weren’t unleashed to protect human rights. Gulf Wars One and Two were wars for oil, for US strategic interests and a reminder to the rest of the world that the global cop was back on the beat. To con us, PR hacks and spin doctors went to work with their phoney slogans and monstrous lies like Hill and Knowlton and the powerful Rendon Group. As Robert Fisk commented: ‘Don’t tell me that America would have invaded Iraq if its chief export was beetroot’.

“This week we heard ad nauseum the rather clumsy plagiarism by Trump’s missus in her keynote address to the Republican faithful. There were precedents. Tony Blair’s propaganda dossier on Iraq was a cut-and-paste job pinched from a student’s website, large slabs of which were then pinched by George W for his own inept presentation.

“But Washington believes it has a god-given right to do what it likes against anyone not sufficiently up its backside, but not Australia. Heavens no, we’ll give you what you want even before you ask!  We were there during Indonesia’s brutal 1965 anti-communist purge after the US gave its nod of approval, during the Vietnam War and had ASIS agents working with the CIA in the destruction of Allende’s Chile. We supply bases for their war games and assassinations and manipulation of trade unions and ignore their biological attacks against countries like Cuba.

“Currently, Washington has blockades against dozens of countries. Makes me wonder about the recent visit of Vice Pres. Joe Biden. You can bet London to a brick he didn’t come here to open Melbourne’s new cancer centre or chat with a few political nonentities. Apart from demanding more support for a buggeredup Iraq, what else?

“And here we are post-election, or what passed for one, with important policies on by-pass. Greed is Good Malcolm is back licking his chops getting ready to further stuff up our stuffed-up economy along with a new round of dire warnings and threats, with Governor-General Cosgrove on hand if needed.

“Some may recall that a few years ago, the then Major General Cosgrove, spoke at the Australian Army’s annual Land Warfare conference in Sydney which was reported in the Financial Review. Cosgrove recommended that the Australian Army should be prepared to to take part in operations against civilian dissidents or militant trade unionists in an industrial situation. The general warned that the attacks against the US had ‘blurred the hitherto quite distinct boundaries of the functions and responsibilities of the security, law and order and administrative arms of government…’ Thank you but no thank you, Mr Cosgrove. One former jumped-up CIA-run Governor-General by the name of Kerr is more than enough.

“In the UK Jeremy Corbyn has his back to the wall facing a virulent campaign from the Tories and the Blairites. He supports trade unions, the re-nationalisation of Britain’s  railway system and ignores public opinion polls, threatening the status quo.

“Union boss Len McClusky has accused Britain’s secret agencies of using agents provocateurs to undermine Corbyn. ‘We found out a couple of years ago that the chair of my union, the Transport and General Workers, was an MI5 informant when a strike was taking place that I was involved in (1972)’, said McClusky. ‘Anyone who thinks that isn’t happening doesn’t live in the same world that I live in…that there’s not all kinds of right-wingers able to disguise themselves and stir up trouble?’

“On the other side of Europe, Turkey’s hard man President Erdogan is having a field day purging large swathes of the army, the judiciary, municipalities, journalists, universities, anyone who might oppose him after the aborted coup d’etat, lists prepared in advance by an ASIO-type outfit who probably let the ‘coup’ roll on to justify his ‘cleansing’.

“So any chance you get, talk to people about a different society, one that puts people before profits… Viva!

“Joan Coxsedge”

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