Bipartisan barbarity – BY RED FLAG


For many years, Australian television crews have been denied access to the detention camp on Nauru. That’s the way the Australian government wants to keep its political prisoners: faceless and shrouded in secrecy. 

Since 2014, Nauru has charged a non-refundable $8,000 visa application fee for foreign media wishing to visit the island. Unsurprisingly, none have gained access. That was the point. 

We have had to rely on workers in the detention system to blow the whistle on the abusive conditions or on refugees themselves to smuggle out grainy mobile phone footage. That was until Channel Nine’s A Current Affair (ACA) and presenter Caroline Marcus were given free access to sugar-coat what are in essence torture camps.

Her message? Sure, there might be a bit of mould on the tents, but there’s nothing much to see here. Except of course some flat screen TVs and some ungrateful asylum seekers. Marcus followed up the program with a more explicit piece written in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph: “Many average Australians would have watched the story last night and wondered what all the complaining was about: on the whole, the refugees on Nauru are well-fed, most live in relative comfort and they’re free to move around as they please”. 

This truly is propaganda of the absurd. It wasn’t relative comfort that drove Omid Masoumali to burn himself to death in April after three years on Nauru. Nor was it relative comfort that led six children collectively to attempt suicide using the same razor blade, or an asylum seeker to carve open his own stomach in protest at being stopped from seeing or speaking to his cousin, who was on a roof and threatening to jump.

These incidents of self-harm on Nauru are catalogued by Paul Stevenson, a trauma expert who has chosen to speak out rather than be silent. In an interview with the Guardian, published the day before ACA went to air, he said: “In my entire career of 43 years I have never seen more atrocity than I have seen in the incarcerated situations of Manus Island and Nauru”. For saying this, Stevenson’s contract was cancelled – a warning to others who might follow in his footsteps. 

The ACA ode to detention comes in the context of the federal election. It was an example of corporate media doing the Liberal Party’s bidding in the most transparent of ways. That the Liberals would rely on racism was signalled by immigration minister Peter Dutton in May when he claimed that “illiterate and innumerate” migrants were intent on taking Australian jobs (while simultaneously bludging on Centrelink, of course). 

As election day draws near and the polls tighten, the Liberals are desperate to change the terrain of the discussion from Medicare and their $50 billion in tax cuts for the corporate elite. But with the boats carrying asylum seekers slowed to a trickle by a combination of the militarised border and demonic levels of punishment of those in the camps, the Liberals have found it hard going to generate the necessary heat. 

That’s why they have abandoned their secrecy when it comes to “on water operations”, opting instead for talking up the summary deportation of 21 Vietnamese asylum seekers intercepted by Australian navy. We should expect to hear a lot more about the existential threat posed by leaky boats in the coming week. 

Shorten has fallen over himself to declare that he too has an insatiable appetite for cruelty. “I lead the party … and I said we’d stop the boats”, Shorten protested. And he’s right. Labor has a long record of punishing those seeking safety on Australian shores. And it’s not that it has merely tailed after the Liberals. At times Labor has set the pace, leapfrogging the Liberals’ anti-refugee policies and taking us to new depraved depths. 

It was the Labor Party that reopened Manus and Nauru and consigned thousands to that hell indefinitely. It was Labor that crafted the PNG deal that denies them any hope of resettlement in Australia. And it was the Labor Party that introduced the “screening out” policy, a determination process in which asylum seekers are given mere minutes to establish their claims, without access to lawyers and with no right to appeal negative decisions. This is the policy utilised by Turnbull to deny the Vietnamese their rights.

It’s also the policy that allowed the previous Labor government to deport thousands of Tamil asylum seekers fleeing the genocidal violence of the Sri Lankan military. It delivered thousands back into the arms of a regime well known for its use of torture to silence and dominate the oppressed Tamil population. The pulling of fingernails is not enough to make the ALP blink.

This danger is not in the past. According to the UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, torture by security officials in Sri Lanka remains “commonplace”. This is the probable fate that awaits the 44 Tamils currently stranded on Aceh in Indonesia if they opt once again to take to the seas in the hope of reaching Australia. 

The refugee campaign can harbour no illusion that Labor will be a more humane option. Even its policy of increasing the humanitarian intake to a lousy 27,000 will take until 2025. Whoever wins the election, justice for refugees will be denied.

Demonising refugees is not some peculiar penchant of the Australian political establishment. Whether it’s US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposed wall blocking the Mexican border, the millions spent by Britain to disrupt refugees’ attempts to cross the English Channel or the shameful deal between the European Union and Turkey forcibly to deport refugees seeking to breach Europe’s fortress, anti-immigrant politics has increasingly become the go-to tactic of governments that have little to offer but austerity. 

After decades of job losses, stagnant wages and depressed living conditions in the centres of capitalism, all exacerbated by the global economic crisis, there are deep wells of discontent that can be channelled in a variety of directions. Those who have been waging this one-sided class war want it directed at the most vulnerable victims of the system, at those fleeing dictatorships backed by the West, sectarian conflict stoked by the West or broken economies privatised and pillaged by the West.

But the wave of anti-immigrant poison can be fought. Greece provides an important example. Despite 25 percent unemployment and one in six people having no access to health care, there has been widespread solidarity with refugees across the country. Eighty-five percent of Greeks agree that Greece must help refugees. The difference between Greece and much of the Western world is the level of collective resistance to austerity and anti-immigrant racism.

Resisting the poisonous divide and rule politics of the political establishment requires a fight on a number of fronts. Merely playing the polite parliamentary game won’t do. Building the fight for refugee rights means marching through city streets as well as occupying and disrupting the detention network with acts of civil disobedience. 

It means standing in solidarity with those on the front lines of this barbaric system. Despite the profound demoralisation that infects the camps, refugees have shown tremendous resilience. On Nauru they have been protesting continuously. Monday 27 June marked the 100th day of protest. The demonstrations have also spread to Manus. They refuse to give up.

But the fight against racism also requires rebuilding resistance to the capitalist class. For those on the receiving end of decades of neoliberal attacks, an alternative argument has to be made about how to defend jobs and health care and win affordable housing. 

It’s easier of course to kick down at those below us than it is to kick up. But that’s a false solution that only gives the powerful freedom to continue stomping on us. Collectively kicking up at the powerful offers the only hope of uniting against racism and improving all of our lives.






Brexit vote brings Tory crisis—don’t cry for the EU – by SOLIDARITY


Britain has voted to exit the EU.

The far right has tried to claim credit for the Brexit vote. Cory Bernardi was quick to tweet his support for the racist right-wing UKIP leader, Nigel Farage.

Monarchist Tony Abbott welcomed the decision, and looked forward to a free trade agreement with Britain.

Unfortunately many on the left have illusions in the EU and will see the vote as a win for racism because much of the official “Leave” propaganda was scare-mongering about asylum seekers and “EU migrants” taking jobs or crowding the health system in Britain. (So similar to Malcolm Turnbull and Liberals in Australia’s federal election.)

No doubt, some people voted Leave for anti-immigration reasons. But this was also an anti-austerity vote—a revolt against big business and the politicians. The Remain camp had the official support of all the major political parties, practically every business organisation in Britain, the bankers and major world leaders. Many workers in Britain have seen living standards go backwards as a result of neo-liberalism and cuts. Polling showed one third of Labor and one third of Green voters were going to vote Leave.

It is a mistake to see the vote as a vote for the right, and for flag-waving little Englanders. The EU provides no haven for asylum seekers. Britain’s membership of the EU didn’t stop Cameron from maintaining a blockade at Calais and effectively closing Britain’s borders. Cameron’s position on asylum seekers is little different from Farage’s.

Brexit has forced the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and left a deeply divided Tory party.

There should be no illusions—the EU is a bosses’ club. This is why they are some signs of panic now that Britain has voted to leave.

The experience of Greece shows that the EU has no respect for democracy, or workers’ rights. Syriza, the democratically elected government of Greece, was held to ransom by the unelected bankers as savage austerity measures were ruthlessly imposed.

The EU has been no help to the French workers staging massive strikes against France’s Socialist government as it tries to deregulate French labour laws—moves that will lengthen the working week to 46 hours from 35, and make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers.

In fact the new law is part of the same process of loosening the labour market and reducing employee protections that has long been happening across the EU.

Nor has the EU been a brake on imperialism or war. Twenty-two of the EU member states are members of NATO.

Membership of the EU did nothing to moderate NATO’s bombing of Libya. The EU looked on while Britain and France began bombing Syria. The EU has played a direct role in fomenting the war in the Ukraine as it held out the possibility of Ukraine joining the EU, with the signing of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement in June 2014.

Turkey’s membership of the EU was obviously a carrot offered to pave the way for the disgraceful refugee deal that has allowed asylum seekers to be expelled from Europe to Turkey.

The racist right might try to capitalise on the turmoil. Geert Wilders in Holland and Le Pen in France have called for referenda. But those in the UK in the Lexit (Left Exit) campaign have been at the forefront of defending refugees and migrants. Uniting to mobilise in support of refugees and migration will be crucial in the months ahead.

Now is not the time for hand-wringing. The bosses’ crisis is our opportunity. (See Lexit statement below.)

The hopes for a socialist Europe lie where they always did – in the fantastic scenes of ordinary people opposing racism to welcome asylum seekers into the cities of Europe; in the struggles by French workers against labour deregulation, or by Greek workers against austerity and privatisation.

Malcolm Turnbull has tried to use the crisis to say that a Liberal vote is a vote for stability. But Turnbull is a Tory just like David Cameron. The Brexit vote has already seen Cameron declare he will resign by October—good riddance.

We should take encouragement and redouble the efforts to get rid of Turnbull and Australia’s Tories, with the likes of Abbott and Bernadi still in their ranks.

In Britain we have seen the first ever junior doctors’ strike against Cameron in defence the British National Health Service (NHS). Their strike was a major blow to the British Tories plans for the privatisation of the NHS. There is no doubt that Turnbull does have similar plans to privatise Medicare.

He wants to outsource the Medicare payments arrangements, and his rebate freeze will inevitably see increasing co-payments for visits to the doctor.

There is no doubt he also wants to attack penalty rates and the unions’ right to organise. We can vote to get rid of him on 2 July–but we can’t rely on a Labor government to undo the Liberals’ attacks. We will have to fight to end offshore detention. They are more interested in running the system than fighting it.

Like the British junior doctors, and the French and Greek workers, we will have to organise to demonstrate and strike back.

Solidarity, Australia

Lexit Statement on the Leave Vote

The Leave vote is above all else a rejection of the entire political establishment by millions of working class people who have been left to suffer austerity for decades with few defenders among the mainstream parties.

This is now a social crisis of the first order. Every institution of the British establishment backed Remain. The Tory party, despite professions of unity, is beginning an internal war. ‘It’s a hammer blow to Cameron’, reported the BBC this morning. Osborne is already talked of in the past tense.

This could have been a great Labour crusade if it had put itself at the head of this working class revolt but the Blairites forced Jeremy Corbyn to abandon his long held opposition to the EU.
This has left the right to claim a victory which is not in truth theirs. Nearly 17 million people voted Leave, but only 3.8 million voted UKIP at the last election. But it is up to the left to now put itself squarely at the centre of opposition to the Tories and the right.

If you don’t want the racists to be the face of today’s result, then don’t let them. There is a significant proportion of those who voted Leave that did so on the basis of opposing the austerity and the neoliberal order that has directly impacted their lives and is part and parcel of the EU. Don’t be so quick to paint millions of people with the same brush as Farage.
Many on the left voted Remain for understandable reasons in a very divisive referendum. It is now time to unite around the most elementary demands that millions of working people will readily support.

The ONLY thing the left can do now, is to rally around this result and take the fight to the Tories.

End austerity now!
Cameron must resign!
General election now!
No more ‘Fortress Europe’ – equality for migrant workers!








The Prez goes to the front lines at Marj Al-Sultaan in the Ghouta to review the troops as they continue their assault on the cowering cockroaches of Alqaeda.  (Thanks, Khaled)




درعا-قتلى-ارهابيين-في-درعاI told you so.  The SAA has now enveloped all the Al-Mallaah Farms with the rodents screaming bloody murder in their cellphones.  Turkey’s Erdoghan doesn’t seem able to do anything about the mess he created, other than, ahem, to steal all the equipment at the Zeezaan Power Station where his minions, mostly Turkish engineers, were busy, with cranes and tractors, removing essential elements of that energy complex which cost the Syrian people over 1/2 billion dollars.  The SAA is now in control of over 75% of the Al-Mallaah Farms and we predict the SAA will evict all the rodents within the next 48 hours.

(Thanks, Hamosh)




جيشAl=Bihaariyya Farms:  The SAA’s crack 105th Brigade backed by the Palestine Liberation Army’s Yarmouk Brigade, HZB and the NDF, has liberated the whole area all the way to Mayda’ah-Nishaabiyya Axis in the Eastern Ghoutaa.   The group calling itself “Faylaq Al-Rahmaan” has lost so many rodents in this battle that they are now in danger of becoming extinct.

Baalaa –Jisreen Axis:  SAA has achieved major progress in the battle to delouse this area in the Eastern Ghoutaa.  Yesterday and today, huge stores of armaments have been destroyed along with Nusra’s command-and-control center linked to the Jordanian General Intelligence Service in Al-Ramtha.  Early estimates of dead rodents are in excess of 50 with these Syrians, only, being identified:

Sameer Muhammad-‘Ali  Qaadhoom

Mahmoud Naafoori

Suhayl Al-Baabaa

‘Abdul-Kareem Subhi Al-‘Allaaf

Shafeeq Hilmi Al-Naayil


East Jisreen Farms:  After combing the area, a massive network of tunnels was discovered which the rodents used to move about the area and to warehouse huge amounts of weapons and ammunition brought in from Jordan.  Our engineers are now working to neutralize the anti-armor land mines and IEDs which the rodents planted here.  This area is under the complete control of the SAA now.





Another Top Non-Syrian Commander Killed by Syrian Army in LattakiaThis is the carcass of Adam Shishaani who was killed yesterday by the Syrian Army.  His carcass will be ground into a pile of fertilizer and smuggled into Saudi Arabia where he will wind up in the king’s salad.  We are also delighted to report the death of “Abu Haajar Al-Binnishi” who was killed by the SAA yesterday in Latakia, near Kobaana.




The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment (Part 28) – By Dr George Venturini

By Dr George Venturini*

Testing the thesis . . . Rampant sexism (continued)

Of all Australian women aged 18 to 24, 23,584 reported they had experienced sexual assault in the 12 months prior to the survey. Twice as many women in this 18 to 24 age bracket experienced sexual assault, compared to all women. (‘Violence against women: key statistics’).

Presently, Australian police are dealing with 5,000 domestic and family violence matters a week. That is one every two minutes. It means that every day Australian police would deal with 434 domestic violence matters, on average:  264,028 per year, and an increase of 7 per cent from 2015.

The figures point to an increase in victims letting police know about violence, rather than a real-world increase in violence, according to Ms. Mayet Costello, the acting chief executive of ANROWS.

The Australian Government has been working towards providing better data about domestic violence but it is estimated that the process of setting up national data collection and reporting will not be complete until 2022.

So far the data available on police intervention are the following:

  Date range Number 12-month change
Vic 2015 74,385 9%
Qld 2014-15 71,777 9%
NSW 2014-15 65,120 2%
Tas 2014-15 4,410 8%
WA 2014-15 16,461 9%
ACT 2014-15 2,876 -13%
NT 2015 3,970 -6%
SA 2016 25,029 20%
Aust   264,028 7%


(C. Blumer, ‘Police handle 5,000 domestic violence matters a week, up 7 per cent’).

During the last decade of the twentieth century and the first of the present, allegations of child sexual abuse in Australia, particularly by officers of the Roman Catholic Church, but also in a number of other confessional and non-confessional institutions – mainly but not exclusively private schools. Some of the allegations relate to incidents which had occurred during the 1950s, others in more recent times. Some allegations, when prosecuted successfully, led to a number of convictions. But such trials and convictions were few, lengthy and costly. In most cases the perpetrators could rely on ‘protection’ offered by their superiors – many of them in most cases equally guilty. Calls for a Royal Commission had began in the late 1990s.

On 12 November 2012 Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that she would be recommending to the Governor-General the setting up of a Royal Commission. On 19 November 2012 federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Acting Minister for Families Brendan O’Connor released a consultation paper seeking input into the Commission’s scope of the terms of reference, how the Commonwealth and the States and Territories would work together, the number of Commissioners and suggested areas of expertise, the proposed timetable and reporting requirements.

Archbishop Hart, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, stated that he welcomed and promised co-operation with a Royal Commission broadly to investigate child sexual abuse in institutions across Australia. George Pell, Cardinal-Archbishop of Sydney, stated that he hoped the Royal Commission will stop a “smear campaign” against the Catholic Church. During a press conference held on 13 November 2012, Cardinal Pell voiced his support for the Royal Commission and welcomed the opportunity to help victims, to clear the air and to separate fact from fiction.

On 11 January 2013 Governor-General Quentin Bryce issued Commonwealth Letters Patent appointing six Commissioners and designating the commission’s terms of reference. The Commissioners were directed “… to inquire into institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse and related matters …”

Each State was also requested to issue Letters Patent, or their equivalent Instruments of Appointment, which allow the six Commissioners to conduct an inquiry into institutional responses to child sexual abuse under their respective laws. The States proceeded. Both the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are officially administered under the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Commonwealth Letters Patent covered their jurisdiction.

Also on 11 January 2013 Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the setting up of the Royal Commission and the appointment of six commissioners with The Honourable Justice Peter McClellan AM, a Supreme Court of New South Wales judge, a former chair of the Sydney Water Inquiry, and a former assistant commissioner at Independent Commission Against Corruption as its head. The other commissioners were to be: Mr. Bob Atkinson AO APM, a former Police Commissioner of Queensland who oversaw police reforms following the Fitzgerald Inquiry; The Honourable Justice Jennifer Coate, an appointee to the Family Court of Australia, a judge of the County Court of Victoria, and a former president of Children’s Court of Victoria; Mr. Robert Fitzgerald AM, a Commissioner on the Productivity Commission, convenor to the Indigenous Disadvantage Working Group, and a former commissioner on the NSW Community and Disability Services; Dr. Helen Milroy, a consultant psychiatrist with the Western Australia Department of Health specialising in child and adolescent psychiatry, and director of the Western Australian Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health; and Mr. Andrew Murray, a former Senator from Western Australia and advocate on issues surrounding institutionalised children.

The setting up of the Royal Commission was supported by the then Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott and by the Greens, as were the terms of reference and the choice of commissioners.

Hearings were and are still being conducted in every capital city and a number of regional centres across Australia.

The federal government requested an initial report from the Commission not later than 30 June 2014 as well as a recommendation for the date for the final report not later than 31 December 2015. But the work of the Commission required an extension, and on 13 November 2014 Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove amended the Letters Patent extending the date for submission of the final report to “not later than 15 December 2017.”

An interim report was released on 30 June 2014 and included “the personal stories of 150 people who shared their experience of abuse by coming to a private session or providing a written account.” At that time there were still around 3,000 more sessions on a waiting list to be heard. In June 2015 the Royal Commission released a report, prepared by the Parenting Research Centre, which assessed the extent to which 288 recommendations from 67 previous, relevant inquiries have been implemented. Following the conclusion of each public hearing, case study reports were released on findings and recommendations for each of the abovementioned cases.

Still, a male-dominated parliamentary system – at all levels, whether federal or state – is reluctant effectively to recognise the right of women to decide on matters which relate exclusively to their own body; an anti-abortion attitude, solid under all circumstances, is maintained by parliamentarians of the major parties.  Simultaneously, a subtle homophobic attitude pervades the view of those parties. Of course, it is not declared, because that may have serious electoral consequences. Both behaviours, anti-abortion and homophobia, are grounded on the ‘traditional values’ of a society which proclaims itself founded on Judeo-Christian principles and, at the same time, wishes to be seen as ‘secular’. That is a maladroit attempt at having things both-ways – and damned the inconsistencies. Only those who know nothing of the essential Philistinism which pervades Australian society would find that glaring example of cognitive dissonance easy to believe in – and respect.

There is educational inequality: education of women is second best in a system which already is not at the internationally competitive top universally respected, and is blocked in the opportunities that real education could open.

A Fascist regime is essentially ‘virile’: domestically it sells beer, abroad it fights wars; its institutions lie – often with impunity as they take advantage of fear, credulity and superstition of the populace.

Tomorrow: Testing the thesis (continued) . . . A controlled mass media

GeorgeVenturini* In memory of my friends, Professor Bertram Gross and Justice Lionel Murphy.

Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. In 1975 he left a law chair in Chicago to join the Trade Practices Commission in Canberra. He may be reached at

Part 27





Turkey’s Scholars Call Erdogan’s Presidency Fraud – BY ERIC ZUESSE

Turkey’s Scholars Call Erdogan’s Presidency Fraud (I)

ERIC ZUESSE | 26.06.2016
American writer and investigative historian

Turkey’s Scholars Call Erdogan’s Presidency Fraud (I)

One of the Constitutional requirements to be able to serve as Turkey’s President is to have a college diploma, and Turkey’s association of professors have declared fake that of Turkey’s President, Tayyip Erdogan, which presents him as having graduated from «Marmara University».

statement published by them on June 8th described the multiple possible explanations for irregularities of his diploma, then concluded, «But he cannot be represented as a graduate of Marmara University» (or, in the Turkish original of their statement, «Ancak Marmara Üniversitesi mezunu olarak gösterilemez»). He can’t, because his diploma is dated 4 March 1981 from the Economic and Administrative Sciences Faculty of Marmara University, and that’s a Faculty which wasn’t even part of Marmara University until 1983; in 1981, it was instead a college independent of the University, and known then only as the Aksaray Academy of Economic and Commercial Sciences. If he had actually possessed a diploma from that college, no «Marmara University» would have been printed on it.

So, he has always been misrepresenting himself by saying that, in 1981, he «received a Business Administration degree from the Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences (Marmara University)». He has presented no authentic evidence that he graduated from any college at all. Consequently, the professors’ association wrote, «This is bad practice, because the president is not a graduate of Marmara University ‘Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences’» – definitely not of Marmara University (which didn’t even exist until 28 March 1982), and probably not of Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences either (though it could be that he was, but that he had lost his diploma from there, and – being a psychopath – forged the one that he now shows, so as not to be declared illegal to run for, or serve as, the President of Turkey).

The relevant provision of the Turkish Constitution, in its original 1982 version, is:

ARTICLE 101. The President of the Republic shall be elected for a term of office of seven years by the Turkish Grand National Assembly from among its own members who are over 40 years of age and who have completed their higher education or from among Turkish citizens who fulfil these requirements and are eligible to be deputies.

In 2007, that was revised to«The President of the Republic shall be elected by the public from among the Turkish Grand National Assembly members who are over 40 years of age and have completed higher education or from among ordinary Turkish citizens who fulfill these requirements and are eligible to be deputies. The president’s term of office shall be five years. The President of the Republic can be elected to two terms at most».

This provision wasn’t present in the original Ataturk Constitution of 1924, but became present in the 1961 Constitution, where its form was: «ARTICLE 95 – The President of the Turkish Republic shall be elected for a term of seven years from among those members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly who have completed their fortieth year and received higher education».

So, during the period of 1924-1961, there was no such educational requirement, in order for a person to be able to run for and serve as the President.

This issue for Erdogan didn’t exist until he entered the Grand National Assembly in 2003; but, after that time, he was contending for the Presidency, which he finally won in 2014, and the professors’ association is saying that he occupies that office illegally.

An article in Al-Monitor, on June 15th, was titled «Is Erdogan’s university diploma forged?» and Cengiz Çandar wrote: «If it turns out Erdogan was never qualified to be elected president, whatever he has signed or implemented would have to be considered null and void from a purely legal point of view». The professors’ association avoided addressing the governmental and political implications of their saying, «But he cannot be represented as a graduate of Marmara University». At the end of Çandar’s article was also this about the governmental implications: «It is mind-boggling. But if Erdogan’s diploma ends up being a forgery, even Turkey’s cowed media will not be able to ignore or avoid the explosive scandal that would result, with all its international dimensions». Now that Erdogan’s ‘diploma’ clearly is a forgery (or has, in so many words, been nailed as being such, by the professors’ association), and the only remaining question is therefore whether he lost an authentic one (and so he’s simply a psychopathic liar who had goofed), people are waiting to see if an authentic one exists. Perhaps instead, however, the issue will just fade away, since most Turks apparently tolerate dictatorship if it’s one they happen to agree with. (Otherwise, Erdogan wouldn’t even be in his present office.)

Marmara University has been placed into an awkward position by Erdogan’s forgery. Anadolu Agency, which is Turkey’s government-run equivalent of America’s Associated Press, headlined on 26 January 2013, «130th Anniversary of Marmara University: Marmara University decorated Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan with an honorary doctorate degree», but no mention was made then of Erdogan’s having claimed to have studied at MU, even though his having ‘graduated’ from that University (which, as was previously mentioned, never even had that name, until 1982) was, among Turks, a point of prestige for the University. Until recently, the University had simply basked quietly in the President’s glow. But Marmara University’s Catalog during the year 1995-96, in the catalog’s section «History of the University» did make note of one relevant fact here: that, «In accordance with the Act 2800, of November 6, 1981, The Istanbul Academy of Economics and Commercial Sciences was finally recognized as [named] Marmara University in July 25, 1982». So, even the University cannot reasonably deny that something is wrong with Erdogan’s ‘diploma’.

On 3 June 2016, a new website «Turkish Minute», which had started operation shortly after Erdogan on 5 March 2016 arrested and charged with treason the top management at Turkey’s largest (and often critical of Erdogan) newspaper, Today’s Zaman, headlined «Marmara University rector confirms Erdoğan is a graduate», and that report presenting the government’s line, might have helped to precipitate the collective statement from the professors’ association, explaining why the diploma was actually fake. Then, on June 18th, a blogger, «ufilter», headlined «The story of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s fake degree and diploma», and provided yet additional details of its fakery, and further mentioned that at least two investigative journalists, in separate incidents, had recently died, suddenly and mysteriously, soon after having released their reports pointing out problems with Erdogan’s ‘diploma’. So, when Cengiz Çandar, on June 15th, referred to «Turkey’s cowed media», there was apparently good reason for them to be «cowed».

(To be continued)

Turkey’s Scholars Call Erdogan’s Presidency Fraud (II)

ERIC ZUESSE | 27.06.2016

Turkey’s Scholars Call Erdogan’s Presidency Fraud (II)

See Part I

According to all of the latest independent reports, Erdogan’s claims to having had anything of a secular education are entirely bogus, because the only education that he unquestionably did have was his k-12 education, all of which was at Islamic schools, where he learned to read, and did read, the Quran. These were schools that prepare boys for the clergy. In fact, one of the reasons why Article 101 of Turkey’s Constitution requires the President to have a college degree is that k-12 schooling in Turkey prior to Ataturk was Quranic. Only post-high-school education then had some secular control. Though Erdogan grew up in Ataturk’s imposed secular Turkey, he seems all along to have been simply a closeted fundamentalist Sunni, who rose in politics because the Turkish public favored that, more than they favored Ataturk’s imposed separation of church-and-state. And now, even the EU is dependent upon Turkey, to absorb as many of the refugees as possible from the US-Saudi (and their jihadists) invasions of Syria, Libya, etc. (which invasions are aimed to overthrow leaders who are allied with Russia, but also to spread the Islamic faith, in precisely the Salafist-Wahhabist Sunni variety that the Sauds especially champion).

As Foreign Affairs reported, on 23 December 2015, about Erdogan’s Turkey: «Students who perform poorly on entrance exams for secondary school are shunted into imam-hatips where they study the Koran for up to 13 hours a week and take courses on the life of the Prophet Muhammad and Arabic [the language of the Quran]. Erdogan has boasted that during his tenure as president, enrollment in these schools soared from 63,000 to over one million».

Erdogan is part of a broader fundamentalist movement in Turkey to end the country’s secularism and return Turkey to its sectarian, Ottoman, past. Here is the way that one fundamentalist Muslim phrased the matter in a speech addressing American fundamentalist Christians in Colorado, on 14 November 1998, encouraging them in their fight for a statutorily Christian America to replace the existing secular US Constitution and system of government: «Religiosity went underground. While many Turks did lose their faith [after Ataturk’s reforms,] … many others simply feigned a loss of faith. (On my first visit to Turkey a student told me that he did not let his professors know that he prayed five times a day because he wanted to get a job after he graduated.)» Erdogan’s fake college diploma is part of that «underground» operation, to return Turkey to its previous system. Violating a secular Constitution is no sin, but a virtue, to believers in the view that law comes only from God, never from humans; i.e., not from democracy, the public, but from God. Thus, for Erdogan to violate section 101 of Turkey’s Constitution, is acceptable to people who believe the way he does (i.e., as a religious fundamentalist). It’s what had won him the Presidency.

The President of Turkey is globally important. Turkey is a crucial member of the Western alliance – the countries allied with the US against Russia – because it’s the single bridge between both the NATO alliance of anti-Russia countries (essentially, the US and the EU), and the anti-Russia GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) alliance of fundamentalist Sunni Islamic Sharia-law oil kingdoms against Russia: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman. Turkey is the only Islamic nation that’s both a member of NATO, and also a fundamentalist Sunni Islamic, and (under Erdogan) increasingly Sharia law, nation. (Unlike the others, Turkey has no oil of its own, however.) So, Erdogan is the regional bridge between America’s NATO military alliance, and the Sauds’ GCC military alliance. The only other such bridge (though not merely regional) is America’s President, Barack Obama, who is, in a sense, an even bigger such bridge than Erdogan is: the US President is the glue that holds the entire anti-Russia alliance together globally. Consequently, if Turkey’s regime collapses, then America’s regime might be the only remaining such geostrategic north-south bridge, holding together both ends of America’s anti-Russia alliance: otherwise known as the Western alliance. And, of course, with Pacific allies such as Japan and Australia, the US truly is the uniquely global superpower. But, if Erdogan falls, then an even heavier geostrategic burden will become placed on America, and the Sauds will consequently be even more dependent upon the US than they now are. Perhaps they’ll then need to reduce their funding to terrorist groups (such as they have always been requested to do, in private).From the Sauds’ standpoint, a return of Turkey back to its former Ataturk secularism, away from Turkey’s more recent Erdogan Sunni sectarianism, would thus likely be quite unwelcomed. Furthermore, how would the US, Sauds, Qatar’s Thanis, etc., then be able to get their weapons and jihadists into Syria to bring down and replace the secular Shiite ally of Russia who now leads that country: Bashar al-Assad?

So, Erdogan’s diploma-problem could turn out to have considerable global significance. If his diploma-problem fades away, then Turkey’s dictatorship will be established quite firmly, and Turkey’s Constitution will be empty verbiage, but Erdogan’s supporters will probably be even more passionate for him than they now are, because of their fears of the demons that he trumpets: KurdsShiites, etc. He’s an ordinary tyrant, in an extraordinary position, and thus is a tyrant with extraordinarily many foreign allies. That might pull him through.






NATO’s military presence along Russian border is Cuban missile crisis in reverse – BY SPUTNIK

Commenting on the buildup of NATO forces on Russia’s borders and the increasing frequency and scale of military exercises, French journalist Christine Bierre, editor-in-chief of the Solidarite & Progres newspaper, warned that the situation is reminiscent of a Cold War-era conflict which brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation.

In a recent analysis for the paper, the official organ of the French political party of the same name, Bierre warned that “when we talk about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, only in reverse, this is not just rhetoric. Nearly 60,000 soldiers of NATO and allied countries have been participating in four series of maneuvers in the Baltic countries, Romania and Poland.”

“The most provocative among these exercises were the recently completed Anaconda-16 drills in Poland,” the journalist suggested. “Moreover, they were not organized by NATO, but by Poland itself, which the British and Americans have been inciting against Warsaw’s old Russian enemy. In total, these exercises involved around 31,000 troops from 24 countries, making them the largest the country has seen since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in 1991.”

As if that weren’t enough to escalate tensions between Moscow and NATO, Anaconda-16 is being complemented by Baltops-16, Saber Strike-16, and Swift Response-16, the latter involving Germany and Poland. “The chart published by the Department of Defense…speaks for itself,” Bierre noted.

“But it was in the eastern Mediterranean and Black seas that the Russians and Americans could find themselves nose to nose,” the journalist added.

“Facing Russian fighter jets which have repeatedly made it clear to US ships deployed too close to their borders in the Baltic and Black seas that Russia would like them to go play somewhere else, the United States has decided to respond with a show of strength.”

On June 6, the US Aegis-armed destroyer USS Porter entered the Black Sea and docked in Bulgaria’s Varna. “At the same time, the [aircraft carrier] USS Dwight D. Eisenhower entered the Mediterranean from the Atlantic, joined by the USS Harry Truman, which unexpectedly arrived in the Mediterranean on June 3 through the Suez Canal. The highest ranking officer of the USS Truman confided to the Wall Street Journal that the goal was “a demonstration of capability.”

Meanwhile, an anonymous official was even more blunt, telling the paper that the Truman’s deployment “provides some needed presence in the Med to check…the Russians. The unpredictability of what we did with Truman kind of makes them think twice.”

In effect, Bierre noted, “this NATO show of force became a prelude to the upcoming summit in Warsaw, where the European allies will be asked to approve the deployment of additional troops and equipment in the Baltic countries, Romania and Poland.”

“As for Russia, while taking care not to overreact to the delirious discourse of the United States, it has taken countermeasures, including [the planned] deployment of new RS-28 Sarmat hypersonic intercontinental ballistic missiles, scheduled for between 2018-2020,” she added. “These can carry between 10 and 15 nuclear warheads, and are equipped with advanced electronic systems; their goal is to break through the US missile shield in Europe.”

Against the background of this escalation, the most informed observers have been active in calling a spade a spade, Bierre added, pointing first and foremost to recent comments by German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier.

In an interview for Bild am Sonntag two weeks ago, Steinmeier warned that “there is no need to aggravate the situation with the clatter of arms and militant rhetoric. Anyone who thinks that symbolic tank parades on the eastern border of the alliance will create more security is mistaken. Military exercises simulating the response to ‘Russian aggression’ are counterproductive and dangerous.”

Moreover, Bierre pointed to a recent opinion piece in The Washington Times by Russia experts Edward Lozansky and Gilbert Doctorow, which denounced the demonization of Russia by the media and called for the beginning of a ‘perestroika’ in the USA.

According to the two experts, “the impending failure [of US foreign policy] and our going off the cliff into World War III has to be the country’s first concern. Come nuclear war, which, sadly, is more likely now than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962,” all other political debates and priorities “will go out the window.”

The authors suggested that like the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s, the United States today is in desperate need of ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ – transparency and open discussion, in order to abandon a disastrous foreign policy which threatens both US and global survival in the 21st century.

© Sputnik/ Vasiliy Batanov

Meanwhile, Bierre warned, the recent proposal by Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments official Evan Branden Montgomery on the creation of an Asian NATO “leaves no doubt about the US’s willingness to maintain their supremacy by force. It proposes extending the US nuclear arsenal in South Korea and Japan by creating a Nuclear Planning Group, under which some allies will receive permission to use these weapons.”

“In this context,” the analyst suggested, “extreme tensions and an almost complete absence of dialogue between Russia and the United States mean that even the most minor incident can result in a fatal chain of events leading to war.”

As far France is concerned, Bierre pointed out that there are still signs of hope: As on the question of anti-Russian sanctions, France has its own view on NATO’s buildup in Eastern Europe. “Following the National Assembly vote in April, the Senate adopted, with a large majority (302 votes vs. 16) a resolution [calling] for ‘a progressive and sectorial lifting’ of sanctions on June 8.”

Meanwhile, she added, “if military journalist Jean-Dominique Merchet is to be believed, France deliberately ignored the Anaconda-16 exercise in Poland… As the military analyst suggested in France’s l’Opinion newspaper, France’s participation was “not immediately useful.”

In his article, Merchet argued that “the French military is concerned primarily with the southern flank: Africa and the Middle East,” and “hardly interested in the East,” and Russia. Explaining this, he pointed to the “historical tendency on which the imperatives of the fight against terrorism and the pro-Russian sentiments in part of the military hierarchy, along with sympathies from right-wing supporters of French sovereignty for Russia’s leader, and a perception of the Poles and the Balts as countries” which suffer from “a fever of paranoia.”

Ultimately, it is unknown how today’s world leaders will respond to what Bierre dubbed the ‘reverse Cuban missile crisis’; however, maybe it’s time for US leaders to take a hint from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s playbook, when the latter pulled Soviet missiles out of Cuba and thus pulled the world back from the brink of catastrophe.

Comment: Further reading: US destroyer maneuvers dangerously close to Russian patrol boat in Mediterranean
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The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment (Part 27) – By Dr George Venturini

By Dr George Venturini*

Testing the thesis . . . Rampant sexism (continued)

Violence against women remains one of the major social problems in Australia.

As Jennifer Ellem noted, “[the] rise of domestic violence … in Australia over the past decade is staggering especially when [one] consider[s] the fact that the most common cause of death or injury for women under the age of 45 is domestic violence. [In 2015] alone 79 women were killed by their partners and so far [in February 2016] 4 women have been killed for the same reason. Yet funding for this atrocity is set at $ 25 million a year up until 2017 where it will be reassessed with the view to reduction as for some strange reason they believe they will be able to reduce domestic violence by providing less support.” (J. Ellem, ‘The war on feminism and the normalisation of misogyny in Australia‘).

White Ribbon is the country’s only national – and male-led – campaign to end men’s violence against women. The campaign works through primary prevention initiatives involving awareness raising and education, and programmes with youth, schools, workplaces and across the broader community. Globally, White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement to end men’s violence against women. Originating in Canada in 1991, White Ribbon is now active in more than 60 countries.

In 2003 White Ribbon was brought to Australia through the United Nations Development Fund for Women – UNIFEM, now UN Women.

White Ribbon Australia observes the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as ‘White Ribbon Day’, annually on 25 November. ‘White Ribbon Day’ signals the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women, which ends on ‘Human Rights Day’ – 10 December.

However the campaign runs all year and is evident across the community through, for example, advertising and marketing campaigns such as Uncover Secrets, social media, community events and ‘White Ribbon Night’ in July.

Domestic violence is a widespread though often hidden problem across Australia. It occurs in all parts of society, regardless of geographic location, socio-economic status, age, cultural and ethnic background, or religious belief, and its often devastating effects — psychological, social and economic, short-term and long-term – rebound on families, children, and the community as a whole.

The words ‘domestic violence’ are most commonly applied to violence by a man to his wife, female sexual partner or ex-partner. However, ‘domestic violence’ is used also to refer to violence between same-sex partners, among family members – including siblings and parent-child violence either way, and by women against male partners. Domestic violence – sometimes called ‘family violence’ – can take many different forms including intimidation, coercion or isolation, emotional, physical, sexual, financial and spiritual abuse.

Australian police and court crime data indicate that women constitute a significant proportion of reported victims of intimate partner violence, while men make up a significant proportion of reported abusers. These data tend to focus on physical and sexual violence. Australian population survey data similarly show that women are more likely than men to be victims of physical, sexual and other forms of violence by a partner.

Domestic violence is generally understood as gendered violence, and is an abuse of power within a relationship – heterosexual or homosexual – or after separation. In the large majority of cases the offender is male and the victim is female.

More than two decades of international research definitively shows that infants, children and adolescents experience serious negative psychological, emotional, social and developmental impacts to their well-being from the traumatic ongoing experiences of domestic violence.

Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities prefer the term ‘family violence’, in which case ‘family’ covers a diverse range of ties of mutual obligation and support, and perpetrators and victims of family violence can include, for example, aunts, uncles, cousins and children of previous relationships. (‘White Ribbon – Australia’s campaign to prevent men’s violence against women’).

The Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety Limited – ANROWS, in collaboration with Our Watch –  formerly the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and their Children, has developed infographics summarising key statistics on women’s experiences of domestic and family violence and sexual assault.

The information is drawn largely from the 2012 Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey. It shows that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, while 1 in 5 have experienced sexual violence. The perpetrators of violence against women and violence against men are overwhelmingly men.

Research from the 2012 Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey and Australian Institute of Criminology shows that both men and women in Australia experience substantial levels of violence.

Domestic and sexual violence is overwhelmingly committed by men against women.

As at mid-2014 the following were the key statistics on violence against women and men (since the age of 15):

1 in 5 Australian women had experienced sexual violence.

1 in 6 Australian women had experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner.

1 in 4 Australian women had experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.

1 in 3 Australian women had experienced physical violence.

1 in 22 Australian men had experienced sexual violence.

1 in 19 Australian men had experienced physical or sexual  violence from a current or former partner.

1 in 7 Australian men had experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner.

1 in 2 Australian men had experienced physical violence.

It is more likely for a person to experience violence from a male rather than a female perpetrator.

Over 3 times as many people experienced violence from a male.

The A.B.S. Personal Safety Survey shows that both men and women in Australia experience substantial levels of violence. Australian women are most likely to experience physical and sexual violence in their home, at the hands of a male current or ex-partner.

36 per cent of women had experienced physical or sexual violence from someone they knew.

15 per cent of women had experienced physical or sexual violence from an ex-partner – the most likely type of known perpetrator for a female victim.

62 per cent of the women had experienced physical assault by a male perpetrator most recently in their home.

Australian women are most likely to experience physical and sexual violence in their home, at the hands of a male current or ex-partner. Of women who had experienced violence from an ex-partner:

73 per cent had experienced more than one incident of violence.

61 per cent had children in their care when the violence occurred, including 48 per cent who stated the children had seen and heard the violence.

58 per cent had never contacted the police.

24 per cent had never sought advice or support.

15 per cent of Australian women are more likely to be sexually assaulted by a person they know than a stranger. Young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault.

Of all Australian women, 15 per cent had been sexually assaulted by a person they knew, since the age of 15.

3.8 per cent had been sexually assaulted by a stranger.

Tomorrow: Testing the thesis . . . Rampant sexism (continued)

GeorgeVenturini* In memory of my friends, Professor Bertram Gross and Justice Lionel Murphy.

Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. In 1975 he left a law chair in Chicago to join the Trade Practices Commission in Canberra. He may be reached at

The Battle for Aleppo: The fate of the world hangs in the balance – BY HUGO TURNER

2016 has been a dark year for the world. And yet things are inevitably going to get even worse as the world wonders which monster will be crowned emperor this fall here in the empire of chaos. Brazil has fallen, Venezuela and the progressive governments of Latin America are under threat. The dirty wars continue in Mexico and Colombia. In Oaxaca the Mexican government conducted a massacre of teachers resisting attempts to privatize the education system. In Libya a campaign of assassinations aims to wipe out anyone in the army loyal to the Libyan people rather then the NATO death squads. Meanwhile terrorist death squads slaughter Libyan civilians with impunity. They also treacherously murdered a dozen former Libyan government officials after finally releasing them after years of torture and mistreatment. Eritrea, one of the only independent African countries, has come under military attack from Ethiopia. Coups and destabilization attempts threaten South Africa and Zimbabwe. In fact the empire of chaos is busy spreading chaos and bloodshed throughout Africa and indeed the whole world. The empire is on the attack all over the world, ultimately targeting China and Russia of course.

In Syria the situation has been grim. Progress in liberating the country from NATO’s death squads has been slow since the empire launched its counteroffensive in Aleppo a couple months ago. Every time Syria launches a new offensive they are eventually forced to call it off in order to counter a terrorist counteroffensive somewhere else. The “ceasefire” has been disastrous, with Russia withholding vital support for Syria in pursuit of the illusion that the US is interested in an end to this war. Meanwhile the US and its allies in the axis of chaos (US-NATO-Israel-GCC) have been flooding the terrorists with men and weapons and using negotiations to delay a Russian response. In the meantime the people of Syria have suffered massive terror attacks and constant shelling and bombardment from the death squads. Massive suicide bombings have rocked Syria, which would be front page news if they happened anywhere else. Meanwhile the US has used its base in the Kurdish areas in the north to launch a NATO invasion using special forces troops and their proxies to attempt to seize Syrian territory. This force is a major threat, clearly aiming to balkanize Syria and ensure that it can never be reunited and that this war will never end for either Iraq or Syria or Lebanon.

Thankfully things may finally be starting to turn around. Russia has finally figured out (or remembered) that the US will not be satisfied until Syria is destroyed. A couple weeks ago the top defense figures of Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Syria met in Tehran to plan a new offensive. Iran has been courageously sending more and more advisers into the war and rumor has it will massively increase its forces in the country. Sayyyed Hassan Nasrallah the Hezbollah leader has announced that the battle for Aleppo has become the major priority. Russia has been bombing the terrorists in Aleppo non-stop for the last 48 hours. Yesterday Syria and its allies launched a major offensive aimed at liberating the city and the surrounding countryside. We can only hope that they will finally be able to break the stalemate in Syria. The goal is to close off the vital terrorists’ supply route at the Castillo Highway. So far they have managed to make some advances; we will have to wait and see how things progress.

Syria’s last offensive, which aimed at countering the American advance on Raqqa by retaking the nearby strategic military airport at Tabaqa, ended in disaster last week after a promising start. The SAA were slowly advancing towards Tabaqa and eventually headed for Raqqa when a well-timed ISIS counter offensive forced them to retreat. The only consolation was that the American advance on Raqqa has also been plagued with disaster. The war itself increasingly resembles the situation before the Russians intervened, with the SAA being forced to fight on too many fronts to make much progress. Instead of carrying out offensives, Syria’s elite units are constantly having to be redrawn to counter the latest terrorist counteroffensive.

Syria is once again battling for its very survival and has lost the momentum it had earlier this spring. This has only emboldened the empire of chaos and in fact 50 State Department officials signed a petition in an attempt to impress Hillary Clinton, demanding Obama start bombing the Syrian government immediately. Hopefully such schemes will at least be delayed until a possible Clinton presidency next year, but Obama seems obsessed with destroying as many countries as possible before leaving office as evidenced by the wave of coups and attempted coups sweeping the world. Russia needs to stop encouraging this madness with its foolish attempts at diplomacy. America will never stop until Russia and China are destroyed and if Russia sacrifices Syria it will loose all credibility for the next 10-20 years. Even when Russia was completely subservient during the Yeltsin years Washington never stopped trying to destroy Russia. We are in the middle of World War 4 and it will only end with the collapse of the American Empire or the destruction of Russia and China. Until then the empire of chaos will continue its endless war across the globe; it is not suddenly going to wake up one day and decide it wants peace. The entire economy is geared for endless war and for America’s rulers “peace” would be the ultimate danger.

Thankfully Russia appears to have remembered this yet again and will hopefully increase its support as Syria battles for its very existence. In fact a couple weeks ago it signaled that its patience with Kerry’s diplomatic games had finally worn thin when it supposedly bombed a group of openly US-supported rebels near Tanf. The US has been trying to brand all manner of terror groups like Al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) and Ahrar al Sham (a coalition of terrorist death squads) as “moderate rebels”. A “moderate” is anyone who serves the empire of chaos no matter how insane or fanatical. It goes back to the Cold War when the US always called its fanatical gulf monarch allies like the Saudis the “moderate” Arabs simply because they were happy to become tools of the West, while Arab nationalists were labeled “extremists” for opposing the US and Israel. In the current context it’s all a transparent attempt to prevent Russia or Syria from bombing its terrorist allies. Russia must ignore such nonsense as well as the storm of propaganda the West has been launching over the conflict. The West has been demonizing Russia for centuries; they won’t stop no matter how many “moderates” Russia spares.

So the future of Syria depends on it’ allies coming together and resolutely resisting all attempts to destroy and partition Syria. Unified, the P4+2 – Syria, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Hezbollah and the Palestinian forces that have sided with Syria – are a formidable force. They must redouble their efforts and regain the momentum that has been lost these past couple of months. The fate of Syria may well decide the fate of the world. With their renewed offensive in the Battle of Aleppo they may be able to reverse the gains the terrorists made there in April and decisively shift the balance of power in the war. Aleppo, like Stalingrad, may be one of those battles that mark a decisive moment in history. Russian planes are pounding the terrorists. The Syrian Arab army is advancing in tanks and on foot. Hezbollah, Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghanis, and of course Syrian militias are engaged in dangerous urban combat. Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah advisers are risking their lives on the frontline as they train the people of Syria to better defend their country. Rockets and artillery are raining down on the terrorists. Syria has launched offensives on 5 major fronts in the battle for Aleppo. We can only hope that it will be enough to change the course of this war. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Looking for a way to help Syria? Courageous independent journalist Eva Bartlett needs donations to complete her Syrian Voices book project. She hopes to bring the voices of Syrian people to the world. You can find more information here.


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Need we say more?  Obama’s murderers target innocent Christian babies.  Death to every Wahhabist who ever crawled on this earth!  (thanks, Intibah Kadi)


El presidente sirio, Bashar al-Asad, en una cena de Iftar (ruptura del ayuno) con los soldados del Ejército de Siria, 26 de junio de 2016.  

Our president shares a Ramadan dinner with the glorious officers of our Syrian Arab Army.  Our president would never kill an innocent baby.  Saudi Arabia, beware.  You stinking rats should know we are coming to avenge our children.  From Yemen to Syria, we will exterminate you.  (Thanks, Khaled and Afraa)




The facets of Australian fascism: the Abbott Government experiment (Part 26) – By Dr George Venturini

By Dr George Venturini*

Testing the thesis . . . Rampant sexism (continued)

The most significant Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force was presented by the then Sex Discrimination Commissioner of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Ms. Elizabeth Broderick, with a speech on 22 August 2012.

The Review was directed both to the Australian Defence Force Academy, A.D.F.A., and in the broader, to the Australian Defence Force. The Review had come about as part of the response to the Skype incident at A.D.F.A. in 2011.

Early in 2011 a young woman, barely 18, was standing before the commander of the prestigious Australian Defence Force Academy. She was in trouble for having had sexual intercourse with an army cadet who had thought no better than broadcast the event by Skype to half a dozen fellow cadets sitting in a nearby room. Distraught, the young woman went to a commercial channel and told the story – in anticipated self-defence.

The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith and the Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshall Angus Houston went on television and radio to express their puritanical indignation – “abhorrent” but “isolated” said the Chief, to welcome an investigation, to threaten vindication as if the item was news. Perhaps what was news is that the victim this time went outside the system. There had been episodes of improper behaviour and investigation of predatory sexual practices, drunkenness and indiscipline in the Navy, for years and years.

Radio and television had a field week, with much ado and salacious ‘revelations’ – porno really. Seriously, a former cadet at A.D.F.A., now a prominent barrister, wrote a piece to describe the physical, sexual and psychological abuse to which he had been subjected twenty five  years ago. He did so, needless to say, under condition of anonymity. In his view, after all the investigations, “a culture of abuse … has not changed in 20 years.” Is it now?

The Report on the first phase of the Review, which dealt with an examination of A.D.F.A., was tabled in Parliament on 3 November 2011.

Tabled in federal Parliament on 22 August 2012 was the Report on the second phase of the Review, dealing with the treatment of women across the entire A.D.F. – across Navy, Army and Air Force.

The Review was broad ranging and comprehensive. It was not an historical examination of the A.D.F. over the last few decades. Nor was it merely a desktop analysis of policies and processes or other written material. What the Review did was examine the then current ‘culture’ of the A.D.F. and the impact which it had on women.

In doing so, the members of the Review Panel were determined to speak to as many A.D.F. personnel as possible, as well as to others with military experience.

In consulting as widely as possible, they visited 36 military bases in Australia and 6 in deployed environments, including two forward operating bases outside the wire in Afghanistan, and they spoke to over 2,000 people in bases across Australia, Timor Leste, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan.

In summary, they spoke with personnel from almost every rank and occupation, as well as Reservists and people who had discharged from the military.

Importantly, they also spoke to members individually and confidentially. The stories these members told – many positive, but some deeply personal and distressing – many told for the first time – shaped much of the Review’s thinking and approach.

It was important that the Chiefs of each Service also heard these stories. The Sex Commissioner facilitated one on one meetings for these members with the Chiefs.

Apart from this qualitative research, the Panel developed two surveys to inform the findings. The members surveyed over 6,000 A.D.F. personnel.

For the first time, data exist which compares the prevalence of sexual harassment in the A.D.F. to other Australian workplaces.

The Review also examined the experience of overseas militaries struggling with similar challenges.

The Review Panel specifically wanted answer to the following questions: How inclusive is the A.D.F. of women?; How are women perceived in the A.D.F.?; Is the A.D.F. recruiting sufficient numbers of women? Do they have the same opportunity as men to rise through the ranks?; Does the current A.D.F. culture support a member’s ability to balance career and family?; and, finally, does sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual abuse exist ?

And here are six facts as they related to the A.D.F.:

Fact 1: Numbers in the 17-24 age group – the A.D.F.’s traditional recruiting pool – had flat lined, with increased competition for this talent from other sectors, particularly resources.

Fact 2: The A.D.F. had only achieved a 1 per cent increase in the recruitment of women over the previous 10 years, and 2 per cent over the previous 20.

Fact 3: 80 per cent of the A.D.F. were men who speak English at home. Yet, males who speak English at home represent less than 40 per cent of the general Australian population. This meant that the A.D.F. had not capitalised on demographic shifts in the Australian population and remained ‘frozen’ at its 1990 demographic.

Fact 4: Many people left for reasons which were within the control of the A.D.F., including lack of flexible work arrangements. Given that defence talent is developed from the ground up, when someone leaves after ten years, it is not possible to do what most civilian organisations do and laterally recruit to fill that position. The average cost of losing a member was estimated at $ 580,000 to $ 680,000, whilst the cost of recruiting a new member had tripled.

Fact 5: Modern warfare requires new and different abilities, such as technological skill, rather than simply manual or physical strength.

Fact 6: Sexual harassment and abuse existed at the time in the A.D.F. – with the obvious consequences: lives ruined, teams divided, damaged operational effectiveness.

These facts provided a compelling case for change.

In the Report the Panel described the issues, summarised its findings and made twenty one recommendations in a number of key areas, and under five main headings: combining a military career with family; women’s participation, recruitment and retention; diversity of leadership; targets and differential treatment; and exclusion and sexual assault.

Changes had been marginal.

Towards the end of November 2013 twelve Australian Defence Force members were being investigated over the sexual abuse of female cadets in the 1990s, as the A.D.F. Vice Chief Mark Binskin had confirmed.

The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, which had been established as part of the Australian Government’s response to the D.L.A. Piper Review into allegation of sexual and other forms of abuse in Defence, had completed its assessment of the so-called A.D.F.A. 24 – which involved allegations from 19 complainants about rape at the Defence Force Academy.

Meanwhile, the Taskforce, led by retired Judge Len Roberts-Smith, was investigating more than 2,400 allegations of abuse.

Air Marshal Binskin said none of the 12 officers was ranked higher than a major and some had  left the A.D.F.

“Defence is now reviewing the Taskforce advice and assessing options available in relation to each of the cases of alleged abuse” said Air Marshal Binskin. And he added: “All options available will be considered and those cases in which the alleged perpetrator is still providing active duty will be considered in priority.”

He indicated, however, that criminal charges were unlikely at the stage of the investigations.

“Defence understands only six complainants related to the A.D.F.A. 24 cases contacted the Taskforce and none of these individuals have agreed to their matter being referred to the police” he said. “Accordingly Defence understands none of the A.D.F.A. 24 cases the Taskforce has assessed has been referred to civilian police by the taskforce.”

In June 2012 then Defence Minister Stephen Smith had told Parliament that abuse was more widespread than previously thought. He highlighted A.D.F.A. and the Navy’s H.M.A.S. Leeuwin training base in Fremantle as two institutions where there had been a number of abuse complaints. He asked the Taskforce to prioritise the cases involving 24 allegations from 19 complainants about abuse in the 1990s.

The A.D.F.A. 24 had been first identified in the Grey Review in 1998.

The Taskforce was considering whether a royal commission was needed into the allegations of abuse at A.D.F.A and H.M.A.S. Leeuwin; it was looking at complaints made to it and complaints raised in other reviews such as the DLA Piper review, and would have continued to investigate complaints for a further twelve months.

On 9 November 2013 the news was circulated that the Army had dismissed one of the men at the centre of the A.D.F.A. Skype scandal.

The cadet was responsible for secretly filming himself having sex with a female cadet and the vision had been broadcast via Skype to several of their colleagues in 2011.

In October 2013 he had been sentenced to two 12-month good behaviour bonds by the A.C.T. Supreme Court and had been cleared to resume his studies at A.D.F.A. But early in November the Chief of Army David Morrison defended Defence’s handling of the case after the victim, known as ‘Kate’, had questioned why the cadet had been allowed to continue his military career.

In response, Defence had released a statement saying the cadet found guilty had been told in mid-September that it intended to dismiss and, after giving him an opportunity to respond, his services were terminated as of 8 November 2013. Defence had formed the view that the conduct of the cadet in question was inconsistent with the Army’s values and the standards expected of a member. Another cadet involved in the scandal, was sentenced to a 12-month good behaviour bond and had subsequently left the military.

The female cadet at the centre of the scandal said that it resulted in her being bullied out of the military and her dream job. In an exclusive interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s 7.30 programme early in November 2013 ‘Kate’ said that she had been determined to pursue a military career even after she went public about her ordeal. However, she said that  she had been harassed repeatedly at different Defence bases around the country.

“[Some] boys in the room across from me thought it was fun to terrorise me and call me the Skype slut continually every time I left my room” she said. The best she could obtain out of this ordeal was a discharge from the military on medical and psychological grounds.

She still intended to take legal action against Defence Force. Her hope was that the action would change the ‘culture’ within the Force.

Tomorrow: Testing the thesis . . . Rampant sexism (continued)

GeorgeVenturini* In memory of my friends, Professor Bertram Gross and Justice Lionel Murphy.

Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. In 1975 he left a law chair in Chicago to join the Trade Practices Commission in Canberra. He may be reached at

Part 25





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