Category Archives: Australia

The Rape of East Timor: “Sounds Like Fun”, by John Pilger

Source: counterpunch

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Secret documents found in the Australian National Archives provide a glimpse of how one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century was executed and covered up. They also help us understand how and for whom the world is run.

The documents refer to East Timor, now known as Timor-Leste, and were written by diplomats in the Australian embassy in Jakarta. The date was November 1976, less than a year after the Indonesian dictator General Suharto seized the then Portuguese colony on the island of Timor.

The terror that followed has few parallels; not even Pol Pot succeeded in killing, proportionally, as many Cambodians as Suharto and his fellow generals killed in East Timor. Out of a population of almost a million, up to a third were extinguished.

This was the second holocaust for which Suharto was responsible. A decade earlier, in 1965, Suharto wrested power in Indonesia in a bloodbath that took more than a million lives. The CIA reported: “In terms of numbers killed, the massacres rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century.”

This was greeted in the Western press as “a gleam of light in Asia” (Time).The BBC’s correspondent in South East Asia, Roland Challis, later described the cover-up of the massacres as a triumph of media complicity and silence; the “official line” was that Suharto had “saved” Indonesia from a communist takeover.

“Of course my British sources knew what the American plan was,” he told me. “There were bodies being washed up on the lawns of the British consulate in Surabaya, and British warships escorted a ship full of Indonesian troops, so that they could take part in this terrible holocaust. It was only much later that we learned that the American embassy was supplying [Suharto with] names and ticking them off as they were killed. There was a deal, you see. In establishing the Suharto regime, the involvement of the [US-dominated] International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were part of it. That was the deal.”

I have interviewed many of the survivors of 1965, including the acclaimed Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, who bore witness to an epic of suffering “forgotten” in the West because Suharto was “our man”.  A second holocaust in resource-rich East Timor, an undefended colony, was almost inevitable.

In 1994, I filmed clandestinely in occupied East Timor; I found a land of crosses and unforgettable grief. In my film, Death of a Nation, there is a sequence shot on board an Australian aircraft flying over the Timor Sea. A party is in progress. Two men in suits are toasting each other in champagne. “This is a uniquely historical moment,” babbles one of them, “that is truly, uniquely historical.”

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REVIEW OF THE NOVEL “BUTTERFLY PRISON” BY TAMARA PEARSEN

Review by: Andre Vltchek

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The Butterfly Prison begins slowly, combining seemingly disconnected stories that are taking place in poor neighborhoods of Australia. The stories are like tiny vignettes; shy, modest, minimalistic but always significant and beautifully told. A fear here, a bitter humiliation there, a dream of a child interrupted by a police officer.

Then suddenly, the stories begin to interconnect, intertwine, and the novel gains speed. Real pain – deep and overwhelming – emerges. Profound hurts, bitterness and injuries are slapping the faces of the characters, and somehow, we are drawn in and begin suffering with them.

It is Australia that we don’t know; that we are not supposed to see. After some 40 pages I thought, “it feels little bit like Carpentaria”, but then, just a few pages later, it did not feel like anything else, it only felt and read like the “Butterfly Prison”.

“Then they dreamed the same dream. The whole world had been stolen, and people tumbled about on it like hungry and lost refugees in a foreign land. All spaces seemed to be owned by private companies. And the world had fences in strange places. And many long walls.

Paz couldn’t move, and his real leg jerked as though he had fallen down stairs. Mella murmured. In the stolen world they walked carefully, trying not to upset anything, like visitors. Because it wasn’t their home. Barbed wire between their toes. They bumped into another wall and got a new bruise, and it seemed that there were bluebruised people everywhere discovering new walls.

A queue then to buy back a bit of the world: a little bit of space for $2.5 million, so they could have somewhere to sit down. But they had no money, so they walked and walked and bumped into walls.”

“A stolen world”! That could easily be the second title of the novel.

*

Tamara Pearsen is my friend, and my comrade; she is a true revolutionary.

She is a person who spent several years fighting for the Latin American revolutions, for “the process”, first in Venezuela and then in Ecuador. She gave everything to the revolution, never looked for privileges, and never demanded special treatment. She is pure and she is really strong. She saw it all, from the bottom, from the angle of real people.

When she told me that she wrote a novel, I was almost certain that it would be about South America, based in Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia.

But Tamara decided to write about Australia, about her complex homeland.

We sat in a Vietnamese restaurant in Quito, Ecuador, when she said, simply:

“After all these years, it is time to go back; to visit Australia… I am scared.”

But she already went back. Butterfly Prison is her great return home. Instead of explaining Latin American revolutions to Australian people, she depicted an Australian reality through the eyes of a Latin American revolutionary.

An oppressed and humiliated woman, a child living in hopelessness, adults with no future, a chocking and merciless consumerism, a country that already reached its zenith but without managing to bring zeal, enthusiasm and happiness to its people: those are some of many images of Australia that will stay in our sub-consciousness after reading the “Butterfly Prison”.

Australia – the land where native people were robbed of everything and where they are, until now, living in appalling destitute. Australia, which belongs to the elites; Australia where one has to comply with the ruling-class narrative, or to be crushed and humiliated.

Tamara told me why she wrote the novel, “The Butterfly Prison is life and soul wrenched out and turned into a tale, as a way of saying some things that need to be said – of screaming them in fact. It is unravelling dominant ideas so that beauty, for example, can be what it really is, and we can get some hope from that. Its my grain of sand of solidarity with so many others who have been made invisible in different ways, and I hope that it can reach some of those people and connect with them in that magical way that stories do, and even inspire them.”

 In this, she definitely succeeded.

The Butterfly Prison is filled with compassion and solidarity. It is also full of beauty: not that cheap sentimental beauty of the popular literature of the 21st Century, but of profound, lasting beauty found only in life itself, and in the great works of art.

Two lives of Tamara Pearsen have merged in one powerful novel: one of her childhood and sadness of her native land, Australia, and the other, that of her epic battle for better world which she has been fighting for many years in Latin America.

As the novel progresses, it becomes fully international, with many stages built into its pages: those in India, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina… The battles rage… But at closer look, there is really only one battle: that for our humanity, for human dignity, and for human kindness.

Life, as temporary as a kiss on a cheek: already gone, but a little tingle that lingered behind. Mella thought of the things people of her generation had grown up to believe would last forever: countries, poverty, and capitalism. Yet all those things were gone now. Nothing was forever, nothing was so powerful, except for change.

Now a Latin American writer, or more precisely “an internationalist” writer, a socialist realist, a revolutionary, Tamara Pearsen, returned home, on the wings of imagination, through her powerful novel “Butterfly Prison”, uniting several realities into one. She demands change and she does it determinedly but affectionately. And the result is stunning.

 *

The Butterfly Prison on Amazon, in print, kindle edition, from the publisher’s website, and more about the book from the author’s website.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and Fighting Against Western Imperialism.  Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The Time Machine in Australia, by Gary Flomenhoft

The massive brain rot that is observable in the US can perhaps be explained by the “fracking fluid in the drinking water” theory; but what about the rest of the English-speaking world? This is a guest post by Gary Flomenhoft that offers some clues.

I’ve been in Australia (pronounced “Straya”) for four months now. I live in Brisbane and have traveled to Melbourne, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, and Stradbroke island. I’ve met my share of Australians around the world over the years. They are all “how’ya going, G-Day mate, no worries,” eternal optimists, and very nice people. They all, every single one of them, say thank you to the bus driver when exiting the public bus. They are happy, they are polite, they are kind. They live thousands of miles from most of the world, and haven’t got a care. Go for a surf, eat some prawns or Moreton Bay bugs, hike in the hills, enjoy life! Obsess about cricket, Australian Football League, National Rugby League, Rugby Union, soccer, any kind of sport.

Their Prime Minister Abbot is a doofus, but entirely harmless, like a Koala. His Putin “shirt-front” turned into a friendly photo-op at the G-20, although his outraged sentiment was entirely understandable after the shoot-down of MH17 with so many Australians on board. But Abbot credulously believed the absurd propaganda spewed out by the US, instantly blaming the Russians, and imposing sanctions as a result, without a shred of evidence. If they had evidence, don’t you think they would parade it all over the press? Duh! All the actual evidence so far, including 30mm bullet holes in the cockpit, point to a Ukrainian Airforce jet shooting it down. Australians remind me of the US in the 1950’s, very naïve and innocent, but no cold war, so truly nothing to worry about. But they reminded me of something else too. I just couldn’t put my finger on it… All blond and tanned, perfect hair, perfect bodies, pure and innocent… It suddenly dawned on me! ELOI!

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The “Shape-Shifting Sheik” and the “Sydney Siege”, by Tony Cartalucci

Suspect had multiple aliases, granted political asylum by Australian government, interviewed by Australian media, spent years as fake pro-Western “Shia’a cleric” condemning Iran and Syria before recently “converting” to Sunni and supporting ISIS.

December 16, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Another embarrassing chapter has unfolded for Western intelligence and security communities in the wake of the so-called “Sydney Siege.” The suspect named by the media as “Man Haron Monis” also has gone by the names “Manteghi Boroujerdi” and “Mohammad Hassan Manteghi” and was an individual now confirmed to have long been on the radar of the Australian government, media, law enforcement, and court system since his arrival on Australian shores almost two decades ago.

Image: Anti-Western ISIS Wahabi terrorist, pro-Western "liberal" Shia'a cleric, and secular common man. As with any long-time actor, the "Sydney Siege" suspect has been cast for many diverse roles, with many different names, and an extensive wardrobe. He had played both the hero and the villain. It is beyond bizarre that he has remained in the spotlight across Australia's political stage for nearly two-decades with a growing criminal record, increasingly disturbing and disruptive behavior, and yet somehow "eluded" Australia's indiscriminate and all-invasive  surveillance network and multiple terror sweeps made just in the past several months. It appears that this "shape-shifting sheik" played a central role in manipulating the Australian public at integral junctures of the West's "War on Terror."
Image: Anti-Western ISIS Wahabi terrorist, pro-Western “liberal” Shia’a cleric, and secular common man. As with any long-time actor, the “Sydney Siege” suspect has been cast for many diverse roles, with many different names, and an extensive wardrobe. He had played both the hero and the villain. It is beyond bizarre that he has remained in the spotlight across Australia’s political stage for nearly two-decades with a growing criminal record, increasingly disturbing and disruptive behavior, and yet somehow “eluded” Australia’s indiscriminate and all-invasive surveillance network and multiple terror sweeps made just in the past several months. It appears that this “shape-shifting sheik” played a central role in manipulating the Australian public at integral junctures of the West’s “War on Terror.”

Claiming he was a “lone wolf” attacker whose violence and extremism could not have been foreseen is betrayed by an extensive criminal record including murder, preceded by the suspicious circumstances that brought him to Australia to begin with.

Two-Decades in the Spotlight 

He fled Iran in 1996 for unknown reasons, claiming in a 2001 Australian ABC interview that he was formerly of Iran’s “Ministry of Intelligence and Security.” He claimed in the same interview to have been in contact with the UN about “secret information” he had regarding the Iranian government.

The 2001 interview titled, “New Cardinals for Rome, George Bush, Muslims in Australia,” as part of ABC’s “Religion Report,” quoted Boroujerdi/Monis/Manteghi as claiming:

In Iran, mostly I have been involved with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. 

And that:

the Iranian regime wants to make me silent, because I have some secret information about government, and about their terrorist operations in the war. I sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and somebody on behalf of Mr Kofi Anan sent the answer, and they want to do something.

He would also profess his love for the West, and in particular his belief that the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia in particular were “religious societies” claiming:

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Second Russia-China Gas Deal: EU Left With Expensive LNG, And LNG Left With A Sick Customer, by Zoltan Ban

Summary

  • Russia and China agreed to a second gas deal this month. This time, it is for the same supplies that flow towards Europe.
  • Together with the decline in natural gas production in the North Sea, a potential loss of Russian gas volumes could cause a one third drop in current EU supplies.
  • Russia’s shift towards the East will shift the main LNG market to Europe, which is not economically as prepared to deal with the higher prices, hurting Europe and LNG exporters.

Only a few months ago, we witnessed a huge $400 billion gas deal signed between Russia and China. Western media largely greeted the deal with some partisan dishonesty, falsely claiming that Russia was taken advantage of by China, despite the fact that most indications are that China agreed to pay a similar price of around $360 per 1,000 cm as the EU currently does, with the price fluctuating in tandem with oil prices. Now we have news about another deal that I warned about in an article in September, which has the potential to pit the EU against China for the same Western Siberian gas supplies. Back then it was just talk about a deal in November with unspecified details, while now we are presented with the reality of a deal having been agreed to for 30 billion cubic meters per year in addition to the 38 billion cubic meters agreed to in the previous deal.

It is news that very few people paid attention to, despite the dramatic long-term effects this will have on Europe’s already struggling economy. Even as the deal was made public, there has been very little reaction. Very few people in Europe are jumping to launch a public debate about its ramifications. It is as if it does not matter, even though it matters greatly.

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The forgotten coup – and how the godfather rules from Canberra to Kiev, by John Pilger

Washington’s role in the fascist putsch against an elected government in Ukraine will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore the historical record. Since 1945, dozens of governments, many of them democracies, have met a similar fate, usually with bloodshed.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries on earth with fewer people than Wales, yet under the reformist Sandinistas in the 1980s it was regarded in Washington as a “strategic threat”. The logic was simple; if the weakest slipped the leash, setting an example, who else would try their luck?

The great game of dominance offers no immunity for even the most loyal US “ally”. This is demonstrated by perhaps the least known of Washington’s coups – in Australia. The story of this forgotten coup is a salutary lesson for those governments that believe a “Ukraine” or a “Chile” could never happen to them.

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