terrorism

The last refuge of scoundrel Abbott

Bellicose and racist jingoism is the last refuge of scoundrel Prime Minister Tony Abbott. His February 23 “National Security Statement” was blatant incitement of hatred, bigotry and suspicion against Australia's Muslim minority.

Spinning terror to fuel racism

When 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein murdered two people in Copenhagen on February 15, and was killed in a shoot-out with police, the media and politicians across the world did not hesitate to declare that an act of terrorism had taken place.

US President Barack Obama immediately phoned Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to offer condolences and invited Denmark to take part in a February 18 summit in Washington to counter violent extremism, Reuters reported on February 16.

Other Western leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, responded similarly.

Libya: Western intervention help pave way to chaos

When Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003 by US forces, advocates of the Iraq War boastfully celebrated the event as proof that they were right and used it to mock war opponents.

When Muammar Gaddafi was forced by NATO bombing in August 2011 to flee Tripoli, advocates of US intervention played the same game. ThinkProgress, for instance, gleefully exploited the occasion to try to shame those who objected to the illegality of Obama’s waging the war even after Congress voted against its authorisation — as though Gadaffi’s fleeing could render legal Obama’s plainly illegal intervention.

United States: Toxic hate behind Chapel Hill killings

Craig Stephen Hicks murdered three of his neighbours in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on the evening of February 10: Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Yusor's sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Hicks was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after he turned himself in to police.

Almost immediately, authorities declared the motive for the killings was a dispute over parking at the condominium complex where they all lived. But it was impossible to ignore the cloud of hate and bigotry hanging over these murders.

Hypocrisy abounds as US drone burns Yemeni boy alive

The New York Times reported on January 26 that “a CIA drone strike in Yemen … killed three suspected al Qaeda fighters on Monday.”

How did they know the identity of the dead? As usual, it was in part because “American officials said.”

There was not a whiff of scepticism about this claim despite the fact that “a senior American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, declined to confirm the names of the victims” and “a CIA spokesman declined to comment”.

Coup plot thwarted in Venezuela

A coup plot against the Venezuelan government has been foiled, with both civilians and members of the military detained, President Nicolas Maduro revealed on February 12 in a televised address.

Those involved were being paid in US dollars. One of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said.

Palestinian People's Party anniversary celebrated

Around 60 people attended a public forum in Sydney on February 9 to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the re-establishment of the Palestinian People's Party (PPP). The party was retitled from its original name of Palestinian Communist Party, which was founded 96 years ago.

Shamikh Badra outlined the history of the PPP, from its early days in 1920s Palestine, to its re-founding in 1982. He explained the role of the PPP after it joined the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1987 and fought for militant policies within the Palestinian liberation movement.

Who is defeating the ‘Islamic State’?

The self-styled Islamic State (IS) may be one of the few unifying forces in the Middle East.

A range of mutually antagonistic regional and global powers and non-state groups have joined the fight against them. While Western politicians’ pronouncements that the IS has declared war on the world are clichéd, they are echoed by the group’s own statements.

#MuslimLivesMatter: Thousands honour US shooting victims, reject police dismissal of a hate crime

Three Muslim students were shot dead in what appears to be a hate crime at the University of North Carolina on February 10. Democracy Now said the next day the victims were killed when a gunman opened fire at a residential complex in Chapel Hill.

Useful enemies for permanent war

Useful Enemies: When Waging Wars Is More Important Than Winning Them
By David Keen
Yale University Press, 2012.

Governments in the US, Britain and Australia seem intent on waging war in faraway lands, supposedly to bring freedom and democracy to foreign peoples and to deliver us from the chaos of terrorism.

David Keen's useful Enemies, however, shows the folly of the policies being pursued. Far from bringing peace, it turns out throwing arms, bombs and money against opponents who refuse to neatly line up as targets is more likely to fuel the conflict.

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