From under the linoleum
Old newspapers show Mussolini's imperialism looked a lot like today's

I sat on the floor and picked through the tragedy of the country we now call Ethiopia laid out on the yellowing pages. It was eerily reminiscent of the current Iraq adventure.

A tale for our times
The December 1934 assassination of Sergei Kirov

Seventy years on, the killing of Sergei Kirov casts an eerie light on the events of 11 September 2001, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the “war on Terror” and the state-sponsored hysteria surrounding the shadowy figures of Osama bin Ladin and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Ninety-three years of bombing the Arabs
It was the Italians, hell-bent on acquiring an African empire, who got the ball rolling. In 1911 the Libyan Arab tribes opposed an Italian invasion. Their civilians were the first people in the world to be bombed from the air.

Dispossessed all over again
After spending nearly two months in the West Bank the pull towards my village was growing stronger, especially after being detained twice and threatened with deportation … an Australian Palestinian returns to her ancestral home.

The tragic inevitability of a forlorn hope
Australia slides further into the Iraq quagmire
Cabinet documents recently released under the 50-year rule show that, in 1954, Liberal (conservative) Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, and key figures in his Cabinet were extremely gloomy about the prospects for success in an American war against nationalists in Indochina. But eventually they went to the Vietnam War anyway.

Bombing King David
One man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist

Some historians date the beginning of modern terrorism from the 1946 bombing by Zionist terrorists of the British military HQ in Jerusalem.

Don’t loiter near the exit
Military debacle and economic decline haunt the Bush regime

When I was just a young possum in the school cadet corps there was a hoary old war story that we all knew. It was almost certainly apocryphal, but it ruefully expressed a nasty historic truth about the US role in the demise of the British Empire.


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The view from Possum Point

2 December 2010

The sun rose in gorgeous soft pinks and glowing oranges over the glassy grey sea and through the morning mist sliding down the river. A light rain had fallen in the early hours and it dripped off the tips of the gum leaves and sparkled in the bracken and kangaroo grass.

A grimy year was drawing inexorably towards the silly season and Joadja and I had slipped out of Sydney to the old cottage at Possum Point.

It was a long time since we’d been down. A little rain had leaked through a rust hole in the old iron roof and a lot of leaves had blown in under the old back door. An impressively large limb had crashed down from one of the old spotted gums way down near the old dunny, but apart from that, the old place had just slumbered on in our absence. The old bluetongue lizard emerged from under the old shed.

“So, 2011, what will it bring?” Joadja asked as we breakfasted on the verandah.

“Buggered if I know. More of the same mostly, I guess”, I mumbled, with my mouth full of avocado on toast.

“An economic recovery?”

“Nah, I think not. The world has been floating on a sea of debt for so long, it’s doubtful if it can go on. And if they manage to reflate the economy by pumping in even more cheap credit, the price of oil and gas will go through the roof and there’ll be shortages preceded by a nasty bout of price inflation. Hey, the only thing that’s protecting Australian motorists from $1.70 a litre is the strength of our dollar. If it slips back to 75 cents to the US dollar, the shock will be profound.”

“Asylum seekers?”

“The beastliness will grind on. Western imperialist policy will absolutely guarantee that, at the point of origin, war and disruption will continue so the problem won’t go away.  Probably it will get worse. And then, of course, when the unfortunates arrive here, they’re easy meat for redneck patriot politicians who wave the flag for ‘War on Terror’ and then whip their dumb followers into a frenzy against the victims of their wars. I can’t see Gillard’s ‘Indonesian Archipelago solution’ being less controversial than Howard’s ‘Pacific Solution’. All she’ll end up doing is turning Timor or some place in Indonesia into a giant Australian-funded concentration camp. The natives will hate it.”


I washed down the toast with a slurp of Jo’s excellent coffee. “The redneck dingbats will seize on irrelevant factoids and deny that there’s a problem and our coal giants will continue to make mega-bucks exporting greenhouse gasses to the world. Gillard and Abbott will compete to do the least possible to rein in carbon. A few more wind turbines will be installed with much fanfare.”

“What’s your prognosis for the Middle East?”

“The Zionists will go on being mad, intractable and beastly to the Palestinians. They’ll continue, with total impunity, to defy Obama’s ever-so-gentle attempts to weedle them into any sort of compromise. And of course, as more and more Jews with a brain and a conscience abandon Zionism, it’ll be more and more dominated by fundamentalist fruit-loops. Ah, but with Gillard in power and Abbott in opposition, we’ll just go on mindlessly supporting them.”


“We’ll stay until the Yanks declare ‘victory’ and cut and run. Faulkner will continue to look sick at heart every time he repeats the government line, but whatever the Yanks say to her, Gillard is unlikely to increase our commitment. If she sent more than three or four thousand, she’d have to introduce conscription and she doesn’t want to go there, does she? Our guys will be told not to get killed too often.”

“The Korean peninsula, China?”

“Most likely, business as usual, but with US–China relations deteriorating. Occasional provocations and border incidents. Beijing will regard any serious move against the North as a proxy war against China and the only way the hereditary Stalinist regime will be overthrown is from inside.”


“Gillard’s war on public education will grind on. You know, dumbed-down rote-learning, mindless fact-testing and league-tabling of schools. But now they’ll have a school hall.”

“NSW elections. Barry O’Farrell will get in?”

“Barry will get in even if he’s caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl. He’ll be carrying a bunch of mean, ultra-conservative, religious nutters on his back, but at least we’ll be shot of Labor’s Mediterranean patrone faction. They’ll all go off to the sinecures in the private sector that they’ve so obviously been preparing for themselves.”

“But will those jobs really be there?” Jo asked”. “I mean, how many ex-Labor ministers can the merchant bank and the developers accommodate? They’re carrying quite a few on their books already.”

“Good point. Maybe the Murdoch press can absorb a few of them.

“It’s just possible that O’Farrell will bite the public transport infrustructure bullet and actually build some rail and light rail, but he might just rush off on some silly rail privatisation kick and blow the whole thing.”