No War

Film screening

The Refugee Action Collective and Stop the War Collective present:

TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE

2008 Oscar winner for best documentary

A Film by Alex Gibney

1.30pm, Sunday 18th May

Metro Arts Cinema

109 Edward Street, City

Entry by donation

An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed on 2002.

For more information contact Mark on 3123 8585

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We’re not there

It is true the 1960s social protest movements are lauded now, but in another 20 years, in a world of celebrity and superficiality, it will be the 1980’s anti-war activists’ turn and then the 1990s and so on.

From Looking Left - APEC demonstrations, Sydney in 2007

Much of what is being written in the popular press in 2008 about the anti-vietnam war movement is due to the passage of time.

It is unlikely commentators hold the same view now (about the war) as they did back then.

Added to this, many peace activists from the 1970s – 2000s were simply not there (in the 1960s) because of human reasons of birthplace, age, sex, social conditions at the time etc.

The New Left of the 1960s was the breeding ground for some pretty strange politics – it was such a social movement. As I think Germaine Greer once put it: ‘the personal is political’. Is this true? Doesn’t it place the individual above class struggle?

Marx said: ‘The class struggle is a political struggle‘.

Perhaps those who say ‘the personal is political’ see it as applying to womens’ liberation only. I don’t know. But I do not wish to criticise Germaine Greer who came from that era because I was not there [sic].

However, I cannot accept the position of the racist historian and Australian Broadcasting Corporation [ABC] director, Keith Windschuttle. He has spent the last 20 years attacking what the New Left stood for, even though he was in the thick of it as editor of Sydney Uni’s left-wing student newspaper “Honi Soit”.

As dismissed Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, intoned: “Windschuttle’s arguments would carry more weight if he did not leave his fly undone.”

Nostalgia masks some pretty poor politics.

1968 makes 2008 look like 1984

If the New Left failed, it was a failure to reach out to the working class.

The 1968 revolutionaries in France marched around the factories and when the workers went on strike, they returned to the left bank (of the Seine), no doubt to discuss important issues of politics and art.

Leading New leftists flew into Paris to stand at the burning barricades in the Latin Quarter in time to acclaim the revolution had come and then departed the next day, no doubt to tell the world what they had seen.

I was not there in the 1967 Queensland Civil Liberties or the anti- war marches of Brisbane, Sydney or elswhere. And so, unlike Windschuttle, I can claim no allegiance, or otherwise, to the politics of the New Left. My first anti-war march was as a Uni student in the Vietnam May Moratorium of 1970.

So let’s not get started on the New Left.

What about the current Peace Movement?

If you have the time (being the operative word) read the Irish IndyMedia debate about the failure of the peace movement to prevent the war on Iraq [thanks to Ciaron O’Reilly for this link]. If you have less time you could try Ciaron’s analysis in his recent essay: Counter Terrorist Cops, Special Branch and Paradigm Shifts on the Road to St. Brigid’s Well!

There is so little mention of the importance of working class organisation in the discussion of the currently released anti-war documentary, Route Irish, which is the subject of this debate and of Ciaron’s O’Reilly’s current activism. Amidst all the discussion, workers do not seem to get a mention. See this comment by Lara Hill on IndyMedia:

Over all, I came out of the film feeling quite down heartened by the reminder that essentially the resistance had failed. Yet there were moments of encouragement. The actions of a few persistent individuals …

What many forget, the last mass based anti-war movement in the West – before the brief Iraq anti-war movement – I mean, was the Vietnam anti-war movement.

It was not a serious challenge to the war-makers until the war touched ordinary people in the West – when boys were taken from their families by conscription to kill and die. Then the assassinations began in America, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy. The whole society was engulfed in a black revolt, with many cities under curfew and riots in prisons etc.

And even then, in a sense, it was too late because the Vietnamese National Liberation Front were well on the road to victory by the time conscription laws were repealed and the troops pulled out of Vietnam by the Australian government (then comprising of a cabinet made up solely by Lance Barnard and Gough Whitlam) in 1972.

image
The Weekend Australian Magazine titled 1968 featured a story by John Zarb [dated 5 Jan 2008]. Zarb was a postie who was the first conscientious objector jailed in Australia. John Zarb said that he was freed from Pentridge jail in Melbourne in 1968 by union pressure. Even the screws wanted him released and were possibly a little embarrassed by the number of beatings he took under their watch.

So too with the Iraq war, in Ireland, Australia or anywhere else, there will be little organised strength in the Peace Movement until ordinary people are directly affected by war. It may not please peace activists depicted in Route Irish but it is as close to the truth as any explanation for the failure of the peace movement to prevent the war in Iraq or Afghanistan or Palestine or …

We can’t escape the fact that we are not there in Iraq, at least not in the numbers that were in Vietnam.

And why sh/would resistance be otherwise? Some workers have a struggle to exist even in wealthy capitalist countries like Australia and Ireland, it is they who are sent to kill other workers in Iraq and occasionally to die doing so.

As the cost of war (oil) gets higher conscription is still on the cards in these countries despite, or because of, their social democratic face of managing capitalism.

Ian Curr
6 Jan 2008

Resources:

  1. Pictures in the article:
  • Picture not yet shown as permission is being sought from the owner, Garry Redlich. Students rally to march from St Lucia campus to Brisbane City, 5 September 1967.
  • Waterside Workers Federation [WWF] Peace Committee float during Mayday procession in Brisbane, Australia. Picture from Fryer Library, University of Queensland Library, Grahame Garner Collection, F3400.
  • The New Left poster is taken from the Fryer Collection @ http://www.library.uq.edu.au/fryer/radical_politics/page3.html – See also R. Gordon (ed.), The Australian new left: critical essays and strategy, Heinemann, Melbourne, 1970.
  • Bill Leake cartoon as captioned.
  1. UQ Fryer Library collection – Radical Politics & The University of Queensland : Staff & Student Activism
  2. Ciaron O’Reilly’s comments “Pig City – they pulled it down they shut it down…” on BushTelegraph about an article in “Counter Punch“.
  3. A Review of the Film “Route Irish” by Gary MacLennan on Irish IndyMedia @ http://www.indymedia.ie/article/85706

Comments 1. Ciaron O’Reilly (London)

RESPONSES TO IAN
“It is true the 1960s social protest movements are lauded now, but in another 20 years, in a world of celebrity and superficiality, it will be the 1980’s anti-war activists’ turn.”
I think if you read the Counterpunch article closely the author points to technological and archival issues for why there is more known about ‘68 than ‘88.
“The New Left of the 1960s was the breeding ground for some pretty strange politics – it was such a social movement. As Germaine Greer described it: for the New Left ‘the personal is political’.”
The Counterpunch article points to the rise of “identity politics” which is all the rage on U.S. campuses these daze. They even play a role in disabling the few anti-war activist hubs that do exist, see the parlaytic effect that the proliferation of white guilt workshops had on the War Resisters League (NYC) at the outset of this war.
“Take the racist historian and ABC director, Keith Windschuttle , who has spent the last 20 years attacking what the New Left stood for, even though he was in the thick of it as editor of Sydney Uni’s newspaper “Honi Soit”.
As Gough Whitlam put it: “Windschuttle’s arguments would have more weight if he did not leave his fly undone.”
Not sure what point Gough is making here. It is the same Prime Minister who said the “Only thing I’ve laid since getting this job, is foundation stones (BOOM BOOM!)”
I’ve often had the hunch that the issues the establishment ceded the ’60’s movement on, were those of freedom at the point of consumption…liberalising sex and drugs as commodities. There are others who have made a career of beating up on the corpse of the New Left, red diaper baby Horowitz and ex-Maoist funny boy P.J. O’Rourke for example. Gotta make a buck somehow!
“But let’s not get started on the New Left, what about the current Peace Movement?”
There is no peace movement, there is a remnant like the Catholic Workers at Enoggera Barracks every Friday – in fair weather and foul, in context of mass movement or not – causing the only tension in Brisbane about the city’s ongoing involvement in the war (i beg to big corrected and hear of any other confrontational – rather than left marketing activity – going down presently).
“If you have the time (being the operative word) read the Irish Indymedia debate about the failure of the peace movement to prevent the war on Iraq [thanks to Ciaron O’Reilly for this link]. There is so little mention of the importance of working class organisation in the discussion of the anti-war documentary,”
Well maybe because there wasn’t much. Their professional paid Trade Union bureaucrats were invited (by the authoritarian & moderate left) on closed platform after closed platform at mass rallies leading up to the war – they pontificated about peace while their membership refueled and maintained U.S. war planes at Shannon to kill workers and other nice people in Iraq. The trade unions countered all attempts to organise anti-war sentiment among workers at Shannon Airport.
Readers should be reminded that most U.S. soldiers who invaded Iraq passed through the small Shannon Airport on the west coast of “neutral” Ireland.At the outset of the invasion two Scottish train drivers held a wild cat strike and refused to move munitions. I’m not sure what happened to them, whether their Union supported them or not?“What many forget, the Vietnam anti-war movement was not a serious challenge to the war-makers until the war touched ordinary people in the West – when boys were taken from their families by conscription to kill and die in that imperialist war.”It’s not so much we FORGET, it is that the war makers learn from their mistakes and the left are in a Groundhog Day tapeloop (witness the annual Palm Sunday peace rally in Brisbane, a platform I am consistently banned from when I’m in Brisbane, it’s like the excatholics of the left have taken the worst aspects of deadwood catholic culture when they left in their tantrum and seemed to be doomed to repeat it down through time, anyways…..).Warmakers reflect and learn, peace movement reinvents the wheel. For example, the Kiwi cop who ran the Springbox Tour security in ‘81 had done his PhD on the Chicago (cop) Riots ‘68.“So too with the Iraq war, in Ireland, Australia or anywhere else, there will be little organised strength in the Peace Movement until ordinary people are directly affected. It may not please activists depicted in Route Irish but it is as close to the truth as any explanation for the failure of the peace movement to prevent the war in Iraq or Afghanistan or Palestine or … you can’t escape the fact that we are not there in Iraq, at least not in the numbers that were in Vietnam.”

Technology has advanced they don’t need us there in the same numbers as Vietnam. They’ve learnt that conscription is more trouble than its worth, in terms of quality of warrior it provides and the domestic disruption it creates. Keep the cannon fodder as the working poor (note the extensive use in Iraq of part time, second income National Guard not used in Vietnam), don’t impact the educated and equipped middle class. See the cynicism from all sides that greets an Australian soldier’s death in Afghanistan…..”well he signed up for it, what did he (and bereaved his family) expect!”

The Australian anti-Vietnam War movement was relatively timid compared to the movement in the U.S. and to return to the original Counterpunch kick off, I recall Phil Berrigan saying when in ‘87 that the U.S. anti-war movement was more militant then than it was in ‘68.”

“And why sh/would resistance be otherwise, some workers have a struggle to exist even in capitalist countries like Australia and Ireland, it is they who are sent to kill other workers in Iraq and occasionally to die doing so.”

And some workers don’t mind black/ brown workers in lands far away being napalmed as long as it doesn’t impact on their privileged Aussie Afrikaan bubble. The recent short lived anti-war movement was extremely timid. Those of us who took risks, and resisted, went not only unsupported but consciously marginalised by the anti-war coalitions run by the authoritarian/moderate/NGO left .

These folks (IAWM, Stop the War Coalition etc) see war as primarily a marketing opportunity for their organisations and NVDA activists as potential competitors in the market. Suffer no illusion, they have no intentions of taking any risks to engage and resist the warmaking and have no intention of offering solidarity to anyone who does. As Lou Reed would say “Put a fork in their ass and turn them over, they’re done!”

At one point Ian remarks there is little difference between the Irish and Australian contexts. There were a lot. View the film “Route Irish”, it was very touch and go that the Irish government could get away with this major paradigm shift from historic neutrality. There is an opinion that if folks had gone over the fence at Shannon pn March 1st 03 occupied the airport, closed it down following the Catholic Worker plowshares and Mary Kelly disarmament action that had occurred in rapid succession – it would have been game over.

routeirish-bridgetflyer-1.jpgThe U.S. would have looked at the major 3 Irish security failures at Shannon Airport in a month, 4 U.S. corporations transporting troops through abandoning Shannon as an immediate result – and concluded Irish security couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery and abandoned Ireland as the most significant pit stop for U.S. forces invading Iraq and flown on to England to refuel.

For better or worse, the Americans would have factored in the recent history of anti-imperialist militancy on the Ireland. This source had been compromised by Sinn Fein getting into bed with Clinton to advance their agendas in the north, only to wake up in bed with George Bush and finding itdifficult to disengage.

Their response, much to the disappointment of their grassroots membership was generally muted to this U.S. war. Sinn Fein, in a lot of ways, represents the only working class movement with a history of militancy on the island. It was significant that they had been muted at this time in terms of potential sources of resistance to Irish participation in the war.

View the film and see what undermined the mass occupation of March 1st. (I’d been released form Limerick Prison the previous day and was raided by Special Branch in a Limerick Bed and Breakfast that morning) was a coalition of moderate/authoritarian/NGO left calling a press conference and denouncing the proposed runway occupation. Most ironic, was Sinn Fein ordering its membership away because “their could be a possibility of violence” (that was a new one). Whether the top echelons of these organisation had been infiltrated by the State or whether this was merely a result of the control and marketing opportunity obsessions previously mentioned … the moment was lost. The movement, like everywhere else in the west collapsed and the war picked up speed. The rest, as they say is (unfolding unravelling) history spreading form Iraq and Afghanistan to Somalia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Bali, NYC, London, Madrid etc etc

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2. Ciaron O’Reilly (London)
RELEVANT LINK TO DEBATE:
“Social Movements Between Woodstock & the Web- Remember the ’80’s” http://www.counterpunch.org/grossman01032008.html — this is the article Ian is responding to.
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3. Ciaron O’Reilly (London)
SOLIDARITY WEBSITES
If you’re interested in offering proactive solidarity (solidarity letters, financial, solidarity demonstrations etc.) with those in prison or before the courts for nonviolent resistance to the war – make contact with them through the following websites
There is a blog around this “Samuel Hill” crew. A group of radical Christians (a Baptist minister and 3 Salvation Army young people) arrested for resistance at Operation Talisman Sabre 07.
They are travelling from Melbourne to Rockhampton to face the courts.
http://samuelhill5.blogspot.com/
A group of radical Christians being aggressively pursued by the Feds under the 1952 Defence Undertakings Act for their nonviolent “citizen’s inspection” of CIA/NSA Pine Gap base. Pine Gap is the most significant Australian contribution to the ongoing killing of Afghanis and Iraqis.
Warrants are presently active for the four and the government is appealing for a more serious sentence than imposed by the trial judge at 07 trial. Likely initial jail time in Darwin February 07
http://www.pinegap6.org
A group of Socialists and Irish Republicans facing trial in Derry, Ireland in January.
Charges arise out of the disabling of Raytheon computers during the 06 Israeli bombing of Lebanon in which Raytheon hardware and software was used extensively.
http://www.raytheon9.org
Three Catholic priests and a lay person presently imprisoned for nonviolent resistance at Fort Huachuca.Fort Huachuca, located in Arizona, is the torture training centre for the U.S. military.
http://www.tortureontrial.org
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4. Bush Telegraph
Hey Ciaron,
Are you saying it is not true that resistance to the Iraq war in Ireland (or elsewhere) will not be effective until ordinary people are directly affected?
The deserts of Kuwait before the ‘Shock and Awe’ of Iraq was a huge panorama of assembled troops and weapons.
The logistics of this suggest many from the USA and England were effected, but because of the caution of the Australian government, very few from Australia were involved. I assume this is true of Ireland, am I wrong?
Why do you say there is no peace movement?
Given the effort you have put into the feedback above perhaps you would like to write an article for publication on BushTelegraph to develope the themes addressed by you.
There seems to be a theme of isolation in indymedia ireland coming from activists like yourself.If this is true perhaps more can be done to overcome this?
I make these comments in a positive way, I know you are not trying to be reactive but, given the limited format of blog comment, a well structured essay may better reflect what you are saying in Comments # 1 – 3.This is an invitation only, with no obligation or strings attached save to respect the aims of BT.
In solidarity,
Ian Curr

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5. Ciaron O’Reilly (London)
“resistance to the Iraq war in Ireland (or elsewhere) will not be effective until ordinary people are directly affected?”
1 million dead Iraqis are they not ordinary?
It is a first world racism of government’s that don’t count the Arab dead and peace movements that learn to live with the daily grind of the killing of people of colour.
Resistance will grow when people put it at the centre of anti-war opposition, rather than seeing wars as a great leftist/NGO marketing/recruiting, media profile lifting opportunity recall being in Brisbane for the Cindy Sheehan meeting.
Of course my impending case for the most disruptive act to U.S. military deployment for the Iraq invasion http://www.peaceontrial.com (admittedly there wasn’t a lot of competition form a timid western peace movement)…was not mentioned from the stage, no call for solidarity or support.
Neither was there one for the Pine Gap defendants present or folks organising around the huge U.S. military exercise in Queensland on the horizon.
This should have been a night of solidarity with those risking their liberty to resist this war, numerically it was the largest anti-war manifestation in Brisbane since the Feb 03 marches.
Instead the “socialists” who controlled the evening acted as the petty mean spirited capitalists they are – prioritising selling the paper, recruiting, ever sensitive to the market and people they view as competitors that need to be marginalised (the nonviolent direct actionists whose militancy is expressed in more than a slogan, a pose, a lefty tabloid headline for example). This is one of the reasons the resistance is isolated.
Those who run the anti-war fronts set out to isolate it.
“The deserts of Kuwait before the ‘Shock and Awe’ of Iraq was a huge panorama of assembled troops and weapons. The logistics of this suggest many from the USA and England were effected, but because of the caution of the Australian government, very few from Australia were involved. I assume this is true of Ireland, am I wrong?”
It was a much smaller deployment than that to Saudi pre-Gulf War 1 (that deployment turned Bin Laden from a loyal servant of U.S. foreign policy to an enemy).
The role of Australian military deployment was primarily symbolic (and here the left remains hopeless about the appreciation of the significance of symbol), it was to sell the war to the domestic American market as a team effort.
Elite Australian SAS troops were initially deployed and captured sections of the Iraqi Air Force that never left the ground (not like Gulf War 1 when they took off and fled to Iran).
SAS were then brought back to Australia (30 resigned immediately to return to the battle as highly paid mercenaries) and later deployed to Afghanistan where they are seeing much more hot pursuit action.
It seems the deal was made to keep the Australians relatively safe in utmost southern Iraq in return for the symbolic significance of their presence to the americans.Remember, the peace candidate Rudd is leaving 1,000 Australian navy and air force personel in the Iraqi theatre.
The role of Pine Gap is the most significant and goes unquestioned, unmentioned (except by these folks http://www.pinegap6.org ), Peter Garret dare not speak its name on his recent sojourn to Alice.
“Why do you say there is no peace movement?”
There is no peace movement, there is a remnant eg. in Brisbane the Catholic Worker at Enoggera every Friday, Jim and Adele heading north to face the music for Pine Gap, the radical christians travelling from Melbourne to face charges for resistance at Operation Talisman Sabre 07. (It is instructive that it was mostly folks from radical Christian communities who took the risks at Talisman Sabre 07. The self appointed organisers who put out the call for NVDA, the media heads, doco makers/retailers and celebs would not risk the most minimal of trespass charges-preferring the comfort zone of working behind or in front of the camera and mike).
There was one guy with his kid and a placard as the total response to the USS Kitty Hawk descending on Brisbane before the execises.
U.S. pilots and officers in uniform stayed at a hotel opposite Albert park for two weeks – undisturbed. This should indicate to you there is no movement in Brisbane There maybe large passive opinion and virtual activism on the interent, there is little on the street.
“Given the effort you have put into the feedback above perhaps you would like to write an article for publication on BushTelegraph to develope the themes addressed by you.”
I’m writing because I’m pissed off. Internalised anger could lead to depression, can’t risk that!
“There seems to be a theme of isolation in indymedia ireland coming from activists like yourself.”I’m not isolated.I live in a small house with 8 people.

Some are Arab that’s why I regard them as “ordinary people”, some are torture survivors they remind me of how easy I’ve had it and got it.

The other CW’s are a catholic priest and an anarchist/athiest so we keep acting up and speaking out.

I’m connected to many communities committed to proactive solidarity with the poor and nonviolent resistance to the war.

I do not fell isolated or hopeless. I’m not optimistic, but I’m not hopeless.

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6. Bush Telegraph
Ordinary People‘- an explanation of ‘there’.
Sorry Ciaron,
I meant ordinary people in Australia and Ireland being effected by being sent to war from here to there as implied in the title “We are not there.”
During the Vietnam War this was done in Australia by conscription. I trying to addressing the current failure of the anti-war movement in Australia and reasons for it, both internal and external. I may not have made this sufficiently clear, this is the intended context of the article “We are not there”.
The racism against Arabs that you speak of is best described in Orientalism written by the Palestinian, Edward W. Said – another reason for the title of my article – to convey ‘otherness‘.
It is my belief that the main resistance to war is ‘there’ not ‘here’. From the outset of the Iraq war, the resistance is not in London, it is in Baghdad. For Afghanistan, it is not in New York, it is in Kabul and so on.
In a ‘globalised world’ resistance is pretty local.
I am saying the movement for peace during much of the Vietnam war did not occur on the streets of Melbourne or Sydney or Dublin.
The anti-war movement in the West, then as now, was, for much of the time, ineffective.For many in the west, when the Vietnam war is discussed this view remains controversial especially among sections of the New Left who ran all the demos back then and flew the National Liberation Front [NLF] flags in Roma street in Brisbane during the May Moratorium in 1970. The retrospectives exaggerate the role of western media in ending the war.
Perhaps they [the New Left] thought the revolution had come when the NLF won peace and drove the Americans from their door. The truth is, the revolution was there, not here.

The Peace Movement – ‘here’

If you look at the picture of the Waterside Workers Federation [WWF] Peace Committee float during Mayday procession in Brisbane, Australia circa 1967 in the article above “We are not there” you will see the ordinary people in Australia that were directly affected by the war in Vietnam.
It was their school mates, fellow workers, sons, brothers, cousins, friends and nephews that were sent in their tens of thousands to the Vietnam war to kill millions of ordinary Vietnamese people.
This is in no way meant to draw the emphasis away from the millions of Vietnamese who fought and died.
But it is intended to place the emphasis on ordinary people and to draw it away from the Gough Whitlam’s, the Barack Obama’s and the Hilary Clinton’s of this world.My questions to you addressed the similarity, or lack of it, in the failure of the Irish anti-war movement that you speak of.
I do not know about Ireland, any more than a person who loves the Pogues song ‘Dirty Old Town‘ and has seen films like Ken Loach’s ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley‘, not to mention knowing Australians of Irish descent like you and Gary MacLennan and Rosemary McBride.
I lived my entire life in Brisbane and, unlike you, have not travelled any great distance.
Mass conscription has not happened in Australia in any of the recent wars [one long war?] against Iraq.
It is men and women in their hundreds, not tens of thousands, that have been sent from Australia to fight in Iraq since 2004.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

I saw another documentary film last night on ABC TV called ‘The Government Inspector’.
It was about Dr David Kelly, the British weapons inspector, who committed suicide after he was hung out to dry by the British government.
In the film, Dr Kelly said that he had recently converted to the Bahai faith which he said was a religion that put a lot of emphasis on telling the truth in the face of lies.
At first, I could not understand why Dr Kelly, when he was hauled up before the government committee to explain why he had leaked his criticism of the ’sexed up WMD reports’, why he did not just come out and say there was no basis for the story being put out by the ‘coalition-of-the-willing’ about weapons of mass destruction. His testimony was at the very least extremely guarded if not misleading.
This David Kelly affair reminded me of the massacre of 347 ordinary Vietnamese people (including babies) in the village of My Lai by US troops on March 16, 1968. A 31-year-old Major Colin Powell was the head of a military inquiry to investigate the truth of the allegations accusing US soldiers of mistreating Vietnamese civilians. After ‘a cursory investigation, Powell drafted a response on Dec. 13, 1968. He admitted to no pattern of wrongdoing. Powell claimed that U.S. soldiers in Vietnam were taught to treat Vietnamese courteously and respectfully‘.
The same Colin Powell who, years later in the role of US Secretary of State, lied to the United Nations assembly about WMDs – the very same Colin Powell that had years earlier whitewashed the massacre at My Lai absolving Lt. Calley and his men.
Then I realised that, if the film is to be believed, Dr David Kelly, like many others, thought that Saddam Hussein still had WMDs in 2004, even after ’shock and awe’, even after the first inspection teams had found none.
It was Kelly’s beliefs and assertions which formed the basis of the British government’s [not so nuanced] message to justify the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. This , in turn, led to so many Iraqi lives being lost.
This feeling of ‘guilt-by-association’ may have been cause for Kelly suicide. I know his family says otherwise, they blame his employer, the Ministry of Defence [MOD]. Perhaps Kelly realised that he had been co-opted into a lie about WMDs … but we will never know for sure.
However my point is, experts like Dr Kelly, when making judgements based on moral absolutes like ‘Truth’, can lead to great misery and injustice.Similarly war-makers like Colin Powell did whatever it took to prosecute ‘Freedom’s Cause’ in the name of ‘Democracy’, when, all-the-while, it was oil they wanted.
I have said enough here. But at some point I wish to address your remarks above: “There is no peace movement, there is a remnant” that you described variously as ‘the Pine Gap 6‘, and ‘the radical christian communities who took the risks at Talisman Sabre 07‘.
In solidarity,
Ian Curr
Resources: See Liberating Pine Gap

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7. Ciaron O’Reilly (London correspondent)
LINK-
Eamonn Crudden “Route Irish” filmmaker interviewed about the use of Bit Torrent as a means of Distribution.
http://torrentfreak.com/bittorrent-uncensoring-to-independent-filmmakers-080109/
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8. Ciaron O’Reilly
*Please forward to anyone you think might interested!‘ROUTE IRISH’ now available as a DVD in Australia
**Send your return address & $5 or cheque made out to “Sean O’Reilly”**
post to:
69 Kurumba St
Kippa-Ring
Qld, 4021
Route Irish is a feature length documentary which deals with the development of a broad popular opposition in Ireland to the US military use of Shannon Airport in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The film, covering the 2002-2006 period, follows a loose network of activist groups, individuals and politicians through the story of the rise, fracturing, and sudden decline and disappearance of this Irish expression of a Global anti-war movement. Although set in Ireland it is relevant to an analysis of the rise and fall of all western peace movements in response to the ongoing wars on Iraq & Afghanistan.
It traces the way in which a combination of strategies – the formation of the Shannon Peace Camp, protests at the airport, the vigilance of a number of ‘planespotters’, incidents of civil disobedience and two separate ‘ploughshares’ style disarmament actions – served to effectively tear away Ireland’s veneer of neutrality and non-alignment in the post September 11th era of the ‘War on Terror’.
Relevant to Australian audiences, is the role of Brisbane born anti-war activist Ciaorn O’Reilly active at Shannon in leadup to the war, arrested and charged with $U.S.2.5 million damage to a U.S. war plane at Shannon as part of the “Pitstop Ploughshares” action http://www.peaceontrial.com . Footage includes police film evidence of the interrogation of Ciaron following arrest and the eventual acquittal of the Pitstop Ploughshares.
The documentary is a sustained attempt on the part of one activist who was involved in the events to come to terms with and understand the ultimate failure of this vibrant but fractured coalition.“ROUTE IRISH is an excellent documentary.It deals very very well with the frustrations of a peace movement. It tackles some complex matters which aren’t usually discussed or even thought about.”
Alex Cox (director “Sid & Nancy”, “Repo Man”, “Walker”, “Highway Patrolman” “Straight to Hell” “Revengers Tragedy”)‘ROUTE IRISH’ is also available as a high quality download from the following web pages:
http://www.archive.org/details/RouteIrish
http://www.stage6.com/IT-IS-ON/video/1888068/Route-Irish
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/85188

Need Help Downloading or Viewing? : Ask your Kids or
someone elses kids!
Review of Route Irish by Gary MacLennan
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/85706http://www.londoncatholicworker.org
http://www.peaceontrial.com
“The poor tell us who we are,
The prophets tell us who we could be,
So we hide the poor,
And kill the prophets.”
Phil Berrigan

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9. Ciaron O’Reilly (London)
“Route Irish” is now on google.
This is the direct link which you can mail around to people who want to see it:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2490117212813539075Or just tell them to search for it by title “Route Irish” on google video.
Having it available on DVD makes it conducive methinks to collective viewing and reflection.

3 responses to “No War

  1. Viola Wilkins

    http://melbourneprotests.wordpress.com/2009/04/25/anzac-day-anti-militarist-action-25-april/

    As in past years, while tens of thousands at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance and elsewhere around the country did what they thought appropriate, others, numbering hardly more than ten, met outside the former headquarters of the Melbourne branch of the Industrial Workers of the World in a commemoration with a different flavour.

    As a speaker recalled, it was the IWW that spearheaded the anti-conscription campaign during WWI without which Australia’s already appalling tally of dead and wounded would undoubtedly have been far greater. It may be worth reproducing here a post on Melbourne Indymedia in January 2007 which set out some of the reasons for this gathering:

    “One of the greatest popular victories in Australian history was the defeat of conscription in World War One in a campaign spearheaded by the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) The Australian union movement owes much to the IWW and the traditions it created; this despite its brief existence as a largish organization. (The IWW survives as a smallish organization)

    “Just an example taken at random: the IWW was resolutely non-racist and at a time when conventional wisdom would have us believe that the Australian labour movement was very much whites only. Yet the IWW was influential enough to lead the labour movement opposition to the war and to conscription……and to actually defeat conscription.

    “The IWW deserves to be remembered, and so does its anti-conscription victory. I hope that this year we can organize a more large scale event than in previous years. (For info on previous years, fact sheet, and discussion see the links below)

    “We can still learn from the history of the IWW and from its greatest victory in Australia.

    “The purpose of the IWW commemoration is _not_ a publicity stunt; more to “honour those to whom honour is due”, and to start creating a healthy tradition. With a largish turnout the event could also be very useful for networking of course. The event is _not_ intended to physically confront or tangle with the other thing happening that day …”
    (http://www.melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2007/01/138371.php)

    Centrepiece of the event was a “War-Tree”, based on a famous cartoon of the period:

    “War-tree” – roots in profit, fruits of death and destruction PHOTOGRAPH

    Here is how the tree’s maker explained the background in a report of a previous year’s action:

    “The “war tree” at the iww celebration was based on [a] famous wobbly cartoon … That capitalist is telling the soldier/worker tending the tree that he can keep its fruit, ie Death etc, for his wages; the cappo only wants the roots…..

    “The cartoon in turn was presumably inspired by an old and widespread folk tale about a devil (or troll, or djinn etc) who demands half of a farmers crop…the farmer offers to give the devil everything that grows above the ground and the devil agrees to accept this (and like all magical beings its word is binding). The farmer of course grows carrots or turnips. Next time the devil insists on having everything below the ground, so the farmer grows wheat or barley etc. The folktale tells of a shrewd peasant tricking a powerful but stupid oppressor… sadly, as the cartoon shows, the reality tends to be the other way around…”
    (from http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2005/04/91104_comment.php#144343 ).

    Setting up the “tree” PHOTOGRAPH

    As can be seen from the following photo, the street corner is now on the edge of Melbourne’s Chinatown, and its history is probably not widely known (though anyone interested could take a look at the relevant chapters of “Radical Melbourne – A Secret History” by Jeff Sparrow and Jill Sparrow, The vulgar press 2001), but next year there was talk of making use of the conveniently situated ‘dustbin of history’ …
    The street corner today

    The street corner today PHOTOGRAPH

    Here is the text of a leaflet handed out at the action:
    DOWN WITH MILITARISM

    A Turkish Beach

    On 25 April 1915, Australian and other troops of the British Empire attempted an invasion of Turkey. It was designed to knock the Ottoman Empire out of World War I and free the Russian Empire to send more troops to fight Germany. Tens of thousands of young men were sacrificed in this sideline to the larger war. The soldiers were told they were fighting for “God, King and country” and that it was “the war to end all wars”. In reality, they were pawns in the clash of two rival imperialist alliances – and the imperialists would be back again for an even bloodier war barely twenty years later.

    An Imperialist Army

    Before the WWI, Australian troops had been used to support the British Empire in its frontier wars in the Sudan and South Africa. After WWI, the Australian capitalists grew more ambitious on their own behalf, grasping for control in New Guinea and elsewhere in the South Pacific. Since the United States supplanted Britain as Australian imperialism’s senior partner, Australian troops have been sent to kill and die to uphold the power of the US. In return, Australian governments are given a free hand in their traditional South Pacific “back yard” and, more recently, East Timor as well.

    Home and Abroad

    Today, the Australian military are stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor, the Solomon Islands – and the Northern Territory. In Iraq and Afghanistan, they assist the subjugation of countries the United States wishes to dominate. Iraqi and Afghan blood pays Australian imperialism’s licence fee in the South Pacific. In East Timor and the Solomon Islands, the military mission is more directly useful to Australian capitalism. Governments are installed and manipulated, while local clients are instructed in how to ensure the poor endure their poverty compliantly – and, in East Timor, watch their oil reserves looted. Finally, in the Northern Territory, the deployment of the military is a token of the determination of the Australian capitalists to complete the as-yet-unfinished theft of the land from its indigenous inhabitants. Australian soldiers have a dirty job, at home and abroad.

    Down with Militarism

    The military, as well as being the vehicle for waging external war, are the last line of defence against a population determined to change social institutions. They have no place in a just and peaceful society. The Australian military, imperialist enforcers at home and abroad, are no exception. To eliminate war and militarism forever, we must sweep away all armies, with a workers’ revolution that abolishes the State and capitalism across the world and establishes libertarian communism. It will take nothing less – but we need nothing less, as well.

    END AUSTRALIAN IMPERIALISM

    Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group

    macg1984@yahoo.com.au http://melbourneanarchistcommunistgroup.org/
    PO Box 2120 Lygon St North
    East Brunswick 3057 25 April 2009

    [end quote]

    Some links:

    http://www.iww.org.au/

    http://www.iww.org/culture/antiwar

    http://melbourneanarchistcommunistgroup.org/

    For previous actions there are reports on Sydney and Melbourne Indymedia sites:

    http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/node/50732

    http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2007/04/143843.php

    and already mentioned http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2005/04/91104_comment.php#144343

    For a brief history of the IWW in Australia, see http://www.takver.com/history/iwwinoz.htm

  2. The Vietnam War

    Public forum – all welcome – please forward broadly

    The turning point of the Vietnam War

    THE TET OFFENSIVE
    40 YEARS ON – its significance for today

    Featuring
    Jim McIlroy (veteran of the anti-Vietnam War movement);
    Hamish Chitts (Former Australian soldier & anti-war activist in Steadfast)
    Film footage from the time of the Tet Offensive

    The Tet Offensive, launched by the North Vietnamese Army and the National Liberation Front (NLF) 40 years ago on January 31, 1968, radically changed the course of the Vietnam War. One of the crucial battles of the 20th century, the Tet Offensive was an audacious, co-ordinated attack which caught the occupying US and puppet South Vietnamese forces by surprise.

    Its stunning impact convinced US and world public opinion that the United States could not win the Vietnam War. It forced the US government to begin the long retreat which eventually led to the fall of Saigon to revolutionary forces in April 1975.

    Today, as the US and its allies face defeat in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, what lessons can we draw from Tet for the anti-war movement?


    Thurs January 31, 6:30 for 7pm.

    Delicious Vietnamese meal avail from 6:30pm (incl Vegan)
    Brisbane Activist Centre, 74B Wickham St (in Metro Central building), Fortitude Valley.
    Donation entry $5 waged, $3 conc
    Organised by Green Left Weekly. Ph 3831 2644; 0410 629 088.

    Brisbane Activist Centre, 74b Wickham St, Fortitude Valley

    Home of Socialist Alliance, Green Left Weekly, Resistance + books, badges, t-shirts, more!

    Ph: (07) 3831 2644 Mob: 0410 629 088 Email: brisbane@greenleft.org.au Web: http://www.greenleft.org.au
    Howard is history! Now let’s stand up for our rights
    http://www.socialist-alliance.org

  3. The online discussion above occurred between Ciaron O’Reilly and myself over Christmas 2007.

    To assist in understanding quotes in the discussion are coloured brown

    This discussion was originally posted elsewhere on BushTelegraph.

    For technical reasons it needed to be moved.

    I have tried to keep the original thread as it was.

    I have made some minor changes to the original article “We’re not there

    Also I have made some minor spelling and grammatical changes to Ciaron’s comments.
    I have also added a poster for the film Route Irish which i received from Ciaron O’Reilly.

    Ian Curr
    29 January 2008
    BushTelegraph

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