The 17 Group: ‘Who are the war criminals?’

This is the official announcement to tell you that the next 17 Group talk will occur at 7 pm on Wednesday the 3rd of August.  It will once again be at what used to be called the Paddo Workers’ Club, and is now called the BWCC – 2 Latrobe Terrace ( cnr Given Terrace), Paddington

It will be on the subject “Who are the war criminals?” 

(Given the present new Omicron virus wave, please consider wearing a mask.) The attendance at this talk is free. However we do require an idea of numbers, so please complete the rsvp immediately below:

This subject will be addressed by one of Australia’s greatest investigative journalists, who probably knows more about such subjects as security and where the evidence of Government skulduggery is buried than anyone in the country living or dead.  Author of such books as The Book of Leaks, 1987,co-authored with one of our most recent speakers, Marian Wilkinson, Oyster, about the overseas equivalent of ASIO, ASIS,1989, Tumbling Dice: The Story of Modern Economic Policy, 1994, and most recently, in 2019, Secret: The Making of Australia’s Security State.

This will be a detailed  exposition of the shocking outrages of every norm of decency and humanity by our supposedly admirable ‘leaders’.  Outrages that kill innocent multitudes and leave their life-destroyed survivors with the disastrous consequences that get ignored as history rushes on, but that should really cry to the heavens for justice.  

Brief Summary (for more detail see attachment): 

Brian Toohey’s talk will argue that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is an overdue reminder that it’s a crime for national leaders to start a war of aggression.

Putin is not the only one who can be reasonably accused of committing war crimes. Most US presidents since World War II have done so. Some Australian Prime Ministers have also done so. 

All the wars involving Australia since World War II were wars of aggression, or soon became so. The Korean war was one of the worst. The Menzies government was the first to join after the US led a nominal UN force. But that was just the beginning.

By the standards now rightly being applied to Vladimir Putin, the American and Australian leaders who brought carnage to Korea, Indonesia, Indochina, Iraq and Afghanistan potentially committed monstrous war crimes.

Accordingly, Brian’s talk will explain how crimes of military aggression are not just something other countries commit. The talk will give fresh insights into how Australia has committed war crimes against numerous countries which posed no threat to the nation. 

By the standards now rightly being applied to Vladimir Putin, the American and Australian leaders who brought carnage to Korea, Indochina, Iraq and Afghanistan potentially committed monstrous war crimes.

To repeat, the attendance at this talk is free. However we do require an idea of numbers, so please complete the rsvp below :

Brief Biographical Notes:

Brian, like the recently victorious Maroons of State of Origin 2022, and many other good things of national fame, is originally from Queensland, and will be fondly remembered, by the cognoscenti among you, not only as the editor of Semper Floreat in 1965, but also as the producer and main writer of that ever-memorable revue at the Avalon, Itchingly Twitchingly. Editing Semper was for Brian just the beginning of a distinguished media career.  He went on to start a professional journalistic career in 1973.  Here’s what it looked like from then on: 

He was Canberra correspondent for the Australian Financial Review, then its Washington correspondent. He was also Washington correspondent for the National Times, then its editor.  Next followed editorship of The Eye, Column-writing for the West Australian and the Sun Herald, being a Contributor to the Sunday Age, the Canberra Times, Inside Story, Nikkei Asia Review, Eureka Street. Now contributing to the Sydney Morning Herald, Pearls and Irritations and Michael West Media among others. He has been a regular guest on Radio National’s Breakfast Show, the ABC’s Insiders, Ten’s Meet the Press and a similar SBS program. He occasionally appears on Radio National’s Late Night Live. Needless to say, he has also written various books. Some of these will be on sale at the meeting  

We thought Leon might have had some interesting historical insights to whet our appetites for the talk.  But mention of Itchingly Twitchingly had proved to be too enticing to the 1924 author of Literature and Revolution. “If only Rakovsky were posthumous too!” he shouted, slapping his thigh.  He told us that he himself wished he’d already been actively posthumous in 1965, so as to have seen it, or even (he intimated with charming presumption), written for it.  

So then, vain to have hoped that Leon might have reminisced revealingly about the aggressive ‘White’ encirclement of the new Soviet State in 1918, or, more posthumously, about the German Eastern Front incursion that triggered the Great Patriotic War, or even about the Soviet invasions of 1956 or 1967.  No.  Too obsessed by Itchingly Twitchingly, he lectured us about the tendency in English comic verse for rhymes to be preponderantly polysyllabic “as in this title’s excellent example, almost a paradigm case, comrades”.  We were obliged to humour him, drawing on our fading memories of the text of various acts of the revue.  As we left he was singing, in an indifferently executed version of what he vaingloriously boasted to be a ‘Queensland’ accent, the classic chorus of “ The Bauhinias, the bauhinias… the bauhinias… are blooming again…” .  Scarcely a competitor, one thought, with the original, and definitive, Wertheim rendition at the time, but a sort of belated recognition that “caught in that sensual music, all neglect/ Monuments of unageing intellect”.

Dan O’Neill
30 July 2022
The 17 Group

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