Jun 16, 2014

British Islamists vow to fly black flag of jihad over London | The Australian

BRITONS fighting for the al-Qa’ida splinter group terrorising the Middle East have made a ­series of menacing threats against Britain and the West.
One fighter — unmasked yesterday as a computer hacker from Birmingham who stole Tony Blair’s details — has suggested ­attacks at the general election to ensure the black flag of jihad flies over Downing Street.
Another extremist, a former private school pupil, has warned of a new wave of 9/11-style atrocities if the US launches air strikes against militants seizing control of swathes of Iraq. A third jihadist, from Portsmouth, wrote about embarking on “a killing spree” against non-Muslims in Britain if he ever returns home.
The Britons are among hundreds of foreign supporters of the Islamic State on Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, a group so ruthless that it has been disowned by al-Qa’ida leaders. British recruits have been able to join the organisation with relative ease by travelling to Turkey on holiday flights and crossing the border into Syria.
The British Home Office is ­expected to proscribe ISIS within days following reports that its fighters have carried out beheadings, crucifixions, kidnappings, and torture in Syria and Iraq.
At the weekend, Twitter suspended a series of accounts linked to ISIS and its British supporters.
Among the Britons backing the terror group is Junaid Hussain, 20, who was jailed for six months in 2012 for stealing personal information relating to former prime minister Mr Blair and his family, and posting it online.
Hussain, who once led a group of teenage hackers called Team Poison, also blocked a police anti-terrorist hotline after bombarding it with more than 100 prank calls. He travelled to Syria last year while on police bail after being ­arrested, in a separate incident, for violent disorder. Hussain, from Birmingham, recently boasted on social media that he was accompanied by another British jihadist who was also being monitored by the authorities at the time.
On Twitter he uses the alias Abu Hussain al-Britani and has posted photos of himself brand­ishing an assault rifle and wearing a scarf to hide his identity. On June 4, Hussain tweeted a reference to the black flag associated with Islamists: “One day the flag of tawheed will fly over 10 Downing Street and the White House.”
Later the same day, he wrote: “Imagine if someone detonated a bomb at a voting station or ambushed the vans that carry the casted [sic] votes. It would mess the whole system up.” He then re­tweeted a chilling message from another British fighter: “We’ll come back to the UK and wreak havoc. British people watch out.”
Hussain, who has also posted advice on smuggling bombs through airports, refused to answer questions about his support for ISIS and his threats. He argued instead: “Your [sic] the terrorist, you instil fear into the hearts of the British people via your news articles.”
Another ISIS fighter is Muhammad Hassan, 19, a former pupil at a Catholic fee-paying school in Portsmouth. When US President Barack Obama said last week he was considering the use of military drones to combat ISIS in Iraq, Hassan wrote on Twitter: “America wants to drone Dawlah (ISIS)? Inshallah (God willing), you will receive many more 9/11s.”
Hassan has publicly professed a willingness to die abroad.
Hassan travelled to Syria with four other men from Portsmouth last October.
They flew from Gatwick — where they were captured on CCTV — to the popular Turkish beach resort of Antalya on a Thomas Cook flight. The group then headed to Syria by road.
Hassan’s colleagues included Asad Uzzaman, 25, and Muhammad Rahman, 25. Asked by an online supporter if he had problems at the airport, Rahman said: “We was all relaxed; it’s not like we was doing anything wrong.”
One member of the Portsmouth group now fighting with ISIS uses the alias Abu Abdullah and regularly offers advice to followers on Twitter and the Ask.fm website. Abu Abdullah claims that “hundreds” of foreign fighters are still arriving in Syria and indicated that he and other Britons may be preparing to join the battle across the border.
The Sunday Time

Jun 15, 2014

Stalin's Jews - Israel Opinion, Ynetnews

Here's a particularly forlorn historical date: Almost 90 years ago, between the 19th and 20th of December 1917, in the midst of the Bolshevik revolution and civil war, Lenin signed a decree calling for the establishment of The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, also known as Cheka.

Within a short period of time, Cheka became the largest and cruelest state security organization. Its organizational structure was changed every few years, as were its names: From Cheka to GPU, later to NKVD, and later to KGB.

We cannot know with certainty the number of deaths Cheka was responsible for in its various manifestations, but the number is surely at least 20 million, including victims of the forced collectivization, the hunger, large purges, expulsions, banishments, executions, and mass death at Gulags.

Whole population strata were eliminated: Independent farmers, ethnic minorities, members of the bourgeoisie, senior officers, intellectuals, artists, labor movement activists, "opposition members" who were defined completely randomly, and countless members of the Communist party itself.

In his new, highly praised book "The War of the World, "Historian Niall Ferguson writes that no revolution in the history of mankind devoured its children with the same unrestrained appetite as did the Soviet revolution. In his book on the Stalinist purges, Tel Aviv University's Dr. Igal Halfin writes that Stalinist violence was unique in that it was directed internally.

Lenin, Stalin, and their successors could not have carried out their deeds without wide-scale cooperation of disciplined "terror officials," cruel interrogators, snitches, executioners, guards, judges, perverts, and many bleeding hearts who were members of the progressive Western Left and were deceived by the Soviet regime of horror and even provided it with a kosher certificate.

All these things are well-known to some extent or another, even though the former Soviet Union's archives have not yet been fully opened
to the public. But who knows about this? Within Russia itself, very few people have been brought to justice for their crimes in the NKVD's and KGB's service. The Russian public discourse today completely ignores the question of "How could it have happened to us?" As opposed to Eastern European nations, the Russians did not settle the score with their Stalinist past.

And us, the Jews? An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name "Genrikh Yagoda," the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU's deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin's collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system. After Stalin no longer viewed him favorably, Yagoda was demoted and executed, and was replaced as chief hangman in 1936 by Yezhov, the "bloodthirsty dwarf."

Yezhov was not Jewish but was blessed with an active Jewish wife. In his Book "Stalin: Court of the Red Star", Jewish historian Sebag Montefiore writes that during the darkest period of terror, when the Communist killing machine worked in full force, Stalin was surrounded by beautiful, young Jewish women.

Stalin's close associates and loyalists included member of the Central Committee and Politburo Lazar Kaganovich. Montefiore characterizes him as the "first Stalinist" and adds that those starving to death in Ukraine, an unparalleled tragedy in the history of human kind aside from the Nazi horrors and Mao's terror in China, did not move Kaganovich.

Many Jews sold their soul to the devil of the Communist revolution and have blood on their hands for eternity. We'll mention just one more: Leonid Reichman, head of the NKVD's special department and the organization's chief interrogator, who was a particularly cruel sadist.

In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. They too, of course, were gradually eliminated in the next purges. In a fascinating lecture at a Tel Aviv University convention this week, Dr. Halfin described the waves of soviet terror as a "carnival of mass murder," "fantasy of purges", and "essianism of evil." Turns out that Jews too, when they become captivated by messianic ideology, can become great murderers, among the greatest known by modern history.

The Jews active in official communist terror apparatuses (In the Soviet Union and abroad) and who at times led them, did not do this, obviously, as Jews, but rather, as Stalinists, communists, and "Soviet people." Therefore, we find it easy to ignore their origin and "play dumb": What do we have to do with them? But let's not forget them. My own view is different. I find it unacceptable that a person will be considered a member of the Jewish people when he does great things, but not considered part of our people when he does amazingly despicable things.

Even if we deny it, we cannot escape the Jewishness of "our hangmen," who served the Red Terror with loyalty and dedication from its establishment. After all, others will always remind us of their origin.

Jun 13, 2014

Say No To A Palestinian State - Forbes

Irving Kristol said that whomever the Gods want to teach humility they first tempt to resolve the Middle East conflict.
Solving this conflict has been so difficult because it has always been misconstrued. As a result of confusion about the conflict’s nature, the solutions that were nevertheless tried, such as the Oslo agreement establishing the Palestinian Authority, or Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, resulted in costly failures. The suffering of Israelis and Palestinian Arabs increased.
The most common approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, held by the well-connected Peace Now camp, holds that the conflict is about nationhood and territory. It blames Israel for the conflict, claiming Israel’s reluctance to fully withdraw its settlements from the West Bank (it did from Gaza) denies the Palestinian Arabs a contiguous territory and enough living space to assert their sovereignty.
This must be why the Obama administration seems to believe that pressuring Israel to immediately accept a Palestinian Arab state and to withdraw to the 1967 boundaries will bring about peace. Obama seems determined to take serious risks to pursue what he believes is a strategic imperative and a moral duty. Indeed, the two-state solution seems like the decent and rational solution to the conflict. But there are many serious doubts about its feasibility.
Advocates of the two-state solution consider themselves political realists. But they always stress the historical and judicial justification for establishing a Palestinian state. They see it as not only politically necessary but an absolute moral imperative, doing justice to a dispossessed people.
But should not the establishment of such a state–which the Europeans so strongly promote–adhere to the European Union’s 1993 Copenhagen Political Criteria for new members, which states, “Membership criteria require that the candidate country must have achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities”?
Clearly a Palestinian Authority state will not even remotely meet such criteria. What moral justification is there, then, for forcing a vulnerable Israel, threatened by an irredentist Palestinian state, to help establish it when a powerful European Union refuses to take much smaller risks in the case of Turkey?
The chances that the U.S. will be able to assure that the Palestinian Arab state will live in peace with Israel are very small indeed. For powerful historic, political, social and economic reasons, all Arab states have evolved dictatorial regimes and rapacious elites. They rationalize their oppression by fomenting hatred against other nations, especially against non-Muslims. A Palestinian Arab state will not be an exception. (Pakistan and Turkey, which were supposed to be the exceptions, are regressing to the state of the others.)
While Israel has impeded the evolution of Palestinian Arab society toward statehood, it is not the major culprit. Until Oslo, relatively free economic interaction between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs resulted in spectacular economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza. This created an informal peace process that greatly improved Arab life and promoted a Palestinian civil society committed to peace.
But external economic setbacks compounded by increasing Israeli bureaucratic oppression reversed this prosperity. Increasing Arab frustration finally exploded in 1987 in a popular uprising that led to the 1993 Oslo accords. The Palestinian Liberation Organization, a terrorist organization, was invited to set up a Palestinian Authority as a preparation for an independent Palestinian state living in peace beside Israel.
But Arafat’s Authority was not interested in living in peace with Israel; it wanted to destroy it. Arafat gladly sacrificed Palestinian welfare, even lives, for this purpose. Ruining the Arab economy and using a totalitarian propaganda campaign to blame Israel for Palestinian misery, Arafat exploited Arab anger to escalate the conflict.
He succeeded because the conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel is only superficially about nationhood and territory. Since the 1948 partition of Palestine, British Mandate Arabs had several opportunities to create an independent state. Jordan and Egypt ruled the area until 1967; recently, they could have done so after Oslo, after the Gaza withdrawal. But they did not, because they were intent on first destroying Israel.
As long as this is so, granting the Palestinian Arabs a state will not result in peace, but in continued war.
As for the historic and legal claims for a Palestinian Arab state, the argument that the Arabs seek the restoration of “stolen Palestinian lands” is sheer fabrication. The area of the former British mandate of Palestine (which included Jordan) was for centuries under the Ottomans an empty, deserted land.
It was so desolate and malaria-infested that a national Palestinian Arab state never existed there, nor were there significant private property holdings in Palestine. Private rights never amounted to more than 4% of the land; 96% remains to this day mostly arid and government-owned. Palestine, as Mark Twain found it in 1860, was an empty “prince of desolation.” There was not even a Palestinian people–the few inhabitants considered themselves Syrian.
Palestine became a “promised land” again only after Jewish pioneers, in the second half of the nineteenth century, miraculously revived it, making it the most developed land in the region. It was then also that, as a result of their clash with Zionism, the Arabs started identifying themselves as Palestinians. So much for their “stolen” rights.
The claim that “illegal settlements” are an obstacle to peace is absurd too. Jewish settlements occupy less than 4% of the West Bank territory, mostly constructed on deserted government land. The reason the Arabs want them removed (but not Arab settlements in Israel) is that their radical leadership cannot tolerate any Jews living among them. All Arab lands were ethnically cleansed after 1948, forcing more than 1 million Jews to flee countries in which they had lived long before the Muslim occupation.
The Arabs’ struggle to retrieve “stolen Palestinian lands” is really an attempt to get rid of all Jews in the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority maps of Palestine never mark an area as the state of Israel, and their leaders refuse to recognize the Jewish right for a national state.
International law too does not support Arab claims to a state in former Palestine. The last international adjudication of the rights to this territory took place in the post-World War I peace conference in San Remo, Italy. The victors generously granted the vast former Ottoman territories to newly formed Arab states (like Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq). Less than 1% of these vast territories were to be given in trust to the British to establish “a Jewish national home.”
The League of Nations decided that the Jews had a stronger legal claim to Palestine, their historic and national homeland. The Arabs, represented by Emir Faisal, agreed. They were happy to receive huge areas of land for such a small price. Fiasal welcomed the Jews back to their homeland. Only later British colonial machinations incited the Arabs to renege on this fantastic (for them) deal.
The conflict persists because the Arabs, and the Palestinians in particular, cannot forget their 1948 defeat by the Jews. It is a blot on their honor that only the destruction of Israel can wipe out.
But the greatest difficulty in the immediate establishment of a Palestinian Arab state is the unlikelihood that it can be established and maintained right now. It is not by accident that the Arabs missed several opportunities to establish such a state.
“There is a substantial lag between Arab countries and other regions in terms of participatory government,” a 2002 U.N. Arab Development Report stated. “This freedom deficit undermines human development and is one of the most painful manifestations of lagging political development … de facto implementation (of democratic rule) is often neglected and … deliberately disregarded,” in all Arab lands, the report concluded.
The Arab experts who prepared this report cast doubt on the viability of Arab states, sharply criticizing Arab education, economic retardation, deep poverty, social rifts and the inferior status of women, all making Arab states dysfunctional.
The creation of yet another dysfunctional Palestinian Arab state will not only mortally threaten Israel, its irredentist nature will inflame the region. As importantly, it will continue making the personal and communal life of Palestinian Arabs unbearable. Remember what happened in Gaza after Israel vacated it: the wanton destruction of the hot houses Israel left behind to enable the Gazans to make a better living from agriculture; the rule of oppression and mayhem Hamas has instituted in Gaza; the continued impoverishment and immiseration of their hapless citizens. Is this the kind of government America wants extended to the West Bank?
But this will inevitably happen as a result of the premature formation of a Palestinian state. Within a very short time, it will disintegrate and be taken over by the extremist Hamas movement.
As in Gaza, a Hamas West Bank government, an Iranian proxy, will quickly launch missile attacks against Israel. From the West Bank, however, the missiles will not hit a sparsely inhabited Negev but the densely populated heartland of Israel, the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area. They will hit Israel’s only links to the world, Ben Gurion International Airport and the ports of Haifa and Ashdod.
Worse, Israel’s military staging areas, its airfields and its most strategic assets will come within the range of such missiles, making Israel indefensible. For eight years, Israel, the U.S. and others failed to stop Hamas from shelling Israel from Gaza; why should they be more successful when Hamas governs the West Bank?
Eventually Israel will be forced to go to war and re-occupy the West Bank. Such a campaign, as the recent Israeli Gaza operation demonstrated, will involve bloody fighting in densely populated areas, many casualties and great destruction. It won’t spare the civilian population. As in the past, masses of Palestinian Arabs will flee the battle areas to Jordan. The human and political costs of such a new wave of refugees are too horrible to contemplate. They may threaten Jordan’s survival. This is surely not what the “realists” want, but can they honestly dismiss the probability that this may happen?
Chances that advocates of a Palestinian state will be convinced by such arguments are small. It is hard to dispel faith with facts. President Obama and his advisers seem convinced that they will succeed where others failed.
The vision of instant peace is very enticing, but it will take more than faith to make peace. Faith may move mountains, but it cannot remove all the obstacles that prevented peace until now.
Israel may have to accede to Obama’s demands. But since there are great risks involved in the two-state solution, it would be fair for Obama to assure Israel that the U.S. will protect it from its serious consequences, should they unexpectedly materialize, as they have in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Daniel Doron is president of the Israel Center for Social and Economic Progess.

Jun 12, 2014

Moscow Draws a Religious Line in the Sand in Ukraine | The Jamestown Foundation

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that the West is opposing Moscow in Ukraine because Russia is returning to Orthodoxy. Whereas other Russian commentators suggest that Moscow must fight in Ukraine not just to oppose Kyiv’s shift toward Europe but also to block the eastward expansion of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism into the Slavic world.

Such statements tap into some of the deepest levels of Russian paranoia. They figure in the history of Aleksandr Nevsky, who, according to Moscow historians, fought the Teutonic Knights not because they were representatives of the German emperor, but because they were the advance guard of the Vatican. Consequently, such Russian paranoia simultaneously makes the conflict in Ukraine more cosmic from Russia’s point of view. But it also makes any resolution of that conflict by a negotiated compromise that much more difficult, if not impossible.

On June 5, Lavrov argued that the West is so opposed to Russia’s return to its “traditional spiritual values” that it has deployed Ukraine against Moscow. “To our surprise,” the top Russian diplomat said, “the thesis has begun to circulate that the Soviet Union with its Communist doctrine [at least] remained within the framework of the system of ideas developed in the West, while the new Russia is returning to its traditional values, which are rooted in Orthodoxy, and as a result has become less understandable” (interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=55525).

Speaking to the Russian World Affairs Council in Moscow, Lavrov suggested that the West is opposing the contradictions “between the objectively strengthening multi-polarity [in the world] and the striving of the United States and the historic West to maintain their accustomed dominance, [as well as] between the cultural-civilizational variety of the contemporary world and attempts to impose Western values on everyone.” These Western values, the Russian foreign minister continued, are “ever more detached from their own Christian roots and are ever less acceptable to the religious feelings of people of other faiths.”
In his actions and statements, Vladimir Putin has long reflected the deep national antagonism toward Catholicism and Protestantism, viewing the first as one of the sources of Polish resistance to Russia and the latter, which at present is the fastest growing denomination in the Russian Federation, as a threat to the dominance of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, with which the Kremlin leader has formed a close alliance.

Now, as the conflict continues in Ukraine, others are following Putin and Lavrov’s lead. Such critics suggest that what is going on in Ukraine is not just a political struggle between those in Ukraine who want to become part of Europe and those who oppose such a step by preferring to link their fates with Moscow. Rather, the defenders of this view argue that the Ukrainian crisis represents a clash of civilizations between Western Christianity and Russian-led Eastern Christianity.

One of the clearest articulations of that notion was provided by Archpriest Andrey Novikov in Moscow’s “Pravoslavny Vzglyad” portal last week (June 4). Novikov, who the Orthodox outlet noted had to flee from his parish in Odessa, said pointedly that Russia must win in Ukraine to defend the values of Russian Orthodoxy against Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and what he called schismatic Ukrainian Orthodox groups. If it does not, he warned, this war “will come to Russia itself” (orthoview.ru/protoierej-andrej-novikov-esli-my-ne-ostanovim-vojnu-na-ukraine-ona-pridet-v-rossiyu/).

Were Moscow to leave the people of southeastern Ukraine to their fate under Kyiv, Novikov said, “they [Orthodox residents of southeastern Ukraine] would never trust Russia again.” But Russia has additional reasons for acting, Novikov noted. Throughout history, “Russia’s mission lies in the preservation of a tough faith and the defense of Orthodox Christians,” wherever they are to be found, against Rome and the Protestant denominations that descend from Rome. This means, he continued, that Moscow cannot ignore the religious dimension of the conflict in Ukraine. If it does, he suggested, “we will lose the moral right to defend ourselves.”

Summing up, the former religious leader from Odessa said, “Russia has always been spiritually opposed to the West, repulsing Catholic and Protestant expansion. Now, Russia is opposing the complete destruction of Christian morality and the creation of a new type of man on anti-humanistic foundations. The Donetsk People’s Republic is basing itself on Orthodox principles” and that is why it has generated “such fanatic opposition from Western Ukraine (the Uniates and the splitters) as well as from Kyiv and the West,” which he suggested is “the puppeteer behind all these events.”

Such language has another consequence beyond making compromise in Ukraine more problematic. It is triggering the kind of discussions inside Russia itself that may make it even more difficult for the country to escape from its current wave of obscurantism and oppression of all faiths except the favored Russian Orthodox of the Moscow Patriarchate. Indeed, in this area as in so many others, the real consequences of Putin’s Ukrainian adventure are likely to be felt beyond the borders of that country.

Never let facts spoil your ‘bad’ story | The Australian

IN foreign policy terms, Tony Abbott is having an extremely successful trip. But readers of the Fairfax press and listeners to the ABC would not only have no idea about this, they would be hard put to know the basic facts of the trip.
The Prime Minister presided over pretty much the full repair of relations with Indonesia at the start of his trip.
In Europe, he honoured the Australians who died in France in World War I and elevat­ed the heritage of Villers-Breton­neux in the national consciousness. He also had good meetings with Euro­pean leaders.
In Canada, Abbott pioneered an altogether new level of intim­acy with Ottawa.
In the US, he is doing two somewhat unusual things. One, he has taken a substantial business delegation with him. And two, he is making a serious pitch for US investment. The $1 trillion two-way investment relationship between the US and Australia demonstrates how profound an influence the US is on our national life.
The most important aspect of the relationship is the security alli­ance, and that will get a lot of atten­tion when Abbott meets US President Barack Obama.
Our biggest trading partner is China. But mutual investment is a far more intimate thing than trade, especially bulk commodit­ies trade. There is a respectable argu­ment that the total economic relationship with the US is our most important.
However, you would know very little of this from Fairfax (The Australian Financial Review excepted) or the ABC. Melbourne’s The Age, in particular, perhaps now Australia’s weakest and feeb­lest major newspaper, has run a series of front-page stories saying that Australia’s relationship with the US is in jeopardy because Abbott’s view of climate change is different from Obama’s. There is no factual basis to this assertion.
But the worst was its front-page splash on Tuesday, under the headline “Abbott’s global plan to kill carbon pricing”, which was under the strap heading “Centre-right alliance PM seeks to thwart Obama”. This story claimed that Abbott would lead an inte­r­national push to counter moves by Obama to lift the pace of climate change abatement.
The story contained not a single fact, and certainly no quote from Abbott or any Australian official, to support the preposterous notion of an Abbott-led anti-Obama alliance. The Prime Minister’s office tells me flatly that The Age’sstory is not true.
Senior government ministers were astonished because the story is, in their words, “completely inaccurate’’. Abbott is leading no international push to counter Obama. This is just ridiculous.
But this complete falsehood ran for an entire day on the ABC. When I first heard it discussed as established fact on the ABC I thought I must have missed some significant Australian announcement. Only with some work did I discover it was a Fairfax fantasy gleefully rebroadcast, with of course no effort at balance, context or checking, by the ABC.
Indeed, the ABC seems to have lost all sense of restraint, professionalism, fairness or even decency in relation to Abbott, routinely mocking and insulting the Prime Minister, not only in its dreary satire programs, but in what are meant to be serious news and current affairs broadcasts.
However, there is a lesson here for Abbott’s government. It needs to correct blatant factual inaccur­acies within the news cycle as they appear, so that news outlets are at least obliged to run the denials as well as the fantasies.
Abbott and Obama have different rhetoric on climate change but their actions are very, very similar. Abbott will abolish a carbon tax, Obama will not introduce one. With his new announcements, Obama is essentially doing two things. He is cleaning up coal­-fired power stations to make them more efficient and less carbon-inten­sive, just as Australia is. And he is substituting gas for coal. It is the Greens more than anyone who prevent Australia from fully developing our own gas reserves.
This week has seen another colossal episode in ABC and Fairfax climate propaganda, devoid of facts. Here are a few facts.
According to tables developed by Australia’s Environment Department, the US, even with Obama’s latest announcements, will by 2020 have reduced its 1990-level greenhouse gas emissions by 5 per cent. Australia will have reduced its emissions by 4 per cent over the same period.
Given Australia’s high rate of population and economic growth, and the structure of our economy, that is basically a dead heat. The ABC and other climate change fundamentalists are constantly able to make propaganda out of apparently unflattering comparisons for Australia because of the way each country picks the base year for comparison to present itself in the most flattering light.
Half the ABC’s commentators this week have been talking as though China is committed to a national emissions trading scheme and is phasing out coal. In fact, the seven city- or province- based trading schemes in China give out almost all their carbon permits for free. Yes, for free.
One day, in 50 years time or so, these schemes may mean something. Right now they mean nothing. But Australia, with a carbon price going to $25 a tonne next month, is pilloried by the ABC while China is praised for a scheme that is little more than an idea. China will continue to increase its massive use of coal. India is about to undergo a historic electri­fication process, which will be powered by coal. The Obama White House website predicts a big, long future for coal.
Abbott says countries are moving away from trading schemes. He is right. Not only have Canada, the US and Australia turned their backs on such schemes, but so has Japan, which has put off a national scheme indefinitely and, with Russia, walked away from the Kyoto Two process altogether.
The New Zealand scheme is frequently referred to. Its carbon price is $4.60 a tonne. Most of its emitters have to pay for only every second tonne, so the effective price is a little more than $2, which is more or less nothing.
Here’s a tip for all ABC interview­ers. When a guest tells you another country has a carbon price and is doing more than Australia, ask what price that country puts on carbon and how much of the economy the carbon price covers. That’s if you’re remotely interested in something so utterly mundane as the facts.

Jun 7, 2014

PM wants Monash to be household name | The Australian

THE efforts of Australian General John Monash on the Western Front in World War I should be as widely recognised as the story of Simpson and his donkey at Gallipoli, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.
Mr Abbott revealed on Saturday a new memorial centre to be built in France would be named in honour of the Australian military leader, who is regarded as one of the great tacticians of World War I.
After joining world leaders at D-Day commemorations in Normandy on Friday, Mr Abbott turned his attention to the First World War as he visited the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux for the first time.
While not as famous as the Gallipoli campaign, the efforts of Australian diggers to stop German forces on the Western Front were critical to the outcome of the war.
Of the 295,000 Australians who fought there between 1916 and 1918, 46,000 never made it home and the prime minister is leading a push he believes will help improve a sense of national identity.
"No place on earth has been more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than these fields in France," Mr Abbott said.
"Australians should be as familiar with the story of the Western Front as we are with Gallipoli.
"Australians should be at least as familiar with the achievements of Monash as we are with the heroism of John Simpson Kirkpatrick (in Gallipoli)."
Sir John Monash was involved in the failed Gallipoli campaign but used his experiences to lead several significant battlefield victories, including the decisive Battle of Amiens.
Mr Abbott said he brought organisation and technology to the battlefield to "break the stalemate of trench warfare".
Attendances at the annual Anzac Day dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux have grown steadily in recent years, with the crowd this year surpassing that at Gallipoli.
Some predict it will become the nation's clear focal point of Anzac Day commemorations beyond next year's centenary in Gallipoli.
"Australians should congregate here, every April 25th, no less than at Anzac Cove," Mr Abbott said. "And on Anzac Day four years hence, the centenary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, I'm sure they will." Mr Abbott said it was expected the new "interpretive centre", to be built behind the Australian memorial, would open in 2018 to coincide with 100th anniversary commemorations.
The "Sir John Monash" centre will help to better explain Australia's role in the final victories of World War I and the government will put up $6.9 million for the initial planning.
Mr Abbott later followed in the footsteps of former prime ministers by visiting the Victoria School, built in Villers-Bretonneux in 1927 with money donated by school children from the Australian state.
He chatted with schoolchildren and locals in the school's courtyard, where a prominent green and gold sign hangs permanently reading: "Never Forget Australia."
Mr Abbott then visited the memorial site at nearby Pozieres, the sight of a bloody 1916 battle where 23,000 Australians were killed in the space of just six weeks.
The prime minister was expected to meet with French President Francois Hollande on Saturday night before departing Paris on Sunday for Canada and the US.

Jun 6, 2014

Backlash over shift on language of Palestinian ‘occupation’ | The Australian

AUSTRALIA has made a historic shift in its policy on Israel’s control over the Palestinian territories, dumping its 47-year-old position that Arab land captured in 1967 is “occupied”.
Attorney-General George Brandis yesterday read a statement to the Senate foreign affairs committee indicating the language of occupation was “judgmental”, “freighted with pejorative implications” and “neither appropriate nor useful” for the peace process.
The reversal of the bipartisan position was castigated by Labor as a “foreign policy embarrassment”, as the Palestinians’ top diplomat in Australia warned the move undermined Australia’s credibility as an advocate for a two-state solution.
The change, which follows Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s disputation of claims Jewish settlements on the West Bank were illegal, was warmly received by Jewish leaders amid a backlash over the Coalition’s proposed reforms to the Racial Discrimin­ation Act.
The statement by Senator Brandis, formulated in discussion with Ms Bishop, followed a dispute between the Attorney-General and Greens senator Lee Rhiannon over her repeated references to Arab neighbourhoods in eastern Jerusalem as “occupied east Jerusalem”.
Senator Brandis said: “Australia supports a peaceful solution to the dispute between Israel and the Palestinian people, which recognises the right of Israel to exist peacefully within secure borders and also recognises the aspiration to statehood of the Palestinian people. The description of areas which are the subject of negotiations in the course of the peace process by reference to historical events is unhelpful.
“The description of East Jerusalem as ‘occupied East Jerusalem’ is a term freighted with pejorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful.
“It should not and will not be the practice of the Australian government to describe areas of negotiations in such judgmental language.”
Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek’s office last night described the change as a “foreign policy embarrassment”. “Who is Mr Brandis to dictate the language on the ­Middle East peace negotiations?” a spokesman said.
“Labor remains committed to supporting an enduring and just two-state solution.”
Jewish community leaders declined to comment yesterday, citing the Shavuot holiday. They have previously applauded Ms Bishop’s stance on settlements.
The head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, said a peace treaty could not be brokered unless both sides recognised the territories were occupied, contrary to international law.
Israel in June 1967 repelled invasions by Arab armies, seizing the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria and the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. Captured land was returned to Egypt and Jordan in exchange for peace treaties in 1979 and 1994, while the West Bank and Gaza Strip were slated for a future Palestinian state.