Problem viewing this email? Click here for online version.

Tips, Links and Tidbits Newsletter


Twitter Facebook Google
Read or Condemn Yourself to Death by Ignorance

The newsletter for those prepared to look and see what is there.

No place for ostriches, snowflakes or those who blindly

bow to the unholy alter of tyrannical authority.

Wednesday 24th January 2018

G’day #Name#,

Hope this finds you fit and well.

Here is a bunch of what flittered through my mind or crossed my digital desk over the last week. I hope you get something from it!


'Curiosity: Plane Crash' Documents Intentional Boeing 727 Crash
727 Crash

Interesting data on surviving an aircraft crash.

The Continuing Bias of the Mainstream Media Threatens Australia

Australians continue to be poorly served by the mainstream media in the coverage of foreign affairs. In many cases it seems that the narrative is determined upon at an early stage. That is then maintained regardless of new evidence that may emerge, and even when it is repeatedly pointed out in the alternative media that the “official” version is biased or simply hopelessly wrong.

Foreign news coverage just in the past week illustrates the point. All of these stories have been around all year, but the preferred narrative remains constant. I use the ABC, SBS and Fairfax newspapers for the following illustrations.

Russian Interference in the US Election.

This story serves many goals. It is used primarily to cast doubt upon the validity of Trump’s presidency; and it also provides a useful stick to maintain the constant barrage of anti-Putin and anti-Russian propaganda. There is not a shred of evidence that Russia interfered in the US presidential elections.

Sundry breathless revelations turn out to be either non-existent, of miniscule impact (Facebook ads, mostly after the election), or creations of the Democratic Party, is in the bought and paid for (by the Democratic Party) ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier.

Completely under reported is the admitted $100 million the US spent trying to influence the last Russian presidential election, not to mention repeated attempts (sometimes successful) at regime change.

The Clinton Emails.

We now know that senior FB I official Peter Strzok in conjunction with his mistress FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and the FBI acting director Andrew McCabe actively conspired to promote Hillary Clinton’s campaign and to undermine Donald Trump. Part of this included ex-president Bill Clinton meeting with Obama’s attorney general Loretta Lynch just before the FB I announced that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted over the unauthorized use of tens of thousands of emails and their corresponding security breaches. This was before the investigation was even concluded. Such double standards are apparently not worthy of comment by our mainstream media.

South China Sea.

It is correct that China is building military facilities on artificially created atolls, or “militarizing” the South China Sea as we are endlessly reminded. That Taiwan (which makes identical claims to rights in the South China Sea as does the PRC), the Philippines and Vietnam are doing exactly the same thing that China is accused of doing for nefarious purposes is similarly never mentioned.

China’s contribution to island building in the South China Sea as 8 out of 44 such constructions, but that also is missing from the mainstream narrative.

Nor is there any acknowledgement that China has cause to be concerned about the regular Australia-US military exercises such as Operation Talisman Sabre that practice, inter alia, blockading the Malacca Straits through which more than 80% of China’s oil imports pass.

We are told that the Americans are exercising their freedom of navigation rights to sail military vessels within the territorial waters of China’s islands, although no one can point to a single instance of that freedom being impaired. Neither can our mainstream media explain why it is that the loudest demands for rights of freedom of navigation under the UNCLOS should be made by a nation that that is not even a signatory.

That same nation would be unlikely to tolerate similar exercises by the PLAN were such exercises to be carried out for example, in the Gulf of Mexico.

As the Russian interference meme loses steam from its lack of evidence and increasingly obvious ulterior motives, we are now exposed to its ready-made substitute, China’s alleged influence peddling in Australian domestic politics.

The timing is not coincidental. On 14 December 2017 the Rothschild organ The Economist published a title story ‘How China’s “sharp power” is muting criticism abroad.’

The day before, on 13 December 2017 the influential US Council of Foreign Relations also published a piece entitled ’Beijing’s Influence Sparks Regional Concerns’. Sam Dastyari’s indiscreet actions were therefore a godsend to the embattled Malcolm Turnbull. Amidst all the hyperbole from Turnbull, Bishop and Dutton the mainstream media completely ignored the real story, which was the blatant use of one or more of the intelligence agencies to use confidential information for political purposes.

Such soft power as it is exercised by China is no different from that exercised by other nations. Why then is there no analysis in the mainstream media of the relationship between the multiple visits made to Israel by our parliamentarians, and the extraordinary amount of political support extended to Israel by Australia, in the United Nations and elsewhere? Turnbull and Bishop’s much loved “rule of law” does not include Israel and its daily breaches of UN Resolutions and the territorial integrity of neighbouring countries, let alone the appalling treatment of the Palestinians and the ongoing theft of their land.

There are numerous American groups both official and unofficial who offer scholarships, study visits, goodwill trips and other inducements. The benefits to the Americans of this largesse are readily ascertainable in parliamentary debate, newspaper editorials and a facile ‘joined at the hip’ foreign and defence policy.

Yet we never read criticism of this “influence” on our domestic and foreign policies.


According to the Department of Defence website the Australian government is operating in Syria in consultation with the government of that country. I made a Freedom of Information application for documentary evidence of such consultation. Within 24 hours I received a telephone call from the Department of Defence saying that the website was “in error” and had now been corrected as a result of my query.

When the aforesaid media outlets make rare references to even the fact that Australia is operating in Syrian air space (and probably also on the ground with unacknowledged special forces) it is always in the context of their being there as part of a “coalition.”

That this coalition is operating in Syria contrary to international law is never discussed. More than two years ago Julie Bishop made the claim that Australia was in Syria at the request of Iraq, pursuant to the collective self-defence provisions of article 51 of the UN Charter.

That claim and information about the true circumstances about how Australian forces came to be acting in Syria has been thoroughly documented in a number of alternative media outlets without a word of this evidence ever being printed or broadcast in the mainstream media.

Compare for example, the media coverage of the liberation of Aleppo by Syrian and Russian forces and the more recent liberation of Raqqa by “coalition” forces. The former was invariably described as illustrating Syrian and Russian brutality and the Syrian “regime’s” disregard for human life.

The almost total destruction of Raqqa by aerial and artillery bombardment, the deaths of thousands of civilians and the displacement of hundreds of thousands is by contrast treated with kid gloves. Loss of life is merely “regrettable” and really the fault of ISIS for being there.

Even when Australia takes part in aerial attacks upon Syrian soldiers it is described as a “mistake” and the mainstream media promptly lose interest. As Tim Anderson has forensically dissected, it was not a “mistake” but part of a deliberate strategy of coalition support for ISIS ( 17 December 2017). The now well documented role of ISIS and similar terrorist groups as part of the US’s geopolitical strategy is similarly ignored by the mainstream media.

The Americans are now claiming through Defence Secretary Mattis that they intend staying in Syria for an indefinite period. Again one has to wonder why this is not being reported in the mainstream media and editorially condemned?

The arrogant hubris of Mattis’ statement is extraordinary, but apparently being the “exceptional nation” exempts one from observing the rights of sovereign nations to decide who may or may not set up shop on the territory.

There are many other examples, including Crimea (“annexed” by Russia) and North Korea (invariably a “rogue state” that “poses a threat to the region”) Both politicians and mainstream journalists seem bereft of even minimal historical knowledge or insight. When did you last read in the mainstream that North Korea had more bombs dropped on it during the Korean War than the whole of World War 2?

Or that most of the targets were civilians and civilian infrastructure and that napalm was used to destroy crops and starve the people into submission? Or that General McArthur wanted to use nuclear bombs to not only destroy North Korea totally, but also China before it too became a threat to American hegemonic ambitions for North and East Asia? Yet it is Mr Kim who is invariably described by Turnbull et al and faithfully parroted in the media as the “mad” or “dangerous” one.

Readers will undoubtedly have their own lists.

These are not trivial examples that have been referred to above. Each has the potential to start a nuclear war in which the survivors will envy the dead. Our mainstream media has a duty, one would argue, to try and minimize that unthinkable outcome. Our ability to do so depends in part on an impartial media fully informing its readers and listeners of relevant information in an unbiased manner.

Their failure to do so does a profound disservice to Australia. It also, I would suggest, poses a risk to our nation’s security and to our economic well-being. They are living in a fool’s Paradise if they believe that this demonization of important nations does not carry with it significant risks. There are many ways that China for example could choose to express their anger at the government’s mindless rhetoric. Warnings have already been given in the semi official Chinese media and we would ignore those warnings to our considerable cost.

Sensational Voice
Clara Helms

If you want to be moved to tears by an incredibly pure voice, watch and listen!

Protect Our Sharks

Right now the Turnbull Government is trying to block protection for our most vulnerable sharks. But we can stop them, if we speak out quickly.. Tell them we want our sharks protected for our ocean’s sake.

The world’s shark populations are in decline. These majestic apex marine creatures are in trouble, with many shark species endangered due to fishing pressure for their fins and flesh. Yet healthy shark populations are key to healthy oceans.

Throughout the world’s oceans our blue sharks, dusky whalers and white-spotted wedgefish are threatened with extinction. The threats they face are so great that nearly 50 countries have signed an agreement to help these sharks.

But here in Australia our Government is trying to weasel out of protecting our most vulnerable sharks.

We have less than a week to urge the Government to protect our sharks. We need our Government to be champions for shark protection, not the cause of their demise.

Tell the Australian Government that you support strong protection for our threatened sharks.

Australia and the Wars of the Alliance: United States Strategy

by Michael McKinley January 17, 2018

Australia’s alliance wars – their respective causes, conduct, and consequences – are overdetermined by the politics and strategies of the United States. In general, though they consist of few battlefield successes, the overall record is one of failed campaigns informed by repeatedly failed – indeed, ’dead’ – ideas that for various reasons maintain their currency. The purpose of this and associated posts – Parts 1, 3, and 4 – is to conduct a coronial limited inquiry – that is, to establish just how the death occurred.

To start with an assertion, strategy is not well understood. The proliferating appropriation of the term as noun and adjective by corporations and universities has contributed to this ignorance in a major way. When parsed for meaning, what they reveal is nothing more than a rather prosaic claim which would be better expressed as, “we have a plan, sort of”. In matters of war, this is totally unacceptable.

Even in the realm of war, the appreciation of true strategy can be found wanting, reduced to the its Greek origins as strategos – the general. Too often omitted are its concomitants: strategike episteme (the knowledge of the general) and strategon Sophia – the wisdom of the general. It is an art, not a science – an art, furthermore, which, as General André Beaufre insisted, “requires mastery of the dialectics of wills which that use force to resolve their conflict”. Absent this, especially in the presence of other pathologies, and strategic death culminates inexorably.

Accordingly, to study Australia’s alliance wars is to reach, however reluctantly, three conclusions concerning the strategies followed and their evident demise. First, they comprise a history of failure; second, they fail the test of all political action – which is either to make things better, or to stop them getting worse; third, their respective outcomes recall Tacitus’ recounting of the withering condemnation of Rome by the Caledonian chieftain, Calgacus, prior to the Battle of Mons Graupius: “they make a desolation and they call it peace”.

Within overall failure several contributing conditions command attention. Foremost is the omnipresence of Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks, leading to the current undifferentiated understanding of militant Islam as monolithic, and the corollary of this, that it comprises an unfolding, endlessly publicised threat remarkably similar to the “domino theory” which corrupted western understandings of people’s wars in Asia during the Cold War.

Militant Islamic groups of different hues operating in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Southeast Asia notwithstanding, the counter to the challenges they pose requires a tight focus on identification in a comparative context. To begin, while harbouring an animus to the West, they are not strategic threats to the United States and its allies; they are, generally, puny military organisations, ISIS included. They rise, furthermore, in countries lacking effective political institutions and/or seriously unaddressed grievances which too frequently are a consequence of western policies and patronage.

In other words the path to their elimination includes too many components which the record reveals are unpalatable to the United States: revolutionary change, a respect for local forms of legitimacy and resistance (if and when it is found, as in Syria), and lengthy nation-building – a process in which the US is maladroit since it enforces its prescriptions with a military presence indistinguishable from occupation. The reflexive deductive leap to intervention and the insertion of US forces, therefore, is a misuse of US and allied military power.

The irony of this situation is that it is recognised in numerous statements by the officers commanding the forces in the theatres of operations. And yet the addiction to the causes of failure continues unabated as though, somehow, the persistent and repeated miscalculations of the past, based on the same calculus of the death and destruction which US weapons can wreak, will somehow, and illogically, produce a better solution.

To miscalculation and hubris should be added bureaucratic detachment as exemplified by the Orwellian language deployed to conceal criminal activity (including murder) and military fantasy. Among these should be included the euphemism for torture (“enhanced interrogation”), people marked for assassination on “kill lists” of demonstrated unreliability (“high-value targets”) and the delusion that electronic navigation aids and metadata provide the means to kill only those who deserve to die (“precision strikes”). Closely related are the opportunities presented in all campaigns to admit failure and disengage. Where an ethical orientation would determine that continued killing would achieve nothing, and a sensible appreciation of Clausewitz lead to the obvious conclusion that the enemy is not fulfilling the will of the US and its allies, it is obscene to persist because the campaign’s public relations cannot abide the defeat that this entails.

Even then, the question of why, or how, such failed, “dead” strategies have been allowed to remain in place and, in some cases, to be reincarnated years after their demise, needs further attention. Here we must concede the existence of a dominant collective mind with not only a curatorial instinct for traditional approaches but also a collective inertia. Thus, COIN (counter-insurgency) or GWOT (the Global War On Terror) become things other than what they were at inception – inherited, sanctioned artefacts of beauty to be maintained in and of themselves and inoculated against innovation.

The tragedy of the Vietnam War, many hoped, would still this habit. Then, it seems, there were those who experienced what the ancient Greeks knew as metanoia – a transformative change of mind and heart, a turning towards the light which quite possibly entails a spiritual conversion. In 1975, the war correspondent, James Fenton, when passing through the debris of the British Embassy in Saigon, found an inscription with sentiments that has sustained Britain’s abstentionist policies towards the wars in Indochina for over two decades: it was by T.E. Lawrence, who knew something about Arabia and its wars we are told, and it read: Better to let them do it imperfectly than do it perfectly yourself. For it is their country, their war, and our time is short.

Michael McKinley taught international relations and strategy in the Department of Politics, UWA. From 1988 to 2014 he taught international relations and strategy at the ANU. He is currently a member of the Emeritus Faculty at the ANU.


Until next time,
dream big dreams,
plan out how to achieve them,
be continually executing your plans,
enlist people to your causes,
travel and/or read widely, preferably both,
all the while observing what you observe
rather than thinking what you are told to think,
think well of your fellow man,
take time to help your fellow man,
he sorely needs it and it will help you too,
eat food that is good for your body,
exercise your body,
take time to destress,
and do the important things
that make a difference -
they are rarely the urgent ones!



Most of the content herein has been copied from someone else. Especially the images. My goodness some people are talented at creating aesthetics! The small bits that are of my creation are Copyright 2014-2017 © by Tom Grimshaw - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Back Issues | Feedback | Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Software Development
Festival Management Software
Healthy Snacks
How to Live The Healthiest Life