Critical Comment

14. Mar, 2022

Some of you might have noticed International Women’s Day last week. I was reminded of it whilst at the dentist of all places. A kindly and well-meaning nurse beamed at me with the news. She received a wan smile for her efforts.

I first came across this nonsense whilst working at the Western Australian Museum in the late ‘70s. That egregious institution was a churning cess-pit of what we then knew as ‘women’s lib’. In retrospect it was a significant cell of incipient progressivism. The dominant ideology of the Tea Room Soviet can be summarised as: women are superior and always right, men are inferior and drongos. I loathed them and they loathed me. I rejoiced when the downtrodden and compliant husband [a weakling of the traditional Charles Atlas tradition] of one of the less likeable of the femmes misérables, shot-through interstate with another woman whilst his miserable wife was in hospital in labour to their first child. What joy! Progressive morality at its best.  

Moving on far too many years to our contemporary and totally amoral times, I was delighted last Friday [11 March] to be attracted to the following headline in the Christian Institute weekly news from Britain: Two Labour frontbenchers were unable to define what a woman is during media interviews this week.[1]

The promise of the story did not disappoint. Evidently this duo of yoyo’s, being interviewed on International Women’s Day, made damn fools of themselves in their complete inability to define the meaning of ‘woman’. C’mon down Helen Reddy.

For the record, and for any numbskull reading this article who shares their fogginess: Woman. An adult female of the human race. There. Not difficult is it? That definition was extracted without difficulty from the Chambers dictionary that sits on my desk.

So, who constituted this dumb duopoly? No less than the UK Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Anneliese Dodds, and Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper. The font of this ignorance lies partly in the Labour Party’s pledge to remove safeguards in the Gender Recognition Act to enable people to ‘change sex’ by self-declaration.

The critical point here is Mesdames Dodds and Cooper, two foolish women unable to define their own sex, actually have the audacity to seek to govern us. The truth of course, is that in the current political progressive milieu, Mesdames Dodds and Cooper are simply unwilling and too scared to define their own sex. They don’t want to commit themselves and be torn to pieces on social media by assorted femminati or worse, by hysterical deviants.  

We are in the mess we are precisely because of the political timidity displayed by these ladies. Politicians have long neglected to use their common sense; they are unwilling to go the hard yards, and they bend to the arrant cobblers of every vocal progressive minority. Contemporary politics may be summarised as taking the path of least resistance.

However, ‘moral cowardice’ is the term that springs readily to my mind.

After two thousand years plus of Western Civilisation we have reached the point wherein our putative leaders don’t even know what a woman is: Pathetic. My oath it’s pathetic - but we are all complicit – whose fault really is it? Whose fault is it that we’ve trashed common sense and chucked the interests of the sane majority out of the window?  

Only we, Joe and Joan Citizen, can call a halt to this eternal and malignant naval gazing. Only we can tell the Emperor to put his bloody clothes back on and get back to work.

30. Nov, 2021

Early one morning last week [16th of November] an interesting news piece crossed my desk: Later that very same morning a friend of mine, out of sheer coincidence, passed me a small sheaf of news-clipping from one of his holidays to America. The commonality between these - drugs.

My friend spends much time travelling in the ‘States and the undated clippings relate to events circa 2005 in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande some two-and-half hours from San Antonio. This town, just a short stroll across the international bridge from where my friend was staying in Laredo, was a haven for drugs cartels, dealers and corrupt cops who ruled the poor pathetic and cringing population with nightly terror. One undated story from The San Antonio Express News clipping told the story of the smiling Governor of Tamaulipas State, Eugenio Hernández Flores,[1] accompanied by mainly male officials, strolling down the tourist drag, the legendary Guerrero Avenue, talking to store holders, pinching babies on the cheek and posing for photographs with American tourists. Despite the terrified population and the estimated 70 executions that year alone, Hernandez repeated the mantra that everyone intoned as a badge of safety:

Here, the person who behaves well has nothing to fear: The one who beaves badly is the one who needs to take care. We are all together here now with clean hands and because of that it is very peaceful.[2]

This, despite the scores of kidnappings, torture and summary executions by corrupt police and the outright warfare between the ‘Zetas’ [paramilitaries hired by the Gulf Cartel] and the ‘soldiers’ of the rival Sinaloa Cartel. The same article recounts that at least 80 Nuevo Laredo police officers had been recently fired for failing background checks; and that the entire police department was prohibited from working the streets since at least one officer fired at a convoy of federal agents sent there in the wake of the killing of Alejandro Dominguez the new police chief!

My friend loves to regale his visitors of his experience of eating dinner at a small bistro in Nuevo Laredo with his then wife one evening, listening to one of the ubiquitous Mariachi Bands, when a car with loud speakers drove down the street broadcasting, in Mexican, very loudly. The band melted away and the owner, looking harassed and most apologetic suggested that ‘Sir and Madam’ might like to leave their dinner and recross the bridge. Being an ex-serviceman with a ‘feel for atmosphere' he tipped his wife’s unfinished margarita onto the dirt and they beat a hasty retreat across the bridge to their hotel. From their balcony, romantically overlooking the Rio Grande, sipping a few drinks, they watched the ensuing firefight across the border in high wonderment. He said it reminded him of Viet Nam in surreal replay.

Moving on from yesterday’s Gothic Mexico to today’s Grim Middle East. The news article that crossed my desk that day intrigued me; entitled Hezbollah's Drug Cartel Branch, it was prepared by the Alma Research & Education Center in Israel.

Whatever one’s opinion on the question of Israel vis-a-vis peace and stability and the Middle East, I don’t think there can be any denying that it remains a pivotal geopolitical problem of our time? Indeed, it is a prime example of one of the buzz words so beloved of the modern military and writers on strategic matters – ‘asymmetric warfare’.

For those uninitiated in this in-term it may be simply defined as warfare between opposing forces which differ greatly in military power and that typically involves the lesser power using unconventional weapons and tactics such as those associated with guerrilla warfare and terrorist attacks in order to minimise its own risks.  In other words, it is warfare as old as the hills between two forces of unequal raw power.

The article I received from Alma is detailed and free to be distributed. I consider it to be of critical significance so I have produced my own, somewhat edited and enlarged version, complete with my own observations. I pay full acknowledgement to the original which may be read at Sarit Zehavi Alma Research & Education Center s.zehavi@israel-alma.org

It is unsurprising that the radical Islamic Shiite axis in the Middle East is working on a strategy to strengthen and increase its offensive power against Israel from bases in Syria and Lebanon. The Iranians, through their Quds Force[3], are coordinating and working closely with various Shiite militias and Hezbollah to place advanced weapons of war on Syrian and Lebanese soil. These include precision guided surface-to-surface missiles, cruise missiles and UAVs[4]. These constitute the valid formal weapons of war.

They are however increasingly adding to their arsenal another weapon of attack – the "weapon" of drugs.

Drugs are, for all intents and purposes, another valid weapon of war. They have been used for centuries as stimulants for troops. To be reminded of this one needs only to think of the etymology of the much feared ‘Assassins’. During the Second War they were used widely by all sides as stimulants to stave off sleep and so forth.

To return to the Middle East, Hezbollah and the other proxies of the Shiite Axis, receive a three-fold benefit through their drug trade. Firstly, and quite obviously, they may be used as a direct weapon against the population of enemy countries and against a local hostile population.

Secondly and not inconsiderably, drugs constitute a major source of income, and thirdly and indirectly, drugs provide a platform supporting terrorist activity in the target countries: Consider the smuggling of weapons through or based upon drug smuggling routes together with the drugs themselves as an economic incentive and/or as a substitute for money.

Alma and other Israeli agencies have recently reviewed several publications about the thriving drug manufacturing and smuggling industry in Syria. This industry operates under tripartite aegis of the Syrian regime, the Shiite axis and Hezbollah in particular. Although the production processes often take place in Lebanon, Syrian territory serves as the geographical platform for smuggling and also as a production platform.

Alma reports that the raw materials come mostly from Lebanon’s Bekaa area near the Syrian border. However they also come from Iran itself via Iraq. Having reviewed many publications on this subject, Alma determined to focus on researching the drug industry of Iran and Hezbollah in southern Syria.

Their report reviews the various smuggling routes from southern Syria to Jordan, from where the drugs are distributed to Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Far East, and from there to Africa and Europe.

The Alma study focused on, among other things, the geographical interface between Lebanon and southern Syria. This area has become a land smuggling corridor that includes a number of specific smuggling routes and production sites in southern Syria [mainly of synthetic stimulant pills similar to Captagon]. Furthermore the study focussed on the air-to-land corridor supplying raw materials direct from Iran. 

The report details a number of prominent Lebanese figures related to the production and distribution of narcotics together with dozens of local Syrians who serve as traffickers and smugglers. Moreover, the report identified two Syrian haulage companies collaborating with Hezbollah in transporting the drugs and the raw materials through the much-vaunted ‘Underground Road’ - the sophisticated network of tunnels under the borders.

In the course of Alma’s ongoing monitoring of the regional events, they are able to monitor at least one large drug smuggling event every month that is thwarted on the common border with Syria and Jordan. To this end, it invites the reader to question the scale, the economics and the success or otherwise of these highly organised drug smuggling operations.

It is axiomatic that there has always been a strong link between drugs and terrorism. It is a most profitable way to raise money, think IRA. Unfortunately, given human nature, more often than not the capital enterprise becomes the end in itself. Again, think criminal elements of the IRA.

The activity of the drug platforms in southern Syria enables the activities of the terrorist platforms against Israel. Thus, intelligence gathering about drug smuggling will be used as intelligence about future terrorist activities. Those involved in manufacturing, distributing, and smuggling drugs are indubitably the same people likely to carry out future terrorist activities or arms smuggling for such terror activity inside Israel. Moreover, it is critical to remember that the cash from drugs is used to fund terrorism. Given my observations above about human nature, it will only be a matter of time when they will become sheer criminal activities per se.  

At this point I find it profoundly interesting to note the interrelationship between Islamic religious opinion on drugs and the operational terrorist dependency upon the trade.

Senior Hezbollah figures and Shi’ite clerics speak out against the “drug plague”, raising the need to denounce drugs in order to protect civil society. Hassan Nasrallah[5] himself has frequently spoken out on the drug issue. In 2016, Nasrallah spoke before the council of the Ashura[6], emphasizing the growing danger of the drug plague, and the need to combat it and prevent the corruption of society’s values: “People face dangers no less important than the security threat, including drugs”, Nasrallah stated. “We can wake up to a very big disaster, and the number of drug addicts is terrifying. I appeal to the drug dealers, stop killing and destroying teenagers… the drug issue is one of the hardest to deal with”.[7] 

In 2018, Nasrallah responded to accusations about Hezbollah’s drug trafficking. He categorically denied the accusations, claiming that: “Hezbollah has a very clear religious position that drug trafficking is forbidden and it is a great sin. We forbid drug trafficking”.[8] 

Herein is a critical contradiction. Nasrallah neglected to mention that religious rulings by Shi’ite clerics allow the dealing of narcotics intended for other nations considered to be hostile. As far as Hezbollah is concerned, the drug industry is also a vital economic business that contributes to the organization’s budget, as well as a religious decree against various peoples, religions, and communities, with the recipient of the drugs being, Sunni Muslims (Saudi Arabia, the Gulf nations and in Syria itself), Christians (Europe, South America, the United States) and Jews (Israel).

Alma categorically states that Hezbollah does not really act against the drug industry, despite its senior figure’s statements. The drug industry is an integral part of Hezbollah’s activities worldwide and is one of its main financial incomes.

Southern Syria is considered a strategic area for the radical Shi’ite axis headed by Iran in general and for Hezbollah in particular. The development of the drug infrastructure in this region pays off twice: It enables economic maintenance of Iran’s proxies in the region (which produces terrorism against Israel) while also increasing the potential smuggling routes and the amounts of smuggling to the east (and from there to other critical parts of the Western world).

Consequent to the reconquering of southern Syria, the radical Shiite axis led by Iran established a military and civilian presence in the region thereby taking control of it. This control included the development and empowerment of the drug smuggling routes, as well as the development and empowerment of Hezbollah’s drug production industry in southern Syria. The ongoing narcotics scheme in southern Syria allows the radical Shiite axis to generate a monetary benefit for those who cooperate with it in terms of military and civilian entrenchment. The radical Shi’ite axis has created and empowered economic solutions able to finance its activities in the form of the drug industry, irrespective of western sanctions.

The narcotics economy and its benefit for the proxies of the radical Shiite axis cannot be overstated. Iran directly or indirectly controls 36 local militias in southern Syria that operate as mercenaries. These militias are a central pillar of the drug industry. They deal in smuggling, distribution, manufacturing, trade, and security.

Additional to these are the foreign Shi’ite militias operating under the Quds Force, local Syrians, members of the Golan File proxy unit, as well as Lebanese Hezbollah operatives belonging to hajj Hashem’s Southern Command unit – all of which are involved in the drug industry in southern Syria, benefiting greatly both economically and operationally.

From the foregoing it is readily discerned that ‘Drugs’ are not only big business but significant ‘Geopolitical Determinants’ as well. Every dollar spent on some so-called ‘recreational drug’ has a long-spun offshoot somewhere. I started this essay with a Gothic story of drug warlords and their sheer greed and rapine in Mexico. Fast forward fifteen years and we find the modern Middle Eastern warlords are morally supported by pious clerics. Look to the present and regular news stories of drug generated gangland shootings in our own capital cities. Drugs, all drugs, be they illegally acquired prescription drugs, so-called ‘recreational’ drugs sold at parties and ‘raves’ and the current epidemic of dubious origins  crystal-meth [Methamphetamine] all have consequences. By purchasing same you could be enriching terrorists, organised international crime, a growing local crime culture or some back-yard scum that couldn’t give a toss about the quality of his product. The end result is the same – to the foregoing all lives are expendable - including yours.

I have, all my life, been nonplussed at those that wilfully ingest something whose provenance they know nothing about. I have been witness to countless gormless idiots who ‘just smoke a bit of dope’ and who after a joint ‘of good stuff’, are simply a waste of space. The idea of snorting, injecting, shoving up my anus or committing any other unedifying physical act in order to get a purely chemically induced ‘high’ is, in its simple linguistic purity, up there as being one of the most stupid acts a person can do.

I suppose the fact that so many do explains, in part, my life-long intolerance of dimwits.      

Ends

Words 2,468

[1] Wikipedia:  Eugenio Javier Hernández Flores (born October 17, 1959 in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas), is a Mexican politician affiliated with the Institutional Revolutionary Party. He was the mayor of Ciudad Victoria from 2001 to 2004 and Governor of the state of Tamaulipas from 2004 to 2010, and was also federal deputy in 2000 and coordinator of the Financial Committee of Tomas Yarrington during his campaign. On May 27, 2015, he was indicted on charges of money laundering alongside his brother-in-law Oscar Gomez Guerra by the United States Department of Justice.

 [2] Press Clipping: The San Antonio Express News. Jesse Bogan and Dan Schiller. c.2005. “Tamaulipas governor attempts to be a border tourist attraction”.

 [3] The (Persian: نیروی قدس ‎, romanized : niru-ye qods, lit. 'Jerusalem Force') is one of five branches of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) specializing in unconventional warfare and military intelligence operations.

 [4] Unmanned aerial vehicles

[5] Lebanese cleric and political leader who serves as the 3rd secretary-general of Hezbollah.

[6] An Islamic holiday

18. Aug, 2021

Today, in Australia, it is Viet Nam Veteran’s Day. It was originally designated Long Tan Day to commemorate the Battle of Long Tan on the 18th of August 1966. I am not a great supporter of this change of name; moreover I detest the term ‘veteran’. I see no reason why servicemen and women, who served in Viet Nam, or anywhere else for that matter, should merit a separate day. I consider Anzac Day sufficient enough national commemoration.  

I consider that my service in Viet Nam was despoiled and stained by the political machinations preceding, surrounding and subsequent to, the 30th of April 1975. On that day the communist armies of the north and their guerrilla proxy, the Viet Cong, entered and captured the southern capital, Saigon. The television images of a communist tank smashing through the gates of the presidential palace and American helicopters effecting the humiliating and panicked rooftop evacuation of the US Embassy are etched in my mind irrevocably.

Intellectually I well understand and appreciate the broader geopolitical reasons behind Australia’s involvement in what, historically, I still consider to be an extension of la guerre d'Indochine. It was, in my view, an inevitable war, a product of its time and circumstances. I make no apologies for my personal involvement.

My visceral feelings are naturally not so nuanced. They were shaped by the actual reality of the pathetic flotillas of human misery escaping the enemy we promised to protect them from. Suffused with a mélange of deep melancholy, compassion and guilt for those we abandoned, bitterness and anger defined my feelings.

Today, as we enter into Viet Nam Veterans Day 2021, our television screens are filled with images of the victorious Taliban entering Kabul, of panicked airport chaos and pathetic streams of people in a collective vein of terror rushing to escape the enemy we promised to protect them from.

Today my thoughts are with the innocents of Afghanistan who just wanted to get on with their lives; they will also be for those Afghani naivetés who, for the past twenty years, believed our promises: my empathy will be with those returned and those wounded Australian servicemen and women who believed that through their service they were making a difference and, as I attend my local cenotaph this morning, my prayers will be devoted to those that gave their lives in their service in Afghanistan together with the hundreds that have committed suicide consequent to their service.

Finally, my intellect and my viscera coalesce in unreserved contempt for our leaders that let this happen, again. I like to think that there is a special place in Hell reserved for them.     

……………………..

19. Jul, 2021

On Sunday, 18 July 2021, The Jakarta Post ran yet another heart-wrenching story about the Wuhan Virus in Indonesia, it included inter alia:

“The national COVID-19 task force reported 51,952 new confirmed cases on Saturday, bringing the cumulative confirmed tally to 2.8 million cases. One thousand ninety-two people died from the disease on Saturday, the second-highest daily fatalities after a record-high of 1,205 deaths on Friday.

However, both figures are believed to be higher due to inadequate testing and tracing efforts outside Jakarta.”[1] 


This is daily reality in Indonesia: Our next door neighbour, with a population of 270.20 million people whose health system is breaking down, who are desperately short of medical supplies, and whose hospitals are running out of oxygen.

Quite obviously, because of our own incompetence and decades of economic stupidity, Australia is unable to assist in providing medical supplies but there is much we could do to help logistically: food supplies, emergency accommodation, managerial and communications support and so forth. To date, all Australian governments are silent on this matter. The bleeding-heart brigade, progressives and chattering classes are predictably silent on the issue and our strategic thinkers are yet to have the matter raised on their various committee agendas.

Until then, our neighbours keep dying – for want of care and concern.

Let us turn then to a reality that grasps the tiny minds of our informed classes, those paragons of progressive equity.

A story in the last Weekend Australian [17-18 July] provides a clue: ‘One-sex lesbian events unlawful’.

According to the OZ, lesbians will be breaking the law if they exclude biological males who are transgender from social events. This follows a ruling by Sarah Bolt, the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner who ruled lesbian events that exclude trans-women carry a “significant risk” of breaching legislation.

Ms Bolt refused to grant an exemption to allow the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Alliance to exclude “biological men” from lesbian events.

According to the OZ Launceston lesbian Jessica Hoyle, who made the application on the alliance’s behalf, said:

“I want to exclude people with penises, because being a lesbian is about same-sex attraction. It’s not about same gendered attraction … There are many events that cater for the trans community in Tasmania that are all-inclusive.

This event was going to be just for lesbians who are samesex attracted.”

This nonsense was compounded by a group with the sinister moniker Transforming Tasmania arguing that the exclusion of trans-women from lesbian events was discriminatory. The Oz considers that this controversial discrimination ruling is set to become a national test case.[2]

Hurrah! Hooray Hetty!

Just consider. Several minority sexually deviant groups have got their collective knickers-in-knot over a deviants’ party. All of them being victims in today’s society, they naturally go to their local [Tasmanian] discrimination court.

The Discrimination Commissioner, one of seven in Australia – one for each state and one for good luck - applies the full weight of her [of course] intellect and that of her over-staffed Quango to the matter. I point out that the salary of said Discrimination Commissioner, which is hidden deeply in the Department of Justice Annual Report [see if you can find it], would be enough to feed great numbers of Indonesian families for a year. The associated costs of taking this nonsense to court would pay for heaven only knows how much hospital oxygen in Jakarta.    

But, it would seem, all for a good cause. Australians now have some resolution, some clarity, as to whether people with dicks can attend a ‘ladies only’ deviant party. Well, for the time being anyway.

Meantime, back on the island of Java, thousands are dying every day ..... about those shades of reality ....   

……………….



[1] https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2021/07/18/conflicting-statements-brings-uncertainty-over-ppkm-darurat.html

[2] https://theaustralian.smedia.com.au/HTML5/default.aspx?href=NCAUS/2021/07/17

14. Jul, 2021

We have all variously heard and read about the contemporary, and decidedly illiberal, ‘cancel culture’ prevalent in our society; perhaps we might know someone who has been cancelled and denigrated or perhaps, been part of a group thus treated. It is a particularly pernicious disease in an open-society, a disease however most of us merely dismiss with the obligatory shaking of the head and much tut-tutting as we get on with our lives.

I opened my e.mail this morning to receive the news from the Australian Christian Lobby, an organisation I support, that the ruling one-party state of Western Australia, supposedly a free, tolerant and integral component of Australia’s federal democracy has, in effect, cancelled Christianity. 

I cite in-Toto:

            "Hi John. You won’t believe this. The Albany Entertainment Centre has cancelled us. Why? Because our views are not the WA state government’s views 

Apparently the WA government won’t allow venues to host people who disagree with them. Welcome to China!

We asked for a copy of the policy on which they relied to make the decision. They said it was an “internal working document.”

When pressed, the Minister’s office sent us a copy of a short “policy” which consisted mostly of anti-ACL talking points. The tracking information showed it was last edited on the very day it was sent to us.

If the centre was run for a religious or political purpose that was incompatible with ACL, I’d totally understand. I’m not expecting the Pride Centre or an Islamic School to rent us their lecture room.

But this is a public venue supported by taxpayer funds. Albany ratepayers top up their coffers by about $400,000 every year. Yet they decline legitimate, paying customers.

The truth is, what they have done is illegal. Such a venue is not permitted under WA law to discriminate on the basis of political or religious conviction in the provision of goods, services or facilities (Equal Opportunity Act 1984, s 62).

That is, unless they exist for a political or religious purpose. And they do not.

So, WA friends, we’ll be in touch in the next few days to let you know how you can respond. I know many of you will want to make your voice heard. Keep an eye on your inbox!" 

 

This is most disgraceful state of affairs. Quite naturally I do not expect everyone to agree with my view of the world or to like the friends I choose to keep. But I do expect our society to allow me my weltanschaung, to be able to express my views freely and, equally, to associate freely with my friends when and where I chose to do so.

Most of you are doubtless long-tired of my continuing prognostications about the decline of our society, its values and its freedoms. Too bad about that. Remember Niemöller: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out...”

When will you remind your political masters and their politicised [including the blue uniformed gun-toting] apparatchiks that they are, in fact, your servants! You can continue to sit on your jacksies and take it or you can do something about it?  

Your call sport!

*****