How will the history of the 2020 viral pandemic be written?

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Crowded conditions and the movement of troops during World War I likely contributed to the spread of the 1918 virus around the world.

In a recent speech, Trump specifically blamed China for the outbreak of the current coronavirus pandemic (echoed, as was to be expected, by the ‘Christian’ Prime Minister Morrison in Australia). As with everything that comes out of Trump’s mouth or the mouths of those in his administration, it is either a lie or the expression of a provocative and crudely ideological position. The so-called ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic of 1918 may have originated in the U.S.

From the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website, in the article ‘History of 1918 Flu Pandemic’:

‘The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919.  In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918.

It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. Mortality was high in people younger than 5 years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older. The high mortality in healthy people, including those in the 20-40 year age group, was a unique feature of this pandemic.’

As for the heroic leadership shown by this spiv businessman in addressing the current pandemic in the U.S., I quote from The New York Times:

‘Mr. Trump, who has been accused of downplaying the crisis, said that millions of virus testing kits would become available, but added that he did not think so many would be needed.

“We don’t want everybody taking this test,” he said. “It’s totally unnecessary.”

“This will pass, this will pass through, and we will be even stronger for it,” the president said.

Asked if he would be tested for the coronavirus because of his contact at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, with an infected Brazilian official, he said, “most likely, yeah,” countering earlier White House statements that he would not be tested.

“I think I will do it anyway,” he said. “Fairly soon.”…

Testing has lagged in the country, infuriating the public, local leaders and members of Congress. Sick people across the country say they are being denied tests. Administration officials have promised repeatedly that enormous numbers of tests would soon be available, only to have the reality fall far short.

“I don’t take responsibility at all,” President Trump said in response to a reporter’s question on Friday, “because we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time.”

While South Korea is testing 10,000 people a day, overall U.S. state and federal testing has yet to log even 15,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.’

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Scared of Huawei? You should listen to what Australia’s masters get up to.

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Rotor cipher machines, cryptographer and entrepreneur Boris Hagelin

Intelligence coup of the century: the CIA’s private spying business

Even hacked the Vatican. The Russians and the Chinese didn’t buy the machines. The Australians knew about it and took what their masters gave them – not to mention that Australian spies hacked the phones of the Indonesian President Yudhoyono, his wife, the Indonesian vice-president and other senior ministers (the response of the Australians when this was exposed is noteworthy) as well as bugged the offices of the East Timorese government during the ‘negotiations’ over the Timor Gap resources and then the federal government charged the ASIS agent who blew the whistle on this. The highly secretive case is on-going.

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The killing of Qasem Soleimani: a major step in the decline of the United States

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Stan Grant (the interviewer in this Al Jazeera report), who deeply prides himself on his indigenous heritage and who never misses an opportunity to wax lyrical about it (he sounds so wise), should test the questions he put to Mohammad Marandi with such utterly hypocritical ease against his position re- the history of indigenous/white relations in Australia. But he wouldn’t. To do so would expose his subservience to the dominant ideology regarding Iran and the Middle East. Marandi’s responses re- the culpability of the U.S. and the West are excellent.

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A pair of helping hands

Mark Arbib

  1. Philip Dorling, ‘Arbib revealed as secret US source’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 09.12.10

Federal minister and right-wing Labor powerbroker Mark Arbib has been revealed as a confidential contact of the United States embassy in Canberra, providing inside information and commentary for Washington on the workings of the Australian government and the Labor Party.

Secret US embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available exclusively to The Age reveal that Senator Arbib, one of the architects of Kevin Rudd’s removal as prime minister, has been in regular contact with US embassy officers.

His candid comments have been incorporated into reports to Washington with repeated requests that his identity as a ”protected” source be guarded.

Embassy cables reporting on the Labor Party and national political developments, frequently classified “No Forn” – meaning no distribution to non-US personnel – refer to Senator Arbib as a strong supporter of Australia’s alliance with the US.

They identify him as a valuable source of information on Labor politics, including Mr Rudd’s hopes to forestall an eventual leadership challenge from then deputy prime minister Julia Gillard.

“He understands the importance of supporting a vibrant relationship with the US while not being too deferential. We have found him personable, confident and articulate,” an embassy profile on Senator Arbib written in July 2009 says. “He has met with us repeatedly throughout his political rise.’’

Other Labor politicians reported in US embassy cables as regular contacts include former federal MP and minister Bob McMullan and Michael Danby, the Labor member for Melbourne Ports.

A former secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Labor Party, Senator Arbib was a key backroom figure in the Labor ”coup” in June that resulted in Mr Rudd being replaced by Ms Gillard as PM.

He has been a senator since July 2008 and was made a parliamentary secretary in February 2009. Mr Rudd elevated him to the ministry in June 2009. He currently holds the ministerial portfolios of Sport, Indigenous Employment, and Social Housing and Homelessness.

Instructed to find out how decisions were made in the government, US diplomats were quick to focus on Senator Arbib as a “right-wing powerbroker and political rising star” who had made “a quick transition from the parliamentary backrooms into the ministry’’.

The US embassy noted that ”the New South Wales Labor party’s kingmaker” was integral in raising numbers for Mr Rudd to overthrow Kim Beazley as Labor leader in 2006, and that Senator Arbib was “a close adviser to Rudd and is his key conduit to the ALP factions’’.

“Arbib is an influential factional operator who has forged strong political connections with Rudd,” the embassy recorded. “We have been told that Rudd respects Arbib’s political expertise, and a contact noted that Arbib is brought into Rudd’s inner circle when politically important decisions are made.

“Arbib is said to be loyal to, but frank with, Rudd, and is one of Rudd’s closest advisers. Yet, publicly, Arbib has denied being part of Rudd’s inner circle.”

US diplomats also found that Arbib “is an astute observer and able conversant on the nuts and bolts of US politics’’.

Senator Arbib first appears as a contributor to US embassy political reporting while he was NSW Labor state secretary. In May 2006 he declared to US diplomats that Australia was at risk of becoming a ”quarry for the Chinese and a tourist destination for the Japanese’’.

He warned that it would be “a tough struggle for the Labor Party to win the federal elections in 2007”. But he thought Kim Beazley, because he was the opposite of the volatile Mark Latham, was ”the right man to lead the ALP at the present time’’.

However, he also told embassy officers that, unlike Mr Beazley, he supported Australia’s military commitment in Iraq “as well as the war on terrorism in general’’.

After the Rudd government’s election in 2007, Senator Arbib offered reassurance about then deputy prime minister Gillard’s political leanings, describing her as “one of the most pragmatic politicians in the ALP”.

He also confirmed Mr Rudd’s tendencies towards micromanagement and told the embassy that “Rudd’s staff would like to get their boss to spend less time on foreign policy and delegate more, but that they recognise that this is a hopeless task’’.

In October 2009, as Mr Rudd’s popular support began to sag, Senator Arbib openly canvassed emerging leadership tensions within the government, telling US envoys that Mr Rudd wanted “to ensure that there are viable alternatives to Gillard within the Labor Party to forestall a challenge’’.

Senator Arbib added that Mr Rudd still appreciated Ms Gillard’s strengths, while an another unidentified adviser to the Labor prime minister told US diplomats that “while the PM respects Gillard, his reluctance to share power will eventually lead to a falling-out, while Gillard will not want to acquiesce in creating potential rivals”.

In June this year, Senator Arbib and other Labor Right figures moved to depose Mr Rudd from the leadership, precipitating the events that led to Ms Gillard’s becoming Prime Minister.

Senator Arbib last night declined to comment on the WikiLeaks disclosures.

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Rudd Clinton

2. Daniel Flitton, ‘Explosive Wiki Rudd cable’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 06.12.10

Kevin Rudd warned Hillary Clinton to be prepared to use force against China ”if everything goes wrong”, an explosive new Wikileaks cable has revealed.

Mr Rudd also told Mrs Clinton during a March 24, 2009, meeting in Washington that China was ”paranoid” about both Taiwan and Tibet and that his ambitious plan for an Asia-Pacific Community was intended to blunt Chinese influence in the region. …

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As I predicted…with a lot more of this to come

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Assange makes a statement outside the High Court in London in February 2016, when he had already spent three years holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Suelette Dreyfus, ‘EU hails Assange while Australia does nothing’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18.04.19

The European Parliament passed a law this week to protect whistleblowers across 28 countries, with support from 591 MEPs to just 29 against, while some abstained and some were absent. This new EU “directive” may have been inspired in part by WikiLeaks’ reporting, but it will not help its founder, Julian Assange, who is already sitting in a British high-security prison, Belmarsh, under harsh conditions.

Assange faces a UK charge of skipping bail. He always said he skipped bail because the US government wanted to put him in a US prison. He was correct.

Now the US is attempting to extradite Assange to face criminal proceedings. Its single charge against him is about an event that happened nearly a decade ago – and it is a serious threat to media freedom.

This was the view of many in the meeting rooms at the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week. On Monday night the Parliament’s plenary passed a motion to discuss Assange’s plight. A stream of MEPs from different countries told the chamber of their worry for his safety, proposed giving him asylum in Europe, and insisted he not be extradited to the US.

A few journalists have claimed US criminal proceedings are not a threat to press freedom because “Assange isn’t a journalist”. Why? Because he “just dumped” US military documents, the “War Logs”, in an unredacted form. This is inaccurate.

When WikiLeaks published the Afghanistan War Logs, it withheld more than 15,000 records. Its next major publication, the Iraq War Logs, was more heavily redacted – so much so that other media outlets complained.

Assange is both a journalist and a publisher; he has led fearless news reporting over more than a decade. His digital media outlet has worked like a wire service: it publishes straight, fact-based news pieces, supported by data sets of redacted original material. Media around the globe have taken these news pieces and expanded them by enhancing the stories with local content, as they might with an AP news story.

Traditional media outlets have now copied many innovations by Assange. These include installing anonymous digital drop boxes, publishing large redacted data sets in support of investigative news stories, hiring data science journalists, and encouraging reporters to improve their cybersecurity to protect sources.

I previously worked with Assange, writing the book Underground, and other journalism. What I witnessed was an investigative journalist at work. He had a strong news sense, sought to report the facts accurately, was a good writer, and believed in reporting news in the public interest. Since 2007, he has been a member of the journalists’ trade union, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

That the EU Parliament is moving to protect whistleblowers, and many of its members are so concerned about Assange, begs the question: why isn’t the Australian government using its special relationship with Britain to ask for its own citizen to be sent safely home? Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s throw-away lines about Assange’s case raises questions about whether he is a leader who will look after Australians in strife overseas. This is one of the roles of a government.

Labor leader Bill Shorten could easily follow the lead of his British Labour counterpart, Jeremy Corbin, who stated he does not think Assange should be extradited to the US. But he hasn’t yet.

The US criminal charge puts at risk the public interest chain of investigative journalism: the information path of whistleblower from journalist to publisher to the public. This chain depends on technology, particularly for security and anonymity protections. An attack on any part of this chain will weaken this corrective mechanism that exposes corruption in our society.

Whether you agree or disagree with Assange, he has transformed journalism, and turned whistleblowing from a corruption issue into a freedom-of-expression issue. If this extradition goes forward, expect the chill of a coming winter in media freedom.

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Source

Two courageous Australians

Although John Pilger and Julian Assange lack class analysis they are two fine Australians. No aping of the US accent here, no Texan pronunciation of ‘Iraq’ nor beginning every response with ‘So…’.

Principles and no servility, unlike that of their culture and government which can’t wait to abandon Assange to the enraged US capitalist class and their agents (that the ‘Christian’ Prime Minister Morrison said that Assange ‘won’t get any special treatment’ by the Australian government to represent him is an early indicator), just as they did Mamdouh Habib and the token white Taliban David Hicks, even while every other country, including Britain, was demanding the return of their citizens from Guantanamo Bay).

I highly recommend this video.

Watch developments as the Australian government (either Liberal or Labor – note the American spelling – post the upcoming federal election), so big and tough in relation to China (but not too much – as ex-PM Abbott said, ‘fear and greed’ are the drivers in Australia’s myopic relations with China), abandons a fine Australian to his fate.

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Immigration and Racial Prejudice: The Chinese Exclusion Act — A R T L▼R K

On the 15th of March 1879, Thomas Nast’s cartoon, A Matter of Taste, was published. In the cartoon, criticising the support of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Senator James G. Blaine, an active backer of the Act, is shown dining in ‘Kearney’s Senatorial Restaurant’ – a reference to Denis Kearney, the leader of a violent anti-Chinese […]

via Immigration and Racial Prejudice: The Chinese Exclusion Act — A R T L▼R K

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8 VENEZUELA LIES THE US GOVERNMENT & MAINSTREAM MEDIA WANT YOU TO BELIEVE — Desultory Heroics

By Makia Freeman Source: Waking Times Venezuela lies abound. Both the USG (United States Government) and its lapdog MSM (Mainstream Media) have been going into overdrive, exaggerating or just plain lying about the state of affairs in Venezuela. Truth is always a casualty of war, and it’s also a casualty of pre-war, as the NWO […]

via 8 VENEZUELA LIES THE US GOVERNMENT & MAINSTREAM MEDIA WANT YOU TO BELIEVE — Desultory Heroics

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Everyone Has Fallen for the Lies About Venezuela — Desultory Heroics

By Lee Camp Source: truthdig There are three things I know for sure in this fanciful, sometimes inglorious experience we call life: You will never have a safety pin when you need one, and you will have thousands when you don’t need one. Wild animals are breathtakingly majestic until they’re crawling up your pant leg. […]

via Everyone Has Fallen for the Lies About Venezuela — Desultory Heroics

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Foreign meddling in Australia’s affairs – part nine

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CIA agent, Harry Goldberg, looks at Australia in 1960

Australian Report

G. Conclusions and Comments

That’s about the story. I just want to say that it’s good we went. We did make an impact that was felt. All those fighting versus the commies on all levels were grateful that we did come.

They all urged strongly (just as Zenro and the DSP did in Japan) that an AFL-CIO representative be stationed in Australia in view of the difficulty of the fight versus the commies, and the important position of Australia. This I pass on for what it’s worth.

I think we ought to pay more attention to Australia than we have in the past. There are some things we can do. I have a number of proposals I’ll want to make when we get together.

That’s all!

Harry Goldberg

Honolulu

April 9, 1960

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Who’s Who (from Tribune article) 

Oscar Rozenbess: Former secretary of the Melbourne Taxi Drivers Association. Former Labor Minister Cameron was probably referring to Rozenbess when he told parliament last Thursday about “a CIA operative who covered by working as a taxi driver”.

Richard Krygier: Sydney book importer who founded the CIA funded Australian Association for Cultural Freedom which published Quadrant. Named in parliament as a CIA agent by Cameron.

Laurie: Mr L Short, national secretary of the Federated Ironworkers Association (FIA). Former Trotskyist now on the ALP’s extreme right.

Harry Hurrell: FIA national president, regarded as the real power in the union until recently.

Joe Riordan: Former secretary of the NSW Clerks Union, a rightwinger who later fell out with Maynes. Elected ALP member for Phillip he became a minister in Whitlam’s cabinet but lost his seat in 1975.

Fred Campbell: Former NSW secretary of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).

Harry Jensen: ETU official who became Lord Mayor of Sydney. Now Minster for Local Government in the Wran ministry.

Dr Evatt: Federal Labor  leader after Chifley. Former High Court judge and brilliant lawyer, Evatt appeared before the Petrov Commission accusing Menzies and ASIO of securing Petrov’s defection as an anti-Labor stunt. This led to the 1955 ALP split.

Arthur Calwell: ALP leader after Evatt retired. A rightwing Catholic, he moved to a centre position and finally opposed the Vietnam war.

Bland: Sir Henry Bland, top public service bureaucrat (Holt’s secretary of Labor and National Service, then Defence Department secretary). Briefly chairman of the ABC under Fraser.

B.A.Santamaria: Director of the National Civic Council (NCC) and power behind the now almost defunct Democratic Labor Party (DLP).

Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes: Attorney-General and Minister for the Navy in the Menzies government.

Jim Kenny: Former rightwing secretary, NSW Labor Council.

Jack Maynes: Federal president, Federated Clerks Union, NCC supporter and DLP member.

Littleton: Probably Little, Victorian THC president.

Vic Stout: Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council for many years who finally opposed the NCC.

Bill Evans: Federal secretary of the Federated Enginedrivers (FEDFA), ACTU and THC vice-president. 

Albert Monk: ACTU president for many years and a “centre-right” force in the ALP.

Frank Knopfelmacher: A Sudeten German from Czechoslovakia, a notorious anti-communist academic.

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