The Guardian • Issue #2030

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2030

The mainstream media has excised coverage of Israel’s crimes in the West Bank and Gaza. While there is no end to the noise from the stream of deception and outright lies on Ukraine, the horrors of Israel’s repression in the occupied territories have had a veil pulled over them. As I write, dozens of Palestinians are in their fourth week of a hunger strike in protest of their arbitrary detention by Israel. Hundreds more Palestinian prisoners are returning their meals in solidarity with the strike. Israel has recently intensified the use of administrative detention, in which Palestinians are held without charge or trial while unable to see or challenge the evidence against them. Such orders are typically issued for six-month periods but can be renewed indefinitely. This Israeli practice is a direct continuation of British colonial rule. Israel is currently imprisoning around 800 Palestinians under such orders, including four children. Those targeted include human rights defenders, students, politicians, and former prisoners. In fact, the majority of Palestinians who launched the hunger strike are former prisoners.

The Albanese government’s agenda is in line with the makeover of social democracy parties in Europe and here in Australia in the 1980s-90s: New Labour. Its privatisation of Medicare and the NDIS are already underway. And then there’s its lock-step with NATO. NATO – that supra government nuclear spearhead of imperialism – is headed by secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, who started his career in government as a secretary in Norway’s Ministry of the Environment in 1990. He was Minister of Industry and Energy from 1993 to 1996 and Minister of Finance from 1996 to 1997. He was Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001, was leader of the Labour Party from 2002 to 2014, and was Prime Minister for a second time from 2005 to 2013. The following year, he was named as the 13th secretary general of NATO. He was tagged the “Norwegian Tony Blair,” the British PM who along with John Howard and George W Bush, in 2003 committed a crime against humanity by unleashing the war on Iraq. Stoltenberg’s policies followed Blair’s New Labour agenda; his first government oversaw the most widespread privatisation program of any Norwegian government. Albanese and co are on common ground here. And at the end of his contract at NATO, Stoltenberg will fittingly become the head of Norway’s Reserve Bank.

PARASITE(S) OF THE WEEK: Is it a laugh that the corrupted, morally bankrupted two major parties should howl in outrage at Senator Lydia Thorpe’s motorcycle-riding friend. After ten years of pork barrelling by the Coalition, and now their “alternative,” already headlong into an austerity program and pouring taxpayers’ money into fuelling the conflict in Ukraine.

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