War and democracy: who decides?

Sydney University 21 September 2017 I’d like to thank the, Australians for War Powers Reform, the Sydney Democracy Network and Dr Sue Wareham for the invitation to be a part of tonight’s discussion. The late American historian and social activist, Howard Zinn, warned us that “When governments kill in large numbers they always do so […]

White phosphorus: an unfortunate correction to have to make

It’s not often you find yourself having to correct an article you wrote based on different responses you receive to a Freedom of Information request but that is exactly what I’m doing here. Earlier this month, in response to a Freedom of Information request for copies of documents, cables or correspondence relating to the use […]

Different country, different rules

By its nature war is brutally indiscriminate. Reports of secret defence force documents leaked to the ABC giving an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia’s  elite special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children, is only one part of the story. The other is the system that creates […]

The ADF has no documents or knowledge about the reported use of white phosphorus in Iraq & Syria

What’s going on with coalition partners in war keeping each other informed ? One would think that would be essential to a concerted effort against a common foe. The use of white phosphorus is a case in point.  It’s use has been widely reported on but the ADF deny having any documents either by the […]

Bomb’s eye view

In March the Defence Minister Marise Payne said in relation to a Mosul Jadida neighbourhood strike on 17 March 2017 being probed for civilian death claims, that Australian combat planes were ‘not involved in the airstrike in question’.  Carefully chosen words? Even if the Australian Defence Force were not involved in “the airstrike in question” […]

Pre-empting death

When an advocate for asylum seekers detained on Manus Island and Nauru suggested to me that asylum seekers only get air-lifted to Australia when they are going to die I thought it was hyperbole. Documents released under Freedom of Information legislation suggest otherwise, confirming that bureaucrats in Canberra had prepared media talking points in the […]