Contributed by Joe Montero
The Australia–US Ministerial Meeting (AUSMIN) on the weekend was supposed to be a discussion by partners around issues of mutual Interest. Instead, it Was more like representatives of a vassal state fronting an audience with their colonial master.
United Sates representatives Secretary of Sate Anthony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin were obviously in charge. They hung about as governors inspecting the guard, as the military paraded before them in Rockhampton. What came out the talking was everything Washington wants sand nothing else.
More telling is that it was decreed that Australian land. Sea, and air space is now effectively the property of the United States, which its military can occupy at will and as its commanders like. Australia’s Representatives also acquiesced to allowing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other undercover agencies to fully penetrate Australia’s defence and security apparatus.
Australia’s leaders were well aware who is in charge, and it wasn’t them. They knew their role and bent the knee in supplication. Is this really very different from the reaction of many French political leaders who bent their knees after Germany crossed the border and began the World War Two occupation? The means used by the Third Reich was far more violent. But the principle remains. They were happy to sacrifice the sovereignty of their homeland to an outside power.
Those who did the deed in France were called quislings. Maybe the title fits in Australia today. The saddest part is that this betrayal is bipartisan. Labor and the Coalition share it. They kept quiet. The political elite believes their bread is best buttered this way.
This reduces Australia to a near colonial status, where policy is decided overseas, and part of the fruits are shared to buy allies here in Australia.
Another matter that underlined Australia’s vassal status was the reaction of the United States to requests for better treatment of Julian Assange. It boils down to this. The United States instructed that Australia doesn’t have the say over sovereign issues like the fate of Australian citizens. The control is in Washington’s hands.
It was made perfectly clear Australian government had made representations over Assange to Washington and they had been dismissed. Australia’s Foreign minister Penny Wong was publicly and deliberately humiliated. She was made to look an ineffective pawn in the real game. The minister and Australia were given no respect. This was accepted without a hint of protest. The Australian political establishment knows its place.
Image from 4 Corners//ABC
Accusations about the damage caused by publishing secret documents, when all they did was expose was lies, corruption, murder, and other forms of illegal and questionable behaviour, hold no water. The so-called damage has never been detailed. Australia’s representatives didn’t dare question the script.
Australia’s political leaders know that the targeting of Assange is selective. None of the major newspapers and other media outlets that released the same information have been targeted. This alone defines the case as politically motivated. Further evidence is the direct involvement of those in the political institutions and the circumvention of what is supposed to be proper legal process.
Washington’s intended charges are based on a claim that he is a traitor to the United States. How can this be when he isn’t a citizen of that country? Why are basic rights to a fair trial being denied? They are being denied when the presumption of innocence before being proved guilty, when the rights to full legal representation, to cross examine witnesses, and to be present to face your accusers have been removed.
The Australian government knows all this. The Australian government knows that this is setting a terrible precedent. Still not so much as a whimper of about it. Penny Wong’s insistence that there was little that can be achieved in talks between governments and that legal processes must continue, despite the fact that other government is politically engineering the case.
Rember the Chappelle Corby case in Indonesia. It was different then. The Australian government could and did intervene. It all depends on who it is, and which government is involved. In the Assange case, bending the knee to the real authority over Australia is far more important than justice. AUSMIN has reminded us of this.
It was announced that control over what is permitted on the internet will be restricted in the guise of combatting misinformation. This is really about censorship of inconvenient news and waging a propaganda war to vilify views contrary to the wishes of Washington. The intention is to build on what is already happening.
Those who seek their news form a range of sources, know just how far our media is already restricted. Now we face the prospect of this being lifted to a new level.
Australians of all walks of life would do well to draw lessons from what happened at AUSMIN. We should note who is betraying us and insist that we as a nation, should be the masters of our destiny.