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Paradigm Shift: Disrupt Land Forces

Paradigm Shift Andy & guests Friday 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Tune in to the Paradigm Shift on 4ZZZ 102.1fm, Fridays at noon. We challenge the assumptions of our current society, to resist oppression

30 September, 2022

On today’s show we do one last preview show about Disrupt Land Forces – which began last night with two people arrested and half the cops of Brisbane protecting vehicles entering the convention centre. I chat about that and also speak to Matilda Byrne about lethal autonomous weapons – the next deadly technological warfare development.

https://4zzz.org.au/program/paradigm-shift

Playlist
Combat Wombat – Star wars
Anomie – Predator drones over Yemen
Edwin Starr – War
Racerage – Eat the rich
Franz James – Masters of war

Transcript

 Paradigm Shift – Disrupt Land Forces

Fri, Sep 30, 2022 1:46PM • 59:22

SUMMARY KEYWORDS weapons, people, lethal autonomous, autonomous weapons, ai, convention center, big, war, guess, australia, target, land, forces, warfare, facial recognition, Jagera, military, paradigm shift, talking, countries

SPEAKERS
Andy and Guests

Andy:   Welcome to the paradigm shift on 4ZZZ where we challenge the assumptions of our current society to resist oppression and investigate alternative ways of living for a world based on justice, solidarity and sustainability. On today’s show, we’re gonna be talking about a disrupt land forces one more time before, it all happens, although it did start last night. If you’re a regular listener to the paradigm shift, then over recent weeks, you probably would have heard me talking about the land forces weapons convention that is happening in Brisbane at the convention center next week. And you will also have heard that there’s a group of people organizing to try to disrupt it. Disrupt land forces is the name of the event. And it’s all happening this week. There’s lots of different events which I’ll speak about over the course of the show. But last night, the first disruption occurred, the first arrests, two young women jumping up on top of a vehicle carrying autonomous military vehicle a little. I don’t know what you caught like a land drone, basically.

Somebody else who knew that disrupt land force was coming up with a police of Brisbane who were stationed all around the convention center trying to shepherd these weapons and things into the convention center. And we’re running convoys through the city if you last night would late last night, we’re driving through the city and had a convoy of police guiding a truck scream past you with sirens on and motorbikes on each side. Well, that was the police protecting the interests of the weapons industry to make sure that they could get into the convention center without the people of Brisbane getting in the way. And that’s where that’s where we’re living in where the state government is a major sponsor of the Land Forces. Of course they are in the convention center and they also run the police and so the our friendly coppers who are meant to keep us all safe are sent out to protect the the weapons industry from a few protesters who all they want to do is jump up on top of a tank and stop it from getting into the convention center for a while.

Police arrest protesters locked onto an Autonomous Vehicle.

But yes, we’ll hear much more about the show. I also I’m going to talk about autonomous weapons the the ‘hunter wolf’ little thing that our cloud and ash jumped on top of is autonomous. Not a weapon but a military vehicle. But there’s well it’s a droids guided I think by people but it is of great concern. The technological developments happening around lethal autonomous weapons. And so I speak I speak with Matilda Byrne from safe ground who ever campaign part of a global campaign called Stop killer robots trying to stop lethal autonomous weapons. So that’s what’s coming up and we might even chat a bit with mighty Branigan About militarism and the environment if I get time to fit it in, and we’ll play some great antiwar songs as well. To start us off though, I’m going to play a little clip of cloud and ash to brave young women who were arrested yesterday afternoon. They’re still in custody now hopefully, in court soon. And this is what they had to say when they disrupted land forces.

 Hi, everyone, its Cloud and Ash here.

 We’ve just stopped this piece of machinery death machinery from going to the Convention Center in South Brisbane for of the land forces Expo.

 We’re standing in solidarity with the First Nations people of this land. And with those in the Northern Territory, who are currently calling for a ceasefire to disarm the police in their communities, First Nations peoples were the first to experience militarized violence on this continent, and they’re still the most victimized by it today, here and all across the globe.

 It’s not hard to see why we are standing here today on top of this machinery in front of this expo, where the machines are designed purely to kill and disrupt these weapons, destroy lives, homes and entire ecosystems.

 When we’re at a crossroad for humanity, we’re on the breakdown of a climate and societal collapse. We cannot afford the division that this expo promotes. We cannot afford to fight. We cannot afford to destroy any more. We need to turn all resources and minds to equity and sustainability, wars pollution of our minds, our relationships. And yes, the military machine is burning our home directly with these weapons and through the thirst and consumption of fossil fuels. The military oppresses culture takes land that is not for taking by force, by fear, leaving vulnerable people to pick up their lives in rubble.

 That is, cloud and ash, who yesterday jumped on top of an EP Hunter Wolf is the name of the machine. There’s all kinds of bizarre military machinery and with all with very strange names, brand names and things like that.

 And offense to wolves, really, who wonderful creatures who don’t need military vehicles being named after them. But then again, there’s so many things like that. One of the big displays, of course, will be Boeing talking about their Apache helicopter, which I’m sure the native Apache people have the US who tried to defend their country from being invaded by what became the US military weren’t aren’t that keen on that particular piece of equipment being named after them either.   But bizarre branding is part of what land forces does, and trying to unveil, unveil what really goes on there and talk about, like Cloud and ash then did about the environmental cost about the cost on First Nations people around the world of militarism. And you know, where these guns end up and who they end up getting used on is part of the reason to protest. And so that is why, all this week, people will be disrupting land forces. Again, there’s a big program or event that starts tonight with a ceremonial fire and welcome the country at Musgrave Park. A lot of the events we focused out of Jagera Hall This Week, and they’ll be the land force convention itself runs from Tuesday to Thursday next week. So we’ll be there at the convention center causing a ruckus but there’ll be workshops and things over the weekend and a concert on Saturday night at Jagera hall where you’ll be able to catch some great performers, including  the one of the stars of this song. This is a classic Ozzy protest tune from combat wombat and Izzy Brown, whose voice you will hear on this song we’ll be performing at Jagera Hall on Saturday night say get down and join the party Join the Resistance.

 Defense Minister of Australia Robert Hill says the government is continuing to talk to the US about Australia developing a missile defense system. Earlier this year the government revealed it was considering whether a shield could be put in place to protect Australia against a possible missile attacks.

 The Empire Strikes Back war is terrorism. Star Wars. The Empire Strikes Back war is terrorism. Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back to attack for what’s it called to lose out on the ego of the present days. And the residence of the Pentagon’s military defense case turned against on Nevada by the story of an Arab with a pen not prepared to take his own life. And everybody’s going to end up paying free either by capitalist guy into another war to score points on the magic nano ray scoreboard for those who can afford to buy fine we feel this talk another deal size war in on CNN again showdown of the lowdown 30 Round versus the team is all that intersection and writing shots of the emperor has no clothes there’s no denying. Let’s take the power back. Without the flowers crap these motherfuckers got me ready to snap and they only got their own back we take our own back or see fantasy as our dignities attack, where you want to end up the first place or last left suffocating as their rocket ship. No life on Mars but none here either a global Holocaust as they glide through the ether. I’m a believer realist and truth seeker. Knowledge is power as he pumps through the speaker dismissal of a morally bankrupt leader is needed because identities lie bleeding. Was The Empire Strikes Back or is terrorism Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back? Or is terrorism?

A conspiracy? It might be it’s hard to say got a fixture at the end of the media.

 On the television, no clarity of vision is this world war three is this a reality? We’re living in given in killing each other?

We learn from Lost arms crimes against humanity secretly exploiting the minority creating daggers for revenge justification to avenge race war religious war did they tell you what you’re fighting for? You seem to have forgotten Star Wars that’s in question no more guessing tired of being ignored the shadow definitely flexing undealt with making the world like shoot ’em up Western in the madness laden session of a Christian then the workers with no lesson from the past we passed carpet bombed and asked what do they hate us and make us escape nuts bashed and crashed and smashed them as friends to help us in our task where we’ve been sending men to end all the senses bringing the cream of militant to distinguish the innocent premises the Nemesis is just the must send him enough trucks tanks missiles abrupt drop bombs to this nothing new rounds real weapons and in the best tanks trucks this isn’t such drop bombs to there’s nothing new round to blow up drop bombs to this no one leopard Friends Meeting us planet saving obviously angered America’s rights as constitution gets mangled daily operation as a compensated spray verbal Agent Orange if you get in their way pain in forms of back the bending of rules when false type power their swords in the cruel nothing new this Christian empire finds that Jesus was indeed born in Palestine remind remind remind yourself that history is written by the man with well but he is passionless next to those who felt the rough pan corrupt man has tell where’s the next target civilian market pursue those goals and from the families that pocket the whole scars filled with immense darkness where’s the love is it too much to ask this genealogy boo like attack seeks to religious fundamentalists love to argue or any allergy boo like attack sex to politician them know to argue Australia all the brave men and women around the globe watching last two  days today’s world  world peace  World Peace  world  peace  that he’s combat one back there. That one goes out to ollie very dedicated paradigm shift listener and a big fan of combat wombat to hope you can make it down on Saturday night down to Jagera a hall that’s tomorrow night  where I  Ah Is it from combat one that we playing alongside race rage while play later in the show accomplice collective local West Enders who are always a good time and dancing water. So  time for a bit of fun and dancing amongst all the disrupting that is planned land forces is big weapons Expo if you haven’t heard,  which if you’ve been listening to the paradigm shift affortable that hopefully you have.

 And the disruption began last night, as you heard earlier with cloud and ash jumping on a  hunter Wolf, which is an unmanned military vehicle used for carrying all their gear and weapons and things like that around.

 And technological development in war as actually that song Star Wars, of course, talking about partly the militarization of space that began in the 80s under Ronald Reagan with the US and beginning that the space warfare programs and of course, now,  a lot of modern warfare would be impossible without satellites that they have circling the globe spying on everybody.

 And there’s nowhere we can go to the out of the reaches of militarism. Well, the technological developments of warfare continue. And despite what people sometimes say about how wonderful it is, how good it is for technology, they don’t tend to improve our lives. They improve the ability for control and for countries to attack other people sometimes attack their own civilians, of course, which is a lot of what a lot of what the military is used for around the world. That’s the reality is that actually, it’s for policing protests for protecting corrupt regimes and things like that. And, and, of course, some of the technological developments of the last century in warfare. I think that the world now agrees a totally unethical chemical warfare, cluster bombs are landmines and nuclear weapons, which were on the way to banning the number of countries have signed on to a UN treaty to ban nuclear weapons. And certainly,  much of the world agrees that it’s totally unethical, something of the scale of nuclear weapons to ever be used. And so we’re left with technological developments that put us in a worse place than we were before. There’s the opposite of what new technology is meant to do to improve our lives make doing things easier and better. And the next step, and they still military,  the military industrial complex still goes on and on about innovation and being at the cutting edge of development and things like that. And of course, they go into high schools and primary schools, as we heard from  at least West who played on the paradigm shift a few weeks ago, talking about weapons companies going to schools, they have partnerships with universities, a lot of the time they get these development grants off the government. And then it’s left to the rest of us, people working in, you know, civilian organizations, civil society to rein in the terrible technology that they’re creating. Well, this is continuing, of course, with lethal autonomous weapons, the next step in technological warfare. I spoke with Matilda Byrne, from the organization safe ground about what to expect from  autonomous weapons, what’s already being used, and what we can do to try to stop them.

Andy: Could you start off by introducing yourself?

Sure. So my name is Matilda Byrne. And I’m based in Melbourne and with the organization safe ground, who’s a disarmament focused NGO, where I am the National Coordinator of the campaign to stop killer robots. So killer robots for those of us who have watched our share of science fiction movies have sounded pretty bad. Can you tell us specifically what is the campaign to stop killer robots about? Sure. So I think, obviously, killer robots can on conjure a very sort of sci fi esque image. And that’s not really something we’re talking about today. In the present. killer robots are also referred to as lethal autonomous weapons systems. So autonomous weapons are sort of this whole different range of emerging weaponry that we have. And lethal autonomous weapons are ones where the decision making processes to selecting a target to attack and then the decision of whether or not to attack that target is actually done by the machine itself. So using something like artificial intelligence, and there’s no human oversight, verification or sort of control over that process. And that’s what we’re really worried about. And so the campaign is advocating for a new international treaty. So a new international law that would regulate this area of autonomous weapons and put  in place, prohibitions to prevent laws or those weapons I just described and sort of other aspects of autonomy sort of put limits where we think this is just a step too far.

 So, in the US wars in the last couple of decades, we’ve seen the sort of drone warfare kind of remote controlled  aircraft, but also using AI algorithms to sort through metadata to find targets and things like that. So that’s, in a way a use of AI. But not it’s not quite what you’re talking about other other examples of this already in use in warfare.

 Right. So yeah, there are sort of already examples of AI being sort of integrated into defense systems, sort of what you described, or, for example, autonomous piloting where, you know, aircraft might be able to pilot itself, for instance, without being remote controlled. So these sort of things we are seeing that are sort of more increasingly autonomous weapons in the US, like you’ve mentioned, also, Russia, Israel, the UK and work being done here. So there are systems that I guess a semi autonomous or kind of precursory. But in those sort of selection of tickets and things that’s still being done by humans at this point in time, that’s what we want to retain. So presumably, there are other developments underway that you’re campaigning against, what kind of autonomous weapons are we talking about, that are being designed or created at the moment.

 So I think we’re most likely to see, perhaps stepping over this Real Red Line from sending might be semi autonomous, but has humans evolved to something beyond that, say, targeting humans, perhaps using target profiles, or that we find really worrying? I guess he’s most likely to be from the air. So sort of like a drawing that became becomes fully autonomous. So I kind of air based systems, or are things on the ground, I guess, deployed in land that can do the sort of sensing themselves, that’s what we’re really worried about. So I guess an example from Australia, something like the new loyal wingman project, that is a fully autonomous aircraft. But it’s not designed to deploy lethal force and attack targets, it’s designed to sort of accompany other aircraft. However, to sort of extend that capability into the future. And to arm something like that would be entirely possible. So what we’re worried about is crossing over that red line.

And so that there needs to be strong policy and commitments to not do that. And something that’s really problematic here within Australia is that we’re not hearing any of those commitments, any kind of policy like that, coming from the Australian government from the Defense Department, saying that we will roll out lethal autonomous weapon systems that do this targeting and attacking without human control, they have a very sort of opaque approach to human control where maybe it’s okay in this instance, and it’s given, there’s so much innovation happening in the area, a real concern for us. So what kind of like software’s artificial intelligence. So we talking about here, like facial recognition, like metadata analysis, GPS coordinates, what kind of things are they are being used to try to create lethal weapons? So we do know, there’s lots of different AI to do sort of big number crunching of vast volumes of data. And so we know that that’s something that’s sort of being integrated into systems already, facial recognition that you mentioned is something that we’re really worried about, partially because we know how bad facial recognition is. So to give you an example, I think it came out of Google.

So you know, one of the big sort of software developing companies where facial recognition was successful 90% of the time on white males without beards, specifically. And so I think if you think about realistically, where was a fort, we know that facial recognition is not going to get it right, it will be inaccurate, and in particular, it disproportionately impacts people of color. So AI struggles, as skin color gets darker. And so putting something like this in a system to target or any other kind of target profile, really something like if it’s heat based, whatever technologies they’re using, is really just distilling a person into these sort of metrics in a way where it removes all of the humanity as well as not necessarily being accurate. And so for us, that’s a real issue, which is why it’s so important that you know, a human does do the ultimate targeting and looking and seeing when assessing whether or not it is, you know, the correct personal waffle targets to say, you know,  A combatant that is in warfare rather than a civilian and so on.

 I did hear someone say that in the US drone warfare, because they use metadata analysis to pick targets, like, you know, GPS locations, people who are going to suspect areas, that there are taxi drivers and things who travel around a lot, who go to a lot of these places that are like red alerts for the good AI that get targeted wrongly, or the other things like that.

 Yeah, so that’s a really good example of how already, we’re not always getting it right. And so clearly, the,  you know, the technology is making this kind of false correlation. But then we have the opportunity with something like a drone strike for a person to evaluate that, to think about that to draw any other connections. And perhaps some of the time is still making the wrong choice, where we see sort of some issues with drone strikes that have already occurred.

So if you think about taking the human out of that equation, who is the person that actually can understand context and to make those other connections, or, you know, if we’re not talking specifically about targeting, in an individual instance, something else, like in a conflict zone, exercising restraint, when they see sort of incoming, a potential incoming attack that risks I guess, escalating unnecessarily, it’s people that can make those evaluations and judgments that are so crucial in warfare. And whilst we might not get it right, 100% of the time removing that is just such a big risk to sort of, you know, global stability in general, broadly. And then also in this individual cases, you know, the civilian populations where wars are fought. So there are some pretty serious ethical questions, I guess, about the use of AI to create autonomous weapons. Is this the kind of thing that stop killer robots is trying to bring up? Yes, 100%.

So I mentioned earlier use the word dehumanizing so that’s a real big part of this question. So the idea of, I guess, upholding human dignity and asking, Do we even think it’s okay for an AI to make a decision over who lives and dies. So there’s no human involved. AI isn’t a moral agent. So it can’t sort of make a choice based on its conscious or appreciate the value of life? So there’s this big ethical question that’s really being raised. And I think it’s also an important point, because it’s in all sectors of society where we’re seeing this integration of AI, not just in warfare in conflict and type in potentially targeting people, but also, you know, in health where, at the moment, health practitioners can use various AI systems that make suggestions around say history and traits and things. But ultimately, it’s a human practitioner or doctor or specialist, who then decides about, you know, how to proceed with that. And so, this idea of delegating life and death decisions to machines is one where really a society as a whole, we have to decide how we want to proceed with that. And really, we believe that there is a moral red line here and an imperative to not do that handing over. So that’s, you know, a really strong part of what the campaign does emphasize  All  right.

Andy: That is Anomie there on the Paradigm Shift. Predator drones over Yemen is the name of the song. And of course, in recent years Australia has  been fair Australian companies have been found at selling weapons to  the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in their occupation of Yemen, which has been a ongoing disaster, which has forced many,  many people to leave or as killed many civilians, and an ongoing conflict. Before that, we’ll be speaking with Matilda Byrne about autonomous weapons, the next stage in technological warfare, isn’t that exciting?

Plenty to look forward to new fancy ways to be killed by a robot. Let’s  go back to chatting with Matilda.

Andy: I’m interested in what you were just saying about AI being used in other sectors of society and ethical questions there. Because it is becoming so prevalent, you know, in our everyday lives in sort of social media algorithms and things like that, but also in industrial processes in you know, all kinds of work, driverless cars, all these kinds of things. Do you see autonomous weapons as being removed from these other questions about AI? Or is it all part of the same broad conversation?

Matilda: I think in some ways, it is all part of the same conversations. There’s these kinds of key ethical questions that we need to broach in AI in general. So things like ethical AI frameworks apply to all uses of AI and all different applications. I do think, though, there’s a really important distinction to be made with autonomous weapons. And this often comes up because people talk about autonomous vehicles being this kind of a great solution to minimize, you know, deaths and risks on the road, which in times the technology develops, it could well be, but I think it’s what’s key to see there is that the whole point of having autonomous vehicles or self driving cars, is to remove or reduce road toll, and to save lives inherently. But with autonomous weapons. The whole point is to use them to wage war to fight in conflict, you know, they’re sort of an instrument of killing in themselves, which does make the conversation a little bit different for autonomous weapons specifically, and some of the, I guess, aspects intrinsically linked to that.

Andy:  So can you tell us a bit about stop killer robots and the campaign to ban autonomous weapons?

Matilda: Sure. So the campaign to stop killer robots is, I guess, a global coalition of different organizations that are working with the same goal to sort of have an international treaty that would prohibit lethal autonomous weapon systems and maintain meaningful human control over weapon systems use. So that’s sort of specifically what we are advocating for globally. And so there’s about I think, now over 160 Different organizations in about 60 plus countries working on this issue. So there’s diplomatic talks that take  Place, there’s sort of been seven years now of international discussions within the United Nations on this topic specifically, and they’re not able to actually achieve much action. So a lot of our work is about putting pressure on that process. Part of the reason why action isn’t being achieved is because it’s a consensus process. So every single country has to agree to anything for it to move forward.

And, of course, we have countries like, for instance, Russia, who are very happy to sort of raise their hand and, you know, put forward an issue with, you know, how it’s been discussed, or you know, what policy outcome might possibly be taken. But we really feel there is a strong need for treaty in this area, new international law to be formed. And we know that there’s many, many countries that do support that.

So within Australia, specifically, the campaign is really I guess, trying to bring awareness of the Australian position and raise some scrutiny, I suppose, as I mentioned, the sort of a government position is quite opaque, they’re not really prepared to make any kind of commitment to ruling out lethal autonomous weapons or, you know, maintaining human control, like I mentioned, as autonomous weapons progress.

And so we’re really trying to push Australia to do that. And also to be less, I guess, detracting in the international process, because what’s also really problematic is, you know, Australia as an international actor, you know, attends these talks, but really, what they’re offering and saying in their statements, is at the very lowest common denominator of the packer amount among the small handful of countries that are saying, Oh, no, we don’t need strong policy options, we can just keep discussing and developing shared understandings. And that’s enough for now, when we know it’s not enough, because technology is being developed at such a rapid pace. And the time really to act is now and we do need that international law to set sort of the international standards from which all the other regulation can flow on from.

Andy:  So international conflict laws haven’t always been effective at stopping people from doing things like, I don’t know, genocide, or attacks on civilians, or, you know, conflicts without UN resolutions. But I guess you’d be looking at things like treaties against cluster munitions and landmines have precedents of what you’re trying to achieve here.

Matilda: Yeah, that’s exactly right. So we’ve seen with weapons that there has been a lot of success in, you know, disarmament treaties, limiting their use. So something like I guess chemical weapons or biological weapons is very much also based in that the moral revulsion of those weapons. And whilst it hasn’t been never used ever again, we haven’t seen it since you know, they were first passed, it really is only in this slight couple of instances where we’ve seen something like that being used. And then landmines is actually a really great example, because with land mines, there’s been a lot, obviously, ratification of the treaty. So when people agree, like, yes, they will abide by all of these terms. But a country like the US has not actually signed and ratified and often we get sort of the question raised, well, not everyone’s going to sign. But the thing about international law is that it also sets norms or customs or sort of expected standards of behavior.

So with landmines even though the US has never signed that treaty, they don’t, you know, produce them stockpile and use landmines anymore. So we do see that they do have an effect these treaties, even on big global actors that do wield a lot of power. So in Brisbane, there is land forces, weapons expo where a lot of the world’s biggest arms companies will be getting together and showcasing their wares.

Andy: So I guess in that context is interesting. Talk about what companies are currently developing lethal autonomous weapons?

Guest: Yeah, so it’s an interesting question, because we do know that more and more countries are using AI, integrating AI for maybe films, semi autonomous systems, etc. They’re all sort of on this pathway, potentially towards lethal autonomous weapons. So the really big ones that I would probably name a scene doing a lot of work in this area, a Boeing, Lockheed Martin as well. And they have a specific lab in Melbourne, the stellar lab working in this space, as some, I guess, like maybe the bigger arms companies that are doing a lot of work in this area where we would say that they also have their own imperative to say that they have clear policy where they won’t produce a lethal autonomous weapon system because it would be unlawful.

 But in addition to some of those bigger companies, we’re seeing a lot of other kinds of smaller companies that are working in this area using AI and defense systems.

 So, like cyborg dynamics skyborne technologies defend tech sterile Australian based companies that are doing work in this area, a lot of them I guess collaborate as part of this bigger trusted autonomous systems. It’s a defense Cooperative Research Center. So that also links with industry industry, University and the Department of Defense. And so we know there’s a lot of work going on with autonomous systems and where we don’t know is actually where the limits are, where the lines are, if there is any policy and how much is actually happening in that I guess spectrum from some autonomous systems in a surveillance system all the way through to potential lethal autonomous weapons, which we would see as being as I mentioned just before unlawful also immoral and where before which there must be aligned at these companies as well weren’t cross in their weapons development.

Andy: Okay, thanks for Matif people are interested in finding out more about autonomous weapons and stop killer robots how can they do so? Yes, you can find us on social media and also through the website so stop killer robots.org is sort of all the global information through the safe ground website so safe ground.org.au You can find out all about the campaign in Australia and on social media the easiest way across all platforms is to search hashtag us a US oz ban killer robots. Alright, thanks very much Matilda. Great thanks so much for having me  again  losing  God y’all  listen to  my heartbreaks  to the undertaker  within the younger generation and  chat  Undertaker  a young  man  precious  Waukesha  can’t give  it away  y’all  afternoon Mr. Chairman  to the undertaker  they say we must  know this guy jumped  on y’all  a classic antiwar song there on the paradigm shift on for trouble Zed from Edwin Starr.

Andy: That is war and 60s Motown. What couldn’t they do? What style of music didn’t they make amazing? Before then we’re speaking with Matilda Byrne from a safer ground organization trying to stop lethal autonomous weapons being developed. And now well that  interview was being played. I did get a text through. I got one requesting the Terminator theme, which would seem very apt, but I didn’t have it on hand to play. But I got another one from Dave from eco radio, which is great radio program. Palestine – You can listen to it midday on Wednesdays right here on for troubles Ed. And he alerted me to the fact that Israel has deployed an AI powered, remote controlled smart shooter to disperse protesters in Palestine at one of the checkpoints  at Hebron there in Palestine. Of course, if you’re unfamiliar, there’s checkpoints of Palestinian people want to move in or out of the occupied territories, and then they have to go through these checkpoints. And so, for crowd dispersal, Israel has put a  semi autonomous weapon there. And it is built by a company called  What are they called?

Smart shooter, who have developed autonomous fire control system called Smash, which they say can be attached to assault rifles to fall in locking on targets using image processing based on artificial intelligence. They say that  it overcomes challenges faced by soldiers battles such as physical exertion, fatigue, stress, mental pressure to aim accurately and ensure the shooters success. Well.

 Palestinian people have responded Issa Amro a Palestinian human rights activist says, I see this as a transition from human to technological control. We as Palestinians have become an object of experimenting and training for Israel’s military high tech industry, which is not accountable for anything it does.

 And I think that is the side I’m on defending the humanity of Palestinians ahead of the need to develop killer robots to enable better killing.

Andy:  Now, Palestine is an issue that has been talked about at disrupt land forces. Of course, if you’ve just tuned in, one of the reasons that we’re talking about weapons is that a lot of the world’s biggest, and Australia’s biggest weapons companies are in Brisbane next week for the land forces Weapons Convention at the Convention Center in South Brisbane and disrupt land forces is trying to make it a nightmare to run, trying to stop them gathering there, make it difficult for them to sell their weapons and network and,  you know, build better connections for making contracts for corroding our democracy for destroying our planet. And so we’re going to be causing a ruckus or next week, and there will be an event next Wednesday at 6pm.

Justice for Palestine long term Brisbane group working for, as the name says, Justice for Palestine are going to organize an event outside the convention center as the delegates are sort of walking out for the day, where there’ll be showing pictures and calling out the names of Palestinian people who have been killed by the Israeli military, including there was a recent massacre in the Gaza Strip. So that’s at 6pm outside the prison Convention and Exhibition Center, and the other week, we agree with us, we’re outside Elbit Systems who do make semi-autonomous weapons as well and have provided for a long time weapons to enable the Israeli occupation of Palestine. And there’ll be other tours of weapons companies coming up on the  Wednesday, same day, actually, to go around to some of Britain’s  weapons companies that are lurking in our suburbs unbeknownst to most of us these people that are selling weapons to conflict zones all around the planet.

 I’m going to play another little song here and then I will come back and read the whole program of everything coming up at  land forces. A little language warning on this next one from race rage. If you don’t like swearing, then look out because the next three minutes there’s going to be a little bit of it. But race rage will be here on Saturday tomorrow night playing at Jagera Hall as well. And this song is also the title of another event which you hear about to staffers. It’s called Eat the rich 

Plays song

Andy:  You can see race for age as I said at the get funked free concert for disrupt land forces. It is tomorrow night from 8pm at Jagera Hall in Musgrave Park. And eight the rich is the name of another event that’s coming up this week for disrupt land forces on Monday from 1pm There will be an eight the rich banquet followed by a parade down to all the hotels and restaurants around the convention center where we think some of the landlord’s delegates who are in there setting up their stores might be wining and dining and say  we’ll go down and let everybody know that we’re a city that’s keen on peace not so keen on weapons companies gathering. So that’s 1pm on Monday, meeting Jagera Hall, most of the events for disrupt land forces will be based around the convention center but also Jagga hall where we’ll have a little bit of a base there in Musgrave Park, of course, on Yuggera country there. And  so you can pop down there anytime, really. And there will be people there. Over Saturday and Sunday. There’ll be workshops running at Jagera Hall to learn all about how to resist a bit of information about the weapons industry and a bit about strategy and how to resist it. The strategy for disrupt land forces I’ll let you know  basically is make it so difficult and annoying to run this event that they just stopped doing it that it becomes just such a  hassle and an expense that it’s not worthwhile. And so far we’re doing okay. Last night, there was so many police all around the convention center and in fact driving escorting military vehicles through the city to get them to the convention center. It must have been an incredibly expensive exercise. And that’s the kind of thing that we’re in to make to cause too much of a ruckus. On that note, from Tuesday to Thursday, outside the convention center morning and afternoon, people will be causing a ruckus, making it sort of unpleasant to be walking in and out of the land forces convention. On the Wednesday there will be a tour around some of the weapons manufacturers that are permanently in our city. Or there’ll be meeting at Jagera Hall at 9am. You can come down before then of course, if you want to  shout abuse at people walk into the convention center.

 There’ll be a 24 hour silent vigil if that’s more your type, some of the Quakers will be organizing a 24 hour vigil in radical place in the city. And you can go and join them at any time if you want a bit of respite for all some quiet meditation on peace and, and witnessing holding the light as the Quakers say. And for the final day is sending the clouds is what has been called it’s going to be a fun big disruption on Thursday afternoon for the final afternoon of land forces. There’ll be plenty of other things going on too, that I’m not going to tell you about because they’re being secretly organized.

 But get down to Jagera Hall over the next week. Come and meet people and get involved and it will be a great time and an important campaign. Our city can be more than just a meeting place for some of the world’s worst corporations and let’s try to make it that and and organize an alternative convention. I wrote an article that’s called Five Reasons to disrupt land forces which covers everything you can find on the paradigm shift Facebook page, and hopefully I’ll see you down there over the next week. I’m going to go out with one final song friends James who his muse is a bit too gentle to be at the Saturday night party but you will hear him playing music for the next week I’m sure local folk singer is his cup of another 60s any war classic Masters of War See you next week.

Franz James (sings): Come you masters of war / You that build all the guns / You that build the death planes / You that build the big bombs  / You that hide behind walls / You that hide behind desks / I just want you to know / I can see through your masks / You that never done nothin’  / But build to destroy / You play with my world / Like it’s your little toy / You put a gun in my hand / And you hide from my eyes  / And you turn and run farther / When the fast bullets fly / Like Judas of old / You lie and deceive / A world war can be won  / You want me to believe / But I see through your eyes / And I see through your brain / Like I see through the water / That runs down my drain  / You fasten the triggers / For the others to fire / Then you set back and watch / When the death count gets higher / You hide in your mansion  / As young people’s blood / Flows out of their bodies / And is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear / That can ever be hurled  / Fear to bring children / Into the world / For threatening my baby / Unborn and unnamed / You ain’t worth the blood  / That runs in your veins / How much do I know / To talk out of turn? / You might say that I’m young / You might say I’m unlearned  / But there’s one thing I know / Though I’m younger than you / Even Jesus would never / Forgive what you do / Let me ask you one question  / Is your money that good? / Will it buy you forgiveness? / Do you think that it could? / I think you will find / When your death takes its toll  / All the money you made / Will never buy back your soul …

Ukraine: World War III?

There is very real danger of World War.  But I agree with your line. We are faced with huge economic and ecological challenges and we are possibly in the run down to WW3. “Mad” does not cover it.” – an anti-war activist and educator.

Ian Curr’s interview with Bevan Ramsden (IPAN) on Ukraine

  1. Why should the Australian government change tack and insist that it’s allies in the conflict (the US, UK and NATO) call a ceasefire in Ukraine?
  2. Is the US involvement in the Ukraine conflict an attempt to weaken Russia? If so, why?
  3. What is the main priority for peace activists in Australia regarding this conflict? 
  4. How should we go about preventing an escalation of the war between Russia and Ukraine?
  5. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Bevan Ramsden is an ex-telecommunications engineer and a long-time peace activist and advocates for Australia’s independence. He is a member of the coordinating committee of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN).

Transcript of interview with Bevan Ramsden (IPAN)

[apologies for any transcription errors]

Before addressing the questions which I’ve been given about how to achieve peace in Ukraine, and what the Australian government should be doing, I think it’s appropriate, to have a bit of background on how it has all happened … this war in the Ukraine.

It goes back to when the Soviet Union broke up in the late 1980s. Ukraine was one of the several Soviet republics, which became independent nations. And despite that Ukraine and Russia continued to have friendly relations. The United States actually promised Russia in 1990 and 1993, that they would not expand NATO eastwards towards Russia, and try and bring the ex-Soviet Union republics under their control. They promised that that would not be done.

However, under President Clinton, those assurances were broken. And so a number of the former Soviet bloc states are now members of NATO. Further, the United States under Trump backed out of an agreement with Russia not to install intermediate range missiles in Europe. So if Ukraine joined NATO, Russia would have NATO bases on on its borders, with the possibility of intermediate range missiles, which could be a nuclear armed, close to its border and pointed at Russia, a situation that obviously it would not want to tolerate and one of the reasons it demands that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO.

A further instance of President Clinton’s assurances being broken about the US not trying to bring ex Soviet Union republics under its control was in 2014, February and March 2014. It’s been seen quite clearly that the United States and NATO helped engineer a violent coup in Ukraine, which overthrew the democratically elected Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych, and installed a government dominated by far right elements through the virulently hostile to Russia and pro-NATO.

And one of these groups was the neo-Nazi ASOV battalion, now part of the Ukrainian National Guard and notorious for its savage attacks on the Russian speaking people of eastern Ukraine and the shelling of residential areas in the Donbass region.

So, following that coup, called the Euromaidan coup, by the West, there was a virtual civil war in Ukraine, with the Eastern area of Ukraine, not wanting to be under the control of this newly engineered right-wing government. Hostilities (broke out) between the east and west of Ukraine,(and) to prevent this, the Minsk II agreement was signed between Russia and Ukraine. It (Minsk II) stipulated that the Russian speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine would enjoy regional autonomy while remaining part of Ukraine. Although this agreement was brokered by Germany and France, and supported by the United States, the Ukrainian government has refused to implement it. This led to Donetsk and Luhansk declaring their independence from Ukraine and forming the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic.

Now Putin and actually, his intervention, his invasion of Ukraine, was allegedly to get rid of this neo-Nazi battalion and support the people of eastern Ukraine from attacks by that battalion and Ukrainian armed forces. That so called justification has been put out by by Putin. You could understand (how) with that background, this might happen. But nothing in this history justifies one country invading another, even for such reasons; and certainly peace groups in Australia with the Independent Peace Australian Network (IPAN) have condemned that invasion. Whilst understanding some of the reasons why it might have occurred, there is no justification for that and the war that’s taken place.

So that’s the bit of background, as I put it in because the Minsk II agreement, if it was reinvigorated after a ceasefire, might lead a way to finding a peaceful solution, which Minsk safeguards the peace and security of peoples in the region, if it was actually returned to and implemented.

Why should the Australian government change tack and insist that it’s allies in the conflict (the US, UK and NATO) call a ceasefire in Ukraine?

The Australian government has been sending arms and military equipment to Ukraine. And that was one of the points made just recently in an IPAN media release [IPAN Urges Australian Government to call for a Ceasefire in Ukraine – 23 September 2022]. That media release, actually called on the Australian government to support a ceasefire in Ukraine. And the call for a ceasefire and negotiations, leading to a situation which safeguards the peace and security of all people in the region. That call has been made by China and by India. I’ve noticed that in the Australian mainstream media, I haven’t been able to see any mention or recognition or acknowledgement that China has called for a ceasefire in this war in Ukraine, and UN has called for negotiations to an agreement, which would lead to peace and security for all people in the region – Ukrainians, Eastern Western and Russian people too.

And IPAN has called on the Australian Government in this most recent media release (23 September 2022), to change its tack on Ukraine to support such a ceasefire and negotiations and to urge its allies, like the United States and NATO to also support a ceasefire. No progress can be made towards peace until a ceasefire is actually implemented and agreed to. And indeed, IPAN has pointed out that United Nations involvement is probably essential with a UN peacekeeping force to supervise such a ceasefire, whilst negotiations might start and a true solution which recognizes the security concerns of all people in the region, that is in Ukraine and the Donbass region, and Russia, and anyone else. A solution which will ensure their peace and their security, because the only people that suffer; not the only people that suffer, but the main people that suffer in this war in Ukraine is ordinary people noncombatants, including children. That’s the trouble with war being used as a means of trying to solve a conflict.

Only by negotiations around the conference table, can peace be really achieved and the solution achieved, and that involves always a little bit of compromise here and there to bring an end to a conflict, which is causing such hardship and such suffering for the ordinary working people. That’s men, women and children in Ukraine; and for that matter, also in Russia, where for families have lost many soldiers in this war, and are no doubt suffering, also.

The war has also caused suffering to Europe in the sense that the United States has surged European countries not to buy oil or gas from Russia, and other commodities, in order to put pressure on them. To get out of Ukraine, and that is causing hardship to the people of Europe as well. So there’s every reason to want to bring to an end the war in Ukraine, for the sake of the people with the region, and, and for peace. So the call on the Australian Government by IPAN, has been for supporting a ceasefire, the call that India and China have made, and support for negotiations for a security solution, which will meet the needs of the people in the region.

And in addition, IPAN has called on the Australian government to stop sending arms and military equipment, which is only prolonging the war.

What is the main priority for peace activists in Australia regarding this conflict? 

Preventing an escalation, of course, is equally important, because Putin has mentioned using weapons of mass destruction if necessary. And the United States military have said, Yes, we would respond if that happened. So are we talking here about nuclear weapons? That would be a fearsome situation, if such an escalation led to the use of nuclear weapons, and everything must be done to stop that.

So the first priority is not only for that reason, but for peace is to in fact, call for a ceasefire. And as far as Australia is concerned, to put all the pressure we can on the Australian government to change its position of feeding the Ukraine military with the equipment which is prolonging the war, and to join the call (by India and China) for a ceasefire and negotiations.

How do we do that? Well, this means getting the support of a broad section of the Australian people to bring pressure on the government to lobby those members of the government like Greens and some Independents, to get them onside and to lobby the other MPs to get them onside …. when they see a broad movement in Australia, and they see protests, meetings, and those sorts of actions.

For example, recently, there was a statement printed in the Saturday paper and the weekend Australian signed by about 1,000 Australians, including organizations calling for us good idea not to go to war was calling on the Australian government not to be involved in a war on China and to cease war preparations for that purpose and not to allow Australian territory to be used and further to sign the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

That was an action which showed a strength of Australian opinion. Over one thousand (1,000) people signed and they donated money, something like $20,000 to put these advertisements in two major national papers, actions like that, meetings rallies, writing to your members of parliament, writing letters and newspaper all the usual stuff (is) needed to develop the strength of opinion that the government cannot then resist and realize(s) this, as electoral consequences for not listening to the people, then that way, actions occur for the better. So let us hope that the call for the ceasefire and negotiations is heeded and supported by the Australian government and its allies.

AAAC Advert calling for peace with China

Is the US involvement in Ukraine in the conflict, an attempt to weaken Russia? And if so, why?

Well, my opinion, that is one of the motivations of the United States. It sees Russia as a competitor, as it sees China and the imperialists, those who represent the interests of the huge corporations who want to exploit and make money out of other people’s resources, and indeed, using their labor. They see Russia as competitor and China’s competitor, and they want to reduce and weaken their influence. And I think it’s been said, by commentators, and it’s been said by some representatives of the United States government, that weakening Russia is to their advantage, and prolonging the war to the last Ukrainian is in their interests. That’s United States imperialist interests. Of course, not the interests of the Ukrainian people.

Bevan Ramsden (IPAN)
29 Sept 2022

Some QANTAS workers are more equal than others …

The Australian government sold Qantas for $2.1 billion in two tranches, first by a sale of 25% to British Airways in 1993 and the remaining 75% by public float in mid-1995. At about the same time the Australian government sold all the major airports in Australia.

Previously in 1992, the Australian government sold its publicly owned domestic carrier to QANTAS. Australian Airlines, publicly owned, was one of the most profitable airlines in the world. Roll on 30 years to the COVID19 pandemic in 2022, QANTAS has a revenue of over $5.9B.

QANTAS leases many of its planes while its jumbos, the A380s, are in mothballs with their pilots stood down.

Who does own QANTAS in 2022? Is it owned by foreign hedge funds and financial institutions? Who owns the QANTAS debt? Are the government’s rules against foreign ownership effective?

In 2009, QANTAS CEO Alan Joyce took ‘the Cobar option’, that is withdrawing all work from its employees; standing them all down with the threat of the sack. He got management to load and unload the planes. This was unsafe. The Fair Work Commission endorsed this move by QANTAS. They threw up their hands knowing it was unfair. Joyce threatened to sack all QANTAS workers again if they were re-instated under fair work conditions.

Not for the first or last time. Such moves by the Fair Work Commission have generally favoured employers and had bipartisan support in the Australian parliament.

At no stage did the peak union body, the ACTU, mount a strong industrial campaign against secondary boycotts. This could have saved Qantas workers.

In 1989 the airlines sacked all the pilots and the government replaced them with military personnel. The government refused to repeal sections 45 D and E of the Trade Practices Act which made secondary boycotts unlawful.

These laws were introduced by the Fraser government during the live export of cattle dispute in the late 1970s to crush the meatworkers union.

Similar laws are now used against all workers and their unions that stand up to companies like QANTAS demanding a fair go.

Secondary boycotts are essential because workers can impose black bands against a company that is not treating its workers fairly.

Also, unions can impose green bans for social and community issues – environmental issues – on companies that insist on polluting with the burning of fossil fuels.

So the secondary boycott’s strength is that one set of workers could go on strike against their own company and try to influence their company’s dealings with a third party company.

In this case, subsidiaries of Qantas could be supported by, say legacy staff, that are employed directly by Qantas; for example, people on the ground could refuse to load baggage onto planes where they feel that the Qantas stewards employed by the subsidiary company are being treated unfairly. That’s 4PR – voice of the people. Let’s go out with Dusty Springfield singing ‘Windmills of your mind’.

Ian Curr
6 Sep 2022

Top Guns

Disrupt Land Forces

This week’s show is about disrupting arms fairs. That’s right, the Land Forces weapons expo is on again in Brisbane at the start of October, and the community is mobilising again to disrupt it. I talk to organiser Margie Pestorius and to investigative journalist Michelle Fahy about the arms industry’s dirty links to government.

Playlist

Lowkey – Hand on your gun

Zelda Da – Jangan Bunuh Kami LagiAUS

Ryan Harvey -It’s bigger than a war

The Wild – We will drive these warlords out

August 19, 2022

Transcript

Margie Pestorius 

I’m Margie Pestorius, and I’m with the organization Wage Peace. And we’re looking at disrupting militarism in Australia, the rise of militarism, especially with the weapons corporations here,

Andy 

Yes. Well, quite topical talking about weapons corporations, because in Brisbane, in six weeks or so there will be a convergence of weapons corporations, called Land Forces. Can you tell us about it?

Margie Pestorius 

Well, it’s a massive weapons exhibition. And there’s a gathering of arms dealers; or people would-be arms dealers, there’s a lot of money around the arms dealers at the moment. So everybody gathers in Brisbane to sell what they’ve got, but mainly to try and get as much money out of the government as they can for either real projects or fake projects. So the money sloshing around, they all gather there in the Brisbane Convention Center. They make deals, it’s about 30 Billion a year at the moment that they’re transiting around themselves.

Andy 

$30 billion a year, quite a lot of money. And so, I mean, what kind of corporations are we talking about that gathering here, Land Forces,

Margie Pestorius 

The biggest weapons corporations in the world will be there. Many from the top 100. But definitely many from the top 20, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, the big American ones, Boeing, Boeing has a special relationship with the Queensland Government, of course, but also the German company Rheinmetal, which also has a special relationship with the Queensland Government. And companies such as Tallis, the French weapons company, but they what happens is they get the money from the government and then they disperse it to smaller … to a set of smaller enterprises. So all of those small enterprises all wanting a bit of a cut of the cake, that will be there as well.

Andy 

They’re, you know, small Australian companies that get a contract doing a part of a job for Rheinmetal or BAE or Lockheed Martin or something.

Margie Pestorius 

That’s right, those big companies, they get the sort of overall tender for a new tank, a jet fighter or a ship. And then they then divided up into smaller companies actually, mostly they divided amongst themselves first. And then after they divided amongst themselves, they then divide it up into smaller and smaller companies. Another company that’s quite notable, I think, is NIOA, which is an Australian company, Brisbane based … its… it made it sort of …. it managed to grow itself quite rapidly by getting a tender for all the police guns in Australia for importing all the police guns in Australia. And now it’s sort of moving into the missile sort of arena, which is the fastest sort of booming area in Australia.

Andy 

Hopefully not for the cops, the missiles.

Margie Pestorius 

Well, I think no, I think they’ve they’re sort of they’ve moved … the cops were their jump up. They’re sort of, you know, how they grew their business. And now they’re moving into military, defense contracts.

Andy 

Okay, well, I mean, police guns has been a topic of its own in recent times, especially following the death of Kumanjayi Walker, and in Yuendumu; there’s talk about the use of police firearms. So I mean, that’s one way that weapons have come up in our discussions, public discussions about justice and freedom and things like that, but Um, I mean, overall, what are? Why should we resist something like the Land Forces conference?

Well, for starters, it’s a huge waste of money. There’s a lot of, there’s so much money, you have to have some corruption with that money. You see a normalization of militarism, you see a push to sort of normalize militarism across all social sectors, including schooling and education university, you get a push by the arms dealers to take over, you know, elements of the university, you know, the best paid positions at the moment at the universities, where you have weapons companies, engineering companies sort of moving in for high level technology. But really, and then you get the actual ethical issues of where they’re rolling out the actual violence, so that some of its for money on one hand, but on the other hand, they are rolling out violence. So they are anti cops, for example. But they’re also arming, for example, the Indonesian military. And you get, you get the sort of the the, the objects that are actually being used, such as the transport vehicles, tanks, attack helicopters, and small arms, a lot of small arms. So they’re moving company countries like Indonesia, or buying those from the corporations and corporations, or even the offices of the ministers in these in most of the states, that pushing these weapons, and buying getting huge tenders, huge contracts. And then they’re being used in a place like breast pump one, to actually take control of indigenous lands, dispossessed indigenous tribes, deforest those lands. So they’re the front, the military is in the front of the enforcement of the extraction, the colonial extraction. And so if we’re going to peel back colonial colonial colonization, and decolonize, we’re going to have to deal with this. This pointy edge of militarization, which enforces extraction, enforces land stealing, enforces the dispossession of First Nations people.

Andy 

Yeah, there’s sort of two entities and they one is the frontline and of the weapons industry, which is where the weapons get used and trying to keep that in attention, while people are talking about just trade show jargon about products and things like that bring attention to where the weapons are used. But there’s also the kind of back end of lack the political corruption, the personnel revolving door and the lobbying of the arms industry and things like that in Australian politics.

Margie Pestorius 

One of the ways I explained it, this is one of the only places where the money goes directly from government to contractor, because the government’s are the dealers, you know, they’re the deliberately Defense Department. So the money just comes straight in from, for example, the fossil fuel industry, where they do even though the center life tax, they didn’t get a lot of money out of the fossil fuel industry. And then that money then has to be used somewhere. So they, they pushed out through the arms industry. So that’s the sort of the money dealing the ridiculously large projects that don’t ever really start or never get in the way or have big failures, then those vehicles and objects don’t ever get used. For example, jet fighters haven’t been used since that 1950s. Last time, they’ll use early 1950s In Korea, but we’ve had a whole we’ve bought fleets, fleets of them, between the 1950s. And now they’ve never been used as jet fighters. So there’s these ridiculous probe programs from assist the transfer of large amounts of cash into the private arena. But as you said, we’ve also got these areas where the weapons do get used, but mostly they’re small arms, transporters, tanks, you know, military vehicles and attack helicopters, drones, getting used drones get used for surveillance and finding people and they get used themselves to drop bombs on people and target people, target missiles. So, you know, so we do have a group of people who are victimized, directly victimized, and mostly that’s First Nations people first, but also people standing up in their own countries for justice, as the civil resistance, you know, you know, in many of the Global South, are being targeted by their own states with these weapons,

Lowkey – Hand on your gun 

Andy 

You’re on the Paradigm Shift on 4 triple Zed, that song you just heard is lowkey with hand on your gun, though I’m coming to you courtesy of my wife Bek who put it on the other day, a topical one for what we’re talking about. With a shout out to a few of the biggest arms companies in that song and they will be in Brisbane, from the fourth to the sixth of October for Land Forces Weapons Expo. I’ve been speaking with Margie Pestorius about what land forces is and why people are getting together to disrupt it. Let’s go back to that.

Andy 

Back to land forces. It’s a convergence of 100 or more weapons industry companies in Brisbane at the convention center. Now last year it this happened and there was a big resistance to it organized by disrupt land forces, I guess do you want to talk talk a bit about what happened last year?

Margie Pestorius 

Yeah, well, we, our idea is to disrupt it enough so that they don’t come back, they don’t come back to this community. Hopefully, they won’t come back to any community. But we making sure they don’t come back to this community and not wanting to hear they’re not welcome. So there’s a sense that we’re going to make things unpleasant, and make them feel unwelcome. And we’re going to find different ways of doing that. But you know, that’s not that nice. So we also have to find ways that that keep us connected, and make sure that we’re having enough of a good time to keep doing it because we have to be really persistent. So we’ll get quite a few days before it starts, we’ll look at how we can disrupt the bumping (?) how we can disrupt the vehicles going in and the setup, the big tanks going in the trucks, food, all the stuff that goes into a big conference center, we’ll also be having a sort of almost like a festival of ideas, we want to tell the stories of Radical Brisbane, we think there’s not it’s not a surprise that this is happening. This sort of resistance is happening in Brisbane because Brisbane has such a strong history of, of radical resistance. And we’re drawing on that we’re drawing on the community of that we’re drawing on the memories of that and we want to tell those stories. We want to bring people together. We want to remember that this city was militarized Aboriginal people here were militarized. And we want you know, we want to tell those stories, but we want to tell them in a way that’s also disruptive. So we want to find ways of also making the people attending unwelcome and having a really horrible time. It’s smelly time, noisy time, the time where people just tell them you are not welcome in this town. So there’ll be a mixture of different sorts of tactics, we’ve got ‘unwelcome clowns’, u’nwelcoming clowns’, or we might have other people who actually tried to stop vehicles going in there the sort of things that we did last year, I imagine those sorts of things will pop up again next year.

Andy 

Some things are the same this year, I mean, it’s going to be in the same venue at the Convention Center. And I guess a lot of the companies will be the same. And a lot of the groups are getting together to be part of disrupt land forces, probably the same other are there things that will have changes between last year and this year?

Margie Pestorius 

Well, I think, be more international visitors, because the international borders are open. So they did have international visitors last year, but they, I guess is most of them came through the embassies. And people were travelling, rich people and government people were traveling. But my guess is we’ll have more visitors from overseas this year. You know, this, each of the states are buying each of the states trying to sell. So. And they do that both in partnership with the big corporations. So I think that that’s one thing, let’s see different. But you know, Andy what we’re wanting is, especially for the people of Brisbane to come down, it’s quite, it’s quite a long time, it’ll be over seven days that the conference itself was only three days, but we like to prepare, so that by the time we’re starting people are ready, they know what they’re doing they are connected and having fun, and then know what sort of things are going to suit them to participate in participating but creatively when people come down with creative arts and music, creative theater, sort of … we’re ordinary people just trying to take back space in the streets of South Brisbane and make sure that these South Brisbane streets are not taken up by the arms industry, for its ???

Andy 

The militarism and the weapons industry and the army, I guess, have a lot of propaganda on this side. Just look at the most popular movie this year is, you know about the Air Force and whatever. And of course, cultural and as well as advertising and things like that. But land forces, there’s not so much public discourse around it. Is it just the government and the industry? Do they try to keep it quiet? Or are they trying to promote to the public what’s going on there?

Margie Pestorius 

I reckon it’s there that people are just not looking at it. This is one of the amazing things about Australia is we we go through life without blinkers on and we don’t look at things that we find uncomfortable or difficult or that we don’t want to know about. I think it’s a bit like the climate crisis slump for a long time, people didn’t want to look at it because it was too painful to own up to what was going on. And then you get through that you get through that period. And then you’re like, Alright, let’s do something about it. I think we’ve got to be going through that period with the weapons industry for a while. And I know that for me to go and look at what was going on, it’s not hard to find, you just have to subscribe to a couple of military magazines. And they tell you every day, you get a media release every day about a deal that’s been done or contract being signed, it’s all in plain sight. Where are they putting that information? It’s not hard to find that I don’t think they’re hiding it. So yeah, it’s just, you know, specialist if you like, especially sort of information. So we’re look, we we want people to go and look and start to not be avoided and expose yourself and just notice what’s going on. Because it’s pretty, it’s can be a little frightening. But we’re finding we’re getting wins. I mean, even last week, there was a STEM Education and Defense conference in South Brisbane. And we put pressure on one of the presenters, which was, which was a, which is quite a large community organization that was presenting their on some work that it does drones, I won’t say the name of the organization, but they did pull out. And we found that you know, if people actually put them under the gaze and under a community gaze and so what are you doing with weapons corporations? What are you doing presenting at a conference that’s sponsored by weapons Corporation for weapons business? And, you know, they’ll pull out because they know it’s the wrong thing to be doing?

Andy 

All right, well, if people are interested in disrupt land forces, how can they find out more info and potentially get involved?

Margie Pestorius 

We have a terrific site at disrupt land forces.org We’re just saying how it is. That’s what we’re doing. We’re disrupting land forces, the weapons exhibition, disrupt land forces.org. You can go there and there’s a couple of different places you can sign up to participate. Come to our public meeting. We’ve got a public meeting on the 10th of September and it’s going to be a great public meeting, drawing connections to the history In this town Aboriginal history and the way surveillance, incarceration and militarization have continued to subject Aboriginal people over time and and the way that non First Nations people have been caught up in a sort of pretense about that so we need to it’s about sort of opening ourselves to these ideas and to come along to that and get to know us there’s lots of places that you can join you don’t have to be right down there in the thick of things we’ve got a great kitchen group we’ve got lots of crafting happening in music you know there’s there’ll be a place for you whatever you’re interested in

Andy 

Alright, thanks very much Margie.

Reflections on peacekeeping in Egypt & Palestine

Let them sign what they like. False peace will not last. – Yasser Arafat after the signing of peace agreements between Egypt and Israel.

Lieutenant Kristy Miles was with the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) in Sinai Egypt set up as a result of the original UN peacekeeping force in 1947. Under the agreement between Israel and Egypt, Palestinians are confined to the Gaza Strip thus making it the largest open air prison in the world. Here is Lt Miles’ reflection on deployment to the Sinai in 2020. Her most powerful recollection was of a video she saw of a Palestinian woman trying to bottle feed her baby in Gaza. Here are Lt. Miles’ recollections given in Anzac Square in Brisbane /Meanjin as the keynote speaker at the Australia Peacekeepers annual celebration organised by the United Nations Association of Australia. Her keynote speech was given on 28th May 2022 before the governor of Queensland, Jeanette Young, to a crowd of peacekeepers, military, united nations community of ambassadors, consuls and volunteers from India, Rwanda, Turkey, Cyprus, Indonesia, Portugal, Japan and the Queensland Country Women’s Association.

Meanwhile the apartheid state of Israel’s merciless war against the Palestinian people continues apace with no UN intervention, no peacekeepers. This is despite the UN’s sponsoring the settler state of Israel in the Middle East. The Australian Attorney General and Minister for External Affairs, Dr H.V. Evatt, as President of the United Nations Assembly oversaw the partition of Palestine into the apartheid state of Israel. This resulted in al Nakba (the catastrophe) for the Palestinians in 1948. – Ian Curr, 30 May 2022.

Lt Kristy Miles: Good morning, Your Excellency, distinguished guests, family, friends. I’m beyond privilege to stand before you and share some of my reflections on peacekeeping. Knowing that you who stand before me have made extraordinary contributions to the effort. Thank you for lighting the way. 

Of all the images and video I saw in my time as serving as part of Operation Mazurka. There’s one image that still haunts me. The image is of a Palestinian woman living in the Gaza Strip, who sat crouched in the dirt beside an open fire under a tarp bottle feeding her baby. My immediate thoughts were questions like was that breast milk she was using? If so, how does she keep it cold? Is it formula? If so, does she have a steady supply? Is it in date that she needs to water it down to make it last? I lived in Canberra first world city and even I dealt with formula supply issues have been limited to two tins per purchase when it wasn’t already sold out.

These questions raised around my mind and led to my immediate memories of bottle feeding my own son. As a first time mum, I was incredibly pedantic in matters of hygiene around his food preparation. I remember scolding my very patient husband, because he had used tap water instead of cooled boiled water to make up Tommy’s formula. Or he had used this water God forbid, instead of the sterilizer when cleaning, humorous now to look back upon, especially these days when I find Thomas sharing his plate of food without dogs, not encouraged, but also not certainly prevented.

But that image was just a glimpse into the life of a mother feeding her child in the harshest of circumstances.

This image was a glimpse into how we are allowing large areas of humanity to survive. This image of a woman who could be me and a child who could be my son. The UN International Day of peacekeepers is observed as a chance to pay tribute to personnel, both uniformed and civilian, for their invaluable contribution to peace, as well as observe the more than 4000 souls lost serving under the UN flag since 1948. As briefly mentioned, my peacekeeping experience late in my time deployed on Operation Mazurka.

 Operation Mazurka is the Australian Defence Forces contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers commonly referred to as the MFO. The mission of the MFO is to supervise the implementation of the Egyptian Israeli peace, treaty of peace and employs best efforts to prevent any violation of its terms …”best efforts”.

The UN’s 2022 message on this day is ‘people peace, progress, the power of partnerships’. Today I would like to share with three reflections that speak to today’s theme and how they are shaping my pathway. People self destructive ignorance, or consuming greed, turning happiness into a commodity, the weaponization of fear, and grotesque narcissism.

These five behaviors while expertly summarized by Christopher Waltz have been contemplated, argued and demonstrated throughout history as inherent flaws of humanity. In my experience, self destructive ignorance was usually my greatest barrier in conveying an assessment. It was at times incredibly frustrating relaying trend analysis based evidence that spoke to an inconvenient or uncomfortable truth. Just to be told, I don’t believe that’s happening.

Disrupted ignorance is not about belief. It is about ignorance of evidence. I learned our best efforts as humans is to ensure we are not banding together, disingenuously to acknowledge an issue and then dismiss the evidence because it is too problematic to act upon. I understand the responsibility to be aware of inherent flaws, and actively find ways to combat them.

Peace in 2020, I was underprepared for what peacekeeping really meant. I often tried unsuccessfully to understand why there is peace, and why there is war … until it was put to me recently in another way, who benefits from peace? And who benefits from war? Does it really come down to all consuming greed and the weaponization of fear?

To save the succeeding generations from the scourge of war, UN founders chose those words for the charter on the back of two devastating wars. It is argued by some that we are currently living in the most peaceful era of recorded history. This statement, however, means very little to the humans currently living through the atrocities of the 20th and 21st century. When you think of the technology and lessons we have today, and then overlay them on to places such as the Ukraine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, the list goes on. How can anyone truly justify this as the most peaceful era? Or is that or is this their intent, rationalizing this as our current best efforts at peace?

I’ve learned our best efforts navigating to a global understanding and live definition of peace is going to take time. I understand the responsibility to not become complacent while this time goes by.

Progress, the MFO is a meaningful example of progress in peace. It is not perfect, but it is working. I reflect on Einstein statement that peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of justice, of law of order. In short of government. No war is the first step to that progress. I learned the best efforts of humans facilitating meaningful and lasting progress to peace doesn’t always look how you think it will look. I understand the responsibility to be patient.

The UN has embraced the observance of international days such as international day of UN peacekeepers, as powerful as a powerful advocacy tool. In an effort to contribute to the awareness and action required on issues such as peace. I would like to close with these thoughts on the power of partnerships in terms of family.

The MFO was not my first deployment, but it was my first peacekeeping experience. And it was my first time deploying as a mother. My son was just 11 months old when I left. I missed many firsts. First birthday, first steps. But I’ve gained an insight into peace and a possible meaning of life. There had I not been a parent, I believe I would have missed.

So while I understand you’re just becoming acquainted with me. If I may be so bold as to add another P. to today’s things been Parenting. It is my firm belief that peace starts in your home. If you have been afforded the privilege of parenthood, you have a larger part to play in world peace than you may initially realize. As parents we need to be thought leaders, models of acceptable behavior, safe places for growth, development, resilience, and failure in order to facilitate future ambitions of peace. If we are practicing peace in our homes, there is a better than good chance you are going to send peace into the world. I am of the belief that an individual can make a difference. The next step is understanding that you, your children, and the people they influence will be those individuals. Thank you for your time.

The ‘Greensland’ Election

The Greens have won Brisbane, the party’s third gain in Qld, two from the LNP (Brisbane, Ryan) and one from Labor (Griffith). The Greens now have four House of Reps seats with the party still in the race for the Melbourne seat of Macnamara. – Antony Green ABC’s Australia Votes.

Apparently there is more to an election than handing out how-to-vote cards.

Today on the Paradigm Shift (12-1pm, 102.1fm or 4zzz.org.au) we look at the remarkable electoral success of the Greens in Brisbane. I speak to their two successful campaign managers Liam Flenady (Griffith seat) and Esther Vale (Ryan) about how the campaigns built, what it means for Australian politics right now, and their hopes for parliament. – Andy Paine

Life wasn’t meant to be easy under Albanese

Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful.” – George Bernard Shaw in Back to Methuselah. Malcolm Fraser (Prime Minister 1975-1983) paraphrased Shaw saying: Life wasn’t meant to be easy. This became Fraser’s best known line.

The Liberal Party has suffered an historic defeat under Morrison and both major parties have had their lowest ever primary vote with only 35% voting LNP and 32% voting Labor. About 12% voted Green. The Liberals are such dills ignoring the secular base of the party for the religious right. Morrison even brought in his own candidates in NSW. People who do not represent their community and so lost out to independents. Their alternative leader Josh Frydenberg even lost his seat. Peter Dutton just survived in Dickson in Queensland and may end up leading the party.

Antonio Albanese is the first Italian-Australian Prime Minister. His father was from South-East Italy and his mother was Irish Catholic.

The Greens are unlikely to have balance-of-power in the house of representatives and will sit on the cross benches with the TEAL (liberal) independents as a third force in the parliament. Climate action is their main focus however Greens leader Adam Bandt has signalled that he will press the Labor government on inequality in health and housing. On the cross benches for the Greens, we will see Max Chandler-Mather (Griffith) and Elizabeth Watson Brown (Ryan) in the house of reps and  Penny Allman-Payne and Larissa Waters (Qld) in the senate from Queensland. In NSW, former NSW Greens parliamentarian, David Shoebridge, gets into the senate. Other wins for the Greens are Lidia Thorpe in Victoria, Peter Whish-Wilson in Tasmania, Dorinda Cox in Western Australia and Barbara Pocock in South Australia.

New managers of capitalism in Australia
Labor wins power at a time when capitalism is in severe crisis. Will Labor attempt social reform and put Dental and Mental into Medicare? How will they fund it? By cutting government subsidy to private health funds? Not likely. The new treasurer Jim Chalmers is right-wing Labor from Queensland and may resist the pressure for reform to both health and education. On housing Labor has made a big fuss over Albanese having been raised in public housing. With record house prices, the new managers of capitalism in Australia will struggle to arrest growing inequality in housing, record low wages and real unemployment.

Meanwhile in the background is Australia’s billionaire Simon à Court who is pressing for more government subsidies for renewable energy and electric cars by giving some financial backing to the TEAL independents. True to form the billionaire wants taxpayers to foot the bill for these reforms and is not willing to put up his own billions. Holmes à Court may be looking to be an Australian Elon Musk.

Assange
As Albanese goes to the QUAD meeting in Tokyo it is unlikely that he will raise the plight of Julian Assange with President Biden and if he does he will get short shrift from that spiteful administration who still blame Assange for Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 Presidential election.

Refugees
On the bright side, the Tamil refugees will get to return to Biloela but Labor is unlikely to look too kindly to new boat arrivals having first introduced mandatory detention in the early 1990s.

Socialism
Inequality was raised as a major concern by the Greens in the 2022 election campaign. However a socialist redistribution of wealth is unlikely to come from the Greens or Labor. Movement on that front will only come from the bottom up. Antonio Albanese is certainly no Jeremy Corbyn. He won’t be singing the Red Flag on election night.

Life wasn’t meant to easy under Albanese.

Workers of all countries unite!

Ian Curr
Ed., 23 May 2022.

العودة The Return العودة

“We travel like other people, but we return to nowhere … we have a country of words” – Mahmoud Darwish

They began by shooting the militants; then they shot the children throwing stones; and when that was not enough, they began shooting the medics; and finally they are shooting the journos. Israeli snipers have shot over 36,000 Palestinians since the March of Return began in 2018. With such a savage repressive state it throws into question: will non-violent resistance will be enough in the Palestinian struggle for Return?

Shireen Abu Aqleh was assassinated by Israeli occupation forces
This experienced was journalist wearing a blue helmet and vest with ”PRESS” written over it and was murdered by Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday 11 May 2022.

Journalists on the scene explained how Israeli snipers targeted their colleagues. The first three bullets fired at the scene were misses then one hit a male journalist (in the back) then when Shireen shouted that he was hit, she was killed with a bullet beneath the ear. Her colleague was transfixed fully expecting to be the next person shot. But a Palestinian climbed over the rock wall behind her and tried to give assistance. Then they fired at him. Why? The Israelis in the jeep nearby were likely to have been the murderers. And remember they were in Jenin where Israeli bombs fell like rain only a few years before, levelling the refugee camps. What did they expect? That people would not resist? Even children understood these cowardly acts fully funded by the US government. Now the US congress are voting almost unanimously to send arms to Ukraine even tough there is a shortage of baby food in the US ATM.

So people marched with Shireen’s coffin from Jenin to Jerusalem, thousands joining them on the way. So Israeli police deploy shock troops, stun grenades, tear gas, smoke bombs. It is not enough. So the settlers go to the empty homes of the mourners and put in their own furniture and occupy the buildings of the Palestinians. This is colonialism supported by the US, supported by the UK, supported by all the settler states, including Australia. Shame on you all!

But shame is not enough. Nor is the International Criminal Court under the influence of American liberals.

Our condolences go out to the sisters, brothers, and comrades in the struggle of five million people who struggle for the right of return to Palestine.

Ian Curr
14 May 2022

Songs
Phil Monsour – I left my heart in Palestine
Allie Sherlock & Three Buskateers – Dreams

 The Return - العودة