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BOMBOCRACY: The Musical, plus three men in a boat

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There were three ravens sat on a tree
They were as black as they might be

The one of them said to his mate
"Where shall we our breakfast take?"

Down in yonder Iraqi soil
A feast of blood, a sea of oil.

"Will not they rise with sword & gun
To send us back to kingdom come?"

From sky we'll strike with shock & awe
And then Marines will kill some more.

Add phosphorous, jails, uranium
Pain & pandemonium.

"When all is done", asked raven of mate,
"Where shall we our breakfast take?"

Down in yonder Iranian soil
A feast of blood, a sea of oil.

No foreigner on earth is more loyal to George Bush than Australian Prime Minister, John Howard. This week, he will be rewarded with a "black tie" State dinner at the White House. Lights, cameras, fiction! This re-bonding of blood brothers with a shared aptitude for lying and law-breaking will shake the chandeliers with songs of freedom, even as both keep shredding the freedoms of their own citizens.

On Howard's arrival in Washington, George Bush presented his mate with magnolia saplings taken from the grounds of the White House, that today will be replanted in the grounds of the Australian embassy. Another "photo-op" that violates truth. Neither leader cares too hoots about trees, emissions, Kyoto or climate change. On Mothers' Day, anti war activist Cindy Sheehan, who was demonstrating outside the White House with flower bedecked supporters, reportedly called John Howard a fool. If only. Unlike fellow Christians George Bush and Tony Blair, whose rape of Iraq he fervently embraced, the Australian leader has tightened his grip on the electorate. Even more so than Bush,
John Howard was well aware that the pretext for the invasion was concocted. When first shown the Australian intelligence assessment, Howard was stunned: "Is that all there is?"

Howard is more Bush than Bush. He loves Guantanamo Bay. He applauds Military trials. He let Australian army officers help the Pentagon try and suppress the truth about Abu Ghraib and the pain management centre at Baghdad Airport, Camp Nama, run by US Special Forces. When corporate media finally lifted the lid on secret CIA torture tours - long exposed by bloggers - John Howard was probably the first head of state to make an offer of secure transit facilities in Oz. Our Prime Minister is that kind of guy. He can't help himself. To this day, he still thinks the Vietnam War was a noble escapade. When the US started inching towards a police state, so did we, only quicker. John Howard has legalised secret trials. He is introducing a national identity card. He has enfeebled the rights of workers. Today a retiring Federal judge, Ron Merkel QC, warned that the intrusive powers of government agencies are being allowed to expand unchecked. Etc etc. The worse it gets, the more the Australian public dozes off.

This is no mean feat. Howard has convinced the over extended mortgage belt that he can keep interest rates subdued. He has silenced the students by making them debtors. He has pacified the perplexed with bread, sport and brass bands, accompanied by the 44,000 strong evangelical choir of News Corporation, singing "Roll Out the Barrels".

Many citizens are so grid locked by melancholia and workaholia, that all they want from media is entertainment. Like tobacco ads, the evening news should carry an alert, "any connection between our edited footage and what really happened is accidental". Three seconds of smouldering helicopter wreckage in Basra and shots of raggedy children hurling stones is what passes for war reportage on corporate networks, "be the first to know" " and the last to understand. Where is the context? Not in the print media. It's capacity to probe is shrinking faster than Arctic ice. Anyway, who has the time?

In Baghdad in April, almost 700 civilians were "murdered as a result of terrorist activity"< http://www.>. More accurately, murdered as a result of a sequence of terrorist activities, starting with the Coalition's unlawful invasion of Iraq. Many of the bodies were found bound, gagged and mutilated. Who by? Death squads. Who is in charge of these death squads? Why, none other than Iraq's Ministry of the Interior, according to several reports. Veteran war correspondent John Pilger, among others, says the Ministry of the Interior is run by the CIA, which directs the principal death squads. "One unit was formed and trained by CIA counter-insurgency experts, including veterans of the CIA's terror operations in central America in the 1980s, notably El Salvador". Needless to say, Pilger's dissection of the Salvador Option has not spilled into the media mainstream. Shortly after his column appeared in the UK's New Statesman, the boss of the CIA, Porter Goss, resigned from the Agency for reasons he mysteriously claimed were "mysterious". In my naive way, I wondered whether his bail out could be connected to death squads.

Nah, the general contention is that it's to do with gambling and hookers. Which makes sense. At the CIA, death and torture is a core mission. So why the fuss over the proposed replacement of Porter Goss with an airforce General? When you think about it, the US air force has long been auditioning for the gig. Fading in memory are plucky skirmishes with the Luftwaffe .Today's "gallantry" is to bomb the sh*t out of countries that don't have an air force. Easy. Kill unseen strangers, get medals, die happy. As a commander of aerial death squads, General Hayden is well qualified to run the CIA.

On January 14, 2005 Newsweek reported rumors of "The Salvador Option," the use of death squads as part of the U.S. strategy to subdue the people we had allegedly come to set free. According to Nicolas J S Davies, in the Dirty War in Iraq, the "interior ministry units that are most frequently implicated in these abuses were formed under U.S. supervision and work closely with U.S. advisors - retired Colonel James Steele and former DEA officer Steven Casteel. Both are veterans of previous dirty wars" . .

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Richard Neville has been a practicing futurist since 1963, when he launched the countercultural magazine, Oz, which widened the boundaries of free speech on two continents. He has written several books, including Playpower (71), the bio of a global (more...)
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