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Jeremy Bowen BBC interviews President Assad and what this has to do with Australia

The full text of the interview has been published by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

The interview inside between a BBC journalist, Jeremy Bowen BBC, and President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, is wonderfully calm, logical and informative despite the interviewer's many tendentious questions. Assad's analytical answers invite the viewer and journalist to logically evaluate reports which Australians are used to having presented emotively by anti-Assad forces. Assad's English syntax is sometimes unusual and the journalist at times fails to follow his statements and arguments. For instance, towards the end of the interview, Assad is asked if it is true that his government denied aid convoys access to areas held by the enemy. Assad's answer is that if they could stop aid convoys they would presumably be able to stop arms convoys. Since the areas are being bombed by 'rebels' continually, obviously they are unable to stop those arms. If his government were to stop any convoy, military interests would suggest it would be one bearing arms, not one bearing aid. Conversely, if the enemy fighters are able to import arms, then they should be able to import food. If so-called humanitarian organisations report that food is not arriving, but acknowledge that arms are, then the enemy is responsible for lack of food in a situation of well-armed violence.

Bashar al-Assad's performance seems so superior to that of Australian leaders that I could not help taking the comparison further.

Judging the Syrian leader by Australian leadership standards

During the Syrian conflicts President Bashar al-Assad has made himself available to journalists in a manner far freer than any Australian, US, British, French or German political leader. It is hard to imagine Australia's Prime Minster or its opposition leader being able to survive such a detailed interview about their conduct and policy rationale in Australia, say on democratic and humanitarian grounds. They simply are not morally, intellectually or educationally up to scratch and they expect journalists to stick to a narrow and predictable field.

The reader might exclaim that Australia is not currently in a condition of civil war and question the relevance of such comparisons. On the other hand, we are constantly told by the popular press that we are in danger of terrorist attacks. The much anticipated prospect of such attacks has been used to make fundamental changes to requirements of evidence, proof, right to know of what one is accused - requirements famed as having brought our legal system forward from medieval times. (See, for instance, "Action on inept anti-terror laws must get priority") So, if we are not at war, we are still treated as if we are in some kind of quasi-war state of emergency.

Why Syria is at war with terrorists and Australia only legislates against terrorism

Unlike the Syrian government, Australian politicians - government and opposition - toe the United States and NATO line, which many consider to be dictated by global financial institutions. (See, for instance, Sharon Beder, "Neoliberalism and the global financial crisis" (pdf)). This line is most unpopular amongst the general public who retain less and less of the available wealth or political power in this country, as suggested by high unemployment, housing unaffordability, foreign ownership deregulation, industrial conditions deregulation, privatisation and population growth engineering. Australia's farmers and its middle classes have lost almost all effective right to object to having their homes, livelihoods and environments torn up - by gas and coal-seam frackers and by state roads authorities and corporations to make way for state engineered population growth.[1]

So, what (apart from laws against secondary boycotts) keeps Australians from holding general strikes and standing up to their false leaders? Two things mainly:
1. Political disorganisation following on from social and geographical disorganisation carried out by successive governments and corporations, supported by a mainstream press and state press which have feudal-like tenure [2]
2. the well-known fact that people can now be arrested and detained without explanation in this country, a situation brought about by skilful use of the threat of terrorism to make us agree to the loss of our basic rights at law.[3]

In Syria, however, terrorism has been turned from isolated threats into brutal armies backed by the US-NATO alliance of which Australia and Saudi Arabia are both sort of client-states, and supported by aligned media propaganda. (See for instance, "Syria whom to support whom to trust?"

Here is a probable reason why Syria is at war on its own territory but Australia is not. Syria has or had until recently, a well-functioning dirigist economy and strong national identification by its people. Syrian law, based on French civil code and some local and sharia law supported this situation. The global financial forces do not like national solidarity. They don't like people's banks, free education and free hospital and medical care. If they cannot corrupt a state (as they appear to have done with Australia) they arm dissonant forces within it and send in mercenaries to back them up.

We have seen this in Libya, Iraq, Bahrain, Ukraine and Syria.

So, why isn't Australia torn by civil war? Because, despite the rising alarm of its people (whose current only option is to try to elect independents), Australia is doing the bidding of globalising finance, supporting illegal wars and turning its own polity into a feudal regime with a commodity economy overseen by foreign oligarchs and monarchs of a distinctly fascist outlook. Even our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has reinstituted knights and dames and recently even knighted British Prince Phillip in a move which, whilst decoratively redundant, could not go ignored and was probably not meant to.

Remember, Australia has no code of civil rights, subscribes to a bill of very vague 'human' rights,[4] and is sacrificing ordinary people's homes and farms to higher financial turnover uses - freeways for highrise rentals and quick and dirty coal mines and gas fracks.[5] The corporates and dynasties are taking over. Now we have a leader who takes knighthood seriously. The reaction is that he is ridiculous. But the reality is that he has formally, legally resurrected a major feudal institution, to bestow knighthoods on public figureheads of power. How far is Australia from a feudal state? What rights and obligations do knights have to the Australian PM and what obligations, if any, do Australians have towards them?


[1] See, for instance,
[2] See, for instance, ABC Bias; Murdoch media.
[3] Some would argue that our governments and the press that influences them got us into this mess by supporting illegal wars which have given rise to real acts of terrorism.
[4]Human rights.
[5] How corporate terrorism is dispossessing Oz farmers

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One can only envy other nations who have leaders who can communicate, think, talk and reason.

An American think tank, the CFR has labelled Abbott the most incompetent leader in the industralised world. I would say, by a wide margin. LNP apologists say that the issue is conveying the message, but the message itself is a dud.

It's not just Abbott though, its the entire entrenched "political class" which is the issue. There are barely better alternatives. A few elected members do exemplify good political stewardship, but they are exceptions, and without the support.

I think the Australian culture has an influence. Tall Poppy Syndrome holds back the capable, and there is a mistrust of those who want to be politically active and solve problems. Quite simply, our standards are low. Australia is run in the same manner that the British Raj ruled India. Just a resource to be used by the select few. Cronyism and corruption seems to not raise ire. Decisions and actions that would cause riots, protests and action in Europe seems to barely cause a murmer