Fatah leaks; Asylum seekers; al Qaeda; The NT Intervention

Fatah

Okay, so Fatah is stupider than we thought. An internal memo leaked to the Associated Press, described in the Independent.

The internal report issued by the Fatah department headed by the faction’s No 2 Mohammed Ghneim, says: “All hopes placed in the new U.S. administration and President Obama have evaporated,” and adds that the President “couldn’t withstand the pressure of the Zionist lobby, which led to a retreat from his previous positions on halting settlement construction and defining an agenda for the negotiations and peace.”

This is unbelievable. If the memo is an accurate reflection of Fatah thought, they actually believed Obama was going to end the occupation. The memo supposedly explains why Abbas changed his mind on the Goldstone report: I think it’s perhaps more likely that the memo was leaked to show that Fatah had principled reasons for the change, and that they really do care about Palestine. The UNHRC will meet after all on the Goldstone report. It won’t make much difference because of US rejectionism though. Note how Macintyre – unlike a certain correspondent – shows signs of having read the report:

The Goldstone report accused Hamas of possible war crimes but the bulk of it was devoted to parallel accusations against Israel including for allegedly targeting civilians, deliberately destroying infrastructure and using human shields in direct violation of international law.

Asylum Seekers

So it’s not easy to blast refugees and sound like a decent person. Instead, it’s become fashionable for politicians – like Rudd, but also Ruddock – to blast people smugglers as the worst people in the world. Effectively, it’s an indirect way of smearing the refugees, by saying the process by which they come to Australia is so criminal and evil, and tying them u[ indirectly with the alleged scum. Note how Ruddock deals with asylum seekers in the Australian:

Like its predecessors, the Howard government was faced with the challenge of unauthorised border arrivals. Yet for almost half a decade it managed to bring people-smuggling to an end. There are a range of measures that can be taken to contain people-smuggling.

It’s not a matter of refugees desperately seeking a refuge: no no, it’s dealing with damn people smuggling. The panic continues: “Only a fundamental rethink by the Rudd government of its immigration policy will bring this insidious people smuggling activity to an end.”

I can think of something more insidious than helping refugees find asylum. For example, politicians whipping up racism for squalid political gain.

Andrew Bolt, of course, is among the worst offenders in public discussion of the issue. But he at least exposes the hypocrisy of Labor.

It’s different when you’re in power. Screaming “racist” is suddenly no substitute for policy:

Kevin Rudd questioned during an ABC radio interview yesterday about Indonesia’s weekend interception of boatpeople headed for Australia’s Christmas Island:

HOST: What did you talk to President (Susilo Bambang) Yudhoyono about and what role did the Australian and Indonesian navies play in the fate of these asylum-seekers? Rudd: First of all the Australian government makes no apology whatsoever for deploying the most hardline measures necessary to deal with the problems of illegal immigration into Australia. No apology whatsoever…

Rudd as Labor’s foreign affairs spokesman, quoted by The Australian Financial Review on February 2, 2002:

THIS (anti-refugee sentiment) is emerging as an endemic problem across Western democracies and a real problem for … political management by centre-left parties like the ALP. The question is whether we are looking at a passing global political tactic … or whether we are looking at a real paradigm shift, a new generation of “yellow perilism” in this country and elsewhere.

In other news

Patrick Cockburn writes about the current state of al Qaeda, and there’s a good article on the NT intervention.

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