Australian senator joins neo-nazi anti-African rally

This 2 May 2018 Australian TV video says about itself:

The foreign fighters in Ukraine who Australia’s laws won’t stop [because the Ukrainian far-right paramilitarists are sanctioned by the Ukrainian government]

When Australian former (?) Neo-Nazi and registered gun owner Ethan Tilling flew into Brisbane this year, he was returning under the radar of Australian authorities with newfound combat experience from a brutal and forgotten war. Read more here.

By Patrick O’Connor in Australia:

Australian senator participates in neo-Nazi rally

7 January 2019

After heavy promotion in the media, a neo-Nazi rally in Melbourne on Saturday gathered fewer than 150 fascists at St Kilda beach and failed in its aim of fomenting a pogrom against young people of African background. The most politically significant aspect of the rally was the presence of federal Senator Fraser Anning who openly solidarised himself with the white supremacist racism of the neo-Nazis.

The rally was organised amid an ongoing, racist campaign by the media and political establishment over so-called “African gangs” in Melbourne. Whether an incident of theft and assault is reported as news or not now depends on the colour of the alleged perpetrator’s skin. If black, then the spectre of “African gangs” is immediately invoked. The press previously promoted the threat purportedly posed by the so-called “Apex gang”, even after the police admitted no such group existed. In the last month, a new alleged gang, comprising children aged between 14 and 17 and labelled “Blood Drill Killers”, has led to further lurid headlines.

Several openly fascist groups, led by the United Patriots Front, sought to capitalise on the media-stoked xenophobia by organising an event to “take back” St Kilda beach. United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell, a convicted criminal and admirer of Adolph Hitler, organised the provocation in a Melbourne suburb that has a large Jewish population. Just days earlier, neo-Nazis stuck swastikas on a nearby aged-care home. Fascist supporters openly discussed in online forums their hope to recreate the violence seen in Cronulla, Sydney in 2005, when Muslim beach-goers were attacked by a racist mob incited and encouraged by media shock jocks.

Senator Fraser Anning promoted the rally last week through several racist posts on Twitter. The day before the event, he posted a digitally altered image featuring black men with knives alongside a burning Australian flag, with a statement labelling “black Africans” as “grubs” who “hunt in packs like stalking jackals.”

Anning appeared alongside Cottrell during the rally. Several of those in attendance were recorded giving the fascist salute, while one appeared wearing an SS helmet.

A massive deployment of police was ordered by the Victorian Labor Party government to prevent a confrontation between the neo-Nazis and a far larger counter-demonstration organised by anti-racist groups.

Anning later denied that the event was a “racist rally” and falsely declared that the only Nazi salutes were given by the counter-protestors. The Queensland senator described the fascists as “decent Australian people”. Anning also defended claiming parliamentary subsidies for his return business class flight from Brisbane to Melbourne to attend the rally, declaring it was “official business”.

Anning was elected to parliament in 2016 as a member of the extreme-right One Nation Party, only to subsequently defect to the Katter Australia Party. He now sits as an independent, following the furore over his parliamentary maiden speech last August, in which he called for a return to a “White Australia” immigration policy. Combining ferocious anti-communism with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim demagogy, Anning demanded a “final solution to the immigration problem.”

Anning’s attendance at the rally has provoked an outpouring of utterly hypocritical criticism in the media and by mainstream political figures. The chief responsibility for Anning’s presence in the parliament, and the emergence of fascist groupings like the United Patriots Front, lies with the entire Australian political establishment. For decades, successive Liberal-National Coalition and Labor governments have stoked paranoia over refugees attempting to enter the country. Since 2001 and the launch of the “war on terror”, the Muslim community has been vilified and persecuted as potential terrorists to justify Australian involvement in the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the US-led intervention in Syria.

Since 2016, under conditions in which Australia is fully aligned with the US military build-up in Asia and preparations for war with China, a new campaign has developed alleging that Australians of Chinese background are potentially a dangerous fifth column for the Chinese regime.

In every instance, the scapegoating is intended to divert mounting social tensions into reactionary nationalist channels and protect the interests of the corporate elite. Amid a worsening economic and political crisis, its purpose is to promote division and backwardness and cut across the development of unified working-class resistance to deepening social inequality and hardship.

Twelve months ago, in an open pitch to a narrow extreme right wing constituency, then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull denounced “African gang crime,” alleging that it was responsible for “growing lawlessness” in Victoria. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton followed with the claim that people in Melbourne were “scared” to go out to dinner because of “these gangs”. The federal Labor opposition joined in by criticising the government for not handing over more money to the Australian Federal Police.

The state Victorian Labor government of Premier Daniel Andrews responded by boasting of its “law and order” credentials, including locking up children in adult high security prisons, increasing mandatory jail terms for various offences, and increasing police spending by an unprecedented $2 billion, expanding the number of officers by 20 percent.

The entire media, from the Murdoch press to the state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation, has given prominent coverage to so-called African crime on the one hand, and has increasingly promoted various right wing and openly fascist formations on the other.

In January last year, Channel 7 News featured a segment describing Blair Cottrell and other fascists as “patriots”, and promoting their attempt to create violent vigilante groups as “a kind of neighbourhood watch.” The ABC reported a December 28 provocation staged on St Kilda beach by fascist Neil Erikson—who aggressively video-recorded a group of black youth peacefully playing soccer—as a “clash” between “activists” and “youths of African appearance.”

The Australian ruling class, steeped in colonial genocide and white nationalism, has a long record of promoting racist divide-and-rule policies. However, the emergence and promotion of neo-Nazi tendencies now reflects international processes.

Fascist movements in Europe and other regions have emerged due to high-level sponsorship from within the state apparatus. In Germany, for example, the neo-Nazis in the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) were designated the official opposition party in the Reichstag despite winning just 12 percent of the vote. The German fascists also benefitted from support from the media, academia, and within the security apparatus, including the secret service. In Italy, the ultra-right Lega party has been brought directly into the government.

The small attendance at Saturday’s racist rally in Melbourne—despite the wide media coverage beforehand—underscores the absence of a mass constituency in Australia for fascism. The involvement of Senator Fraser Anning, however, must be taken by the working class as a serious warning. Extreme right-wing forces now enjoy open support from within the federal parliament. There is no reason to doubt that, just as in Europe, they have sympathisers within the state apparatus, including the military, the police and intelligence apparatus.

The New Year statement published by the WSWS on January 3, “The Strategy of International Class Struggle and the Political Fight Against Capitalist Reaction in 2019”, explained: “Fascism is not yet, as it was in the 1930s, a mass movement. But to ignore the growing danger would be politically irresponsible. With the support of sections of the ruling class and the state, right-wing movements have been able to exploit demagogically the frustration and anger felt by the broad mass of the population.”

The statement continued: “In this situation, the fight against the resurgence of extreme right-wing and fascistic movements is an urgent political task. All historical experience—and, in particular, the events of the 1930s—demonstrates that the fight against fascism can be developed only on the basis of the independent mobilisation of the working class against capitalism.”

More ministers quit Australia’s disintegrating government: here.

Lockheed militarism at Australian university

This video from the USA says about itself:

How Our Politicians Became Glorified Weapons Salesmen

7 August 2016

Despite Obama’s cuts to the military’s weapons budget, top US military contractors’ such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northop Grumman are still raking in growing profits. These multi-billion dollar merchants of death have turned to other markets to make up the difference and more. The results are disastrous for the world and the American people. Naomi Karavani reports on this and more on Redacted Tonight.

By Eric Ludlow and Will Morrow in Australia:

Arms maker Lockheed Martin opens University of Melbourne research centre

30 December 2016

Behind the backs of the student body, the University of Melbourne has agreed to host a leading new research centre for the American arms manufacturing giant Lockheed Martin.

The decision represents a further step in Australia’s integration into the US global military build-up and Washington’s preparations for war against Russia and China.

The $13-million Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory (STELaR Lab) will open its doors in 2017 at the university’s Parkville campus. According to Lockheed Martin Australia, it will be the first “multi-disciplinary R&D (research and development) facility” established outside the US.

It is inconceivable that such a decision could be made without the active involvement of the highest levels of the American and Australian states, in tandem with the university chancellor. Lockheed Martin (LM) is the largest arms maker in the world. It is responsible for developing some of the latest, and most highly-coveted, American war technology, the secrecy of which underpins Washington’s ability to remain militarily in advance of its geo-political rivals. LM’s designs include the next generation of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter combat aircraft, as well as Hellfire-II missiles, the signature weapons of Washington’s fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, which have become synonymous with the Obama administration’s criminal wars in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen.

STELaR Lab will play a major role in advancing this technology. According to an August 1 report in the Age, one of its goals will be “developing sophisticated computer software to help direct attacks” on targets. LM Australia and New Zealand chief executive Raydon Gates said it would develop “the ability in a conflict situation to analyse that data and then make the correct decision.” This technology is crucial for waging war against a major adversary, which involves attacking targets from multiple positions at once.

The lab will develop on “autonomous systems, robotics, command, control, communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” according to the arms maker’s web site. It will also focus on development of hypersonic aircraft, which travel at more than five times the speed of sound. The US already conducts hypersonic aircraft tests at the Woomera testing range in South Australia.

In other words, unbeknownst to students and staff, the University of Melbourne is being made into a central node for Washington’s preparations for new wars.

STELaR Lab’s inaugural director is Dr. Tony Lindsay. Linday’s role underscores the central involvement of the US and Australian governments. From 2005–2008, Lindsay worked in Washington as the Department of Defence’s top science diplomat at the Australian Embassy. His last position was at the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group), the Australian government’s lead agency for developing military technology. DST Group is the second largest publicly-funded research institute in the country, with an annual budget of over $400 million and a staff of 2,300, mainly scientists and engineers. Lindsay headed DST Group’s National Security and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance division.

Less than two months before announcing the new centre, Lockheed Martin Australia placed former Australian Labor Party leader Kim Beazley on its board. Beazley was ambassador to the US from 2010 until February 2016 and is highly connected and trusted among the upper echelons of the American state. He earned the nickname “bomber Beazley” for his enthusiastic support for military spending and US-led wars, and is being rewarded with a seat on the board of the Australian branch of the largest US arms manufacturer, where he will help oversee its direction.

Liberal-National Coalition Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, as well as Stephen Conroy, then Labor’s shadow minister for defence, and Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews, all attended STELaR Lab’s launch on August 2. Pyne made clear that the centre’s establishment was part of a broader effort to integrate the universities into the military-intelligence apparatus. The government was committed to “build the innovation capabilities of Australian industry, academia and research institutions and to deliver innovative solutions for Defence capability,” he said.

Professor Iven Mereels, Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering, has stated that the faculty is “looking forward to joining with Lockheed Martin to pursue training opportunities in systems engineering in support of the significant defence effort presently underway in Australia.”

According to the Australian on August 5, LM’s regional head Raydon Gates said the site selection for STELaR Lab followed a rigorous internal evaluation process. He noted that Melbourne was one of the strongest performing university cities in the world, behind Boston and London. In recent years, however, Melbourne has been made a regional hub for US and Australian military research and development. This has taken place alongside Australia’s growing integration into the Obama administration’s military-build up throughout the region as part of the preparations for war against China, under the “pivot” to Asia.

In 2010, the DST Group—then under Kevin Rudd’s Labor government—together with the Victorian state government and the University of Melbourne, established the Defence Science Institute (DSI) on the university’s Parkville campus. DSI’s stated purpose is to “build defence science research networks” and “assemble disciplinary teams including defence scientists and engineers.” It hosts regular symposiums where researchers present before other teams and representatives of giant arms corporations.

DSI also funds specific research projects. One of those publicly acknowledged is led by RMIT University into “unmanned aircraft systems” that can fly and harvest their own energy in “urban environments.” Yet another, which has “significant contributions from the DSI and US army,” involves development of artificial enzymes which may “decontaminate nerve agents … offering protection to war fighters and civilians in a range of chemical and biological threats.” In other words: research for urban conflicts and chemical-biological warfare.

In October 2014, LM established its Asia Pacific Information and Communication Technology (ICT) engineering hub at Clayton in Melbourne, which is also the location of Monash University. There is little information available about its operations. LM says the centre would “secure Commonwealth government and international contracts, particularly in South Asia and the Middle East.” It would “expand existing local skills in online security, data management, applications development, and larger-scale IT services,” expanding the “local skills base” for LM’s cyber centre in Canberra.

In 2015, Oxford University announced a Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre—the first of its kind outside the UK—in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong. The Andrews state Labor government concurrently announced a new Oceania Cyber Security Centre: a collaboration of eight Victorian universities, including the University of Melbourne, “with the broad aim of engaging industry to develop research and training opportunities for dealing with cyber security issues.” It is located alongside the Oxford University centre.

These announcements followed the formation of a national Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) by the Rudd government in May 2008. It is located at Swinburne University in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn. It received $30 million from the federal government and another $52 million from industry and state governments.

DTMC’s website states that it targets “areas of defence priority where an Australian industrial capability footprint already exists.” Its research is focussed on advanced materials for armoury, watercraft and aircraft. DTMC comprises a core staff of 60 full-time equivalent employees, mainly scientists, in industry, research centres and universities. “Core participants” include RMIT University, Swinburne University and the University of Melbourne. It also networks with smaller-scale advanced manufacturing companies.

Because of its history as a centre of manufacturing, Victoria also has a broader community of small-scale advanced manufacturing companies that can be integrated into war production. The state is contributing 70 percent of Australia’s input into LM’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Students and staff at the University of Melbourne should oppose the establishment of the latest centre and the broader effort to transform the university into a bastion of military research. The US military build-up is part of Washington’s preparations for a new war that threatens mankind with nuclear catastrophe.

On December 22, the Australian, Rupert Murdoch’s national flagship, reported: “Fears are mounting within the Liberal Party that maverick South Australian senator Cory Bernardi is set to split from the Coalition to spearhead the new Australian Conservatives party, with an announcement expected in the new year. The conservative firebrand and his ‘very close friend’ Gina Rinehart met key members of US president-elect Donald Trump’s campaign team, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, in Washington last month, fuelling fears the senator might have the support of Australia’s richest woman to bankroll the party and dilute the Liberals’ support base”: here.

The University of Adelaide announced in October that military technology giant Lockheed Martin had become the first partner of the university’s new Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML). The institute will be based at the “innovation precinct” known as Lot Fourteen on the seven-hectare redevelopment site of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital in the north-east of the South Australian state capital: here.

Research at Australian universities increasingly is being placed under government control and surveillance, seeking to more closely integrate it into the requirements of the corporate elite, clamp down on criticism and prepare for war-time conditions. As well as vetoing peer-reviewed research grants, the federal government has imposed a more stringent “national interest” test for future grants and cut overall research funding, except in military-related fields: here.

Michael Brown, Eric Garner protests all over the world

This video says about itself:

Friday December 5, Melbourne Australia. Ferguson Solidarity action at US Consulate shut down major thoroughfare St Kilda Road for an hour. All struggle is connected. Action again in two weeks.

From Newsweek in the USA:

Ferguson, Eric Garner Protests Spread Worldwide

By Paula Mejia

12/6/14 at 5:53 PM

The recent non-indictment rulings of two high-profile cases involving white police officers and black Americans have been followed by protests in hundreds of American cities, and totaling thousands. Protests have been raging on since August, when Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed the unarmed young man Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Earlier in the summer in Staten Island, New York, officer Daniel Pantaleo placed Eric Garner in an illegal chokehold that killed him. Activists have been calling for indictment charges for the officers responsible for the men’s deaths.

The protests, which demand a focus on civil rights and accountability for police brutality, are sprawling outward from the United States and internationally. On Saturday, activists in Tokyo took to the streets in protest. Demonstrators held up photos of the late Michael Brown, as well as signs reading “Tokyo stands with Ferguson” and “America, the world is watching.” No arrests have been reported. Revolution News reports that Ferguson demonstrations were held in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday.

Colorado, USA: Hundreds of students from metro Denver area high schools, a middle school and and at least two K-8 schools, walked out of class on Friday and marched to the city’s municipal center. The students were taking part in a third day of demonstrations in response to grand juries in New York and Missouri deciding not to prosecute police officers who killed unarmed black men: here.

Occupy Melbourne, Australia attacked by police

This video from Australia says about itself:

Occupy Melbourne

Police are removing the surrounding protesters

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Melbourne police use force to kick protesters out of plaza

Friday 21 October 2011

by Our Foreign Desk

Riot police in Melbourne, Australia, broke up a demonstration linked to the Occupy Wall Street movement today, after a group of around 100 people protesting against corporate greed defied an order to vacate a plaza.

Between 15 and 20 members of the Occupy Melbourne group were arrested and around 20 people, including two police officers, suffered minor injuries in the scuffle.

Around 100 activists in Melbourne had been camped out in the square without incident since October 15, many spending each night there in tents.

But the Melbourne City Council said that it had had enough and warned protesters to leave by Friday morning or face trespassing charges.

Most activists ignored the eviction order, linking arms and forming a human chain.

Police fenced off the square and refused to let any additional protesters join the group.

Occupy Melbourne spokesman Jacob Grech said that the demonstration was peaceful, and that the protesters had a right to remain where they were.

But riot police with shields eventually moved in, dragging people away and forcing them to stay behind a fence surrounding the square.

Around 20 protesters suffered minor injuries, and that one police officer was treated at a hospital for an injury to his eye.

The activists who were arrested could face charges including trespassing and resisting arrest, he said.

Police broke down the campsite, removing tents, food and possessions found in the plaza.

A violent operation, involving hundreds of riot and mounted police, the Critical Incident Response Unit, the dog squad and plainclothes officers, was launched yesterday against the Occupy Melbourne protest camp. At least 95 people were arrested, many after being brutally assaulted by multiple police officers. Demonstrators were kicked, punched and blinded with capsicum spray. One was hospitalised after two police pinned him to the ground while another kicked him in the groin: here. And here.