Author: Binoy Kampmark

  • AUSTRALIA

    The man who sank the myth of controlled nuclear warfare

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 18 October 2016
    2 Comments

    The late Professor Desmond Ball of the Australian National University's Strategic and Defence Studies Centre came as close as any on being a public intellectual on nuclear strategy. While some of his counterparts in the US felt that using nuclear weapons was feasible and sound, Ball issued his pieces with mighty caveats. 'Controlling escalation', Ball ventured, 'requires both adversaries to exercise restraint, and current US policy is to offer a ... mixture of self-interest and coercion.'

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  • MEDIA

    History will pardon Snowden even if Obama won't

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 22 September 2016
    9 Comments

    The relationship between the whistleblower and journalism has not always been a neat one. The tendency for symbiosis to become positively vengeful is evidenced in the Washington Post stance on Edward Snowden's whistleblowing activities. Having scooped up a Pulitzer working on the Snowden findings, the paper got nasty. There was little need for the paper to wade into these waters, but the editors obviously felt so strongly about Snowden it went for the jugular with seething conviction.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    History can't absolve Serbia's great demon demagogue

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 30 August 2016
    8 Comments

    In the savage wars of the Balkans during the 1990s, the identification of good sides over bad meant evil had to be singularised, culprits found to galvanise resistance. One such figure was Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic. His death in a Hague cell in March 2006 had the effect of suspending arguments about responsibility from any legal scrutiny. Earlier this month, British journalist Neil Clark suggested he had in fact been exonerated for his role in war crimes and crimes against humanity. He's wrong.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Remembering forgotten wars as fallen soldiers return

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 07 June 2016
    5 Comments

    Thirty-three bodies returned to Australia last Thursday in the country's largest repatriation of dead servicemen and their dependents, including six children. All of the dead were connected with Australia's involvement in overseas conflicts which have been archived and, in some cases, forgotten altogether. Returning the fallen has been a contentious matter. In some cases, the issue has been politicised, with dead soldiers discarded for being the immoral instruments of disputed foreign policy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bob Ellis the gifted troublemaker

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 05 April 2016
    7 Comments

    Ellis' work is a prime example of the notion advanced by the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre: that committed literature, and the act of writing, are political and ethical acts. Even in a film script, one can ponder social political change. Always of the left, but never formally the structured party man of faction and following, the dishevelled, sometimes wild Ellis proved contrarian even to Labor stalwarts. There were never pious reflections, or unqualified praises.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Greens' senate reform spin is sweetened nonsense

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 23 March 2016
    19 Comments

    The idea that these laws are, as Twomey writes, 'more conducive to representing the genuine choice of the people in electing their Senate' is untrue. It is a view expressed by Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale, who suggested 'the Senate that's delivered after the next election is the one people vote for'. What these voting reforms actually serve to do is give the false impression of eliminating manipulation while diluting Australia's political base in favour of monochrome party politics.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The baby Asha problem in Australia's refugee policy

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 24 February 2016
    3 Comments

    On Sunday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton seemingly relented, allowing the child to be released into community detention rather than carting her off to Nauru. It has, however, been made clear that this is no prelude to settlement in Australia. Dutton's line goes to evenness in policy: 'We are going to have a consistency approach here ... intelligence out of Indonesia recently was that people smugglers were reporting ... there was going to be a change in policy.' None of these arguments passes muster.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Just War or just butchery in expanding Syria conflict

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 08 December 2015
    15 Comments

    The 'Just War' doctrine has made a reappearance, in the form of an endorsement from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The occasion was the debate in the British House of Commons to expand the air conflict against ISIL into Syria, in what is already a horrendously crowded airspace. The endorsement was filled with doubts, however, and rightly so. For all the surmising that has taken place, it is very difficult to see how one might bring the various enemies to the prosperity of peace.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Corporate benefit trumps public welfare in TPP

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 07 October 2015
    3 Comments

    According to WikiLeaks, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the 'icebreaker agreement' for what will be a 'T-treaty triad' which will ultimately apply to 53 states, 1.6 billion people and two-thirds of the global economy. Each of the countries was being sold the implausible idea that the agreement was too large not to sign, that this was the train of history that needed to be occupied, even if seating was in third class. What was on sale, however, was a dogma of corporate benefit rather than public welfare.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Dyson Heydon and the PM's quest for political purity

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 25 August 2015
    14 Comments

    The spectacle is a strange one. Heydon has to rule on an application that directly concerns his own fitness to be in the position. It recalls the situation Lord Hoffmann found himself in after his links with Amnesty International perceptibly compromised his views on extraditing Chile's former military ruler Augusto Pinochet. Even the best jurists can fall foul of the bias rule.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Magna Carta's spotlight on today's political arbitrariness

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 17 June 2015
    3 Comments

    It was far from democratic and arose from circumstances of pure opportunism, but the Magna Carta was created as a break on arbitrary rule and power. Therefore contemporary moves to undermine such principles as the rule of law are prescient. Australia's parliament commemorates its birthday even as it extends the reach of national security laws and endorses a draconian refugee policy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Government chipping away at our liberties

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 29 May 2015
    13 Comments

    There have been no violent usurpations. No coup. No acts of massive violence. But data retention laws have been passed. National security legislation protecting ASIO from all operations short of murder while punishing the disclosure of material on secret intelligence operations has been enacted. The stripping of citizenship of dual nationals is on the books. And more.

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