10 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. Thanks John
    I find it amazing Bishop and the LNP seem so concerned for a Criminal tribunal to try the perpetrators of the Ukrainian Malayasian Airlines atrocity yet we do not see the same outrage or the necessity for the prosecution of the villains of the Iraq invasion and mass murder thereafter. We now see proposed LNP amendments to the Commonwealth Criminal Code to excuse “collateral” civilian deaths to our killing targets irrespective of the foreseeability of these. Is this to get the lying rodent out of jail ? Surely each represents an initial illegal act followed by foreseeable deaths/murders.

  2. @David

    Not to mention the USS Vincennes shooting down Iran Air Flight 655.

    “Rogers was personally criticized for being overly aggressive by Commander David Carlson, commanding officer of the USS Sides, a second ship that was under the tactical control of Rogers at the time of the incident. Carlson claimed that the downing of Iran Air 655 marked the “horrifying climax to Capt. Rogers’ aggressiveness, first seen four weeks ago”. He was referring to incidents on June 2, 1988, when he claimed that Rogers brought the Vincennes too close to an Iranian frigate that was searching a bulk carrier, that he launched a helicopter too close to Iranian small boats, and that he fired upon a number of small Iranian military boats instead of directing another, smaller warship to do so. In disagreeing with Rogers’ decision – citing the high cost of the cruiser relative to that of the frigates attached to the group – Carlson posited, “Why do you want an AEGIS cruiser out there shooting up boats? It wasn’t a smart thing to do.”

    The USS Vincennes, with Rogers remaining in command, completed the remainder of her scheduled deployment to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and she returned to Naval Station San Diego on October 25, 1988. During the voyage home on September 22, 1988, the Vincennes rescued 26 Vietnamese boat people adrift in the South China Sea.

    Rogers remained in command of the USS Vincennes until May 27, 1989. In 1990, Capt. Rogers was awarded the Legion of Merit decoration “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer … from April 1987 to May 1989.” The award was given for his service as the Commanding Officer of the Vincennes, and the citation made no mention of the downing of Iran Air 655.” – Wikipedia.

  3. @David
    The unfortunate reality is that, although morally reprehensible, the Howard government’s participation in the invasion of Iraq didn’t in itself constitute a crime that was prosecutable by an international tribunal at the time (or now). The SEARCH Foundation submitted a complaint to the ICC a few years ago alleging that Howard had committed crimes under articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute (Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes), but to any legally trained person, it was clear that the complaint didn’t disclose any evidence of violations of those articles by Howard. It’s very likely that the decision to invade would constitute an instance of the crime of aggression, but that crime was not an operational offence under the Rome Statute at the time, due to disagreement between the parties to the Rome Statute over the definition of aggression. A definition was agreed and inserted into the Statute in 2010, but the jurisdiction is subject to State consent. Predictably, none of the major powers have yet ratified the amendment that includes the definition (nor has Australia, although apparently the intention is to do so). But the Rome Statute prohibits retrospective prosecution (correctly in my view), so when the crime of aggression comes into force with respect to Australian nationals, it will still not be possible to indict Howard under it.

  4. @Tim Macknay

    That sounds correct to me, without going off and double checking. I will take your word for it. Bottom line is that in terms of realpolitik, the great powers ignore international law (such as it is) whenever it suits them. John Mearsheimer’s “offensive realism” theory is worth a read. I agree with him albeit with some caveats. His “free roaming” freedom of operations thesis for a hemispheric hegemon presupposes no other hemispheric hegemon and also conflicts with Paul Kennedy’s strategic over-reach thesis (which latter thesis I agree with). Russia and China when cooperating (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), or at least when not directly conflicting, constitute in total a hemispheric hegemon equivalent. Their combined land control, land resource control and defence in depth are all massive We can also mention the population base (mainly in China) and the nuclear weapons (mainly in Russia).

    Economics cannot ignore political economy and in turn political economy cannot ignore geostrategy. That, among many other imponderables, makes economics a very fraught field.

  5. Footnote to above. If J.Q.’s thesis is correct that surface navies are obsolete or even semi-obsolete, then this only strengthens the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s position. The great land mass of Asia becomes even more strategically significant.

  6. Ta Tim

    Have you considered the High Court’s War Crimes case irrespective of the Statute of Rome ?

    It seems to me Howard’s actions[being a party] are not merely a moral aberration but a conscious participation in or a knowing reckless disregard to the consequences of the bombing of Iraq and its civilians. The point I was trying to make it is, irrespective of the Statute of Rome, within our political and legislative competence to prosecute by retrospective legislation if necessary to prevent the avoidance of criminal responsibility[severe] of our citizens. Remembering the massive opposition to the invasion at the time why should we all be tainted with this criminal stain.

  7. There is an interesting interview on Counterpoint with Amanda Vanstone and Allen Behm who says that it is possible that if Trump is elected, he could be impeached and replaced. He says that the institutions of the USA were deliberately set up to prevent people like Trump taking complete control of the country.

    Behm says that there is enough resilience in the US political system so that Trump would be a very bad president but he won’t be able to do what he wants and that he could find himself in serious trouble with Congress possibly almost immediately because of his tax returns for example and they could remove him as president. Behm says it has been done before but doesn’t provide any more information.

    Who would they replace him with?

    If anyone can listen to the self-satisfied and hubristic Vanstone – why is the ABC so poor they cannot provide transcripts anymore? – it is interesting to hear her raise all the excuses that right wing people (and some others) are using to justify their desire for Trump to win and Hilary to lose.

  8. @johnquiggin Thanks for yesterday’s lecture. Here is an outline of how we can use the Internet to fix many of the problems you identified. If these are adopted then there will be plenty of money for a “universal basic income”.

    We have an expensive financial system because it is being asked to do an impossible job. Governments create money tokens. Banks create money tokens. The value of the tokens is said to be the same because we want money tokens to be fungible. But the token values are not the same because a loan to me is a greater risk than a loan to the government. Money tokens have value because they earn interest even when not being used. Get rid of interest on money tokens and give a return by giving back more money tokens that have no interest. All money tokens now have the same value of zero.

    Take away the value of money tokens, and there is no money market. But, there is a market for loans. Any entity can issue a loan because money tokens have no value and we know who created them and who is responsible for them. We can keep track of the tokens, and we can buy and sell them. Markets in this form of money are easy to set up on the Internet.

    The financial sector will shrink because each loan converted to these new forms of money saves the cost of compounding and the cost of inflation because we can adjust the return on each loan individually. Most loans will move to this new loan form.

    Money tokens do not have a time value. Discounted cash flow cost benefit is no longer the way we will choose between investments. We will now find it better to invest in long-term assets.

    Because we no longer allocate money by a money market, we allocate money by a political process. In particular, we can price the use of natural monopolies with high upfront capital costs like Broadband, Water, Roads, Ports, Open Source Software, Renewable Energy, so that the price discourages excessive use and they make a profit. We distribute the profit to those who fund it by giving them back more money than they received (not ownership) and to those who made less use of the shared resource.

    Taxation is enforceable because we tax by taking some of the profits by setting the price.

    It becomes difficult to move money to tax havens.

    With the Internet, we can identify the source of any object such as a document, painting, program by tracking its distribution. It solves the problem of intellectual property because can charge for authenticity, not for content.

    The systems to do all this are complex adaptive systems, and they will evolve to fit the circumstances. (My day job is designing and building these systems.)

    We do not have to have a revolution because we can change loan by loan and keep the current financial system intact – just smaller.

    Here is a proposal I have submitted to the Canberra ICRC on water pricing. It uses many of these ideas and will save the ACT community a minimum of $70M yearly in interest charges. https://kevinrosscox.me/2016/09/08/water-rewards-submission-to-icrc/

    Here is a blog post saying much the same as above.

    PS. I am the person who asked the question about zero cost money.

  9. @David

    The point I was trying to make it is, irrespective of the Statute of Rome, within our political and legislative competence to prosecute by retrospective legislation if necessary to prevent the avoidance of criminal responsibility[severe] of our citizens.

    Yes, it would certainly be possible for Parliament to legislate to (for example) introduce the crime of aggression with retrospective application, which could then theoretically be used to prosecute Howard (and potentially the other members of Cabinet and Australian top brass at the time). There are arguments against doing it, of course, particularly as the degree of retrospectivity involved seems to exceed other instances of retrospective legislation (as you probably know, the War Crimes Act, which was at issue in the War Crimes Case, retrospectively defined acts was war crimes which would have been serious crimes in Australia at the time they were committed in any case). However, if general antiwar sentiment continues to grow in Australia and internationally, it is not inconceivable that legislation of that kind might be enacted.

  10. As Donald Trump sues the New York Times for libel, The NSW Upper House, based on the same smears, labels Donald Trump a “revolting slug”

    We note that the NSW upper house has passed a motion by Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham (pictured left) condemning Donald Trump and endorsing a description of the him as a “revolting slug”, thus perpetuating a shameful campaign by the United States’ mainstream media. This article contains a letter from Donald Trump’s lawyers in response to the libelous article published by the New York Times October 12, 2016 entitled “Two Women Say Donald Trump Touched Them Inappropriately.”

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