Back in 2007 the governments of Australia, federal, state and territory decided they would ‘close the gap’ in disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
Australians especially in seven types of social outcomes including: child mortality, early childhood education, school attendance, literacy and numeracy, completion of year 12 schooling, employment and life expectancy. Targets were set and an annual report
produced to assess progress.
The report for 2020 shows that while progress has been made in some areas, outcomes for only two areas, namely early childhood education and year 12 attainment,
were on track.
In the case of child mortality (i.e. those who die in the first four years of life) the position actually worsened. In 2018 the death rate among non-Indigenous was 67
per 100,000, the figure for Indigenous children was more than twice this at 141 per 100,000.
With early childhood education the target for 2025 is expected to reach 95% and as the figure
reached 86.4% in 2018 this target is expected to be reached. For non-Indigenous there was actually a fall.
School attendance rates for Indigenous children in years 1 to 10 was only 82%
and did not improve between 2014 and 2019. For non-Indigenous the rate was 92%.
For those aged 20 to 24 the target for Indigenous youth reaching year 12 rose from 45% in 2008 to 66%
in 2018-2019. The proportion of non-Indigenous reaching year 12 actually fell by 5%.
Employment rates for Indigenous has not risen markedly, rising only 0.9% to 49% between 2008 and
2018 while at the same time employment for the non-Indigenous fell 0.4% to 75%.
Life expectancy for the Indigenous has reached an average of 71.6 years for males and 75.6 years for females
over the years 2015 to 2017. For non-Indigenous life expectancy for males was 8.6 years and for females 7.8 years longer. While life expectancy for Indigenous did increase, that for non-Indigenous increased by at least as much, hence the gap remains. (1)
The report does not make a distinction between full blood and mixed blood Aborigines but it appears that the problems are worse in the remote regions where it could be expected that there
are a bigger proportion of full bloods. For instance in 2015-2017 the life expectancy for Indigenous males in remote and very remote areas was estimated to be 6.2 years lower than for Indigenous males living in major cities. For Indigenous females the equivalent
figure is 6.9 years. Life expectancy among non-Indigenous varies little between various states and territories but there is a noticeable difference between the Indigenous in say New South Wales and the Northern Territory where most Aborigines are full bloods.
Similarly the gap in child mortality rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous in NSW is much smaller than the gap in the Northern Territory. In fact the Indigenous rate in the
Territory is more than three times that of the non-Indigenous. (3)
What could be relevant to the difficulty in closing the gap is the higher fertility rate among Indigenous and the young
age at which Indigenous women give birth.
In 2008 the total fertility rate (TFR) for Australian women was 2.023 and this fell to 1.740 in 2018. Over the same years the TFR for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander women actually rose slightly from 2.368 to 2.371. It was a little bit higher in the northern Territory at 2.379. With fertility rates however what really stands out is the wide gap between young Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Among
teenagers (15-19 years) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have five times the fertility rate for Australian women and among those aged 20-24 years the rate is three times. From about the age of 30 the situation changes and Indigenous fertility rates fall
below that of other Australian women. (4)
Another controversial matter that never gets a mention is the IQ gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It’s been estimated
that the IQ of full blood Australian Aborigines is 62 although for mixed race Aborigines it is higher. (5) These figures are based on research done years ago and it’s possible that more updated research would give a different picture. Nevertheless high
rates of imprisonment, unemployment, teenage pregnancies and other social problems have been associated with low IQ. (6) On these social variables Indigenous do worse than other Australians.
To worsen matters, children’s mental abilities and success at school are affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) which comes about due to pregnant women drinking alcohol. Studies of Indigenous Australians show that about 12 in a hundred children
have the disorder. This is about 12 times the world average. (7)
Infant mortality rates (IMR) refer to the number of live born infants who die in their first year of life. In 2018 the
IMR for non-Indigenous Australians was 3.0 and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders it was 5.8 per 1,000 live births. The figure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait infants was based on figures from five state/territory IMRs and if more states were included
the figure might be a little lower. (8) The rate for Indigenous infants in the Northern Territory is much higher at 13 per 1,000 which has hardly improved since 2008 when it was 13.5. (9) More evidence that full blood Aborigines suffer more “disadvantage”
than mixed race.
A lot of this disadvantage would seem to stem from the problem of too many low IQ Aborigines having too many children at too young an age. It could be a case of breeding
inter-generational social problems.
How to stop or mitigate the problem? In a democratic country it is not possible to stop people having children any more than it is possible to force
people to have children. The social welfare and tax system could be tweaked a bit but so far this has not had much effect. The Gillard government substantially increased the level at which income tax starts, from $6,001 to $18,201, although this could hardly
be expected to affect the decisions of teenagers who have never had a job. (10) They also replaced the Baby Bonus with a much less generous New Born Allowance. The amount given to mothers of children through the so-called Family Tax Benefit A and B is pretty
generous and would act as an incentive for young women who have never had a job and are unlikely to get a job, at least a well-paid one, to have children. Added to this is that until the child reaches six or eight years of age the mother gets Parenting Payment
which is more generous than the Job Seeker (i.e. unemployment) allowance. (11) The situation is hopelessly dysgenic and no government in this country is likely to make it less dysgenic let alone eugenic.
As for closing the gap the future is not promising. Most Indigenous are of mixed race and practice high levels of miscegenation – in other words marry white people. (12) The result should be brighter children and this should mean fewer problems such
as crime and unemployment. In more remote areas the higher fertility rates among full bloods could mean that these social problems do not improve. We could quite likely see a situation where the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous shrinks but the gap
between full blood indigenous and non-Indigenous (and mixed race Indigenous) actually worsens.
Whilst many problems are genetic there has been evidence that good early childhood programs
(like the Head Start program used in the United States) does improve childhood IQ, although the improvements tend to wash out in adolescence. (13) Nevertheless it’s in the early years of school that children should be learning the basic literacy and
numeracy skills necessary in both life and further education so it would seem a good idea to provide such programs. It’s unfortunate that of all states and territories it’s only the Northern Territory that did not reach target in early childhood
(1) Australian Government, “Closing the Gap Report 2020”, https://ctgreport,niaa.gov.au
(12) Toni O’Loughlin, “Mixed Marriage Rates Rise in Australia”,
The Guardian, 6 April 2009
(13) Herrnstein & Murray, Op. cit. pp. 403-404
Infant Mortality and Fertility: Statistics from the ABS.Stat Beta page show that infant mortality rate (IMR) for
Indigenous Australians has tended to fall in most, but not all years since 2008 when it was 8.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. By 2018 it was 5.8 deaths. For the Northern Territory the decline has been less consistent, falling from 13.5 deaths in 2008 to 11.4
in 2010, before rising again, reaching 13.9 in 2016 and then falling to 13 deaths in 2018. The fertility rate for Indigenous women in the Northern Territory was 2.502 in 2007 but tended to fall reaching 1.99 in 2016 and then rising to 2.379. (1)
infant mortality rate for the Northern Territory is bad, but not as bad as that for black African nations. The CIA World Factbook gives the IMR for Botswana as 26.8, South Africa as 27.8 and the Democratic Republic of Congo as 64.5. For Papua New Guinea it
is 33.2 per 1,000 live births. (2)
Welfare for Single Mothers: Australia’s Centrelink gives a Job Seeker allowance for single unemployed adults of $550 a fortnight but single mothers can get the Parenting Payment of $790 a fortnight
until the child turns eight. Just for having a baby they can get the Newborn Lump Sum Payment of $560 plus Supplementary Payment of $1,679.86 spread over 13 weeks. They can also get up to $186 Family Tax Benefit A for each child up to age 12 and $242 a fortnight
for children 13 to 15, and in some cases up to $158.34 a fortnight Family Tax Benefit B. They can also get Rental Assistance up to $164.08 or $185.36 a fortnight depending on how many children they have. These are all means tested hence those who have been
out working and paying the most income tax get the least, if anything. (3)
Bruce Pascoe’s book, “Dark Emu” puts forward the claim that pre-colonial Aboriginals were not simply hunter-gatherers but that they were using domesticated plants, sowing,
harvesting, irrigating, storing food and in some areas even developing aquaculture. (1) His book, first published in 2014, has been on the best seller lists for some time, a second edition and numerous re-printings have come out and its contents and claims
have entered school texts and what is taught to children.
Recently Pascoe’s claims have been questioned particularly by Peter O’Brien in a book called “Bitter Harvest”.
(2) O’Brien claims that Pascoe omits, distorts and mischaracterises information to the extent that “Dark Emu” is pretty useless as history. Of the 264 references and notes in Pascoe’s book 22 are from the works of Rupert Gerritsen,
15 from Bill Gammage, 15 from Charles Sturt and 30 from Thomas Mitchell. Gerritsen and Gammage are modern day writers hence their works could not be considered primary sources – the evidence that historians rely on. Sturt and Mitchell are historical
persons, who in fact did explore and write about early colonial Australia and while their writings and journals could be used as primary sources Pascoe seems to have made a few mistakes in studying them. For instance he says Mitchell came across an Aboriginal
village of over a thousand people in Queensland but when O’Brien read the same journal he found no mention of such a large village in Queensland although it did mention a village in New South Wales. Pascoe also claims the explorers wrote of buildings
of superior construction but forgot to mention that the same explorers put this down to the influence of a runaway convict living with the Aborigines.
The construction of houses and
villages does not negate the idea that Aborigines were basically hunters and gatherers. The remains of buildings made of stone and more sophisticated than any that Pascoe claims the Aborigines built have been found at sites in the Middle East such as Gobekli
Tepe in Anatolia and Jericho and these are said to have been built by hunter gatherers. (3).
Pascoe also claims Aborigines were agriculturalists but does not give an example of any variety
of plant used by them that was a purely domestic form and not found in the wild. Proto-agriculture including the planting of naturally occurring seeds existed in regions of the world where early agriculture developed, and in some case thousands of years before.
(4) Pascoe gives an example of Aborigines seen planting seeds but as O’Brien points out this occurred in the 20th century and the Aborigines could have been copying what they had seen white farmers doing. He also writes of evidence of Aborigines
grinding seed for baking 30,000 years ago, long before the Ancient Egyptians were baking bread. O’Brien points out that there is evidence that Europeans also ground seeds 30,000 years ago.
Pascoe (whose Aboriginality has been disputed) seems to be part of the grievance industry surrounding Aboriginal issues and the history of Australia since white settlement in 1788. Basically it relies on a very sanitised if not romanticised picture of traditional
Aboriginal society stripped of the less savoury aspects. Pascoe does not mention intertribal violence or cannibalism for instance but O’Brien gives an example of both. O’Brien sees the grievance as growing the further removed we are from the upheavals
that started it. He calls for Aboriginal people to let this grievance go.
(1) Bruce Pascoe, “Dark Emu”, Magabala Books, Broome, New edition 2018
(2) Peter O.Brien, “Bitter Harvest”, Quadrant
Books, Sydney, 2019
(3) David Lewis-Williams & David Pearce, “Inside the Neolithic Mind”, Thames & Hudson, London, 2018, p. 31
(4) Bob Holmes, “Quiet Revolutions”, New Scientist, 31 October 2015
PREHISTORIC HUMAN: Genetic information has been retrieved from 800,000-year-old human tooth, believed to be from Homo antecessor. There appears to have been a close relationship between modern humans (Homo sapiens),
Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Homo antecessor. Remains of the latter were found in the Gran Dolina cave site in Spain. Facial features of Homo antecessor are similar to those of Homo sapiens.
AFRICAN NEANDERTHAL: While all non-African human populations have some Neanderthal ancestry it was assumed they played no part in the ancestry of Africans. Research at Princeton University has detected Neanderthal ancestry in the limited
number of African populations able to be analysed, probably due to migrations of ancient Europeans into Africa. It also appears there was an earlier introduction of human DNA into the Neanderthal genome by an early dispersal of humans out of Africa at least
100,000 years ago. This was before the “Out-of-Africa” migration responsible for the modern human colonisation of Europe and Asia.
ANCIENT GRAINS: Evidence from the eastern Altai Mountains shows that cereal crops like wheat and barley that originated in the Fertile Crescent were grown in the area over 5000 years ago. Ancient grains have been recovered
from the Tangtian site high in the Altai Mountains which is five and a half thousand kilometres from where the grains originated indicating an exchange of items and ideas thousands of years before the historical Silk Road.
TOBA VOLCANO: The Toba super-eruption that occurred in Sumatra 74,000 years ago was thought to have caused a “volcanic winter” that led to the near extinction of humans and other species. Homo sapiens were thought to have
survived in Africa. Studies of stone tools found at Dhaba in India indicates that Middle- Palaeolithic people lived in the area both before and after the Toba eruption indicating that the “volcanic winter” was not as severe as thought. Nevertheless
the Dhaba people do not seem to have contributed significantly to the gene pool of contemporary peoples.
MAYAN KINGDOM: Archaeologists have discovered an ancient lost city in the Mexican state of Chiapas believed to be part of the Mayan civilisation that collapsed 100 years ago. DT 19 March 2020
THE DARK HISTORY OF CHINA (Part I)
While China is becoming more important on the world
stage and has enjoyed rapid economic growth, its human rights leaves a lot to be desired. This however is not anything new and the history of China has often been a story of cruel despots, warfare and death on a massive scale. Some of this was due to invaders
like the Mongols and Manchus but much also resulted from power struggles within China.
The first Chinese state appears to have been the Xia Dynasty that existed from 2070 to 1600 BC.
It is hard to discern history from myth but one story about the Xia is that they had a lake of wine created into which courtiers were sent to drink until they became so intoxicated that they toppled in and drowned.
The next dynasty, the Shang, practiced human sacrifice and killed 14,000 mostly young males by beheading, dismemberment, bleeding, beating or chopping to death. The remains of a 1,000 victims have been found in a single cemetery outside, Yin, the old Shang
Ancient China was much smaller than modern China but by 700 BC it comprised over 100 statelets run by warlords or minor kings. To the north was an arid expanse inhabited by
nomadic herding peoples who were not adverse to raiding and pillaging. To the south were tropical forests and alien tribes. Chinese culture formed the Middle Kingdom and the rulers were becoming more despotic. War had been the province of a knightly class
of elite warriors but now it was increasingly fought by mass armies under ruthless generals. Meanwhile bronze weapons were being replaced by iron weapons.
Following centuries of war
the state of Qin (or Ch’in after which the name China was derived) state became dominant. This was not achieved peacefully and one particularly cruel commander, after a battle in which 50,000 died, had 400,000 prisoners buried alive. By the year 236
BC the power of the Qin leader, Ying Zhen, was sufficiently secure for him to extend his rule and conquer nearby kingdoms. To capture one kingdom he diverted the Yellow River and drowned 100,000 people. More territories were captured until China covered 2,300,000
The Emperor of China was suspicious of intellectuals and scholars, and had their books burned in public ceremonies. In 214 BC he had 460 scholars burnt alive. A year
later he had a 5,000 kilometre Great Wall of China built to protect against steppe nomads. It was built largely with forced labour and millions are thought to have died during its construction. He also had an enormous tomb built for himself which contained
an army of life sized terracotta figures, 7,000 strong.
After his death, China was ruled by emperors who were not particularly successful and in 202 BC, rebels under Liu Bang seized
power. Their ruler became emperor and took the title of Gaozu, founding the Han Dynasty that lasted for 400 years. Upon Liu Bang’s death in 195 BC his widow, Dowager Empress Lu was determined that one of her sons would be the successor to the throne
rather than the son of another wife or concubine. She had a rival for the throne force fed poison and his mother had her limbs cut off, eyes gouged out, tongue cut out, and her body thrown into a pigsty.
The Han faced a revolt by subject states known as the Rebellion of Seven States but this was defeated.
Under the rule of Emperor Wu who reigned from 157 to 87 BC, the empire was extended
with territorial gains in Vietnam, Myanmar, Korea and Manchuria. In 133 BC the Chinese defeated the Xiongnu (also known as Huns) and set up colonies along the Silk Road.
another rebellion broke out in 208 AD when two warlords, Liu Bei and Sun Quan combined their forces totalling 70,000 men and defeated 800,000 men under the imperial general, Cao Cao in the Battle of Red Cliffs. This was followed by the Three Kingdoms period,
probably the bloodiest in Chinese history. Over a period of 60 years the population fell from 56 million to 17 million.
When the Three Kingdoms period came to an end the Jin Dynasty
promised some stability but it was faced by trouble from outsiders such as the Xiongnu from the north who captured Luoyang and killed Emperor Huai in the year 313. His successor, Emperor Min was killed five years later while other barbarians invaded Chinese
territory. The country began to break up with warring provinces rising and falling although the Eastern Jin Dynasty with a capital at Jiankang (later known as Nanjing) survived for another century.
In 581, Emperor Wen brought lost territory back under Chinese rule, but was overthrown, and apparently poisoned, by his son, Yang Guang. The Grand Canal, 1,750 kilometres long, was completed under his reign. It was largely built by conscripted labour, less
than half of whom survived the gruelling and dangerous work. The Great Wall of China was also rebuilt involving the death of six million workers. Others were to die, mainly from malaria, during an expedition into Vietnam. An unsuccessful war against the kingdom
of Koguryo in northern Korea between 598 and 614 left hundreds of thousands dead.
In 617 a rebellious general, Li Yuan, staged a military coup, killed the emperor and ruled in his place
as Gaozu, the first emperor of the Tang Dynasty. In 626 his younger son, Li Shimin, killed his older brothers and their sons and forced Li Yuan to stand down. Li Shimin ruled as Emperor Taizong until he died in 649. In 755 a rebellion broke out that lasted
for seven years and involved up to 36 million deaths. Another rebellion broke out in 874 although its leader, Wang Xianzhi, was killed four years later another leader, Huang Chao, took his place. In an outbreak of xenophobia the rebels massacred 200,000 foreigners
in the port of Guangzhou. The Tang Dynasty finally fell in 907 and parts of the country broke away to form new states.
In the north stability came with the establishment of the Northern
Song Dynasty which then made conquests of kingdoms in the south. Peace however did not come and China suffered attacks by people like the Khitan from Mongolia, the Tanguts from the Tibetan borderlands, and the Jurchen from Manchuria. The Mongol leader Genghis
Khan established an empire stretching from northern China to Europe, and his grandson, Kublai Khan, finally conquered the rest of China in 1279, becoming the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty.
The Yuan dynasty fell in 1368 when Zhu Yuanzhang, leader of a rebel group known as the Red Turbans took control and became the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Ming rule was noted for the readiness to use fear, torture and the slaughter of critics and suspected
rebels. There was the penalty known as “nine familial exterminations” under which nine generations of a family were killed just for a transgression committed by one family member. Hongwu, the first Ming emperor took this to the extreme when he
caught his chief minister conspiring against him and had not only his relatives killed but also friends and associates, a total of 40,000 people. Executions were made as painful as possible and included having victims flayed alive or suffer the death
by a thousand cuts whereby victims were hacked to pieces bit by bit in a way as to keep the victim conscious until the final blow. Emperor Yongle who succeeded to the throne in 1403 had his own nephew burned alive in his palace and introduced death by three
thousand cuts. Yongle had the famous Forbidden City constructed using a million of his subjects as slaves during which many died of overwork, starvation and maltreatment. When he found out that one of his concubines had been unfaithful and had committed suicide
he had all the other concubines, 2,800 in total put to death. Some Ming emperors expected their concubines to commit ritual suicide when their master died, while others had them buried alive in their master’s tomb. Making Mongolia accept status
as a tributary state proved difficult for the Ming and in 1372 a Chinese army of 150,000 was almost wiped out. In 1449 a Mongol force of 20,000 annihilated a Chinese army twenty times its size. In 1644 the Ming Dynasty fell to rebels lead by Li Zicheng.
His rule was short lived as the Manchus attacked from the north, conquered China and established the Qing Dynasty.
The Qing resorted to repressive measures to control their Chinese subjects,
many of whom were enslaved. Conflict broke out with neighbouring peoples such as the Jinchuan of Tibet and the Dzungar, a people of Mongol descent. The Emperor Qianlong campaigned against the Dzungar who were almost wiped out in genocidal war, those who survived
being enslaved or dying from smallpox. Meanwhile the Qing Chinese Empire had doubled in size. The 19th century saw more troubles with the Taiping Rebellion leading to 20 million deaths and the Nian Rebellion by desperate peasants involving more
than 100,000 deaths. The Qing Dynasty fell in 1911 with the National Party of China successfully rebelling and founding the Republic of China. Many of the ethnic Manchu are said to have been killed. Troubles for China however were far from over.
Black, Jeremy, “Slavery: A New Global History”, Constable & Robinson Ltd, London, 2011 (ISBN 978-1-84901-698-6)
Kerrigan, Michael, “China: A Dark History”, Amber Books Ltd., London, 2019 (ISBN 978-1-78274-922-6)
Knight, Martin, “Evil Families: A History of Bad Blood”, Arcturus Publishing Ltd., London, 2019 (ISBN 978-1-78950-518-4)
Ralby, Dr Aaron, “Atlas of Military History”, Parragon, Bath, 2013, (ISBN 978-1-4723-0962-4)
“Tibetans not only were shot, but also were beaten to death, crucified, burned alive, drowned, mutilated, strangled, hanged,
boiled alive, buried alive, drawn and quartered and beheaded.”
Dalai Lama, quoted in “The Black Book of Communism”, 1999
“Are there any counter-arguments why the migration intake should not be cut back? A number are frequently raised, but not one of them is compelling.”
Andrew Stone, “Restoring Hope”, 2019
“BARBARIANS: How Baby Boomers, Immigrants, and Islam Screwed My Generation” by Lauren Southern, Rebel News Network
Ltd., Toronto (ISBN 9781541136946)
Lauren Southern is a reporter for The Rebel, an online network, and has taken on the so-called social justice warriors, the United Nations and leftists. She has visited some
pretty dangerous places including the black slums of Milwaukee in the USA and the terrorist haven of Molenbeek in Belgium. Despite her young age she leans to the conservative side and is described as a right wing millennial with a cause.
Southern started worrying about how things were going when she was a new university student and clashed with an English teacher who seemed more concerned with indoctrinating students rather than objective teaching. She traces the problems in academia back
to the baby boomers, young people who grew up in a time of prosperity and avoided the disasters their parents went through like the Great Depression and World War II. They took up views similar to modern day social justice warriors, and could be even more
extreme as in the case of the Weather Underground.
While not sympathetic to the leftists including intellectuals like Herbert Marcuse, Michael Foucault and Jacques Derrida, neither is
sympathetic to Muslims. She points out that Adolf Hitler not only favoured Muslims but once stated that he wished he was a Muslim.
Southern points out that while other religions once
had barbaric ideas in their holy books Muslims have not had an enlightenment to make their barbaric ideas obsolete. They certainly don’t march to protest terrorism, and Muslim terrorists found easy refuge in the Muslim majority city of Molenbeek following
the bombing of a Belgian train station.
While Southern has no time for Hitler and Mussolini she favours nationalism over globalism. She sees nationalism as building societies that are
based on the preference for a group that supports each other, like a family. In fact families, in her view, are the first nationalist units. After all you feed your kids first because you care for them and later in life they will likely feed you. The West
needs to think of itself as a family again, not as a sugar daddy for other people and their families.
While written from a North American perspective, Southern is a Canadian, much of
her book is relevant to Australia and other Western nations. No doubt much of what she has written would upset social justice warriors and other leftists, which is another good reason to read the book.
“STOLEN GIRL” by Katie Taylor
with Veronica Clark, John Blake Publishing, London, 2013 (ISBN: 978-1-78219-016-5)
The grooming gangs, largely Muslim and Pakistani, who sexually
exploited young white girls in England were notorious for their cruelty – or at least they would be if the mainstream media bothered to report on their activity.
of the victims such as Emma Jackson and Katie Taylor have written books about their ordeals. Katie Taylor came from a broken home and was bullied at school. This made her vulnerable to exploitation. Groomed, raped and pimped out at the age of 13, Katie felt
she had little chance to fight her oppressors. At one stage she was pack raped.
Something of the contorted racial situation in England is evidenced by the fact that when her Pakistani
“boyfriend” drove her anywhere he had her keep out of sight so that no one could see he was with a white girl.
After two years of abuse she, with some help, turned on her
exploiters. Some of them were arrested and faced justice but others fled back to Pakistan.
Nevertheless in most cases the victims of grooming gangs never see justice, either due to fear
or the incompetence of the authorities. They remains silent victims of Britain’s multicultural society.
“ACCESSORY TO WAR: The Unspoken Alliance between Astrophysics and the Military” by Neil de Grasse Tyson and
Avis Lang, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2018 (ISBN 978-0-393-06444-5)
With science and technology playing such an important part in a
nation’s defence capability, the military and scientists are often in an uneasy alliance. With future wars likely to, partly be fought in space, astronomers and physicists can be expected to play an even more important role.
The inter-relationship between science and warfare is not new. In the year 1267, Francis Bacon, a Franciscan friar, suggested that arranging transparent bodies with respect to our sight and objects of vision, would allow us to see a distant army as though
it was much closer. What he was suggesting would basically be a telescope although neither Bacon nor anyone else at the time managed to produce one.
It was not for another three centuries
before Hans Lipperhey put two lenses in a tube to produce a “spyglass”. In 1608 it was demonstrated before a group of military men, ministers and mediators, who instantly saw its potential in war.
Other scientists and inventors busied themselves on other matters directly or indirectly related to warfare: explosives, ballistics, innovative armaments, new means of surveying, and new sighting instruments.
In much more recent times scientists developed the Global Positioning System (GPS) which, military-wise, came into its own during the second Iraq War in 2003. As early as 1995 the system had 24 satellites and by 2003 there were 28. Most cruise missiles were
GPS guided and crucial satellite data could now be transmitted to users, bypassing analysts. One of the surveillance satellites could now image the battlefield every two or three hours while passing overhead. On the ground there were enough lightweight GPS
receivers to supply the land forces with at least one per nine-person squad.
Not that the United States is the only country with a space program. Some four dozen countries operate satellites
and more than a dozen have launch facilities. In January 2007, China sent a kinetic-kill vehicle more than eight hundred kilometres into space to destroy one of its own aged weather satellites in a direct hit. One wonders how long the GPS satellites would
last in a war between the major powers.
Tyson and Lang however are optimists and see astrophysics as offering a way to redirect our species’ urges to kill into collaborative urges
to explore, to link Earth with the rest of the cosmos and protect our home planet.
“EVIL FAMILIES: A History of Bad Blood” by Martin Knight, Arcturus Publishing Limited, London, 2019 (ISBN 978-1-78950-518-4)
Martin Knight looks at a large number of crimes and cruelties inflicted by family groups or showing an inter-generational continuity. Some of the cases go
back to ancient times although most that he looks at are from the last two centuries. In ancient Rome, Emperor Nero had a penchant for cruelty including having Christians burnt alive or thrown to the lions. His mother had poisoned Emperor Claudius, a man who
liked to see men whipped until the flesh was flayed from their bones. She did not murder him because of his cruelty but because he would not adopt her son Nero. A penchant for murder and sadism may have run in their veins.
Unfortunately cruel crimes are not just the provenance of powerful people. In 15th century Scotland, Sawney Beane and his wife set up home in a cave on the west coast. He lured travellers with the promise of shelter only to rob and murder them.
Rather than bury the bodies they were cut up and eaten which must have provided good nutrition as they managed to have 14 children. Eventually they were caught and all of them, with the possible exception of one daughter, were executed as brutally as they
had dispatched their victims.
In 1888 while Jack the Ripper was terrorising London a homicidal family in the American state of Kansas met their end. The Kelly family are believed to
have killed at least ten people, four bodies were found buried in their stable and another six in their cellar. Most of the victims were cattlemen killed for their money and horses. The Kelly’s were eventually caught and strung up by a lynching party.
The Mafia provide a good example of inter-generational criminality. Their gangs go under family names, the five that are said to control crime in New York are the Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese,
Colombo and Bonanno families. Of Italian descent these seem to be culturally descended from similar organisations in Italy like the Sicilian Mafia or the Camorra of Naples. Many of the criminals being related would seem to make for cohesion and loyalty but
this is not always the case. Conflicts have not only broken out between families but within them. A virtual civil war broke out in the Bonanno family which only stopped when their head, Joseph Bonanno retired. In 2004 a Mafia godfather, Joseph Massino turned
FBI informant rather than face the death penalty. A threat to kill any informer’s entire family upset one boss of the Lucchese family, Alfonso DArco, to the extent that he turned informant for the FBI and his testimony led to the conviction of 50 Mafia
Knight writes about a number of killer couples, people who though not blood relatives, still act together in the deadly adventures. In 1994 Frederick West was charged with 12
murders in England but committed suicide rather than face trial. Nine months later his wife Rosemary was charged and convicted for ten murders. Fred had raped his own eight-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old nanny. The couple had also murdered one of their
Knight makes some sensible and not so sensible generalisations about the causes of crime. Some criminals are simply taking short cuts to get what they want quickly rather
than working for it. Some are craving stimulation and excitement or are acting out revenge for some form of humiliation they suffered in their younger years. Narcissism, or the desire for attention, even negative attention can motivate some to criminal acts.
Mass murderers can have a way of treating their victims as being in a different category to themselves, feeling no more fellowship that they would to sheep or cows.
Knight claims that
in ancient times, before 2500 BC, killing was mainly confined to ritualised sacrifice and that cannibalism was practised. He is probably right about cannibalism but studies of hunter-gatherer tribes gives evidence of plenty of violence including murder and
warfare. He also claims, using outdated sources that animals do not kill members of their own species, and that people only became belligerent when crowded into cities – which would make the high level of violence in remote Aboriginal communities hard
to explain. Missing from the book is any mention of black crime in America or South Africa. Nevertheless Knight’s book makes for interesting reading for anyone not worried about details of violence and cruelty.
NATIONAL NEWS SUMMARY
A WHEELIE BIN was left outside a local hospital in Newman, Western Australia. The bin was found to contain the body of Aboriginal
woman, Britney Watson, 18, a mother of two who gave birth to her second child less than a month ago. A 17-year-old youth has been charged with murder. Newman, with a population of 7,200 is noted for problems with indigenous youth, homelessness and drugs (P.
Taylor & V. Laurie, “Teenager Charged over Wheelie Bin Mum’s Murder”, The Australian, 8/05/20).
A NAZI flag, tied to two Chinese flags was hoisted on a telecommunications tower in the Victorian town of Kyabram. The
Nazi flag had #COVID19 scrawled across it and flew above the town for 48 hours (R. Tuffield & T. Dalton, www.abc.net.au/news/ 13/04/20). Police in New South Wales are investigating the appearance of a Nazi
flag hung in the “backyard” of a house in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, just 350 metres from a local synagogue (Jonathon Moran, Daily Telegraph, 18/04/20). A picture on the Internet shows the offending flag as being inside the property, behind
a glass door.
A MAN who believed ISIS was out to kill him was shot dead by police in Melbourne after he stabbed two men to death and left a woman in critical condition. Mohammed Ibrahim, 34, appears to have had no criminal history but
did have an intervention order against him. He left a wife and child (Richard Wood, https://www.9news.com.au/national/three-killed-in-melbourne-afte... 12/03/20).
RECORD EXPORTS, particularly of resources like iron ore, gave Australia a record trade surplus in March. There was a $5.6 billion rise in exports and a $1.2 billion fall in imports, leaving a $6.7 billion boost to trade. Services exports however fell as
international travel plunged and borders closed (Patrick Commins, TA, 8/05/20).
A FREE-TRADE agreement with Indonesia will come into force on 5 July with 99% of Australian goods entering that country either duty free or with improved arrangements.
Australian producers will be able to export up to 500,000 tonnes of wheat, barley and sorghum to Indonesia each year, tariff free (Joe Kelly, TA, 8/05/20).
TWO TEENAGERS are to serve decades behind bars after they murdered a service station
worker and scrawled a terrorist message in his blood. The worker, Zeeshan Akbar, 29, was working alone at a Caltex station in Queanbeyan in April 2017. The culprits were aged just 15 and 16 at the time (Perry Duffin, “Callous Teenagers Jailed over Bloody
IS Murder”, DT, 2/05/20).
A FORMER SUDANESE general purchased a mansion in Melbourne with the profits of war crimes. The property was purchased in 2014 for $1.5 million and was registered in the name of the man’s son who at
the time was only 22 and receiving youth allowance. A new Audi was purchased in 2015 for $35,000 and registered in the name of the man’s daughter. The Australian Federal Police are seizing the mansion (David Hurley, Sunday Telegraph, 5/04/20).
50,000 ASYLUM seekers who arrived in Australia by plane have still not been deported despite having the claims for refuge rejected. The appeals process means that 37,913 others who arrived by plane are still awaiting for their refugee status to be determined.
The rising number of airplane arrivals is said to represent a scam run by people smugglers (David Crowe, Sydney Morning Herald, 17/02/20).
DIQUAN ERWIN Lloyd Fisher, 18, has been charged over the murder of an 11-month-old baby girl in
Brisbane. The girl was revived at a property in Corinda but died four days later in the Children’s Hospital (Brittney Kleyn, www.abc.net.au/news 24/02/20). Fisher is of Aboriginal appearance.
A COUPLE, Sinitta Dawita, 28, and Tane Desatge, 40, has faced court over the murder of Dawita’s daughter Kaydence Dawita Mills. Kaydence was born in September 2014 and was last seen in 2016. Human remains were found at Chinchilla about 300k west on
Brisbane. The couple were charged with murder, torture and interfering with a corpse (DT, March 2020).
ONUR DEDEOGLU, 39, a Sydney Uber driver has been found guilty of raping a 17-year-old girl who fell asleep in the back of his car. Dedeoglu
was booked to drive three school friends home but two, boys, got out a Bondi. He was given eight and a half years and will be deported to Turkey when released (DT, 8/04/20).
KRISTINE KENEALLY, Labor Senator, called for a cut in temporary
immigration so that Australians could have “first go” at jobs. Her comments received a mixed response from her Labor colleagues (SMH, 4/05/20).
ANOTHER TEENAGER has been found guilty of a jihadi plot to use bayonets to attack
Australians in the name of Islamic State. The boy and his accomplice were just 16 when they tried to buy bayonets from a gun shop in Bankstown. One of them had posted online “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve” (Perry Duffin,
RAIMOND KELLY, 55, tried to express his anger at China’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis by repeatedly cracking a stockwhip and using “colourful” language outside China’s consulate
in Sydney (Brenden Hills, ST, 26/04/20).
CHIH CHEN, 52, a former flight attendant with Qantas has been jailed for 18 years over the sexual abuse of children in the Philippines. The crimes occurred over a seven-year period and included
sexual intercourse with a child under 16 and the production of child pornography (Brianna Travers, DT, 1/04/20).
MIKE BURGESS of ASIO warned that Australia was facing an unprecedented threats from foreign spies, worse than during the Cold
War. Spies have travelled to Australia to hack computers containing sensitive and classified information and sleeper agents have spent years dormant while building community links. Burgess said Islamic extremism remained the most significant threat to our
national security with the number of leads ASIO investigating doubling over the last year (Ellen Whinnett, “Here to Spy another Day”, DT, 25/02/20).
INVESTIGATIONS ARE underway into allegations that Australian Special Forces
committed unlawful killings in Afghanistan. It’s been claimed that non-combatants were killed and others suffered cruel treatment (Ellen Whinnett, “Elite Force under the Gun”, DT, 26/02/20).
SITI KAMAL is said to have
exhibited “extraordinary cruelty” when she blackmailed the parents of a dying baby girl, after she falsely claimed to have found a phone with photos of the infant on it. Kamal sent 90 messages demanding $1000 from the parents (Georgie Moore, DT,
22.04 | 11:28
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