The same system of flawed and sensational “intelligence” that justified the invasion of Iraq is well at work in the Northern Territory..
Yesterday Australia’s defence minister, Brendan Nelson, pleaded with the Australian people to consider the consequences to energy resources if we were to withdraw our troops from Iraq. Today of course he insisted that oil had nothing to do with why we are in Iraq, but the cat was out of the bag; he said what he said and he has caused an embarrasing incident for the Howard government and its state allies U.S. and Britain. The T.V. news in the background as I write is just screening footage from U.S. news shows about this revelation.
False information justified the Iraqi invasion. Nelson’s admission is considerable proof of the real reason for the invasion and why governments had to ensure that intelligence reports indicated a WMD threat, whatever the truth.
False information has also been used to justify the Howard/Brough invasion of the Northern Territory. Amongst the flood of platitudes as to the scale of child abuse in Aboriginal communities, the real intelligence is being suppressed and sidelined.
For example, this A.B.C. story “NT child abuse figures not a stand out” which begins “The co-author of a Commonwealth commissioned child protection report says sex abuse figures for Indigenous children in the Northern Territory are among the lowest in Australia” “http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/06/1972244.htm
or a story I have refered to on an earlier post. On the 26/6/07 the Courier Mail ran a very small article by Margaret Wenham on page 7 entitled “Statistics show backgrounds don’t count” about a report from the Queensland department of child safety. (I haven’t found a link to it.)
The article states “According to the data collected for 2005-06, 56 indigenous children were found to have been sexually abused, equating to a rate of 0.9 children per 1000 indigenous children aged 0-17 years. This compared to a rate of 0.6 children per 1000 non-indigenous children.”
We have the same strategy at play with the Brough/Howard Shock and Awe (Its been a bit ho-hum so far) invasion of the Northern Territory as we did in the more spectacular invasion of Iraq. The horror that we were all provoked into feeling about Iraq’s W.M.D.s is being repeated with horror about child abuse in the Northern Territory’s Aboriginal community.
But the truth of the scale of the problem has been hidden in order to launch the demise of the Northern Territories Land Rights act. This is the oldest and strongest land rights legislation in Australia, even since it has been hacked at by Howard in recent times. It was the result of decades of Aboriginal struggle and white support that emerged as a defining point in Australia’s history and national charachter.
Why would Howard want to dismantle land rights? For exactly the same reason he and his mates wanted regime change in Iraq. To protect energy resources -oil in Iraq, uranium in N.T. and in the case of the N.T a range of other minerals and sites toxic waste facilites that the major global resource companies and their exessively affluent consumers have claimed as their own.
And of course a cheap election stunt – kicking people when they are already down for the value of the spectacle.
Meanwhile, the real solutions to the real problems of Aboriginal communities, including child abuse, appear to have become irrelevant in the shadow of this urgent intervention. Their proponents have even been criticised as uncaring because they dare to be skeptical about all this huffing and puffing and Broughing.