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Miscellaneous comments from 11 Nov 2015

Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 8 Jun 2015 can be found here.

If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed in other articles, please add your comments here.


Today, Remembrance Day 2015, is the 97th anniversary of the day on which the guns stopped firing in 1918.

Ironically, today is also the 40th anniversary of the infamous dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam by the Governor General on Remembrance Day 1975, less than 3 years after Gough's newly elected government ended Australia's war against Vietnam.

Barely 20 years after the supposed "war to end all wars" ended on 11 November 1918, a new and even more terrible conflagration, in which, by one estimate, 60 million were to die, commenced.

As we know the Second World War was followed by a succession of yet more wars, in many of which the death tolls were barely an order of magnitude less. These include the Korean War, the abovementioned Vietnam War and the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

This has also been posted to

Two nephews of Venezuela's powerful first lady Cilia Flores were arrested in Haiti on charges of conspiring to smuggle 800 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S. and will be arraigned in New York. This is likely to exacerbate already tense relations between the U.S. and Venezuela and cast a hard look at U.S. accusations of drug trafficking at the highest levels. American prosecutors have been steadily stepping up pressure on high-ranking members of Venezuela's military, police and government officials.

The pair were scheduled to next appear in court Wednesday, and attorneys for each said after the hearing that their clients would plead not guilty.

Relations between Venezuela's socialist government and the United States have been strained for years. Earlier this year, Washington sanctioned several senior Venezuelan officials accused of violating human rights of government opponents during a crackdown on anti-government protests.

Social movements, intellectuals, and Latin American and Caribbean governments have voiced their solidarity with Venezuela against U.S. threats and intervention in the South American country. In Peru and Bolivia, for example, activists have launched campaigns to raise awareness about the implications of U.S. aggressions in the region and state support for Venezuelan people and President Maduro’s government.

The United States uses human rights as a “political weapon” against Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday.

Maduro explained how his government's opponents manipulated Venezuela's human rights record in an attempt to remove the democratically elected executive, as in reality, despite a hard year due to the economic war, the state had continued to fight poverty, reduce unemployment, and continue with its housing, education, health and nutrition missions.

Nov 8– The Venezuelan Defense Ministry on Sunday claimed that a U.S. DASH-8 military aircraft violated its maritime airspace and the armed forces of Caracas said they detected “unusual” air activity by other U.S. “intelligence equipment” based in Curacao. The United States and Venezuela have not had ambassadors in each other’s capitals since 2010, but the two countries have had a testy diplomatic relationship since the late former President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999, and that tension has continued under his successor, Nicolas Maduro.

"The most perverted, corrupt and discredited organization in the world, the OAS (Organisation of the American States)... threatens the people of Venezuela," National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said in comments published by local media. Venezuela has for years clashed with the OAS, accusing the organization of being a front for U.S. interests and meddling in its internal affairs.

See also: Venezuela claims US military aircraft violated its airspace (9/11/15) | ICR News, Venezuela: U.S. military plane violated our airspace (8/11/15) | Fox News Latino

Hell-Bent - Australia's Leap into the Great War (2014) by Australian author Douglas Newton is a groundbreaking account of Australia's international diplomacy up to the start of the War to End All Wars, sorry, the First World War in 1914.

This book shows that, as well as being a victim, with 59,330 military deaths by one estimate, or 1.2% of its 1914 population of 4,948,990, Australia was also a perpetrator, which on three occasions - the 1911 Moroccan Crisis, the Second Balkans War of 1913 and during the crisis from June until August 1914 which led to the outbreak of war - did all it could to influence Great Britain to declare war. It was quick to offer volunteer expeditionary force and to offer to hand over the command of the Royal Australian Navy to Britain.

On the first two occasions the Australian government and the forces seeking war in the British cabinet and across Europe were thwarted by popular protests, led by the likes of Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, Vladimir Lenin and Jean Jaurés against war.

On the last occasion, the war-makers succeeded. The consequences include not just the 15 million military and civilian and dead of the First World, but also 60 million dead of the Second World War and a massive destruction of much of the world's material a wealth.

The tragedy of the First World War could have been minimised after the establishment of trench warfare. Had the generals just left soldiers on all sides to defend their ground and had the politicians transparently negotiated an end to that war, the scale of the catastrophe would have been vastly reduced. Instead on both sides, but particularly the Anglo-British-Russian Enténte, again and again, insisted on ordering their soldiers to make suicidal attacks across the mud and barbed wire of no-man's land into rifle and machine gun fire and artillery counter-bombardment.

In April 1917, after the disastrous Nivelle Offensive soldiers in the French Army mutinied. They told their commanders they would defend their ground but not attack. Some even marched on Paris. Sadly the mutiny was crushed and many of its leaders executed. The bloody war was to continue for one and a half more years, and we were to live with yet more of the terrible consequences throughout the rest of the 20th century and into the 21st century.

An elderly relative and a friend have both had their computers wrecked by downloading and then activating Windows 10. It looks as if it works, then, when you try to reboot your computer, or turn it on after shutting it down, you cannot access any microsoft program. The elderly relative, who is a 92year old avid windows user, had to take his computer to a specialist in data recovery. Then he still could not recover some windows program that he used for email and as a calendar. In the end he found that he had to buy a new computer.

My friend gave in to the frequent messages to activate Windows 10, "It's free!". Now, all she can do is open her computer; she cannot access any windows program. She cannot read her email.

I don't know if these Windows 10 free downloads are the real thing or a virus. I also have a constant invitation to download and activate Windows 10. The invitation tells me that my computer has been assessed and it is compatible.

Frankly, every time I have to move to a new windows version I lose a lot of time and often software I paid dearly for turns out to be incompatible. But Windows 10 seems to be truly destructive.

Pass it on.

Also, here is a link to a Windows discussion where lots of people have experienced this catastrophe. No indication that Windows is going to compensate anyone. They should be taken to court, but how does one do that?

A computer technician working on my computer activated or downloaded Windows 10, responding to the pop -up. The next time I turned on my computer I had to go through an activation process which could not be completed. About half way through an error message appeared and I would have to start again but could never get any further. This problem prevented me from using Microsoft Outlook. A few days the same technician kindly fixed it up for me but it was extremely complex involving about 6 re-boots of the computer during a process lasting about 1 hour. (after which he did not not want to charge me) He said it was something to do with Microsoft not recognising me as a legitimate user (but I am). He said that Microsoft just left it up to technicians to pick up the pieces after these debacles.

Cut mass migration - visas in line with job creation

Letter to Australian Parliament:

We the undersigned respectfully request the Government to reduce the number of people coming into Australia on “term visas” namely:- migration visas, s457 and s417 work visas and student visas.

We request that the current level of over 600,000 visas per year be reduced to a number that is one-half of the new jobs generated annually.

This would mean a reduction in the number of “term visas” from 620,000 per year to around 100,000 per year.

And further that the Government takes note that our economy is:

1. Only generating around 200,000 new jobs a year.
2. There are over 200,000 school leavers and other young Australians seeking those jobs.
3. These 200,000 along with the 620,000 “term visa” arrivals makes over 800,000 people now competing for only 200,000 jobs.
4. The visa entrants are often from low wage countries, they will therefore naturally get job preference over Australians, so it is Australians in the main that will be forced onto welfare.

We the undersigned assert that since the Federal Government cannot afford this cost burden they therefore will be forced to cut health care, education, pensions and other essential services to Australians or maintain massive budget deficits burdening future generations.

We further ask the Federal Government to recognise that a continuation of this policy of mass migration is placing Australians at risk.

The 13 November 2015 events in Paris and the three publicly identified serious incidents in Australia in just one year, demonstrate clearly the dangers. In two of these incidents three Australians were murdered and in the third a group was discovered who were planning the mass murder Australians on Anzac Day. There were other potential mass casualty events averted by our security agencies.

We ask the Federal Government to acknowledge that reducing visa access to Australia will contribute to a lessening of the risk of violence and harm to our fellow Australians.

And that the Government acknowledge that with mass migration some terrorists will slip through the net and use Australia as a base for violent jihad in Australia and to fight decent Islamic people overseas striving to provide a civilised and stable life for their citizens.

Finally we the undersigned in making this request to Government and assert that:

a. We oppose the persecution or isolation of any group in Australia and remind our fellow Australians that for example, Afghan Cameleers were an integral building block in the creation of our nation. They sought to, and became, ordinary patriotic Australians. Many varied ethnic groups have successfully integrated into Australian society including Italians, Greeks, Vietnamese, Chinese and scores of others.

b. Persecuted minority groups (such as the Sikhs – 80,000 killed in one year alone) where such have a demonstrable history of “Rule of Law Democracy” and are “from areas without a terrorist paradigm” must continue to be allowed into Australia.

c. A situation where Jewish people in their own country - Australia - have to have armed guards at their children’s schools, synagogues and at Jewish functions, shows clearly the failure of the mass immigration policies of successive Governments.

Petition to end mass immigration

I've just watched a lecture by Kevin Anderson which takes us behind the scenes and bullshit of the climate change debate. The main thrust of the lecture was prepare yourselves for 4 degrees celsius of global warming if not 6 rather than 2 degrees. The lecture can be found at:

Kevin Anderson — Frustrated In Flatland

... A must for all who wish to prevent the destruction of the anthropocene.

9th December 2015: for immediate release
Ignoring the major while emphasising the minor: population increase in Pacific nations.

The emphasis which the Federal Government is placing on sea level rise affecting Pacific Island nations, swinging $1 billion from foreign aid for adaptation purposes is seriously misplaced says environment NGO, Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

National president of SPA, Sandra Kanck, says that greater long-term good could be achieved if this money was used to address a far more serious, immediate, as well as long-term problem affecting these people.

As an example, the population of the Pacific Island nation, Kiribati, has more than trebled, from 30,000 in 1960 to 105,000 in 2014. This means that even without climate change or sea level rise each member of that population now has access to less than one third of the land, less than one third of the fresh water and less than one third of all the other resources, such as fish stocks, than they did just 55 years ago.

Thirty four percent of Kiribati’s population is under 15, still to enter their reproductive years. Without strong family planning tied to limiting the size of families the current rate of population increase of 1.25% is likely to continue for many years. At this rate the population will double by 2071 to 210,000 thereby halving the existing meagre resources available to each person compared with today. Yet only a quarter of all couples use modern contraceptive methods.

This pattern of population growth is common across most of the Pacific Island nations. It presents a far more serious and more immediate problem than sea level rise.

It would be far better use of Australia’s one billion dollars if this money was used to ensure that all Pacific Island people had access to family planning, contraception and an understanding of how population growth reduces every person’s share of finite resources.

As sea levels rise - as they inevitably will given the failure of governments around the world to take the necessary more stringent action - redirecting aid in this way would help to ensure that far fewer people would be impacted by this and other climate changes. Any other adaptive solutions developed would be easier to apply.

- ENDS -
Media contact: Sandra Kanck, Ph. 08 8336 4114 or 0417 882 143

As the centre of the bushfire zone is opened up in coming days, hundreds of native animals will require rescuing and we anticipate that the rescue efforts will continue for weeks, perhaps months. .They are seeking assistance for the purchase of medical equipment, fire-suitable rescue gear, transportation costs, professional veterinary costs, species-specific burn creams and bandages. These items are required urgently and all donations, no matter the size, are most welcome.

They are also hoping to provide wildlife rescue kits to all our active volunteers so that no animal is left without the immediate care they require.

They are a volunteer organisation with volunteers who have been rescuing wildlife in the Surf Coast region for 25 years.

By supporting them, you help us to:

- provide immediate veterinary care to injured wildlife

- transport wildlife out of the fire zones

- provide ongoing rehabilitation of wildlife until they are ready to be returned to the wild

- place orphaned wildlife in long-term foster care

- supply wildlife rescuers with efficient wildlife rescue kits

- supply wildlife carers with ongoing medical supplies

- provide public awareness and educational programs specific to the rescue of wildlife in the region

Donate generously and thank you for your support

They need $35,000, and there's a long way to go!

The Federal Liberal Government has released its mid-year economic review. Health cuts announced involve slashing workforce programs including education and training across the nation by $595 million over four years and bulk-billing changes to the tune of $650 million that will shift the cost back onto patients and the public hospital system.

Queensland's health minister has heavily criticised the federal government over new health cuts he says will hit the state hard. Cameron Dick said the slashing of health funding will shift the cost back onto patients and the public hospital system. The population boom will mean less health care for each person.

Independent Parliamentary Budget Office modelling confirms a 15% GST on everything will make all Australians pay: At least $10 billion every year more for fresh food, At least $7.4 billion every year more for school fees and education, and At least $9.6 billion every year more for healthcare; visiting the doctor.

The cuts include: another $650m cut from Medicare by slashing bulk billing for diagnostic imaging and pathology services – services on which cancer patients rely; axing radiation and oncology programs; slashing $420m in aged care support for seniors with complex needs; and cuts to child care before the government’s reforms have even started. Medicare is being dismantled, piece by piece.

There's no precedent for endless "economic growth". Instead of wallowing in increasing wealth, Australians are facing more austerity and cut-backs to meet budgetary short-falls.

Despite the stringency, hardship, and increasing costs of health, education and welfare, our population growth is not being adjusted to match. We are still on a growth projectory, and "big Australia" is still on the horizon. There will be more of us in the future, but less spending on each individual.

See "Developing the North" [1]

I've been receiving "Developing Northern Australia Conference" invitations for a couple of years. I think that the forces pushing this one along are hoping to break down indigenous land tenure and bring in freehold. That would lead to an international land-sale bonanza for developers looking for finance. There would also be a huge immigration program to assist development and industrialisation. Organisations like APop and the Property Council of Australia are aiming at something like 50 huge cities around Australia and a population of 200 million. Some also hope to exploit nuclear power. The general idea is that once Australia's population is over 50m, no-one is going to be able to protect indigenous rights or mitigate mineral and energy exploitation. Horrible plan. Hope it fails miserably.

IN June the Federal Government released the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, to create a development zone for everything north of the Tropic of Cancer and the entire NT.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott drove the push, but it was embraced by “the Rich Dude who became PM”, Malcolm Turnbull, with the appointment of a dedicated Minister for Northern Australia, Josh Frydenburg.

In November more than 200 investors worth $1 trillion descended on Darwin for a conference looking at investment opportunities. Interestingly, the agriculture and tropical medicine opportunities attracted more interest than the resources sector.

The conference was hosted by Trade Minister Andrew Robb, who successfully negotiated the free trade agreements with China and the Trans Pacific Partnerships during 2015.

In December, an NT delegation, including key industry stakeholders from the cattle, resources, and produce sectors visited China to gauge market opportunities. They came back aware that supplying demand will be a challenge."

Thanks for the timely reminder of the folly or should that be land grab by our elected representatives. Bob Gosford had an even more timely article, Good money after bad. The NT Government and the Ord River Irrigation Scheme (13/2/14) in the Land Rights News (Northern Edition) back in 2014 and can be found at: (not - Ed)

Not only is this throwing good money after bad, they made many of the same mistakes up north as they have in the Murray Darling Basin plus they have invented a few more to boot. I wonder whether the Food Bowl Modernisation Scheme can have the same disastrous effects up there as they did down here??

Double oops!! Not only stuffed up the link, but also the author of the piece, it was actually written by Syd Stirling the former Labour Member for Nhulunbuy, thanks Ed.

One has to look quite carefully to see that the article "is a guest post by Syd Stirling, the Labor member for Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 1990 to 2008" and not written by the blog owner Bob Gosford, so I wouldn't be too hard on myself, if I were in your shoes, John. Thanks for the informed and insightful contribution. - Ed

Referring to " Turnbull's plan to unlock the north", in contemporary bureaucratic parlance "unlock" means to break in, exploit and ruin. The word "unlock" was once harmless, unthreatening and not irreversible. It used to imply that whoever did the unlocking had a key and entered legitimately and could secure again after entering and exiting. The new "unlocking" is done against the will of others and to their permanent detriment.

The German city is reeling after a series of apparently co-ordinated sexual assaults on local women, allegedly committed by large groups of "Arab-looking men". thousands of people were drawn to year-end festivities outside the western German city’s main train station and its famous Gothic cathedral on New Year's Eve. Various reports give startling accounts of dozens of offenders surrounding victims, robbing them and in many cases sexually violating them. At least one rape has been reported. Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a statement, called the assaults disgusting – even though she authorized their arrival!

The 1951 UN Refugee Convention is from a different era, and totally inappropriate today. The world has changed and populations have exploded since this time. Now, it's about back-filling people into mature nations, in absence of peace, stability, security - and overwhelming conflicts over resources.

The UN are allowing the spread of criminals, Islam, and mis-fit deviants. How can all these "refugees" be checked for valid ID and security? The era of migration must end, and problems in dysfunctional nations, and conflicts, must be fixed at their source, not spread to developed countries of the West.

These Middle Eastern factions, and divided people, need dictatorship1 under Syrian President Assad and Saddam Hussein to control them. The US and NATO should never have intervened, under the false flag of WMD and installing "democracy". Now the borders of the West are opened and the hoards have been allowed legally to invade. The only thing Europe can do is to shut their borders, increase domestic security, and send back home any "refugees" that fail to assimilate.

Opening the hornet's nest is foolish policy and comes back to haunt the allies that supported intervention in the Middle East.


1. The presstitute media claim that President Bashar al-Assad is a ruthless dictator is a lie that is, unfortunately, not challenged as strenuously as it should be, even by apparently sincere supporters of Syria. Some opponents of war even repeat that lie and other lies.

UK MP George Galloway in his successful opposition to plans by the British government to launch war against Syria in August 2013, nevertheless, accepted the claim that the Syrian President would be ruthless enough to use chemical weapons against his own people in different circumstances (longer video, in which I believe he made that claim, at , is no longer available. The shorter 0:25 minute video of that speech is at

As shown Syria's press conference the United Nations doesn't want you to see of June 2014, republished from Global Research, the Syrian president has the overwhelming support of the Syrian citizens, both internal and expatriate. (The article includes an embedded 55 minute video.) The support that President Bashar al-Assad enjoys in Syria is far greater than that enjoyed by any of his enemies – Barack Obama, Francois Hollande, Angele Merkel, the dictatorships of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, Benjamin Netanyahu, then Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, then Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, ... . These 'leaders' claim to legitimacy cannot be anywhere near to that of the Syrian President. - Ed

What's wrong with our universities?

The 55 minute program, which was repeated at 8:05am this morning, was originally broadcast on 16 July 2015. The 26Mbyte podcast file can be downloaded from here.

We are forever talking about the importance of education, but what type of education are our universities providing? According to Richard Hill, the contemporary Australian university is under-funded and characterised by overburdened academics, falling standards, and never ending reviews and audits. It's a world he describes as Whacademia and he speaks with Paul Barclay about it.

Richard Hill is author of Selling Students Short (Allen and Unwin - 2015).

Other problems that students face at University, as described by Richard Hill, include: Students don't make friends at University any more. This seems to be the consequence of many having to work part time to make ends meet and the huge level of competition between students. Diminishing rates of employment for law and psychology graduates. Many Psychology graduates find themselves stacking shelves at Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.

Thanks, John Bentley for this post. I encountered some problems when I was checking the information contained within (see notes below). That is why it took so long to publish this comment. My apologies. – Ed

While the weather has been as hot as again, I've been doing a spot of reading in the last couple of days. In no particular order:

2016: Oil Limits and the End of the Debt Supercycle (7/1/16) | Our Finite World

A fine piece by Gail Tverberg - 2016: Oil Limits and the End of the Debt Supercycle, next the venerable Steve Keen with an article on Joe Stiglitz at Forbes - – this URL eventually takes you the right page, but only after redirecting you to the "Welcome" page. At least it's not behind a paywall. -–Ed

... and then a couple on the bushfires - this one via Dr Bill Johnson at The Conversation -$FILE/05-02.pdf – when I tried to load this URL into my Firefox web browser, I was advised "Page not found". When I tried to download the page using the free open-source wget program, I was advised: "HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 400 Bad Request. 2016-01-12 22:51:46 ERROR 400: Bad Request." – Ed

... and of course the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission and the implementation of them or not - – This is the Google search page with the search terms 'vbrc' and 'recommendations' (quotes omitted). As was put to me by a librarian once, there is no guarantee that this search will give the same results on each occasion in which it is used. It is better to include one or more specific URL links within the text, for example <a href="">2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission<\a> .

The above HTML code would be rendered on your Firefox Web browser as: 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission . – Ed

... and file:///C:/Users/John/Downloads/BushfiresRoyalCommissionImplementationMonitorFinalReportJuly2012%20(1).PDF As Dr Bill says the lack of common sense in the ongoing bushfire saga is enough to make a grown person weep!! For those who are interested. – This 'URL' points to PDF file on your own desktop computer and cannot be used by anyone else on the Internet. – Ed

I'm learning, slowly!! Try this URL - (BushfiresRoyalCommissionImplementationMonitorFinalReportJuly2012.PDF (2.9 Mb) at - Ed) for the VBRC Implementation Report. Thanks Ed.

The confidential state government files reveal that three days after a lightning strike on December 19 caused a small, half-hectare blaze to begin near Wye River. Victorian fire officials ordered a controlled burn operation which included the dropping of small fireballs from aircraft.

This controlled burning operation could have had catastrophic consequences, causing a bigger blaze that would threaten houses.

The Wye Rive fire has prompted accusations of a cover-up from fire-fighting officials and local residents, who are also demanding an independent inquiry.

Before the backburn began on the afternoon of December 22, the fire had engulfed an estimated 141 hectares of bushland. After the backburning, the fire spread to about 271 hectares.

Backburn may have caused Wye River fire to escape (13/1/15) | The Age

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." – Albert Einstein

There were "credible reports of people dying from starvation" in Madaya, including a 53-year-old man who reportedly died. Two videos emerged today, filmed by a doctor with the Syrian American Medical Society, which has been working with residents of the besieged town of Madaya.

In the pictures shown, a severely malnourished little boy is asked by the doctor what he would most like to eat.

Western and Arab media used earlier taken unrelated photos, images of skin and bone bodies, widely circulating, falsely claiming they reflect Madaya starvation, wrongfully blaming Damascus for imposing siege conditions. It cited phony reports of Madaya residents "living on grass and leaves, and seeing family members dying of hunger or killed by (Syrian and Hezbollah) snipers..."

"Actually, there was no starvation in Madaya,” Bashar Ja’afari (Syrian Ambassador to the UN) told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York, where the UN Security Council met to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

He said false information about starvation deaths in the Syrian town are aimed at “demonizing” Damascus and “torpedoing” peace negotiations due in the Swiss city of Geneva on January 25.

While there are crises all over Syria and well-documented suffering that has produced millions of refugees, one would think there would not be a need to manufacture phony stories surrounding recycled pictures.

I have acted on advice given below and changed the title from "27 million Soviet citizens died because Stalin trusted Hitler". - James

The following is a response to what was recently written by Paul Craig Roberts:

"As for Stalin, the Saker sees him as the thug element opposed to the intellectual element. ..."

Dear Paul Craig Roberts,

Whilst I consider you to be the most informed and insightful Internet author of which I am aware, I consider your judgement of Stalin as a capable leader of the Soviet Union is terribly mistaken and can easily shown to be wrong.

If it had not been for the Stalin/Hitler pact of August 1938 and for Stalin's blind trust in Hitler from the signing of that pact right up to the launch of Operation Barbarossa on 22 June 1941, the Second World War would have been over years earlier. Instead, according to Wikipedia, 27 million people just from the Soviet Union had to sacrifice their lives by 1945 to save humanity from the scourge of Nazism. Many millions more Eastern and southern Europeans of the total of over 70 million dead had to also die in the Second World War.

Your analysis omits this terrible price paid for by the people of the Soviet Union for their 'victory' over Nazi Germany in May 1945. Surely with the vast military resources, industrial resources and raw materials that the Soviet Union had at its disposal, they should have been able to defeat the invading armies at the cost of vastly fewer lives.

Surely, had Stalin heeded the warnings of Western governments, German Army deserters, his own agents including Richard Sorge, the Red Army could have defeated the invading Nazis at far less cost.

Surely, had Stalin not murdered his best officers in the purges of 1938, the Red Army could have performed so much better and not have allowed Nazi Germany to almost reach Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad and the Caucasus Mountains?

If the United States was able to play such a decisive role in the war against Nazi Germany and Japan at the far less terrible cost of 419,400 dead, why did 27 million citizens of the Soviet Union or 14.24% of its 1939 population have to die?

Excellent points, but you should retitle this so that people realise why you are posting it. Paul Craig Roberts is an international US based political commentator, isn't he. (More info would be good for our readers.) I suggest you retitle this, 'Paul Craig Roberts right on much,wrong on Stalin' or some such, James. Then tell us why we should read PCR on other stuff. Many people lack your global history perspective.

'USSR' stands for the former 'Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' for which 'Soviet Union' is a shorter synonym. - Ed

Whatever one may think about Stalin, it is also true that the USSR was technologically ill-prepared for German invasion. Hitler spent some years rearming Germany prior to the outbreak WW2, creating employment and repairing his nation's broken economy in the process.

I recall seeing an interview with a German soldier who survived the Russian Front. He stated that while the Germans had fine weaponry and relatively good supplies (at least at first) the Russians just kept coming.

He said words to the effect of 'we killed them by the hundreds but they just kept coming and coming, eventually we were over-run.' This paints a picture of two quite different adversaries, one with technology and the other with a big population making heavy sacrifices to protect Mother Russia from the Nazis.

Recall also that Russia had been a technological backwater under the Tsars. So they were starting from a lower base than Germany.

Given this scenario and Hitler's obvious loathing of Bolshevik Russia, it might be considered that Stalin understood that German aggression was inevitable and agreed to a pact with Germany over Poland to buy time? Stalin didn't trust half of his own executive, so I don't believe that it's accurate to characterise him as having 'trusted Hitler'.


After rereading I have changed some slightly abrasive parts of this comment in order to facilitate this exchange.

Thank you for your interest in my comment. Have you seen the 55 minute episode 5 of The World At War, about Operation Barbarossa, embedded below?

Stalin refused before the dawn of 22 June 1941, to pass on to his front line soldiers, warnings from the United States, Great Britain, his own agents and German army deserters, that the German army was preparing to invade.

As a result, many front-line soldiers were practically massacred by the invading German army as they awoke on the morning of 22 June 1941.

nineofclubs wrote:

"... the USSR was technologically ill-prepared for German invasion."

New T-34 and KV-1 tanks, which, until the 1943 advent of Tiger and Panther tanks in 1943, were superior any German tanks, were being delivered to front line units on 22 Jun 1941. The Red Air Force was starting to introduce fighter planes that could hold their own against the German Messerschmidt (Me 109) fighters, the Lavochkin LAGG-3, the MIG-1 and the YAK-1 fighters.

Why do you presume that it was not possible for such an army, given proper warning, to hold its ground against invading Nazis on the morning of 22 June 1941?

nineofclubs wrote:

"I recall seeing an interview with a German soldier who survived the Russian Front. He stated that while the Germans had fine weaponry and relatively good supplies (at least at first) the Russians just kept coming.

"He said words to the effect of 'we killed them by the hundreds but they just kept coming and coming, eventually we were over-run.' This paints a picture of two quite different adversaries, one with technology and the other with a big population making heavy sacrifices to protect Mother Russia from the Nazis."

I, too, am aware of these gruesome claims that the Red Army often resorted to tactics that so needlessly cost so many soldiers their lives. I see no excuse for such tactics. If this is true, it is further confirmation of how little worth Stalin and some of his generals placed on the life of each Red Army soldier.

nineofclubs wrote:

"Stalin didn't trust half of his own executive, so I don't believe that it's accurate to characterise him as having 'trusted Hitler'."

Those on his executive, whom Stalin most distrusted had already been murdered, along with the Red Army's best generals, in the great purge of 1938. In fact, until 22 June 1941, Stalin trusted Hitler far more than his own agents, including German communist Richard Sorge, who warned him, from the German embassy in Tokyo, of Hitler's plans. He trusted Hitler more than American President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill, who both also tried to warn him of the invasion.

Only a ruler as criminal, malevolent and stupid as Stalin could have made it possible for Hitler to have taken so many Russian, Central Asian, East European and Jewish lives. It is fascinating to try to explain Stalin's actions, although it would probably be impossible to excuse them, although some people still try.

This is more of a question than a statement.

I was stimulated by a program on RT about The Mystery of Stalin's death. (See embedded at bottom of this comment)

Stalin's father was a violent alcoholic, who frequently beat Stalin's mother up. Issues of trust arise thusly.
Stalin's paranoia could be interpreted as an extreme case of co-dependency, where he trusted no close associate because they could hurt him (emotionally and physically). His lack of trust and the danger he represented to anyone who became close to him meant that he was atrociously lonely. Someone far away did not seem to carry the same threat of close associates, so perhaps he chose to believe in Hitler as the only person he could trust. A father-figure, moreover. An imaginary friend?

And, it turns out that Hitler's father was similar to Stalin's - another violent alcoholic. So maybe Hitler and Stalin spoke the same emotional language and could only trust from afar, whilst demanding absolute control of everyone nearby and absolute power.

I would like to find time to read a bit more about Stalin in order to satisfy my curiosity on this.

I don't pretend to any expertise on the facts of the war. Below is the video. Interesting footage.

By the way, James, you might care to state your case on how the role of the Battle of Britain in stopping Hitler may have been forgotten or obscured and replaced by a ramped up version of how Stalin's armies defeated Hitler. This suited the ideology of the Left towards war, using Trotsky's argument, that WWII was only a fight between imperialists and workers should not take sides. This would have left the Left looking rather hopelessly mistaken if they had not been able to resurrect Stalin as a great leader of last resort, sort of.

As I recollect, you think that Churchill may have found it convenient to diminish the importance of the Battle of Britain, when he aligned himself with forces that failed to support Italy and Greece's battles to stop Hitler.

(We are all still wondering why this was, and suspect it was because of corporate interests in Nazi enterprise.)

These positions contributed to an attitude that persists into our times, where only the battles of our close allies and trade partners (possibly a tautology) are taken seriously. Countries that are not close trade partners are treated two dimensionally by the press and left in a lurch by our governments. And the Left goes along with this.

Sorry to use the term, "the Left" as if it were a cohesive movement of relevance, but it does seem to have relevance in endorsing propaganda that remains useful to the ruling classes. Maybe it survives as a recreation of the power elites and mass media. (No sneer intended towards true socialists, from an anarchist, or relocalisation advocate).

I have no pretences that this comment is immensely subtle or learned, but look forward to your interpretation James.

From the original article Confined, isolated, killed: Primates used for secret 'Frankenstein-like' studies in Sydney (24/1/16) | RT :

Hundreds of monkeys have been sent to Australia for what seem to be dubious medical experiments that raise "serious ethical questions," the local environmental authorities have warned, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

More than 370 primates have been part of the research over the past 15 years, and the scientists who conduct the tests are most probably “entirely lacking” in expertise essential to care for such animals, Australia’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has said.

Millions of dollars from research grants were used to conduct the experiments, and hospitals connected with the studies refused to disclose the details about the number of primates which have been experimented on, and how many have died or had to be killed.

The experiments are cruel in nature, with one test reportedly involving a baboon, which died after getting a kidney transplant from a pig.

Other procedures included marmosets being given a deliberate drug overdose and having their eyes removed and dissected.

The violent experiments were mainly conducted at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) baboon colony in Wallacia, western Sydney.
Among the 370 primates imported, there were 255 pigtail macaques from Indonesia, 46 owl monkeys from the United States, 59 common marmosets from Switzerland and France, and 10 long-tailed macaques from France, the body added.

The RSPCA also doubted that bringing sensitive human-like mammals was really necessary for the procedures – when there are already three federally-funded breeding centers with four primate species available at the local level.

Australia is adding to the 'ongoing capture of primates from wild populations," the report says.

Primates are "highly intelligent animals with complex behaviour and social structure," with their confinement and use for science raising “serious ethical questions,” the organization said.

The most likely effects of their participation in the studies could be “pain, suffering or distress," and some experiments require the animals to be re-used in several studies or even killed, the RSPCA warned.
Also, the animals are frequently kept in pairs - or in total isolation, which could entail more suffering.

See also: Medical testing on primates: more openness and transparency needed | SMH Comment

The powers that be who allow and oversee these experiments necessarily see these animals as "other" and thus objectify them. if they saw them as like themselves in any way they could not condemn these animals to such "lives". This is only one step away from objectifying other humans and rationalising that "the end justifies the means". This is not to say they would take that step, but that's about where it stands. Dangerously close. This has to stop.

We are already objectified as economic products and machines. And we objectify the people we support wars on overseas. We are an Australia divided into wealthy and influential people who believe they have special rights, and the rest of us, who are just supposed to put up with economic engineering and laws that don't represent them.