Wednesday 28th of February 2024

same old muddy boots .....

so many muddy boots .....

Angus Houston seems like a nice enough bloke .... his quiet, calm demeanour almost suggests that he is a thinking man's soldier & not the big, bold warrior that we might normally expect in an Air Chief Marshall or the person of our Chief of Defence Forces.

But, as always, first appearances can be deceiving .....

The other night, on the SBS Dateline program, the benign facemask of military discipline, coupled with polished media relations training, slipped for a moment & we caught a glimpse of the steel warrior lurking beneath the soft appearance.

Dateline was at it again: engaged in good old fashioned, but increasingly rare, investigative journalism & making a thorough nuisance of themselves in the process.

Of course, good journalism in this country has gone so far down the toilet that the movers & shakers around the place now feel that they can pretty-well get away with anything. It's not about which side of politics you're on or what kind of business scam you might be perpetrating (legal or illegal); nor what level of government might be involved. The fact is that there are very few occasions these days when you might really come under real scrutiny or pressure .... unless you're a paedophile; possess a swarthy appearance or, sadly, suffer both.

Anyway, notwithstanding the commercial games being played at SBS by Carla & her corporate clowns, they have at least had the sense to leave Dateline alone.

Getting back to the point; here was Angus being asked about the latest ADF embarrassment in Afghanistan, with the program's Executive Producer, Geoff Parrish, politely quizzing him about the progress of ADF enquiries/investigations that were allegedly in train into the deaths of five (5) children during a botched raid back in February this year.

And then the mask slipped .... the entire interview can be read here but, it's the bit at the end that gives us an insight into Angus .....

ANGUS HOUSTON:  Look, again, I am not going to speculate about any of that. You need understand that we are up against an adversary who uses you people, uses the media, basically runs an information campaign, tells lies, tells stories against us. And sometimes you pick up those stories, you always assume that it is 100% fact, 100% true, when it comes from the other direction. You are always very sceptical about what we are saying. I just like to see a little bit more balance in this. I will always respond to any allegation that is made about us and I undertake to do that, I have done it. I'm sitting here at the moment with you doing exactly that. When did you last talk to Mullah Omar about some of the allegations relating to him?

GEOFF PARISH: I would love to talk to Mullah Omar if only he would be found by the international forces in Afghanistan, and brought forward for a question and answer session.

ANGUS HOUSTON: The point ....

GEOFF PARISH:  We don't take at face value information that comes from the other side. We are sceptical with all information; that is our job. When do you think we will get the results of the investigation into the death of the five children given we have waited a long time to this point?

ANGUS HOUSTON:  As soon as the investigation is complete, and I would be hoping to do that in the next few weeks, so I will keep you posted. I will personally invite you to the press conference, and when I go out and explain it, I know you'll have a lot of questions.

GEOFF PARISH: Thanks for your time.

Poor old Angus .... paranoid, delusional & out of control ..... & the pressure hasn't even been applied yet ..... not a good look at all & certainly not the kind of polished teflon coated response that would enamour him with the Milky Bar Kid.

Anyway, it was at that moment that I experienced a sense of déjà vu & soon after remembered "muddy boots" ..... a blog I wrote almost three years ago, concerning another alleged investigation being conducted by the ADF & good old Mick Keelty's federal plod .... an investigation that had been in train for almost 7 years without a satisfactory outcome & featuring other well known military & political figures .... including Robert Hill & Brendan Nelson - both former Defence Ministers - & Peter Cosgrove - the hero of East Timor; Commander of Interfet Forces - under whose command it was alleged that members of the ADF had committed torture against Indonesian citizens, including at least one of whom had disappeared whilst in Australian custody - & another Chief of Defence Forces.

Ah, the boys from the old rattus club, whose rise & rise in public life demonstrates that crime not only pays but great crimes pay even more ..... so many "muddy boots" (see )

Over the past few weeks we've seen a lot of gnashing of teeth over the unsolved murders of Australian journalists during the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975. That anyone will be charged with those murders is as likely as Whitlam & Evans acknowledging the complicity of their government in the Indonesian invasion.

But "muddy boots" was written to publicise a different scandal .... a scandal covered-up by the Howard government, senior Ministers, public servants & military figures .... a scandal just as dark as that of Balibo .... a scandal that goes to the mysterious disappearance of Mr Yani Ndun (see written a year before "muddy boots").

And now, as the Milky Bar Kid gifts a glorious diplomatic future for good old "Bandit" Nelson - one of the key figures in the Yani Ndun scandal - we have another Chief of the ADF, allegedly engaged in yet another dubious investigation into Australia's defence forces.

Australian politicians have learnt that they can get-away with most anything, if they lie & prevaricate enough. Moreover, our corrupt system of government rewards such behaviour.

It is interesting that the original allegations relating to Yani Ndun were vigorously pursued by the SBS Dateline program .... Dateline went after the issue for years but, ultimately, the rattus government simply pushed it off a cliff & everyone eventually forgot about it.

The sad truth is that the moral turpitude that gave us Whitlam, Evans, Howard, Hill, Nelson, Cosgrove, Rudd & their muddy boots is as pervasive as it ever was.

The Balibo five are dead; Yani Ndun is dead; & nameless innocent civilians are dead in Afghanistan & still the ADF "investigates".

I can't see Angus breaking the pattern .... but at least we still have Dateline ..... & at least they are still sceptical.