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By John Helmer, Moscow 

Black Lives Matter (BLM) is the slogan of a global movement with which we agree;  and with which those who disagree don’t dare to say in public – in many places because it is a crime to say so.

Australian Lives Don’t Matter (ALDM) is a slogan no one dares to say although it is Australian state policy. On the 106th anniversary of ANZAC Day later this week, the country and its officials will celebrate the policy which, beginning over nine months of an attempted invasion of the Gallipoli peninsula of Turkey (then Ottoman Empire) between February 1915 and January 1916,  killed 8,709 and wounded 19,441, for a casualty total of 28,150.

By contrast, over the past year, from February to December 2020, as direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, there were 909 Australian deaths and a total of 24,408 casualty cases.  In addition, approximately 50,000 Australians were liquidated abroad; that’s to say, forbidden by the government in Canberra to return to the country and their homes; they were officially classified as  constitutionally dead. Total casualty rate, 74,408.

The casualty rate per hundred thousand of the national population for the ANZAC campaign in 1915 was 563; the casualty rate per hundred thousand for the COVID-19 campaign in 2020 was 286.   

The national sacrifice for state policy on COVID-19 was three times more numerous in Australian lives than for ANZAC. Converted to the comparable rate per civilian life, it was half as bad. The state policy is the same, unchanged.  What has happened in the interval is that the last line in the Ode to the fallen of 1915, repeated at every annual ANZAC memorial service, turns out to be false:  

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.   

In point of fact we don’t. Not only have we forgotten, but we keep repeating the lie of state policy.

In a state of news blackout and official censorship it is next to impossible to remember or to forget.

The Turkish invasion operations decided in the War Office in London in 1915 were a secret in the run-up; their failure was a secret at the time, and in most of the years which have followed. ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The Australian Army explains the commemoration of their military action as commencing against the  Turkish lines on the Gallipoli peninsula on April 25, 1915. British, French, Indian, and Newfoundland forces also participated. Most of the Turkish units were manned by Arab troops; their revolt for independence from the Turks came later.

The ANZAC campaign from the beaches failed to overwhelm the Turkish defences on the heights, and the ANZACs, together with the British and French navies, withdrew.  Had they succeeded, the Allies might have pressed north towards Istanbul, opening the Dardanelles and Bosphorus Strait to the Black Sea; they might have aided Russia with relief of the Caucasus and a fresh southern supply line; they might have cut short Turkish rule of Syria; and they might have drawn more of the German Army away from the western front.

But those things didn’t happen. Not only did the Turks drive the Allies off with one of the gravest battlefield tolls of the war; estimated numbers of dead and wounded were almost 350,000 – slightly more than half on the Allied side.   The Turks also began the genocide of the Armenian population, killing more than 1.5 million civilians; they followed that with attacks on the Greeks.

The Armenians and the Greeks remember with greater precision what happened to them, and who was responsible. It is Australian policy to forget so thoroughly that representatives of the Turkish state are now honoured invitees at each year’s memorial service; they give speeches; they march in processions; they erect war memorials next to Australian ones.

The Australian Army, secret services and prime ministry annually repeat the speech of the Gallipoli campaign commander, later national dictator of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: “rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.” Actually,  Ataturk never said this, and he didn’t believe it. The only words Ataturk did believe were “this country of ours” – and by that he meant to include Greece, Cyprus, Syria, the Russian Caucasus, Crimea. It is Australian state policy to endorse, indeed encourage Turkish military expansion by Ataturk’s successors, especially the current one.

For the Canberra government policy on this point, click to read.  For the Australian Army’s continuing policy of serving as assassins in Ataturk-type campaigns in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, read more.  Against the weak, disorganised, unarmed, and under-age, the Australian military record is one of success.


Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli_campaign

In the global history of the coronavirus pandemic, Australia is also a case of what the Australian government and media describe as a unique success. This depends, however, on forgetting the policy which the Australian government has imposed and which no other country in the world has attempted – cancellation of the constitutional rights of citizens to return, and their exclusion from the country. Comparing Australia’s standardized Covid-19 death rate with those of other island states,  the result is better than Ireland, Japan, Iceland, and Cuba; significantly better than the UK and Cyprus; significantly worse than Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. The Australian results look different in comparison, however, if the constitutionally dead are counted.

The Taiwan comparison is telling because that island has a population of 25 million, almost as many as Australia’s. Taiwan did not prevent its citizens from travelling out, nor returning. Its case and death rates have been minuscule compared to Australia’s – and that’s before the Australian rates must be doubled to include the constitutionally dead.

The administrative methods by which the federal and state governments of Australia have managed this result – including media manipulation and censorship, violation of parliament’s statutes, court rigging, and the corruption of public expenditures  – can be followed in this book. The book is banned from media  review and bookshop sale in Australia.

The ANZAC campaign was a mass sacrifice of Australian lives which has been turned into a memorial for valour in a losing cause – and also into a century-long determination to stay on the winning side in warfare planned in the UK or US.  By winning, the calculation in Canberra counts money, materiel, votes, and the secret service trades known as raison d’etat.  It doesn’t count lives. Journalists’ lives even less than ordinary ones.

It didn’t count mine when I was the target of an assassination attempt in Moscow in December 2009 by an individual whom Anglo-American intelligence had identified to officials in Canberra. There officials, including the prime minister and foreign minister,  recognised him as a leading Russian investor in the northern Australian state of Queensland, a state whose votes they were counting on to survive in power at the next election.

Left: the grave of the Balibo Five – two Australian, two British and one New Zealand journalist murdered on October 16, 1978, by Indonesian Army spetsnaz acting on command orders. For the story of the Australian Government’s cover-up, read this   and the book by Jill Jolliffe. Right: the last time a mainstream Australian newspaper allowed me in print – February 23, 2013. The story has disappeared from the internet archive.

This is the story the Australian Financial Review allowed to appear as a warning on February 24, 2013.

“If you are an Australian citizen, businessman, or journalist, when  you run into murderers abroad  there’s one thing you can count on with certainty: the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) won’t help you, dead or alive,  and will lie and cover up if your misfortune gets in the way of a state secret, a  large foreign investment,  or an election advantage the  DFAT minister is keen on.  Make that the Department of Falsehood and Treachery.

The case of Ben Zygier (right) and how his corpse got that way in an Israeli prison, the causes of death  hidden in a Melbourne grave, have already aroused public suspicion of Australian law-breaking by the former prime minister at the time, Kevin Rudd; the foreign minister, Stephen Smith;  his stand-in over Christmas 2009,  Simon Crean; and the current foreign minister, Bob Carr. The documentary record of what they did, and didn’t do for Zygier when he was alive; how their action and inaction may have contributed to his death; and what they knew about the effort to smuggle his body past the requirement that the Victorian State Coroner should investigate, may be uncovered in due course. Then again, it may not as reporters on their trail are beaten off with the secrecy provisions of the Crimes Act and threats of libel.

How do I know about law-breaking by DFAT? Because I survived an attempted assassination in Moscow in December 2009, and the cover-up by senior officials of DFAT at the time, including  Smith and Crean, who decided their priority was to protect the Russians whom they knew to have planned the attempt, according to a secret intelligence report.

My case occurred in December 2009 and January 2010. Zygier was already under investigation by Australian intelligence officers at the time. I had been a reporter in Moscow for twenty years investigating Russian big business for media in London, Johannesburg, New York and Hong Kong. The DFAT officials who were briefed before Zygier’s arrest in February 2010 were the same men and women who, according to the 178-page file I’ve obtained from DFAT under the Freedom of Information Act,  tried to  make sure that if I was shot in Moscow, the blood spatter wouldn’t take the shine off their shoes.  

I survived because I called the Moscow police:  they captured the three gunmen in their getaway car, and after four hours of interrogation, obtained their confessions to the plot — who was paying them; the pistols to have been used;  the false identification documents meant to help them get within lethal range; even a hand-drawn map of the ambush they had planned outside the lift at my Moscow office.

I also survived because an intelligence agency recorded earlier telephone conversation of the Russians discussing their plot to shoot me. They were talking at a distance of several thousand kilometres from Australia. They were not intercepted by the US Government because I have been told so by people in the know.  It’s unlikely the Australian signals agency picked them up. It may have been the British; it may have been the Russians.  The declassified DFAT records have blacked out the source of the intelligence report, the identity of the Russians, and the nature of their involvement in what DFAT officials in the secret files term Australia’s economic security

But none of this is as relevant here and now, when the Zygier case is being re-examined in secret and in public, as knowing how the Australian government behaves when it has a clear policy choice – protect the life of an Australian from assassination,  or protect a reason of state – I suspect in my case that was a billion-dollar Russian investment in a swing electorate threatening to vote against the ALP [Australian Labor Party] at the next election.

Actually, Australian law isn’t suspended to allow officials of DFAT to make a choice between options like these.  In Zygier’s case, Australian law applies to what DFAT officials did, didn’t do, and intended not to know, before Zygier died; and to the crimes which appear to have been committed after his death. Covering up crimes for reason of state is a crime — unless the reason of state is governed by the rule of law.

DFAT appears to believe it can decide when Australian law applies, and when it doesn’t. They can play policeman, prosecutor, judge, and jury so long as the secrecy is preserved of how they do it.  

Take the conduct of Margaret Twomey, Australian Ambassador to Moscow when the intelligence report came in and Canberra asked her to contact me.  In a cable responding to Gillian Bird in Canberra (Bird is now Deputy Secretary of DFAT),  Twomey wrote: “This post has never had success charming Mr Helmer into reasonableness. I would very much prefer that Canberra contact him… You will just need to think carefully about how to respond to his response and how to manage his misquoting you.” Twomey also told Canberra: “Mr Helmer is known to Post, and has in the past been journalistically attacked by him. Post is reluctant [to] have further dealings with him.”

Apart from falsifying the record of my collaboration with Twomey’s predecessors as ambassador, Twomey was intimating that somebody like me might deserve capital punishment for having “journalistically attacked” the Embassy in Moscow. The Moscow police later uncovered evidence  that the gunmen despatched to shoot me came from a Moscow security company which was also employed by the Australian Embassy.  

It took at least ten days before DFAT officials wrote Smith and Crean in a secret memorandum that Australian economic security (aka Russian investment)  might be imperilled if the plot details were disclosed to the local law enforcement, or to me. Another big risk was that if I was shot without DFAT doing anything to warn me or stop the Russians, DFAT might be held accountable for doing too little. So Crean was told the decision had been made to send me the message my “personal security in Russia could be threatened”; that I should tell noone, not even my family; and nothing else.  Ambassador Twomey had passed the buck, and the  senior level of DFAT, including Crean and Smith, believed they were safe if I got myself killed. Ignoring the box labelled “Please Discuss”, Crean ticked the labelled “Noted”, signed his name at the bottom of the paper, and dated it 24/12/2009.

As for the perpetrators, they got away, as DFAT intended they should.

You can bet your Top Secret stamp  a legal opinion by DFAT’s general counsel on the rule of Australian law applying to the Zygier case isn’t going to turn up in the public report of what happened to him.”

NOTE: The Zygier case can be followed here, though not quite to the point of conviction of who caused his death, and here.  Since her role in my case Margaret Twomey has been rewarded with a medal;  promoted to an intelligence agency post;  and then sent to Rome as ambassador to Italy. This week Twomey recommends remembering what ANZAC  Day stands for by “leav[ing] a virtual poppy and personalised message to pay tribute to those who have served our nation.” By “our nation”, Twomey doesn’t mean the constitutionally dead.   

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