With Friends Like These...

When Australia put its head above the parapet to advocate for an international inquiry into the origins of C19 and what mistakes were made, China was quick to tell us to get back in our box, and, as our biggest trading partner, they have plenty of say.

That has now escalated to unofficial trade sanctions, with random obstacles being placed in front of our beef and barley imports. A shot across the bow if you will.

Over at the Financial Times, they have an in-depth look at Trump’s inadequate response to C19 which includes this gem…

Both the US and China have spread outlandish rumours about the other. Some Chinese officials have circulated the groundless conspiracy theory that the US army planted the virus in Wuhan at an athletics event last year. Trump administration officials, including Pompeo, have repeatedly suggested Covid-19 originated from a bat-to-human transmission in Wuhan’s virology lab.

Last month, Australia called for an international inquiry into the disease’s origins. “Australia’s goal was to defuse conspiracy theories in both China and America,” says Michael Fullilove, head of the Lowy Institute, Australia’s largest think-tank.

Days later, Australia’s Daily Telegraph, a tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, ran an apparent scoop that the “five eyes” – the intelligence agencies of the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – had concluded the disease came from the Wuhan lab, whether by accident or design. It appears the story had no substance. Fauci and other scientists say the pathogen almost certainly came from a wet market in Wuhan. No “five eyes” dossier existed.

According to a five eye senior intelligence officer and a figure close to Australia’s government, the Daily Telegraph story probably came from the US embassy in Canberra. There was no chance after its publication that Beijing would agree to an international probe. The report damaged Australia’s hopes of defusing US-China tensions. “We used to think of America as the world’s leading power, not as the epicentre of disease,” says Fullilove, who is an ardent pro-American. “We increasingly feel caught between a reckless China and a feckless America that no longer seems to care about its allies.”

Cheers, mate.

Cheney

If you’re pissing Cheney off you must be on the right track.

The former Vice President Dick Cheney today sharply criticised President Barack Obama’s handling of terrorism policy and defended harsh interrogation methods that Obama has labeled torture.

Obama moves to quell Guantanamo fears In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on the same day Obama defended his approach to terrorism, Cheney said Obama’s decision to ban tough tactics “is unwise in the extreme.”

“It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness and would make the American people less safe,” said Cheney, long viewed as a leading hawk in the Bush administration.

And what’s with the ‘Obama has labelled torture’ crap? It’s been determined by the courts that waterboarding is torture, and you can bet your last dollar/pound/euro that if it was an American on the receiving end it would be labelled as torture.

So Far, So Good

Obama’s been in office for two days and he’s already undoing some of the damage of Bush’s eight years. Day 1 saw him halting all military tribunals in Guantanamo, issued an order to close Guantanamo within a year, started the process of getting troops out of Iraq and offered a new relationship to Iran.

Day 2 sees him closing the CIA’s special torture network and banning torture and rendition, claiming that We are not, as I said during the inauguration, going to continue with the false choice between our safety and our ideals.”

That’s some good work right there. Now all he has to deal with is * Afghanistan * Israel/Palestine * Global Warming * Financial Crisis and the fact that the US is more or less bankrupt

Should have it all sorted by mid-next week!