What US occupation looks like on the ground

My following lead book review appeared in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald: INFERNAL TRIANGLE Paul McGeough Allen & Unwin, $32.99 This unblinking collection of dispatches separates the rhetoric from the reality of the post-September 11 battlefields. The new US Defence Secretary and former CIA director, Leon Panetta, recently told journalists the Obama administration was ”within reach”…

The Net Delusion is alive and well

My following book review appeared in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald: THE NET DELUSION Evgeny Morozov Allen Lane, 408pp, $29.95 As people in the Middle East have been protesting in the streets against Western-backed dictators and using social media to connect and circumvent state repression, it would be easy to dismiss The Net Delusion as almost…

Western politicians prefer to ignore Israel’s inherent racism

My following article appears in today’s Sydney Morning Herald: Imagine a mainstream Australian politician saying that Aborigines should be banned from leading tourists around Uluru because they might “present anti-Australian positions” to visitors. The outcry would be furious. But a bill is currently before the Israeli Knesset, led by a parliamentarian from the “moderate” Kadima…

Hungry for a kinder regime

My following book review appeared in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald: THREE FAMINES Tom Keneally Knopf, 324pp, $49.95 History is littered with catastrophic examples of government-induced disasters. A new book by the University of Hong Kong’s Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine, claims that 45 million people were killed between 1958 and 1962. Mao achieved this by…

Disaster capitalism envelops us all

My following article appears in the Sydney Morning Herald today: Last year’s cessation of hostilities between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers, after up to 40,000 Tamil civilians were murdered in the last months of the conflict, has heralded a Beijing-led invasion of the island. The authoritarian Rajapaksa regime was assisted by Chinese…

How to report on a descent into African hell

My following review appeared in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald: A reporter puts ethics aside when he becomes involved in a bloody rebellion in Liberia. MY FRIEND THE MERCENARY James Brabazon Text Publishing, 304pp, $34.95 Some journalists live under the delusion that they are objective creatures, unable to be bought or sold and committed to telling…

Why internet censorship is a fool’s paradise

My following article is published today by the Sydney Morning Herald/Age online: We live under the illusion that governments can protect us from the evils of the world. Paedophilia, extreme violence, lessons in self-harm and suicide, race hatred and terrorism. We have every right to expect governments to monitor hate and terror sites and arrest…

Gaza’s suffering is Israel’s shame

My following article is published today by the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age: The 85-year-old Jewish, anti-Zionist, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein is a sturdy looking woman. Her slightly hunched frame hides the determination to continue a life-long dedication to social justice. This week in Cairo she joined close to 1400 international delegates on the Gaza Freedom…

Truth proves elusive in a confusing trouble spot

My following book review appears in this week’s Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum section: Fit to Print: Misrepresenting the Middle East By Joris Luyendijk Scribe, 241pp, $29.95 “A journalist who limits himself to the role of middleman,” writes Dutch reporter Joris Luyendijk, “is actually siding with the team that is best able to influence the news…

The victim recalls a war crime

My following book review appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on November 29: My Story: The Tale Of A Terrorist Who Wasn’t By Mamdouh Habib; with Julia Collingwood; Scribe, 272 pp, $32.95 Before tortured Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib was released in 2005, then prime minister John Howard said his government didn’t “have any…