The Trouble with Guns

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When I was a little kid, my brothers and their mates sometimes mucked around with slug guns and air rifles in our backyard. It was a nice place, a big fishpond, a rockery and a big old camphor laurel tree with lots of shrubs and roses in beds my mother and father created. Down the back, near the incinerator where my father burnt used vials of drugs from his surgery and stinking x-ray films, there was an old chesterfield couch facing the fence waiting to be chopped up and incinerated by my father. My brothers had put a target up on the back fence and were having a crack at the bullseye, however after the first volley, up popped my granny, a slight trickle of blood running down her forehead. She’d been hiding away trying to get some peace no doubt from our unruly mob and placed herself right in the line of fire. She shouted at the murdering blackguards who were trying to kill her. A badly aimed shot had grazed her red frizzy head and my brothers then had the honour of having shot our granny. She survived though.

Granny had witnessed violence in Ireland, all through the Easter Uprising to The Troubles in the 1960s and further. Her brother had been in the Sinn Fein and another was suspected to have joined the IRA. There were tales of the Black and Tans and unspeakable violence. Guns were a part of life there and then, the violent history of revolution and resistance but that was then and this was 1960’s Australia. Guns were a form of entertainment. Shooting rabbits or roos was part of the cultural weft and weave, good country fun. Then came the madmen like Martin Bryant and Julian Knight. John Howard immediately introduced the National Firearms Agreement, restricting the private ownership of semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and pump-action shotguns as well as introducing uniform firearms licensing. It was implemented with bipartisan support by the Commonwealth, states and territories and coming a short time after the Dunblane massacre, in Scotland, where 18 lives were lost.

These however tragic, are nothing compared to what the really big boys do. They do it fairly secretly, (like shitting in someone else’s toilet) except in the case of the arms expos, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that the industry amounts to well over 2 trillion dollars. Australia is a willing and active participant in the trade.

As long ago as the 1970s, Australia was exporting small arms to PNG which given the untidy nature of governance there resulted in the widespread proliferation of guns into private hands. Australia exports weapons and ‘dual use goods to African nations, particularly Zimbabwe in 2003-2004 amounting to $1 million worth of hardware but other countries as well. Many of these are repressive violators of human rights; Indonesia, Thailand, Fiji and the Philippines, Pakistan, Israel, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Now we have the UAE buying and using defence systems from the Australian firm EOC for use, at least in the bloody repression of the Yemenis. Why is the Australian government issuing export licences to these companies?

All weapons productions in Australia used to be government owned which afforded some checks and balances for at least the profit motive was hopefully not the motivating factor. No more. Now the arms trade in Australia is private, mostly multinational corporations like the French owned Thales group which is the world’s 10th largest defence contractor. What used to be defensive is now profit driven and clearly the motive for disingenuous dealing or blatant undermining of fragile societies and regimes is obvious. More conflict more money. More money more power. More power more …well, more everything.

As Australia and the rest of the world for that matter, move ever closer to a global totalitarian state it is critical to resist the urge to be ignorant of wrongdoing by the state especially in these dreadful matters. Guns and weapons have no recreational purpose. They are made to kill and maim.

When I.G. Farben manufactured Zyklon B through one of its subsidiaries, Tesch and Stabenow, it was first used as an insecticide. Essentially cyanide and prussic acid crystals, it became gas when exposed to air. It was very efficient, very effective and very cheap to produce. Profitable too. Used in the gas chambers, it was bought up by the Nazis in large quantities as a weapon of mass slaughter, to kill the Jews, Christians, Gypsies, disabled, homosexuals, dissidents and others. Millions of them.

After the war ended the directors of I.G. Farben denied any knowledge of the Nazi’s use of the chemical, however twenty three I.G. Farben directors were tried for war crimes, thirteen were convicted. Director Bruno Tesch and executive manager Karl Weinbacher (of Tesch and Stabenow) were found guilty and given the death sentence. Both were hung on May 16, 1946 but by 1951 all the others were released.

Both EOS and the Australian government deny knowledge of the UAE’s use of the weapons system against the Yemenis. It beggars belief that the Australian government continues to issue export licenses for these and other weapons pretending they are ignorant of their ultimate purpose. They kill and maim. That’s what guns and bombs do. They also have sophisticated systems that help them do it more efficiently cheaply and accurately. Very effective, very efficient and very profitable.

Thales is partly owned by the French government, so I assume we are supporting them in some way too and EOS is dominated by good ole beefy white Aussies, even an ex Senator in there (Kate Lundy), a few military types, oh yes and the UAE link, AbdulRahman who ‘ forged a solid career in the UAE Defence Industry’.

I don’t want any of my taxes to go towards killing or maiming anyone. I don’t want my government to do so either by issuing licenses or giving tax relief or any other tacit form of support or approval. I didn’t vote for you Scott Morrison but since you are such a strong believer in the gospel and the living presence of Jesus Christ,then perhaps you wouldn’t mind seeing to it that neither you nor the government knowingly allows the weapons or its supporting systems to be manufactured here and immediately cancels the export licenses of any of these companies.

4 Comments

    1. Thanks C. Incensed by our govts pov attitude to weapons guns and AMERICA!

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