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In the fullness of time we got Fullilove

By Bruce Haigh - posted Friday, 14 January 2011


Michael Fullilove of the Lowy Institute gave the worst interview in defence of a position held that I have heard for some time.

The ABC 7.30 Report of the 7 January 2011, hosted by Tracy Bowden, saw guest Michael Fullilove put a case to shut Wickileaks down and Assange up.

Responding to the last question of the interview from Bowden, “Finally, 59 per cent of Australians support the release of the cables. I guess you’re at odds with them?"

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Fullilove responded, “Well, I think Australians like an underdog and Mr Assange is taking it up to the most powerful country in the world but Australians also don’t like people who dodge their responsibility and they don’t like people who dodge extradition as Christopher Skase found out, so we’ll see how public opinion goes on that in the future.”

What a strange analogy. Australians well understood Skase was an avaricious escapee from the law, in company with Allan Bond and Brian Burke.

Fullilove claims Australians like the underdog; they do, but not blindly. Australians like the truth and that is what WikiLeaks is offering them.

For the whole of the interview Fullilove was at pains to defend the interests of the American government. He was introduced as a foreign policy analyst of the Lowy Institute and as such we can presume he spoke on behalf of the Institute and with their backing.

As such the Institute needs to have a bit of light shed on it. As far as I am aware it has never undertaken a critical review of US foreign policy, particularly with respect to Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel. And with respect to the latter it has been a positive booster.

The chief financer of the Institute, Frank Lowy, of the successful Westfield Group, with major property investments in Australia and the US, has commitments to Israel based on the horrors of his experiences as a Jewish child and youth under the Nazis. That commitment has also been financial. The Australian government and Lowy himself were surprised and disappointed when the Lowy backed bid for Australia to host the Soccer World Cup was recently knocked back. With a majority of members of the International Soccer Federation from Africa and the Middle East, what did they expect?

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One cannot be seen to back Israel and win the right to host a World Cup event or a seat on the Security Council. Who advises Lowy, presumably people like Mr Fullilove. The Lowy Institute is close to government in Australia and the flow of individuals between the Institute and Canberra has even extended to supplying the most recent head of the Office of National Assessments, the former employer of whistle blower and independent Tasmanian MP, Andrew Wilkie.

Fullilove needs to be challenged to debate his half baked defence of the US over its quest to hang, draw and quarter Julian Assange for his temerity to publicly expose US double dealing and block headedness.

Fullilove spoke of evil consequences, yet to-date nothing has been released that would indicate that evil consequences are likely to result from those releases. He spoke of the need for confidentiality when that seemed to be an end in itself. Deployment of military resources in a time of war requires the greatest secrecy; seeking best possible outcomes from trade negotiations requires confidentiality unless it is a multinational seeking to dump, circumvent or distort.

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About the Author

Bruce Haigh is a political commentator and retired diplomat who served in Pakistan and Afghanistan in 1972-73 and 1986-88, and in South Africa from 1976-1979

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