What a strange bunch of headlines today on Murdoch’s Australian tabloid newspapers.
It’s almost as if the last 25 years never happened. In the week that the world is celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall — the most potent symbol of the end of the Cold War — Murdoch’s crazy liquid modern tabloid editors have raised the spectre of a ‘Red Scare’.
You couldn’t make this stuff up, but Murdoch’s minions apparently can and will.
The Russian boats are not even close to Australia’s territorial waters (see below), but the editors — juiced up on Rupert’s kool-aid — cannot resist a good old RED SCARE front page.
Without a moment’s hesitation the claxon sounds and it’s all hands on deck as the plucky crew of HMAS NutsandBolts rally ’round the flag to repel all boarders and STOP THE BOATS.
Yes, even that classic, elastic, all-purpose, sea-going three-word slogan gets another run and is put to good secondary dog-whistle use.
As if thing aren’t already bad enough in the #CityofFear as it locks down in anticipation of the visigoth horde of visiting G20 dignitaries, the good burghers of Brisbane will have to contend with most of the city’s CBD being closed to ordinary folk, lest they wander into the view of the snout-in-trough great and good.
And, as the CuriouS Mell has been reminding THE ENTIRE NATION for months, marauding anarchists are also sneaking into the country to wreak havoc on unsuspecting civilians and to wage jihad on 20,000 heavily armed police mobilised to instil THE RULE OF LAW into anyone stupid enough to think about protesting injustice, criminal tax fraud, the fleecing of the world’s poor to fund extravagant global orgies of greed (like the G20) or demanding serious action on climate change not the weak DIRECT ACTION proposed by TWO PUNCH TONY.
Today the CuriouS Mell has been reinforced by the other titles in Murdoch’s stable — THE HUN, THE AGONISER & THE DAILY TERROR — to remind us JUST HOW VULNERABLE Australia is to maritime attack by a ‘fleet’ of Russian naval vessels which is somewhere well away from us, but possibly heading into international waters ‘somewhere off Queensland’.
Even the NORMALLY RELIABLE Australian got in on the act. With a news story, an opinion piece by Abbott’s court jester and food-taster Greg Sheridan and an editorial. Talk about OPERATION OVERKILL, if that doesn’t have the Russian admirals quaking into their seaboots, nothing will.
So is there a ‘sovereignty’ issue here?
Well the Russian ships are still over 200 nautical miles outside Australia’s extensive Exclusive Economic Zone — so at least 400 nautical miles away; it’s unlikely they’ll come much closer. If you were Bougainville, you might have reason to worry, but not us.
Territorial waters, or a territorial sea, as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is a belt of coastal waters extending at most 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi) from the baseline (usually the mean low-water mark) of a coastal state. The territorial sea is regarded as the sovereign territory of the state, although foreign ships (both military and civilian) are allowed innocent passage through it; this sovereignty also extends to the airspace over and seabed below. Adjustment of these boundaries is called, in international law, maritime delimitation.
The term “territorial waters” is also sometimes used informally to describe any area of water over which a state has jurisdiction, including internal waters, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and potentially the continental shelf.
(Yes, this is from Wikipedia)
So really, what’s the problem?
Well, if Russia wants to sail its ships into our region it is free to do so. It has full rights in all international waters and also the right of ‘innocent passage’ all the way into Australia’s territorial seas. This means they can come within 12 nautical miles of the mean low water mark.
That’s pretty close! But it is unlikely that the Russians will want to do that.
However, it would be very funny if they did. The Murdoch papers would go apeshit and they’d probably want to mount a DUNKIRK style flotilla. Maybe Rupert could lead them out in one of his superyachts. He could ram the Russian flagship and go down all guns blazing.
No doubt, Abbott would give him a state funeral and he might even get that knighthood that’s eluded him for sixty years.
Shirtfront! This is a shirtfront!
When our Prime Minister threatens to “shirtfront” the leader of another nation it should not be a surprise if that nation then decides to use its far superior naval power to return the gesture.
The alarmist headlines and Cold War rhetoric of the Murdoch papers is just stupid under the circumstances.
It is propaganda aimed at the readers of the Terrorgraph, the Hun, the CuriouS Mell and the Agonizer to keep them worried and alarmed.
It is the generation of what philosopher Zygmunt Bauman calls ‘liquid fear’. Whipping up irrational scare tactics in order to hide the true purpose — social and political control of the population.
Given the MURDOCH EMPIRE’s great love of our own DEAR LEADER, it is natural that they would generate a moral panic involving imaginary SOVIET MILITARY HARDWARE and that they would use a ‘hammer and sickle’ motif to illustrate their RED SCARE stories, even though the old Soviet regime has been dead and buried for more than a quarter of a century.
The RED FLAG is way more frightening than the RED, WHITE & BLUE of the Russian Federation and it has the added advantage of associating the approaching Russian fleet with communism and THE LEFT, which is, as we know so well, the real enemy of the NEWSCORPSE mercenaries.
There really is only one response…ridicule