MH17, Separatism And Liberty

MH17BodyBagsG’day everyone,

In what must sound like a familiar refrain to all regular readers of LibertyGibbert, I’m up to my eyeballs in work, and have had no time for writing. This is a pity, for there is a very great deal I’d like to talk about at the moment, not least of which was the new solar cyclic theory of David Evans. I must confess it will be a month at least before I’ll have the chance to even begin reading it in detail.

The discussion on the previous thread inevitably turned to the breaking news of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, over a region of Eastern Ukraine currently controlled by Russian-backed separatist rebels. The aircraft, in which all 298 passengers and crew lost their lives, was almost certainly destroyed by a Russian BUK surface-to-air missile system, supplied to the rebels by the Russian government, trained in its use by them and—just possibly—operated by a Russian national as well.

In expressing the international outrage felt most keenly by those countries who have lost citizens, in particular the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia, it is important not to conflate the act of mass murder with the wider geopolitical issues involved. I have reflected a little more on Izen’s comparison to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and a bit of a gap in my own knowledge has emerged. I hope someone here might try to fill it:

You see, so far as I’m aware, no-one has ever tried to set down the ethics of separatism. Whether it be the Palestinians in Gaza, or the Kurds on either side of the Iraq-Turkey border, or Bouganvillian islanders seeking independence from Papua New Guinea, what are the ethical guidelines? Or preferably, the ethics consistent with the principles of Liberty? Is anyone aware of any writings that treat the issue generically? And if not, what do you think should those ethics be?

There seem to be two classes of secessionist movement: those whose separatists are allied to a neighbouring country either racially, ethnically or linguistically, and those who seek to unite stateless ethnic groups which either straddle a national border, or are completely surrounded by a dominant state. In the former category, you would include eastern Ukraine (Russia), Bougainville (Solomon Islands) and possibly Palestine (neighbouring Arabic nations). In the latter, you might include the Kurds (Iraq, Syria and Turkey), the Basques (France and Spain), the Timorese (Indonesia) and Kashmiris (India). I was shocked to see the wiki list detailing just how many separatist movements there are around the world, although their article on separatism, per se, was far from helpful. I think I’ve heard of less than half of those movements myself.

So: if an ethnic enclave wants autonomy, on what criteria should we judge their cause just? Should we take into account their economic viability as an independent state? Or the level of oppressive behaviour of the dominant state? Or, for that matter the dominant state’s level of investment in the enclave, in both blood and treasure? What about their history of independence? If an enclave was independent 50, 100 or 200 years ago, should that count for anything? How about Paine, in Rights of Man, who articulated the principle that no parliament may bind its successors? What if a enclave’s parliament votes to abolish itself in favour of dominion by a neighbour, eliminating any future independent, unique voice of that people?

Hopefully that’s enough conversation starters. I look forward to your views. Plus, I’ll use this thread to discuss any updates to the MH17 investigation.

This entry was posted in Australia, Libertarianism. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to MH17, Separatism And Liberty

  1. izen says:

    The sacred principle of national sovereignty was expounded by Tallyerand at the Congress of Vienna.

    You can get a full, comprehensive background here –

    Including all the letters.
    Shorter version;
    France had just lost the Napoleonic war with the four powers, England, Russia Prussia and Austria.
    Napoleon had regarded the military defeat of a nation justified its transfer of sovereignty to the Empire with whatever territorial and border adjustments Napoleon and his entourage may find expedient. The Four powers exected their victory gave them the same right to redefine national boundaries and sovereignty according to their mutual benefit. Without any consideration of what previous States and Sovereigns, Princes or Parliaments may have governed in Saxony, Poland, Italy and various other regions.

    Tallyerand argued that military defeat did not remove the national sovereignty, merely supressed it. The historical sovereignty of a nation should be respected to avoid internal discontent and inhibit expansionist temptation. Where sovereignty had been willingly ceded, the wishes of the populations involved should lead the formation of new borders, states and nations.

    This high principle was adopted by Tallyerand as a piece of political expediency, playing off the minor European powers against the big four to gain power in the negotiations for France. In practice expediency limited the application of this principle of legitimacy. National sovereignty was preserved in Saxony to a limited extent to put a brake on Prussian militarist expansion. Poland was almost entierly sacrificed to Russian and Prussian interests to gain their support for other concession elsewhere.

    But the underlying principles involved did get established in real-politic. There was an insight that imposing sovereignty on a people who had a historical claim to autonomy was not conducive to internal peace, and accepting that such expansionist land-grabs encouraged expansionist empire building was dangerous to European stability.
    So kindly keep your empire-building outside Europe.
    That Prussian militarism and Russian ambitions failed to learn those lessons resulted in the lack of peace in Europe following the 1814 Congress. The resultant fallout from several centuries of imposed governance by the dynastic families of the European warlords and ethnic nationalism/cleansing was WW1 and 2 resulting in the EU. An attempt to combine independent national sovereignty with a larger structure as a stabiliser and counter, but alternative model to the USSR and it’s dependent/subservient satellites.

    The historical evolution of ethnic identity and state governance shapes the present, and can be exploited by external in internal interest groups. At present Britain is facing the Scottish secession. By referendum rather than bombs or terrorism. But there are examples of UK national governance being rejected violently (Ireland) and accepted, so far (Wales). Both of these conflicts are rooted in the Norman take-over of Saxon England.

    The problems caused by historical conflict, invasion, oppression and the denial of autonomy to some while enhancing the benefits to others are all obvious in the present Ukranian/Russian and Palestinian/Israeli conflict. I suspect that any application of Tallyerand’s sacred principles of sovereign legitimacy to these problems will continue to be as diluted by political expediency and biased toward the benefit of the most powerful players just as they were 200 years ago.

    Thanks for that Izen.

    Not sure why, but your comment went straight into the spam queue and it was only by chance that I noticed it and it wasn’t permanently deleted. I’ll try to figure out why. In the meantime, could I repeat my request that everyone who devotes their valuable time to post on my blog keep a copy in some form locally before committing it to posting. WordPress is a great blogging software system, but these things do happen – Oz

  2. farmerbraun says:

    ” . . . Palestinian/Israeli conflict.
    I suspect that [any] application of [Tallyerand’s] sacred principles of sovereign legitimacy . . . . will continue to be as diluted by political expediency and biased toward the benefit of the most powerful players just as they were 200 years ago.”

    There Izen ; fixed it for you. Tip-toe , tip-toe ; the operative word here being “sacred”.

  3. farmerbraun says:

    Looks like some links are verboten.

    Seems that way. I just rescued five of your comments from the spam list. You and Izen are on my white list, so everything you post should go straight through. I just checked the WordPress settings and there’s no way I can change the akismet spam settings.

    If a post disappears, could you possibly e-mail me and I will rectify manually if possible – Oz

  4. farmerbraun says:

    WordPress assures me that I’ve already said that which has not appeared, so it’s in there somewhere.

  5. farmerbraun says:

    Only two different links in all that. A clean up would be in order.

  6. izen says:

    Second post attempt as I got the ‘sorry your comment could not be posted’ wordpress response.
    Perhaps they have been ‘improving’ the system again. A Disqus blog I follow was down the other day for software updates, and when it restarted there were a flood of complaints that the old links, RSS ffeds and archive/index URLs had all changed, making bookmarks and feeds useless until manually updated. Just a glitch no doubt. {while they install the NSA ‘backdoors’.} grin

    There seems to be a good deal of motivated reasoning and conspiracy ideation amongst the ‘Anyone but Russia’ theorists. {parallel with the AB Darwin and the ABCO2 groups!?}

    The uncritical, and frankly credulous acceptance of Russian claims that one or more Ukrainian SU-25 were ‘in the vicinity’ of MH17 without any evidence that that aircraft is operational at the altitude of the flight is telling. I can still find no pre-event evidence for a modification of the SU-25 that could double its generally quoted 7000m ceiling. There are good aerodynamic and physical reasons why such a modification is unlikely. As atmospheric density drops rapidly with altitude the problems of obtaining lift, control and sufficient oxygen to power the engines become extreme. It is not that it is impossible to modify a ground attack/low level intercepter like the SU-25 to operate at high altitude, it is just very difficult and inefficient. A comparison would be modifying a LandRover 4wd type ATV into a race car. You COULD put in a much more powerful, bigger engine, modify the suspension and transmission and reduce the weight and drag. The end result would be a very expensive and rather bad racing car that was no longer a very good offroader.

    As suggested in the article farmerbraun linked I downloaded the photo and examined it at hi-res.

    The SU-25 guns have an amunition load of 250 shots. On the small section of the cockpit and wing in the photos there are well over 30 apparent ‘impacts’ either entry or exit. Closely, but randomly spaced. Perhaps that is amazingly accurate shooting {>10% hit rate?} with the two photos just happening to include the main hit areas of this attack.
    But close examination shows other features. the metal impacts do seem to both inwards and outwards and cluster in size around a bullet size. But they are not all circular or consistent, there is a variation in size and shape and the areas of the cockpit surface around the holes shows heavy pitting as if many much smaller fragments were also hitting that surface.

    The BUK AA missle carries a large explosive warhead within a shrapnel generating containment. It is fitted with a radar proximity fuse, while it can down an aircraft by a direct impact and detonation, the intended mode of operation is to explode the warhead when it detects it is within the kill zone defined by the range of the high velocity shrapnel cloud that the missile generates. The target aircraft is destroyed by flying into a cloud of bullet sized lumps of metal travelling at bullet type speeds as a result of the shaped charge/shrapnel design of the BUK warhead.

    A final footnote, the linkage I make between the MH17 event and the Israeli-Palestinian exercise in diplomacy by other means crops up again. The writer of the article, Peter Haisenko has written a book detailing the role of the Jewish banking houses on the economic and political causes of the last 100 years of European wars. Weird….

  7. izen says:

    Black humour. {grinm}

    The people who still go on about the Goldman-Sachs-Rothschil octupus and how the UN is a jewish plot to impose a socialist NWO clearly have not got the memo that the new eternal enemy is Islamistan, and we have always been at war with Islamistan….

    Hmm, not sure that link will make it through the WordPress mangle.?!
    Shorter; Haisenko comments on a ‘Jewish global conspiracy’ blog that the UN and the NWO government is a product of Alger Hiss and the Jewish bankers, it as a short step away from the foam-flecked ravings of Texxe Marrs….

    The Puritan revival in Islam has political consequences, not least that it provides a credible enemy for justifying security measures and using regional conflicts as a proxy for power struggles at other levels of the global system. Theocratic Islamo-fascism is a threat to the pluralistic and trade-friendly western societies on a security level. It does not offer an existential threat. Religious purity and a theocratic monoculture appeals to a small minority, most humans would choose the materialistic advantages of a consumer society and the developmental advantages of broad and high educational systems and standards. In this information age, the easy communication and access to knowledge, news, entertainment and pron tends to get the vote of most people who have a choice.

    Of course there are some who are so far ahead of the curve they are totally bent. They have gone right past the Islamo-fascist threat and reached the alien lizards…..

  8. farmerbraun says:

    I don’t think that the “details” are the issue ; I think that the message from Germany is – “we’ll decide for ourselves whether this was a “tragic accident””
    That and – ” don’t spy on me R. Sole . . . and where’s my friggin’ gold?”

    When you think about it China-Russia-India is quite a big bloc; throw in Brazil and South Africa, and quite a lot of gold , and you might be looking competitive.

  9. Ozboy says:

    Way OT, but I have a hypothetical…

    Just say that for the past year, I had used this blog to campaign against someone involved in a very public brawl and had been accused of corruption. And I also very publicly supported, and interviewed, the woman on the other side of that brawl, who had acted as whistleblower. To keep this fight going, I maintained a post up at the top of the blog asking for donations, ‘cos running this blog was like, you know, a full-time job. Lots of Libertarian/conservative types dutifully dig into their pockets and contribute to the cause.

    Fast forward a few months, and news starts to emerge that this whistleblower isn’t so squeaky clean herself, in fact she does not even deny siphoning off new-car-sized amounts of money for her own private use, and that of her family. Furthermore, regular readers here could not help but notice that, for some weeks now, my own near-daily, overly-uxorious references to my wife had ceased. I drop off the radar for a week.

    Then, another blogger reports that I had just returned from a week’s overseas holiday – with the very woman I had been boosting all along! You are one of those who had contributed your hard-earned to this blog. So tell me: would you feel entitled to an explanation from me—or a flat and angry denial, at the very least? And if neither was forthcoming, would you henceforth trust anything else I blogged on the matter?

    As I explained back here, if you are a public figure, and publicly partisan to a cause, the nature of your bedroom preferences is irrelevant. The identity of those preferences may not be.


    UPDATE 02 Aug 1800: Angry denial it is. I’m glad.

    UPDATE 02 Aug 1815: The other blogger hits back. Wow. I’m breaking out the popcorn here. The evidence against the whistleblower is pretty damning, though. And no, it wasn’t really hypothetical.

  10. Ozboy says:

    And here’s a poser for you – one along the lines of the story I ran three years ago about the so-called “super injunction” in Britain. Well, it seems the same has happened here.

    Tell me this: if a Federal Court Justice issues a suppression order, forbidding any suggestion that certain foreign government identities were involved with senior Australian public service officials in bribery and corruption of a scale that dwarfs anything this blog has covered regarding union corruption in Australia; a suppression order which forbids publication even of its own details, how the bloody hell can journalists and bloggers know what it is they aren’t allowed to say?

    It gets more surreal yet – way, way more surreal. What if today, a soon-to-retire head of an Asian government (who may or may not be one of those mentioned in the court order, I have absolutely no way of knowing) comes out in in the media and loudly demands the Australian government publicly declare he isn’t being investigated down here? Something the Australian government cannot do (truthfully, anyway) if he is? But now his name is out there, they are in a double bind!

    Gosh. If only someone like Wikileaks would publish the court order in full. But I’m sure they are far too law-abiding to do anything like that. As I said, I have absolutely no way of knowing. Thank God the suppression order only applies to Australia (and I’m only guessing that), that’s all I can say.

  11. Ozboy says:

    Further to the above: David Leyonhjelm, Bob Day, or another unmuzzled parliamentarian, please, please raise this issue on the floor of your House at the earliest possible opportunity. This will then free up me (and every other journalist and blogger in the country) to report freely on what may (or may not, I have absolutely no way of knowing) possibly be the biggest scandal, measured in dollar terms, in our nation’s history. DO NOT LET an unelected judiciary supercede your prerogative – and my democratic right!

  12. Ozboy says:

    Speaking of Palestine, local champagne socialist Mike Carlton included this charming cartoon in his rant against Israel on 26 July:


    Just in case you were under any misapprehension that this was about the Israeli government, or Likud, or anything other than what is actually was.

    It’s since been removed from Der Stürmer Morning Herald website after a storm of protest, including an angry phone call from Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull (whose electorate in Sydney’s eastern suburbs contains Australia’s largest Jewish community) to Herald editor-in-Chief Darren Goodsir. Fairfax media has issued an apology. But the horse has bolted – and the damage has already been done. Several eminent Australians have publicly cancelled their Herald subscriptions, and will doubtless hasten the demise of a once-great newspaper, Australia’s oldest.

    Try spotting the difference:


  13. Ozboy says:

    How To Leave Planet Earth, Part 1. The panorama from the rear-view mirror is something else:

  14. izen says:

    Thanks for that bit of perspective on a planet that is full of global conflict, played out as regional tribal wars and an incipient epidemic.

    To continue off topic, here is a story that has been around for about a decade. It started with extravagant claims of breaking basic laws of physics and looked like another fringe crank cold fusion bunch of woo.
    It still might be that.
    But while each more rigorous experimental test find less and less of the claimed effect, it has not yet been refuted or falsified.

    That NASA has carried out tests and found some effect is very interesting. It is clear from their paper that they are describing what they did in detail and the results, but with no real theory for WHAT they detected. I get the impression they kinda hope someone will point our the experimental error that cause a false reading of thrust generated. note the difference between the abstract and the media reports!

    On the other hand the intrinsic usefulness of something that you put electrical power in and get directional force out is just so tempting….a propeller working on the quantum vacuum.

    Anomalous Thrust Production from an RF Test Device Measured on a Low-Thrust Torsion Pendulum

    Saw that story the other day. It interested me enough to take some time out to do a bit of reading up on it. Who knows? Maybe he’s onto something. It could revolutionize future trajectories of deep space research, at a minimum – Oz

  15. Luton Ian says:

    The right to secede derives from a slave’s right to be free.
    Lysander Spooner.

  16. Ozboy says:

    Update on the Herald article above – Mike Carlton resigns rather than suffer suspension or the sack.

    Ray Hadley lets fly with this spray.

    Interesting set of tweets about it in this News Limited article. Former SMH editor Alan Oakley speaks for many I suspect.

Comments are closed.