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Last updated on August 8th, 2017 at 12:38 pm

I can’t load wmv files, so need help transcribing this appearance by Robert Fisk on Al Jazeera. Clip provided by Dylan Kissane in France.

UPDATE. Transcript (via J.F. Beck):

I think it will be a very dangerous thing for the Middle East if America does flounder in Iraq just as it never should have invaded Iraq in the first place, and did so illegally.

I think that the effects of an American disaster in Iraq – and disaster is what we’re looking at coming up at the moment. Um … I think the effects will be much more profound than we realise.

You know, I was in Canberra, Australia, the other day – I’m not in Australia as much as I’m in the United States and I have a pretty good idea what Americans think, by the way – but when I was in Australia I was at dinner with senior army officers who were discussing doubling the size of the Australian military and I said “Why? You’re just a patch of desert.”

And they said because if the Americans have to run and pull out and retreat out of Iraq they may withdraw their Pacific shield as well. There are ramifications on a huge global scale if the Americans fail.

Unfortunately they appear to be. That’s the problem.

Fisk – who knew he visited so recently? – appears to have a global scoop on his hands, courtesy of those “senior army officers” he dined with. How come he hasn’t written anything about this?

UPDATE II. Fisk on US radio in December 2006 (audio file here):

I was giving a lecture, as series of lectures, in Canberra, the Australian capital six months ago now. I was invited to dinner one night by an academic and he brought a number of Australian Army generals to dinner, a private dinner … These guys were talking and one of them said to me, “You realise, Mr. Fisk, that down here we’re thinking of, you know, doubling the size the Australian Army.” And I said “What?! You’re just a big desert surrounded by a finge of gardens and you wanna double the size of your army?”

And he explained it very clearly. This is what they’re discussing in miltary college, of course, Army college in, in Canberra.

He said, “Look,” he said, “The Americans are gonna pull out of Iraq. They’re going to, because they’ve lost.” The Australians have got soldiers in Iraq, so they know this … And [the general said] “If they do that, they may withdraw their Pacific shield from South East Asia, and then we could be on our own.”

He said, “North of us we have the largest populated Muslum country in the world.” Indonesia. “And they could be in Sydney with armour in 24 hours. We need to double the size of the Army.”

Now this shows you that what is happening in Fallujah and Ramadi and Baghdad is having an echo way out, thousands and thousands, you know, 18, from here even more, 20 hours flying time out of here. They’re worried about this. And there I was, sitting as the cicadas chirped away outside in the garden thinking, “My God. This IS going to have an effect.”

Hmmm. You’d think Fisk – who spoke in Canberra last March – might have mentioned this in print; after all, it’s not every day you have a coalition general telling you the US has lost in Iraq and will withdraw, and voicing concerns about an imminent Indonesian invasion (which we’d face without US support). So far as I’m aware, Fisk hasn’t made these claims outside of his radio and television appearances. Very odd.

UPDATE III. Fisk earlier made similar claims in November 2005 after speaking in Canberra the previous month:

Look, first of all, I can’t see a U.S. administration leaving Iraq in a state of humiliation. All around the world at the moment – I was having dinner in Canberra, Australia, the other day, and talking to some very senior officers in the Australian Army who are actually thinking of doubling the size of the Australian military to defend themselves in the Pacific, because they thought that after America does withdraw from Iraq, which it will, America may lose its interest in protecting its allies in the Pacific area as well. So already the ripples are going on of what this exit strategy will mean.

So when did Fisk meet these gabby generals? In 2005, as he claims above, or in 2006, as he told US radio last month? The poor fellow seems to have a chronology problem.

UPDATE IV. Fisk’s Inside Iraq appearance on YouTube. No date, but it must have been recent; the show was only launched in November.

UPDATE V. Amos has had it up to here with Fisk and his alleged sources.

Posted by Tim B. on 01/20/2007 at 11:11 PM
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