Letters to the editor: Syria reporting, overtime problems

Reporting on Syria

It is with deep concern that we the undersigned continue to read articles in the Green Left Weekly about the ongoing conflict in Syria that do not reflect the true situation. Most, if not all, of these articles are written by Tony Iltis who takes a position that is only marginally better than the outright lies being peddled by the corporate media: i.e. the “Free Syrian Army” are democratic rebels fighting for freedom.

Despite Tony moderating his stance somewhat in his latest article (GLW Issue 950) to blaming the “rebels” as well as the Syrian Government for the current bloodshed and chaos, the article reads like a random mixture of material thrown together from various websites. It would appear that he doesn’t know what is going on and has pulled together various strands in an “each way bet” to cover himself against possible future criticism.

There is an enormous amount of information available online about the true nature of the so called “rebels” and we also have extensive contact with the Adelaide Syrian community, with families still in Syria, who almost unanimously agree that the “Free Syrian Army” are the terrorists who are responsible for the massacres and destruction and that it is the military who are trying to protect the population and infrastructure. The vast majority of Syrians support Al-Assad and fear the “rebels”.

Most of the “rebels” aren’t even Syrian. They are a mixture of murderous religious fanatics including Al Qaeda and mercenaries from over a dozen countries who are financed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf countries. They are armed by the USA and Israel and trained and organised by the CIA, MI6, Mossad and French Intelligence.

The “FSA” are thugs engaged in yet another Western-backed imperialist takeover of a sovereign nation whose government is to be replaced with a pro-Western Islamic Caliphate (with sharia law) in which democracy and freedom, especially for women, are forbidden.

The “FSA” are supported by many Muslim extremist websites that proudly celebrate the atrocities committed against the Syrian people. To support such activities is unconscionable and counterproductive to achieving a just solution for the people of Syria.

We would like to remind GLW that both Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez have condemned the Western conspiracy against Syria and that the Cuban and Venezuelan people have protested strongly against this intervention and in support of Al-Assad.

We find it mystifying that the GLW staff hold their pro “FSA” position despite the obvious alarm bells. We appeal to you to adopt a far more critical, accurate and thoroughly researched position on this very serious matter.

Yours sincerely,

Tom Bertuleit, Mark Window, Abbas Al-Kafaji, Louise Davies, Helen Lawrie, Patty Cadiz, Chris Benham, Andrew McLean, Phil Davies, Juan Garrido, Yan Lin, Trevor Deegan, Sue Shepherd, Lenin Garrido.

Related articles:
Military and political stalemate as body count climbs in Syria
Assad regime close to over amid rising violence
Tariq Ali: Uprising in Syria ― an ugly stalemate
Rebels worry about extremists, say Assad comes first

Overtime takes more than it gives

Would you work up to 72 hours a week at a place that doesn’t pay proper overtime?

Welcome to security at the University of Sydney (subcontracted to MSS). The site works under a voluntary over time agreement that pays a very generous 15% on top of the normal rate for that day/night. It’s a left over relic from Howard’s Work Choices that’s somehow still legal.

Overtime should be double time, but that’s only according to the award so let’s not worry about that. The award also says no more than 60 hours (5 x 12 hour shifts) in a row but that doesn’t matter. Of course the overtime is voluntary, except when, you know, we’re a bit short-staffed. No pressure to say yes, promise. Some of us are too nice to say no, they love ‘em lots. (Just not enough to pay the award wage.)

When I signed the agreement did I really know how often I’d be doing 120 to 132 hours a fortnight? No, I didn’t. That many hours and no proper overtime. If that’s not illegal then it should be. The Labor government clearly hasn’t done enough to repeal work choices or how could this happen?

And this isn’t happening at some place you’ve never heard of, it’s a large security company at a major university. Both places like to tell you about their high standards, the reality is something different.

Please, if you are ever asked to sign a special work agreement, think very carefully. They can take a lot more than they give.

(Name and address withheld)