The personal saga of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has been used to overshadow the ground-breaking journalism of WikiLeaks in exposing the secrets of governments and corporations around the world.
Papua New Guinea's new cabinet was named on August 10 by re-elected Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. It marked the end of the election period that ended the country's long-running political crisis. The election period began in June and was extended in some areas due to violence, delays, fraud and voting problems.
West Papuan independence leader Buchtar Tabuni has been put on trial as part of Indonesia's crackdown on the independence movement. Tabuni, a leader of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), was arrested in June for allegedly organising “anarchic” protests calling on the government to properly investigate a wave of random shootings blamed on independence activists. The protests were peaceful until attacked by police and ended with several activists dead and others injured.
When Tamil asylum seeker Dayan Anthony was deported back to Sri Lanka by the Australian government last month, his immediate arrest and interrogation did little to allay fears he would not face harassment from authorities. His subsequent government-arranged press conference appeared to be staged for the benefit of the Sri Lankan and Australian governments.
The Dark Knight Rises Directed by Christopher Nolan Starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway In cinemas now The Dark Knight Rises, the last in the trilogy of Batman films by director Christopher Nolan, may well become a favourite for many of those who despise, fear or distrust the working class.
Quebec's long-running student strike is set to resume at the start of the new semester on August 17. Students from universities and colleges are seeking to force the government to stop its plan to raise fees. The student movement has turned politics in Quebec on its head, challenging not only the fee hike but the status quo of neoliberal politics. It has called into question the existence of fees and raised the idea of free education as a right.
Coalminers in north-west Spain have maintained a large-scale strike against government plans to cut subsidies to the industry. The cuts could result in thousands of job losses and the destruction of communities. The strike began on May 29 when the Asturias region's 8000 miners voted to walk off the job indefinitely. A small number of miners locked themselves underground for weeks, while many others occupied public spaces. Miners have come under intense attack by police and civil guard, who used tear gas, rubber bullets and batons to break up the strike.
The Indonesian government has engaged in a spin campaign over the recent wave of mysterious shootings in Indonesian-occupied West Papua in an attempt to derail the struggle for independence. With no evidence, Indonesian police have blamed the shootings on the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and its armed wing, the National Liberation Army. Several Papuan independence activists were killed, along with others wounded or killed since the attacks began in late May.
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange went to the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19 to apply for asylum, after losing his final appeal in British courts against extradition to Sweden. The extradition to Sweden is nominally over allegations of sexual assault, for which Swedish authorities wish to question Assange ― who has not been charged. But WikiLeaks supporters point to evidence released by the whistleblowing site this year that the United States government has prepared a secret sealed indictment against him.
West Papua has been rocked by a wave of shootings and repression in recent weeks that has left many parts of the occupied nation in a state of fear. Indonesian security forces went on a rampage in the highlands town of Wamena, killing one person, injuring many others and destroying property on June 6. Human rights group Tapol said on June 8 the soldiers were seeking revenge for an attack by locals on two colleagues who had run over a three-year-old child with a motorbike. Locals killed one of the soldiers on the motorbike and the other was severely beaten.
More than 100,000 people rallied in Santiago on May 16 in protest against Chile's wealth-based education system. The protest ― which included students, parents, teachers and unionists ― was part of an ongoing campaign that began in May last year. The movement has challenged Chile's education system, under which the quality of a person's education is determined by their ability to pay high fees.
The political crisis in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has reached farcical new depths before elections later this month. Peter O'Neill was elected prime minister by parliament on May 30 for a third time since August. It was a bid to undermine a Supreme Court ruling on May 21 that again reinstated Sir Michael Somare as prime minister. However, the vote may be illegal, since parliament had already been dissolved before the upcoming election, Reuters said that day.
Independent journalist and author Antony Loewenstein visited Papua New Guinea in January and February as part of his research for an upcoming book and documentary about disaster capitalism and privatisation. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Ash Pemberton about the influence of the resource industry in PNG, its links with government and private security forces, the rising influence of China and PNG's domestic politics in light of upcoming elections. * * *
The controversial Ramu nickel mine near Madang in Papua New Guinea has come under fire for new claims of environmental damage. The mine has been the subject of a long-running battle with locals over plans to pump 100 million tonnes of mine waste into Basamuk Bay over 20 years. The dumping threatens the pristine ecosystem of the area as well as the livelihoods of local people.
The presence of police and mobile brigade soldiers at construction sites for the PNG LNG (liquefied natural gas) project in Papua New Guinea ― majority owned by Exxon Mobil ― is an indication of the community discontent surrounding the project. Fears have been raised that conflict over the project could provoke violence like that of Bougainville in the 1990s.
The Occupy movement in the United States relaunched itself on May 1 when thousands of people rallied in more than 130 cities across the country to mark May Day — the international day to mark working people's struggles. The May Day events were billed as a test of strength for the movement that exploded onto the streets in September last year. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) arose to protest against inequality and undemocratic rule by the super-rich — the “1%”.