Lawyers for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange have accused Swedish authorities of secretly planning to extradite him to the US as soon as it has built a criminal case against him. Lawyer Mark Stephens told the media on January 12: “We are hearing that the Swedish are prepared to drop the rape charges against Julian as soon as the Americans demand his extradition.”
The United Nations global climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, looks set to repeat the failures of Copenhagen. The chances of Cancun producing a binding agreement that would avert climate disaster are next to zero. Many world leaders have not even bothered to attend the summit, which runs from November 29 to December 10. Leaders of rich nations and the media talked much about the “low expectations” of an agreement in the lead-up to the conference.
Maire Leadbeater is a spokesperson for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee (Auckland). She recently returned from West Papua, a nation that has faced repression since its occupation by Indonesia in 1963. She spoke to Green Left Weekly's Ash Pemberton. * * * Can you give your impressions of West Papuan society under Indonesian occupation?
Leaked military documents have confirmed that Indonesia’s elite special forces unit Kopassus routinely engages in “murder [and] abduction”. The documents also show Kopassus officially defines civilian dissidents as its “enemy” in its operations in West Papua. The documents, posted by journalist Allan Nairn at Allannairn.com on November 9, identify Indonesia’s primary enemies in West Papua as unarmed civilians involved in the independence movement.
The government of Papua New Guinea has been awarded Greenpeace’s “Golden Chainsaw” award in response to its corrupt, anti-environment forestry policies. In a report released on October 25, the environmental advocacy organisation said PNG should not be allowed to take part in the controversial Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) carbon trading program until “safeguards for biodiversity and indigenous and landowners’ rights and ending the corruption and illegal logging” are in place.
Videos showing the torture of West Papuans by occupying Indonesian soldiers have embarrassed the Indonesian government ahead of a scheduled visit in November by US President Barack Obama. Obama is due to discuss a security deal that would involve the US training Indonesian military units accused of human rights violations. A video posted at FreeWestPapua.wordpress.com shows two Papuans from Gurage village being tied down and interrogated by Indonesian soldiers about the alleged location of weapons belonging to the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
Owners of the Hidden Valley gold mine in Morobe province, Papua New Guinea, have tried to silence critics of the environmental damage created during the mine’s construction, Little Green Palai said on October 25. Members of campaign group Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC) have been issued restraining orders by owners Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV). The owners demanded they stop spreading information about the mine's impact on the community and environment, the article said.
More than 100 landowners from the Madang Province of Papua New Guinea have said they want to join a court battle to stop millions of tonnes of mine waste being dumped into the sea, the Ramu Nickel Mine Watch website said on October 17. The challenge was launched by 37 landowners, with others indicating their intent to join the case.
The Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), involving involves police and soldiers, is set to continue its occupation of the Pacific island for at least “five to six years”, despite a change of government in the Solomon Islands. Danny Philip was elected prime minister of the Solomon Islands by parliamentary vote on August 25, the Solomon Star said, after the August 4 general elections in which 25 out of 50 seats changed hands.
West Papuan leaders have rejected the possibility of talks with the Indonesian government until it acknowledges human rights abuses and ensures economic development, the October 5 Jakarta Globe said. Indonesia has claimed West Papua as its territory since a fraudulent vote by handpicked Papuans in 1969. It continues to deny Papuans the right to self-determination, repressing expressions of support for Papuan independence. Herman Awom of the Papuan People’s Council told the Globe: “We don’t want to talk to Jakarta because Jakarta never wants to talk to us.
The fight against the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of Madang in Papua New Guinea suffered a setback when a court injunction against the Ramu nickel mine, which is building a pipe to dump its waste into the ocean, was reversed. The injunction was dropped after the three remaining plaintiffs pulled out of the case against the US$1.4 billion Chinese-owned mine, the September 24 Sydney Morning Herald said.
Voluntary euthanasia is back in the political spotlight. The Greens have used their stronger position in the new parliament to raise the issue of people’s right to choose how and when they die. A 1995 Ray Morgan research poll said 78% of people supported voluntary euthanasia being made legal in Australia. In 2009, a Newspoll survey said 85% of Australians supported voluntary euthanasia laws.