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The trial of four activists who inspected the top secret US-Australia spy base at Pine Gap for terrorist activity began on October 4. Jim Dowling, Adele Goldie, Bryan Law (Cairns) and Donna Mulhearn, members of Christians Against ALL Terrorism (CAAT), face charges under the Commonwealth Crimes Act and the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act (DSU) 1952. If found guilty they face seven years’ prison.
When invited to address an October 12 rally in defence of women’s right to abortion, both Labor Premier Steve Bracks and state Liberal Party leader Ted Baillieu declined to attend. The rally, held on the steps of the state parliament, was initiated by the Socialist Alliance.
On October 10, 60 people attended a public meeting at which the keynote speaker, historian Henry Reynolds, spoke about the ongoing oppression of Indigenous Australians.
“Ain’t that the truth”, said the Socialist Alliance’s lead upper house candidate in next March’s NSW state election, Susan Price. “And it sums up why we’re running against them.”
Thirty people protested outside the US consulate on October 13 calling for justice for five Cubans unfairly imprisoned in the United States. The Cuban Five helped expose the activities of US-based terrorists planning attacks on Cuba, for which they were imprisoned, even while known terrorists in Miami walk free. Cuba solidarity activist Tim Anderson told the crowd that the Cuban government is not going to let the case rest until justice is achieved.
Architects for Peace, Australia, took an active part in the protests against Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and Palestine. Beatriz Maturana, a founder of the group, told Green Left Weekly that the group formed in February 2003, in response to the invasion of Iraq. It continues to campaign against the US-led occupation of Iraq.
On October 10, 50 people joined a memorial service at Melbourne University to commemorate the drowning of 353 refugees when their Indonesian boat — the SIEV X — sank in international waters off Christmas Island in October 2001. A year after the sinking, a Senate select committee investigation concluded that it was “extraordinary that a major human disaster could occur in the vicinity of a theatre of intensive Australian [border patrol] operations and remain undetected until three days after the event, without any concern being raised within intelligence and decision making circles”.
In the first eight days of October, 30 coalition troops and close to 300 Iraqi civilians and security forces were killed. Iraq has become such a shameful example of Western arrogance that such figures barely warrant a mention on our television screens or in newspapers.
The NSW Labor government has been forced to partially back down on its plans to enforce the educationally unsound A-E report system.
Pope Benedict XVI is reported to be on the verge of authorising the return of the Latin Tridentine mass. This would open the way for some of the most extreme clerical reactionaries and anti-Semites to rejoin the Catholic Church.

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