Terry Hicks’s son has been detained for five years, without trial, in a prison camp likened by some to the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
“The Socialist Alliance welcomes the decision of Bryce Gaudry to stand as an independent for the seat of Newcastle in the NSW state election on March 24”, alliance spokesperson Steve O’Brien said on January 31.
David Hicks’s demonisation, and continued incarceration in Guantanamo Bay, helps the US and Australian governments’ promotion of its endless “war on terror”. The Australian government is keen for the US to prosecute Hicks rather than have him return home because he has done no wrong under Australian law.
At least six people were wounded on January 24, following an operation by the UN peacekeeping force (MINUSTAH). One victim, attended to immediately by Doctors Without Borders, says she was hit by stray bullets, according to the daily newspaper Le Nouvelliste.
In her 2001 book, Blue Army: Paramilitary Policing in Victoria, senior lecturer in criminology at Monash University Associate Professor Jude McCulloch reports 44 victims of police shootings in Victoria since the 1980s, mostly poor people from non-Anglo backgrounds, but also police themselves. That number is now more than 50.
Turkish activists who have been on hunger strike in protest at the treatment of political prisoners in Turkey’s F-type isolation prisons have ended their “death fast”, following the Turkish government’s announcement that it would improve conditions in the jails. Prisoners will now be able to meet together in groups and have greater time to socialise and see visitors. Lawyer Behic Asci was taken to hospital for treatment after ending his fast, after 293 days without food. Since 1982, 122 protesters have lost their lives through the death fasts. Human rights groups, student organisations and unions joined demonstrations in recent months in support of the campaign. The Australian TAYAD (Solidarity with Political Prisoners) committee, in a January 26 statement welcoming the decision, said: “We will continue our struggle with all different means of resistance until isolation is removed totally.”
Walter Chavez, an adviser to Bolivian president Evo Morales, has found himself in the centre of a well-orchestrated corporate media campaign aimed at delegitimising the Morales government internationally by linking it to “terrorist” groups. This accusation comes only a week after attempts by the Spanish media to link Morales’s party — the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) — with the Basque separatist group ETA.
A foretaste of US President George Bush’s plan to use 41,500 US troops to “stabilise” war-torn Baghdad came on January 24 when the US occupation forces conducted their second assault in a month on the city’s Haifa Street neighbourhood.
Washington’s plan for military action against Iran goes far beyond limited air strikes on its nuclear facilities and would effectively unleash a war against the country, a former US intelligence analyst told Reuters on January 21.
Last month, total US military casualties in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion exceeded 50,000 dead and wounded. By January 28, 3071 US soldiers had died in Iraq and at least 47,657 had been wounded, according to Pentagon figures.


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