697

Petrodollar Warfare
By William Clark
New Society Publishers, 2005
$29.95 267pages
“It must never again be the case that a death in custody, of Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal persons, will not lead to rigorous and accountable investigations and a comprehensive coronial inquiry.”
When former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib announced last week that he would contest the March 24 NSW state election, the corporate media in Sydney cranked up a campaign of vilification against him. Habib was held in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay for more than three years before being released in January 2005 without charge.
The Labor and Liberal parties have been falling over each other in their rush to rub out the final vestiges of multiculturalism. In December, newly elected Labor leader Kevin Rudd renamed immigration spokesperson Tony Burke’s portfolio “immigration, integration and citizenship”. In his January 23 cabinet reshuffle, PM John Howard caught up, changing the name of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
“Brilliant, fantastic, inspiring … Never shaken so many hands in one day”, commented Pat Rogers, a Brisbane staff member of the Electrical Trades Union, after experiencing the May Day march of more than 1 million workers in Caracas during the Australian trade union solidarity brigade to Venezuela in April-May last year. People in Australia will have the opportunity to join a May Day brigade to Venezuela again this year, from April 30 to May 9, organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN).
Thirty workers at Tristar Steering and Suspension in Marrickville are still fighting for redundancy entitlements provided for under a longstanding enterprise agreement (EA), which expired in September. The workers have been idle since production shifted overseas in July, while the company has used PM John Howard’s Work Choices legislation to save money by not paying the workers their due.
The announcement on January 30 that Australia’s first nuclear reactor was to be decommissioned sounded good. But residents and activists hoping for an end to the nuclear industry will be disappointed to hear that this is not the end of Australia’s nuclear experimentation. The old HIFAR reactor, Australia’s only multi-purpose research reactor, has been superseded by another reactor in the same suburb of Lucas Heights.
On January 31, Bangladesh’s acting electoral commission chief Mahfuzur Rahman and his four deputies resigned, paving the way for the country’s caretaker government to appoint new commission members as demanded by the main alliance of opposition parties.
Global warming has “very likely” been caused by humanity’s actions. This is one of the main conclusions of the fourth assessment report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released on February 2.
Mulrunji Doomadgee I am pleased to see that justice will finally be delivered in regards to the death in custody on Palm Island. This is one victory among many for all those who have been fighting for justice ever since the tragic death of
Isn’t it great to begin the new year of struggle with a victory! The January 26 announcement that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley will be charged with the manslaughter on Palm Island in 2004 of Mulrunji, a young Indigenous man, was a historic victory. This will be the first time in Queensland history (and only the second time in Australian history) that a police officer is to be charged in relation to an Aboriginal death in custody.
After five years of incarceration at Guantanamo Bay without trial, it is increasingly clear that David Hicks has committed no serious crime and that he is no threat. Yet, he is being held in a prison camp, often in solitary confinement, subjected to endless interrogations and physical and mental abuse to try and break his resistance to a guilty plea. Hicks is now in such a state that he cannot even bear to talk to his father on the phone.
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.

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