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The small Andean nation of Ecuador is facing a political crisis as the Congress and the courts turn on each other over new president Rafael Correa’s plans for a Constituent Assembly and a “citizens’ revolution” to build “21st century socialism” in the poverty-stricken country.
The Swedish government is proposing new legislation to allow far-reaching surveillance aimed at protecting “national security”, including monitoring phone calls and emails. In the debate around the unpopular bill, deputy prime minister Maud Olofsson admitted that the government has already been tapping citizen’s phones for decades and that the law would simply formalise existing practice. Critics of the bill range from the left to the Swedish intelligence agency Sapo. The Local reported that Sapo’s chief legal counsel Lars-Ake Johansson said the proposal “may lead to drastic violations of personal integrity”.
March 14 was Black Bashing Day on Tim Blair’s blog . Most other days are Muslim-bashing days, but on this day his red-neck cyber-mates decided to pick on Jakalene X, Aboriginal activist, rap artist and the lead candidate on the Socialist Alliance upper house ticket for the March 24 NSW election.
US President George Bush has been touring Latin American countries this March with two goals in mind: keep the continent divided and keep it subservient to US imperialist interests. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has also been visiting his neighbours. His goals are the opposite: to unite the countries of Latin America and to encourage and support the continent’s independence from US imperialism.
On March 8, 300 people protested the Israeli military invasion of Nablus at the Huwwara checkpoint. Organised by a wide coalition of groups including the Popular Committee Against the Closure of Nablus and the General Women's Union, demonstrators chanted and carried Palestinian flags, signs, and photographs of loved ones who have been killed and arrested by Israeli occupation forces. Once at the checkpoint, several women leaders made speeches condemning the Israeli invasion of Nablus. The protest tried to pass through the checkpoint but was confronted by soldiers and border police. Demonstrators resisted when the Israeli soldiers and police created a barricade and prevented demonstrators from getting through the checkpoint. The Huwwara checkpoint was closed for one-and-a-half hours.
Police from the NSW anti-terrorism unit joined Victorian police to raid the homes of political activists in Sydney as part of the fallout from protests against the G20 meeting in Melbourne in November. Four men were arrested and a fifth later surrendered to police.
During a whirlwind tour of a series of Latin American nations, in what the media reported as a “counter-tour” to that being carried out by US President George Bush at the same time, Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez signed a number of agreements that extend his country’s push to integrate the region’s economies. Via the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), promoted in alliance with socialist Cuba, Venezuela is signing a large number of agreements that aim to promote pro-people development based on cooperation rather than competition, in order to break foreign economic domination of the continent, predominantly by US capital.
The internet launch on March 5 of the Independent Australian Jewish Voices (IAJV) has provoked both criticism and support. Author Antony Loewenstein, one of the initiators, told Green Left Weekly that the Jewish establishment reacted “very badly” because, in his view, their position as the spokespeople for the Jewish community for decades is now being challenged.
Turmoil continues in the Labor Party in Newcastle following the imposition by the party head office of Jody Mackay over popular local member Bryce Gaudry to contest the seat.
A March 9 press release by the Washington-based Venezuela Information Office (VIO) pointed out that a US State Department report released on March 6 “reveals that Venezuela strives to guarantee human rights and in fact, is beefing up measures to provide accessible avenues for lodging complaints and holding violators accountable”.
John Bonsai (a very small bush) Howard is morally bankrupt, and cannot be trusted. While Saddam Hussein was a nasty bit of work, all of Bonsai’s arguments for war were lies.
In this NSW election Morris Iemma and the ALP are posing as big defenders of public services and public sector jobs.