704

Over the last few weeks, the family of Mamdouh Habib, former Guantanamo Bay prisoner and independent candidate for the seat of Auburn in the NSW state election, has been subjected to greater police harassment.
There was something very sad about the debate in federal parliament around the Labor opposition’s grand plan to bring Australia up to speed on internet broadband. Behind the noise and smoke of the furious jousting was the sobering fact that both sides of the House embrace the corrupt logic of privatisation.
“We refuse to be subtle in our outcry against this war, we refuse to do nothing and be silent while people are killed in our name for profit for the rich and we refuse to be sent overseas in a war for oil.”
Activists gathered on March 22 to discuss the campaign to free David Hicks. The meeting, called by the Geelong Anti-War Coalition, was chaired by Socialist Alliance member Bronwyn Jennings and heard from Amnesty International, the Greens and Civil Rights Defence (CRD).
On March 22, World Water Day, more than 40 people were arrested in New Delhi while protesting against water theft by Coca-Cola and Pepsico. The India Resource Centre reports that more than 300 people marched to the planning commission’s offices to demand action from the government over the soft-drink companies’ creation of severe water shortages and contamination of soil and groundwater. An organiser of the march and one of those detained, Nandlal Master from Lok Samiti and the National Alliance of People’s Movements, said the protest was aimed at “one of the world’s worst abusers of water, the Coca-Cola company”, which has “destroyed the lives of thousands of people in India as a result of its thirst for water”. For more information, visit <http://www.indiaresource.org>.
Around 400 people also rallied and marched in Brisbane, calling for troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and the release of David Hicks. Margaret McPherson from the Stop the War Coalition, which organised the rally, urged support for the April 21 national day of action to free Hicks. Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett and Greens member Willy Bach also addressed the rally, which was part of a global weekend of action.
Jewish Voices I I am an activist of Jewish descent and read with interest the interview in GLW #703 with Antony Loewenstein on the setting up of Independent Australian Jewish Voices. The IAJV statement follows a similar initiative from British
Workers from across Melbourne have thrown their support behind National Union of Workers (NUW) members who are on strike at Preston Motors in Campbellfield.
On February 14, readers of the Weekly Times, a local Ryde paper that covers Bennelong, PM John Howard’s electorate, couldn’t believe their eyes when confronted with the headline: “Global Warming? Climate Change? Bulldust!” The article, written by editor John Booth, dismissed global warming as “scaremonger propaganda” put forward by “Armageddon pedlars”.
Scenes of joy and relief erupted outside the Brisbane courts complex on March 21 after a Supreme Court jury cleared four Palm Islanders of charges of rioting causing destruction.
On March 17, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the formation of a new Hamas-Fatah “national unity” government by 83 votes in favour and three against. The formation of the new government followed agreements reached in Mecca last month between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, of Hamas.
“Nuclear fools’ day” protests will mark Palm Sunday — April 1. The protests are in response to the most significant push for expanded uranium mining in Australia since the Hawke Labor government’s 1983 decision to defy public opinion and allow uranium mining to continue at Rio Tinto’s Ranger mine in the Northern Territory, and to be developed at Australia’s two other largest uranium deposits — BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam (Roxby Downs) mine in South Australia, opened in 1988, and Rio Tinto’s Beverley mine (also in SA) in 2001.