Deriding the likely technical efficacy of the USAs ballistic National Missile Defense (NMD) system (a key element of which is already stationed in Britain at the Fylingdales radar base), Ming Campbell, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, asked Prime Minister Tony Blair on February 28: Do you accept that the system proposed is largely untried, indeed it has been described as firing a bullet in order to hit a bullet?
On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the US-British-Australian invasion of oil-rich Iraq, the American Broadcasting Corporation released the results of a survey showing that 78% of Iraqis oppose the continuing presence of US and allied foreign troops in their country.
Shortly before leaving to inspect what was once viewed as the US’s backyard, US President George Bush told a March 5 event organised by the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, “I want to talk about [an] important priority for our country, and that is helping our neighbours to the south of us build a better and productive life”. Explaining that he was embarking on a trip to Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico, Bush said: “These are countries that are part of a region that has made great strides toward freedom and prosperity. They’ve raised up new democracies, They’ve enhanced and undertaken fiscal policies that bring stability.
On March 17, 40 lawyers and at least 10 others were injured when police attacked a gathering of lawyers at the Lahore High Court called by the Lahore High Court Bar Association to discuss a response to the governments suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. On March 9, President Pervez Musharraf had declared Chaudhry as non-functional, which was viewed by many as part of an attempt to quell the judiciary. Lawyers have boycotted the courts and organised hunger strikes and other protests demanding Chaudhrys reinstatement. A nationwide lawyers strike has been called for April 3. The following are excerpts from a March 22 statement by Labour Party Pakistan general secretary Farooq Tariq.
Like Australia, Israel was established by settlers on the myth of an empty land. However, unlike here, expulsion rather than genocide has been the preferred method of removing the previous inhabitants.
Palestinian community leader and activist Shaher Hussein El-Mashni (Abu Nasser) died on March 1 in Melbourne. His memorial service, on March 18, was attended by more than 200 people, including representatives of Australian Palestinian groups and the Palestinian head of delegation to Australia, Izzat Abdul Hadi, who gave condolences on behalf of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
Late February three wealthy business leaders with close Liberal Party connections Robert de Crespigny, Ron Walker and Hugh Morgan announced the formation of Australian Nuclear Energy to develop nuclear power generation. Prime Minister John Howard praised the initiative as a great idea.
In an effort to attract investment, the Left Front (LF) government in the state of West Bengal has tried to drive thousands of petty landowners, poor cultivators and wage labourers out of their homes and off their fields, despite this depriving many of them of any means of livelihood. When they resisted, it sent in gun-toting police, killing more than 20 people on January 7 and March 14.
Beijings drive since the early 1990s to pursue the restoration of capitalism in China received a boost on March 16, with the introduction of the controversial Property Law. Ironically, the law will take effect on October 1 exactly 58 years since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China. The law will safeguard the property of Chinas burgeoning capitalist class, giving private property the same protection as state-owned assets. This includes the large number of formerly state-owned assets converted to private property in sleazy and underhand deals.