The June 11 edition of ABC TV’s Four Corners confirmed what Australian former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib has claimed since his January 2005 release without charge: that the Australian authorities were complicit in his abduction and torture.
Prime Minister John Howard announced on June 21 a plan to take control of some 60 Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, supposedly to tackle a child sex abuse crisis in those communities. It is a plan that severely limits and in some instances eradicates the democratic and land rights of all Aboriginal people in remote NT communities.
West Australian union official Joe McDonald has rejected calls by Labor leader Kevin Rudd for him to leave the ALP. He insists he will fight moves by the party’s national executive to have him expelled, setting the stage for an important showdown.
“I’m taking control”, said Johnny Howard, with a contrived quiver of righteousness in his voice. His face was set into a familiar pastiche of horror and disgust at the degraded behaviour of lesser beings. He also conveyed a weariness — the weariness of shouldering the “white man’s burden”.
In a June 19 joint press conference in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, US President George Bush said: “It’s interesting that extremists attack democracies around the Middle East, whether it be the Iraq democracy, the Lebanese democracy, or a potential Palestinian democracy.” He was referring specifically to the popularly elected Hamas-led government of the Palestinian people taking action in Gaza to prevent a bloody coup by their defeated rivals, Fatah, which since the January 2006 elections has been armed, funded and trained by Israel and the US.
Addressing Palestinians for the first time since he declared a state of emergency a week earlier, in a nationallly televised speech on June 21, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Hamas’ leaders as “murderous terrorists” who had carried out a “coup” in the Gaza Strip.
'Speciesism' Richard Bulmer (GLW #713) presents a well-reasoned case against capitalist livestock meat production on environmental grounds, but in doing so he makes what I believe to be two errors. Firstly, it is inappropriate to use words like
The ABC’s June 18 Four Corners program on Telstra was a damning expose of the anti-worker policies being implemented by Australia’s largest employer, Telstra. “Tough Calls” featured interviews with the family, friends and loved ones of two former Telstra workers who were driven to suicide by the relentless pressure of Telstra management to meet unrealistic performance targets.
Many people in Aceh remain traumatised two years after a peace deal ended almost three decades of war. If left untreated this could trigger violence, according to a recent report by the International Organisation for Migration, the Indonesian government and the Harvard Medical School. Some 85% of nearly 2000 people interviewed were still plagued by fears and deep insecurity. The report said 35% of people interviewed suffered depression, 10% post-traumatic stress and 39% anxiety. Almost three-quarters said they had been exposed to combat, with 28% reporting they had suffered beatings and 38% that they had lost a friend or a relative in the conflict. “These memories are alive in the community, and they have the tremendous power to reproduce that violence”, said Harvard’s Byron Good. Limited resources remain a major obstacle for those requiring treatment, with most aid being dedicated to tsunami recovery and little to post-conflict rehabilitation.
The enormity of China’s environmental nightmare is well-known. However, its root causes — especially the part played by First World capital — is less widely understood. One example is the massive dumping in China of First World “e-waste” — electronic and electrical waste.
The Vote Against Discrimination
Kirrit Barreet Aboriginal Art and Cultural Centre, 407 Main Road, Ballarat
Free entry, until August 30
On June 13, explosions destroyed the two 100-year-old minarets of the highly revered Shiite Askariya mosque in the largely Sunni inhabited city of Samarra, 100 kilometres north of Baghdad. “The Askariya shrine means a lot to us, the people of Samarra”, Abu Abdullah, a Sunni who lives next to the shrine, told the June 13 Washington Post, adding: “To lose the shrine hurt us a lot, and made us afraid about what will happen next. Someone wants to create sectarian strife by doing this act.”
As the national strike by more than 700,000 South African teachers, nurses, health workers and other public servants entered its fourth week on June 22, the African National Congress (ANC) government steadfastly refused to seriously revise its miserly pay offer. President Thabo Mbeki knows that if his neoliberal, pro-big business regime relents and grants the public-sector workers a much-needed above-inflation pay increase, it will embolden the country’s private-sector workers to fight for a similar rise.
On June 18, Vilma Espin Guillois, legendary guerrilla fighter and leader of the Federation of Cuban Women, passed Away in Havana. An official note issued by the Cuban government is abridged below.
The following are excerpts from a statement made by Cuban President Fidel Castro on June 20, the day after revolutionary leader Vilma Espin Guillois died in Havana.
On June 19, Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) general secretary Farooq Tariq was released from jail after being detained for 15 days by the Punjab government. His arrest was part of a crackdown on political activists following an escalation in Pakistan’s pro-democracy movement after President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to suspend Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on March 9. Tariq, who is demanding a judicial inquiry into the detentions, will be a guest speaker at the Latin America and Asia Pacific International Solidarity Forum in Melbourne on October 11-14. The following is abridged from a statement issued by Tariq after his release.


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