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US-Palestinian professor Saree Makdisi and Canadian-Palestinian lawyer Diana Buttu spoke on June 30 as part of a national tour to promote the international campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. At the public meeting, Makdisi compared laws in apartheid South Africa with those in Israel and said “There are exact equivalent laws in Israel of all the African apartheid laws.” He said the discrimination “begins with kids entering day care and continues for the rest of their lives”.
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) began industrial action on June 30 to pressure management to reach agreement with the union on a range of claims. They want reinstatement of job security protections for contract research staff; improved conditions for casual and fixed-term staff; Indigenous employment targets and an increase in paid parental leave from 26 to 36 weeks.
Workers from Kennon Auto in Melbourne have not received a pay rise for the past three years. They stopped work on July 1 because their boss is refusing to negotiate a collective agreement. The workers make parts for Toyota. They are ex-Nylex workers who had to fight to keep entitlements after Nylex went into receivership. Some of Nylex’s product lines were sold to Kennon Auto.
How do wars begin? With a “master illusion”, according to Ralph McGehee, one of the CIA’s pioneers in “black propaganda”, known today as “news management”. In 1983, he described to me how the CIA had faked an “incident” that became the “conclusive proof of North Vietnam’s aggression”. This followed a claim, also fake, that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had attacked a US warship in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.
The Northern Territory intervention has reached its third year and, despite several government commissioned reports and outside expert analysis claiming that it has failed to achieve its aims, aspects of it look likely to be extended to other parts of the country. On June 21, the Senate voted to extend one of the aspects of the intervention, welfare quarantining, to more people in the NT and allow the government the option to extend it to other parts of Australia after a year.
The Canterbury Bankstown Peace Group, with the Justice for Aafia Coalition, is calling for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. The Pakistani doctor was found guilty on February 3 of shooting US soldiers in July 2008, while in Afghan police custody. Siddiqui was accused of being an Al Qaeda agent and has allegedly spent time in secret prisons in Pakistan and in the US prison in Guantanamo Bay. Despite this, she has not been charged with any terrorist offences but only with firearms offences allegedly committed during her capture.
BRISBANE — Former Gold Coast-based Dr Mohamed Haneef is suing former Howard government immigration minister Kevin Andrews for defamation, the July 2 Courier Mail said. Haneef is also making a separate claim against the federal government for unlawful arrest and misconduct in public office. Haneef was arrested in July 2007 after his mobile phone SIM card was linked to failed terror attacks in Britain. He was charged under anti-terror laws and arrested, but was released after 25 days after the case collapsed. Andrews then cancelled Haneef’s visa.
Mel Barnes, a well-known Tasmanian political activist, will contest the seat of Denison in the upcoming federal elections, for the Socialist Alliance. Barnes is a leading climate and renewable energy campaigner involved in Climate Action Hobart. She has also campaigned for women’s rights, Palestine solidarity, refugee rights and Latin American solidarity. In 2006, Barnes went on a solidarity tour of Venezuela to learn about the revolutionary changes occurring there. Barnes stood for the Socialist Alliance in the recent state elections.
New World of Indigenous Resistance By Noam Chomsky and voices from North, South, and Central America City Lights Open Media, 2010, 300 pages Review by Mat Ward This book bills itself as a “virtual hemispheric conversation” and claims to be the first book of its kind. It is certainly an eye-opener.
Financial crisis? Rich get richer “The rich grew richer last year, even as the world endured the worst recession in decades. “A stock market rebound helped the world's ranks of millionaires climb 17 percent to 10 million, while their collective wealth surged 19 percent to $US 39 trillion, nearly recouping losses from the financial crisis, according to the latest Merrill Lynch-Capgemini world wealth report. “In North America, the ranks of the rich rose 17 percent and their wealth grew 18 percent to $US 10.7 trillion.” — June 23 Reuters article.

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