Whistleblower website Wikileaks released its “Iraq War Log” on October 22. This featured almost 400,000 classified US military documents that provide a detailed, if incomplete, record of the US occupation of Iraq from 2004 (a year after the invasion) until January 2010. The log revealed high level US military documentation of serious war crimes the US and its allies have committed in Iraq, including massacres of civilians and systematic torture.
Owners of the Hidden Valley gold mine in Morobe province, Papua New Guinea, have tried to silence critics of the environmental damage created during the mine’s construction, Little Green Palai said on October 25. Members of campaign group Union of Watut River Communities (UoWRC) have been issued restraining orders by owners Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV). The owners demanded they stop spreading information about the mine's impact on the community and environment, the article said.
An outbreak of cholera has been documented in the area surrounding the lower Artibonite region of Haiti. There had been more than 2000 cases of acute watery diarrhea and 160 deaths reported by October 22. Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness spread by drinking water containing the organism Vibrio cholera. Symptoms typically develop between one and five days after drinking water contaminated by the human feces of persons infected with the cholera bacteria.
On September 2, the Western Australian government moved to compulsorily acquire over 2500 hectares of pristine wilderness on James Price Point, 60 km north of Broome on the Kimberley coast. The land grab was to make way for a $30 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) processing precinct. Premier Colin Barnett described the decision as “compulsory acquisition of unallocated Crown Land”, on ABC Kimberley radio that morning. Barnett cited delays and costs to the tax payer of ongoing negotiations with the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) as the main reasons for initiating compulsory acquisition.
In Mexico, a war involving rival drug gangs, law enforcement agencies and the national army has officially claimed 23,000 lives since 2006. This figure does not include the many thousands of innocent people who have been “disappeared” by police and army units. The violence can be directly attributed to the corrosive impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA was signed on January 1, 1994 between the United States, Canada and Mexico with the aim of removing trade and investment barriers between these nations.
Corporations trying to construct a gas processing hub at James Price Point “might have a bit of difficulty getting their power plant built” if Premier Colin Barnett completes compulsorily acquiring the Aboriginal land, WA Australian Manufacturing Workers Union state secretary Steve McCartney told a Fremantle Socialist Alliance forum on October 28.
“A growing number of creatures could disappear from the earth, with one-fifth of all vertebrates and as many as a third of all sharks and rays now facing the threat of extinction, according to a new survey assessing nearly 26,000 species across the globe. “In addition, forces such as habitat destruction, over-exploitation and invasive competitors move 52 species a category closer to extinction each year, according to the research, published online Tuesday by the journal Science …
The recent devastating floods in Pakistan, which affected the lives of more than 20 million people, has once again revealed the severe poverty its people are facing. The only property that many hundreds of thousands were left with after fleeing their mud homes was just a trunk, a few clothes, pottery and maybe a donkey, cow or buffalo.
The United Nations general assembly ratified on October 26, for the 29th consecutive time, the global rejection of the blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba for almost 50 years, Prensa Latina said that day. The isolation of the US government over Cuba was shown by the vote on the resolution entitled “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the nationalisation on October 25 of US-based glassmaker Owens-Illinois affiliates, Venezuelanalysis.com said on October 27. The article said this places 60% of Venezuela’s glass bottle industry under government ownership.
It is not difficult to see that the events in Ecuador on September 30 amounted to an attempted right-wing coup d’etat. Mass mobilisations in the streets of the capital, Quito, and other cities — together with action by sections of the armed forces loyal to the government — stopped the coup before the day was out. But those few hours highlighted, again, the deep dangers facing those fighting for progressive change in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“In a daring and audacious move, Matt McCarten, general secretary of the Unite union, announced his candidacy in the November 20, Mana by-election in Wellington”, Unite campaigns organiser Joe Carolan said in an October 26 Socialist Aotearoa article. Carolan said McCarten “has had a quarter of century experience fighting for New Zealand’s poorest workers … standing as a member of the independent left, he would make an excellent champion for the thousands of low-paid and unemployed workers in Mana”.
French workers and students have mobilised in large numbers again to oppose changes in pension laws that will raise the age at which workers are able to retire. The seventh national strike in as many weeks took place on October 28, as indefinite strikes in many industries against the changes entered their third week. The protests took place despite the government’s pension bill passing through France’s parliament on October 27.
“Argentine shares and bonds rose on Wednesday after the death of political heavyweight and former President Nestor Kirchner removed a market-unfriendly contender from the country's 2011 election campaign.
“Workers in southern China, who say they were assembling Apple laptops and iPhones, have become seriously ill after using a dangerous chemical. “The Number Five People’s Hospital in Suzhou has been treating workers who breathed in vapours from the chemical n-hexane. “According to the workers, the chemical was being used in the production of Apple products and has left them unable to walk … They say they were using n-hexane to glue and polish the logos on Apple products …
It seems no one bothers about “them” in Sri Lanka. No lawyer or rights groups in the country dare to talk of “their” basic rights. Do they deserve to be abandoned or “disappeared”? Alleged former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE — popularly known as the Tamil Tigers), an armed group that fought for an independent state for the Tamil ethnic minority, have become indefinite “prisoners of war” ever since the LTTE was militarily defeated by the Sri Lankan state in May 2009.