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UPDATE: The media are reporting a second day of large anti-government protests. The regime has cracked down, with reports of at least 500 people arrested across the country.

See also:
Tunisia: People's power ousts dictator
Tunisia: Arab rulers shake in fear

Renowned investigative journalist and film maker John Pilger interviewed Wikileaks' editor-in-chief about the “war on WikiLeaks” in response to the website “speaking truth to power”. For more information on Pilger's work, visit www.johnpilger.com .

More Wikileaks coverage:
Assange awarded Sydney Peace Prize ‘gold medal’
Pilger, Wilkie, Burnside to defend WikiLeaks at Sydney public forum

iNTervention Intervention
Curated by Teena McCarthy & Brendan Penzer
The Vanishing Point gallery
565 King Street, Newtown, Sydney
January 13-30

“The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future....

“We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country....

Reports that the WA state government is planning to give police "stop and search" powers during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later this year should concern all Western Australians.

Even more worrying — albeit unsurprising — is that the ALP has dropped its lukewarm opposition to the laws, at least for the duration of CHOGM.

Stop and search laws were rejected by the state upper house November and the CHOGM summit is no excuse to bring them in by the back door.

The attempted political assassination of Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on January 8 opened a new debate about the depth of political divisions in the United States. It has included hot button issues of gun control and mental illness.

Giffords amazingly survived a gunshot wound through the head, but six of her supporters at the sidewalk meeting died. It included a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge. Thirteen people were wounded.

You may have read about the prison riot in England on New Year’s Day, with prisoners staging an uprising over searches for contraband booze. What received less coverage was the much bigger and more important protest by prisoners in the United States in December.

Prisoners in a number of Georgian prisons began a strike on December 9, the December 20 Huffington Post said. The strike was called off after six days, “following reports of violent crackdowns and rising fears that the situation would escalate”, the article said.

Georgia prisoner strike demands

Over December 9-15, prisoners in a number of prisons in the US state of Georgia organised a strike via contraband mobile phones. The prisoners refused to perform prison labour in protest at a range of unjust conditions they face. BlackAgendaReport.com said on December 15 that one in 12 Georgians were in prison.

The December 20 Huffington Post published the prisoners' demands, which are listed below.

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Ecology & Socialism
By Chris Williams
Haymarket, 2009
www.ecologyandsocialism.org

United States activist Chris William’s new book, published by Haymarket Press, is an excellent introduction to ecology and socialism. It is well written and, despite being a long-time ecosocialist activist, I learnt a lot from it.

Williams is a professor of physics and chemistry at Pace University, and chair of the science department at Packer Collegiate Institute. He is a green activist and a member of the International Socialist Organization.

There are more revelations than you can count in the now-infamous Wikileaks cables — a fact highlighted by the arrest and extradition attempts against Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

But here’s another one that’s been buried, and it definitely hammers home the need to defend not just Wikileaks, but freedom of speech in general.

If it is Your Life
By James Kelman, Penguin Books 2010
280 pages, hardback
£18.99

This is Scottish author James Kelman’s first collection of short stories since The Good Times in 1998.

Right from the very first sentence you know you are back in the distinctive world of Kelman’s fiction: “When I presented myself at the Emergency section of the Social Security Office I knew things could go wrong but I was not expecting a leg amputated.”

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