Nine refugees held in the Northern Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin staged a protest on top of a building in the centre’s compound on March 15 after they witnessed Serco guards assault another detainee. The refugees — who are Rohingya people, an ethnic minority in western Burma — told refugee advocate Carl O’Connor on March 16 that the protest was sparked by a physical assault on another Rohingya detainee. “One man was refused rice in the mess room,” the refugees said. “Out of frustration he broke a glass. He was then chased down and tried to escape from two Serco guards.
As the United States and Britain look for an excuse to invade another oil-rich Arab country, the hypocrisy is familiar. Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is “delusional” and “blood-drenched”, while the authors of an invasion that killed a million Iraqis, who have kidnapped and tortured in our name, are entirely sane, never blood-drenched and once again the arbiters of “stability”. But something has changed. Reality is no longer what the powerful say it is. Of all the spectacular revolts across the world, the most exciting is the insurrection of knowledge sparked by WikiLeaks.
Emboldened by the successes of Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, a number of Arab regimes have escalated crackdowns on pro-democracy protests while the world’s media was focused on the earthquake disaster in Japan. With the exceptions of Libya and Iran, the governments brutally cracking down on their citizens have received minimal criticism from the West. Calls for “restraint on both sides” obscure the fact that it is governments armed with weapons made in the West ruthlessly attacking mostly unarmed people.
It was ironic, but only supporters of Palestine were clapping after a majority of Marrickville councillors decided on March 15 in favour of hiring a venue to a newly-formed local Jewish group that is hosting an Australian Rules Peace Team with connections to Israel. Independent councillor Victor Macri, who had put the motion, did not look at all happy.
Opinion polls are predicting that the likely winner of the April 10 Peruvian presidential election will be Alejandro Toledo. The candidate of Possible Peru, Toledo was the neoliberal president from 2001-06. After the narrow victory of the moderate left candidate Susana Villaran from Social Force in the Lima mayoral elections last year, it was predicted that the left’s prospects might improve nationally. So far this has failed to materialise, owing partly to a redoubled effort by the elite and its foreign backers to promote Toledo.
Pip Hinman, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW seat of Marrickville, spoke at a March 14 election forum at St Peters Town Hall organised by Climate Action Newtown and Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas. Hinman’s responses to the three questions put to her at the meeting appear below. * * * Will your party commit to not building any more coal or gas fired power stations in NSW?
About 2000 mainly young Palestinians rallied in Gaza City on March 14. Waving Palestinian flags, they called on Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah to end their divisions, for democratic elections for the Palestinian Authority (PA), and for the end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and siege on Gaza. Thousands more marching across Gaza the next day and 8000 people protested in Ramallah in the West Bank for the same demands.
Australian tour Star Fucking Hipsters w/ AC4 April 7-14, www.newnoiseagency.com www.myspace.com/starfuckinghipsters Star Fucking Hipsters are a New York-based punk band. It was formed in 2005 by members from other punk acts, including Leftover Crack, Ensign and The Ergs! The band’s third album, From the Dumpster to the Grave, is due for release this year.
The ability of real politics to focus debate is impressive. The climate movement has long debated what policy mechanisms can best combat climate change. Various market based mechanisms, emission trading schemes, regulation and direct government investment have been proposed. The answer is urgently needed. We know there is already too much carbon in the atmosphere to ensure a safe climate. What we do in the next 10 years is crucial. Heading down the wrong track for a couple of years is time wasted.
How have Australian scientists handled the difficult task of keeping us informed about the unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan? Only a few Australian scientists have featured repeatedly in the media. The most prominent have been Professor Aidan Byrne from the Australian National University, RMIT Chancellor Dr Ziggy Switkowski and Professor Barry Brook from the University of Adelaide. See also: Australia's role in Japan's nuclear fiasco
Wilhelm Furtwaengler — The Great EMI Recordings 21 CD set, EMI Furtwaengler the Legend Three CD set, EMI George Whitbread, a long-deceased left identity in Perth who once led a printer’s strike at The West Australian, was reputedly fond of saying that “Beethoven gives you strength”. Nor was “Whitty” (as he was called) alone in his sentiments. After World War II, many on the left — builders, grocers, teachers, homemakers — took an active interest in classical music.
The argument for a carbon tax in Australia boils down to two key points. The first is that a carbon tax puts a price on pollution. Pollution has been officially free for industry up until now. The public purse pays for the environmental damage industry causes. Finally, big mining and other big polluters are being held accountable for some of their waste. It is a first step towards bringing down emissions. See also: Carbon price could delay real climate action
There's every likelihood that radioactive by-products of Australian uranium have spewed into the atmosphere from the nuclear reactor plant at Fukushima in Japan. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto export uranium from Australia to Japanese nuclear company TEPCO from the Olympic Dam and Ranger mines. Despite being a major uranium supplier to Japan, Australia has turned a blind eye to serious, protracted problems with Japan's nuclear industry. It is time for a more responsible approach.
Progressive Indonesian website Berdikari Online said in a March 14 editorial that the recent US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks exposing the corruption of the Indonesian government confirmed what most Indonesians already knew. However, it said the leaks have further delegitimised the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In his two terms of government, the editorial said, Yudhoyono has imposed neoliberal policies and acted as a puppet of US imperialism.
Parramatta Climate Action Network hosted a presentation by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) at Parramatta Town Hall on March 14. About 30 people attended the forum. The presentation summarised the “Zero Carbon Australia 2020” stationary energy report, which details how Australia can transition to 100% renewable energy by 2020. In contrast to Australia, which has excellent renewable resources but is dominated by fossil fuel energy, Spain already has several large-scale solar thermal energy plants that provide baseload power.
Facing public anger and concern over the nuclear meltdown unfolding in Japan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced temporary shutdown of several nuclear reactors. On March 12, more than 60,000 anti-nuclear protesters in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg formed a 45 kilometre human chain from Stuttgart to the Neckarwestheim 1 nuclear plant. Smaller protests took place in more than 450 towns and cities across Germany, anti-nuclear organisation Irradiated said. More protests are planned for March 26.


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