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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.

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.

More than 100 protesters joined a March 14 blockade of the Queensland Gas Corporation (QGC) gasworks on the QGC-owned property “Kenya” near Tara, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane.

The Kenya blockade, which received coverage on all major news networks, covered a number of entrances to the vast property. It was the first widely-publicised action of civil disobedience in the national “Lock The Gate” campaign.

The “Lock The Gate” campaign — an alliance of farmers, landholders and environmentalists — is demanding a moratorium on coal seam gas (CSG) mining.

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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

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.

About 8000 people marched on the Western Australian parliament on March 15 to demand more local jobs from the resource export boom.

The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Maritime Union of Australia all mobilised big contingents for the protest.

Manufacturing employers also supported the rally. Local workshops are sitting idle while billions of dollars of infrastructure is being imported for the mining and offshore oil and gas industries.

The article below is based on a speech by veteran feminist activist Eva Cox to the March 12 Sydney International Women’s Day protest.

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I wore my 1973 T-shirt to the march today to remind myself of what we were hoping to do. It was printed by Canberra Women’s Liberation for the women who were short-listed for the first ever Prime Ministerial Women’s Adviser’s job with Gough Whitlam.

It has the clenched fist women’s symbol on the front and the word superwoman on the back.

Legal action was launched on March 16 against Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers in an attempt to repeal the anti-union bill that was signed into law on March 11.

The law bans collective bargaining for most public sector workers in Wisconsin.

Associated Press reported on March 16 that a legal challenge was mounted by Dane County district attorney Ismael Ozanne.

AP said: “Democrats in the Wisconsin Assembly had alleged that Republican leaders did not give enough public notice that a committee planned to meet to amend the bill.”

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.

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