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The public forum “Breaking Australia's silence: WikiLeaks and freedom” took place on March 16 at Sydney Town Hall. More than 2000 people attended. The event was staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty, Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney

It featured speeches by John Pilger, Andrew Wilkie MP (the only serving Western intelligence officer to expose the truth about the Iraq invasion) and human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC.

Wilkie’s address to the forum is below. The video recording of the event also appears below.

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Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s last elected president, has finally returned home.

He was kidnapped from Haiti in a US-backed coup in 2004 and exiled in South Africa until his March 18 return.

Aristide returned to a country still devastated by last year’s earthquake. The US and its allies broke their promises to provide badly needed aid.

Two months earlier, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, the notorious former dictator overthrown in a mass rebellion in 1986, also returned to Haiti.

"There are two systems of justice in Queensland: one to protect the police service, and another to crush Aboriginal people," Sam Watson, Murri community leader, told a rally outside State Parliament in Brisbane on March 23.

More than 50 people gathered to protest the decision of the Queensland Police Service and the Criminal Misconduct Commission (CMC) not to lay any charges against six police officers involved in the cover-up of the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee in November 2004 on Palm Island.

Award-winning novelist and environmentalist Richard Flanagan gave the speech below at a March 19 rally north of Launceston against the forest giant Gunns’ proposal to build a pulp mill in the nearby Tamar valley.

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Seven long years ago [then Tasmanian Premier] Paul Lennon and [former Gunns chairperson] John Gay decided they would build their pulp mill. The people did not agree.

They tried to silence us, to intimidate us, to threaten us, to break us and destroy us. Lately they’ve even tried to flatter us and to divide us.

The World According to Monsanto: Pollution, Politics & Power
Marie-Monique Robin
Spinifex Press, 2010.
373 pages, $44.95 (pb)

“What counts for us is making money,” said a Monsanto vice-president to a new employee at an induction session in 1998, reminding the idealistic novice that there is a simple, and crude, capitalist philosophy at the heart of the US chemical and biotechnology giant.

The Socialist Alliance condemned the recent decision by federal environment minister Tony Burke to give final approval to Gunns' Tamar Valley pulp mill, located near Launceston, in a March 24 statement.

Socialist Alliance spokesperson Susan Austin said: “We could never support the Gunns pulp mill in the Tamar Valley , due to the corrupt nature with which it was approved.

“In addition, we oppose it because of its likely toxic effects on the environment and the community.”

Power worship is what the corporate media does best, and there has been plenty of that on display in recent Libya coverage.

Donning his “white man’s burden” hat, Peter Hartcher, in the March 22 Sydney Morning Herald, responded to the United States/European Union bombing by saying: “To the relief of millions in Libya and millions more around the world, the West has unsheathed the sword against [Gaddafi’s] resurgent forces.”

Such comments are the background noise that has lent a veneer of legitimacy to the West’s imperialist adventures since the end of the Cold War.

This poem, by Afrodity Giannakis, is translated from Greek, It was published in a book also entitled Stowaway.

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A stowaway in your life,
a refugee in your land,
an exile in your country,
a foreigner in your homeland,
of your history — you’d think —
an invisible viewer.
Forever inside
waiting rooms.
A patience test.
An endurance test
in the age of abstention.
The only power they have left you:
Gossiping life.
Talking about life
behind her back.

About 50 people gathered at Murray St Mall, Perth on March 22 to participate in a speak-out called by the Refugee Rights Action Network.

The protest was called in response to the deteriorating conditions inside the detention centres and the recent use of tear gas and rubber bullets against the Christmas Island protestors.

Isn’t it marvellous that all these governments are determined to do “something” about Colonel Gaddafi?

For example Hillary Clinton said she supported military action once the Arab League — made up of countries such as Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia — backed air strikes.

And it is encouraging that the policy of not tolerating a dictator has the backing of so many dictators.

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