877

With the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl falling on April 26, a debate is brewing over the estimated death toll from the nuclear disaster. The debate has erupted with a heated exchange between prominent British columnist George Monbiot and anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott. Monbiot claims the “official death toll” from Chernobyl is 43. Caldicott puts the death toll at 985,000. Someone's wrong. Perhaps they both are.
About 15,000 people attended the “No Nukes” protest in the central Tokyo district of Koenji on April 10. The rally called for assistance to those affected by the March earthquake and tsunami disaster, and for an end to nuclear power. Organisers said more than 1.23 million yen (A$14,000) had been raised for those affected by the disaster. About 2500 people joined a separate rally in another part of the city calling for the Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka to be switched off. The Hamaoka plant is on a fault line considered likely to be affected by future quakes.
Wall Street has continued erecting monuments to its own greed. The British Guardian reported on April 12 that Goldman Sachs’ paid its top five directors almost US$70 million in 2010. The latest United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report, released on 27 July 2010, said civilian workers’ median hourly wage was $16.55. Private industry workers received $15.70 and state and local government workers received $22.04. The top Goldman Sachs directors, on the other hand, earned an average $38,356 each day for 2010.
Iranian news service PressTV reported on April 6 on the discovery of an ancient human burial in a suburb of the Czech capital Prague. The grave, belonging to the third millennium BCE Corded Ware cultural tradition of Europe, contained the skeletal remains of a person that the archaeologists who uncovered the burial designated as male. Without DNA testing, however, it is impossible to say for sure. The skeleton was buried in a position previously thought to be exclusively associated with females.
Two wars are being waged simultaneously in Libya. One has grown out of a revolutionary struggle for democracy. The other is an attempt by imperialism to strengthen its domination of the country. Both wars appear to share the goal of “regime change”, but they stand at opposite ends of the political spectrum. The regime change that the revolutionary struggle seeks to achieve is the overthrow of the Muammar Gaddafi dictatorship and the establishment of a system of democratic rule.
Opposition to the Brighton bypass bridge over the Jordan River in southern Tasmania escalated after the April 12 decision by the Tasmanian heritage minister Brian Wightman to give final approval for works to proceed. The bridge will destroy kutalayna, a site of 42,000 years of Aboriginal occupation. On April 14, protesters entered the site and stopped the works. On April 15, 21 people were arrested after protesters scaled the fence and entered the site in waves, stopping the work on several occasions.
The Euro-US attack on Libya has nothing to do with protecting anyone; only the terminally naive believe such nonsense. It is the West’s response to popular uprisings in strategic, resource-rich regions of the world and the beginning of a war of attrition against the new imperial rival, China. US President Barack Obama’s historical distinction is now guaranteed. He is the US’s first black president to invade Africa.
Richard Seymour (“Libya: Spring time for NATO”, GLW #876) has done an admirable job debunking justifications of “humanitarian” wars and its defenders. But his analysis of the internal dynamics of Libya leads him astray — so much so that bold assertions are taken as facts with nothing to back it up. He says the co-option of the Libyan revolution by NATO is a victory for reaction. Then he says it is no good hoping that the militias will shake themselves free of such constraints if they take power.
Only days before Peru’s general elections on April 10, three protesters were killed and dozens injured by firearm-wielding police near the southern city of Arequipa. The protesters were taking part in a community uprising against the Tia Maria copper mine proposed by Mexican-based, US-funded Southern Copper. The company has one of the worst environmental track records of any mining company active in Peru. Fearing that the mine would irredeemably contaminate local water, the residents of Islay took to the streets, despite realising it would put their lives at risk.
The Venezuelan government has repeated its request to the United States government for the extradition of terrorist and ex-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles. Posada Carriles was found not guilty by a Texas court on April 8 of charges of violating US immigration law. Posada Carriles is wanted by Venezuela for his role in blowing up a Cuban plane in 1976. The plane’s 73 passengers, all civilians, were killed. Posada Carriles escaped from a Venezuelan prison in 1985. Venezuela’s foreign ministry issued the statement abridged below on April 8. * * *
A life dedicated to creative non-violent resistance against the Israeli occupation of Palestine was cut short when Juliano Mer-Khamis was shot dead by unknown masked gunman in the West Bank town of Jenin on April 4. Mer-Khamis was an Israeli citizen, born to a Jewish mother and a Palestinian Christian father. In 2009, Mer-Khamis told Israeli army radio: “I am 100% Palestinian and 100% Jewish.” At the time of his death, Mer-Khamis was just 52-years-old. He was a father and a husband.
Peruvians went to the polls to elect a new president on April 10. In a first round result reminiscent of the 2006 election, the electorate has sent the previously languishing “left-nationalist” candidate Ollanta Humala (of the Gana Peru alliance) through to the presidential runoff on June 5. As in 2006, Humala will face a candidate representing elite interests: Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of ex-president and architect of Peru’s neoliberal development model, Alberto Fujimori.
Pro-democracy protesters in Yemen have shown their determination for real change by rejecting a proposal that would allow hated President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave power on his own terms and escape prosecution for his crimes. In the face of ongoing repression, the opposition rejected a proposal from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and maintained their demand that Saleh leave immediately, Al Jazeera said on April 11.
Much of the hysteria surrounding the support of Sydney’s Marrickville Council for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel has focused on the comparison made by the global BDS campaign with the former apartheid system in South Africa. Pro-Israel politicians and propagandists are quite aware of the power of the comparison. By describing a system where one part of the population has democracy and another doesn’t, it takes away Israel’s claim to legitimacy as a “Jewish democracy”.
Swedish author Stieg Larsson is world famous as a result of his “Millennium series” trilogy of crime novels, all published since his death in 2004. Less known is that Larsson was also a long-time activist and socialist, who worked as an editor for the anti-fascist Expo magazine. This history is sketched below by Hakan Blomqvist, editor of the Swedish revolutionary socialist paper Internationalen from 1979 to 1999. It is reprinted from US socialist magazine Against the Current.
Below is an abridged version of a speech by NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge in Sydney on April 10. The action was part of an international weekend of solidarity calling for an end to the persecution of alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning. **** First, I'd like to acknowledge that this is Aboriginal land that we are standing on. It always has been, always will be Aboriginal land. And in fact sovereignty has never been ceded over this land that we are standing on here today.

Pages

Subscribe to 877