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ZCommunications received the following open letter from indpendent filmmaker and journalist John Pilger reporting very disturbing events in progress. Visit www.johnpilger.com for more of Pilger's work.

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Dear Noam...

Isn't this excellent news? The International Monetary Fund (IMF) say the British government's strategy for sorting us out is going to work.

Every time they've been asked to comment on a country's economy they've insisted it must cut wages, restrict the unions and privatise everything. So the government must have been really nervous as to whether they'd approve of the strategy of cutting wages, restricting unions and privatising everything.

It must have felt like waiting for your A-level results.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has claimed successes for the war in Afghanistan, while acknowledging growing opposition.

The June 8 Age reported that Gillard said: “I understand there would be many Australians who over the past two weeks have asked themselves what are we doing there, why are we still there, should our soldiers be there?

“I do want to say to the nation we know why we're there, we are very clear about our mission and our mission is being accomplished.

“We are doing what we intended to do and we have a timeline for achieving our goal.”

The Refugee Art Project (RAP) was established in 2010 by Safdar Ahmed and Dr Omid Tofighian. They run free art classes at the Villawood (NSW) and Broadmeadows (Victoria) detention centres.

Some of the artworks, created by the asylum seekers, were on display at the recent Platform Art Space as part of the Human Rights Art and Film Festival. RAP is also organising the fear + hope exhibition featuring works by detained asylum seekers at the Mori Gallery in Sydney from June 20 to July 8. Visit TheRefugeeArtProject.com for more information.

I was as worried as anyone when I wandered down to my local pub to find a poster over the door announcing the government was trying to shut it down.

In their national campaign against proposed changes to poker machine use, Clubs Australia and the Australian Hotel Association (AHA) say “some bloke in Tasmania” (Independent MP Andrew Wilkie) is trying to push through laws that will bankrupt our pubs, destroy our communities and put us all under more government surveillance.

Koestler: The Indispensable Intellectual
By Michael Scammell
Faber & Faber, 2011,
720 pages, $32.99 (pb)

Arthur Koestler had a taste for political drama.

As a communist, he spied against Franco's fascists in the Spanish civil war; as a Jew, he escaped from the Gestapo in France by joining the French Foreign Legion; he saw the inside of five jails; he wrote a famous novel of Stalin's show trials; he became a vociferous anti-communist; and he enjoyed a fashionable vogue for his 1970s books on parapsychology.

The path for Maori liberation, debates on left perspectives and the 30th anniversary since the 1981 Springbok tour were some of the discussions at “Workers Power”, the national conference of the Workers Party held in Hamilton over June 3 to 5.

The recent formation of the Mana Party was a focus of the discussions.

Prominent Maori leader and MP Hone Harawira initiated Mana after leaving the Maori Party, frustrated over its deals while in coalition with the right-wing National Party.

Harawira resigned his seat to force a by-election and stand again as a Mana candidate.

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who performs solo under the name The Nightwatchman, was inspired by the huge struggle in Wisconsin against a savage anti-union law to release a benefit EP of songs dedicated to workers' struggles. The Nightwatchman's Union Town EP has been released by New West Records and can be bought at iTunes. All proceeds go to the America Votes Labor Unity Fund.

“The troubled sky reveals/The grief it feels.”

Those two lines were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem “Snow-Flakes”, published in a volume in 1863 alongside his epic and better-known “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”.

Much of the news chatter this week has been about Sarah Palin’s flubbing of the history of Revere’s famous ride in April 1775. Revere was on a late-night, clandestine mission to alert American revolutionaries of an impending British attack.

The June 5 national elections in Portugal produced a sharp lurch to the right.

The two main conservative parties, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Democratic and Social Centre-People's Party (CDS-PP) won 50.4% of votes and 57.1% of seats in the single-chamber parliament. (The results for the four seats determined by overseas Portuguese voters will be announced on June 15.)

Compared to the 2009 poll, the PSD vote rose from 29.1% to 38.6%, and CDS-PP from 10.5% to 11.7%.

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