Three Australian activists joining the Freedom Flotilla 2 were given a heartfelt sendoff by Green Left Weekly at the Resistance Centre on June 15. The three will soon join activists from 50 countries taking part in this latest international action to pressure Israel to lift the illegal blockade on Gaza. They have partnered with a Canadian organisation and their boat Tahrir (Liberation) will carry about 50 passengers and crew. See also:
Western Australia has always been proud of its natural resources and mining industries. Criticise it, and you bare the wrath of not only the elitism of rich investors and industrialists, but pretty much 80 to 90% of the population. Woodside is considered one of the pride. When meeting its representatives in 2003, as one of the 40 of so school students attending the “Australian Student Mineral Venture”, we were told in loud volumes about how they employed Aborigines too … obviously the only tick box needed to be ethical, or so they thought.
SlutWalk has become a global phenomenon since Canadian policeman Constable Michael Sanguinett told a campus safety meeting “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised”. Big SlutWalk rallies have retaliated against this victim-blaming that police, courts, and governments perpetuate. People have protested in Canada, Mexico, London, Amsterdam, the US, London and Australia. Homemade placards denouncing sexual violence, supporting consensual sex and rejecting victim blaming were displayed at all the rallies.
Public opposition to a plan by an Australian mining company, Lynas, to build a rare earth refinery in Pahang, Malaysia, was on show at a protest outside Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on May 20. Lynas plans to ship ore from its Mount Weld mine in Western Australia, through the port of Fremantle, to Malaysia. There it will be refined to extract rare earths, which are widely used in the manufacture of computers and electronics.
A magistrate dismissed charges against 49 climate activists on June 16. The protesters had committed non-violent civil disobedience at a climate camp against a new coal-fired power station being built in the Hunter Valley. The charges related to an action on December 6 at the NSW climate camp near the Bayswater Power Station in the Hunter Valley — Australia’s single largest source of carbon pollution. The ruling means they have no conviction recorded, no criminal record and their fines dropped.
The British government continues to license millions of pounds in arms to the Sri Lankan regime despite suggestions that they may have been used in war crimes, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said on June 15. New evidence of alleged atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan state in 2009 in its purge of a stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 emerged this week in a Channel 4 documentary screened in Britain on June 14. For more than two decades, until its defeat in 2009, the LTTE fought for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka's north-east.
Green Left Weekly is moving to a new office. Ever since it was founded in 1991, GLW has been produced in Sydney in our Chippendale office, on Abercrombie St. For years before that, GLW’s predecessor, Direct Action, was also produced in the Chippendale building. But the space no longer suits our needs and we are moving to an exciting new building on Mountain Street, Ultimo — just minutes from Abercrombie St.
It wouldn’t be okay for Amnesty to take donations from military dictators or for Animal Liberation to accept abattoir-owners as sponsors. Such scenarios are so unlikely they just sound bizarre. So why should we accept that it’s okay for Australian environmental groups to take money from fossil fuel corporations? Surely it’s the ultimate conflict of interest. How can groups set up to stop climate change accept cash from companies that make millions from polluting the planet?
Chanting “refugees — freedom now, don’t treat people worse than cows”, 50 refugee rights protesters confronted immigration minister Chris Bowen at a refugee conference on June 17. The protest, which was called by the Refugee Action Coalition, marched into the University of NSW lecture theatre in which Bowen was addressing the conference, before police and security ejected the activists. Many of those inside the conference, which was organised by the Centre for Refugee Research, supported the protest. About half the room turned their backs on Bowen.
At a public debate on June 16, Icelandic journalist and WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson said WikiLeaks has strengthened democracy and revealed wrongdoings. Most of the 600-strong crowd said they agreed. At the end of this year’s second IQ² debate, 58.2% of the audience voted for the proposition: “WikiLeaks is a force for good”. Just 32.2% said they disagreed while 8.8% were undecided. The debate did sway some people, however. Polled before the debate, only 6.3% of attendees said they disagreed and 30.7% said they were undecided.