The Indonesian government has engaged in a spin campaign over the recent wave of mysterious shootings in Indonesian-occupied West Papua in an attempt to derail the struggle for independence. With no evidence, Indonesian police have blamed the shootings on the Free Papua Movement (OPM) and its armed wing, the National Liberation Army. Several Papuan independence activists were killed, along with others wounded or killed since the attacks began in late May.
The student movement in Quebec is facing a crucial summer of discussion and organising. Law 78, which suspended classes at strike-bound institutions in May, directs their resumption in mid-August. The government of Liberal Party Premier Jean Charest is preparing a judicial and police assault against striking students and their associations. It aims to force open school doors and see its proposed 82% university tuition fee hike over seven years prevail.
Sudanese President Omer Al Bashir has described anti-government protesters as foreign agents, agitators and “bubbles”. Yet unrest may boil over as it continues to spread and protesters vow they won’t stop until the regime falls. The movement against the government was boosted on June 29 with large protests in Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman as well as at least a dozen cities outside the capital for the “day of elbow-licking”.
A new report funded and supported by the British government accuses Israel of violating international law with its treatment of Palestinian child detainees, Electronic Intifada said on June 28. It was was launched in London by a high-profile group of human rights lawyers on June 26.
The United States Supreme Court has upheld the core provision of Arizona’s vicious anti-immigrant law. The part of the law upheld requires police to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop, for whatever reason, if they “suspect” they are undocumented. Arizona Governor Jan Brewster claims the law would not result in racial profiling. But she is lying through her teeth. Everyone knows that in Arizona, the only grounds for “suspicion” is having brown skin. No white person will be “suspected” of not having papers.
Despite escalating rhetoric and sectarian violence, it seems for the time being NATO is not planning a direct military assault against Syria along the lines of its attack on Libya last year. If NATO had been looking for a pretext for such an assault, the June 22 shooting down by Syrian forces of a air force F4 phantom jet belonging to NATO member Turkey provided one ― notwithstanding evidence the plane was shot down in Syrian airspace.
The letter published below was circulated by the United States-based Just Foreign Policy. It was signed by more than 100 prominent people, mostly from the US. Signatories include film directors Michal Moore and Oliver Stone, authors Noam Chomsky and Naomi Wolf, journalists Glenn Greenwald and Chris Hedges, and Vietnam War-era whistleblower Daniel Elsberg. See here for the full list.
“Under Raul Castro, Cuba has begun the journey towards capitalism. But it will take a decade and a big political battle to complete, writes Michael Reid”. So began the lead article of the London Economist magazine’s March 24 special issue on Cuba, under the heading “Revolution in retreat”. It is a familiar refrain, but how much truth is there to it? Unfortunately for the credibility of The Economist, authoritative mouthpiece of the Anglo-imperialist ruling class, it’s a dog’s breakfast of factual errors, illogical arguments and wishful thinking.
So now we have a carbon price in Australia. The sky hasn’t fallen in but neither are we getting anywhere near doing what needs to be done to respond to the climate change crisis. Australia currently gets its energy in this mix: • Fossil fuels: 95%, comprising coal: 39%, gas: 22%, petroleum: 35% • Renewables: a miserable 5%. According to the Labor government's own projections, with the carbon price, by 2035 Australia's energy mix will be: • Fossil fuels: 91%, comprising less coal at 21%, more gas at 35%, petroleum: 36% • Renewables: rising slightly to 9%.
If you talk to the people in-the-know at the United Nations and other related agencies, they will tell you that our system of governance is not working well enough to solve the crises the world is facing. I guess this explains why the final lead document “The Future We Want” from the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil from June 13-22, was described by Yolanda Kakabadse, International Director of WWF, as “a weak text without bones and without soul.”
There is something symbolic about the way media commentators have turned on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Here is a man heading an organisation that has exposed a whole array of serious war crimes committed by the most powerful nation on Earth and, for his troubles, confronts the real threat of extradition to the US via Sweden, where he could face a Supreme Court indictment and potential jail, torture or even the death penalty.
The tour has been called one of the most ambitious of all time. The show has been called one of the greatest. Since The Wall tour started in late 2010, Roger Waters has awed hundreds of thousands of people with this astounding and complex show. And he’s taking it to one of the sites of of intense social struggle in July ― Quebec, in support of the huge student struggle that has broken out there.
The Transform Drug Policy Foundation recently informed me of Count the Costs: 50 years of the war on drugs, a new online research tool developed to educate people on the need for drug law reform.
The newly opened Yongah Hill detention centre in remote Western Australia is “probably one of the most secure facilities in the entire network,” immigration media manager Sandi Logan said on June 25. The new detention centre is about 90 kilometres north-east of Perth, about five kilometres outside the rural town of Northam. The $125 million centre was a disused army barracks and will house up to 600 male asylum seekers. It is now fitted with electric fences, “scale-proof” walls, cameras and bars on most windows, said an AAP reporter who visited the site.
July 1 is the new financial year and the start of many new government policies. This year, the carbon and mining taxes, and expansion of income management, or welfare quarantining, to five new locations. People receiving Centrelink payments and living in Playford in South Australia, Logan and Rockhampton in Queensland, Greater Shepparton in Victoria, and Bankstown in NSW may be subject to the new system. The carbon and mining taxes have generated hysterical debate, but the extension of income management has been noticeably underreported.
A June 27 speakout in the Bourke Street Mall called for the freeing of political prisoners in Pakistan and condemned the Pakistani state’s use of the Western-sponsored “war on terror” as a pretext for cracking down on community activists and trade unionists. The speakout was use to collect signatures names on an international open letter.