A Brooklyn teacher on an email list said on November 2: “As I begin writing this, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is speaking in Staten Island. She is rattling off statistics on how much water the federal government is delivering and reminding residents of the island borough of FEMA’s phone number and URL. “CNN only seemed to discover the massive death toll, flooding, and destruction in Staten Island 3-4 days after Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast.
In 1999, I travelled to Iraq with Denis Halliday, who had resigned as assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations rather than enforce a punitive United Nations embargo on Iraq. Devised and policed by the United States and Britain, the extreme suffering caused by these “sanctions” included, according to Unicef, the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi infants under the age of five. Ten years later, in New York, I met the senior British official responsible for the imposition of sanctions. He is Carne Ross, once known in the UN as “Mr Iraq”.
Protesters confronted Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his visit to Britain on October 31. They were angry at Indonesia's ongoing human rights abuses in West Papua. Australian-born activist Peter Tatchell was arrested for holding a West Papuan independence flag near Yudhoyono's car, the Jakarta Globe said on November 1. Yudhoyono was feted by Britain's political elites, including a private lunch with the Queen, Reuters said on November 1.
An Australian activist, Vivienne Porzsolt was gassed with tear gas on November 7 while protesting a house demolition in the village of Hares in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. She was there with other members of the International Women’s Peace Service supporting Palestinians trying to protect their homes. Of 13 homes facing demolition orders in Hares, two were destroyed that day despite the fact the legal appeal processes had not been exhausted. One house was home for 18 people, five of whom were hospitalised due to the violence of Israeli soldiers.
At an October 31 demonstration at University of Sydney, Aboriginal students and their supporters rallied to demand the university’s Koori Centre remain open and won important concessions from the university management. Despite officially acknowledging the Cadigal people of the Eora nation, on whose land the university was built, the administration has pushed ahead with a new strategy for Indigenous education despite serious concerns raised by the students.
The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on November 8. * * * An ASIO negative Tamil refugee attempted to hang himself at the Villawood detention centre overnight. The man has been in detention for over three years. He was taken to the emergency department at Liverpool hospital and has now been admitted to the hospital.
A protest in solidarity with hunger striking refugees on Nauru took place in Perth on November 8. It was organised by the Refugee Rights Action Network.
Refugees held on Nauru say more than 300 men are taking part in the indefinite hunger strike, which has now entered its second week. They say they will continue until Australia’s department of immigration guarantees them passage to Australia and an immediate starts on their asylum claims. Immigration minister Chris Bowen told refugees last month that their claims for protection would not be heard for more than six months.
Inside Sydney Town Hall on October 31, guarded by suited security, the bankers and biggest property owners were meeting in the elite Property Congress. Outside some 200 cleaners were the voices from below. Their families struggle to survive on wage rates of just $17 an hour while those at the Congress planned to spend more than a month's pay for a cleaner just on lunch today. Video by Peter Boyle/Green Left TV.
More than 100 people gathered in Wollongong Town Hall on November 8 for a public debate on the NSW government's plan to lease Port Kembla for 99 years. The government hopes to make $500 million on the lease, about $5 million a year, despite the state-owned Port already making between $25 million and $50 million a year.
This rally and march on October 31 to protest moves by the Sydney University administration to weaken the Koori Centre has already won some ground. According to Rachel Evans, after the protest Professor Shane Houston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services), promised to return the support staff to the Koori Centre and ensure the Koori students' common room remains open. Video by Peter Boyle/Green Left TV.