Issue 487

Australia

1200 join Palestine rally PERTH — About 1200 people attended a rally in Forrest Place on April 6 to protest Israel's war on the Palestinian people. Speakers at the rally included students from the Australian Islamic College, Anthony Benbow from
BY SEAN VICKERY, GABRIELLE YATES & EMA CORRO The events at Woomera during the Easter weekend have inspired refugees' rights protests across Australia. In Brisbane 40 protesters gathered on the morning of March 30 outside the immigration department
BY ARUN PRADHAN "Since the protest there has been close to no communication with Woomera [detention centre] inmates", refugees' rights campaigner Pamela Curr told Green Left Weekly on April 6. "The two phone lines normally available to detainees
BY MARY MERKENICH MELBOURNE — On March 31, Jews for Refugees held its first public event — a 700-strong rally during the Festival of Passover, Pesach — outside Maribyrnong detention centre. A car pool and cavalcade led by Yids on Wheels — a
On April 2 the organisers of the March 31 refugees’ rights protest at Villawood received a faxed letter from the detention centre, here are some excerpts: “We, residents of the Villawood detention centre, very much appreciate and thank you
BY PETER ROBSON& JIM MCILROY "The US war on Afghanistan provided no solution to the problems of the region", Farooq Tariq, general secretary of the Labour Party Pakistan, told a lunchtime meeting at Newcastle University on April 3, as he began a
BY JIM GREEN SYDNEY — The head of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), John Loy, approved construction of a new 20-megawatt nuclear reactor in the southern suburb of Lucas Heights on April 5. ARPANSA
Dear friends of the second Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference, the Brazilian organising committee of the World Social Forum wishes that the Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference will succeed in what it is proposing,
BY CHRIS PICKERING& STEPHEN O'BRIEN SYDNEY — On March 28, the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission acknowledged that library workers have been underpaid because they are predominately women. The IRC handed down a ground-breaking
BY GRAHAM MATTHEWS MELBOURNE — In a demonstration aimed at "breaking the silence" over Israel's murderous aggression against the Palestinian people, more than 1000 Palestinians and their supporters massed on the steps of Victoria's parliament on
BY LISA MACDONALD SYDNEY — More than 1000 refugees' rights campaigners joined visitors from more than 20 countries in a march to Villawood refugee prison early on March 31, Easter Sunday. The action, initiated by the 2nd Asia Pacific
BY KERRYN WILLIAMS CANBERRA — Auxiliary Catholic Bishop Pat Power and Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulbourn George Browning issued a statement on April 1 condemning the Israeli assault on the Palestinian people. "At a time when Christians
Filipino Workers (BMP) trade union federation; Philippines Socialist Party of Labour; Khanya College, South Africa; Power of the Working Class, South Korea; Communist Party of Sudan; Left International Forum and Left Party of Sweden; Freedom and
BY NICK EVERETT SYDNEY — More than 8000 people rallied in Sydney's Town Hall Square on April 6 to demand an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Protesters carrying placards, banners and Palestinian flags poured out of the square
BY ARUN PRADHAN MELBOURNE — As the dust begins to settle on the March 28-April 1 Woomera protest, activists have hit the ground running with a "defence campaign" for those arrested during the weekend and re-invigorated campaigning for an end to
BY SARAH STEPHEN In a March 30 media conference condemning protesters at Woomera detention centre, immigration minister Philip Ruddock asserted: "The bulk of the detention population in Australia today are not refugees", instead calling them
BY BILL MASON BRISBANE — On April 4, immigration minister Philip Ruddock named the Meeandah Army Stores site at Pinkenba as the preferred site for a new 200-bed refugee prison. Although he initially claimed the new site would only house

World

BY FIDEL CASTRO [The following is the text of the speech made by the Cuban President Fidel Castro on March 21 at the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in Monterrey, Mexico.] Not everyone here will share my thoughts.
BY JON LAND Two-and-a half years after East Timor's referendum on independence, the effect of the Indonesian military and militia's post-ballot destructive rampage are painfully apparent. Burnt out shells of buildings stand dotted around the
BY TERRICA STRUDWICK Yarls Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire, Britain, was closed on March 31 after a fire devastated the complex on February 14. The detention centre was built without a sprinkler system. Group 4, the company which manages all
Alabi Ayinde is in a coma in a Lagos hospital in Nigeria after being brutally deported from Ireland. As far as is known, all Ayinde's injuries were inflicted by Irish immigration guards. On March 28, Ayinde and five other Nigerians were put on a
BY NORM DIXON The terrible miscarriage of justice perpetrated on January 31, 2001 — when three Scottish judges in a juryless court pronounced Libyan citizen Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi guilty of the murder of 270 people in the December 21,
BY ROHAN PEARCE Analysis by Electronic Intifada web site has revealed that documents produced by the Israeli government, allegedly proving the involvement of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat in suicide bomber attacks, have
BY DICK NICHOLS BOLOGNA — What did it take to get up to 3 million people — of all ages, from widely different social backgrounds and from every corner of the country — to the March 23 demonstration in Rome against billionaire media
BY VITTORIO LONGHI ROME — Italy is getting ready for a massive general strike, the first for 20 years, against Silvio Berlusconi government's labour law "reform". On April 16, at least 11 million workers will strike. This general strike call
BY JOHN PILGER LONDON — The promised attack on Iraq will test free journalism as never before. The prevailing media orthodoxy is that the attack is only a matter of time. "The arguments may already be over", says the March 17 Observer, "Bush and

Editorial

Woomera and beyond The Easter protest at the Woomera immigration detention centre successfully highlighted the brutality of the Australian government's policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers. It has added momentum to the

Culture

Stupid White Men By Michael Moore Harper Collins 2002 275 pages, $49.45 REVIEW BY PAUL HEMPHILL If your name is Miranda Devine, you won't like this book because it slanders your beloved American Dream. If you are Greg Sheridan, you