Issue 526

Australia

BY STEPHEN O'BRIEN NEWCASTLE — The retirement of the incumbent Labor member for the state seat of Charlestown, Richard Face, has prompted ALP head office intervention in the pre-selection ballot for his old seat. Despite the protests of a 140
BY PETER KRBAVAC CANBERRA — Canberrans turned out in their thousands on February 15 to show their opposition to US President George Bush's war. Organisers estimate the crowd at more than 15,000 — a size not seen at a protest in Canberra
BY BILL MASON BRISBANE — Protesters against the food irradiation plant being built at Narangba, 50km north of the city, have won a major victory with the dismissal of a state government move in the Supreme Court to have their protest camp
BY NIKKI ULASOWSKI PERTH — More than 20,000 people crammed in Forest Place in the CBD on February 15 for an anti-war rally organised by the NOWaR Alliance. Contingents from Fremantle and Midland arrived on "peace trains". From Fremantle, three
BY TOM FLANAGAN LISMORE — In what many participants described as the biggest political event in this town's history, 5000 people — about a ninth of the town's total population — overflowed Spinks Park to say no to any war on Iraq. Lisa
On top of the hundreds of thousands mobilising in Australia's main cities, many thousands rallied in cities and towns across Australia. From Cairns, Susan Austin reports that 2000 people gathered for a peace picnic. A 500-strong contingent
BY KIM BULLIMORE SYDNEY — “Women and children will the ones who will suffer the most if the war on Iraq goes ahead”, said peace activist Win Childs. Along with Dr Gillian Deakin and actor Genevieve Lemon, Win Childs is organising the February
BY GRANT COLEMAN WOLLONGONG — Six of the Illawarra's 19 high schools have been introduced to the No War Mobile as student anti-war activists continue to build the March 5 Books Not Bombs student strike. The increasingly famous box-trailer, 2.5
Wollongong council votes against war BY GRANT COLEMAN WOLLONGONG — Following the 5000-strong anti-war rally on February 8, the local council voted to reaffirm Wollongong as a "city of peace", opposing war on Iraq and supporting the return of
BY LISA MACDONALD SYDNEY — In one of the most amazing displays of political passion in Sydney’s history, up to 500,000 rallied on February 16 against war in Iraq. Many protesters did not march, but stayed in the rally in Hyde Park because
BY GRANT COLEMAN WOLLONGONG — An anti-war protest on International Women's Day, March 8, could attract numbers similar to or bigger than the 5000-strong February 8 anti-war demonstration. International Women's Day Collective member and
BY CLAYTON MCDONALD BYRON BAY — "I have seen the bomb. I have felt the blast. I have heard the silence and seen the devastation afterwards", Bali bombing survivor Hanabeth Luke told the 3000 protesters who had marched to the Byron Bay beach park
BY GILLIAN DAVY MELBOURNE — At a civic ceremony held February 12 in support of East Timorese asylum seekers was attended by 200 people including local government councillors and state parliamentarians, the message was loud and clear: "Let them
BY TERRICA STRUDWICK ROCKHAMPTON — Around 600 central Queensland residents protested here on February 15 as part of the global weekend of action against war on Iraq. It was the largest rally held in some years in this rural town, known for
BY IAN STOLP & JULES GREEN HOBART — Between 12,000 and 15,000 people marched on February 15, in one of the biggest demonstrations ever held here. It took more than 40 minutes for the marchers to travel the 500-metre route. Protesters,
BY KATHY NEWNAM NEWCASTLE — Police estimated that 15,000 people took to the city's streets on February 15 to oppose a war against Iraq. Many of those participating commented to Green Left Weekly sellers that it was the first time they had
BY DANNY FAIRFAX CANBERRA — "In my opinion, it doesn't matter if the UN is arm-twisted into a war with Iraq, it's still immoral" — these blunt words set the tone for federal Labor MP Carmen Lawrence's talk to a meeting organised by the Canberra
BY ARUN PRADHAN MELBOURNE — Kicking off a weekend of massive international protest against war on Iraq, nearly one in 50 Australians attended an anti-war protests on February 14-16. The weekend began with the largest peace demonstration in
BY SUE BOLTON MELBOURNE — Victoria’s unions have joined those in Western Australia, calling for organised labour to play a stronger role in building mass opposition to the threat of a war against the Iraqi people. Victorian Trades Hall
BY BRYAN SKETCHLEY BRISBANE — In 2002, the Queensland treasury announced plans to strip state government departments of corporate support staff and place them in five departments. These departments would then sell corporate support services back
BY MARCE CAMERON BRISBANE — Around 100,000 protesters turned up to oppose war on Iraq on February 15, making it probably the biggest protest in the city's history. "How is the US so sure Iraq has had weapons of mass destruction?", rally chair
BY DONNA BURNS MELBOURNE — Thirty people attended a February 10 public forum in Footscray on the US drive to war against Iraq. The keynote speaker was Iraqi refugee Surma Hamid. Speaking on behalf of the Committee for the Defence of Iraqi
BY EMMA MURPHY ADELAIDE — The massive turn-out here for the February 16 anti-war march astounded everybody. The organisers of the rally, the NO WAR coalition, estimate that 100,000 people took part. Even the police reckon 70,000 were there.
BY TRISHA REIMERS & SUE BULL GEELONG — Amid huge local controversy, more than 200 people protested against a war on Iraq outside the Avalon International Airshow on February 15. The protest was organised by the Geelong Anti-War Coalition. The

World

BY ROHAN PEARCE US Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council on February 5 added a new twist to Washington's propaganda offensive against Iraq. While he repeated the threadbare claims that Iraq has somehow hidden a
BY CHRISTANO KERRILLA "Alert, alert. For the sword of Bolivar is ready to swing!" — this a popular chant of the supporters of Venezuela's pro-poor president Hugo Chavez Frias. This cry is symbolic of the process of radicalisation taking place
The Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC), which serves as the secretariat of the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement, has expressed its disgust with the US military build up on Guam, specifically the deployment of B-1 and B-52 bombers
According to radical Latin American journalist MARTA HARNECKER, "the process of Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution" is little understood by much of the left. One of Harnecker's latest books is Hugo Chavez: One Man, One People, an interview with the
BY ROHAN PEARCE In his February 5 speech to the United Nations Security Council, US Secretary of State Colin Powell called attention to the "fine paper that United Kingdom distributed yesterday, which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception
BY PIP HINMAN Lesley McCulloch was freed from prison in Aceh on February 9. McCulloch, along with US nurse Joy-Lee Sadler, was arrested at a military check-point and held for five months. McCulloch was charged with violating her visa. McCulloch,
BY MARIA VICTORIA VALDES-RODDA After two months of trying to bring down President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's right-wing opposition on February 2 announced the end to its "general strike". The opposition alliance, the Coordinadora Democratica (CD),
BY DOUG LORIMER As the United States makes final preparations to launch its military conquest of Iraq, the long-simmering diplomatic dispute over the future of Iraq between Washington and Paris broke into the open. On February 9, German officials
BY ROHAN PEARCE On February 14, White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer made a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to argue that the report by chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix to the UN Security Council earlier that day provided more justification
BY PATRICK BOND “Africa didn't really shine here”, South Africa's finance minister Trevor Manuel told a press conference in snowy Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum in late January. “There is a complete dearth of panels on
BY NORMAN BREWER More than 30,000 people mobilised on February 8 outside NATO security conference attended by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and European defence and security officials. More than 3500 police closed large sections of downtown

Culture

PREVIEW BY VANNESSA HEARMAN MELBOURNE — There will be a feast of music and comedy on February 28 as artists from Australia, West Papua, Papua New Guinea and East Timor perform at the Melbourne Concert Hall. The "Morning Star Concert for West
REVIEW BY DANNY FAIRFAX You are G8, We are 6 BillionBy Jonathon NealeVision Paperbacks, 2002262 pages, $27.95 In the last year, books by Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and Tariq Ali have been prominent in the bestsellers lists. You can
BY TERRY JONES I'm really excited by US President George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I! For some time now, I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street.