Issue 616

Australia

NEWCASTLE — The Fairfax-owned Newcastle Herald is engaged in a large-scale shame campaign against graffiti in the city. One issue of the paper featured a picture of the South Newcastle beach skate park, which, like any other skate park, is
Sydney University student and Socialist Alliance activist Bronwyn Powell spoke to Green Left Weekly's Kerryn Williams about the Freedom Ride's first week travelling by bus through northern and north-western NSW. Indigenous and non-Indigenous
MELBOURNE — Workers owed $2.5 million in wages, long service leave, and superannuation by ABM Plastics, now in receivership, have been hit with injunctions to stop them from picketing the company. The injunctions were issued on February 17
Green left Weekly's Alex Salmon spoke to Jakica Zaknic, an activist in the Coogee Coastal Action Coalition who is standing in the Western Australian election as an independent candidate for the South Metropolitan Region. The Coogee Coastal Action
'Women should decide, not politicians, the church, or the media. Repeal all anti-abortion laws!' was the theme of a February 18 picket on the steps of King George Square. The action was organised by the Socialist Alliance and endorsed by the
ADELAIDE — On February 12, several hundred refugee supporters rallied outside the electorate office of federal immigration minister Amanda Vanstone to protest the wrongful detention of Australian resident Cornelia Rau. The rally heard speakers
Sue Bolton A Newspoll survey of 1200 people conducted for the Health Services Union of Australia has found that 53.2% of those surveyed opposed the federal Coalition government's plans to restrict unions' right of entry to workplaces. The poll was
Emma Clancy, Perth Anti-war activists won a victory for free speech in Perth by turning out once more on February 18 to protest ANZ's profiteering from the war on Iraq. The Murray Street Mall protest, attended by around 40 people, was called by
SYDNEY — On February 4, the day the month-long Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival was launched, Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) announced that it would attempt unite all groups that have campaigned against the ban on same-sex
Jim McIlroy, Brisbane The Aboriginal community of Palm Island, north of Townsville, staged a boycott of the visit by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie on February 17, in protest at the "lack of respect" shown by the premier in opening a Police
SYDNEY — Sydney University lecturer Ed Aspinall gave a moving presentation about Aceh's devastation and recovery after the December 26 tsunami to a Green Left Weekly forum on February 16. Aspinall recently returned from Aceh, where he assisted
Jon Lamb, Darwin Civil rights and legal advocates have been angered by the cruel treatment of four Aboriginal teenagers, who were driven 1000 kilometres in the rear steel cage of a police wagon at high speed without breaks. The four were detained
Kathy Newnam, Darwin In her quest to expose the truth about the death of Douglas Scott in Berrimah Jail on July 5, 1985, Letty Scott has uncovered more evidence of prison guards' brutality against her husband. Letty was given access on February
Sarah Stephen, Sydney It seems that Cornelia Rau's 10-month ordeal is not the only case of mistaken detention. On February 14, the Murdoch press reported that Mohamadou Sacko, a French tourist of Malian origin, had arrived in Sydney on August 31
Tamara Pearson & Norman Brewer, Sydney "We will have no peace until the truth comes out", Thomas "TJ" Hickey's Aunt Gail told a rally in Redfern on February 13. The protest, attended by more than 200 people, marked the first anniversary of TJ's

World

Vanuatu's ombudsman Iolu Abbil, a founding father of his country's independence struggle, told a February 14 gathering to hand land to West Papua, that while Vanuatu "does not have tanks, guns and war planes", it will fight for West Papuan
Doug Lorimer In the January 16 New Yorker magazine, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that the Pentagon has begun updating its plans for an invasion of Iran. Hersh reported that, "Strategists at the headquarters of the US Central
Rohan Pearce On February 10, municipal elections were held in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh and its surrounds. The vote, the first since limited municipal elections in 1964, is to be followed by similar ballots in the south-western and eastern
The February 8 Danish elections have left the country polarised. The ruling conservative Liberal Party retained government, despite losing four seats. Its coalition partner, the Conservatives, picked up two seats as did the anti-immigration far-right
At Fremont High School in Los Angeles, nine students were suspended on February 8 for refusing to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a test administered by the US armed forces to match students with its different arms. After
Naomi Klein "The Iraqi people gave America the biggest 'thank you' in the best way we could have hoped for." Reading this election analysis from Betsy Hart, a columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service, I found myself thinking about my late
On February 6, shortly before 4am, after a five-kilometre police car chase, the pursued (stolen) car skidded onto a kerb. One passenger dropped out, the car began backing up, and police fired 10 rounds into it. Several went straight into 13-year-old
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a trial involving US soldiers who have served in Iraq, to test if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can relieve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the US centre for
Twelve thousand people took part in a mass walk for Agent Orange victims along Han River in Da Nang City on February 13. The three-kilometre walk was the biggest mass walk ever in the city, and included representatives of 30 international
On February 15, the European Court of Human Rights said the lack of legal aid available to Helen Steel and David Morris when they were prosecuted for libel by McDonald's meant that they had been denied a fair trial. They were awarded £24,000 in
On February 15, Nicaraguan teachers entered their third week on strike, demanding that a pay rise approved by the country's National Assembly in the 2005 budget be paid to them. After Nicaraguan president told protesting teachers to "shut up" on
Federico Fuentes Since January, Bolivia's eastern state of Santa Cruz has been rocked by protest. Under the leadership of the Santa Cruz Civic Committee, the movement demanding greater autonomy for the state has held actions including a January 11
This letter was sent to Green Left Weekly for publication by Zely Ariane, the international affairs spokesperson of the Aceh solidarity group SEGERA. Green Left Weekly has been asking our readers to assist SEGERA's appeal after the tsunami, for
Matt Preston & Sarah Peart, Glasgow More than 400 delegates braved the Scottish winter to attend the annual conference of the Scottish Socialist Party, taking place in Perth on February 12-13. The conference was marked by diverse and wide-ranging
On February 16, up to 200,000 people took to the streets of Ecuador's capital Quito, in the country's second major demonstration in three weeks. The march, organised by the Social Christian Party and Quito Mayor Paco Moncayo, who is the leader of the
Iranian workers are circulating a petition calling for the right to form independent unions. The petition campaign was sparked by the recent passage of a law exempting small business employers from the country's Labour Law, and by attempts to deny
Boris Kagarlitsky, Moscow Nineteen State Duma deputies have petitioned the prosecutor-general to ban Jews. The letter was published on January 27, right on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and coincided with President Vladimir Putin's
Dr Salam Ismael took aid to Fallujah in January. This account of his experiences is reprinted from British Socialist Worker, available at <http://www.socialistworker.co.uk>. It was the smell that first hit me, a smell that is difficult to
Alex Miller Public sector unions nationwide are balloting their members over a proposed one-day strike on March 23. The strikes could involve up to 1.4 million public sector workers, and would be hugely embarrassing to the Labour government headed
Alison Dellit On February 18, Tahiti's semi-autonomous parliament passed a no confidence motion in President Gaston Flosse, toppling his government. The parliament is due to meet again on February 23 to elect a new president, likely to be fiery
Matthew Davies Publicity about the tsunami relief effort in Indonesia's Aceh province has mostly depicted Indonesia's military (TNI) in an unprecedented favourable light. But the TNI's own official record has painted a very different picture than
Lara Pullin Since last year, Nicaraguan parliamentary politics has been dominated by threats of a constitutional crisis. While the National Assembly debates corruption, and US-defined "good governance", however, outside parliament people are more

Culture

BY NICOLE COLSON CHICAGO — The most popular crime shows on TV these days don't take place in a police station or courtroom. They take place in a lab — with scientists, not cops, as their heroes. Now in its fifth season, CBS's CSI: Crime Scene
Bomb me humanlyTerrorise me with democracyMcdonaldise me when I hunger. Destroy my country to save it! The old stench of fascismis being blown away by thenew stench of fascism. Uncontrolled B52 joy flightsThat sweet, heavy steel rain. This is
BY ELSY FORS HAVANA — Broadway may have dimmed its bright lights in respectful farewell to one of its greatest playwrights, but Arthur Miller, dead at 89, is praised and recognised the world over, including in Cuba, where his visit in the year
West Papua and Indonesia since Suharto — Independence, Autonomy or Chaos?By Professor Peter KingUniversity of NSW Press, 2004240 pages, $40 (pb) REVIEW BY PAUL BROWNRIGG The island of New Guinea, our northern neighbour, is a tremendously rich