Issue 639

Australia

"Green Left Weekly is a very important — I would say vital — Australian journal of independent opinion, and news that you won't readily find elsewhere. I am always proud whenever anything that I write appears in its pages, because I know then
DARWIN — After more than a decade of legal proceedings, on August 18 Letty Scott withdrew criminal charges she had brought against four Berrimah prison officers she had accused of murdering her husband, Douglas Scott. The prison officers claimed
Pip Hinman According to Australian peace activist Donna Mulhearn, Cindy Sheehan's anti-war vigil outside US President Bush's ranch "has re-energised the anti-war movement in the US, inspired more than 1000 people to make their way to Crawford, and
Stephen Garvey, Melbourne Ian Thomas, father of Jack Thomas; civil rights lawyer Rob Stary; and London Respect member Julian Coppens addressed a forum on August 17 about PM John Howard and British PM Tony Blair's attacks on civil rights, especially
Kerry Smith, Canberra Following the publication of his article, "Unions ACT changes protest plans", in Green Left Weekly #636, Community and Public Sector Union member Paul Oboohov was informed on August 10 via email that CPSU ACT secretary Graham
SYDNEY — On August 24, anti-corporate clowns will descend on Sydney's police headquarters, bearing a message for assistant police commissioner Bob Waites. On August 18, Waites decided to close the Opera House forecourt and the Botanical Gardens to
Matthew Holloway, Hobart Prison Action Reform calls for better treatment of inmates at Hobart's Risdon Prison. It has been a strong voice about the reality of deaths in custody, and the poor living conditions and violation of human rights in the
Alison Dellit & Alison Thorne One hundred people rallied in Redfern, Sydney, on August 17, one year since the NSW Coroner dismissed the death of 17-year old TJ Hickey as a "freak accident", exonerating the police who pursued Hickey shortly before
Susan Price, Sydney In the aftermath of the NSW Coroner's inquest into the death of 16-year-old Joel Exner, who died in October 2003 after falling 12 metres while working on a building site at Eastern Creek, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and
HOBART — Tasmanian logging company Gunns has renewed its efforts to sue protesters for alleged trespass, sabotage and destruction of logging property, by filing a third claim for damages in the Victorian Supreme Court on August 15. However, in a
Courtney Ruge, Melbourne On August 11, a day after the national protest against voluntary student unionism (VSU), the women's room at Melbourne University was vandalised. The August 12 Age reported that "furniture was upturned, paperwork was
Sue Bull, Geelong It was revealed in a Senate estimates committee on August 17 that Australia Post spent $250,000 in legal fees to get rid of one worker. Trevor Grenfell worked at the Wendouree Mail Centre in Ballarat for 25 years. When a new
SYDNEY — A Socialist Alliance campaign stall at Merrylands shopping centre in Sydney's west was attacked on August 20 by an individual yelling "traitors" and "communists". The campaign stall, which focused on the federal government's attacks on
Kathy Newnam, Darwin The newly formed No Waste Dump Committee will hold a public meeting on August 31 to bring together the growing opposition to the federal Coalition government's plan to build a national radioactive waste dump in the Northern
'A voice for the voiceless' — former Nauru detainee Sarah Stephen Ghulam Haider, a 25-year-old Hazara from Afghanistan, fled from the Taliban and sought refuge in Australia. As punishment, he spent three years in the tropical hell of Nauru
HOBART — August 19 protest against uranium mining in Australia, organised by the socialist youth organisation Resistance. Many passing motorists honked their horns in agreement with the protesters' signs. Photo by Alex Bainbridge From Green
Maurice Farrell, Sydney A lunchtime forum at the University of Western Sydney's Bankstown campus on August 17, featuring former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib, attracted 200 people. The open-air forum — on the issues of war, terrorism
Kerry Smith Couriers, transport workers and heavy vehicle drivers converged on Canberra's Parliament House on August 16. The turnout was so big that many trucks had to be parked on the Lake Burley Griffin foreshore, two kilometres away. The
GEELONG — On August 17, the Geelong Trades and Regional Labour Council convened an all-unions delegate and activist meeting to discuss the campaign against the Howard government's anti-union industrial relations "reforms". About 100 unionists
Stuart Martin, Melbourne The depth of opposition to the federal government's proposed changes to industrial relations laws has spurred the formation of a number of suburban groups committed to defending trade unions and working conditions. The
SYDNEY — On August 17, the University of NSW branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) hosted a barbecue for members of the construction union (CFMEU) working on the university's North Mall construction site. Up to 100 UNSW staff
Sue Bolton, Melbourne A union and community rally and picnic will be held in Mildura on September 3 to inform people in the Mallee Murray region about the federal government's plans to strip workers' rights. The event will encourage locals to join
Sue Bolton Federal Coalition MP Wilson "Iron Bar" Tuckey was at it again last week. He already has a reputation for racist comments about Aborigines; now he's slandering trade unionists as well — all from the safety of parliament house

World

Kerryn Smith Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq last year, told a conference call on August 16 that a gradual withdrawal of US troops was "not soon enough". According to the August 17 Los Angeles Times, Sheehan urged an
Owen Richards We're crammed into a small kitchen, maybe three by four metres, with blue concrete walls. Lining the walls are shelves stocked with kitchen basics — string bags of potatoes, garlic cloves, carrots, pumpkins and melons. There's a
The South African Municipal Workers Union "suspended" its week-long strike on August 15 despite the wage dispute between it and South Africa's mainly ANC-controlled local councils remaining unresolved. SAMWU is demanding increases of up to 9%, while
New Zealand Education Institute-Te Riu Roa (NZEI) members have offered solidarity to support striking teachers, health workers and public servants in Tonga. Tonga's 1400 teachers are among the 3000 public servants who began a national strike four
Norm Dixon For more than eight months, rich Western governments have refused to respond to successively more urgent appeals by aid agencies and the United Nations for emergency assistance to avert mass starvation in the drought-ravaged Sahel region
Rohan Pearce The murder in the southern Iraqi city of Basra in early August of Steven Vincent, a US freelance journalist and well-known pro-war blogger, who had reported from Iraq since late 2003, threw the spotlight on the operation of US-backed
Tariq Ali In the face of terror attacks Anglo-Saxon politicians mouth the same rhetoric. One sentence in particular — shrouded in layers of untruth — is constantly repeated: "We shall not permit these attacks to change our way of life." It is a
Alex Miller According to an August 11 press release issued by the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP), police figures show that religious hate crimes in London, targeted primarily at the Muslim community, have risen by almost 700% compared to 2004 in
Charlie Jackson The prequel to the war in Iraq began in the northern summer of 2002 when neo-conservatives within US President George Bush's administration met at his ranch outside Crawford, Texas. The neo-cons argued that Saddam Hussein was like
Kim Bullimore Despite mass rallies, acid attacks on police and troops, and threats of suicide by fanatical right-wing Israeli settlers, Israel began the implementation of its Gaza Strip disengagement plan on August 17, deploying about 20,000 police
On August 17, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) rejected new US allegations about Cuban and Venezuelan involvement in unrest in Bolivia. MAS deputy Antonio Peredo denied US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's claims that he had evidence that Cuba
Beyond Chutzpah, the new book by Jewish-American anti-Zionist Norman Finkelstein, on the misuse of anti-Semitism by Zionism, has been blacklisted by a number of bookstores in the US. The book provides a critical analysis of pro-Zionist Harvard law
Alex Miller Strike action by 1000 British Airways baggage handlers and ground staff brought BA flights at London's Heathrow Airport to a standstill on August 11. The BA staff walked off the job in support of 675 workers who had been summarily
Doug Lorimer Speaking four days after Iran reactivated its uranium conversion facility at Isfahan, US President George Bush told Israeli state television on August 12 that the US was determined "to make sure that Iran does not have a [nuclear]
Julie Webb-Pullman The Cuban Five, anti-terrorist fighters jailed in the US since 1998, had their convictions reversed on August 9 in an historic and unanimous decision by three judges of the US Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta.
Eva Cheng In the last two years, protests in China have been on the rise and they have become increasingly violent. From 8700 in 1993, the number of "mass incidents" jumped to 32,000 in 1999, 50,000 in 2002, 58,000 in 2003 and 74,000 last year.
Alex Miller Eyewitness reports and CCTV footage leaked to Independent Television News (ITN) have contradicted initial police reports about the shooting to death on July 22 of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes. Sir Ian Blair, the

Culture

The 2005 Tibetan Film FestivalChauvel Cinemas, Paddington Town Hall, SydneyAugust 26-27Phone (02) 9361 5398 to book tickets. The 2005 Tibetan Film Festival will provide a wider perspective of the Tibetan situation than has ever been seen before in
How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the WorldBy Francis WheenHarper Perennial338 pages REVIEW BY DAVE RILEY When oft upon my couch I lie with my head in a book, I sometimes wallow in my choice of pastimes. While growing up it was seen as so much more
Transplant Tourism — Wealthy Westerners who don't want to wait for an organ donor are travelling to Third World countries to find the organ they need from desperately poor people. SBS, Thursday, August 25, 2pm. Young, Muslim and French — Looks
The Venezuelan Revolution: a Marxist PerspectiveBy Alan WoodsWellred Publications, 2005178 pages REVIEW BY DAVE RABY Although many Marxists and progressive activists in general are still reluctant to recognise it, a real social revolution is
Let's give abig hand toallthose brave politicianswhosweated it outonthe parliamentary benchesduringour recent involvement inthe iraq warspare a thought please forour political heroes in Canberraforwinter here can be hellandit's no picnic