Issue 808

Australia

Last week, Seran Sribalan and Vishna Sivaraj finished a grueling 300 kilometre walk from Sydney to Canberra in a bid to focus attention on the plight of Tamils still trapped in concentration camps in Sri Lanka's north and east.

Doctors at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital will no longer perform medical terminations due to legal uncertainty, after criminal charges were laid against a 19-year-old woman and her partner in Cairns for allegedly procuring an abortion, said the August 21 Australian.

Unions NSW unveiled its “Better Services for a Better State” campaign at a seminar for public sector union delegates and Your Rights at Work activists in Parramatta on August 20.

More than 500 people attended the launch of the Victorian chapter of the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) on August 15.

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission interim report was released on August 17. It found government and fire authorities failed to properly manage the deadliest bushfires in Australia’s history.

Chanting “stop Bligh, stop thief — she'd even sell her grandma’s teeth!” and “community action is what we need, no sell-off to corporate greed”, 100 people marched to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's West End office on August 15.

Fundamentalist Christian and NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione has made possible the introduction of a specially created “Police Bible” for the state's serving police officers.

Community Public Sector Union (CPSU) members of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) launched a “Love Our Leave Campaign” to build support for a strong enterprise agreement.

World

The article below is a August 27 statement by the Australian Tamil Congress. Media contact: Dr. Sam Pari – 0433 428 967

This article is from the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet, published as a supplement in Green Left Weekly 808. Daniel Sanchez and Yoly Fernandez will be addressing public forums around Australia in their ``People’s power speaking tour’’ during August and September. Visit the AVSN site for details.

This article is from the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet, published as a supplement in Green Left Weekly 808.

This article is from the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet, published as a supplement in Green Left Weekly 808.

This article is from the Australian-Venezuela Solidarity Network broadsheet, published as a supplement in Green Left Weekly 808.

Happy days are here again for super-bank Goldman Sachs.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi was found guilty on January 31, 2001, of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing in Scotland that killed 270 civilians.

The article below is from the Bolivarian News Agency (ABN). It is reprinted from Boliviarising.blogspot.com.

The following article is abridged from an August 13 statement by the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM). The full article can be found at www.links.org.au.

A few weeks ago, I publicly exposed a potential collapse of the health system in Honduras. Today, public hospitals have only four basic medicines.

“The Cuban Five must be released”, Cuban National Assembly president Ricardo Alarcon said in a televised August 11 speech, an El Habanero article said the following day. Speaking directly to US President Barack Obama, Alarcon said: “You could and should free them immediately.”

The president of Venezuela’s National Statistics Institute (INE), Elias Eljuri, said on August 7 that since Hugo Chavez took office in 1999, “Poverty has been dropping ... from 49% in 1998 to 26.4% in 2009”.

Since being evicted from their homes in the East Jerusalem community of Sheikh Jarrah on August 2 in a pre-dawn raid, the Hannoun and al-Ghawe families, both Palestinian, have been living on the street.

The British Fire Brigades Union (FBU), which represents 85% of firefighters and support staff in Britain, plans to move motions at the Trade Union Congress’s (TUC) annual congress in September for the British trade union to work to increase Israel’s international isolation.

Having just returned from Cuba, I find some US-propagated lies about the country particularly galling. I want to lay some to rest.

Afghanistan held presidential elections on August 20 amid a major offensive by US and NATO troops and counter-attacks by a resurgent Taliban. The results are not expected until September.

The article below was published the day before Afghanstan’s presidential election by Malalai Joya, who was the youngest member of the Afghan Parliament elected in the 2005 elections. Joya was subsequently suspended from parliament for labelling it full of warlords. Joya’s memoir, A Woman Among Warlords (Scribner), will be released in October. This article is abridged from ZNet.

The military coup carried out by masked soldiers in the early hours of June 28 against the democratically elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was a bandit act with differing messages for different audiences.

The “transparent government” that President Barack Obama guaranteed during his electoral campaign has become yet another broken promise. The August 14 Huffington Post revealed a memo containing details of “the deal” Obama cut with health care mega-corporations in secret White House meetings.

Recent events in Honduras — where a Washington-backed military coup deposed President Manuel Zelaya on June 28 — conform to the historic pattern of United States involvement in Latin American affairs.

Analysis

On August 19, about 170 people skipped dinner and found someone to care for the kids so they could attend the High School for Coburg (HSC) forum at Coburg Town Hall.

A typically dusty drive 25 kilometres south of central Australia’s Alice Springs brings you to an unlocked gate beside the old Ghan railway line.

Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. In the atmosphere it has a warming effect more than 20 times that of carbon dioxide.

Dare the ALP gaol Adelaide building worker, Ark Tribe? Tribe’s refusal to attend a secret hearing of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC — aka the “Construction Stasi” because of its secret police-type powers) renders him liable to six months in prison or a fine of $22,000.

Family First Senator Steve Fielding returned from a US international climate deniers' conference in June, armed with a shonky graph and some dodgy questions.

Federal parliament passed a renewable energy bill on August 20. The target is to source 20% of Australia’s energy from renewables by 2020. The reality is that it won’t do what Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says it will.

August 21 was a nice day to be out on Sydney harbour with my best friend. But we were at Circular Quay not to go on a romantic ferry ride but to protest against the planned privatisation of Sydney ferries by the NSW Labor government.

The Sydney Stop the War Coalition (StWC) used the day of the sham presidential elections in Afghanistan to again call on the Rudd government to get the Australian troops out of the country. The war on Afghanistan was not a “good war”, the peace group said on August 20.

On August 11, thousands of TAFE teachers met at statewide stop-work meetings. Ninety-nine point nine percent voted for further industrial action if there is no satisfactory progress in the dispute. This includes a possible 24-hour strike in the week commencing August 31.

On August 12, Australia’s formerly government-owned telecommunications
company, Telstra, announced a $4 billion profit for the 2008-09 financial year.

Jim Davidson was sacked as the head of the Northern Territory’s Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) on August 18.

While the NSW government is wavering over a Shooters Party’s proposal to allow hunting in national parks, less well known, but just as worrying, are plans for private commercial developments.

Letters

Afghanistan under occupation

Horrifying UN statistics demonstrate that the elections to be held in Afghanistan under occupier guns will not be democratic.

According to UN Population Division statistics, the "annual death rate" is 7% for infants

General

The current issue of Green Left Weekly, #808, is a two-week issue. The next edition will be dated September 9.

With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly is proud to publish a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. The August, 2009 edition can be read at Links, international journal of socialist renewal.

Resistance!

From August 10 to 14, the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Environment Week brought together campaigners and environmentalists for a variety of events. The climate emergency was a central focus.

Sydney Resistance member Aaron Roden presented the following talk at the NSW Socialist Alliance conference on August 8.

Culture

Rethink AfghanistanDirected by Robert GreenwaldDVD for sale in October, visit www.rethinkafghanistan.com

Tales from a Suitcase — Anne Duffy-Lindsay grew up in a radical IRA family in southern Ireland. Upon arriving in Australia in the early 1950s, she took up the communist cause. SBS1, Tuesday August 25th, 2.30pm.

Costa's Garden Odyssey — Takes a