Letters to the editor

Israel's carnage

Once again, well done for your coverage of Israel's treatment of another set of human beings.

Many people seem to be a bit credulous and have fallen for the Exclusive Jewish state's public relations campaign in the period leading up to the attack on civilians. This has also led to many beginning to question the validity of the boycott campaign.

Academia seems to be the most self-righteous in this respect with many US academic institution leaders criticising the UK academics' attempt to treat Israel as the racist South Africa was treated.

I would like to ask those attacking the UK academic institutions whether or not they support the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza University? This question should be easy enough for them to answer; perhaps it is now time to see what side those supporters of "freedom" fall on.

Readers should ask their unions and other institutions whether or not they support international law. They should also ask whether or not they support the boycott of Israeli institutions.

Writing and asking the Australian government may be worthwhile but as I have found in the past, you will probably get pointless platitudes that say one thing but in reality are meaningless and in some cases, the opposite of what their policy is.

Kryten

Penrith, NSW

[Abridged.]

Medal of anti-freedom

It was an adorable scene. John Howard proudly standing on podium to receive the highest civilian award in the United States — the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Surely, the criterion for receiving the Medal of Freedom must be to take as much freedom away from other people as possible.

Who can gainsay, then, that Howard was eminently qualified for such an honour. And who better qualified than George Bush — the world's biggest terrorist — to judge who is worthy of the prize.

Howard certainly faced some stiff competition from his fellow award recipients.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is closely linked to the brutal right-wing paramilitaries and rules over a country where more trade unionists are assassinated than in all other countries put together. Bravo!

While the warmongering Tony Blair not only helped Bush and Howard remove any vestiges of freedom for Iraqis and Afghans, his attacks on civil liberties at home in Britain make George Orwell look plain unimaginative.

But all freedom-hating Australians have many reasons to be proud of their former PM. Howard worked hard to take freedom away from unions and Aborigines alike. Refugees never had a chance, and many working-class people have Howard to thank for their newfound freedom from wealth and security.

Indeed, he was so successful that Australian voters eventually decided they needed freedom from him.

Simon Butler

Glebe, NSW

Good and bad climate news

Australia and the world are acutely threatened by man-made climate change and it may already be too late to stop catastrophe — however there is good news and bad news.

The bad news is that top UK climate scientists, Professor Kevin Anderson and Dr Alice Bows of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, made the following shocking conclusions in 2008: "...stabilizing at 450 ppmv [carbon dioxide equivalent = CO2-e, atmospheric concentration measured in parts per million by volume] requires, at least, global energy related emissions to peak by 2015, rapidly decline at 6-8% per year between 2020 and 2040, and for full decarbonization sometime soon after 2050 ... Unless economic growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarbonization (in excess of 6% per year), it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilization at or below 650 ppmv CO2-e" (<pdf>).

Yet, Australia remains the world's biggest coal exporter and a world leader in per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. The recent decisions of the Federal Government mean that Australia's annual domestic plus exported GHG pollution will actually increase by 40% over the 2000 value by 2020 and by 80% by 2050 (<humanity-and-biosphere>).

And yet the good news is that the best non-carbon and renewable energy options (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro-electric) currently yield power at roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power (<http://mwcnews.net/content/view/26137/42/>).

It is not necessarily too late to urgently cease carbon pollution and apply existing non-carbon energy technologies, re-afforestation and returning carbon to soil as biochar in order to reduce atmospheric CO2 to below 350 ppm.

Please send this message and the one-page summary "Climate Emergency Facts and Required Actions" of the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group to everyone you can (<mate-emergency-facts-and-required-actions>).

Dr Gideon Polya

Melbourne

[Abridged.]

Afghanistan

Despite the remarks made by Warren Snowden, MHR for Lingiari, following the death of another Australian soldier in Afghanistan, our troops are not there fighting in Australia's interest or in her defence.

They are there as cannon fodder for the United States in its losing quest for world domination. As in Iraq, there is no exit strategy, just the mindless support of one dictator and his warlords against another lot of bloody minded religious fanatics.

We should withdraw our troops immediately. It is almost inevitable that the actions of the United States will lead to a war against Islam, drawing in ordinary Muslims and Christians and jeopardising world liquid fossil fuel supplies. The actions of this and previous Australian governments are reprehensible.

Col Friel

Alawa, NT

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