Two activists were arrested on February 20 at a demonstration outside the US Embassy in Tokyo. The activists were taking part in a demonstration against the construction of a United States military base in Okinawa. The activists were released from custody on March 5. Their supporters are campaigning for the charges against them to be completely dropped. The demonstrators had received police permission to rally. But on reaching the embassy, protesters were greeted by a wall of police.
David Hicks was one of the first “war on terror” detainees to be sent to the US military prison at Guantanamo the day it opened in January 2002. In a February 16 article, Truth-out.org’s Jason Leopold introduced Hicks as “the Australian drifter who converted to Islam, changed his name to Muhammed Dawood and ended up at training camps in Afghanistan the US government said were linked to al-Qaeda, one of which was visited by Osama bin Laden several times.
A NATO airstrike killed nine children collecting firewood in eastern Afghanistan on March 2, Afghan officials have said. A March 2 WashingtonPost.com article said the deaths in Konar province “became the latest irritant in the tense relationship between President Hamid Karzai and the international force in the country”. The top NATO commander, US general David Petraeus, issued an apology for the error, which the occupying forces blamed on “faulty communication”.
Iraq: Protesters met with bullets “Soldiers and riot police fired on citizens rallying for jobs, public services and clean government across occupied Iraq,” the British Morning Star said on February 25. The article said at least 13 civilians were killed and many more wounded. Thousands of workers took to the streets in Baghdad, Mosul, Ramadi, Basra, Fallujah and Tikrit despite a curfew.
Less than a week after Australians learned about the death of the 22nd Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan, Corporal Richard Atkinson, footage aired by Channel 7 on February 8 showed opposition leader Tony Abbott caught with his pants down. “Shit happens,” Abbott told a US general during an August visit to Afghanistan as they discussed the circumstances surrounding the death of another Australian soldier — Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney. MacKinney’s family had questioned whether the standard of the Australian Defence Force’s equipment contributed to his death.
Hopes & Prospects By Noam Chomsky Haymarket Books, 2010 US$16 www.hopesandprospects.org Noam Chomsky requires little by way of introduction. Eminent professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Chomsky has been one of the world’s leading public intellectuals for the past 50 years. His advocacy and activism for countless causes, and his many books, have long been a source of courage and inspiration for those fighting for a more just, democratic and peaceful world.
Sadaullah Wazir, a 17-year-old Pakistani man, is suing the CIA over an alleged US drone strike on his village of Machi Khe in September 2009, in which he lost his legs. Three of his relatives were killed in the attack, CBSNews.com said on December 23. The article reported that Wazir said the drone strike hit a group of men chatting outdoors in the Wazir family compound as the day’s fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan came to an end.
Anger has erupted in West Papua at the light sentences handed to three Indonesian soldiers responsible for torturing two West Papuans. The soldiers received between eight and 10 months' jail for “insubordination” rather than the more serious charge of torture, The Australian said on January 24. They will be allowed to continue their military careers.
The Queensland flood crisis is a national emergency that requires urgent action. Socialist Alliance Queensland co-convener Ewan Saunders told Green Left Weekly that the "Gillard government should call Australia’s soldiers back from the war in Afghanistan to help with tackling the flood crisis and its aftermath". Saunders said the billions in taxpayer dollars wasted on the Afghanistan war should instead be spent on flood recovery work.