Democracy

An Extinction Rebellion protest in Melbourne on October 8

Governments are attempting to prevent citizens from venting warranted opposition to destructive industries and businesses, as well as government itself. Yet, the fact they are continuing to pass laws that criminalise protesters shows this attempt to silent dissent interests isn’t working.

Losing Santhia: Life & Loss in the Struggle for Tamil Eelam
By Ben Hillier
Interventions, 2019
150 pages

In 2009, the Sri Lankan military launched a genocidal offensive against the island's Tamil population on a stretch of sand in Mullivaikal, in the island's north-east.

Claiming its offensive was to rescue civilians, the Sri Lankan military carried out an indiscriminate bombing offensive against Tamil civilians that killed tens of thousands.

After centuries under the yoke of English rule, Irish nationalists staged failed uprisings against British rule in 1798, 1803 and 1848. By 1858, Irish freedom fighters formed the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Known as the Fenians, they recruited among Irish soldiers in the British army to overthrow the British authorities.

However by 1867, the Fenian rising was crushed and dozens of their members sentenced to up 15 years in the British penal colony of Western Australia. Once there, they sent to Fremantle Gaol. Known as the "Convict Establishment" or the "Living Tomb", and built by convict labour in the 1850s, the men were subjected to a brutal regime of forced labour and floggings.

The people of Ecuador took part in a massive national strike on October 9, called by a number of organisations against the neoliberal reforms of President Lenin Moreno.

Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince looks post-apocalyptic, reflecting the fierce class war which has raged here since last year, if not since 1986, writes Kim Ives.

On October 7, three Bulgarian judges from the Supreme Court of Cassation decided they would need up to two months to review the Sofia Court of Appeal’s decision to grant Australian citizen Jock Palfreeman parole on September 19.

On October 7, in an unprecedented departure from the rule of law, three judges will review the parole decision handed down to Australian citizen Jock Palfreeman on September 19 in Bulgaria.

Palfreeman has served 11 of a 20 year sentence and, under Bulgarian law, prisoners who serve half their sentence can be paroled. Currently, Palfreeman is being held illegally in an immigration prison.

On December 9, 1966, the Australian government signed a public agreement with the United States to build what both countries misleadingly called a “Joint Defence Space Research Facility” at Pine Gap, just outside Alice Springs.

Officially, Pine Gap is a collaboration between the Australian Department of Defence and the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. In reality this conceals the real purpose of Pine Gap as a CIA-run spy base designed to collect signals from US surveillance satellites in geosynchronous orbit over the equator.

The federal Coalition government’s reforms to private health insurance confirm its blind allegiance to a system most people do not support.

Most people prefer a universal public healthcare system, but ever since Medicare was introduced in 1984, successive governments have sought to divert public funds to the private health insurance sector.

The government spends about $6 billion annually on private health insurance rebates. Singles earning up to $140,000 and families earning up to $180,000 receive rebates of between 8.4% and 33.4%, depending on age and income.

Australian anti-fascist campaigner Jock Palfreeman’s parole is being challenged by Bulgarian authorities and his lawyer has said he urgently needs to leave the country.

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