democracy

Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez has passed a series of laws to help people affected by floods, including big investment in new housing. Venezuelanalysis.com said on January 20: “Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez issued a law-decree on Tuesday to address ‘rights and justice’ of the roughly 125,000 Venezuelans made homeless during last year’s record-setting rains and floods.” Chavez said the “Law for Dignified Refuge” would serve to “institutionalise” the concept of a “dignified and human refuge” and establish the responsibilities of the government.
Ongoing mass demonstrations, strikes and riots have rocked Egypt since January 25. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in national protests on January 25 to demand an end to the United States-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. The regime has responded with brutality. By January 30, the media had reported at least 100 people had been killed. The regime has responded to the unrest by shutting down the internet — a key organising tool of the protests — across the country.
Support the Egyptian people solidarity protests: Brisbane: Friday February 4, 5pm. Brisbane Square (top of Queen St mall, outside Casino) Sydney:Saturday 5 February, 12-3pm at Town Hall. Called by Egyptian community. See also: US, Israel oppose Arab democracy Tunisia: Mass protests to deepen revolution Egypt: Uprising hits hated regime
UPDATE: The media are reporting a second day of large anti-government protests. The regime has cracked down, with reports of at least 500 people arrested across the country. See also: Tunisia: People's power ousts dictator Tunisia: Arab rulers shake in fear
The significance of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks can be measured by the hysterical and panicked response of the powerful to it. Wikileaks’ ongoing release of thousands of secret US government cables and other secret documents is being met with outrage, assassination threats, censorship, a corporate boycott and legal action. Much of this has centred on Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange. The allegations of sex crimes (for which no charges have yet been laid) have been used to hound him through the courts.
“WikiLeaks has had more scoops in three years than the Washington Post has had in 30.” — Clay Shirky It is for this reason that Wikileaks has become an incredibly important news source, with its commitment to provide the public with information that is deliberately withheld by governments and corporations, and to expose corruption. Its recent release of classified diplomatic cables revealing what our governments are really talking about behind closed doors has created a great divide in public opinion about just how much we, the people, really have a right to know.
The message below from ABC broadcaster and journalist Phillip Adams was read out at the January 15 Defend Wikileaks rally in Sydney. * * * First right-wing bloggers called for Julian Assange's assasination. Now voices in Washington want “the death penalty on the table” if they can get him into a US court. I'm proposing we put him up for sainthood — but after Wikileaks’ leaks on the Vatican that may be out of the question.

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