democracy

On March 10 Veronnica Baxter, a 34-year-old Aboriginal woman from the Cunnamulla country, south-west Queensland, was arrested by Redfern police and held on remand. She dressed, appeared, and had identified as a woman for 15 years and was known by family and friends as a woman. Yet she was placed at the all-male NSW Silverwater Metropolitan Reception and Remand Centre. Six days later, after a 14-hour break between checking her cell, she was found dead, hanging in her single cell.

US intelligence services are closely monitoring the movements of Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange, after he said the website would soon release a classified Pentagon video showing a May 2009 US air strike in Afghanistan that killed up to 140 civilians.

The “Garani” video, if released, would follow the video released by Wikileaks in May, which showed US soldiers in an Apache helicopter fatally shooting about a dozen civilians in Iraq, including a reporter from news agency Reuters.

That video received worldwide prominence and considerably heightened Wikileaks’ profile.

Ethnic violence against the Uzbek minority in the southern Kyrgyz cities of Jalalabad and Osh has created more than 400,000 refugees and internally displaced people. The official death toll is more than 200, but Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva told the June 16 Washington Post that the real figure may be 10 times higher.

Otunbayeva came to power in a mass uprising in April against former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who himself came to power through extra-parliamentary means in 2005. Before Bakiyev fled, his security forces killed 75 protesters.

Hundreds of Thais and an Australian remain in jail, as the government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva continues to repress the grassroots pro-democracy Red Shirt movement. Some Red Shirt protesters are still in hiding.

This follows the full-scale military assault on May 19 that ended a six-week protest by thousands of Red Shirts in the commercial centre of Bangkok. Australian Colin Purcell, of Perth, has been caught up in the repression and is still detained by police.

The president of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced on May 24 that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held on November 28, the constitutionally prescribed date.

“The CEP is up to the task of organising general elections in the country”, said Gaillot Dorsinvil, who is also the handicapped sector’s representative on the nine-member council, handpicked by President Rene Preval.

But tens of thousands of Haitians don’t agree and have been demonstrating in the streets in recent weeks to demand a new CEP — and Preval’s resignation.

Human rights organisations have reported that, almost a year after the coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, repression by security forces had left the country “more dangerous than Colombia”.

An Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) delegation confirmed that the murder, harassment and intimidation of opposition supporters, journalists and peasant and worker organisers had continued “with impunity” since the coup regime handed power to President Porfirio Lobo in January.

The 74-day long mobilisation for democracy that shut down the centre of Bangkok ended when the leaders of the Red Shirts movement surrendered on May 20. The surrender came after the Thai army launched an armoured assault on the capital.

The military used bulldozers and tanks to destroy the Red Shirts’ four-metre high bamboo and tyre barricades.

More than 75 protesters and two soldiers have been killed since the protests began in March. At least one of the soldiers was shot accidentally by another soldier.

As Britain’s political class pretends that its arranged marriage of Tweedledee to Tweedledum is democracy, the inspiration for the rest of us is Greece.

It is hardly surprising that Greece is presented not as a beacon but as a “junk country” getting its comeuppance for its “bloated public sector” and “culture of cutting corners” (as the British Observer said).

The heresy of Greece is that the uprising of its ordinary people provides an authentic hope unlike that lavished upon the warlord in the White House.

Sergio Arriasis is the head of the office of strategic development for Vision Venezuela Television (ViVe), a government-funded channel inaugurated in 2003. Arriasis is in charge of future planning and development of its communications. Coral Wynter, a Green Left Weekly journalist based in Caracas, spoke with Arriasis about the struggle to counter the private corporate media in Venezuela, and create a radical alternative.

How is ViVe different from other TV channels?

A May 17 International Crisis Group report said there were “reasonable grounds to believe the Sri Lankan security forces committed war crimes with top government and military leaders potentially responsible” in the last five months of the 30 year long war against Tamil independence fighters. The report cited the intentional shelling of civilians, hospitals and humanitarian operations.

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