human rights

When police in Jamaica launched a bloody assault in May on poor neighbourhoods in the country’s capital city, news outlets in Canada responded with an ignorance and insensitivity that is all too common in their coverage of the Caribbean islands. As with Haiti, Jamaica is portrayed as incomprehensibly violent and not quite civilised.

Early on July 27, Israeli bulldozers, flanked by helicopters and throngs of police, demolished the entire Bedouin village of al Araqib in the northern Negev desert. Despite having land rights cases pending in the court system, hundreds of al Araqib villagers were instantly made homeless a month after Israeli police posted demolition orders.

Eyewitness reports say the police were accompanied by several busloads of right-wing Israeli civilians who cheered during the demolitions.

“Yes, the notable features with iPhone 4 — both the device and the iOS4 — are mostly tweaks”, said a June 22 review on the popular site BoingBoing.net. “But what tweaks they are.”

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll admit I have no idea what “iOS4” means. But my eye was caught by the admission that the iPhone 4, launched in Australia on July 29, was almost the same as the iPhone 3.

Corporations use “inbuilt obsolescence” as part of artificially creating markets. This means the products they sell are deliberately made to break down — so we have to keep buying more.

On August 7, Alvaro Uribe will complete his reign as president of Colombia — eight years of spectacular government criminality and corruption, even by Colombian standards. A brief review of just his second term illustrates this.

The Washington Post reported on November 18, 2006 that the Uribe administration was in crisis. Investigations revealed that members of Congress collaborated with right-wing death squads to fix elections and assassinate opponents. That was the tip of the iceberg.

On July 12, six months to the day after January's earthquake, the Haitian government held a ceremony behind the crumbled National Palace.

Before assembled dignitaries from embassies, NGOs, and Haiti’s elite, President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive draped medals of honor on prominent figures ranging from CNN celebrity journalist Anderson Cooper and Hollywood actor Sean Penn to retired Colonel Himmler Rebu and retired General Herard Abraham, officers who have enforced dictatorships and participated in coups over the past 30 years.

Ewan Saunders, Socialist Alliance candidate for Brisbane, recently returned from the Justice Ride to Alice Springs.

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On July 14, after almost 50 hours spent on the road over four days, I, along with about 20 others, rolled back into Brisbane at 11.30pm.

The trip back from Alice Springs was the last leg of a two-week Justice Ride that changed the lives of a busload of people, many of whom hadn’t considered themselves “activists” before the bus left on July 1.

From June 30 to July 20, a group of Aboriginal rights and environment activists from New South Wales used a decommissioned red school bus to travel to Alice Springs.

The purpose was to expose government and media silence over the appalling conditions and treatment of Aboriginal people living under the NT intervention.

The passengers attended the Defending Indigenous Rights convergence in Alice Springs. They also visited town camps and remote communities to witness the effects of the intervention’s discriminatory measures such as income quarantining and compulsory land leases.

On June 28 last year, democratically-elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown in a US-backed military coup.

Zelaya had upset US and Honduran corporate interests with policies such as blocking privatisation, increasing the minimum wage and joining the anti-imperialist Latin American bloc led by Venezuela and Cuba, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).

But it was Zelaya’s decision to grant a demand of the social movements and begin a democratic process towards rewriting Honduras’s pro-elite constitution that led directly to the coup.

In November 2008, Palm Island man Lex Wotton was convicted of "incitement to riot” and sentenced to six years' jail. His charge followed the Aboriginal community uprising and protest after the death in police custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee in November 2004.

The people of Honduras are continuing their struggle for democracy more than one year after the June 28 military coup that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya.

The dictatorship tried to legitimise itself with fraudulent elections that brought President Profiro Lobo Sosa to power. The United States government, which was complicit in the coup, recognised the results despite almost no other government doing so. The US has since fully restored military assistance.

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