The world was shocked by Israel’s latest act of barbarism — an act of high-seas piracy that ended in slaughter. Israel’s excuse of “self-defence” is so ludicrous it is hard to believe anyone is expected to take it seriously. On May 31, Israel raided the six boats of the Freedom Flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The Gaza Strip has been subjected to a siege of growing intensity by Israel since 2006. The flotilla contained people from more than 37 nations.
On May 31, Israeli defence force commandos boarded an aid ship in international waters. The ship was trying to break the illegal military blockade of the Gaza strip and transport much-needed food and medical supplies. Nine aid activists were killed and several snap actions were held in Australia to condemn Israel’s actions and call for an end to the blockade. On June 1, 250 people rallied in Brisbane to condemn Israel’s attacks on the Gaza aid fleet. ALP vice-president Wendy Turner, and socialist activist and lecturer in creative industries Gary MacLennan, spoke.
Condemn Israel's attack on the Gaza flotilla Socialist Alliance statement June 3, 2010. Socialist Alliance condemns the completely unwarranted and murderous attack by Israeli armed forces on the civilian flotilla carrying aid to Gaza. Not since the French Secret Service blew up the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in 1985 has there been such a brazen act of international piracy by a sovereign state.
BRISBANE — Fifty people, Iranians and supporters, rallied in Queens Park on May 22 to protest against the execution in early May of five Kurdish nationalists by the Iranian regime. The protesters held photos of people disappeared and killed during the movement for democratic rights over the past year. Community representative Fazil Rostam said: "Kurds are 10% of the Iranian population, but make up 50% of the prison population. Fifty percent of executions are of Kurdish people."
MELBOURNE — On May 25, about 50 people attended a forum on Burma's election, which is due to occur this year. The forum was addressed by Debbie Stothard, coordinator of Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma, who noted the many undemocratic structures set up by the military junta. She said: “The 2008 constitution will guarantee military control over the election and resulting parliament. Election commissioners are handpicked by the regime, political parties must exclude ‘convicted persons’ such as Aung San Suu Kyi and there is severe censorship and restrictions on campaigning.
Mal Tulloch, assistant NSW secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, took part in a study tour to Palestine in March, organised by APHEDA, the aid organisation of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. The CFMEU has supported APHEDA since it was established in 1987. As soon as Tulloch arrived in Palestine, he realised it was not going to be a holiday. He shares his impressions below. * * * It was like a visit to a war zone, while also a great opportunity to witness what the Palestinian struggle has been about for the past 62 years.
American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein Directed by David Ridgen & Nicolas Rossier Baraka Productions Review by Antony Loewenstein Jewish critics of Israel are as old as the ideology itself. Zionism was regarded by most Jews in Europe as an idealistic delusion before the Second World War, but the Holocaust literally changed everything.
The national executive of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) decided at its May 12 meeting to join the global campaign to isolate apartheid Israel. The union assessed the approach of trade unions around the world and consulted Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the Palestinian delegation to Australia.
When the White House is quiet as protesters are butchered in the streets of Bangkok, suspicions are raised. Silence often equals complicity. One can only imagine what the US government’s response would be to a Venezuelan government slaughter: the US media and US President Barack Obama would loudly condemn such an act. The history of US-Thailand relations explains why. During the Vietnam War, the US used Thailand as one of the main “anti-communist” bulwarks in an area that included China, Vietnam and other countries that were challenging capitalism.
Giles Ji Ungpakorn is a Thai socialist in exile in Britain after being charged with lese majeste (insulting the monarch). He is a member of Left Turn Thailand. Ji Ungpakorn’s blog, Wdpress.blog.co.uk, covers the struggle for democracy in Thailand, and the brutal repression meted out by the military backed regime. On May 25, the blog listed the names of all the pro-democracy Red Shirt protesters being hunted down by the regime — 66 arrest warrants had been issued and 21 people were already in custody.