national liberation

Western Sahara is the last country in Africa awaiting decolonisation.

Invaded by Spain in the late 19th century, mass mobilisations in the early 1970s heralded the birth of the modern independence movement.

In 1973, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) was established to wage an armed independence struggle.

By 1975, Polisario had fought Spain to a standstill. Rather than grant independence, Spain made an agreement with neighbouring countries Morocco and Mauritania to occupy Western Sahara.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the Munich Security Conference Plenary Session on February 5, said the US had always stood for the principle “free people govern themselves best”.

This, she said, is “not simply a matter of idealism, it is a strategic necessity”.

A cursory look at events — past and present — demonstrates the exact opposite to be true.

Thousands of West Papuans marched in the capital Jayapura on January 26, AFP said that day.

Marchers rejected the area’s “special autonomy” status within Indonesia and demanded a referendum on independence from Indonesia.

Protesters chanted: “Indonesia the coloniser, Indonesia the oppressor, Indonesia the robber.”

The action included students from Cenderawasih University, the Indonesian Christian Students Movement and church members, Tempo Interactive said on January 26.

West Papuan refugees in Papua New Guinea have been terrorised and arrested by police, West Papua Media Alerts said on January 28. They were allegedly arrested on behalf of the Indonesian military and local logging interests.

Police and soldiers rounded up 79 refugees living in camps around Vanimo, on PNG’s north coast near the border with West Papua, in the early hours of January 23.

The soldiers burned down at least 30 refugee houses, destroyed crops and food, and assaulted people, WPMA said. Other refugees have reportedly fled to the jungle.

Anger has erupted in West Papua at the light sentences handed to three Indonesian soldiers responsible for torturing two West Papuans.

The soldiers received between eight and 10 months' jail for “insubordination” rather than the more serious charge of torture, The Australian said on January 24. They will be allowed to continue their military careers.

See also: US, Israel oppose Arab democracy

Papers leaked to Al-Jazeera, as well as secret US cables published by WikiLeaks, have exposed how Israel and the United States have used the Middle East “peace process” to push total capitulation on the Palestinian side.

This merely confirms what many Palestinians already knew.

One of the claims made most often by Israeli officials and supporters is that Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East”. But in recent weeks, media outlets around the world have reported on a string of new laws in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) meant to curtail the work of human rights non-government organisations (NGOs).

Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has even referred to such groups as “terrorism aids”.

The targeted NGOs report on human rights abuses in the entire area under Israeli control: that is, within the state of Israel, as well as the West Bank and Gaza.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that over the next six months, Wikileaks will be releasing more files related to Israel.

“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel,” he told Al-Jazeera on December 22. “The Guardian, El Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel.”

A number of Wikileaks revelations have shown that US officials, despite their public stance, have been well aware of corruption and human rights abuses of regimes it has supported. In some cases, the US funded these regimes and trained their military.

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Indonesia

A leaked September 2009 US cable indicates that US officials are aware that in West Papua, the Indonesian military (TNI) are responsible for serious human rights abuses and corruption.

NOTE:: The previous ad on this page had incorrect details for Lowkey’s Australian tour. The new ad has the right details.

London-based rapper Lowkey has worked with hip-hop acts Immortal Technique, Dead Prez and Canibus, and is touring Australia as part of his “Soundtrack to the Struggle” world tour.

Lowkey is renowned for his overtly political songs, denouncing imperialism and corporate domination.

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