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(en) Anarchist Age Weekly Review No. 596 24th May ­ 30th May 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 26 May 2004 20:02:34 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

The Howard government's $200 million splurge during the pre-election phoney
war on overt political advertisements that masquerade as community announcements,
poses a serious threat to the independence of the media. The very real risk
arises that those media outlets that support the government's political and
ideological agenda are those that share the bulk of this taxpayer funded bonanza.
The ability of the government of the day to pick and choose who will have
access to the tens of millions of taxpayer funded advertising dollars that
are up for grabs, has the potential to influence the type of coverage that
media outlets produce. It's common knowledge that governments leak
information to media outlets that support their ideological agenda, knowing
that they will receive sympathetic coverage in these outlets.


What isn't as well known is that these same media outlets tend to receive
the lion's share of the government advertising that makes its way into the
media. The buying of political favours by governments through the sale of
taxpayer funded commercials, has the very real potential to corrupt the
political process.

It's time that these dubious practices were tackled at both the State and
Federal level. The wide spread practise of incumbent governments buying
political favours through the use of overt political advertisements
masquerading as community announcements could be stopped tomorrow. It's
amazing how governments find the political will to find a solution to a
problem when faced with a community backlash.

An independent judicial authority could be set up to ensure that community
announcements are indeed community announcements. The same authority would
be allocated a budget by parliament and have the power to ensure that all
media outlets, not just the favoured few, shared the revenue generated by
taxpayer funded community announcements. Its operations would be open to
both public and parliamentary scrutiny. The current open-ended process
where governments have total control over community announcements corrupts
the political process and is a waste of taxpayer resources that could be
used for more useful projects.

Victorian Deputy Commissioner, Peter Nancarrow's admission that the common
link between corrupt police and the spate of underworld murders in Melbourne
is drugs, raises important questions about how the drug problem is addressed
in this country. The "war on drugs" has clearly failed both the community
and those members of society who use drugs. The extraordinary profits that
can be made through the manufacture, importation and distribution of drugs
has corrupted some members of the police force, increased crime in the
community, filled the jails with users and criminalized the actions of the
20% of the community who regularly use recreational drugs.

The current calls for increased penalties, Royal Commissions, a standing
commission on police corruption and increased police powers to deal with the
problem, only pick at the scab of this festering community carbuncle. New
options need to be considered to tackle the problem that take into account
community attitudes, the reasons people use drugs and the widespread use of
illegal drugs in the community. The criminal justice model that is
currently being pursued has failed both the community and users.

Most people use illegal substances because drugs give them a buzz, they make
them feel better, a percentage become addicted, some sustain permanent
injuries and others die. Some medical problems are directly related to the
substances themselves, others are related to the total lack of manufacturing
standards in the illegal drug trade. The pain and misery caused by the
illegal nature of the industry far outweighs the pain and misery caused by
the substances themselves. It's time that serious consideration is given to
the replacement of the criminal justice model with a medical model.

The community needs to understand that illegal drugs like tobacco and
alcohol are here to stay. Driving the problem underground does not tackle
let alone solve it. Illegal drugs should be legalised, regulated,
controlled and taxed just like the alcohol, tobacco and gambling industry
are. Those consumers who develop problems as a consequence of the drugs
they are using, should be offered treatment. Other consumers should be left
alone to get on with their lives and make their contribution to the
communities they live and work in.

The problem shouldn't be whether Trish Draper, the Adelaide Liberal
parliamentarian, took her lover to Europe courtesy of the Australian
taxpayer, the problem should be whether any parliamentarian is able to take
their wife, husband, lover, de facto or the toy boy down the road on a
parliamentary junket courtesy of the Australian taxpayer. The Government
decision to tighten the definition of a spouse so only husbands, wives or
partners who live under the same roof are entitled to be dined and wined
courtesy of the Australian taxpayer, does in no way address the problem.

Why should a parliamentarian be able to take their partners on interstate or
overseas trips due to the largesse of the Australian taxpayer, while almost
every other Australian worker whether has to pay for the privilege? It's
both interesting and pathetic to note that the fourth estate seems to be
more interested in the personal affairs of a Liberal parliamentarian who is
a single mother, than the issue itself. I doubt whether the issue would
have got a run in the fourth estate if Trish Draper were a man who had taken
a lover overseas courtesy of the Australian taxpayer.

It looks like salacious gossip seems to be a prerequisite for a story
getting a guernsey in the Australian media. Sex seems to be more of a
talking point than corruption or dishonesty. It's amazing how public
interest is aroused when a story surfaces about sexual infidelity.

Trish Draper's problem was brought to the public's attention because of the
juicy hint of a scandal. The issue about whether the tab of politicians
partners who join them on their parliamentary jaunts should be picked up by
the Australian taxpayer, has been buried as an issue because neither side of
parliament is willing to rock the boat and endanger what is seen as a
traditional perk of office.

Michael Moore and the judges of the Palme D'or in Cannes are about to face
an onslaught from the corporate media. Unable to stop the worldwide
distribution of Fahrenheit 9/11, a soft attack on the Bush administration,
the fourth estate has embarked on a shoot the messenger odyssey. Moore has
the knack of exposing the lunacy of the Bush administration to the harsh
glare of publicity. What Moore has done could just as easily be done by an
independent fourth estate if such a beast existed. Moore has never posed a
threat to the American dream, he believes in the institutions and structures
that make up the American dream. His philosophy can be summed up in the
adage ­ "If only the right people had their hands on the levers of power
everything would be alright".

Moore has followed the time honoured American tradition of exposing the
hypocrisy and dishonesty of the incumbent administration. It's both ironic
and pathetic that legitimate attacks on the Bush administration are treated
as the ravings of a radical madman. Moore's success highlights the
bankruptcy of a corporate media that long ago forgot that news is found
outside the sphere of government media releases, embedded reports and
briefings. The monopolisation of the media by fewer and fewer owners has
resulted in the media becoming a de facto arm of the government of the day
and the State.

Moore's message is a reformist message that a few decades ago wouldn't have
even raised an eyebrow. Today it is considered to be both radical and
dangerous because discussion about what is happening around us has been
hijacked by monopolies that attempt to set the political social and cultural
agenda through their monopolisation of the media. It's ironic that the gap
between the reality we experience and the rhetoric which is pumped out by
the fourth estate has become so wide, that a man who dares to say that in
order to protect the status quo the system needs to be reformed, is
considered to be beyond the pale.

As the price of crude oil rises to over $40 a barrel, OPEC is coming under
increasing pressure from the United States, China, Europe and India to
increase production. The much vaunted world economic recovery depends on a
steady supply of cheap oil. The 11 nations that make up OPEC ­ Algera,
Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates and Venezuela supply about 40% of the world's oil.
OPEC was originally formed to battle the power of international oil
monopolies, who have through their purchasing power, been able to artificial
keep the price low.

The rapid expansion of both the Indian and Chinese economies has been
directly linked to the availability of cheap oil. The US invasion of Iraq
has paradoxically increased the price of oil. The US is not able to
guarantee that Iraq is able to fulfil its quota because of resistance to its
occupation of the country.

Even if the OPEC States agree to increase production, the increased demand
for oil from China and India, two countries that between them account for
nearly 40% of the world's population, will continue to drive the price up.
The US administration clearly understands that access to oil by US owned and
controlled corporations, is central to their ability to continue to be the
world's only remaining superpower. OPEC has understood that the dislocation
caused by the invasion of Iraq and the increased demand for oil, gives it
the opportunity to flex its muscles and satisfy the day to day needs of
their own people. It's unlikely that oil prices will settle down while the
need for oil supplies continues to escalate.

The resultant economic slowdown in the West will do more to dampen the US
expansionist ambitions than any other strategy could ever hope to achieve.
The world's only remaining superpower may soon realise that military might
may not be the trump card the Bush administration thinks it is.

A. No, not if you live in an anarchist society. Death is inevitable, but
taxes that's another matter. Historically taxes have had two primary roles
­ the ruling classes funded their lifestyle by taxing their subjects. The
evolution of the welfare State has resulted in the taxation burden being
shared by both the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. Not that the 'haves' have
much to worry about when it comes to taxation, most of them are still paying
voluntary taxation.
Taxation is an integral component of the State apparatus because the means
of production, distribution and exchange are held privately. The only way
the State can raise revenue when the bulk of resources are owned privately
is through taxation. The economic mantra is turned on its head in an
anarchist society because wealth is held collectively. Although individuals
have access to what they are using, these assets can not be bought and sold
on an open market. In any case where the fruits of peoples efforts are held
in common and people have access to wealth based on their needs not what
they own or produce, there is no necessity for anyone to levy a tax on
anyone else. This is because everybody has, through their participation in
that community, access to what that community has.
So if you want to live in a society where there are no taxes, you should
become involved in the struggle to create an anarchist society. If you want
to live in a secure community where your needs are met and where your
contributions to that community are used to meet the needs of others, then
you need to seriously consider joining the anarchist struggle.
Next time you hear some one complaining about all the taxes they are forced
to pay, tell them that you know about a society where no one pays tax and
everyone shares the wealth that is created in that community. Next time you
hear someone say that taxes and death are the only certainties in life, tell
them they don't know what they're talking about.

Politics is just the art of the achievable. The unachievable can be
achieved by thinking laterally. The range of ideas that are aired in the
public domain at that particular time determines how people look at an
issue. It is a mistake to limit your thoughts to what you think people
think are practical and achievable goals. In order to achieve what you
think is impossible, you must demand the impossible.
As radical activists, our goal is to raise, debate and propagate our ideas
in the community. Whether people think they are impractical or impossible
isn't the issue. Limiting ourselves to demanding the predictable reinforces
the idea that change is impossible. Change is possible, practical and
achievable if the envelope debate is contained in is expanded. Atheism only
becomes an option in a religious society when the option of an existence
without God is raised. If it's not raised, it doesn't exist.
Elections in parliamentary democracies are accompanied by a dampening down
of political demands. What is possible is contained within a strictly
limited number of ideas. Everybody is expected to join the game and direct
preferences to reform minded candidates. Radical alternatives disappear
from the radar screen, politics is reduced to mobilising voters to vote for
the candidate that is promoting a reform agenda. Nothing else matters.
Discussion is reduced to predictable diatribes about what is thought to be
achievable. With each election, the scope of political debate is reduced to
a minimalist position. Radicals become reformers, reformers become
conservatives and conservatives become neo-conservatives. The voter's
choice is limited to casting a ballot for people pursuing the same political
and ideological agenda. The Labor Party in Australia is transformed to the
Alternative Liberal Party, the Greens become the Labor Party and the Liberal
Party becomes apologist for dreams of neo-conservative world domination.
Expanding the envelope about what is possible, desirable and achievable is a
revolutionary act. As activists, we need to break down the intellectual and
social barriers that limit the debate about ideas to debates that reinforce
and support the status quo. Open your mouth, articulate your desires and
create that new world in your heart.

The issue that triggered the Eureka revolt was an issue that affected all
miners not just those at Ballarat. The Colonial office in London considered
that the imposition of a gold tax on the amount of gold found was a
restriction on freedom of commerce and directed that the Colonial Governors
in Australia levy a tax on each miner.
At the Turon diggings in New South Wales, tradesmen, servants as well as
miners had to take out miner's licences. Foreigners were forced to pay 3
pounds (not 30 shillings) a month for the privilege of looking for gold. In
February 1853, hundreds of armed miners decided to mine without taking out
licences. Soldiers were sent by Governor Fitzroy to the Turon diggings to
put down the rebellion. In early 1853 diggers at Ovens in Victoria attacked
and disarmed the police on the goldfields. At Bendigo in Victoria, the
State's largest gold mining fields, an anti-gold licences association was
formed in June 1853. A mass meeting of 10,000 miners decided they would
only pay 10 shillings a month for their gold digging licences. Governor
Latrobe sent in more troops to Bendigo and burrowed another 300 from Van
Diemens Land (Tasmania) to meet the challenge to his authority.
Latrobe understood he did not have the troops or police to put down a
determined revolt and announced that he would be putting a Bill to the
Legislative Council to replace the miner's licence with a tax that was
levied on the amount of gold that a miner found. The plan was rejected in
London so the licence system remained. In an attempt to decrease tension on
the goldfields, the miners licence was reduced to 1 pound a month or 8
pounds for a year. The Draft Constitution of Victoria that the Legislative
Council passed in 1854 and sent to London for approval, granted a vote for
the Legislative Assembly to miners who stayed in one place for 6 months and
took out an 8 pound licence fee.
Latrobe was replaced with Naval Officer Vice Admiral Sir Charles Hotham, the
British military headquarters in Australia were shifted from Sydney to
Melbourne. The new Governor was given access to over 1000 soldiers as well
as a rapidly increasing number of police, many of whom were ex convicts who
were brought out from Tasmania. On the 13th September 1854 Hotham ordered
twice weekly searches for licences.
NEXT WEEK: Why did Ballarat explode?
SOURCE OF MATERIAL: Massacre at Eureka ­ The Untold Story by Bob O'Brien,
Sovereign Hill Museums Association, 1998 edition ISBN 0909 874 19 0

No. 113 / 114 April / May 2004, Founded in 1983, Newsletter of the Struggle
for Israeli­Palestinian Peace, P.O. BOX 2542, HOLON 58125, ISRAEL. Tel/Fax:
(03) 5565804,
Email: briefings via otherisr@actcom.co.il
I don't know how the Anarchist Media Institute first started receiving The
Other Israel, I think we began receiving it about a decade ago. Every time
I read a new issue, it gives me hope that people of good will in Israel and
Palestine can intellectually and physically overcome the religious bigots
and nationalist elements that have caused and continue to cause so much
despair, pain and suffering in both Palestine and Israel.
The people behind The Other Israel are a distinct minority in Israel.
Although a minority, they act as the social conscience of a people whose
actions are becoming indistinguishable from the actions of those who
oppressed them. It's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that
everybody in a particular community acts and thinks in the same way,
especially when the fourth estate's coverage of what's happening, squeezes
out of the public gaze the actions, activities and thoughts of a significant
minority of that population.
The April / May issue is full of reports and coverage of those Israelis who
pit their minds and bodies against the State. Stories about the military's
brutality fight for space with stories about peace protestors, draft
resistors and the release of Mordechai Vanunu, a hero outside of Israel, a
traitor inside Israel.
This issue is particularly relevant to anarchists. Adam Keller, the editor
of The Other Israel interviews anarchists in Israel who are taking part in
the Intifada. Anarchists Against The Wall have been active for about a
year. They have leant physical support to Palestinian villages who have
resisted the building of Sharon's wall across their lands. Day in day out,
week in week out, they stand with the Palestinian villagers hoping that the
presence of Israeli citizens will lessen the brutality of the Israeli State.
During the last year, they have witnessed the shooting deaths of 5
peacefully protesting Palestinian citizens. The Israeli army has shot one
of the anarchists and others have been beaten and arrested. They live
collectively on the margins of Israeli society.
Adam Keller's interviews give an excellent overview about the lives and
politics of Anarchists Against The Wall, an Israeli based anarchist group.
'The Palestinians are oppressed, but they not necessarily anarchists. -
Anarchism is not very much part of the Palestinian political culture. There
are a few Palestinian anarchists in Nablus, not a very strong group. Arab
anarchists are a bit stronger in Lebanon, but with these groups we don't
have very much of a chance for a direct contact' ­ Anarchist Against The
If you're tired of the one dimensional catalogue of atrocities in Palestine
and Israel that make up the images that are beamed around the world by the
corporate media, you can't go past The Other Israel. It gives you an
insight into the resistance that is growing inside Israel to the activities
of the Israeli State.
'In Tel-Aviv, young Israeli anarchists blocked the road outside the Defence
Ministry and were hauled off to police detention'
'A group of Israeli activists, led by the anarchists, fresh from their daily
struggle around the wall, rushed forward and placed themselves right near
the gate'
'We don't use the term non-violent demonstration. We call it a mass
struggle or popular struggle'
'More and more, they are treating us as they treat the Palestinians, and
that means that sooner or later one of us is going to get killed. After
all, 5 Palestinians were already killed in our presence'
­ Anarchists Against The Wall.
I encourage readers of the Anarchist Age Weekly Review to have a look at
what The Other Israel has to offer, it makes a pleasant change from the one
dimensional drivel that the government gelded ABC and corporate media drip
feeds Australians.

There are some fascinating places in Melbourne if you only know where to
look. It's amazing how much wildlife lives in this city of over 3.5 million
people. Tens of thousands of foxes live on the beach, parks and cemeteries.
Flying fruit bats still inhibit the Botanical Gardens, although many have
now moved to the Yarra bend in Ivanhoe. Ducks, powerful owls, birds,
insects and the occasional kangaroo have made themselves at home in our
One of the most spectacular hidden natural sights you can come across can be
found just behind Grange Reserve in Kingston. A disused quarry filled with
a rapidly diminishing supply of acid water abuts on one of the last garbage
tips in the metropolitan area. Hundreds of pelicans sit in what's left of
the acid water, battling the occasional ibis and hordes of seagulls for
edible bits and pieces. Occasionally a bulldozer covers another pile of
garbage, scattering the seagulls to another site. For the first time in
living memory, the artificial lake behind Grange Reserve has nearly dried
The birds, oblivious to the dangers of acid water, bathe in what's left of
the water. At the deepest point, the water laps at the breast of the
pelicans. The bulldozers scurry around filling holes that were once full of
fighting seagulls. Generations of gulls have eked out an existence on the
tip, our refuse, their supper. I'm not talking about 10 or 20 or 30, I'm
talking about tens of thousands of gulls picking at the refuse, fighting,
breeding, squawking, flying off in flocks of thousands, alighting just a few
metres from where they began their journey.
Gulls looking for a spot to rest, make their way to what's left of the acid
water, they stand up in the shallows, scattering when pelicans land amongst
them feet first. There's no need to fly off to Lake Eyre in Central
Australia every time the drought breaks to watch the pelicans, all you have
to do is find one of the disused quarries that litter the Melbourne urban
landscape to see sights you normally only witness in documentaries. Pick up
a map of Melbourne, pick out a few likely spots and feast your eyes on our
hidden urban wildlife.

The slaughter of unarmed men, women and children who were participating in a
peaceful demonstration in Rafah against the Israeli army's invasion of their
town, is one of those seminal moments that can change the course of history.
Believing they had nothing to lose, they confronted their tormentors with
their presence. The Israeli army's firing of tank shells and missiles into
the crowd has highlighted the bankruptcy of the Israeli government's plans
for the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
As the cycle of violence escalates, the Israeli States justification for
their policies has worn so thin that the United States has abstained from
blocking a United Nations resolution that condemned the murder of peaceful
protestors in Rafah. A refugee camp of over 100,000 people whose access to
the sea is blocked by ultra nationalist Israeli settlers, who believe that
the Palestinians should be driven from the biblical State of 'Greater
The rhetoric that is being used by the ultra nationalists paints the
Palestinians as little more than animals. The situation has become so bad
in the refugee camps that people are willing to use their bodies as weapons
against the occupying Israeli forces. When peaceful protestors face their
tormentors and their tormentors shoot them down like rabid dogs, the
occupying forces have lost what little legitimacy they claimed they had.
The trickle of Israelis that are refusing to do compulsory military service
in the occupied territories has the potential to become a torrent.
Wars, as the US is finding out in Iraq, are not won by the use of superior
technology. There is so many people you can kill before those who pull the
trigger begin to question what they are doing and why they are there.
Israel was forced to abandon the land it had annexed in Lebanon because its
people were not willing to pay the price. It will be forced to abandon the
occupied territories because the price its citizens are being asked to pay
is one that they may not be willing to pay.

Joseph TOSCANO / Libertarian Workers
For A Self-Managed Society.

Hurricane, London WCIN 3XX, UK, www.katesharpelylibrary.net (will be
reviewed next week)
SICILIA LIBERTAIRIA No.228 April 2004, Giornale Anarchico per la
Liberazione Sociale L'internazionismo, Via Galileo Galilei 45, 97100 Ragusa,
SICILY, ITALY, email:si_lib@hotmail.com
THE OTHER ISRAELI No.113/114 April/May 2004, Newsletter of the Israeli
Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, P.O.Bpx 2542 Holon ISRAEL Tel/Fax:03
5565804, Email;otherisr@actcom.co.il

DEBT ELIMINATION APPEAL Our debt stands at $1221.54
OUR DEBT STANDS AT $1221.54. Producing a weekly publication is an expensive
undertaking. As you can see, our debt is beginning to climb. In order to
keep the debt at a reasonable level and to publish weekly, we require
readers especially internet readers to subscribe to the Anarchist Age Weekly
Review. Currently snail mail subscribers are cross subsidising internet
readers. If you've got a little bit of extra cash, think about joining the
'Dollar A Day' club. When you write to us pop in some 50cent stamps (every
little bit helps). Subscription rates for the Anarchist Age Weekly Review
are $1 per issue, $10 = 10 issues, $50 = 50 issues. We rely on our
subscribers to keep a record of when their subscriptions runs out and
resubscribe. Make out money orders and cheques to LIBERTARIAN WORKERS & send
If you're sending $20 or less, save on cheques & money orders and send us
50cent stamps.
Debt 26-05-2004 $1221.54

The families of soldiers who died on army bases have described the military
justice system as corrupt & dysfunctional. John Satatas, 19, was found
hanged by a cord tied to a tree at the Holsworthy Army Barracks on April 16
last year, 16 months after joining the army. An autopsy later found Mr
Satatas's death was self-inflicted. He had a moustache & beard drawn on his
face & the word 'Spiros' on his forehead & 'Spic' on his arm. The young
soldier's mother, Rosa, told a Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade
References Committee public hearing her son's death had never been properly
investigated. She said NSW police had failed to investigate the scene to
determine whether anyone else had been present at her son's death & army
claims he'd been drinking heavily immediately before dying were proved to be
untrue. Her son, she said, had been missing for 3 days before his body was
found but the army made no effort to find him even though his wallet & ID
card were in his room. She said a short time before John died he had told
his brother Richard that he'd been physically & verbally abused by other
soldiers & that nothing had been done about it. The family of Private Jeremy
Williams, who was found hanging at the Singleton Army Base on Feb 2 last
year also gave evidence before the committee. Private Williams's sister,
Ruth, said there was clear evidence that army failings led to her brother's
death, failings that in many cases had never been corrected. "No one's been
held accountable," she said. "The army has admitted its failings but where
is the justice?" The young soldier's father, Charles, said it was clear the
army didn't care about its trainees. Pvt Williams was deeply distressed
before his death b/c he believed he was going to be discharged from the army
b/c he'd hurt his feet during a forced march. Mr Williams said charges that
were later laid against a Sgt at Singleton over his alleged verbal &
physical abuse of 2 other trainees were dismissed after what he said was an
inadequate hearing & investigation. "This is an outrageous example of how
corrupt & dysfunctional the military justice system is & we implore the
committee to take action," he said. The Williams' said Jeremy's superiors
routinely denigrated injured soldiers as lepers, heathens & window lickers &
he'd been made to feel worthless, useless & scum. They said the army had
been alerted to Jeremy's distressed condition before his death but it had
failed in its duty of care to him, just as it had failed many others before
& since. (Source: The Age)
Work kills some 6,000 people a day worldwide, more than die in wars,
according to the International Labour Office (ILO). In addition almost 270
million accidents are recorded each year, of which 350,000 are fatal. Many
of these could be prevented, the ILO believes. 20 years after one of the
worst industrial accidents on record the Bhopal disaster that killed
2,500 people & injured 200,000 in the space of a few hours, the situation
has scarcely improved. (Source: ILO)
UK soldiers in Iraq have shot & killed Iraqi civilians, including an 8yo
girl & a guest at a wedding celebration, in situations where there was no
apparent threat to themselves or others, according to a new report from
Amnesty Int'l. The report also details political & 'moral' killings in the
UK-administered south, by armed groups & individuals. Ex supporters of
Saddam Hussein have been killed, as well as people selling alcohol, music &
videos all forbidden by fundamentalist strains of Islam. No one has been
prosecuted for any such killing. Some members of the new Iraqi police force
set up by Western govts told Amnesty that killing supporters of Saddam
Hussein was justified. Many cases of civilian killings by UK Armed Forces
haven't even been investigated. Investigations by the Royal Military Police
(RMP) have been secretive, with families given little or no info about their
progress. The report, Killings of Civilians in Basra & al-'Amara, is based
on research carried out by Amnesty Int'l in Feb & March of this year.
Amnesty interviewed families of the dead & eyewitnesses to the killings,
Iraqi police officers & Coalition Provisional Authority officials
responsible for law & order. It details numerous killings by UK armed forces
& armed groups. One such case is that of 8yo Hanan Saleh Matrud, reportedly
shot by a soldier from B Company of the First Battalion of the King's
Regiment in Aug'03. An eyewitness disputes the UK army's claim she may have
been hit accidentally by a warning shot. He told Amnesty Int'l that Hanan
was killed when a soldier aimed & fired a shot at her from around 60 metres
away. In Jan this year Ghanem Kadhem Kati' a 22yo unarmed man, was
reportedly shot in the back outside his front door while celebrating a
family wedding. UK soldiers, responding to the sound of bullets fired into
the air in celebration, fired 5 shots at him from 50 yards away, despite
reportedly being told by a neighbour not to fire & that the earlier shots
were in celebration. An RMP investigation is ongoing, but relatives haven't
been informed about the procedures for claiming compensation. Families are
frequently given no info on how to lodge a compo claim for the killing of
their relatives. In some cases they're given wrong info including that
responsibility for compo would rest with a new Iraqi govt. The Area Claims
Officer is situated in an area difficult to access for ordinary civilians
(Basra airport) & there's little explanatory info provided on the claims
process in English or in Arabic. As a result, people interviewed had little
confidence in the compo system. The report reveals killings of people,
mainly Christians, involved in the alcohol trade. Licensed liquor sellers
have been killed & their stores closed down. Sources report around 150
Christian families have fled Basra. On 15 Feb '04 a gang of 13 masked men
opened fire with machine guns in the main street, in an area where alcohol
was frequently sold, killing at least 9 people. (Source: Amnesty Int'l)
Aust workers are going backwards economically, according to new research
that blames inflation & the impact of the GST among other factors. More than
700,000 people on minimum wages about $500 a week now pay $650 more tax
each year than when the Howard Govt was first elected in 1996. An average
lower middle-income earner on $30,700 a year will pay $5850, or 19% of their
income in tax this financial year. By 2007, that same worker will pay $6522,
or almost 21% in tax, b/c of inflation. A single person earning $537 a week,
or $28,000 a year, pays $59 a year in extra income tax & $515 a year in GST
costs. This is about $11 a week more in tax than in 1996. (Source: Herald
John Howard has hinted that he may send more Aust troops to Iraq. During his
visit to Iraq, Mr Howard said while he wouldn't send large numbers of extra
troops, "that doesn't mean that if there's a small increase for whatever
reason in the number of people deployed that should be seen as some reversal
of that original policy." He also said the coming budget would fund Aust's
existing troops in Iraq until June'05. Highlighting conditions in the
country, Mr Howard had to cancel a visit to an Aust warship, HMAS Stuart, as
it had to go to the aid of US injured in attacks on offshore oilrigs. The
plane carrying Mr Howard out of Iraq took evasive action after reportedly
detecting what may have been a fix on it by a surface-to-air missile. Hours
after Mr Howard's visit, the Bulgarian President, who was also visiting
Iraq, was fired on by Iraqis. (Source: Herald Sun)
A Melbourne soccer referee has refused to allow a women's club match to go
ahead unless of the players who was a Muslim took off her headscarf. South
Melbourne striker Afifa Saad was told she couldn't play unless she removed
her headscarf before Sunday's game against Keilor Park. A Women's Premier
League match official eventually cleared Ms Saad to play, but the time delay
meant the game has to be replayed later. Her coach, Alex Alexopoulos said Ms
Saad "was devastated, she was crying," he said. "She turned around to the
other players & said, 'play without me'. "They turned around & said, 'no,
you don't play, we don't play'." Mr Alexopoulos said Ms Saad had broken down
cultural barriers within her family & community to play the sport she loved.
"She has already gone through a lot & now this happens," he said. (Source:
Herald Sun)
A Victorian cop who was bashed, threatened & intimidated by other police
officers for investigating corruption, has criticised VicPol for failing to
protect him. Detective Sgt Simon Illingworth said he was hit by another
police officer in Carlton. "I fell down to my knees & I was kicked in the
head a number of times," he said. "I got on to my hands & knees & stood up.
I wanted to show that a whistleblower had what it took & then I fell head
first into the floor". Det Sgt Illingworth said someone in the VicPol had
given his home address to criminals. He'd been forced to spend thousands of
dollars on home security, moved house 3 or 4 times in the past few months,
sold his home, & received special permission to carry a gun 24 hours a day.
Det Sgt Illingworth first came across major corruption after only 2 years in
the police. He said he was compromised by a Sgt who stole money from an
illegal card game & was paid off by its operator. The Sgt later "hatched a
plan to kidnap a criminal". "He spoke about taking him to a quarry & I asked
him what he was going to do". The Sgt then put his hand to his head in the
shape of a gun & said "boom". "This was going to be an execution". The Sgt
was jailed for perverting the course of justice, assault & incitement to
kidnap. Det Sgt Illingworth is on stress leave from his job in the police's
ethical standards dept. (Source: Herald Sun)
Victoria is facing the worst outbreak of police corruption in living memory,
according to a ex royal commissioner & Federal Court judge. Sir Edward
Woodward also said there's a link b/w the series of underworld murders in
Melbourne & police corruption. (Source: The Age)
Interrogators at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison viewed sleep deprivation,
stripping inmates naked & threatening them with dogs as normal ways of
dealing with "the enemy", a soldier attached to military intelligence there
said. While MP are now facing charges with one already convicted it was
clear that US Army military intelligence ran the prison, Sgt Samuel Provance
told The Associated Press. Sgt Provance said that if military intelligence
interrogators "said, 'We want him naked', it would be the MPs [military
police] who'd get him out of his clothes". Humiliation & mistreatment of
inmates "wasn't discussed b/c it was considered normal....nobody really
talked about it. It was the enemy, why sympathise with him?" Provance said
he was told by colleagues that a female interrogator once made a male
detainee walk nude from one end of the prison to the other in front of other
prisoners. When a naked detainee tried to use the bag from a packaged
military meal as a loincloth, his jailers stopped bringing him food in that
form, he said. Provance said he was speaking out now b/c he believed
military intelligence was covering up what happened or was being protected.
(Source: The Scotsman [UK])
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Has once again been awarded to the fourth estate in Australia for not taking
up the allegations made against John Howard, David Flint and Alan Jones in
the serious manner they should be tackled. In their eyes ­ 'It's a cat
fight between Sydney shock-jocks jockeying for radio ratings'. What hope do
people have of understanding what's happening around them when the fourth
estate ignores one of the most important news items of the past decade.

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