(en)B.C.'s dinner guests a grisly group

Jaggi Singh (blackcat@vcn.bc.ca)
Sun, 9 Mar 1997 03:17:38 -0800 (PST)


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[The following article appeared in Vancouver's main corporate daily from a decidedly non-corporate columnist. There are many people here working on the issue of APEC -- Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation -- which Vancouver will be hosting this November. APEC's free trade driven agenda is directly tied into the imperialist globalization policies of the WTO/GATT and the World Bank/IMF. This article gives some idea of the issues to be confronted and the local "players." I will try to keep a-infos up-to-date about anti-APEC activity. I hope that the number of activists here achieves the critical mass needed to put on an effective counter-conference. Perhaps Active Resistance II ... stay tuned. -- Jaggi]

From=20the Vancouver Sun Saturday, March 1, 1997 page A2

B.C.=D5s dinner guests a grisly group by Stephen Hume

Climb into bed with the butcher boys and you can expect to get a little gore on your nightshirt. Nobody notices at first, but eventually you start to stink like your bedmates. And it=D5s that stench, not the money they leave on the dresser, that marks your place in posterity.=20

All of which makes an interesting dilemma for British Columbia=D5s aggressively self- righteous labor movement when the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum comes to town this fall.=20

Where will the likes of Ken Georgetti, Joy MacPhail, Dan Miller and Glen Clark be when the systematic murderers of union organizers show up at the state receptions? [NOTE: Georgetti is the head of the British Columbia Federation of Labor, Clark is the Premier of the province and Miller and MacPhail are senior cabinet ministers. They are what pass for social democrats in Canada=D5s sterile mainstream left. -- JS]

Will they be sucking up to the big money? Or will they be snubbing the Indonesian bosses who presided over the arrest, burning, beating and sexual abuse of labor organizer Asih? Will they ask why Indonesian cops tortured the labor organizer Soleh with burning cigarette tips? Will they ask why the authorities told Surani she would be raped if she didn=D5t stop this silly organizing nonsense?

Will Joy MacPhail wonder for one second about Marsinah? Has she even heard of her? Marsinah was the 25 year-old organizer who lead a successful job action on May 3, 1993, and then headed up a bargaining unit that won some startling wage concessions.=20

I say =D2was=D3 because five days later her body was found. She=D5d been be= aten and died of internal bleeding, her vagina brutally penetrated by some large blunt instrument.=20

Will Ken Georgetti raise the name of Titie Sugiarti, another labor activist? She was organizing for a strike when she was found floating face down in a waste pond.

Does Glen Clark give two hoots about Mochtar Pakpahan, the labor leader who still rots away in an Indonesian jail?

In Indonesia, according to that country=D5s immeasurably brave human rights organizations, the military routinely intervenes in 73 per cent of union job actions.

But hey, it=D5s important for Canadian workers to be pals with the wizards of order who had women and children summarily executed in a village in Irian Jaya [West Papua]. After all, what=D5s a little brains on the boot leather when it comes to jobs and money for us?

We=D5re promised that the APEC Forum will be a bonanza for Canada and Vancouver in November. Awestruck business types with the moral sense of a surf clam point out that Indonesia attracted billions in foreign investment after hosting the 1994 session.

What=D5s a young labor organizer with a truncheon jammed up her vagina against $27.1 billion in Canadian exports? I mean, it=D5s not like they wer= e our wives or sisters, mothers or daughters.

Raymond Chan says Canada will keep the messy, unseemly issue of human rights off the agenda. He=D5s got good reasons, I suppose. [NOTE: Chan is the federal Secretary of State for the Asia-Pacific and an Uncle Tom apologist for Canada=D5s dealings with the dictators of China and Indonesia.]

Ditto for Hedy Fry [NOTE: Fry is a particularly hypocritical Liberal Member of Parliament from Vancouver]. Although I do wonder about the ethical contortions required to play state hosts to the kind people who beat Edy Sartono, 14, and forced him to masturbate in front of the torture squad using a skin-burning chemical.=20

I bet you think I=D5m making up this sick stuff.=20

Sorry. It=D5s all from Amnesty International=D5s reports on the latest performances by the people who came to power in the wake of a massacre twice the magnitude of that happened in Rwanda.=20

In less than a year, says Amnesty, a million people were killed and as many people jailed in the Indonesian abattoir. Add to that the 200,000 people -- one third of the population -- who were killed or died of disease and starvation following the criminal invasion of East Timor in 1975.=20

And what does Amnesty say of our chums in Indonesia in its 1996 report, compiled after a hair-raising fact finding mission?=20

=D2Indonesia=D5s New Order Government has been responsible for human rights violations on a staggering scale.

=D2Hundred of thousands of civilians have been killed, their mutilated corpses sometimes left in public places to rot, prisoners, both political and criminal, have been routinely tortured and ill-treated, some so severely they died or suffered permanent injury, thousands of people have been imprisoned following show trials solely for their peaceful political or religious views, scores of prisoners have been shot by firing squad, some after more than two decades on death row.

=D2It continues to murder, torture and jail people, often for nothing more than disagreeing with state ideology.

=D2Human rights violations are widespread not just in East Timor but throughout the Indonesian archipelago ... They are part of a pattern of systematic human rights violations which has unfolded over more than a quarter of a century.=D3

Is it fair to hold a nice old man like President Suharto responsible for his weird underlings? Sure. Because he who claims absolute power, earns absolute responsibility.=20

The Indonesians, who joined the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1991, are cynical frauds who hold human rights seminars while arbitrary arrests, torture, ill-treatment, show trials and extra-judicial executions are standard operating procedure, says Amnesty.

Indonesia=D5s propaganda machine says Amnesty justs wants to make them look bad. It=D5s just a few undisciplined soldiers who get out of line now and then -- kind of like Canada=D5s Airborne Regiment.=20

Amnesty says: =D3The [Indonesian] legal system reflects and reinforces military power and the judiciary is neither independent nor impartial. Those responsible for human rights violations are almost never brought to justice.=D3

Now, if you want to find out more about who=D5s coming to dinner in November, you might want to catch the conference on East Timor and Indonesia that takes place next weekend.=20

Simon Fraser will host symposiums Thursday, UBC will host them on Friday. East Timorese human rights activist Dr. Jose Ramos Horta, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, will speak Saturday at the Robson Media Centre following an 8 pm showing of Elaine Briere=D5s electrifying documentary on Canada=D5s complicity in the bloodbath. Other human rights activists from Indonesia will speak.=20

And afterward, you might think about the curious fact that 79 years ago, when the Dominion Police shot B.C. labor activist Ginger Goodwin under mysterious circumstances, the B.C. Federation of Labor protested with Canada=D5s first general strike.

This time, we face the chilling spectacle of watching our white collar labor politicians schmoozing with the union busting goons.

[end]

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