30 June 2010


28 and 29 JUNE 2010

I sent the following letter to the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP)(Australian) Bulletin, and they published it in September 2009. I am still outraged by the murder of Mr Ward in Western Australia in 2008 by boiling him in the back of a police van and the murder of Steve Biko in South Africa in 1977 (he had already been virtually bashed to death) in the back of a police van, naked and practically freezing to death.

The only difference between boiling to death in the back of a police van and freezing to death in the back of a police van is that the second one occurred in apartheid South Africa in 1977 and the first one 30 years later in 2008 happened because indigenous people in Australia continue to be treated as non-people at a time when human rights are a major issue in so many countries around the world..

Not only should it never have been allowed to happen in 2008, but the criminality of refusing to lay charges only makes the offence so much worse. Australia's ongoing disgraceful treatment of its minority indigenous communities is a stain on all governments in this country and one wonders when there will be politicians elected to the country's local, state and federal governments who will manage to stop the horrors of abject poverty, child deaths, malnutrition, lack of education, poor health, lack of employment opportunities - the list is endless!

Steve Biko was murdered by the South African government by being first bashed to near death on 6 September 1977, then transported naked in the back of a police van from Port Elizabeth to Pretoria, a distance of 1200km. He died 6 days later.

He had been taken on 6 September 1977 by South African Security Police to the 6th floor of a building in Port Elizabeth (a large southern port city) hand-cuffed, then put into leg -irons, chained to a grille and subjected to 22 hours of interrogation, torture and beating. He received between 2 and 4 blows to the head, fatally damaging his brain. He died on 12 September 1977.

South Africa in 1977, and now still in Australia in 2009, to quote from the report you (FSP) sent:
* The West Australian coroner will ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider laying charges over the death of a man who effectively baked to death in the back of a prison van.
* The Aboriginal elder known as Mr Ward was being driven in the van through searing temperatures of the Goldfields last January.
* The air conditioning unit wasn't working and the temperature inside the van reached more than 50 degrees.
* The 46-year-old man suffered third degree burns when his body came into contact with the hot metal floor of the van.
* The coroner said the Corrective Services Department, the contracting company GSL, and the two officers who drove the man were all responsible for his death.
* The company, now called G4S, has told Saturday AM that the two guards have now been suspended and could be sacked.
* But the family wants to see charges laid.

It would seem that the savagery of the South African government continues in Australia, courtesy of the Rudd and state and territory governments, and that deaths in custody, far from diminishing since the Royal Commission continue in an upward spiral which will not be stopped until there is such a huge national and international outcry that the governments in this country will be forced to take notice.

Unfortunately no country with indigenous people subjected to the control of the ruling classes have their hands clean, and it is difficult to ascertain which countries are worse than each other.

The stain of Steve Biko's execution will long live on in the memory of those of us South Africans who were aware of what the apartheid government was doing but felt powerless to do anything about it. Living in a police state was a very intimidating place to be a political activist, and I fled to Australia in 1978 with my family, escaping from the worst excesses of the police state which were still to come in the aftermath of the 1976 Soweto riots.

To know that we live in a country where the excesses of our governments continue in the face of Royal Commissions and their recommendations is to be aware that we await our revolution but know it will still be a while arriving while capitalism goes from crisis to crisis taking us all along for the ride.

I personally feel horror when I think of the case which is now before the public gaze, and remember Steve Biko. How can one ever forget??

Mannie De Saxe

Prosecutor angers Aborigines by ruling out charges in prison van death during Outback journey

The Associated Press Jun 28, 2010

PERTH, Australia - A state prosecutor on Monday ruled out criminal charges in the death of an indigenous elder in a prison van with no air conditioning on a scorching summer day in Australia's Outback — a decision that angered Aborigines.

Western Australia Director of Public Prosecutions Joe McGrath said there was no reasonable prospect of a jury convicting the two prison guards who transported the 46-year-old prisoner on the fatal four-hour journey in 2008.

"I'm acutely aware that the death was tragic, avoidable and rightly creates outrage in the wider Australian community," McGrath told reporters.

The prisoner, now known only by his family name Ward because of a cultural prohibition on using the given name of a dead Aborigine, died of heat stroke in the back of the van where the temperature soared to 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius).

The two prison officers, who were in a separate front compartment of the van, did not check on Ward and were unaware that the air conditioner in the rear compartment was broken.

Ward suffered a third-degree burn to his stomach after collapsing on the van's metal floor.

A state coroner who investigated the tragedy last year found that the two guards had contributed to the "terrible death" and recommended that prosecutors consider bringing criminal charges.

Aboriginal elder Ben Taylor criticized McGrath's refusal to lay charges and warned that protests would continue until Ward received justice.

"They are killing our people off," Taylor said. "The poor man was cooked alive."

Aboriginal lawyer Dennis Eggington blamed the outcome on a flawed police investigation that deserved further scrutiny.

Aborigines are an impoverished minority of 500,000 in Australia's 22 million population who are imprisoned far more frequently than other Australians.

Ward was being taken from his desert home town of Laverton to the larger Outback centre of Kalgoorlie to face court on a drunk driving charge when he died.

The state government responded to the tragedy with plans to roll out a new fleet of 40 prison vans.


Outrage at van death ruling

Article in The Age

June 29, 2010

A DECISION not to charge two security guards over the heat-stroke death of a West Australian Aboriginal elder in a prison van has been greeted with anger and disbelief.

Mr Ward, an elder whose full name cannot be used for cultural reasons, died of heat stroke in the back of the van on a four-hour trip from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia's Goldfields region in January 2008.

WA Director of Public Prosecutions Joe McGrath visited Mr Ward's widow Nancy at Warburton in the Central Desert at the weekend to tell her charges would not be laid.

He told her there was no reasonable prospect of conviction against the two security guards employed by the security firm GSL, now known as G4S.

Mr Ward's family were said to be distraught over the decision.

A broken air conditioner in the back of the van meant Mr Ward endured temperatures of more than 50 degrees during the non-stop journey.

He was being driven to Kalgoorlie to face a drink-driving charge.

Last year, WA Coroner Alastair Hope found the Department of Corrective Services and security officers Graham Powell and Nina Stokoe and their employer, had all contributed to Mr Ward's death.

Mr Hope referred the case to the DPP because he believed a criminal offence had been committed, he said.

Mr McGrath defended his decision not to prosecute yesterday, saying a thorough investigation had found nobody criminally negligent. He said Sydney lawyer John Agius had endorsed his decision.

The WA Deaths in Custody Watch Committee is seeking an independent review of the case.

WA shadow attorney-general John Quigley said it was inconceivable no one would face charges.

The WA government is finalising an ex-gratia payment to Mr Ward's family.

29 June 2010



Subject: Podcast
Date: Thu, 13 May 2010 18:12:24 +1000
From: Addam Stobbs
CC: 'Robert Brierley'

Hi Mannie

Your interview on Allegro was brilliant, I have had a lot of feedback, you have a lot of fans an admirers (including me) it will be on the network next Thursday, the podcast will be online tonight and it will be on the Joy web pages for a few days as there is a bit a quick turn around for Idaho stuff, but available on Allegro pages and ITunes for a long time.

The podcast has all music edited out, and all station and announcements breaks (I have to leave in the wear it with pride project at the start).

As is consistent with all Allegro podcast I have resample it at a lower bit-rate (20,050) and converted it to mono so it’s a lot easier for download, (18MB) however the CD quality podcast is available if you want that, it’s about 80 MB.

Kind regards

We look forward to having you on air with on Allegro in the future.

X Addam Stobbs


We sent the following email on 16 June 2010 to Robert Brierley who was the producer of Addam Stobbs' show "Allegro Non Troppo":

Dear Robert,

On Wednesday night we received an email from Jo Harrison in Adelaide who had read online in Southern Star about the sudden death of Addam Stobbs.

We were shocked and horrified - after all he had just interviewed me on 9 May and had said some very complimentary things to me which I was flattered and embarrassed by! He made me sound like somebody different from how I had always perceived myself.

If our shock was great, we can't imagine how shocked all of you who were so closely involved with him must have been.

We extend our deepest sympathy to you all as well as to his family, partner, friends and colleagues who worked with him at Joy for so many years.

We hope you will all continue with the good work he was so passionate about and we wish you all well.

With our best regards,

Mannie De Saxe and Kendall Lovett

We posted this on MCV's article reporting the death of Addam Stobbs on Wednesday 16 June 2010:

I am still in a state of shock since being informed on Wednesday night by a friend in Adelaide that Addam had died suddenly.
He interviewed me on Allegro non troppo on May 9 and he said the most complimentary things about me, to my complete surprise.
My partner and I extend our deepest sympathy to Addam's partner, family, friends and all at Joy with whom he had been involved for so many years.
Mannie De Saxe

07 June 2010


The zionists are again spreading the old canard that anti-zionists are anti-semites, and it is time they stopped using the same old mantra when it is evident that more and more Jews in the so-called diaspora are becoming anti-zionists because of Israel's rogue state behaviour.

The latest Israeli murdering spree on the flotilla in international waters - and, by the way, since when is Gaza part of Israel??? - is hardly calculated to win friends and influence people. Although in a perverse sort of way, it HAS influenced people to at last realise just exactly what the monster which Israel has become is doing to the world around and beyond it.

Maybe in fact, if the Israeli government continues along its current path, it will have the effect that even those indomitable ongoing defenders of the apartheid state will turn against it and say, as they should have done long ago - enough is enough!

06 June 2010



In their wake


June 5, 2010
The Age

Paul McGeough gives a first-hand account of the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara

WHEN he recounts the siege, 33-year-old Londoner Mustafa Ahmet is quite irreverent. Having done his ablutions, he joined a big group engaged in morning prayers on the aft deck of the Mavi Marmara as it pushed south in the Mediterranean. But then a cry went up: ''They're here! They're here!''

''They'' were Israeli commandos coming alongside the lead protest vessel in their assault craft. But the imam leading the prayers was unmoved. Instead of cutting proceedings, he seemed to go on forever. As Ahmet observed the commandos' arrival, ''it was like a scary movie - their helmets were shiny, the sea was shiny and battle ships sat off on either side. But the imam just kept on, holding us in position - it was bonkers''.

But then Ahmet becomes perplexed. ''We were a convoy of peace. But the Israeli choppers overhead, the smoke grenades … all the screaming, all the noise. People were running all ways and there was blood everywhere. But before we could do anything it was all over.''

The protesters had been preparing for the raid. People were distributing lifejackets and taking up positions on the rails. Groups had been rostered through the night to sleep or be at the ready, and electric angle-grinders were brought in to cut steel bars from the lifeboat bays along the main decks. Once the attack began, others would be ready to throw Israeli sound-bombs and tear-gas canisters back to where they came from.

Despite thoughts of what might lie ahead, there was good humour. Matthias Gardell, a key figure in the Swedish delegation, was getting used to his lifejacket, unaware that even though it was 3am back home, his 12-year-old daughter was out of bed and watching a live video-feed from the ship on the Free Gaza Movement's website. Seeing him in the video, she shot him an email: ''Dad, take it off - you look ridiculous.'' To which he fired back: ''It's past your bedtime.''

In an interview aboard the Mavi Marmara two days before the Israeli assault, Bulent Yildirim, head of the Turkish NGO IHH, which effectively ran the flotilla, said he believed Israel could not afford to pay the price of what he predicted would be a disaster if it intercepted the convoy.

The Jewish state was still smarting from international backlash over the use of passports from allied nations in the Dubai assassination.

Now European diplomats in Tel Aviv have denied the Israeli government's claim that the flotilla organisers had ties to Al-Qaeda.

Both sides are documenting their case.

The flotilla organisers accuse the Netanyahu government of hijacking their vessels in international waters, killing nine and wounding about 30 people in the process; of then taking almost 700 humanitarians and peace activists prisoner and forcibly taking them to Israel - and then charging them with illegal entry to the country.

The organisers will face government allegations that steel bars were used to beat troops; that weapons confiscated from captured commandos may have been used against their comrades.

Israel argues that 60 to 100 ''hard-core'' activists had been embedded in the Mavi Marmara. They included Turks, Afghans, Yemenis and an Eritrean who were experienced in hand-to-hand fighting.

Yesterday, the Israeli Navy claimed three commandos had been dragged unconscious into one of the ship's halls ''for several minutes'', before regaining consciousness and escaping. It was not clear if any of the three were among three commandos who the activists on board the Mavi Marmara have said were beaten, then sheltered and given medical treatment.

However, the flotilla crisis is not just about Israel.

The virtual takeover of what was a coalition of groups from a dozen countries by Turkish NGOs plays into regional politics. Long an Israeli ally, Turkey is flexing its muscles regionally, bonding with Syria, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Hamas - and at the same time, awkwardly exposing the Arab world's flip-flops on the Palestinian cause and by its demonstrable actions, almost shaming them to do more.

Tucked in under all that, is Washington's role in the region. The rest of the world was quick to criticise Israel in the aftermath of the flotilla fiasco, but the Obama White House called for an Israeli inquiry, the kind of response that placates Israel but erodes US credibility in the region.

SOME on the ship thought the Israelis did not put enough into their opening shots.

Espen Goffeng, a Norwegian, said: ''I looked over the rail and saw the zodiacs. It seemed hopeless for the Israelis - they tried to lock-on their grappling hooks, but they were hit by the fire hoses and their own projectiles going back to them.''

He wondered if the boats had been a decoy to draw passengers to the rails while helicopters were used to land Israeli commandos higher in the ship. But that proved difficult too, with the first two lots of chopper-borne commandos being captured by the activists.

''The first ammunition I heard striking the ship sounded like paint balls,'' Goffeng said. ''But some people said there had to be glass in them, because of the wounds they caused. There was a lot of blood in the stairwells and then the sound of the ammunition hitting metal changed again - I decided that was the live ammunition. People were yelling, 'Live ammo! Live ammo!'''

He said that people in the TV broadcast area on the aft deck were being targeted. ''I helped to carry one of the dead down to the second deck, and as I returned, a man who had been shot in the leg was being carried down. And when I moved to the press room, one of the men who worked there was dead, with a hole in his forehead and half his head missing. Then there was an announcement on the PA system telling us, 'Keep calm; it's over … they have taken the ship and we have lost'.''

Soon after, Israeli soldiers smashed the doors to the press room, The Age was told, and then called the media workers forward one at a time. ''They searched us,'' said a cameraman who had managed to unpick the waistband of his underpants sufficiently to create mini-pockets in which he successfully secreted most of his cameras discs - a strip-search revealed just one of them. ''They took cell phones and hard drives . . and anything else that was capable of capturing or storing images.''

On the open decks and in the salons lower in the ship, conditions were far less pleasant than the press room.

Matthias Gardell, the Swede with a fashion-conscious daughter, complained of people being forced to kneel for hours on the open deck where prayers were held. But with an Israeli helicopter hovering constantly near the deck, its downdraft sprayed the prisoners with wind and water, in the circumstances a freezing combination. ''Keeping the choppers there seemed to be deliberate, as though they wanted to enfeeble us by holding us in such unpleasant conditions,'' he said.

People were not allowed to go to the restrooms. But Gardell was especially horrified by seeing the experience of a badly wounded man in his late 50s, who the Israeli troops forced to remain on the open deck. ''Suddenly, his right eye exploded in a gush of blood - and a blob of something fell out of it.''

The Israeli troops did come prepared. Canadian activist Kevin Neish found a booklet he believed had been dropped by one of the Israelis - it contained images of the key leadership figures, including IHH leader Bulent Yildirim and the nerves-of-steel Palestinian lawyer who headed the Free Gaza Movement, 34-year-old Huwaida Arraf. On being offloaded at Ashdod, she was last seen by The Age being frogmarched away from the detainee processing centre where her activist confreres were being processed through a chaotic maze of bureaucratic and security checkpoints.

And by the time the ship reached Ashdod, the passengers complained that most of their cases and other baggage had been strewn on the inside decks.

But there was an infectious camaraderie among the protesters on the flotilla - bound by politics, prayer and song; it was a finishing school for almost 700 new and articulate ambassadors from dozens of countries for the Palestinian cause. And the Netanyahu government has given them a story to tell. Like the Mossad's January assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai, halting the Free Gaza flotilla has been a tactical success but, in hindsight, appears to have been a strategic disaster. The cost to Israel's international credibility may be great.

And these new advocates for Palestine were going home prepared - many were observed recording detailed accounts of their experience - with timelines and explanatory graphics.

Back home they may be better received than they might have been last week because of the tone of the trenchant criticism of Israel around the world. The images broadcast around the world, despite Israel's best efforts, dovetailed with the forthright account of the likes of Anne Jones, a former American diplomat and US Army colonel.

''The Israel Defence Forces acted as pirates in shooting at us and stealing our ships in international waters,'' she told The Age. ''They kidnapped us and brought us to Israel; they arrested and imprisoned us; they paraded us before cameras in violation of the Geneva Conventions.''

Blonde-haired and just 21, Jerry Campbell awoke at 4am to attend dawn prayers, but she had hardly bowed her head before she was dragged off to a nursing station to help treat four gunshot victims. Worse was in store for this young woman from Queensland's Gold Coast. ''I looked up as I was caring for a wounded Indonesian and saw my husband being carried in.'' That was 20-year-old Ahmed Luqman Talib who had been shot in the leg. She cut his blood-soaked clothing from him but then followed his instructions to tend to others. ''I'm OK,'' he told her.

She lost count of the number and nationalities of those she tended to. ''I saw two men die out there … they floor was covered in blood and the IV units were tied to the ceiling with bandages.''

Campbell went to and from her husband who seemed to be deteriorating. ''One man's stomach was opened - his intestines were out and the doctor reached inside and pulled out some bullets, before pushing everything back in and wrapping him up,'' she said. ''I don't know if he survived.''

Late on the second day in detention, Israeli officials showed 45-year-old Gigdem Topcuoghe, a Turkish woman, a picture of her dead husband - she became catatonic. At the Ella prison in Beersheba, she recounted to her fellow inmate and Fairfax photographer Kate Geraghty how, during the dawn prayers that heralded the attack on the Mavi Marmara, she had found her husband on the floor. He had been shot in the forehead and was bleeding from his mouth and nose.

''I think of first aid - I need to help him. I checked his breathing … he was bleeding faster. I gave him some water and started praying for him - I held him in my arms. He wasn't conscious - I held him tight, but I realised he was gone when he didn't react in any way, but my husband is not dead - he will live with and among us.''

Several witnesses have recounted in awe how Topcuoghe accepted condolences briefly - before leaving her husband's body to throw herself into helping the injured.

Later in Israeli detention, the new widow addressed her tearful friends, turning to the state of Israel. Describing the assault on the Mavi Marmara as inhuman, she urged Allah to show the people of Israel the right path, but then added: ''May they face more cruelty that we have, and when this happens we'll be there to help them - and to take humanitarian aid to them, just like centuries back when the Ottoman sultan sent aid and ships to rescue the Jews from Spanish cruelty.''

Time, brief as it was, spent inside the Israeli apparatus was revealing.

Whenever the flotilla prisoners were processed, security and other workers gathered to gawp, frequently producing mobile phones to shoot happy snaps of themselves in front of the prisoners. As a big group of men - your correspondent included - waited in Block 5 at the Ella Prison at Beersheba to be bussed to Ben Gurion Airport for deportation on Wednesday, a big group of security cadets was wheeled in to stare in wonderment, licking ice-creams as they did.

Several Europeans were distressed by the distinction the Israelis made between prisoners. The Norwegian activist Randi Kjos was genuinely shocked by what she observed. ''They treated us with hatred - the old were made to kneel for long periods and women had to sit with their arms crossed. Some of the wounded were naked to the waist … many were in shock.

''Palestinians and Arabs were treated very differently to Europeans or Westerners. Palestinians who asked for anything were belted, pushed around or treated with contempt. People warned me of the hatred I would see - but still, I was shocked.''

The Norwegian observed that many of the women prisoners were denied a phone call on the grounds that a functioning telephone ''was broken''. Others were furious on behalf of many Turkish women who were denied a call home because they could not satisfy their guards demand that they converse in English.

AT ELLA prison it quickly became clear that the guards were under strict instructions not to inflict physical violence on the prisoners. The detainees taunted the guards. ''We're all Palestinians,'' one of the prisoners delighted in telling an officer, over and over; while another guard became visibly upset when one of the prisoners told him, when he already was upset about another matter: ''You're not really cut out for this job - you should have been a school teacher.''

Whenever an officer clenched his fist in such exchanges, a colleague would move in and take him away.

But amid much taunting by prisoners, the refusal to lash out could last only for so long and at the airport a brawl erupted between deportees and their keepers, with several of the activists getting on the planes bruised.

As they left a detention system in which some had been subjected to more than half-a-dozen body searches, many still were subject to a humiliating, painfully slow strip-search by smirking airport staff as they quit the country.

As the Israelis continued to hold Bulent Yildirim till late into Wednesday night, a group of 15 detainees still being processed through the airport staged a protest when they observed Yildirim being put in a cell. ''So the security guys just attacked us,'' said Mohammed Bounoua, an Algerian who complained that he had been beaten three times during his less-than-72 hours in Israeli custody.

The 10-hour wait on the Ben Gurion tarmac and the late-night flight to Istanbul was joyous.

Three Turkish aircraft were parked adjacent to terminal 1 and as the Israeli authorities processed passengers at snail's pace, each was welcomed onto the aircraft with clapping, cheering, crying. There was a festive mood as friends who had been separated were reunited and pensive tears for those waiting for husbands, siblings, friends who had not been seen for days.

After several hours on the tarmac, the pilot announced that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had insisted that none of the aircraft would leave until all the Turkish activists and the bodies of the dead had been loaded.

There were bursts of song.
* * *

01 June 2010


The ABC continued its disgusting and revolting and totally one-sided bias over the last 24 hours with its coverage of the latest Israeli outrage on the Gaza-bound flotillas.

Who was interviewed, why they were interviewed, why others weren't interviewed - the person in charge of running the ABC needs to answer some questions - as too does the government which funds the ABC and SBS.

Israel has just perpetrated some war crimes which hopefully one day will be prosecuted at the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. The pathetic Australian government and its equally pathetic opposition continue to offer unqualified support to this illegitimate regime which is perpetrating crimes against humanity even in excess of what apartheid South Africa managed, but the ABC interviews only Israeli-connected people who continue to lie blatantly and without fear of contradiction.

Whatever happened to journalists who tell it like it is and don't toady to their bosses? - the ABC is currently run by a person who was the editor-in-chief of Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald - need one say more?

Newmatilda will disappear at the end of June 2010 unless some financial deal can be found to rescue them, and what will we be left with? Leftwrites disappeared several months ago and who still writes left and manages to reach a wide audience?

Blogs help but are not enough on their own - and in Australia what is left? Certainly with the ABC and SBS down the gurgler - not much.

The outrage over Israel should have been heard loud and clear by every media organisation in Australia - not forgetting the forged passport debacle so recently perpetrated by that rogue regime, and all we get is limp-wristed feather-tickling - how pathetic!!!


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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm