25 April 2011


There is something very strange about these two situations. John Laws is a homophobe, John Howard is a homophobe and Kevin Rudd is a homophobe. Alan Jones is a homosexual male.
John Howard and Kevin Rudd dashed to the defence of Alan Jones when:
"The Australian broadcasting watchdog has found that 2GB and its prominent breakfast presenter Alan Jones breached the radio code of practice during broadcasts just before the infamous 2005 Cronulla riots.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority today found that the company and Jones broadcast material - specifically comments made by Jones between December 5-9 - was "likely to encourage violence or brutality and to vilify people of Lebanese and Middle-Eastern backgrounds on the basis of ethnicity".
The investigation by ACMA began after complaints were received after the broadcasts, some of which had Jones calling the men responsible for an alleged attack on Cronulla beach "Middle Eastern grubs".
On December 7 Jones read out a listener's letter on air, saying: "My suggestion is to invite one of the biker gangs to be present in numbers at Cronulla railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive, it would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back onto the train for the return trip to their lairs.
"Australians old and new shouldn't have to put up with this scum."
ACMA found the listener's comments breached section 1.3(a) of the code."
So we have the situation that two homo-haters support Jones and oppose Laws who got off without even a rap on the knuckles for his homophobic rantings, and Laws advises Howard to read the book on Jones.
Somewhere along the way, this all smacks of hypocrisy, homophobia, racism, sexism, heterosexism and no justice being done anywhere by anybody.
So much for the Howard watchdogs and other government -administered tribunals. Is it any wonder that people have lost faith in procedures in this country for settling disputes? It is all too horrifying to contemplate and will only get worse, no matter who wins the next federal election!
Laws wins 'pillow biter' case
• (16 April 2007)
March 1, 2007
Other related coverage
• Richard Ackland: Powerful always find ways to silence criticism (see below)
A complaint made by a gay rights activist after broadcaster John Laws called a homosexual TV personality a "pillow biter" has been dismissed in the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
In 2004, Laws called Carson Kressley, the star of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, a "pillow biter" and "pompous little pansy prig".
Laws said his comments were supposed to be funny and tongue-in-cheek.
However, gay rights activist Gary Burns filed a complaint with the tribunal, saying Laws's comments promoted homosexual men as dirty and perverted.
But in a decision in the tribunal today, a panel of judges dismissed the complaint.
They are yet to rule on who should pay costs.
Outside the tribunal, Mr Burns said he was disappointed by the decision.
"I took this action because I believe it's important to stand up and erase hate in society," he said.
"It's about standing up against bullies.
"I didn't win on this occasion, but I will continue in my mission to dissuade hate in society."
In a further shot at Laws, Mr Burns said the broadcaster's "souffle went poof 10 years ago".
Laws was on air on Southern Cross Broadcasting this morning, and was not present for the decision.
General counsel for Southern Cross Broadcasting, Adam Olding, said the radio network was pleased with the decision.
"The result is what we had hoped for, and what we were confident we would get," he said.
"But we're still digesting the judgement. There is nothing more we can say at this stage."
Powerful always find ways to silence criticism

Richard Ackland
March 2, 2007

Other related coverage
• Laws wins 'pillow biter' case (see above)
Right-thinking people everywhere will be relieved that on the eve of Mardi Gras the radio broadcaster John Laws has had an important free-speech victory. The case was brought by a gay rights person, Gary Burns, over the great announcer's description of Carson Kressley, the star of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, as "a pillow-biter" and a "pompous little pansy prig".
Laws was unhappy that in 2004 Kressley was judging fashions at the Melbourne Cup. As he put it so wittily: "He was on Channel Seven judging girls, now what the hell does a pillow-biter know about judging girls? They should have had a few truckies down there, or me …"
Needless to say, his talk-back callers were thrilled. Laws defended himself on the basis of his well-known qualities as a coruscating funny man and that he was being "tongue in cheek".
The Administrative Decisions Tribunal found the remarks did constitute vilification of homosexuals, but fell within an exception in the act designed to protect freedom of expression.
We are indeed fortunate in this great country to have this freedom exercised by people of Laws's intellect.
My feeling is that Laws's anxiety about pillow-biters is a reflection of certain unresolved tensions in his character. Sorry, John, just being tongue in cheek. Anyway, Burns was seeking to have Laws punished so he would not speak like that again. He was the little fellow taking on the might of the corporation that engages Laws at a vast fee to impart his breezy utterances each weekday morning.
Jones rapped for pre-riot 'scum' remarks

Dylan Welch
April 10, 2007

The Australian broadcasting watchdog has found that 2GB and its prominent breakfast presenter Alan Jones breached the radio code of practice during broadcasts just before the infamous 2005 Cronulla riots.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority today found that the company and Jones broadcast material - specifically comments made by Jones between December 5-9 - was "likely to encourage violence or brutality and to vilify people of Lebanese and Middle-Eastern backgrounds on the basis of ethnicity".
The investigation by ACMA began after complaints were received after the broadcasts, some of which had Jones calling the men responsible for an alleged attack on Cronulla beach "Middle Eastern grubs".
On December 7 Jones read out a listener's letter on air, saying: "My suggestion is to invite one of the biker gangs to be present in numbers at Cronulla railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive, it would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back onto the train for the return trip to their lairs.
"Australians old and new shouldn't have to put up with this scum."
ACMA found the listener's comments breached section 1.3(a) of the code.
However, late last year Jones defended himself from the accusations of incitement to violence, saying only 2.2 per cent of his audience was under 29 and the riots were caused by 18 to 29-year-olds.
In a statement, Macquarie Radio Network chief executive Angela Clark dismissed ACMA's findings as "seriously flawed and ill-founded''.
She said 2GB and Jones were opposed to violence and had repeatedly said so on air at the time.
Talkback radio, by its very nature, aired the sometimes controversial views held in the community, she said.
"A broadcaster's use of listener material does not always indicate agreement with that material,'' Ms Clark said.
"In this case ... Alan Jones repeatedly urged listeners to refrain from acting on the calls for violence.
"Instead (he) called on the police and state government to ensure a full and appropriate police response to community divisions and tensions and for lawbreakers to be dealt with swiftly by police.''
Other complaints dismissed
ACMA found that comments made by Jones in his December 8 broadcast implied that people of Middle Eastern background were responsible for raping women in western Sydney.
However, ACMA dismissed complaints about other comments aired on December 5, 6 and 9.

PM backs Jones in riot row

April 11, 2007
Latest related coverage
• Jones breaches code with riot talk (see above)

Other related coverage
• Radio: Jones not a voice for prejudice, says PM
• Jones rapped for pre-riot 'scum' remarks
Prime Minister John Howard has backed embattled Sydney radio identity Alan Jones a day after he was found to have incited violence and vilified people of Middle Eastern descent in the days before race riots in Sydney.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) yesterday found Jones breached the Commercial Radio Code of Practice during his breakfast program between December 5 and 9, 2005.
The authority said the comments broke the code by being "likely to encourage violence or brutality" and "likely to vilify people ... of Middle Eastern background".
However, Mr Howard today called Jones an "outstanding broadcaster".
"I am not going to get involved in comments on individual decisions, but let me say this; I think Alan Jones is an outstanding broadcaster," Mr Howard said.
"I don't think he's a person who encourages prejudice in the Australian community, not for one moment, but he is a person who articulates what a lot of people think," he said.
In his morning radio show, Jones today attacked the authority's ruling.
"Anyone who knows me knows I've never encouraged violence or brutality in anything ... and I did the exact opposite but our defences counted for nothing," Jones told his listeners.
One excerpt Jones read from a listener on December 7 recommended that bikie gangs confront "Lebanese thugs" at the Cronulla railway station.
Jones today played another excerpt from about the same time telling a listener not to promote the riot, which eventually ensued on December 11.
"On countless occasions ... I had as I have regularly on this program opposed violence and brutality and urged people to allow the law to take its course," he said today.
He said the people who made the original complaints heard only excerpts aired by an ABC broadcast, which also provided information to its listeners on how to make a complaint to ACMA.
"The people who complained to ACMA had not heard any of my program," Jones said.
"If people don't listen to the program all the time, why then are 26 seconds of comment that I might have made, chosen to hang me," he said.
"If that doesn't constitute bias I don't know what does."
Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd said he would continue to be interviewed on air by Jones, despite ACMA's ruling.
"In terms of the future appearances (on) Alan Jones' program, there's nothing I've read at this stage that would cause me not to go on," he told ABC radio.
2GB's majority owner, advertising guru John Singleton, said while he did not always agree with his star radio presenter's comments, ACMA's ruling was wrong.
"The findings are based on nothing," he told ABC radio.
"(The ACMA inquiry's) taken 18 months, it's cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars, probably the taxpayer millions of dollars and is a finding that's totally inappropriate, totally wrong, with no penalty."
Penalties being considered by ACMA include a possible suspension or cancellation of 2GB's licence, fines and training programs for the radio station's staff.
Communications Minister Helen Coonan has ordered ACMA and commercial radio operators to immediately review the industry's code of practice in the wake of the Jones case.
A review had been scheduled to begin in September, but Senator Coonan said given recent complaints about talkback radio programs it should be brought forward.
Leaders back Jones in race riot case

April 11, 2007
Controversial radio host Alan Jones - found to have incited the Cronulla riot - has been praised by the PM as an outstanding broadcaster.
Other related coverage
• Jones wins friends in high places (see above and below)
Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd will continue to appear on air with Sydney radio identity Alan Jones, despite the embattled broadcaster being found guilty of inciting violence and vilification.
Jones was yesterday found to have incited violence and vilified people of Middle Eastern descent in the days before race riots in Sydney.
Mr Rudd today said nothing he had read so far about the authority's report had caused him to reconsider appearing on Jones' show.
"In terms of the future appearances (on) Alan Jones' program, there's nothing I've read at this stage that would cause me not to go on," he told ABC radio.
Mr Rudd's comments come after Prime Minister John Howard also backed Jones, calling him an outstanding broadcaster who articulated what many people thought.
"I am not going to get involved in comments on individual decisions, but let me say this: I think Alan Jones is an outstanding broadcaster,'' Mr Howard said.
"I don't think he's a person who encourages prejudice in the Australian community, not for one moment, but he is a person who articulates what a lot of people think,'' he said.
ACMA said Harbour Broadcasting Pty Ltd, licensee of commercial Sydney radio station 2GB, had twice breached Australia's broadcasting code in the days before the December 2005 Cronulla race riot.
The regulator found the Commercial Radio Code of Practice 2004 was breached by comments aired on Jones' top-rating breakfast program during December 5 and 9, 2005.
Those comments contravened the code by being "likely to encourage violence or brutality" and "likely to vilify people of Lebanese background and of Middle Eastern background on the basis of their ethnicity".
The authority said the comments broke the code by being "likely to encourage violence or brutality" and "likely to vilify people . . . of Middle Eastern background".
In his morning radio show, Jones today attacked the authority's ruling.
"Anyone who knows me knows I've never encouraged violence or brutality in anything . . . and I did the exact opposite, but our defences counted for nothing," Mr Jones told his listeners.
One excerpt Jones read from a listener on December 7, 2005 recommended that bikie gangs confront ``Lebanese thugs'' at the Cronulla railway station.
Jones today played another excerpt from around the same time telling a listener not to promote the riot, which eventually ensued on December 11.
"On countless occasions . . . I had as I have regularly on this program opposed violence and brutality and urged people to allow the law to take its course," he said today.
He said the people who made the original complaints only heard excerpts aired by an ABC broadcast, which also provided information to its listeners on how to make a complaint to ACMA.

Laws lays into PM on Jones

John Laws ... made his views about the PM and Alan Jones known on air.
I mean if he feels he's got to keep Mr Jones on side because of the forthcoming election, I think he's got a problem

Other related coverage
• PM backs Jones in riot row (see above)

Sue Javes
April 13, 2007
Talkback host John Laws has criticised Prime Minister John Howard for his "unflagging support" of rival Alan Jones, advising him to "read the book".
Laws, whose show's on 2UE, bought into the dispute between Jones and the broadcasting authority on his national program this morning, but his focus was the prime minister, not whether Jones had breached racial vilification laws or incited violence.
Mr Howard called Jones "an outstanding broadcaster" after the Australian Communication and Media Authority ruled Jones had breached the broadcasting code on his 2GB breakfast program in December 2005.
"It's not my place to say whether comments made by Alan were racist or not but what it does show is a prime minister who seems to be in trouble - big trouble," Laws told his listeners today.
"I mean if he feels he's got to keep Mr Jones on side because of the forthcoming election, I think he's got a problem."
In a reminder to the Prime Minister that Laws himself enjoys a national audience, he said: "Obviously the Prime Minister feels that he needs Mr Jones at the moment because things are looking shaky, and you do need a little support in Sydney but you'll get plenty of support in Sydney and that's all because Alan Jones only broadcasts in Sydney."
Laws also has a swipe at Janette Howard.
"Do you really want to be seen publicly supporting Alan Jones? I know you and your wife like him. That's fine, but your wife allegedly liked Peter Hollingworth too."
Referring to Chris Master's biography on Jones, Jonestown, Laws said: "Read the book Prime Minister.
"Then you better ask yourself if this is the sort of individual you want articulating what you seem to think are the views of many Australians.
"It's very easy to pander to prejudice. Many of the most dangerous people the world has ever known did just that."
smh.com.au is awaiting comment from the Prime Minister's Office and 2GB.

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I have been a contributor to Antony Loewenstein's blog which deals mostly with middle east issues involving Israel, Palestine and other countries in the region. As well, of course, Antony deals with international politics and has some very interesting contributions from writers around the world.

In earlier days on Antony's blog there were contributors who were rude, insulting and offensive to such an extent that in the end Antony was forced to take action and eliminate some of these people from having their posts loaded onto the blog.

For some while this worked quite well, and the number of contributors has dropped considerably because of the absence of these cowardly bloggers.

Now we still have two cowards who hide behind their pseudonyms and attack from their shelter. They are viva peace - a contradiction in terms if ever there was one! - and BenZ - two people who are homophobic, zionist-loving, cowards who presumably do not live in Israel - too tough for them - but love the country, right or wrong - at a safe distance!

viva attacks me because I am a gay activist who also happens to be 80 years old, so I am poor old Mannie De Saxe. BenZ attacks me because he thinks that Israel s the greatest thing since sliced bread! Both attack me because of my left-wing politics - which is quite pathetic!

I have recently also been attacked by one embittered catholic old queen who responded to the article in the Good Weekend about the Two Of Us - my partner and me - because I expressed my loathing of the actions of the Israeli government! - and another one, Jewish, both not anonymous, who sent me an email expressing his disgust at my anti-zionism and attacking my gay activism.

I have no reason to continue contributing to Antony's blog to be insulted by two ignorant people who don't even know what they are talking about most of the time, and who can't even behave in a civilised manner towards others who contribute to the blog.

As I have my own blog, as well as all my web pages, I am still able to express my views and put them out on the world wide web without having to be insulted by a pair of ignoramuses who think they have the answers to the world's problems - but mainly to Israel's while living comfortably elsewhere.
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Now what does this remind you of? It must be one of the best cartoons of all times!

The trouble is, it would be funny if it weren't so sad!!!!!
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BLOG ABUSE 11.4.2007

I have had my own blog for a few years already. The blog is a public document and people can post to the blog in response to what the blogger writes about.

I am against censorship.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." to Helvetius, following the burning of De l'esprit in 1759
attributed to Voltaire, but in fact a later summary of his attitude by
S.G.Tallentyne in
The Friends of Voltaire (1907)

I am also against cowardly anonymous attacks people make while hiding who they are and what their agendas might be.

On my own blog I am able to remove anonymous postings from people who are so ashamed of their own identities that they dare not make them public.

On other people's blogs I am not able to stop this cowardly bullying which is carried on internationally by people who seem to be unable to identify themselves for fear of - what?

I have been posting on an irregular basis to a political blog maintained by a person whose political views coincide very closely with my own.

I have been attacked because I am an openly gay man who is not afraid to air his views which go against the grain of many of the cowardly anonyms who display their "tough guy" approach by hiding behind Mummy's apron. My name appears on the blog postings and anybody is able to find my web pages and read what my political activism is about.

Intimidation is the coward's way out. If what I write is objectionable to the people who read it, let them openly and honestly get involved with argument, discussion, dissention and alternate views.

I will not accept anonymity being posted on my own blog, and as my presence seems to be so objectionable to the cowards on the other blogs, I will continue to publish my views on my blog and web pages.

Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar (1599) act 2, sc.2.1.32:

"Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once."

Phineas Fletcher (1582-1650) wrote in Siceledes (performed 1614) act 5, sc.3

"The coward's weapon, poison."
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27 years ago Robert Mugabe achieved what many thought was impossible. He got rid of the colonial rulers of Rhodesia, including Ian Smith who had unilaterally declared Rhodesia independent of the UK and whose regime was propped up and supported for years by the apartheid South African police state regime.

For some years it seemed as if the new country named Zimbabwe would be a progressive government and retain its position as one of Africa's bread-basket countries. Who could possibly imagine that, for at least the last ten years, Mugabe has ruthlessly suppressed all opposition, ruined the farms, broken the economy - inflation has been running at 1700% and is tipped to shortly reach 2000% - presided over graft and corruption probably approaching the scale of Idi Amin and other "successful" African dictators, and caused the population of his country hardships in terms of unemployment - now apparently approaching 80% or more, collapse of health and education, and poverty and starvation so appalling that millions have fled into neighbouring South Africa and Mozambique.

Zimbabwe is now a basket-case and deteriorating on a daily basis. How much worse can it get?

To compound the situation, South Africa under an ANC government has been propping up Mugabe and keeping him in power by providing essential services, such as electricity, and failing to demand the repayment of loans.

Thabo Mbeki will go down as the president of South Africa who was guilty of the disgraceful behaviour over the HIV/AIDS crisis which makes South African statistics amongst the worst in the world. Mbeki is guilty of being an AIDS revisionist who believes that AIDS does not come from HIV and he has endeavoured over the years to do nothing about his citizens being able to obtain life-giving drugs until being dragged into court to enable these drugs to become available in South Africa.

With the news that Mbeki has been propping up the Mugabe regime for all these years, Mbeki has set a new record for himself. He will also now be remembered for supporting one of the African continent's most brutal and corrupt regimes for at least 10 years and more!

On 15 March 2007 The Age newspaper carried a report from Nelson Banya in Harare. Banya writes:

"Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is in intensive care with a fractured skull after what he says was a brutal police attack while in custody.

'He has just had a brain scan because his skull is cracked,' spokesman William Bango said from a harare hospital last night, adding that the opposition leader had also needed blood transfusions.

'He will be here for some time. He is in the intensive care unit,' Mr Bango said.

Zimbabwe prosecutors had earlier failed to appear for an expected court appearance by Mr Tsvangirai and dozens of others arrested on Sunday for defying a ban on protests against President Robert Mugabe's Government."

A report in the same paper by Sarah Smiles in Canberra tells another grim story.

"Australian man Jim Holland returned to his Zimbabwe home from a business trip this week to find his wife beaten up and battered in a Harare hospital surrounded by riot police.

Sekai Holland, 64, a member of Zimabwe's leading opposition group, was turtured by the security forces of President Robert Mugabe after being arrested at a rally on Sunday.

'She's been beaten all over her body,' Mr Holland told The Age from Harare. 'She's got lacerations, very extensive bruising . . . . in her case there were 15 thugs taking turns and a woman jumping on her with boots.

'When they finished all the beatings, they delibrately broke her arm and foot and then forced her to walk on it.'
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John Howard has recently forced the resignation of two of his ministers over issues which were seen to be damaging to his re-election hopes for the next federal election due late in 2007.
News came to hand during the last week of the New South Wales election campaign - the election was on Saturday 24 March 2007 - that one of Howard’s chief mischief planners was doing further mischief by interfering in the state election campaign.

The Age in Melbourne reported the issue on 27 March 2007 under the heading:

The Green Bandit

Ah, The Heff. Who else in the Federal Parliament can get away with carrying a knife in the corridors of power, regularly heckle at other people's press conferences and still get himself appointed to chair a government taskforce?

Senator Bill Heffernan found himself in the political spotlight again yesterday, when Greens Senator Kerry Nettle accused him of stealing Greens how-to-vote cards at the NSW state election on Saturday until being forced to return them by police.

This accusation, under privilege, elicited a furious reaction from Senate Leader Nick Minchin. "If Senator Nettle has serious allegations to make of any illegal activity, she should take it to the right authorities," he fumed. And so she did, writing to the NSW police commissioner last night.

The interesting issue is whether John Howard gets Bill Heffernan to do his dirty work for him or whether Bill Heffernan tells John Howard what he intends to do.
Heffernan tried some years ago - on Howard’s instigation perhaps - to get rid of that pesky gay judge Michael Kirby by a nasty smear campaign which backfired. That didn’t stop Heffernan from trying again a few years later.
Then also, Heffernan interfered in the previous NSW election campaign by smearing some politicians who were standing for election as he tried to do in this latest election campaign. He was unsuccessful both times but in the process managed to do some harm which is unforgiveable!
Howard doesn’t hold Heffernan to account and sack him - on the contrary he gets promoted and does Howard’s dirty work for him on an ongoing basis.
And this is ministerial accountability? Hopefully both will get sacked at the next election!
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Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity,
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072
Phone: (03) 9471 4878
Email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au
Web: http://www.zipworld.com.au/~josken
It really is time for Mardi Gras to take a long, cold shower! The incident at Fair Day involving security and CAAH and the calling of police is a disgrace. An organization which grew out of a grass roots activist and protest demonstration in 1978 during which the police behaved in the most brutal and disgusting way stops an activist group from moving around the grounds on Fair Day with its own political agenda.
If Mardi Gras does this sort of thing on Fair Day the future of the organization looks very bleak indeed.
Next, it would seem as if Mardi Gras will get upset by some of this week’s letters to the SSO complaining about the proposed David Hicks float and accusing David Hicks of all sorts of terrible crimes. Maybe the letter-writers ought also to go and have a few cold showers while they contemplate the fact that David Hicks has not yet been tried in a properly constituted court of law, and yet they are saying he is guilty already. What is happening with the Hicks case is representative of what has happened to human rights laws in Australia where there used to be a presumption of innocence until proved guilty.
Will Mardi Gras ban the float?
It would be a good idea if all concerned would go and read Richard Flanagan’s book, "The Unknown Terrorist" and think again about jumping to the conclusions they have.
Shame on you all!
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity (formerly Gay Solidarity Group, GSG)
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Kirsner and his ilk - Oh what a tangled web we weave------!!!
Friday 9 March 2007
The item below by Dr Doug Kirsner was written circa 2002. It seems that Kirsner has moved even further to the right, although it is so crowded there that there can’t be much room for him and his ilk these days.
Why is it that the Zionists in Australia are so on the defensive? Why is it that they live here when Israel patently needs them there to support its war against the Palestinians?
How thoroughly heroic of him to support Michael Danby and Philip Mendes and others of their ilk in order to discredit those voices in Australia which are silenced by the media, despite their denials.
Try sending letters to The Age – which has a Jewish editor-in-chief, Andrew Jaspan, who replaced a previous Jewish editor, Michael Gawenda, who used to be the editor of the Australian Jewish News (aka Israeli Zionist Times) – and to this so-called open uncensored paper the AJN and see how far you get.
Thank goodness for blogs, web sites and other modern media where one is able to express one’s views without the lies, distortions and twistings that people like Colin Rubenstein perpetuate on a daily basis. Oh yes, The Age gives him plenty of room to express his Zionist views, but does not allow dissenting voices to be heard, unless they have already broken through the censorship barrier, such as Antony Loewenstein, Louise Adler, Dennis Altman and others who are too well-known to be silenced. The rest of us are cut off from publicly expressing our legitimate arguments against the Zionists in Australia and the actions of the racist Zionist state of Israel.
“Janet Albrechtsen reveals the entrenched and blind bias in the ABC very well indeed. It's a very sad story, especially about a program that claims the high journalistic ethics ground without fear or favour.
Often defenders of the ABC claim that it compensates for right wing commentators such as Alan Jones, thereby admitting the endemic bias of “everyone's ABC”.
But yesterday I almost fell over when I heard a US conservative commentator on The World at Noon on Iraq. The ABC must have been desperate - though the anchor did point out that this commentator's views on Iraq needed to be understood in the context that he was a conservative. I don't hear such caveats when left wing commentators are introduced.”
Keep it up, Janet!
Dr Douglas Kirsner
Melbourne, Vic

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ACTIVIST KICKS BACKS - AKB Home | Profile | Archives | Friends

Anti-censorship, anti-homophobia, anti-religious right fanaticism, anti-zionism, pro-human rights for ALL!


Philip Mendes writes to The Australian on 10 March 2007:

Adler implies that only she and her fledgling Independent Jewish Voices group have been presenting a moderate and balanced Jewish voice on Israel/Palestine. In fact, many of us have been supporting a two-state solution for more than two decades. This has meant opposing Jewish right-wingers who advocate a Greater Israel at the expense of any Palestinian national rights, and similarly confronting anti-Zionist fundamentalists on the Left who favour creating a Palestinian state via the destruction of Israel. It has also meant copping abuse and threats from both the Right and Left. Adler has never previously been a participant in any of these debates. If she had been, she might have realised that the debate within the Jewish community is far more complex and nuanced than the absurd caricature she presents.
Philip Mendes
Kew, Vic

Actually, this is totally untrue. What is a “moderate and balanced Jewish voice on Israel/Palestine”? The fact that Mendes has been supporting a two-state solution for more than two decades would suggest that he is neither moderate nor offering a solution. As an academic, Mendes would be aware that the prospects of a two-state solution have been diminishing settlement by settlement and the building of the apartheid wall. The settlements in the West bank and Gaza were not a sudden development thought up to turn the whole of Palestine into a Jewish enclave. There are many more strategic reasons for this expansionism and as Mendes managed to say at the end of his letter attacking Louise Adler – a grossly unfair misrepresentation by any standards – the situation “is far more complex and nuanced” and dismissing Adler’s views as “the absurd caricature she represents” requires deeper analysis than the superficial sneer crossing Mendes’ lips as he utters this reprehensible smear.

Not every Jew in Australia gets up on street corners and shouts their views from the rooftops. Not every Jew is an activist on Israel/Palestine issues. Not every Jew has to be seen to be a participant in any of these debates, and Mendes is in no position to criticise unjustly those who disagree with his narrow, bigoted and out of date views. Valid arguments would make more sense than his ugly diatribe. There are other ways of carrying on the discourse on this land which has been cursed by blind Zionist ideology for more than 100 years.

It is still a matter of puzzlement to many of the 6 or 7 million Jews who choose not to live in Israel why those who are so destructively critical of opposition to their “forced upon the Palestinians” solution do not themselves settle in Israel and help to obtain the answer which so many of them desire.

The Jewish state is a religious nationalist state and is by interpretation a repressive undemocratic entity. Don’t keep on telling us about the great Israeli democracy –“the only democratic state in the Middle East.” And don’t be so patronising!
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Another letter to The Age (Thursday 8 March 2007) in response to a letter from two "community" organisations which have the effrontery to tell us that they are elected and democratic. They are neither, and this letter is an attempt to put the record straight!

Mannie De Saxe
2/12 Murphy Grove
Vic 3072
Phone: (03) 9471 4878
Email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au


The claim by two Jewish groups that “The Australian Jewish Community’s elected representative bodies are open and democratic, which is why the claims of the so-called “Independent Australian Jewish Voices” should not be treated at face value” is a blatant lie!

Who elected them, who do they represent, and how were the votes recorded?

The Australian Electoral Commission does not have a recording of all Jewish voters in Australia and does not conduct elections to these so-called elected representative bodies. As Paul Keating so infamously said, these bodies are “unrepresentative swill” and are certainly not democratic!

When a Jewish gay group requested affiliation to the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, they were infamously refused – just as John Howard refuses recognition of the human rights of sexual minority groups in Australia.

Jewish minority voices are not heard in this country, and we now have the opportunity of changing all this. We are making progress and our voices will be heard more and more. As of yesterday there were already approximately 400 signatories and the numbers are growing. How many signatories are there in the abovementioned “representative bodies”?

Mannie De Saxe, Jews Against Oppression and Occupation
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Letters in The Age (Wednesday 7 March 2007) attacked the new Jewish Protest group. I sent this letter to The Age but it is too controversial for them to publish it.

Mannie De Saxe
2/12 Murphy Grove
Vic 3072
Phone: (03)9471 4878
Email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au
7 March 2007

In 2005 the Jewish Virtual Library listed 102,000 Jews in Australia, 0.51% of the population.
Colin Rubenstein and his Zionist mates need to get their facts right.

Antony Loewenstein put the cat among the pigeons with the publication of his book, “My Israel Question”. Since then many Jews have realized that they can speak out about Israeli oppression and occupation and get their voices heard.

Daniel Lewis (7 March 2007) gets the Australian Jewish population wrong. He says many signatories to Antony’s document get letters published in The Australian Jewish News (aka Israeli Zionist Times) weekly. What he doesn’t say is that many signatories never get their letters published because the owner and editor disapprove of the views expressed in the letters. This also goes for The Age over letters too critical of Israel of which the editors disapprove.

At the time of writing this letter late in the day on Wednesday 7 March 2007, more than 300 people had signed the document, and more are expected to sign in the next few days and weeks.

And Jason Foster (7 March), many of us do NOT support the two-state cop-out but believe that we need to build the strength of opposition to the Israeli government’s continuing apartheid style oppression of the Palestinian people, issues freely discussed in the Israeli media but silenced for the most part by the Australian media.

Colin Rubenstein has got this issue wrong as ever, but gets his views published in newspapers. Antony Loewenstein has gained a voice for many silenced Jews in Australia by getting HIS and our voices heard.

Mannie De Saxe, Jews Against Oppression and Occupation

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Julian Burnside, in his essay "Trial by Prejudice" in arena magazine 87 of February-March 2007, concludes his scathing attack on Howard, Ruddock and Downer with the following statements:

"Confessions of an accused person obtained by use of coercion are inadmissible in Australia, in England and in America. It offends the most basic principles of our justice system that an accused person can be coerced or tricked into making a statement which is later used against them. No such protection for Hicks. Philip Ruddock remains unconcerned. (My comment - just like Jimmy Kruger, South African Justice Minister at the time of Steve Biko's death in 1977 infamously remarked "his death leaves me cold!")

This is Ruddock's idea of a fair trial. This raises another question: Would Philip Ruddock permit criminal trials in Australia to run on these lines? Would he allow hearsay and coerced statements to be used in serious criminal trials? If not, then why is he content to sacrifice Hicks to this treatment. If so, we have just seen our democracy disappear.

There was a time when only asylum seekers had to be terrified of Philip Ruddock. Now we all should be."(my emphasis!)

The Age, not recently well known for its liberal views on Australian politics, today, 3 March 2007, makes similar points in its editorial. It seems as if other citizens of this country are at last beginning to wake up to the human rights abuses inflicted on us by the Howard government over the last 11 years - today it enters its 12th year, but with Kevin Rudd's latest performance it looks like Howard's government may be settling in for the next 11.

We have to hope that some event will prevent such a disaster befalling on us all!

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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We have joined demos and campaigns to help obtain human rights for one of Australia's longest serving overseas untried prisoners (so far not tried in a court of law after five years of incarceration in a concentration camp and tortured all of that time) for supposed crimes for which he has not yet even been granted any preliminary hearings!

Ask Ruddock, Howard (two legally trained men - although it gets harder and harder to believe! ) and Downer whatever happened to that old dictum "innocent until proved guilty"

This triumvirate - the Coalition of the Willing - are determined to smear by innuendo and any other means at their disposal to get what they call a "legal conviction" for the so-called crimes which David Hicks is supposed to have committed in Afghanistan.

We are joined at home by two indomitable fighters for right and justice for all, Sam and DeeCee.

and we display our campaign poster for human rights for David:

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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Kevin Rudd has joined Howard, Ruddock, Downer and the other federal government members in hypocrisy which is breath-taking.

We all know about children overboard, AWB, WMD, Hicks, and now we have this so-called cristian politician - you know - holier than thou!!! - meeting with Brian Burke in WA in the not too distant past and we all know about what happened in WA when he was premier!

Rudd has already expressed bipartisan support on various issues proposed by the Howard government, which already played down his differences if he was to lead an ALP government, and now he shows himself to be even more out of touch with the electorate than previously supposed.

All politicians are equal, only some are more equal than others.

We long for a change in the political landscape in Canberra, and now it seems that it is even further from possibility than ever.

As the wise people say, "DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!!"

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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The Declaration
Statement of Principles: A Call for an Alternative View
We are Jews with diverse opinions on the Middle East who share a deep concern about the current crisis in the region.
We are committed to ensuring a just peace that recognizes the legitimate national aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians with a solution that protects the human rights of all.
We condemn violence by all parties, whether state sanctioned or not. We believe that Israel’s right to exist must be recognized and that Palestinians’ right to a homeland must also be acknowledged.
As Australians we are privileged to live in a democratic state that embodies the principles of tolerance and free speech. We feel there is an urgent need to hear alternative voices that should not be silenced by being labelled disloyal or “self-hating.”
Uncritical allegiance to Israeli government policy does not necessarily serve Israel’s best interests. Our concern for justice and peace in the Middle East is a legitimate opinion and should be met by reasoned argument rather than vilification and intimidation. In particular, we are concerned that the Jewish establishment does not represent the full range of Jewish opinion. Contrary to widespread concerns, anti-Semitism is not fuelled by Jews who publicly disagree with actions of the Jewish State.
Jews understand what it is to suffer racism and victimization and therefore we are not only concerned about anti-Semitism but also the demonisation of all other minorities.
We call upon fellow Jews to join us in supporting free debate to further the prospects of peace, security and human rights in the Middle East.
We invite you to keep informed and add your signature here.
Sign the Petition!

• Other Independent Voices
o Independent Jewish Voices (U.K.)
o Schalom 5767 (Germany)

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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The following article, from the Saturday 17 February 2007 edition of The Age, would be hilariously laughable if it weren't also so tragic - a pathetic attempt by all the racists to get some extremist views across, so it backfires - one in the eye for the Australian Jewish News - sorry, the Israel zionist times - and also for the Shalom College of the University of New South Wales, as well as the AIJAC. As we sow, so shall we reap!!

Professor dropped by Jewish lobby group
• Chee Chee Leung
February 17, 2007
Other related coverage
• Academic's warning on Muslims causes stir

A prominent Jewish lobby group has withdrawn support for an Israeli academic who warned that Muslim populations could place countries including Australia at risk of violence.
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council yesterday announced it had cancelled plans to co-host public appearances by Professor Raphael Israeli, including events in Melbourne next month.
"AIJAC is very concerned by Professor Israeli's implication that the Muslim community as a whole is a threat or a danger," the council's executive director, Colin Rubenstein, said. "His comments are both unacceptable and unhelpful and AIJAC cannot be associated with them."
Professor Israeli, from Jerusalem's Hebrew University, told The Age this week that problems could arise in Western nations when their Muslim population reached a critical mass — such as about 10 per cent in France.
However, he said an Australian Jewish News article that quoted him as saying Australia should put a cap on Muslim immigration or face being swamped by Indonesians had "corrupted" his words.
"I didn't come here to lecture Australians, I came here to lecture on the Middle East," he said. Asked about the cancellation of his public appearances, he said: "I didn't ask to go to these engagements. I was asked to take them, and now I have been asked to cancel them."
Sydney's Shalom Institute, which brought Professor Israeli to Australia to teach an Islamic history course, said it supported the professor's right to make observations. "For these comments to be distorted into what Australia ought to do is a gross misrepresentation," institute director Peta Pellach said.
Muslim leaders have described the academic's views as extreme.

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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Hypocrites breaking our law at every turn

Article in the Sunday Age, 18 February 2007:

[Australian Attorney-General] Philip Ruddock is a hypocrite when parading his Amnesty International membership. He pretends to give a toss for the organisation and the principles for which it stands: the rule of law, freedom from arbitrary arrest and punishment, freedom from torture, opposition to the perversion of accepted civilised notions of justice and the obligations he owes to those notionally under his protection. Instead, he has publicly and shamefully betrayed all of these precepts.
He is a liar when he pretends concern for [Guantanamo Bay prisoner] David Hicks’ fate. His protestations about Australia’s efforts to secure a speedy trial for Hicks cross the line of decency when we consider that Hicks is, after five years, not charged with any offence. Nor is he subject to the jurisdiction of any lawfully constituted court of justice. We know he has not committed any offences against Australian law. Our A-G says so. We also know that he does not stand charged with any known crime against US law. So how is it that the Attorney-General has not demanded the return of Hicks to the country that owes him protection as a matter of law?
It is because the A-G has publicly prostituted his duties to the law — and to those he owes a duty of protection — in the service of his political masters in the government he serves.
I say this without cover of privilege and challenge him to sue for defamation and take the risk of the facts emerging in any litigation. Cabinet solidarity is one thing; his mealy-mouthed public utterances on the subject are another. He should at least have the decency to stay silent rather than seek to defend and advance the indefensible.

He is, when last I looked, the Attorney-General. That means he is the first law officer of the Commonwealth. It is his primary obligation as Attorney-General — not as a politician, which he discharges in the hurly-burly of politics as an ordinary MP — to transcend the lies and evasions of politicians intent on holding on to power, and to discharge his duties to the law and the constitution: to protect and uphold the rights and liberties of, as well as enforce duties by, citizens of this country.
His utterances about David Hicks are damp-squib lies and deceptions, as are those of his political masters John Howard and of Australia's-face-to-the world, Alexander Downer.
When I became a citizen of Australia, I believed that as part of my pledging allegiance I also acquired the protection of my country at home and abroad. I can no longer believe in the latter while people like Ruddock, Howard and Downer are custodians of such protections. Nor can other Australians. Messrs Ruddock, Howard and Downer's pronouncements about seeking to have Hicks charged early in the new year (in front of commissions that have not yet been lawfully set up!) seem to me to be a desperate cover-up of their government's, fundamental dereliction of duty. Instead of demanding Hicks' return, they have made themselves complicit in procuring an illegal process to occur as soon as possible.
Rather than facing up to their duties to protect the fundamental rights of those subject to their theoretical protection, Ruddock , Howard and Downer are deliberately compounding the illegal actions of the American Administration by counselling and procuring an illegal process. This is a crime under our law. Instead of confessing to a wrong and doing the decent thing by trying to set it right, they are pushing ahead with "churching the whore" after the abortion. They urge the Americans to create a facade of legality for what is seen by all honest jurists as a gross violation of national and international law.
Shame on you Philip Ruddock. I say the same to your superiors and accomplices, but I pick you out because you are supposed to be the enforcing arm of law and justice in Australia, instead of the aider and abettor of the disregard of national and international law and justice.
In his latest defence of the indefensible ( 7.30 Report, February 6), Ruddock likened the serving of "draft charges" on David Hicks to being charged in Australia pending committal proceedings. He is lying. Hicks has not been charged. This can only happen with the approval of a "convening authority", which does not yet exist. Moreover, he is deliberately lying when comparing the process to what might happen in Australia because he knows that a person charged here must be brought before a court as soon as practicable — within 24 hours — or have access to habeas corpus.
As a lawyer, he knows that if the matter had been placed before an Australian court, it would be struck out as an abuse of process for a number of reasons: one of the "draft" charges is retrospective and would be struck out. The charge of attempted murder would be thrown out because, as any university law student would know, training is not an attempt to do it. You actually have to be "on the job" in trying to kill. This is so without even addressing the issues of hearsay or the use of coerced evidence, which raise other fundamental objections to what is proposed.
I used to say Ruddock bore an uncanny resemblance and presentation to an undertaker. I no longer do so because undertakers are decent, honest people doing a decent and honest job and should not be demeaned by a comparison to the indecency perpetrated by Ruddock as the frontrunner for his masters.

Shame on you all. Bring David Hicks home NOW.

Robert Richter, QC, is a Melbourne barrister.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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February 17, 2007

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, 212-430-6016 , halizadeh@iglhrc.org
(New York, NY, February 17, 2007) - Nigerian lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders speak out against a proposed law in a new report by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). The report, "Voices from Nigeria" provides personal accounts of homophobic attacks, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and increased levels of homophobia that have already begun as a result of the introduction of the legislation, referred to as the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act.

Introduced to the Nigerian National Assembly in January 2006, the Act launches a vigorous attack on freedom of expression, assembly, and association in Africa’s most populous nation. If passed, the law would create criminal penalties for engaging in same- sex marriages or relationships and for advocating for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders. Simply taking part in a gay or lesbian club or support group would be illegal. Public hearings on the bill were held on February 14, 2007, by the Women’s Committee of Nigeria’s National Assembly and it could be voted into law as early as next month.

"Ultimately, it is the lives of LGBT Nigerians that will be affected by this law," said Cary Alan Johnson, IGLHRC's Senior Specialist for Africa. "The report is meant to turn up the volume of those voices."

One of those interviewed for the IGLHRC report is an HIV Outreach worker named Chuma who was arrested and detained by the police in Lagos in 2006 while carrying out research for a study on the prevalence and risk factors of HIV/AIDS among men that have sex with men. According to Chuma, "a team of policemen in Lagos came to my apartment and took me away to an unknown place for 2 days. I was beaten beyond recognition, and I am still receiving treatment for the head injury I received. I was dehumanized and paraded naked to the press... My only offense was that I am gay." Chuma was eventually released without being charged or tried.

Sarah, a Nigerian sexual rights activist, believes that many Nigerians are acting like the Bill has already been passed. She cites attacks on gay men in Abuja, the capital city, and the expulsion of cadets from a national military academy.

During the hearings, officials in the Nigerian president’s office claimed that passage of the bill would help to fight HIV. Aishat, a gay Nigerian man interviewed for the report argues however that "the Bill will force to people having sex in secret rather than stopping gays having sex. Condoms will be used less and less often because there will be no time to develop relationships because of fear of being caught."

In releasing the report, IGLHRC has called on the Nigerian authorities to remember their commitments to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that guarantees freedom from unfair discrimination and the right to privacy. Provisions of the Act are also inconsistent with the principle of non- discrimination found in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Nigerian Constitution.

The report is available on line at http://www.iglhrc.org/files/iglhrc/reports/Voic es_Nigeria.pdf or by contacting IGLHRC.

Those interested in expressing their concern about the pending legislation can send politely worded appeals to:

His Excellency Professor George A. Obiozor
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Embassy of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria
3519 International Court, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: (202) 362-6552

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is a leading human rights organization solely devoted to improving the rights of people around the world who are targeted for imprisonment, abuse or death because of their sexuality, gender identity or HIV/AIDS status. IGLHRC addresses human rights violations by partnering with and supporting activists in countries around the world, monitoring and documenting human rights abuses, engaging offending governments, and educating international human rights officials. A non-profit, non-governmental organization, IGLHRC is based in New York, with offices in San Francisco and Buenos Aires. Visit http://www.iglhrc.org for more information.
email: executive_director@iglhrc.org
phone: 212-268-8040
web: http://www.iglhrc.org

The Mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is to secure the full enjoyment of human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression and/or HIV status.

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(Posted in Homophobia)

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February 18, 2007
Dear supporter of Israeli and Palestinian refusers,

We apologize for the long silence since our last email. The cause of that silence is, in fact, one of reasons for this email. The board of directors of the Refuser Solidarity Network has not been very active, and we need your help to strengthen it.

But before we explore that situation further, I need to talk with you about recent developments in the refuser movements...

First, a steady stream of young Israelis continue to go to prison for refusing conscription into the IDF as part of their opposition to Israel's ongoing (and all too soon to be 40 years of) occupation. Both Yesh Gvul (www.yeshgvul.org) and New Profile (www.newprofile.org) offer more details on these courageous young men and women, and we encourage you to visit those sites and find out how you can help.

Unfortunately, their acts of refusal do not tend to receive very much attention in the media, both in Israel or the United States. Another group of refusers, Combatants for Peace (http://combatantsforpeace.org) have, on the other hand and for a very tragic reason, been getting lots of attention lately.

As you may be aware, Combatants for Peace is the first refuser group that joins together Israeli and Palestinian refusers to call for an end to the terrible violence of the occupation. They came into existence in 2006 and have been very busy going on tours in the US to tell their stories.

CFP has lately received lots of attention in the media, because in January 2007, the 10-year old daughter of one of the leaders of CFP, Abir Aramin, was killed by the Israeli Border Police near her school. You will find one of the most recent articles on this horrible killing at the end of this message.

The death of Bassam Aramin's child is really no different from the deaths of the hundreds of other Palestinian and Israeli children, but it had the awful "human interest angle" of the father having rejected violence against Israelis. And so the media deemed this story worthy of exploration and publication, and we can only hope this attention will help bring an end to the occupation.

For that to happen, however, Combatants for Peace must continue its work and strengthen its voice. You can play a critical role in making that happen by making a donation to Combatants for Peace through the Refuser Solidarity Network in memory of Abir Aramin and in honor of Bassam Aramin, her father, who has declared:

"I will not lose my way because I lost my girl. I will only become more determined. We want to protect the children of both peoples. We have no alternative but to stop the killing."

To make your tax deductible contribution on-line, please click on this link https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=712 and be sure to choose "Combatants for Peace" as the RSN Project on that page. You can also contribute by sending a check (write "CFP" on the memo line) to Refuser Solidarity Network to:

Refuser Solidarity Network
P O Box 53474, Washington DC, 20009-9474

Thank you in advance for your support.

And now, hard as it is in the face of such tragedy, I must also talk to you about more mundane, but no less important, organizational issues. RSN was created in 2002 with a mission to build support for and raise the visibiilty of the Israeli refuser movement. Since that time, we have sent tens of thousands of dollars to the refusers, organized many tours, and maintained a "refuser portal" to benefit all the groups.

As happens with many groups of volunteers over time, however, the time and capacity of those volunteers to work on RSN's behalf has decreased. To put it simply, we need to recruit some new board members. This is not an honorary position. It is a working volunteer position. We need board members to make decisions regarding allocation of funds to the refusers, to help us send thank you notes to supporters, to support tours that take place in the US, and more. No single board member need take on an overwhelming amount of work; we distribute the tasks throughout the board (currently composed of seven members). We have quarterly, sometimes monthly, conference calls and usually have an annual meeting in person.

If you are interested in exploring whether or not it makes sense for you to join the RSN board, please reply to this email and we can discuss it further.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of RSN,
Steven Feuerstein
A father's plea: `Stop the killing'

He lost daughter, but not his hope for peace

By Joel Greenberg, Tribune foreign correspondent, Published February 11, 2007

ANATA, West Bank -- The death of Abir Aramin, a 10-year-old Palestinian girl, after a stone-throwing clash with Israeli Border Police in this village last month would have likely become just another grim statistic in a relentless conflict, had her father not reacted by publicly calling for peace, not revenge.

Bassam Aramin, 38, is a founder of Combatants for Peace, a group of Israeli reserve soldiers and former Palestinian prisoners who have joined forces to call for reconciliation and a negotiated solution to the conflict between their peoples.

Jailed as a teen for 7 years for organizing an armed cell, Aramin has spent recent months visiting schools across Israel with his Israeli colleagues to bring a joint message of non-violence and conciliation, a message he says he will now deliver with greater resolve.

"I will not lose my way because I lost my girl," Aramin said in an interview. "I will only become more determined. We want to protect the children of both peoples. We have no alternative but to stop the killing."

Abir Aramin was mortally wounded Jan. 16 near her school after boys threw stones at a passing Border Police jeep and rubber-coated bullets were fired from the vehicle, according to witnesses.

Police said the jeep was in the area to safeguard work on Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank, although construction in Anata has already been completed.

Border Police patrols in the village are regularly met with stone-throwing, residents said.

A police spokesman said an investigation found that Abir had been hit by a blunt object but that a final conclusion regarding the cause of death had not been reached. The spokesman said officers had used "riot control equipment," including rubber-coated bullets, to disperse the stone-throwers.

An Israeli pathologist retained on behalf of the Aramin family who observed the police autopsy and reviewed CT scans of the girl's head, concluded that the size and shape of her wound strongly suggested that she was struck by a rubber-coated bullet, though the possibility that she was hit by a stone could not be ruled out.

Michael Sfard, a lawyer from the Israeli human-rights group Yesh Din who is representing the family in the case, said he had given the authorities a rubber-coated bullet recovered at the scene. He said such bullets appeared to have been fired in violation of orders that prohibit shooting them at close range, and when the Border Police, traveling in a protected jeep, were not in danger.

After the incident, as Abir lay wounded in an Israeli hospital, the Israeli members of Combatants for Peace kept a vigil with her father, accompanying him in meetings with doctors and in the end to Israel's forensic institute to claim her body.

"This was not another activity of the group," said Avichay Sharon, an Israeli member of the organization. "Bassam is a friend, and we mobilized for him as you would for any friend, regardless of whether he's Jewish, Arab or Muslim."

Aramin asked that his Israeli colleagues avoid condolence calls during the mourning period, concerned that they would become the target of hostility in his village. Killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces are often followed by angry funerals and calls for revenge.

"I don't want revenge, because it won't change anything, and it won't bring my daughter back," Aramin said. "We've had revenge for decades, and look where we are. I want the soldier responsible to stand trial, so other soldiers will know that there is a price to be paid for taking a life."

Sharon said the death of his friend's daughter provided tragic reinforcement for the message of Combatants for Peace, whose members have spoken to students and community groups, advocating an end to violence and a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

"This brought home how urgent it is to put an end to this cycle of bloodshed," he said.
jogreenberg@tribune.com, Copyright 2007, Chicago Tribune

To unsubscribe from the RSN list, please reply to this email with REMOVE in the subject line.

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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Guantanamo a lawless prison: lawyer

Official ‘shirt-fronted’ Hicks adviser

By PENELOPE DEBELLE (ADELAIDE) and IAN MUNRO with BRENDAN NICHOLSON (from The Age newspaper, 6 February 2007)

Guantanamo Bay is a lawless prison run by the CIA and US interrogators using CIA techniques of subjugation and degradation, David Hicks’ Adelaide lawyer said yesterday (5 February) on his return from Cuba.

David McLeod, a conservative military lawyer and decorated army legal reservist, said he was “shirt-fronted” by the US military last week because he talked to the media about the conditions in which Hicks was held.

“I was subjected to a rather aggressive interrogation by one of the officials there for talking to the media in the way that I have,” he said. “This is the standard approach, this is what happens when a lawless place like Guantanamo Bay is subject to scrutiny.”

Mr McLeod would not reveal details of the interrogation but said Guantanamo Bay was a lawless place that sought to avoid public scrutiny.

US prosecutor Colonel Morris Davis said Hicks’ defence lawyers would be better employed preparing their case rather than chasing publicity.

Seeking to counter defence claims that Hicks was being subjected to retrospective legislation, Colonel Davis said the charge of providing support for terrorism leveled at Hicks was created more than a decade ago.

Professor Norman Abrams, a specialist in terrorism law at the University of California in Los Angeles, said the law was originally enacted in 1994 and it had been used in a number of prosecutions since.

However, Hicks’ military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, criticized the use of the charge, saying it was “not part of the law of war”. He said the law was being applied retrospectively to Hicks, something Americans would not do to one of their own citizens.

He challenged Attorney-General Philip Ruddock’s claim that the second charge of providing material support to terrorism was not based on retrospective legislation but on codified law.

Speaking on ABC radio, Mr Ruddock denied the law was retrospective.

“I’ve been assured that there were existing laws and this is a mere codification,” he said.

Major Mori said: “What are they saying the law was? What pre-existing law is my question.”

Mr McLeod spoke emotionally of having to leave Hicks behind.

The move by the US military prosecution to announce charges against Hicks the day after his legal team left was an act of “bastardry”. “I think he would be absolutely devastated by the fact that occurred in the absence of his legal team that had been there talking to him for four days,” Mr McLeod said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Howard has defended the determination of the US authorities to charge Hicks with attempted murder.

“Attempting to murder someone is not only constituted by pointing a gun at somebody and pulling the trigger and it not going off or it missing,” Mr Howard said last night.

He said people should remember that the allegations against Hicks were that he trained with al-Qaeda and, with full knowledge of the September 11 attacks, he returned to al-Qaeda allegedly to co-operate with that terrorist organisation.

“It’s a serious allegation and that’s the reason why we have been willing to see him tried before an American military tribunal and not bring him back to Australia where we would have to set him free because there was no criminal offence with which he could be charged,” Mr Howard said.

Hicks’ legal representatives say he decided after September 11 to come home to Australia and was captured by the Taliban after traveling from Pakistan to Afghanistan to collect his belongings.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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1) The David Hicks affair

2) The euthanasia debate and the censoring of Dr Phillip Nitschke's book

The euthanasia issue won’t just disappear because Philip Ruddock wants it to and because he bans Nitschke’s book and overturns the Northern Territory’s Euthanasia Act.

This article from The Age on 4 July 2006 (what a good date to report on a struggle for independence!!) puts the next fight firmly in Ruddock’s hands!

Euthanasia showdown

By Annabel Stafford

The Commonwealth is heading for a showdown with South Australia over plans to introduce a voluntary euthanasia bill before the end of the year.

A decade ago, the Federal Government overturned Northern Territory legislation allowing euthanasia. But Canberra does not have the same power over states as it does over territories, which means that if a bill goes through it will stand.

After reports that an Adelaide woman had traveled to Switzerland to end her life, two members of the SA Parliament have signalled their intention to put up a voluntary euthanasia bill.

Labor backbencher Steph Key said that while it would be the sixth time such a bill had been introduced in SA in the past decade or so, she was hopeful that this time it would pass. Ms Key, who has just returned from a fact-finding mission to the Netherlands, and independent MP Bob Such said they planned to introduce a euthanasia bill.

“I get the impression there is genuine support for voluntary euthanasia,” Ms Key said.

3) The gay partnership and the ACT legislation issue

The article below was in The Age on 7 February 2007, and reflects, yet again, if that were really necessary, that the present federal government is one of the most homophobic governments Australia has had, although equalling in many respects those of the state governments around the country now and in the years gone by.

Canberra blocks new ACT gay union bid


Gay civil unions have been thwarted again by the Howard Government, which yesterday (6 February) blocked a second bid by the Australian Capital Territory to recognize gay partnerships.

The ACT Government introduced its Civil Partnerships Bill in December (2006), six months after the Federal Government disallowed the Territory’s Civil Unions Act on the grounds that it would undermine the institution of marriage.

The ACT Government made changes in the new bill to allay the Commonwealth’s concerns – including removing the earlier statement that a civil union was to be treated in the same way as marriage under ACT law.

But the new bill had not removed the concerns the Commonwealth had with the Civil Unions Act, federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said yesterday. The proposed changes would still likely undermine the institution of marriage, he said.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell warned that the ACT voters would likely punish the Federal Government at this year’s election. “This is incredibly high-handed and arrogant,” he said.

Mr Corbell said the ACT had asked the Federal Government what parts of the original legislation it wanted changed, but it had refused to discuss the matter.

“The reason for that is that their position is fundamentally weak and they can’t explain in any substantive way why they oppose this,” Mr Corbell said.

“All they resort to is that this offends the institute of marriage – whatever that means.”

Mr Corbell said he would talk to colleagues about letting “this legislation lie on the table but not pass it”.

“We will simply let it sit in the assembly until after the next election…..maybe then we’ll have a federal government more willing to let the ACT legislate for its own citizens,” he said.

4) The anti-terrorism legislation

5) Concentration camps and asylum seekers

6) Gay and Lesbian adoptions

7) Gay partnerships of Australians overseas and attempts to prevent occurrence of such events in overseas countries by preventing access to required records.

Please post all items relating to Philip Ruddock and his parliamentary portfolios not yet in the above list - this has to be as comprehensive as possible to expose the excesses of this member of John Howard's government who is exercising too much control on our lives as citizens of this country.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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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