25 April 2011

BLOGNOW ARCHIVE - PART 11 - 2006-2007

Hangman pictures on jail wall, says Hicks
Tom Allard National Security Editor, Sydney Morning Herald
February 2, 2007
Other related coverage
• Hicks 'shown Saddam hanging shots'
• Open or shut: Hicks case may be empty
• MPs plea to Pelosi: help bring Hicks home
• MPs' plea to secure fair trial for Hicks
• Report 'boosts Hicks's case'
A PHOTOMONTAGE of Saddam Hussein - including a picture of him dangling from the hangman's noose - is displayed on a wall at Guantanamo Bay with a warning that prisoners could face the same fate, David Hicks says.
It has also been alleged that Mr Hicks and other prisoners were shown articles and photographs of other people executed in Iraq, including a man who was decapitated by his hanging.
The outraged Hicks legal team said the display breached the Geneva Conventions requiring the humane treatment of prisoners, and constituted coercion.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, said a senior official from his department who visited the prison this week had not seen the photos.
A statement issued by Mr Hicks's lawyers quotes Mr Hicks as saying the photographic display of Saddam Hussein was two metres by one metre and visible from the exercise cells where prisoners are allowed for two hours each day.
Mr Hicks's chief defence lawyer, Joshua Dratel, said: "Displaying photos of condemned men to those who may be facing capital charges can only [be] interpreted as an attempt to intimidate and compel submission under a threat of death."
He said the display amounted to the mental torture of an already abused prisoner population. In a statement, Mr Hicks's legal team added: "Unfortunately it demonstrates that the lessons of Abu Ghraib and the humane treatment of detainees have not been learned."
Kelvin Thomson, the Opposition's shadow attorney-general, said the display highlighted that Mr Hicks would not get a fair trial.
"Such photos would not be displayed in the remand section of an Australian jail, nor would they be shown to people facing charges in American jails," he said.
"The reason is simple - the authorities would be concerned that confessions or other evidence obtained in such circumstances would be thrown out as having been obtained through coercion."
Mr Hicks is said to be in a deteriorating mental and physical condition, although the Australian Government insists he is well.
The US has refused Australian requests for an independent medical assessment, but a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday the US had relented and the examination could take place after the "military commission process had begun".
When that will actually begin remains uncertain. However, American prosecutors have said they expect to lay charges by the end of this week.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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(Posted in International Politics)

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Qantas, Virgin Blue, censorship - this is really going overboard!

Presumably t-shirts stating, bizarrely, I love John Howard, I love Tony Blair, I love George W Bush, will not be queried, and will certainly be allowed on board, being politically correct to a fault!

Who is ultimately responsible for these inane decisions?

And since there are various permutations and combinations which will allow someone to board a plane with a t-shirt some passengers may find objectionble, what happens midflight when these are exposed?

If a person gets aboard an overseas flight with such a t-shirt hidden beneath lots of other clothing, and then mid-flight takes off coats, jackets, jumpers, other external garments, and exposes the "objectionable" garment to the 400 or so passengers, is the crew of such an aircraft going to demand that the person leave the aircraft immediately, preferably by parachute? Is the person going to be forcibly restrained while flight crew undress and re-dress the passenger? Are the crew going to lock the passenger up out of sight of other passengers? All sorts of bizarre scenarios present themselves.

This is a subject worthy of a novel, a play, some other form of literature, the subject of a book such as "The Unknown Terrorist" by Richard Flanagan, a must-read to find out what is happening in the world around us, and ultimately it must be something which can be used on tv other than the ABC with such shows as "The Chasers' War on Everything".

The trouble is that all television these days is becoming "Politically Correct", but we are still fortunate enough to be able to blog and see what fools people make of themselves with issues such as the t-shirt saga below!!

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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The more things change-------------!!!

On 2 May 1988, Diane Simmonds, Letters Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald wrote:

The issue of book banning refuses to go away. Readers, especially school children and students, continue to object to the prospect of having their reading material vetted and censored by well-meaning adults.

Their continuing misgivings can be summed up through an observation from Maitland: "In the 1930s, the German novelist Heinrich Heine wrote that the society that burns books will eventually burn people. This might seem a bit melodramatic, but I am sure people reading those words in 1931 probably thought the same - and look what happened".

An older reader objects from another viewpoint, signing him or herself "Fed Up." The reader writes: "The great Australian myth that we are a Christian society has led us to believe that we are all Christians. Voting Christians are a minority and I object most strongly to having Christian beliefs forced upon my children to the depletion of all other beliefs."

Then again, a father from Mudgee writes: "If they want to do something for the moral health of parents and children, I suggest they turn their attention to the violence, military and otherwise, that is not on school curricula but is even more widely available. It is turning us into a society of murdering, gun-toting, mindless morons."

Does any of this sound familiar in 2007? We have Philip Ruddock challenging the decision of the Office of Film and Literature Classification decision to approve Phillip Nitschke's book on euthanasia, and he wants the book to be banned.

ABC Online

Ruddock attempts to ban euthanasia book. 13/01/2007. ABC News Online

[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200701/s1826237.htm]
Last Update: Saturday, January 13, 2007. 7:42am (AEDT)

Mr Ruddock is appealing a decision by the OFLC to approve the sale of an euthanasia book. (ABC TV)

Ruddock attempts to ban euthanasia book
Euthanasia advocate Phillip Nitschke is furious that federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock is attempting to stop his book from being published in Australia.
Mr Ruddock is appealing a decision by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) to approve the sale of the self-help euthanasia book under strict conditions.
The book offers advice and tips to those considering euthanasia and is being sold in the United States and Canada.
Dr Nitschke denies his book would lead to an increase in Australia's suicide rate.
"Desperate people are the ones who do desperate things," he said.
"What we find is that when people are in possession of the best information, feel like they have choices and control, is that they actually live longer.
"So I simply don't agree with that idea that putting this information out is going to lead to a spate of suicides.
"Rather it will help or improve the overall general health of a lot of anxious and elderly folk at present."
Dr Nitschke says the Government's action is a violation of Australia's democratic rights.
"Over months [the OFLC] considered this book and they finally made the decision that yes, under strict restrictions, it should be distributed to Australians," he said.
"Then to have the Minister come along and say, 'no, I don't like this decision,' I mean if this is the case why doesn't every book that comes into Australia go straight to Philip Ruddock's desk.
"He's the deciding agent it would seem in Australia, not the body which is supposedly independent."
Support for publication
Prominent Northern Territory anti-euthanasia campaigner Tom Kylie says he also believes the book should be published.
Mr Kylie says that while he opposes what the book advocates, he believes it is important that an open and educated discussion is held.
"I think the issue needs to be debated seriously," he said.
"I disagree with [Dr Nitschke's] ideas and he's for euthanasia and I'm against it, but I think it's an issue which needs to be discussed so we know where each other stands really."
Mr Kylie says if the book is published it will lead to a healthy community debate.
"I think it should be allowed to be published, I'm not for this idea of book burning and all the rest," he said.
"The arguments for euthanasia and against euthanasia aren't solely religious or Christian."

© 2007 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Copyright information: http://abc.net.au/common/copyrigh.htm
Privacy information: http://abc.net.au/privacy.htm

Just as Ruddock wants to ban all contact with David Hicks, banning the truth as it emerges about Hicks' internment in Guantanamo concentration camp - an illegal and illegitimate camp set up outside the USA but controlled by the thugs the US government contracts to control it, and to ensure that information about the brutality perpetrated inside - no US citizens are incarcerated there - is not allowed to reach the outside world, although stories have emerged which the US government would rather remain silent about.

Ruddock has got to go. His resemblance to various "ministers" of the past 100 years in countries whose atrocities we will never allow the world to forget grow grotesquely more similar year by year and all his utterances are attempts to obfuscate the truth and do what Goebbels stated in the 1930s about lies:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

I never tire of quoting the title of Alan Paton's famous book: "Cry, the Beloved Country"

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) became, on 13 March 1933, head of the newly created National Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. He was also made president of the newly formed Chamber of Culture for the Reich. These positions gave him complete control over the press, radio, theatre, films, literature, music, and the fine arts.

As Propaganda Minister, Goebbels stated:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

Now let's look at this in an Australian context.

David Hicks has been incarcerated in an illegal concentration camp, run by the United States of America in a foreign country which the USA would like to destroy, but has other commitments which are using US resources in such a manner that Cuba has been spared the US onslaught - so far!

Guantanamo Bay - or Camp Delta, as the US calls it - is controlled in the same way as a concentration camp in a military dictatorship such as the one run by Saddam Hussein, and other allies of the USA.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the International Red Cross and other human rights organisations, have tried to gain more access to inmates at Guantanamo but are denied this by the US authorities. As a consequence the torture and human rights abuses carried on there without inspection and supervision have been responsible for suicides and other injuries because the guards in the camp are not subjected to controls, in keeping with the private ownership of such organisations established by the US in order to torture and incarcerate those whom the US and its allies deem to be "enemies of the state"!

David Hicks from Australia is one such person. He was bought by the US in Afghanistan for US$1000 and brought to Guantanamo over five years ago where he has been kept in soltiary confinement, tortured and left without trial because it suits the political machinations of the US and Australia.

There are no US citizens in Guantanmo - why? The UK had its citizens returned, and countless other countries have had their nationals returned.

Mamdouh Habib, an Australian national had to be returned when it was established, without any possibility of contradicion, that he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and there were no accusations which could be levelled against him which would stick under prosecution.

Hicks was also in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he was captured and sold as one sells an animal, and transported to a concentration camp where inmates have every type of crime committed against their persons by abuses which are not supposed to be tolerated by our so-called democracies.

This is where the Goebbels story comes into play. The senior law officer of Australia, Australia's attorney-general, Philip Ruddock, has repeatedly stated that Hicks will go to trial before a military tribunal in the USA and will receive a fair trial because the US attorney general has asssured him that this will occur.

As this US military tribunal is not yet established because the previous one was found to be illegal, what chances are there that a new one will be any different? Delay succeeds delay and Hicks' mental state is such that he now will not even speak to his father on the phone. Visits by his father have been virtually disallowed, as have visits by other concerned people, such as a psychiatrist, and organisations, and it seems the only US person fighting desperately for Hicks is his US military attorney, Michael Mori.

Yet we are told by Ruddock that the Australian government is very concerned about Hicks well-being and the delays in bringing Hicks to trial. The problem for Ruddock and the government of which he is part is that Hicks has not committed any crime against Australia for which he can be prosecuted, and there is a trumped-up charge which is to be brought against him because he "was involved in wanting to attack the United States and kill its citizens."

It is necessary to repeat yet again what Jimmy Kruger, South African apartheid minister of justice said when his police had murdered Steve Biko in 1977: "His death leaves me cold".

Ruddock is sounding more and more like that every time he opens his mouth or writes opinion pieces for newspapers trying to justify the unjustifiable!

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End incarceration of David Hicks
11 January 2007
On the fifth anniversary of the incarceration of David Hicks at Guantanamo Bay, the NSW Teachers Federation calls on the Australian government to take immediate action to repatriate David Hicks.
Maree O'Halloran, Teachers Federation President, said:
"The British government intervened to ensure that all British nationals were released from Guantanamo Bay and returned to Britain. These people now live in the community under British law. Similar action has also been taken by other governments on behalf of their citizens.
It is time to end the cruelty and to acknowledge that there has been a fundamental breach in the rule of law with respect to the incarceration of David Hicks.
A former Chief Justice of the Australian High Court, Sir Gerard Brennan, has said that Australia has shown itself to be "morally impoverished" by its acceptance of the way the USA has treated David Hicks.
It is important that all people are afforded their civil and human rights in a democracy."

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URL: http://www.nswtf.org.au/cgi-bin/printpage/printpage.pl
Modified: Tue Nov 15 19:47:06 2005

This page can be found at: http://www.nswtf.org.au/media/latest_2007/20070111_Hicks.html

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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Theodore E Lang, or Ted Lang for short describes himself as a political analyst and freelance writer.

So it was with some surprise that I read this statement by this anti-semitic "world-zionism-control" conspiracy theorist: "Our media is owned, operated and controlled by eight Zionist "Jewish" families " - meaning presumably the USA where Ted Lang "operates" for want of a better word.

What, I wonder, is Rupert Murdoch's response to this, or is this person just so irrelevant that the Murdoch empire wouldn't deem it worthy of a response?

I mean we all know and are told over and over again that the Jews own and control everything everywhere, so presumably that would have to include the media everywhere.

No doubt the Chinese and Indians would also be intrigued by this US take on the rest of the world.

What next, and where to from here??

(Posted in International Politics)

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To put all those names above in one heading - shock and awe!

John Howard talks about Saddam Hussein's execution as following due process of the Iraqi legal system. The fact that Iraq's government is a US puppet regime, installed by Bush,and Blair, with Howard the pathetic hanger-on, is of no consequence to our government.

But what due process has occurred for David Hicks? When is there going to be due process? Ruddock says that the US has been urged by Australia to speed up the process, but all other nationals, including those of the USA have long been removed from Guantanamo Bay.

Hicks is left there to rot by the Australian government as an example, may be?? to other would-be "terrorists??"

What will the Australian government's response be if Hicks, driven to ultimate despair, commits suicide, which is daily becoming more likely?

Will Philip Ruddock say, as Jimmy Kruger - South African minister of justice when Steve Biko was murdered by that regime - infamously said: "His death leaves me cold".

More and more people in this country, stung out of their apathy at last, are beginning to say, enough is enough. But Howard, Ruddock and Downer are not listening!

Oh, and of course we should not leave out the loyal "Alternative Liberal Party" which has chosen to stay silent over this five-year period! Even now, when there seems to be some movement in various areas, the ALP remains conspicuously silent!

Nor are some other people, judging by an article in the Sunday Age of 17 December 2006, by Mirko Bagaric. Bagaric suggests that that compassion is wasted on an individual Hicks case, because there are so mnay other instances around the world where we should be using our compassion. Bagaric fails to understand tha the Hicks case represents all that is wrong with the world around us and he is a representative of the evils of governments - ours specifically in this case, and that Hicks is an example of human rights abuses perpetrated everywhere at the moment. Very few countries are exempt from these charges, and it is interesting that the Sunday Age published Bagaric's article next to all those who had written to the paper in it's campaign to bring David Hicks home.

Bagaric asks why there is no outcry about the 400 other inmates at Guantanamo Bay. He is, of course, totally incorrect! There is an international outcry to have the illegal concentration camp closed as it represents flaws in democracy which the USA purports to want to push onto regimes such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria and other flawed regimes around the world. Unfortunately, the US style democracy is showing the biggest flaws of all as it should in reality be called "demockery"!
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Anti-censorship, anti-homophobia, anti-religious right fanaticism, anti-zionism, pro-human rights for ALL!


Michael Burd, who lives in Toorak, Melbourne, writes letters to The Age newspaper which are regularly published. Burd has stated elsewhere that he has "been to Israel 40 times and I love it!".

However, he does not move to live in Israel, continues to live in Melbourne, Australia, and criticises those who hold views about zionist Israel different from his own. He is of the opinion, as is the federal member for Melbourne Ports/Israel, that any criticism of the regime running Israel is anti-semitic, and should be stated in just those terms.

Those of us who are Jewish and who don't support the racist, apartheid style regime running Israel, are just labelled anti-semitic Jews or self-hating Jews.

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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Philip Mendes writes in arena magazine No. 85 (October-November 2006) about Antony Loewenstein's book, 'My Israel Question", that his contribution in arena No.84 "is merely a revised extract from his problematic book (my emphasis), and has already been critiqued by myself in the Sydney Morning Herald and New Matilda".

He later goes on to state, "John Hinkson's editorial is even worse given that they may be interpreted as representing an official Arena view in favour of one national group at the expense of the other. He suggests on two occasions that Israel's existence is at best questionable, although at least he doesn't specifically endorse the so-called 'one-state solution."

Mendes writes in response to three articles in Arena No 84:

John Hinkson's editorial - 'Like a Diseased People'
Jeremy Salt's essay - 'Old rules, new rules? No rules'
Antony Loewenstein's extract from his book 'My Israel Question' headed - 'Anti-Israel Bias at the ABC and SBS?'

Some strange comments from Mendes, the first being that Loewenstein's contribution is 'merely a revised extract from his problematic book.'

At the end of Loewenstein's contribution is the following statement: "This is an edited extract from Antony Loewenstein's recent book, My Israel Question, published by Melbourne University Press, 2006".

Mendes does not explain why Loewenstein's book is problematic. He may have stated his reasons in his reviews of the book, but that is in another forum elsewhere, so we are left in the dark about his assertion here.

Then he attacks Jeremy Salt because he has been an open pro-Palestinian advocate for more than three decades. This is a crime? He goes on to say that Salt's analysis "completely ignores the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a two-way process involving 58 years of violence and extremism from both sides". This is a remarkable admission from someone who is still so dedicated to the zionist dream, but forgets to state that the conflict was begun because the Palestinian country was stolen from them because there was still the world Holocaust guilt which allowed the formation of a "Jewish" state for all displaced Jews to be able to turn to and live in at the first signs of trouble in the countries in which they resided.

The foreseen consequences have been the wars between conflicting residential claims over the same piece of land.

The next attack on John Hinkson gets even worse. Mendes states that Hinkson's views "may be interpreted as representing an official Arena view in favour of one national group at the expense of the other". He further states: "He suggests on two occasions that Israel's existence is at best questionable, although at least he doesn't specifically endorse the so-called 'one-state solution'.

Now there seems to be some problem about an editor of a journal expressing views on a particular topic which could be interpreted as "representing an official Arena view". In an analytical piece by a member of the editorial staff of the journal there is no law laid down which states that editorial views should be independent and unbiased. Is Mendes trying to force a federal government-style "balanced by both sides of the argument" view on a magazine which does not need to draw on that government's attacks on the independent views of the ABC, for example? If so, he is also losing the plot, much as the government has done.

One thing needs to be clearly stated, and needs to be stated loud and clear: There is no possibility of a two-state solution with Israel having built a dividing apartheid-style Berlin wall stealing even more Palestinian land to add to that of the settlements which effectively divide the West bank into unviable bantustans following the South African apartheid-style model. The Palestinians have been imprisoned in a giant concentration camp and will not be content just to quietly starve to death.

The one-state solution, which will be a difficult compromise for the whole world to make, is ultimately the only one which will bring peace and stability to the region as well as to many parts of the Middle East and the world. It is a solution which to the Israelis and Palestinians, to say nothing of the USA and the UK, is unthinkable at the moment. With leaders like Bush and Blair, the concept of a solution to Israel-Palestine is unthinkable while they are able to keep Israel armed to the teeth so that it can obliterate states like Lebanon which appear to harbour threats to the interests of Israel and the US and UK in the form of Hizbollah.

Ultimately there will be no choice. Virginia Tilley has written a definitive analysis of the situation, and she spares no one in her conclusions. The book is called "The One-State Solution - A breakthrough for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock" published by Manchester University Press 2005.

Mendes may or may not have read the book, but his tinkering at the edges of the argument as to how the Arabs need to respond is fudging what the conflict is all about. What Arabs? The land is Palestinian, was Palestinian, and will continue to be Palestinian unless Israel does the unthinkable and expels all residents of the occupied territories and Gaza and fills those areas with diaspora Jews. This is known as ethnic cleansing and Israel has shown it is not averse to try this solution.

One of the questions needing answering in this regard is why people like Mendes don't live in Israel? More than half the world's Jewish population do not live in Israel, and don't seem very keen to uproot themselves from their safe homes to go and live in Israel. After all, the Jewish law of return gives them that right - why not use it?

In the summer 2006 edition of Overland magazine (185), Mendes continues with his strange complaint about Antony Loewnstein's book in the correspondence columns where he writes: "Ned Curthoy's uncritical review of Antony Loewenstein's problematic text (my emphasis) My Israel Question (Overland 184) is predictable given his own long-standing animus towards Israel's existence."

I am at a loss to understand where Mendes is coming from. It seems his basic premise is that no one has any right to criticise Israel, no matter how appallingly that country behaves towards its neighbours. Mendes is complaining about the call for a "cultural, economic and academic boycott" of Israel by Ned Curthoys in his review of Loewenstein's book in Overland 184. The calls for boycotts have had varied success when applied to several countries over the years, but one of the most successful boycotts was that instituted against the brutal and savage apartheid regime in South Africa. The boycott was so successful in the end that it forced the white regime to seek compromise with the black majority to ensure that South Africa did not collapse economically as it was on the verge of doing, because of divestment and other successful boycotts instituted over the years.

If the same sorts of boycotts are instituted against Israel, Israel will ultimately suffer economically unless the USA continues to support it as it has done for so many years already.
Under these circumstances boycotts may take longer to succeed, but it will become apparent to the US administration that ultimately the world will no longer tolerate Israeli attempts to ethnically cleanse the whole of Palestine of Palestinians who threaten the survival of the zionist state.

A part of Ned Curthoys response to Mendes letter follows:

"My writings in favour of a boycott reflect growing international and indeed Israeli concern with Israel's continuing military occupation of Palestinian lands, an occupation that Mendes tries to imagine away with the force of his ersatz outrage. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a veteran of the anti-apartheid movement, has supported boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel; the British filmmaker Ken Loach recently withdrew from a film festival in Israel in support of Palestinian human rights; while in the United States a coalition of students, professors, and other employees at the University of California and at Harvard University have called for an end to university investment in Israel, in an effort to "pressure Israel to respect the human rights of the Palestinian people"."

A growing number of people around the world are seeing the zionist state of Israel for what it really is and what it is trying to do in respect to the people who are living there, and more and more they are saying "enough is enough". Israel has long ago lost the "sympathy" support it received for so many years because of the circumstances of the Holocaust. Israel is still trying to trade on that disaster, but it no longer works.

Back to the drawing board and start again - if that is possible at this very late stage!

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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Sent by Mannie De Saxe - Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
Ciaron OReilly wrote:
Dear Sydney Folks,
I have been in recent contact with Carmen Trotta in New York City. The folks there are busy organising NVDA for Washingtom DC for January 11th - the 5th.a anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo. They are confident they will have 450 folks in orange jumpsuits (representing those still detained at Guantanamo) decending on the Federal Court for nonviolent civil disobedience.
They are hoping there will be vigils at U.S. embassies, consuls and sites of significance on the same day. They are wondering if anyone in Sydney can take on organising a Gitmo vigil for january 11th.? Can anyone confirm that they are taking on organising such a vigil (maybe include a David Hicks theme?) so they can include it in pre-publcity.
Check http://www.witnesstorture.org for further background and updates.
Confirm with Carmen Trotta trottacarmen@yahoo.com and myself ciaronx@yahoo.com if you can take on organisng a vigil for January 11th.
Peace and Solidarity Ciaron O'Reilly Dublin, Ireland
Invite to Jan 11th International Day to Shut Down Guantánamo in Wash DC
On January 11th, 2002, twenty hooded and shackled men shuffled off a plane from Afghanistan, arriving at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo. In an attempt to sidestep the Geneva Convention protections for prisoners of war, the Bush administration created a new category of "enemy combatant" for these men captured in the "war on terror."
Since that time, more than one thousand men and boys have been imprisoned at Guantánamo. Accounts of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment have been condemned by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and other reputable bodies. The prisoners have resorted to hunger strikes as a way of protesting their treatment. Many have attempted suicide; three men killed themselves on June 10th 2006. Desperation, fear and frustration mark their confinement.
Five years later, not a single prisoner has been charged, tried or convicted of any crime. Many have been released because no evidence has been found against them, but more than 430 men remain in indefinite detention without hope of release. The United States has abandoned law and justice.
January 11th, 2007 marks five years of unjust imprisonment, isolation, beatings, interrogation and abuse for these men. We must say: no more. We must say: no longer. For our nation of laws, for our democracy, for our humanity and theirs, we demand small but essential steps to help return our nation to the best of our own traditions.
We mark January 11, 2007 as a day of national shame. But we can also mark it as a day of citizen action. How? By acting on behalf of our fellow human beings in Guantánamo, their bereaved families and all victims of the "war on terrorism." We declare January 11, 2007 an International Day of Action to Shut Down Guantánamo.
Schedule of Events on Jan 11th in Wash DC
10am - Press Conference at the US Supreme Court (One First Street, NE) Hear from Guantánamo Lawyers, family members of prisoners, survivors of torture and others.
11:30am - "Prisoners of Guantanamo Procession" to the US Federal Court In this massive street theater performance, hundreds of "prisoners"--each wearing orange jump suits, black hoods and chains, and bearing the name of a current detainee--will march in an orderly silent procession, stopping occasionally to kneel or bow at the beck and call of "prison guards" who accompany them. We hope to form a prisoner contingent that will consist of as many people as there are detainees to evoke a dramatic visual representation of the moral disgrace that is Guantanamo.
12-5pm Vigil at the Federal Court (intersection of Constitution Ave, NW and Pennsylvania Ave, NW) Upon arriving at Federal Court, we invite people to deliver motions on prisoners' behalf to the Court. Those who do not wish to risk arrest will stay and continue to hold vigil outside the Court as part of a permitted rally and demonstration.
We encourage people to let us know in advance if they are willing to participate in either the Prisoners March, Civil Disobedience, or both.
There will be solidarity demonstrations from Amsterdam to Boise, Idaho and in Guantánamo, Cuba and a National Call-In Day to Congress. For a full list of solidarity actions, endorsers, and details of the day of action, please contact Witness Against Torture
For more information contact:
Matt Daloisio ? Ph (201) 264-4424 E-mail daloisio@riseup.net or Frida Berrigan ? Ph (347) 683-4928 E- mail Frida.berrigan@gmail.com

(Posted in International Politics)

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DeeCee guarding his territory at the end of the driveway to make sure that Sam from next door does not intrude on his space and demand attention from us.
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Bill Heffernan has all the rhetoric - he would certainly fail Howard's new criteria for citizenship on many counts.

However Heffernan's homophobia is matched by Howard's and Ruddock's or vice versa - there is little to choose between them and one wonders why they are so afraid of homosexuals - is there something under the surface that we don't know anything about at this stage?

Not that we would welcome such people into the ranks of homosexuals - although we have enough of them already floating around who are Howard supporters and/or work for him, such as Christopher Pearson, amongst others!

Heffernan's latest outrage, and there are so many one can't keep track of them all, is to call people he doesn't like "POLITICAL PANSIES"! Who was he referring to? In the context of federal parliament, it doesn't really matter - smear them with innuendo and abuse - all grist to Bill's mill!!

We really need to get rid of this bunch of nasty, homophobic, xenophobic, lying, cheating politicians.

The trouble is that if they are replaced by the other bunch, there will be no difference, or very little. How one longs to feel that there is such a thing as an honest politican!

One can dream, can't one?
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Kevin Rudd illustrated graphically today, 12 December 2006, that he has no intention of differentiating himself from Howard with policies taking the Alternative Liberal Party in a different direction from the Coalition.

Howard's new citizenship requirements - requirements which most of his government would fail if required to take the relevant tests - particularly literacy - have been endorsed by Kevin Rudd. So we might just as well have remained with Kim Beazley.

Instead of moral rearmament we have cristian fundamentalism - and this in a secular state?

How long will Rudd's honeymoon last? As long as it takes the Australian people to wake up to the fact that the "new" ALP is the same as the "old" ALP - and Howard will romp in again at the next election.

Watch this space - I told you here first: If Howard sees that the Australian people are making an election issue of David Hicks, Howard will do something in time to ensure Hicks gets returned to Australia so that he will get the swinging vote over the issue - that is, if Hicks survives his incarceration and torture for all that time!

Have you heard Rudd say anything yet about David Hicks? Of course not! There are far more important issues such as???????
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Steve Biko died a tragic death in apartheid South Africa on 12 September 1977 in police custody after being put in a police van in Port Elizabeth in a state of unconsciousness and naked, and driven to police cells in Pretoria, a distance of some 900km, where he was later pronounced dead. He had, of course, been bashed to death by South Africa's police and judicial system, who cared not at all that another black activist had met his death.

The South African minister of "justice" - a euphemism if ever there was one! - was, in 1977, Jimmy Kruger. Kruger announced that Biko's death was caused by a hunger strike - adding, in a phrase that has gone down in the annals of apartheid crudity, that "his death leaves me cold".

Philip Ruddock is Australia's attorney-general, responsible for overseeing legislation and other related legal issues in Australia.

Ruddock and his boss, (or is it the other way round) the prime minister, John Howard, together with the foreign minster Alexander Downer have, as a trio, stated that David Hicks, in solitary confinement in the United States gulag/concentration camp Guantanamo Bay, and where he has been, without trial for five years, will get just treatment by a US military hearing.

Nationals of many other countries. including some of the "enemy" Muslim countries, have had their nationals repatriated from Guantanamo Bay. Not so the only Australian left to rot in that hell-hole which is assuredly worse than the worst of South Africa's apartheid prisons.

Ruddock looks (and sounds) more and more like Jimmy Kruger as time goes by. He is as ruthless, uncaring and irresponsible as was Kruger, and the actions of this government in dealing with the Hicks case are, in terms of international law, criminal, and they should be tried in international courts of law.

Justice will come one day, but it may be too late to save Hicks, at which stage the Australian government will have yet more blood on its hands!

It is necessary for people around the world to cry out at injustice and human rights abuses as much as they are able to, depending on the circumstances in which they live, but in Australia, where it is still possible to make such protests without being imprisoned without trial as in the South African apartheid legal system and the US Guantanamo legal system, it is even more essential to protest.

Send letters and emails of DEMAND to Ruddock, Howard and Downer, DEMANDING that they act now and bring Hicks back to Australia, where there are no charges against him and he where he would be released from his incarceration. It may be too late to save him from the effects of his long, tortured and inhumane incarceration, but perhaps there is still time to save his life and bring some peace back into his life and that of his family.
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N© Melbourne Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Melbourne Independent Media Center.

Melbourne Independent Media Center

Original article is at http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2006/12/133106.php Print comments.
by Marlene Monday December 04, 2006 at 01:17 AM

- Close Guantanamo prison camp - Stop the war on civil liberties

bring_david_home_now.jpg, image/jpeg, 400x196




12 NOON PICA (Vigil starting Friday 8 Dec. from 1pm till noon on Dec. 9 @ WESLEY UNITING CHURCH)

2pm QUEEN'S PARK (Cnr George & Elizabeth Sts.)

* Canberra: Sunday 10 Dec. - contact Amnesty

wear orange, bring drums...

December 9 marks the fifth year of imprisonment for David Hicks with no chance of his release in sight. He remains in legal limbo. David, like more than 700 men and minors who have gone through the US naval base prison camp of Guantánamo, has endured physical and psychological torture.

Britain, Bahrain, Denmark, France, Jordan, Pakistan, Russia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden and even Afghanistan have successfully negotiated the release of their citizens from the hell hole of Guantánamo.

Just a phone call from the Australian Prime Minister John Howard, or Attorney General Philip Ruddock, could mean the immediate release, repatriation and end of torture for David.
Human rights and civil liberties groups and organisations have come together to organise a National Day of Action calling for the repatriation of David Hicks and the closure of Guantánamo. Events taking place in: Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra & Sydney.

Endorsed by: Terry Hicks, Fair Go for David, Justice Action, Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network (AMCRAN), Canterbury-Bankstown Peace Group, CFMEU, Australian Lawyers Alliance, Civil Rights Defence Melbourne, Islamic Friendship Assoc., Just Peace WA, Pennant Hills Peace Group, Western Sydney Peace Group, Research Initiative in International Activism (RIIA); Communist Party of Aust.; Socialist Alliance; Socialist Alternative; NSW Greens; Senator Kerry Nettle; Daryl Melham, Labor MP; Dr Tim Anderson, Civil Liberties Campaigner; Brian Brunt, PNG Human Rights Lawyer, …

Organised by: Justice for Hicks & Habib & Stop the War Coalition

For more information & to add your endorsement & support
contact Marlene on 0401 758 871 or Anna on 0401 900 690
Or access http://www.fairgofordavid.org http://www.stopwarcoalition.org

Bring Hicks home

The Age - Ian Munro and Penny Debelle
December 3, 2006

He lives in a cell of featureless walls, 24-hour lighting and a single window of frosted glass that in daylight glows like a fluorescent globe.

For five years, David Hicks has occupied spaces like this, caught between a US Government that has been unable to prosecute him and an Australian Government that refuses to try to free him. This sentence without trial, in conditions so secret that he cannot be photographed, could drag on for another two years unless the Federal Government asks the United States to send him home.

Hicks' military lawyer, Major Michael Mori, says Australia is tolerating a terrible situation. While Hicks has been in legal limbo, John Walker Lindh — the so-called American Taliban who trained at the same camp as Hicks — has been charged, pleaded guilty and sentenced. But Lindh broke American law; Hicks has not broken Australian law.

"America would not tolerate this for one of its citizens," says Mori. "Nor would it tolerate any politicians sacrificing some American citizen to the whim of a foreign country, regardless of whether they are our ally or not. It just doesn't happen."

Lindh and Hicks trained at the al-Qaeda-run camp, al Farooq, before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Training included weapons familiarisation, maps and topography, battlefield operations and explosives. Hicks allegedly also trained for two months at a Lashkar-e- Toiba camp in Pakistan.

Another convert to Islam to attend al Farooq, and to observe bin Laden, was Jack Thomas. He has fared much better than Hicks. While Hicks was captured by the Northern Alliance and handed over to American forces in Afghanistan in November 2001, Thomas avoided capture in al-Qaeda safe houses in Pakistan. When finally detained in January 2003, Thomas was held by Pakistani security for five months and released. After returning to Australia, Thomas was charged, remanded, tried, convicted of two charges and acquitted of two other terrorismrelated offences.

He has since appealed successfully against his convictions. Thomas' case was subject to months of pre-trial argument. All told, he spent 14 months in custody, but is presently free and subject to a control order that also is being challenged in the High Court. Whatever else might be said of Thomas' experiences, he has had the benefit of a robust and transparent legal system.

After Hicks' capture, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer dismissed concerns that the Government had abandoned one of its citizens, saying those who got involved with groups like al-Qaeda were "bound to get into trouble". More recently, the Government has urged the US to try him swiftly.


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This was sent to me today by email, and I think it is sufficiently important to post the whole item in full:

From: "Gush Shalom"
Date: November 3, 2006 10:01:49 PM CST
Stop the Siege! Stop the War!
A month of protest: November 4 – December 2, 2006

The situation in Gaza has reached emergency levels – inadequate water, electricity, and medicine; widespread hunger, poverty, and unemployment; schools and other services out of operation; and constant bombardments and attacks by the Israeli military. The problem is the siege of the Gaza Strip by Israel and the sanctions imposed by the international community, made worse by ongoing IDF attacks. If this siege continues, we will see spreading disease, malnutrition, and anarchy.

Join Our International Campaign

The community of peace organizations in Israel has joined together in a coordinated, major campaign to end the siege of Gaza and call upon Israel to embark upon negotiations with the Palestinian legitimate representative. Israel and the international community must respect the political choice of the Palestinian people.

Gaza: Stop the Siege – Stop the War!

Throughout November: Vigils, teach-ins, petitions, flyers, posters
December 2: Demonstrations around the world

Please join us in this humanitarian and political effort: Use the month until the big demonstration on December 2 to raise awareness in your community. Send letters, faxes, and petitions to your elected representatives. Hold vigils and teach-ins.

Let us know your plans so we can empower each other with our numbers and advertise on our websites.
Write your plans to Debby Lerman at debbyl@actcom.co.il
Activities planned for Israel
Perhaps some of these will give you ideas for your own activity:
Printed material – informational flyers, a poster, an ad, and stickers.
Local events – "teach-ins" that bring films, witnesses, journalists, Gazans, etc.
Small vigils/demonstrations – In front of the Prime Minister’s office, the EU, the foreign embassies, the offices of selected Knesset Members. At the Rabin Rally on November 4, activists will distribute printed materials and hold a human chain.
A special Knesset conference will be held to which strategic members of Knesset will be invited. They will hear reports from Gaza – Palestinians, human rights organizations, and journalists.
Media – We will write articles, letters to the editor, blogs, talk-backs – for newspapers, TV, radio, and internet.
Car cavalcade to the Gaza border.
Mass rally on December 2 in Tel Aviv and all over the world to include phone hookups with Gazans and, if possible, solidarity events held internationally.
International campaign:
Actions to raise awareness and bring pressure on the US and European governments – appeals to decision-makers and civil society in the EU and the US to demand that their governments overturn the embargo.
December 2 - demonstrations all over the world.

Organizers of the Campaign
This campaign was initiated by the Coalition of Women for Peace with its 9 member organizations in Israel, including MachsomWatch, Bat Shalom and New Profile. Other active organizers: Anarchists Against the Wall, Gush Shalom, Hadash, High School Seniors draft refusers, Rabbis for Human Rights, University Student Coalition, and Yesh Gvul.

For more information and your updates: Debby Lerman at debbyl@actcom.co.il or +972-52) 457-0704

Background Material:

The Economy of Gaza

…According to the World Bank, Palestinians are currently experiencing the worst economic depression in modern history. The opprobrious imposition of international sanctions has had a devastating impact on an already severely comprised economy given its extreme dependence on external sources of finance. For example, the Palestinian Authority is highly dependent on two sources of income. The first is annual aid package from Western donors of about $1 billion per year (in 2005, according to the World Bank, donors gave $1.3 billion in humanitarian and emergency [$500m/38%], developmental [$450m/35%] and budgetary [$350m/27%]) assistance, much of it now suspended. The second is a monthly transfer by Israel of $55 million in customs and tax revenues that it collects for the PA, a source of revenue that is absolutely critical to the Palestinian budget and totally suspended. In fact, Israel is now withholding close to half a billion dollars in Palestinian revenue that is desperately needed in Gaza.
The combined impact of restrictions, notably the almost unabated closure and the ongoing economic boycott, has resulted in unprecedented levels of unemployment that currently approach 40 percent in Gaza (compared to less than 12 percent in 1999). In fact, Palestinian workers from Gaza have not been allowed into Israel since 12 March 2006, Gaza’s primary market and all entry and exit points have been virtually sealed since June 25, 2006 when Israel’s current military campaign in Gaza began. In the next five years, furthermore, 135,000 new jobs will be needed just to keep unemployment at 10 percent. Trade levels have been similarly affected. By early May 2006, for example, the Karni crossing, through which commercial supplies enter Gaza, had been closed for 47 percent of the year with estimated daily losses of $500,000-$600,000. Compounding this are agricultural losses amounting to an estimated $1.2 billion for both Gaza and the West Bank over the last six years.
By April 2006, 79 percent of Gazan households were living in poverty (compared to less than 30 percent in 2000), a figure that has likely increased; many are hungry…

Sara Roy, The Palestine Center
October 12, 2006
Not an Internal Palestinian Matter
…These are the steps in the experiment: Imprison (since 1991); remove the prisoners' usual means of livelihood; seal off all outlets to the outside world, nearly hermetically; destroy existing means of livelihood by preventing the entry of raw materials and the marketing of goods and produce; prevent the regular entry of medicines and hospital supplies; do not bring in fresh food for weeks on end; prevent, for years, the entry of relatives, professionals, friends and others, and allow thousands of people - the sick, heads of families, professionals, children - to be stuck for weeks at the locked gates of the Gaza Strip's only entry/exit.
Steal hundreds of millions of dollars (customs and tax revenues collected by Israel that belong to the Palestinian treasury), so as to force the nonpayment of the already low salaries of most government employees for months; present the firing of homemade Qassam rockets as a strategic threat that can only be stopped by harming women, children and the old; fire on crowded residential neighborhoods from the air and the ground; destroy orchards, groves and fields.
Dispatch planes to frighten the population with sonic booms; destroy the new power plant and force the residents of the closed-off Strip to live without electricity for most of the day for a period of four months, which will most likely turn into a full year - in other words, a year without refrigeration, electric fans, television, lights to study and read by; force them to get by without a regular supply of water, which is dependent on the electricity supply.

It is the good old Israeli experiment called "put them into a pressure cooker and see what happens," and this is one of the reasons why this is not an internal Palestinian matter…

Amira Hass, Ha’aretz
October 4, 2006

Israel's scandalous siege of Gaza

Israel has killed 2,300 Gazans over the past six years, including 300 in the four months since an Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, was captured in a cross-border raid by Palestinian fighters on June 25. The wounded can be counted in the tens of thousands. Most of the casualties are civilians, many of them children.

The killing continues on a daily basis - by tank and sniper fire, by air and sea bombardment, and by undercover teams in civilian clothes sent into Arab territory to ambush and murder, an Israeli specialty perfected over the past several decades.

How long will the "international community" allow the slaughter to continue? The cruel repression of the occupied territories, and of Gaza in particular, is one of the most scandalous in the world today. It is the blackest stain on Israel's patchy record as a would-be democratic state…

Patrick Seale International Herald Tribune
October 27, 2006

The siege is sowing anarchy and death in Gaza.
It is a man-made disaster that we must bring to an end.

For more information and your updates: Debby Lerman at debbyl@actcom.co.il or +972-52) 457-0704
GUSH SHALOM p.o.b. 3322 Tel Aviv 61033
w . g u s h - s h a l o m . o r g


Views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily
reflect the positions of NOT IN MY NAME (www.nimn.org).



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You can make a tax-deductible contribution to NOT IN MY NAME by
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Way back in the 16th century people thought the world was flat.

We know that since then for the last 4 centuries many people still hold to that belief.

In 2006 the Australian Prime Minister John Howard joined the illustrious religious right believers who still hold to the view that the earth is flat and does not have any rotational relationship to the sun and the other planets.

Of course it helps him get elected - ideas such as children overboard, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Tampa ships, industrial relations reforms, gst, religious ministers in state public schools in a country supposedly with separation of church and state.

Global warming will affect John Howard's children and grandchildren but he won't be around to worry about such things. Far more important to ensure re-election in 2007 - after all it is such fun strutting the world stage and being the "statesman"!!

The trouble is, Australia is so unimportant in the overall scheme of things that nobody takes any notice of us!

Oh, and of course we ensure David Hicks is treated with the utmost contempt as a non-citizen of Australia - similar to gay, lesbian and transgender people IN Australia! We are not yet in concentration camps, but with police state censorship and anti-terrorism legislation which is totally beyond the pale - the rest may not be far behind.

Israel, apartheid South Africa and now Australia - spot the similarities!
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With assistance from Michael Leunig (as usual with thanks and apologies) we have John Howard taking the salute from his army who are on their way to Iraq to stay the course.

"We will not cut and run as the Opposition wants to do, we will stay until the job is done, bringing democracy to the Iraqi people!"

Even - note the "even" - George W Bush has at last started to equate what the world has been saying for a few years about the USA and Iraq and similarities to the USA and Vietnam, but John W Howard and Tony Blair do not yet have an exit strategy either.

And no doubt the worst is yet to come, judging by current events in that benighted country.

This letter, by Henry Simpson, Ormond, from The Age today, 20 October 2006 only says half of what needs to be said:

"If Alexander Downer, John Howard and Brendan Nelson are such good Australians, why don't they volunteer for active service in Iraq as soon as they possibly can?"

What should be added to the letter is that the three politicans mentioned all have families - have any of them volunteered for service in Iraq?

Did I hear that they have to run the country? Ruin I think is the word to use!
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(With apologies - and thanks - to Michael Leunig - from his calendar in The Age for 2006 - and with photographic alterations)

Philip Ruddock in his own words in a letter to The Age, 13 October 2006:


In her article about parents with young children struggling to sleep (Metro, 12/10), Annie Lawson stated that I had "endorsed sleep deprivation as a legitimate interrogation tactic for accused terrorists". I did nothing of the sort.

I was asked by the ABC about the status of evidence before the US Military Commission and pointed out that sleep deprivation per se was not being treated as torture but that it may be deemed coercive behaviour. I then said the value of evidence obtained under those circumstances would then be assessed as to whether it should be admissible.

It is disappointing that Ms Lawson has repeated the continued misrepresentation of my comments.

Philip Ruddock, Attorney-General, Canberra

And here is some of what Ruddock was responding to - parts of Annie Lawson's article in Metro, The Age, 12 October 2006 called AN OPEN AND SHUT(EYE) CASE

As any new parent will tell you, sleep deprivation is a form of torture.

It could be difficult for a court to determine whether sleep deprivation constitutes torture until my 10-month-old learns to speak, but I can't wait that long, and anyway, I think I have a strong case.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock would, of course, fail to find any grounds for my action, having recently endorsed sleep deprivation as a legitimate interrogation tactic for accused terrorists.

Ruddock, himself a father of two girls and a former human rights advocate (sic), may have forgotten the fog of early fatherhood when the best a new parent can hope for is a five-hour sleep, sometimes in one-hour lots.

Professor George Williams, a constitutional lawyer at the University of New South Wales, is sympathetic to my cause. He is operating on just a few hours sleep each night following the birth of his son nearly six months ago.

So what effect does not sleeping have? "Incoherence, utter exhaustion, willingness to agree with anyone, inability to finish sentences," he says, his words trailing off.

But taking our sons to the United Nations Committee in Geneva for breaching the UN Convention Against Torture will probably backfire, he says. Australia became a signatory to the convention in the 1980s, and passed the Crimes (Torture) Act in 1988. But to successfully prosecute under the Act, the offence must be committed by a public official outside of the country.

People who sleep less than six hours a night are more likely to die than well-rested people, a recent study from Harvard Medical School in the US found. Lack of sleep causes increased levels of stress hormones, which leads to higher blood pressure, and has been linked with an array of illnesses including heart disease, cancer and obesity.

According to another study, this time from Columbia University in 2004, people who sleep four hours or less per night were 73 per cent more likely to be obese than those who sleep between seven and nine hours a night.

Being zonked also inhibits your body's ability to regulate blood sugar, which increases the risk of diabetes.

Dr Greg Roach, from the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia, says an adult needs a minimum of six hours sleep a night to function effectively the next day. People can cope with five hours for one night, but quickly deteriorate if the pattern continues.

I have used extracts from the article to discuss the effect of sleep deprivation and torture, because they are relevant to the issues of what Philip Ruddock says in his own defence, and the tortures inflicted on a citizen of Australia, David Hicks, dying a slow death in the United States' concentration camp - or Gulag - of Guantanamo Bay, while Ruddock continues to wear an Amnesty International badge, continues to deny Hicks natural justice, and continues to breach all the Human Rights conventions of the United Nations and the Geneva Convention. Australia refuses to bring its citizen - Hicks - home as has been done by the US, UK and other countries whose citizens were incarcerated in that hell on earth which defies description and is in breach of every human rights convention. Hicks has committed no crime in Australia and has been tortured for five years and continues to be tortured, with no end in sight.

The UK has joined Australia in its disgraceful treatment of Hicks who has citizenship rights of both countries. These countries call themselves democracies, but make a mockery of the word. One can only hope that the governments in power in these countries, the USA, UK, Australia will not be there for ever, but by then it will be too late for DAVID HICKS.

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OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS 2006 15.10.2006

(The card is a John Lund - "animal antics" card called Good Spirits (c) 2004 - John Lund - Animal talent courtesy Bow Wow Productions - Portal Publications)

DeeCee (on the left) lives with us - Ken and Mannie, and Sam(on the right) lives next door with Steve and Maria.

DeeCee and Sam decided to celebrate our October birthdays with us - Ken turned 84 on 6 October, the day after he had his first cataract operation, and I turn 80 on 30 October - so Sam came over with his handbag and we all had a drink together. It was a most enjoyable event.

Maybe we will be able to do the same next year if we are both still around - which we hope we will be!!!!!!!!!!! and of course, DeeCee and Sam, who are really much younger. DeeCee turns 4 in May 2007 and Sam turns 4 in about September 2007.
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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