25 April 2011



This news item in the Sunday Age of 17 September 2006 is more astonishing for the country it comes from than the subject matter of the article! Unthinkable a few years ago, but how Spain has changed - think Almadovar, gay marriage, withdrawal of troops from Iraq after Madrid bombing which saw a change of government in that country!

Here is the article:

SEVILLE: The Spanish military - once a crusty remnant of a right-wing regime closely linked to the Catholic Church - got its first public taste of gay marriage on Friday (15 September 2006) as two male soldiers wed, sealing their union with gold rings and a long kiss.

Alberto Linero,27, and Alberto Sanchez, 24, both privates in the air force, wore dress uniforms with red and gold epaulets as they exchanged vows in Seville's town hall. It was the first known wedding among same-sex members of the military since Spain legalised gay marriage last year. Some members of the military may not be happy about the union but the defence ministry has said it considers the wedding a personal matter and the men will be allowed to continue with their careers.
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To list the crimes of Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe would require more research than I could achieve with somewhat limited resources, but they come thick and fast when media are able to get the reports out of that country without being caught in the process.

Here is the latest report, in the Sunday Age of 17 September 2006:


Torture Claims

HARARE. Police tortured a dozen trade unionists held for trying to stage a protest over poor wages, leaving some with fractured limbs and one in hospital, lawyers say.

Riot police arrested scores of members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions on Wednesday, disrupting a planned march in the latest clampdown by President Robert Mugabe's government.

At their first court appearance, defence lawyers said the unionists were assaulted "excessively and brutally" during arrest while demanding better pay and access to HIV/AIDS drugs. The magistrate ordered an investigation into the torture charges.

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Blood from a stone? Nicola Roxon waiting till the next election to pretend to address the issue of equal rights for homosexuals? Or maybe she is just "Waiting for Godot" or in her case God/dess?

In any event it is time the gay, lesbian, transgender, HIV/AIDS communities stopped anticipating any radical changes from the Alternative Liberal Party - they will NEVER eventuate!

Correspondence below this is an indication of the state of affairs with the ALP in general - and Nicola Roxon in particular!

And still waiting!
Till the next election???
Mannie De Saxe
------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Self
To: Nicola.Roxon.MP@aph.gov.au
Subject: (Fwd) Equal Rights
Date sent: Tue, 08 Aug 2006 01:48:10 +1000
Since we have not yet had a response, we thought we would give you a
reminder that we are waiting to hear from you.
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Self
To: Nicola.Roxon.MP@aph.gov.au
Subject: Equal Rights
Date sent: Sun, 23 Jul 2006 16:04:32 +1000
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072
Phone:(03)9471 4878
email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au
web: http://www.zipworld.com.au/~josken
Dear Nicola,
The Melbourne Star of 20 July 2006 carries as its banner headline on the
front page: "Roxon hits back". It says Shadow Attorney General Nicola
Roxon says she's perplexed that some gay groups don't see her proposed
anti-discrimination bills as a major step forward. The Australian Labor
Party has been homophobic from its origins and has shown little interest
in human rights and anti-discrimination legislation ensuring all citizens
- including those of alternative sexualities - of this country have equal
rights under the law. Which part of the expression "EQUAL RIGHTS" can't be
understood by the homophobic ALP? What you are proposing is NOT equal
rights and yet you have the temerity to complain that gays, lesbians,
transgenders, people living with HIV/AIDS are not bowing in obeisance to
the ALP for their charitable condescension? If you think that members of
the GLTH communities are going to vote for the ALP at the next federal
election because Nicola is putting a few crumbs on the table, I think you
need to take a cold shower, drop your religious affiliations and look at
the issues from a human rights perspective. What do you know about the
lives of people in these communities? What consultations has the ALP had
with them? How interested in them is the ALP? Only interested at election
time and for the five minutes it takes to fill in the voting forms?
Warren Entch's proposed relationship recognition bill is supposed to be a
sop to those who want marriage and relationship equality. Nothing will be
fixed before the next federal election, and as the ALP hopes to gain some
votes out of your proposed bill, state gay lobby groups are really going
to be pleased to be called "silly" for criticising your efforts. You
need to try harder than this! Go back to the drawing board and start from
scratch and produce an offer of equality legislation in ALL aspects of
current discrimination - including religious exemptions - and maybe the
ALP will get some support. As things stand at the moment we will do our
best to ensure that the ALP does NOT get that support at election time.
Mannie De Saxe, lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne See earlier
correspondence below: The emails below are in reverse order. First is the
response from Nicola Roxon, and below it is the email sent on 29 May 2004
Nicola Roxon MP Shadow Attorney-General Shadow Minister Assisting the
Leader on the Status of Women Media Release Marriage will remain a union
between a man and a woman, but same sex couples are entitled to
recognition as de factos Labor position on Government Bill The Labor
Party will not oppose the PM's measures to confirm in the Marriage Act
the common law understanding that marriage is "a union between a man and
a woman to the exclusion of all others". Consistent with this, Labor will
also not oppose a prohibition on recognising foreign same sex marriages.
While Labor questions the PM's motives and reasons for bringing on this
issue for debate now, and questions whether it is necessary - Labor does
not oppose these parts of the Bill which merely confirm existing law and
our previous commitments to keeping marriage as a heterosexual
institution. However Labor does not support the Government's attempts to
interfere in adoption issues. Adoption has always been an issue for the
States and Territories to determine, as the PM himself acknowledges. It
is inconsistent and inappropriate for the PM to try and interfere in this
issue simply because some children are being adopted from overseas.
Rigorous eligibility standards apply at the State and Territory level and
we have confidence that those processes ensure the best interests of the
child are paramount. Labor will move amendments to this Bill and refer
the Bill to a Senate Committee for a full exploration of the technical
issues that arise and to ensure the broader community has an opportunity
to express their views on this Bill. Labor position on acknowledgement
and recognition of same sex couples More importantly, Labor restates its
commitment to remove discriminatory provisions from Commonwealth
legislation on the basis of sexuality, following a full audit of existing
laws. This audit will commence immediately once Labor is elected to
Government. It will allow issues of substance, such as superannuation,
taxation, social security and much more, to be addressed comprehensively.
When complete, this will give same sex couples the rights and recognition
of heterosexual de facto couples. -----Original Message----- From:
josken_at_zip_com_au Sent: Saturday, 29 May 2004 1:07 AM To: Roxon,
Nicola (MP) Cc: Latham, Mark (MP) Subject: gay and lesbian marriage Mannie
De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne PO Box 1675 Preston South
Vic 3072 Phone: (03)9471 4878 email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au web:
http://www.zipworld.com.au/~josken The ALP seems to have shot itself in
the foot yet again. All those marginal seats which the ALP hopes to take
from the Coalition which are city marginals will have a strong response
to what you are about to do over the gay and lesbian marriage issue. This
is not about marriage per se, it is about equal rights for the citizens of
Australia. Marriage is not a very successful heterosexual institution, so
those who are defending marriage on a religious basis lost the fight some
decades ago. We do have alternatives when we go to exercise our
democratic rights at the ballot box. If you think you are playing it for
some of your constituents you couldn't be further from the truth! Mannie
De Saxe
------- End of forwarded message -------
------- End of forwarded message -------
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The letter below was sent to The Age on 5 September 2006, and was published in the paper on 6 September - well, not the whole letter!

The items censored will be shown in italics and is proof of the paper's ongoing beat-up of groups and people of whom it doesn't approve. The article referred to in the letter was a beat-up from start to finish and is another example of the way The Age is descending to the level of gutter journalism worthy of most of the Murdoch media!

It is also an example of the attempts by the reactionary right zionist lobby to control the agenda of what is acceptable and what is not in criticisms of Israel and its militaristic apartheid-style ethnic cleansing process in the West Bank and Gaza, both of which are now huge concentration camps.

The heading of the letter in the paper is "Go after the real racists" which unfortunately is not practising what the paper preaches!:

Letter to Age: Opposing war is not racist
The Age article (4/9) "An Unholy Alliance" is a slander worthy of the authors of the anti-Semitic frame up The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. On campus after campus socialists campaigning against Israel’s war on Lebanon were physically assaulted, had their stalls overturned, anti-war literature stolen, speak outs broken up by violent thugs and received threatening racist phone calls.

Some of those who carried out these attacks were right wing Zionists. Others were members of Liberal Clubs, in particular, the Melbourne Uni Liberal Club leading members of which are notorious for violence, sexism and racism and whose appalling anti-Semitism was exposed in The Herald Sun.

Yet despite all this according to The Age it is Socialist Alternative that is guilty of racism. We totally deny this allegation. Socialist Alternative campaigns against all forms of racism. We campaign for refugee rights, for Aboriginal land rights and against anti-Muslim bigotry. We have supported innumerable protests against anti-Semitic bigots such as the Holocaust denier David Irving.

The allegation that socialists on our stalls call out "f---ing Jews" is beneath contempt.

It is not anti-Semitic to oppose Israel’s war on Lebanon. Many of the most strident critics of Israel’s atrocities in Lebanon and Palestine, indeed of the whole Zionist project are Jewish. This is hardly surprising given that Jewish Marxists like Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky always opposed Zionism because it was pro-imperialist.

The real racism in Australia is that being waged day in and day out by the Liberal government against Muslims and Arabs. It would be nice to see The Age campaigning against Howard’s Muslim-bashing rather than making (changed to recounting) spurious allegations of racism against socialist anti-war campaigners.

Mick Armstrong
National Executive
Socialist Alternative
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Israel's ongoing wars with the Palestinians and Lebanon have led to many arguments and attacks in the letters columns of the newspapers.

I intend putting several of the letters on this blog, because they provide an insight into the thinking of Jews - and non-Jews - in relation to the ongoing conflicts in the middle east.

This is one of the best letters from one of my fellow Jews in Melbourne and it was published in The Age on 3 August 2006:

Anti-Zionist Jews

I was at the anti-war rally last Saturday (29 July 2006) with thousands of Lebanese, Muslim and anti-war activists. When talking to a man standing next to me, I was pleased to correct him when he implied that all Jews were pro-Israel. I certainly am not but understand my history and am proudly Jewish. I am also anti-Zionist - a concept that many Jews are just beginning to grapple with, watching the devastation caused by Israel in all of our names.
Melanie Lazarow, Brunswick
More letters will follow shortly (2 September 2006)
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The following letters were published in The Age on 30 August 2006 in response to Philip Ruddock's latest act of cruelty - and stupidity - in placing banning orders on Jack Thomas after his acquittal on terrorism charges"

You either have a legal system or you don't
August 30, 2006

THE interim control order that has been slapped on Jack Thomas ( The Age, 29/8) highlights the draconian nature of the legislation the Federal Government now has at its disposal.
What is the point of having a judicial system when the Attorney-General and the Federal Police can use the most spurious excuses to deny someone who hasn't been arrested, let alone tried and convicted of an offence, the ability to travel, leave their home without permission, freely associate with others and pursue activities that the rest of the community is legally able to pursue?
The attack on Thomas' liberty is an attack on each and every one of us. What is to stop the Government from applying the same legislation to elements of the community who have done nothing illegal, but who the Government believes do not share its cultural, social, political or ideological agenda?
You either have a legal system or you don't. If the Government believes it is at war and it has to deal with a fifth column, it should not hide behind the pseudo legal excuses that it is currently using to internally exile people whom it considers to be its opponents.
The Federal Government can legally introduce indefinite detention, without any charge or trial, of those whom it considers to be enemies of the state. It can legally intern people for their religious or political beliefs if it deems these opinions and beliefs to be dangerous.
Nothing constitutionally protects asylum seekers, Australian residents or citizens from the long reach of the state and the government of the day. Not until our rights as citizens are incorporated in the Australian constitution through a referendum, not a bill of rights that is only being endorsed by Parliament, will Australian residents and citizens be safe from the arbitrary exercise of state power.
Joseph Toscano, Anarchist Media Institute, Fitzroy
Spot on, Mr Ruddock

PHILIP Ruddock's comments on Jack Thomas' control order — "If you work on the assumption that only those people who could be convicted of an offence could be the subject of a control order, you wouldn't have control orders" ( ABC Newsonline, 28/8) — is spot on. It indicates exactly why the use of control orders is an abuse of governmental power and an attempt to do an end-run around common law and the justice system. What happened to innocent until proved guilty? And worse in Thomas' case, actually legally innocent according to the courts.
James Turnbull, Fitzroy
Shades of South Africa

THE "control orders" placed on Jack Thomas remind me vividly of "banning orders" in apartheid South Africa. Banning orders were a way of threatening and controlling dissidents and anti-apartheid activists. In fact, the times we live in now remind me strongly of living in South Africa and the period before the overthrow of apartheid.
I don't believe for one minute that the "control order" imposed on Thomas is to protect the Australian community. It is in fact vengeance for the law having been fairly applied and an attempt to scare the rest of us who disagree with draconian laws of all types.
Melanie Lazarow, Brunswick

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Sydney Park AIDS Memorial Groves - SPAIDS - is now a well-established memorial in Sydney Park, recognised by Sydney City Council and members of many communities since the first plantings on 15 May 1994.

Since that date we have planted well over 8000 trees and commemorated about 1200 people. Those that have planted trees have come as individuals from organisations which have not acknowledged SPAIDS since its inception. These include the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON), Community Support Network (CSN), Ankali, PLWHA, Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, the AIDS Quilt, Candlelight.

Adrian Lovney, CEO of ACON, is shown in the above photo planting a tree with Clover Moore, Mayor of Sydney City Council, in Green Park Darlinghurst, to acknowledge the work of all the CSN carer volunteers over the years since that organisation began caring for people living with HIV/AIDS. Many of those carers have come, as individuals to the SPAIDS plantings.

Clover Moore has been to SPAIDS once, last year in 2005, but she has been to the now once-a-year event.

Lovney, who has NEVER been, now has the effrontery to plant a tree in Green Park to honour those carers.

It is a great pity that he and his organisation have not seen fit to support SPAIDS over the years. It has been SPAIDS which has offered so much to people who are remembering loved ones who have died from AIDS. ACON lost its way years ago, and continues to wander in the dark.

Fortunately SPAIDS flourishes and has wide recognition, no thanks to any of the relevant AIDS organisations.

One has to wonder - why??
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Israel buys 2 nuclear-capable submarines from Germany
By Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press | August 25, 2006
JERUSALEM -- With the purchase of two more German-made Dolphin submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads, military specialists say Israel is sending a clear message to Iran that it can strike back if attacked by nuclear weapons.
The purchases come at a time when Iran is refusing to bow to growing Western demands to halt its nuclear program, and after its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for Israel to be ``wiped off the map."
The new submarines, built at a cost of $1.3 billion with Germany paying one-third of the bill, have propulsion systems that allow them to remain submerged for longer periods of time than the three nuclear-capable submarines already in Israel's fleet, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The latest submarines not only would be able to carry out a first strike should Israel choose to do so, but they also would provide Israel with crucial second-strike capabilities, said Paul Beaver, a London-based independent defense analyst.
Israel is already believed to have that ability in the form of the Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 nuclear- capable ballistic missiles, which are buried so far underground they would survive a nuclear strike, he said.
``The Iranians would be very foolish if they attacked Israel," Beaver said.
German officials have said the contract for the new submarines was signed July 6, and the Jerusalem Post reported this week that the subs will be operational shortly.
Israel, operating on a policy of nuclear ambiguity, has never confirmed or denied whether it has nuclear weapons. It is believed, however, to have the world's sixth-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, including hundreds of warheads.
Iran has resisted calls by the United Nations Security Council to halt uranium enrichment, despite an Aug. 31 deadline that is accompanied by the threat of sanctions.
The dispute over Tehran's nuclear program revolves around Iran's insistence that it wants to master the technology simply to generate electricity.
The Dolphin submarine could be one of the best deterrents, Beaver said. The technology on the submarines makes them undetectable and gives them defensive capabilities in the case of attack, he said.
``They are very well-built, very well-prepared, lots of interesting equipment, one of the best conventional submarines available," Beaver said.
In Germany, a member of an opposition party criticized the deal. Winfried Nachtwei, national security spokesman for the Greens, said the decision was wrong because Germany had obtained no guarantee the submarines would not be used to carry nuclear weapons.
© Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

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(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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Subject: Fw: Boycott Israel Mon, 7 Aug 2006 14:09:33 +1000

From the latest CounterPunch

The Case for Boycotting Israel
Boycott Now!
Johannesburg, South Africa.
It is finally time. After years of internal arguments, confusion, and
dithering, the time has come for a full-fledged international boycott of Israel. Good cause for a boycott has, of course, been in
place for decades, as a raft of initiatives already attests. But Israel's
war crimes are now so shocking, its extremism so clear, the suffering so great, the UN so helpless, and the international community's need to contain Israel's behavior so urgent and
compelling, that the time for global action has matured. A coordinated movement of divestment, sanctions, and boycotts against Israel must convene to contain not only Israel's
aggressive acts and crimes against humanitarian law but also, as in South Africa, its founding racist logics that inspired and
still drive the entire Palestinian problem.
That second goal of the boycott campaign is indeed the primary one. Calls for a boycott have long cited specific crimes: Israel's continual attacks on Palestinian civilians; its casual disdain for
the Palestinian civilian lives "accidentally" destroyed in its
assassinations and bombings; its deliberate ruin of the Palestinians' economic and social conditions; its continuing annexation and dismemberment of Palestinian land; its torture of prisoners; its contempt for UN resolutions and international law; and especially, its refusal to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their
homeland. But the boycott cannot target these practices alone. It must target their ideological source.
The true offence to the international community is the racist motivation for these practices, which violates fundamental values and norms of the post-World War II order. That racial ideology isn't subtle or obscure. Mr. Olmert himself has repeatedly thumped the public podium about the "demographic threat" facing Israel: the "threat" that too many non-Jews will--the horror--someday become citizens of Israel. It is the "demographic threat" that, in Israeli
doctrine, justifies sealing off the West Bank and Gaza Strip as open-air prisons for millions of people whose only real crime is that they are not Jewish. It is the "demographic threat," not
security (Mr. Olmert has clarified), that requires the dreadful Wall to
separate Arab and Jewish communities, now juxtaposed in a fragmented landscape, who might otherwise mingle.
"Demographic threat" is the most disgustingly racist phrase still openly deployed in international parlance. It has been mysteriously tolerated by a perplexed international community. But it can
be tolerated no longer. Zionist fear of the demographic threat launched the expulsion of the indigenous Arab population in 1948 and 1967, created and perpetuates Israel's occupation of the
West Bank and Gaza Strip, inspires its terrible human rights abuses
against Palestinians, spins into regional unrest like the 1982 attack on Lebanon (that gave rise to Hezbollah), and continues to drive Israeli militarism and aggression.
This open official racism and its attendant violence casts Israel into the ranks of pariah states, of which South Africa was the former banner emblem. In both countries, racist nationalist logic tormented and humiliated the native people. It also regularly spilled over
to destabilize their surrounding regions (choc-a-block with "demographic threats"), leading both regimes to cruel and reckless attacks. Driven by a sense of perennial victimhood,
they assumed the moral authority to crush the native hordes that threatened to dilute the organic Afrikaner/Jewish nations and the white/western civilization they believed they so nobly represented.
A humiliated white society in South Africa finally gave that myth up.
Israel still clings to it. It has now brought Israel to pulverize Lebanon, trying to eliminate Hezbollah and, perhaps, to
clear the way for an attack on Iran. Peace offers from the entire Arab world are cast aside like so much garbage. Yet again, the Middle East is plunged into chaos and turmoil, because a normal
existence -- peace, full democracy -- is anathema to a regime that must see and treat its neighbors as an existential threat in order to justify the rejectionism that preserves its ethnic/racial character and enables its continuing annexations of land.
Why has this outrageously racist doctrine survived so long, rewarded by billions of dollars in US aid every year? We know the reasons. For too many Westerners, Israel's Jewish character
conflates with the Holocaust legacy to make intuitive sense of Israel's claim to be under continual assault. Deep-seated Judeo-Christian bias against Islam demonizes Israel's mostly
Muslim victims. European racist prejudice against Arabs (brown-skinned natives) casts their material dispossession as less humanly significant. Naïve Christian visions of the "Holy Land" naturalize Jewish governance in biblical landscapes. Idiot Christian evangelistic notions of the Rapture and the End Times posit Jewish governance as essential to the return of the Messiah and the final Millennium (even though, in that repellent narrative, Jews
will roast afterwards).
All those notions and prejudices, long confounding international action, must now be set aside. The raw logic of Israel's distorted self-image and racist doctrines is expressed beyond confusion
by the now-stark reality: the moonscape rubble of once-lovely Lebanese villages; a million desperate people trying to survive Israeli aerial attacks as they carry children and wheel disabled grandparents down cratered roads; the limp bodies of children
pulled from the dusty basements of crushed buildings. This is the reality of Israel's national doctrine, the direct outcome of its racist worldview. It is endangering everyone, and it must stop.

Designing the Campaign

Much debate has circulated about a boycott campaign, but hitherto it has not moved beyond some ardent but isolated groups. Efforts have stalled on the usual difficult questions: e.g., whether a boycott is morally compulsory to reject Israel's rampant human rights violations or would impede vital engagement with Israeli forums, or whether principled defense of international law must be tempered by (bogus) calls for "balance".
Especially, recent debate has foundered on calls for an academic boycott. Concerns here are reasonable, if rather narrow.
Universities offer vital connections and arenas for collaboration, debate, and new thinking. Without such forums and their intellectual exchange, some argue, work toward a different future is arguably impeded.
But this argument has exploded along with the southern Lebanese villages, as Israeli university faculties roundly endorse the present war. As Ilan Pappé has repeatedly argued, Israel's universities are not forums for enlightened thought. They are crucibles of
reproduction for racist Zionist logics and practice, monitoring and filtering admissible ideas. They produce the lawyers who defend the occupation regime and run its kangaroo "courts"; the civil
planners and engineers who design and build the settlements on Palestinian land; the economists and financiers who design and implement the grants that subsidize those settlements; the geologists who facilitate seizure of Palestinian aquifers; the doctors who treat the tortured so that they can be tortured again; the historians and sociologists who make sense of a national society while preserving official lies about its own past; and the poets, playwrights, and novelists who compose the nationalist opus that glorifies and makes (internally, at least) moralistic sense of it all.
Those of us who have met with Jewish Israeli academics in Israeli
universities find the vast majority of them, including well-meaning liberals, operating in a strange and unique bubble of enabling fictions. Most of them know nothing about Palestinian life,
culture, or experience. They know strangely little about the occupation and its realities, which are crushing people just over
the next hill. They have absorbed simplistic notions about rejectionist Arafat, terrorist Hamas, and urbane Abbas. In this special insulated world of illusions, they say nonsense things about
unreal factors and fictionalized events. Trying to make sense of their assumptions is no more productive that conversing about the Middle East with the Bush administration's neo-cons, who also live in a strange bubble of ignorance and fantasy. Aside from a few
brave and beleaguered souls, this is the world of Israel's universities. It will not change until it has to--when the conditions of its self-reproduction are impaired and its self-deceptions too glaring.

The Real Goal: Changing Minds

The universities represent and reproduce the bubble world of the Israeli Jewish population as a whole. And no people abandons its bubble willingly. In South Africa, Afrikaners clung to their own bubble--their self-exonerating myths about history, civilization, and
race -- until they were forced by external sanctions and the collapsing national economy to rethink those myths. Their
resistance to doing so, while racist, was not purely vicious. Many kind and well-meaning Afrikaners simply didn't believe they had to rethink ideas that manifested
to them as givens and that shaped their reality. (One valued Afrikaner friend here recalls her life during apartheid South Africa as being like The Truman Show, a film in which a man
unknowingly grows up in a television show, set in an artificial dome world designed to look like a small town.) When their reality fell apart, suddenly no one would admit to ever having believed or
supported it.
The Zionist worldview is an even more complete system. All historical and geographic details are provided to create a total mythical world, in which Jews have rights to the land and Palestinians have none. It is a fully realized construction, like those Hebraized maps carefully drawn by the Zionist movement in the 1930s to erase the ancient Arabic landscape and substitute Hebrew biblical references. It is also very resilient. The "new historians" have exposed the cherished national historical narrative of 1948 and 1967 as a load of fictions, but
the same fictions are still reproduced by state agencies to assure Israeli and diaspora Jews of their innocence and the
righteousness of their cause. The vast majority of Israelis therefore
remain comfortable in their Truman Show and even see any external pressure or criticism as substantiating it. We need no
more graphic evidence of that campaign's success than the overwhelming support among Israeli Jews for the present catastrophic assault on Lebanon, reflecting their
sincere beliefs that nuclear-power Israel is actually under existential threat by a guerrilla group lobbing katyushas across the border. Staggering to observers, that belief is both sobering
and instructive.
To force people steeped in such a worldview to rethink their notions, their historical myths, and
their own best interests requires two efforts:

(1) Serious external pressure: here, a full boycott that undermines
Israel's capacity to sustain the economic standards its citizens and corporations expect, and which they associate with their own progressive self-image; and

(2) clear and unwavering commitment to the boycott's goal, which--in Israel as in South Africa--must be full equality, dignity, safety, and welfare of everyone in the land, including Palestinians, whose ancestral culture arose there, and the Jewish population, which has
built a national society there.
That combination is essential. Nothing else will work. Diplomacy, threats, pleading, the "peace process," mediation, all will be useless until external pressure brings Israel's entire Jewish
population to undertake the very difficult task of rethinking their world.
This pressure requires the full range of boycotts, sanctions, and divestment that the world can employ. (South African intellectual Steven Friedman has observed wryly that the way to bring down
any established settler-colonial regime is to make it choose between profits and identity.
Profits, he says, will win every time.)

What to Target

Fortunately, from the South African experience, we know how to go forward, and strategies are proliferating. The basic methods of an international boycott campaign are familiar. First, each person works in his or her own immediate orbit. People might urge
divestment from companies investing in Israel by their colleges and universities, corporations, clubs, and churches. Boycott
any sports event that hosts an Israeli team, and work with planners to exclude them. Participate in, and visit, no Israeli cultural events--films, plays, music, art exhibits. Avoid collaborating with Israeli professional colleagues, except on anti-racist activism. Don't
invite any Israeli academic or writer to contribute to any conference or research and don't attend their panels or buy their books, unless their work is engaged directly in anti-racist activism.
Don't visit Israel except for purposes of anti-racist activism. Buy nothing made in Israel: start looking at labels on olive oil,
oranges, and clothing. Tell people what you are doing and why. Set up discussion groups everywhere to explain why.
For ideas and allies, try Googling the "boycott Israel" and "sanctions against Israel" campaigns springing up around the world. Know those allies, like the major churches,
and tell people about them. For more ideas, read about the history of the boycott of South Africa.
Second, don't be confused by liberal Zionist alternatives that argue
against a boycott in favor of "dialogue". If we can draw any conclusion from the last half-century, it is that, without the
boycott, dialogue will go nowhere. And don't be confused by
liberal-Zionist arguments that Israel will allow Palestinians a state if they only do this or that. Israel is already the only sovereign
power in Palestine: what fragments are left to Palestinians cannot make a state. The question now is not whether there is one state, but what kind of state it comprises. The present version is
apartheid, and it must change. However difficult to achieve, and however frightening to Jewish Israelis, the only just and stable solution is full democracy.
Third, be prepared for the boycott's opposition, which will be much
louder, more vicious, and more dangerous than it was in the boycott of South Africa. Read and assemble solid documentable facts. Support each other loudly and publicly against the inevitable charges of anti-Semitism. And support your media against the same charges. Write to news media and explain just who the "Israel media teams" actually are. Most pro-Israeli activism draws directly from the Israeli government's propaganda outreach programs. Spotlight this fact. Team up to counter their pressure on newspapers, radio stations, and television newsforums. Don't let them capture or intimidate public debate. By insisting loudly (and it must be sincere) that the goal is the full equality of dignity and rights of everyone in Israel-Palestine, including the millions of Jewish citizens of Israel, demolish their specious claims of
Finally, hold true to the principles that drive the boycott's mission.
Don't tolerate the slightest whiff of anti-Semitism in your own group or movement. Anti-Jewish racists are certainly out there, and they are attracted to these campaigns like roaches. They will
distract and absorb your energies, while undermining, degrading, and destroying the boycott movement. Some are
Zionist plants, who will do so deliberately. If you can't change their
minds (and don't spend much time trying, because they will use your efforts to drain your time and distract your energies), denounce them, expel them, ignore them, have no truck with
them. They are the enemy of a peaceful future, not its allies--part of the problem, not the solution.

Boycott the Hegemon

This is the moment to turn international pressure on the complicit US, too. It's impossible, today, to exert an effective boycott on the United States, as its products are far too ubiquitous in our lives. But it's quick and easy to launch a boycott of emblematic US
products, upsetting its major corporations. It's especially easy to boycott the great global consumables, like Coca-Cola,
MacDonald's, Burger King, and KFC, whose leverage has brought
anti-democratic pressures on governments the world over. (Through ugly monopoly practices, Coke is a nasty player in
developing countries anyway: see, for example, http://www.killercoke.org.)
Think you'll miss these foods too much? Is consuming something else for a while too much of a sacrifice, given what is happening to people in Lebanon? And think of the local products you'll be supporting! (And how healthy you will get).
In the US, the impact of these measures may be small. But in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Arab and Muslim worlds, boycotting these famous brands can gain national scope and the
impact on corporate profits will be enormous. Never underestimate the power of US corporations to leverage US foreign policy. They are the one force that consistently does so.
But always, always, remember the goal and vision. Anger and hatred, arising from the Lebanon debacle, must be channelled not into retaliation and vengeance but into principled action. Armed
struggle against occupation remains legitimate and, if properly handled (no killing of civilians), is a key tool. But the goal of all efforts, of every stamp, must be to secure security for everyone,
toward building a new peaceful future. It's very hard, in the midst of our moral outrage, to stay on the high road. That challenge is, however, well-known to human rights campaigns as it is to all three monotheistic faiths. It is what Islam knows as the "great
jihad"--the struggle of the heart. It must remain the guiding torch of this effort, which we must defend together.

Virginia Tilley is a professor of political science, a US citizen working in South Africa, and author of The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock
(University of Michigan Press and Manchester University Press, 2005). She can be reached at tilley@hws.edu.

Copyright Virginia Tilley and CounterPunch.

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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This was sent to me today (Tuesday 8 August 2006) and reflects just a little of what we are having censored so that we are given just one side of the story of the wars in the Middle East!


These were also sent to me today, and these will also not be seen in Australia - we should not be given other sides to the story - it might make us think for ourselves!

: http://gush-shalom.org/pics/telaviv-05-8-06/


(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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Antony Loewenstein's book
"My Israel Question" has just been published at the end of July 2006 in Australia.

There have already been quite a few reviews, and some of the controversy in the letters pages of newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald will certainly help to publicise the book and increase information about it. The book is being launched at gleebooks in Sydney on 8 August 2006, the author discussing it with David Marr. Should be an interesting evening.

Hopefully Melbourne will also do a book launch, particularly as it is published by Melbourne University Press.

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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MEL GIBSON - "HOLIER THAN THOU-------" 6.8.2006

"Let he who is without sin--------"

"The sins of the father---------"

It is difficult to know where to begin with this right-wing reactionary homophobic anti-semitic lout! Gibson's early life was no doubt conditioned by a Holocaust-denier father which probably influenced the anti-semitism from an early age.

The catholic background no doubt contributed to the homophobia, but what contributed to the alcoholism in someone who is supposed to be so dedicated to the teachings of his bible??

A lout is a lout is a lout - with apologies to Gertrude Stein who was, of course, a lesbian!

It is impossible to understand where people such as Gibson are coming from - and going to!! - but what is clear is that their influence on generations of religious bigots has side-effects which include abuse, bashing, murder - and the support of industries such as the film industry.

Hopefully, now that he has been exposed through the world media and the Internet for the pathetic creature that he is, his days of affluence - or as Kath and Kim might say - more pertinently - his effluence, because he pours forth such vile vitriol from his "religious" orifices - he will be ditched from being able to produce the anti-semitic films and other garbage for which he has been responsible over the years!

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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This article is a leaflet released on 26 July 2006 by Socialist Alternative:

The sub-heading is:
Israel and the US are the real terrorists!

The article gives a different perspective to that which is pushed by the mainstream media day after day after day and which is a tissue of lies and fabrication from start to finish.

The bombardment of the Lebanese and Palestinians remorselessly day after day by Israel with its military weapons supplied mainly by the USA, with a few added here and there by staunch allies such as the UK and Australia, to name but a few, shows the bloodthirsty determination of these countries to maintain the US and Israel's imperialist hold on the middle east to the exclusion of all others.

Read, and weep!

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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We thought you would like to know how the world's superpower leaders think and talk!
Blithering bigots Bush and Blair as recorded by a BBC video - photo taken from video.
Mannie De Saxe

Transcript: Bush and Blair's unguarded chat

The conversation
A transcript of the off-the-cuff conversation between US President George W Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair during a break at the G8 conference in Russia.
The president was caught on tape using an expletive as he described the actions of Hezbollah in attacking Israel.
They also discussed the exchange of gifts.
Bush: Yo, Blair. How are you doing?
Blair: I'm just...
Bush: You're leaving?
Blair: No, no, no not yet. On this trade thingy...[indistinct]
Bush: Yeah, I told that to the man.
Blair: Are you planning to say that here or not?
Bush: If you want me to.
Blair: Well, it's just that if the discussion arises...
Bush: I just want some movement.
Blair: Yeah.
Bush: Yesterday we didn't see much movement..
Blair: No, no, it may be that it's not, it may be that it's impossible.
Bush: I am prepared to say it.
Blair: But it's just I think that we need to be an opposition...
Bush: Who is introducing the trade?
Blair: Angela [Merkel, the German Chancellor]
Bush: Tell her to call 'em.
Blair: Yes
Bush: Tell her to put him on, them on the spot. Thanks for the sweater - it's awfully thoughtful of you.
Blair: It's a pleasure.
Bush: I know you picked it out yourself.
Blair: Oh absolutely - in fact I knitted it!!!
Bush: What about Kofi? [Annan] - he seems all right. I don't like his ceasefire plan. His attitude is basically ceasefire and everything sorts out.... But I think...
Blair: Yeah, no I think the [indistinct] is really difficult. We can't stop this unless you get this international business agreed.
Bush: Yeah.
Blair: I don't know what you guys have talked about, but as I say I am perfectly happy to try and see what the lie of the land is, but you need that done quickly because otherwise it will spiral.
Bush: I think Condi [US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice] is going to go pretty soon.
Blair: But that's, that's, that's all that matters. But if you... you see it will take some time to get that together.
Bush: Yeah, yeah.
Blair: But at least it gives people...
Bush: It's a process, I agree. I told her your offer to...
Blair: Well... it's only if I mean... you know. If she's got a..., or if she needs the ground prepared as it were... Because obviously if she goes out she's got to succeed, if it were, whereas I can go out and just talk.
Bush: You see the irony is what they need to do is get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's all over...
Blair: [indistinct]
Bush: [indistinct]
Blair: Dunno... Syria....
Bush: Why?
Blair: Because I think this is all part of the same thing...
Bush: (with mouth full of bread) Yeah
Blair: Look - what does he think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine. If you get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way
Bush: Yeah, yeah, he is sweet.
Blair: He is honey. And that's what the whole thing is about. It's the same with Iraq.
Bush: I felt like telling Kofi to call, to get on the phone to Assad and make something happen.
Blair: Yeah
Bush: [indistinct]
Blair: [indistinct]
Bush: We are not blaming the Lebanese government.
Blair: Is this...? [Blair taps the microphone in front of him and the sound is cut.]
Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/- /1/hi/world/americas/5188258.stm
Published: 2006/07/18 16:25:12 GMT

(Posted in International Politics)

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20 JULY 2006
The letter on World Pride Jerusalem 2006 and sent to the Sydney Star Observer and signed by supporters was published in the SSO on 20 July 2006.
Below is the letter as published, and underneath that, in italics and in bold, is what was edited out.
We believe that the issue is so critical that the SSO needs to take another careful look at what it is editing. This is censorship in another form and is not satisfactory at a time of heightened crisis in the middle east.
by Michael Schembri from Sydney | 20/07/2006 11:48:12 AM
As people of different political, ethnic and religious backgrounds who have made our contributions over the years to lesbian and gay freedom in Australia, we call on individuals and organisations not to support WorldPride in Jerusalem in August.
WorldPride portrays Jerusalem as the capital, but no one recognises that other than Israel; East Jerusalem is illegally annexed to Israel, and its quarter million Palestinian residents are besieged and oppressed, cut off from their neighbours in Ramallah and Bethlehem by the Apartheid Wall.
Queer Palestinians from the other side of the Wall won?t be able to come to Jerusalem for the parade, nor will Arabs from neighbouring countries, nor citizens of other countries, such as the US, who have Palestinian family backgrounds. It?s as if we were holding Mardi Gras in Oxford St, but people from Ryde and Bankstown couldn?t cross the borders to come. Nor could half the visitors arriving at Mascot.
We understand that some want to support WorldPride to confront Jewish fundamentalists, to bring the queer equality message to the Middle East, and to celebrate the relative comfort and rights of Jewish queers in Israel. But as we see it, in the words of the Israeli queer group Dirty Laundry, there?s ?No Pride in Occupation?. We look forward to the day when we genuinely can enjoy Pride in a free Jerusalem.
Michael Schembri, Alissar Gazal, Dr Barbara Bloch, Ken Davis, Rathana Chea (Sydney), Mannie de Saxe and Kendall Lovett, Liz Ross, Dr Graham Willett (Melbourne), Dr Jo Harrison and Margie Collins (Adelaide)
Hi friends
thanks for agreeing to sign the letter; Sydney Star Observer published the letter on World Pride but removed the paragraph:
"WorldPride will benefit the Israeli state and its tourism industry. It will make things harder for lesbian and gay groups in Palestine and other Arab countries. It is the moral equivalent of going to an international gay festival run by the Gay Association of South Africa in 1986 during the worst days of Apartheid. Israel is making war on Lebanon and the Palestinian communities in the Occupied Territories, starving them out, restricting their movements, crushing their economy, taking each day more water and land; at the same time Israel denies rights to its own Palestinian minority, and rejects the rights of return of millions of refugees."
This editing does cut out the main critique of Israel. The original was 330 words, not much more than suggested 250, which they regularly exceed.
Have sent the original version to LOTL, and will send to SX, MSO, and Pink Broad; am wondering what else to do about the gutting of the letter? Undoubtedly on the internet discussion and in the print edition there will be many hostile responses.
People can sign on the http://www.boycottworldpride.org
Or since there are other Aust lesbian and gay activists who might wanna sign this letter, we could make a bit of a petition of it?
On the other hand, WP probably will have to be cancelled, cos all those Americans won't be allowed to travel to Jerusalem, and the party team won't want to come from Europe, and we have bigger issues to protest now.
Ken Davis

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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Bad enough what has been going on for years in the occupied territories - now we have this totally insane assault on Lebanon - and this time there may be devastating consequences as the world finally starts to awaken from its long dream of the Israeli Jewish state being a moral, democratic island in a sea of "extremist terrorists" in the whole of the middle east.

Not in my name, and not in the name of many other Jews around the world, this has nothing to do with democracy, the Holocaust, the survival of the Jewish state, but a great deal to do with power - the power brokers for the USA in the region to control the interests of the imperial powers and to safeguard the oil interests and security interests in the region.

How wrong they all are, and how we are all ultimately going to have to pay the price for the sponsoring of a militarypower in Israel which can do as it likes to contriol the region - hear George W Bush's statement that Israel has a right to defend itself! From whom one might ask? From all those weak states surrounding Israel? From the Palestinians who have virtually nothing in relation to defence equipment to save them from the genocide being perpetrated against them by Israel and the USA and supported over the years by so many other of the world's major power brokers?

Just look at the words used by the zionist supporters around the world - "defending itself against aggression from the surrounding states, stopping the suicide bombers from Gaza and the West Bank, protecting themselves from Hamas and Hezbollah, Syria and Iran" - while having the 3rd or 4th largest army in the world, supplied and maintained by the USA to the tune of millions and millions of US dollars a year.

Those of us who are horrified at what is being perpetrated in the middle east have very little recourse to solutions, but what we do have is the ability, through the internet, to spread the message that there are thousands, possibly tens or hundreds of thousands, of enraged citizens around the world who may ultimately shout loud enough for our voices to be heard.

An idle hope, but we have to try, otherwise the result is madness!

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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WORLD PRIDE - JERUSALEM, 2006 13.7.2006

We received the following email from a friend in Sydney who asked us to circulate it as widely as possible to get support and endorsement.

There are many who think it a mistake to boycott a gay pride event due to take place in Israel, but it is obvious at this stage that Israel must be boycotted in whatever way is possible until it stops committing genocide on the Palestinians.

Here is the email:

I've been reading the debates about World Pride in Jerusalem, both the website, http://boycottworldpride.org/index.html
and boycott opponents such as Peter Tatchell.

One group here, Rebellion, has rejected supporting the boycott.

I was hoping some might like to join me in an openletter to the lesbian/gay press? Along the lines of the draft attached, but suggestions welcome. Its 340 words, so a bit long for SSO guidelines.
Plus circulate to others who might want to add their names.

I know, given the terrible things happening, it's not much, but maybe it can cause some thought in our communities.

Ken Davis

Open Letter to SSO, LOTL, SX, etc
Boycott World Pride
As people of different political, ethnic and religious backgrounds who have made our contributions over the years to lesbian and gay freedom in Australia, we call on individuals and organizations not to support World Pride in Jerusalem in August.
Jerusalem is not the internationally recognized capital of Israel; East Jerusalem is illegally annexed to Israel, and its quarter million Palestinian residents are besieged and oppressed, cut off from their neighbours in Ramallah and Bethlehem by the Apartheid Wall. Queer Palestinians from the other side of the Wall won’t be able to come to Jerusalem for the parade, nor will Arabs from neighbouring countries, nor citizens of other countries, such as USA, who have Palestinian family backgrounds. It’s as if we were holding Mardi Gras in Oxford St, but people from Ryde and Bankstown couldn’t cross the borders to come. Nor could half the visitors arriving at Mascot.
World Pride will benefit the Israeli state and its tourism industry. It will make things harder for lesbian and gay groups in Palestine and other Arab countries. It is the moral equivalent of going to an international gay festival run by the Gay Association of South Africa in 1986. Israel is making war on the Palestinian communities in the Occupied Territories, starving them out, restricting their movements, crushing their economy, taking each day more water and land; at the same time Israel denies rights to its own Palestinian minority, and rejects the rights of return millions of refugees.
We understand that some want to support WP to confront Jewish fundamentalists, to bring the queer equality message to the Middle East, and to celebrate the relative comfort and rights of Jewish queers in Israel. We don’t view the Palestinian or Arab governments as either blameless or beacons of queer liberation. But
as we see it, in the words of the Israeli queer group Dirty Laundry, there’s "No Pride in Occupation". We look forward to the day when we genuinely can enjoy Pride in a free Jerusalem.

(End of letter)

This is a web site that has other ideas about the World Pride event:


(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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The Age newspaper finally showed some compassion and humanity with the editorial below on 28 June 2006.
The Howard government, John Howard, Philip Ruddock and Alexander Downer, to name but a few of those guilty of the worst violations of human rights imagineable in this day and age, continue to treat David Hicks as a criminal. The government has accepted that what the United States government has told them about Hicks is true and correct, yet there has been no trial, Hicks has been incarcerated in the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp for over 4 years, and there is no end in sight.
The government would probably be more compassionate to domestic animals than to this human being, but we know their human rights record is so tarnished that it will never be cleaned.
What was it that Lady Macbeth said? Something about "not all the perfumes of Araby could wash the blood off these hands!".

The following editorial appeared in The Age newspaper on 28 June 2006. It made a change from the unprincipled stance the paper has taken on almost every issue it has written about on the Howard government’s unprincipled approach to so many of the major issues confronting Australia and the world we live in.

It is to be hoped that The Age will take more humanitarian approaches in more of the human rights issues which it has consistently denigrated, certainly during the terms of the previous editor and the current one!


Another chapter in a shameful story of justice denied.

When a man’s plea for help is rejected by both of the countries that legally owe him a duty of care, it is clear that political expediency has triumphed over justice. David Hicks, the only Westerner still incarcerated in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was born in Adelaide of an English mother. This entitles him to dual citizenship. Since January 2002, Hicks has languished in detention while the Australian government has denied any obligation for his welfare, preferring to support clear breaches of international law by its American allies. Now, the British Foreign Office has decided not to make representations for his release because he was an Australian citizen when captured and handed to US forces.

Asked about the British decision on ABC radio yesterday, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, was dismissive. “It’s really nothing to do with us”, he said. Given this nation’s shameful complicity in Hicks’s continued imprisonment, his response was entirely predictable.

Mr Downer’s words sum up 4 ½ years of denial of responsibility by the Australian Government. In putting its relationship with the US ahead of both its duty to its citizens and its international obligations, the Government has been acquiescent in eroding human rights and allowing diplomacy to obfuscate democratic values. In so doing it has set a dangerous precedent.

It was Australia’s compliance with US demands that prompted Hicks’ legal team to pursue his right to British citizenship. Had he obtained this citizenship before leaving for Afghanistan, he would almost certainly now be a free man as are the nine other British citizens originally detained by the Americans but released without charge from Guantanamo Bay following representations by the Blair Government. Their release was consistent with Britain’s repeated condemnation of the system of detention in Guantanamo as an abuse of legal process. The decision not to act on Hicks’ behalf is inconsistent with this, but it does not absolve Australia of its responsibilities. Hicks was born in this country, he has not broken any Australian laws and he was detained as an “enemy combatant” in circumstances where no war had been declared.

That the outcome of this latest attempt to gain a fair trial, if not freedom, depended on nothing more substantial than the timing of his application for British citizenship is the latest example of the capriciousness that has been a hallmark of the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay from the start.

The decision was preceded this week by the news that 14 Saudi Arabian nationals had been sent home, two weeks after three suicides at the facility. There was also the announcement that the Pentagon is preparing to release or transfer a further 120 of the approximately 450 prisoners remaining there. The US Defence Department has said that their release is subject to continuing discussions between the United States and other nations. Obviously Australia is not one of these nations.

Indeed Australia is all but alone in not agitating for the release of one of its citizens. Instead Hicks is in solitary confinement in the American prison that Amnesty International has described as a gulag. His fate may now depend on a case before the US Supreme Court, brought by another Guantanamo prisoner, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni national accused of being a driver for Osama bin Laden. The case questions the legality of the military commissions set up to prosecute Guantanamo inmates, including Hicks.

Australia should be ashamed that it has come to this. The charges against Hicks – conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy – would be unlikely to stand up in Australia as he was not engaged in a declared war and has killed no one. Strangely, this appears to be the Government’s reason for abrogating its responsibility to Hicks. He is a victim of Australia’s “special relationship” with the United States in its war on terror. It seems that this relationship is more important to the government than protecting a citizen’s human rights.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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6 JULY 2006
The Age newspaper had large black headlines on 6 July 2006:
So I wrote the following short letter and:

The Age, needless to say, did NOT publish the letter, so it will be published here instead!
Mannie De Saxe 2/12 Murphy Grove Preston Vic 3072
Phone: (03) 9471 4878 email: josken_at_zipworld_com_au
Martin Luther King famously said "I have a dream". I too have a dream.
One day The Age will have as its first large main headline:
One of the authors will NOT be Michael Gawenda.
Mannie De Saxe

This letter was published in The Age on 5 July 2006. It is an excellent analysis of the David and Goliath struggle being waged between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and shows how tragic the situation is for the Palestinians in a world which is completely uncaring about the plight of its citizens. It is a disgrace for which so many of the countries around the world responsible for the misery should be able to be brought to account. Where are the mass outcries? Why are there so many apologists for the Israelis who are committing genocide on an ever increasing scale?

A nuclear David
Re Spooner's caricature of David, illustrating David Bernstein's "Saving Corporal Shalit": Israel has the fifth-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, the latest in US military technology, and is subsidised by US taxpayers to the tune of $US5 billion a year. In 2005, Israel's military expenditure was $US9.55 billion.
The Israel Defence Forces consist of no fewer than 4000 tanks, 444 warplanes, 137 combat helicopters, three submarines and more than 40 naval craft. In comparison, the Palestinian armed forces have only a minuscule number of assault rifles and homemade Qassam rockets. These rockets have killed fewer Israelis in the past five years than the Israeli's have killed this past week.
Oh, by the way, the Palestinians have one prisoner of war, who was captured from his tank. Israel holds almost 9000 Palestinian prisoners, more than 1000 of them without charge, and 300 of them are children under 16.
So just who is David and who is Goliath? You would never know from our news reports.
Nasser Mashni, Hawthorn

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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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