25 April 2011


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The idea of a homeland for the Jews, persecuted and oppressed for some centuries around the world, hounded from one country to another seeking refuge, seemed a good idea at the time.
That time seems to have been towards the end of the 19th century when persecution in some European countries diminished while increasing in others.
Some countries were sympathetic to the idea from the point of view that a Jewish homeland would help to empty that particular country of Jews, and save one of the social problems besetting that particular nation state.
Other countries were sympathetic because they had this quaint biblical belief that, because the bible suggested the Jews were god's chosen people, the Jewish homeland in Palestine was the place of the bible and therefore the place where the Jews should have their homeland.
The quaint part of this story is that there are still many christians around the world who seem to truly believe this nonsense, but also support the idea because a man they call Jesus Christ was apparently born in a town called Bethlehem which happens to be in Palestine.
The seeds of this Jewish homeland began to grow more raplidly during the first world war, when the Ottoman empire, which had occupied Palestine for some centuries, was being defeated and chased out of the "holy" land, or the "promised" land as zionists and religious fanatics describe it.
In 1917, while a British man called TE Lawrence was fighting with Arabs to secure their own homelands from the invaders, another British man with great influence, called Lord Balfour, made some sort of declaration on behalf of the British government, whose army had occupied Palestine after driving the Turks out, and this declaration seems to have been to the effect that one day Palestine should become the Jewish homeland, and to that extent support would be given after the great war to ensure the creation of a Jewish state.
Now things start to get murky. Doring the 1920s Jews start buying land from Palestinians in a land which had always had a mixed population of Jews and Arabs whose religion was Muslim. So two religions start having conflict because one group of religious fanatics wants to drive the aboriginal owners of the land out, and they are members of the other religious group which had its share of fanatics! Oi vey!
Fanatics of the world ignite! and that is what was starting to happen more and more during that early part of the 20th century.
Hitler came to power in Germany and started persecuting the Jews there, and Jews there started to flee to whatever countries would take them. These were few and far between because most countries were anti-semitic and still are, to a greater or lesser degree.
So Jews tried to go to Palestine where possible, also against great odds, but managing here and there to get financial support and so buy land for farming to establish settlements where more Jews could come and live.
In 1936 Arabs in Palestine were beginning to realise that they were being sold down the river - in a manner of speaking - except the river is the Jordan, and water is in very short supply in that part of the world. There was an uprising and the British government, having been given the mandate by the League of Nations after world war 1 to govern Palestine, put the uprising down.
There followed world war 2 with Hitler visiting the Holocaust upon the Jews of Europe, together with other "untermenschen" who were to be eliminated, and Europe - and its Jewish populations - were decimated. The number of Jews worldwide before the conflict was estimated to be 18 million, and afterwards this number was down to 12 million.
Countries like the UK and USA who shared a great deal of the guilt for the genocides of Europe decided, with the assistance of the newly set up organisation called the United Nations - and after the British had had enough problems in Palestine with uprisings and onslaughts and Jewish refulgees from Europe trying to enter Palestine, it was decided to make a "permanent" homeland for the Jews in what had, till then, been called Palestine.
The new country was called Israel and it came into existence 60 years ago, in 1948.
Palestinians were pushed out of their country and became refugees in surrounding countries which didn't really want them there anyway, so trouble lay ahead for everybody in the region, but particularly for the Jews, the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Lebanese, the Egyptians and everybody else who wanted to have influence and control in the region. After all, oil was going to be a major 20th century obsession, and in essence, to coin a term, so was water!
Israel established a big army with the help of virtually every country which manufactured and supplied arms, and were then able to win a few wars such as the six day war in 1967, the yom kippur war in 1973, the Sabra and Shatilla massacres in Lebanon in 1982, the first intifada, and then the second - and to date ongoing - intifada - or uprising for Palestinian control of Palestinian territory.
Arafat was for many years the leader of the Palestinians, and the Israelis tried for years to get rid of him, and finally Arafat died - or was caused to die!! - and the scene changed. Israel and the United States, who by now had more or less sustained Israel over decades because it suits them to have a watchdog in the area, were determined to gain control over what remained occupied territory by Israel of Palestine - the West Bank and the Gaza strip.
After free and fair democratic elections in the occupied territories in which Hamas gained government, the USA and Israel decided Hamas was a terrorist organisation and endeavoured to defeat the Palestinians once and for all. Because Hamas and Fatah, which was the original Arafat organisation, were fighting each other, Israel assisted Fatah and the President of the Palestinian territories, but Hamas kicked them out of Gaza and took control of the area because Fatah is totally corrupt and were also seen to be doing deals with Israel and the USA in which it was quite certain that there would never be a viable Palestinina state. Israel was from 1948 always determined to occupy and govern the whole of Palestine,but has been fighting wars and uprisings for the last 60 years to try to gain the last few areas left in which Palestinians live.
There is however a numbers game. There are only about 6 million Israelis and there are upwards of 5 million Palestinians with numbers rising all the time.
The number of deaths on both sides is climbing with of course many more deaths of Palestininas because of the superiority of their armed forces, although these same armed forces were defeated in Lebanon by Hizbollah in the war in that country started by Israel in 2006.

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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18 APRIL 2008:
No response yet from the University of New South Wales who regard this matter as closed, but Peter McGregor's friends and supporters don't quite see it that way. The disgusting behaviour of that university and its Gilbert and Tobin Law centre are as reprehensible as ever and have made no move to make amends to Peter's partner and everybody else involved.
17 MARCH 2008
Dear Mannie De Saxe,

I am acknowledging receipt of your emails of 18 January and 11 March 2008. The University regards this matter as closed and will not respond to any further correspondence.
Yours sincerely,
Victoria Finlay
Executive Officer to the Vice-Chancellor
Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Level 1, Chancellery
The University of New South Wales
UNSW Sydney
NSW 2052
Ph: 612 9385 3803 Fax: 612 9385 1949

11/03/2008 11:22 PM
To V.Finlay@unsw.edu.au
cc Subject (Fwd) (Fwd) Peter McGregor
Please acknowledge receipt of this email and advise when a response may be expected.
Mannie De Saxe
----------------------------------------------------------- ------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Self
To: V.Finlay@unsw.edu.au
Subject: (Fwd) Peter McGregor
Date sent: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 00:16:08 +1100
------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Self
To: V.Finlay@unsw.edu.au
Subject: Peter McGregor
Date sent: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 00:08:09 +1100
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072
The fact that Peter McGregor died on 11 January 2008 does not mean that the matter between him and the University is now closed.
More than ever, it is necessary for the University to demonstrate that it is not a university in name only, but that the meaning of the word university is still understood to be that of an institution which upholds the traditions of a seat of learning.
The University, the Gilbert and Tobin Centre, the Law Faculty and the people involved in the events leading to the arrest of Peter McGregor need to make public apologies which are placed in the media in prominent positions so that the community is made aware of of the injustices of the actions taken to have Peter McGregor arrested and ignominiously thrown out of the University.
Until such time as this is done, the matter will not be laid to rest.
Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne.
Subject: Your email to the Vice-Chancellor
From: "Victoria Finlay" Add to Address B
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 10:59:16 +1100
Dear Mr McGregor,
I am responding to your email to the Vice-Chancellor. I understand that the police prosecution has been withdrawn. The University regards the matter as closed and will not respond to any further correspondence regarding the matter.
Yours sincerely,
Victoria Finlay
Executive Officer to the Vice-Chancellor Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Level 1, Chancellery The University of New South Wales
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052
Ph: 612 9385 3803 Fax: 612 9385 1949
(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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I wrote this letter to The Age newspaper on 15 April 2008, but the editor, Andrew Jaspan, a right-wing reactionary bigot if ever there was one, doesn't approve of the idea that there is anyone out there who would dare to criticise Thabo Mbeki, who, with the aid of his health minister (sic) Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been responsible for more deaths in South Africa in 9 years over the AIDS crisis that Mugabe has in Zimbabwe in nearly 30 years from murder, thuggery, thievery, AIDS and other associated crimes against humanity, while the world has sat back and watched both countries behave in the most criminal of behaviours without lifting any fingers to stop them.
South Africa is a basket case in a different way from Mugabe's basket case, but the outcomes are the same - impoverished diseased populations and huge criminal classes profiting from a lack of employment opportunities and other social diseases. Educational, health and housing disasters together with an absolute desire to ensure capitalist enrichment and widening of the gaps between the very rich and the very poor assist both countries in their slides to disaster. Both countries could have been models for the rest of Africa, but it was not to be!
Mannie De Saxe,
2/12 Murphy Grove,
Vic 3072
Phone: 03 9471 4878
No, Mark Brooks (The Age 15 April), NOT Mugabe and Mbeki, monster and monstered, BUT Mugabe and Mbeki, monster and monster! Mbeki has been responsible for thousands more deaths from AIDS than Mugabe has from murders, disappearances and thuggery.
BUT Mbeki is also responsible for Mugabe still being in power by supporting him through thick and thin!
Mannie De Saxe

(Posted in South African Issues)

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'Israeli spooks paid to clinch Mugabe win'

Mandy Rossouw

28 March 2008 06:00

An aide of Zimbabwean presidential hopeful Simba Makoni has alleged that Israeli intelligence group Mossad has been hired by President Robert Mugabe to ensure he wins the upcoming election by hook or by crook.

Ibbo Mandaza, a senior member of Makoni's campaign team, told the Mail & Guardian that the voters' roll was manipulated in order to favour Zanu-PF and that the format of the voter's roll was devised by Mossad on instructions from the Zimbabwean government.

It has also been alleged that Israeli intelligence has helped Zanu-PF make the voters' roll inaccessible to the opposition, who had wanted to use it to conduct more focused campaigning.

Information technology expert Valentine Sinemane confirmed last night that the electronic version of the voters' roll, sold to the opposition by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for US$2 400, was compiled by an Israeli company called Nirkuv Projects.

The roll was provided in the form of picture files of the actual voters' roll rather than in an electronic format.

A Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate initially asked Sinemane to convert the computer files on the CDs from images -- photographs of the pages listing the voters in alphabetical order -- to Excel files, in order to make analysis of the voters' roll easier.

He was asked to do this for a single constituency, Harare North, which is traditionally an MDC stronghold.

More than 8 000 ghost voters were found when the addresses on the voters' roll for this area were visited. Many of the addresses were found to be empty stands with no residential structures. Harare North is an affluent suburb adjacent to Hatcliffe, a poorer suburb.

Sinemane told the M&G that the process of converting the files would take a long time and they would therefore not be ready in time for Saturday's election.

Mandaza claimed that Zanu-PF called on Mossad to help them because of the experience the intelligence agency has with elections. "They have expertise in vote-rigging. Also Mossad is looking for any kind of support and alliances and therefore Zimbabwe is the obvious target."

He said that the opposition has been aware that Mossad had been active in Zimbabwe over the past six months and that two weeks ago six Mossad agents had arrived in Harare and held top-secret meetings with government officials involved in state security.

This is the latest allegation of vote-rigging levelled against Mugabe's government.

On Thursday, the MDC awaited the outcome of an urgent application asking the High Court to instruct the Zimbabwean election commission to provide more polling stations.

Questions were also asked about the printing of a total of nine million ballot papers for just more than six million registered voters.

The Zimbabwean Election Commission, made up largely of Zanu-PF sympathisers, has said that the printing of the extra ballot papers is a contingency measure to ensure that sufficient ballot papers are available to the voters.

"I don't know about Mossad, but I will say this: if I have a job that someone else is an expert at, we will seek assistance from them and work with them, if they have the skills we need," said George Chiweshe, the chairperson of the commission.

(Posted in International Politics)

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The magazine of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) has the following two items in its April 2008 edition on electric vehicles, one a letter, the other an article. Meantime, back in the 1890s--------!
The letter is headed

There is a growing band of inspired motorists, of which I am one, who have made the conscious decision not to buy a new vehicle until the 19th century internal combustion engine is replaced. We cannot stand by and ignore the ecological solutions which means we will not buy more of the same. Contrast the failed Mitsubishi 380 with the encouraging Blade Runner brought out by Blade Electric vehicles in Castlemaine. The latter car replaces the poisonous petrol powerplant with clean solar power sourced from panels at home or office. We just need that car to be made in commercial quantities and we can all get on board.

Andrew Kaszick, Altona Meadows
Here is the article by Bill McKinnon:

(Posted in Electric Vehicles)

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Dear Mannie De Saxe,

I am acknowledging receipt of your emails of 18 January and 11 March 2008. The University regards this matter as closed and will not respond to any further correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Victoria Finlay
Executive Officer to the Vice-Chancellor
Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Level 1, Chancellery
The University of New South Wales
UNSW Sydney
NSW 2052

Ph: 612 9385 3803 Fax: 612 9385 1949

This email is intended for its addressees only. It may contain information that is confidential. Any unauthorised use is prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please advise me by return email or telephone and delete it from your system. Thank you.

11/03/2008 11:22 PM To

(Fwd) (Fwd) Peter McGregor

Please acknowledge receipt of this email and advise when a
response may be expected.

Mannie De Saxe

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Self
To: V.Finlay@unsw.edu.au
Subject: (Fwd) Peter McGregor
Date sent: Tue, 26 Feb 2008 00:16:08 +1100

------- Forwarded message follows -------
From: Self
To: V.Finlay@unsw.edu.au
Subject: Peter McGregor
Date sent: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 00:08:09 +1100

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072


The fact that Peter McGregor died on 11 January 2008 does not
mean that the matter between him and the University is now

More than ever, it is necessary for the University to demonstrate
that it is not a university in name only, but that the meaning of the
word university is still understood to be that of an institution which
upholds the traditions of a seat of learning.

The University, the Gilbert and Tobin Centre, the Law Faculty and
the people involved in the events leading to the arrest of Peter
McGregor need to make public apologies which are placed in the
media in prominent positions so that the community is made aware
of of the injustices of the actions taken to have Peter McGregor
arrested and ignominiously thrown out of the University.

Until such time as this is done, the matter will not be laid to rest.

Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne.


Subject: Your email to the Vice-Chancellor
From: "Victoria Finlay" Add to
Address B
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 10:59:16 +1100

Dear Mr McGregor,

I am responding to your email to the Vice-Chancellor.
I understand that the police prosecution has been
withdrawn. The University regards the matter as closed
and will not respond to any further correspondence
regarding the matter.

Yours sincerely,

Victoria Finlay
Executive Officer to the Vice-Chancellor Office of the
Level 1, Chancellery The University of New South Wales
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052
Ph: 612 9385 3803 Fax: 612 9385 1949
------- End of forwarded message -------
------- End of forwarded message -------
(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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This arrived by email on 20 March 2008 and it is so important an issue that it deserves all the publicity it can get:
----- Original Message ----- From:

Last week in response to Prime Minister Rudd's motion in the Australian Parliament comemmorating the 60th anniversary of the birth of the Jewish state of Israel, Senator Allison tabled her own motion:
Notice of Motion
On the next day of sitting I shall move that the Senate:
a) Notes
i) that Amnesty International, CARE International UK, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Medecins du Monde UK, Oxfam, Save The Children UK and Trocaire, said last week that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is now worse than it was at any time since Israel occupied the Palestinian territories in 1967
ii) that those organisations this week described Israel's blockade of Gaza as a collective punishment of the entire Gazan population of 1.5 million and said it was unacceptable and illegal,
iii) that the situation has worsened since Israel imposed the severe restrictions over the Gaza Strip and hindered the movement of residents and goods.
iv) that poverty levels in the Gaza Strip are rising and that hospitals are suffering 12 hour power cuts each day while water and sewage systems are close to collapse
v) that the UN emergency relief coordinator in Gaza says medical services are deteriorating, private industry has more or less collapsed, hospitals lack sufficient beds, drugs, resuscitation devices, needles and blood to meet the demand and more than 80 percent of the population are receiving emergency rations from UN agencies as their main source of food.
vi) that 40 per cent of the Gaza population has access to water for only a few hours a day and that municipal authorities lack the fuel and spare parts needed to maintain water delivery infrastructure which could collapse at any time and that 40 million litres of raw or partially treated sewage is being pumped into the Mediterranean Sea every day with long term risks to the environment
vii) that the International Save the Children Alliance advised that hundreds of thousands of children are among those most at risk in the crisis in Gaza with increased levels of chronic disease, anaemia, diarrhoea and malnutrition in children under five.

b) Urges the Government to work with the international community and parties to the conflict to, as a matter of urgency
i) establish procedures to manage the crossings and re-establish full humanitarian and commercial access to Gaza
ii) enforce the full implementation of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and access which was announced by Secretary of State Rice in Jerusalem on 15 November 2005
iii) develop a strategy that ensures the protection of children and other civilians in Gaza, while negotiations continue for an end to the violence and a comprehensive settlement of the conflict.
iv) increase the levels of humanitarian aid in Gaza to reflect the severity of need.

c) Reminds the Government that there is no cause to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories while such crises exist and while peace and a separate state for Palestinians appears less likely than at any time in the last 60 years.

It should be noted that neither major party supported the above and so Senator Allison has decided to leave it lie so it remains on the notice paper for a while.

Israel / Palestine Motion Wednesday, March 19, 2008 10:40 AM Watson, Paul (Sen L. Allison) Watson, Paul (Sen L. Allison)
Paul Watson
Visit our

Office of Senator Lyn Allison
Leader of the Australian Democrats
Ph: (02) 6277 3512 - Sitting weeks
Fax: (02) 6277 3725
Tel: (03) 9416 1880 - Non sitting weeks
Fax: (03) 9417 1690
Email: paul.watson@aph.gov.au
The Democrats are not beholden to big business or the unions or chained to any extreme ideology or religion. We are a party that makes judgments based on what is fair and just and moral. We are the only party that simply fights for what is right. Senate Watch campaign or sign up for our Accountability eBulletin.

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(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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The following article, from The Age newspaper of 12 March 2008, is about a meeting held by Dr Philip Nitschke in Templestowe, a Melbourne suburb. Every time I tried to copy and paste the article from The Age online to a saved word document on my computer, the computer froze. In the end, after trying a few times, I decided to type the article out to make quite sure it was here, in full.
At the end of the article, instead of telling one how to get hold of Exit International, the euthanasia organisation, one is given beyond blue - the depression organisation, the suicide helpline and lifeline - how pathetic!
Here is the article, complete with the usual nonsense from Margaret Tighe and Right to Life:
$50 for a cuppa . . . and a recipe to die
By Julia Medew, Health Reporter
The meeting began like any other senior citizens' gathering on a sunny weekday afternoon. There was tea and coffee being poured under portraits of the Queen, but this time it was being served with images of lethal drug kits and instructions on suffocation bags.
More than 100 elderly people packed into the Templestowe Senior Citizens Centre after lunch yesterday (Tuesday 11 March 2008) to learn about peaceful, reliable and cost-effective ways to take their own lives.
The mostly healthy grey-haired bunch chatted passionately inside the bright hall about why they wanted to choose death over suffering if the time ever arrived.
After sitting through a free introductory lecture from euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke about his history and issues surrounding suicide, almost every attendee paid a $50 fee to stay on for a workshop on methods recommended by his organisation Exit International. (my bold and italics)
The attendees were asked to sign a disclaimer that declared they would not use the information "to advise, counsel or assist in the act of suicide."
"It's effectively saying that you won't take notice of what I'm saying," Dr Nitschke said.
He began the meeting by explaining that it was a crime to advise, counsel or assist someone to commit suicide in Australia - an offence that carries a maximum jail term of 14 years in Victoria and 20 years in other states.
He explained that although he had helped many terminally ill people achieve peaceful deaths using legal methods overseas, he understood some people who were not dying might want to take their own lives.
Dr Nitschke detailed the example of a couple who did not want to endure the loss of each other. They took their lives peacefully and had their ashes blended, he said.
A short time later he moved on to exactly what people paid to hear: "DIY Strategies".
In his first example, Dr Nitschke used still images of a woman named Betty, who was sitting in the crowd.
He said he could not show the video of the procedure, but could point those interested to a web site, as some seniors reached for their pens and pads.
Betty's strangely humorous prerecorded explanation of how to make your own suffocation device, which will kill you in 20 minutes for about $25, was then played. "you can see why we all love Betty," Dr Nitschke joked as he pointed her out in the crowd.
He then spoke about the "single-shot coffee-pot", a method for cooking lethal drugs using materials easily purchased in most states. Again he showed still images of a film available on the internet.
Both films had disclaimers informing depressed people that they should not view the material.
Finally, Dr Nitschke spoke of a vetinerary drug and the Australian Federal Police raid on the homes of two Victorians who had travelled to Mexico to obtain it.
A man who recently trafficked the drug through customs was then greeted with applause.
It was one of the many workshops Dr Nitschke will host this year in Australia and New Zealand to teach people about his fight to legalise voluntary euthanasia and the options they have.
He told The Age that although police had serruptitiously attended workshops in other states in the past, he had not yet heard from Victorian authorities.
When asked if he was sailing close to breaching the law, he said his legal advice labelled his work a "grey area."
Right to Life campaigner Margaret Tighe siad Mr (sic) Nitschke's "appalling" clinics were posing a great danger to the most vulnerable people in the community.
"We're living in a world where there are a lot of lonely, elderly people and a lot of people who are just lonely or depressed," she said. "We must do all that we can for people suffering from depression, but on the other hand we've got this man running around openly telling people how they can end their lives."
She said it was high time that police stopped such clinics.
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This article appeared in TheAge newpaper on 10 March 2008, opening once more the dabate about legalising euthanasia. A friend of ours is believed to have recently chosen this form of death, illegal though it is in Australia, rather than go through the torments of the disease from which he was going to die a cruel and unavoidable and dragged out death and inflict untold suffering on himself, his beloved partner and those around him.
Australia does it for pets, but not for humans. It is time the governments of this country entered the 21st century, and stopped living in the religious moralising of the past several centuries.
Dad's dying voice must be heard in the euthanasia debate
Michelle Coleman
March 10, 2008

TOMORROW, a group of senior citizens will gather in Lower Templestowe. Their mission: to train in the rites of a peaceful death by asphyxiation, carbon monoxide poisoning and the powerful barbiturate Nembutal — the drug that 78-year-old mesothelioma sufferer Don Flounders was caught importing last month.
Their education will be overseen by Exit International, the organisation headed by Dr Philip Nitschke that maintains a precarious dance with the law while ensuring its predominantly elderly or terminally ill members receive instruction on how to induce a relatively quick and peaceful death.
The workshop comes at a time of growing debate about voluntary euthanasia: Greens senator Bob Brown is pushing to have the Northern Territory's former right-to-die laws restored (they were overridden by the Howard government) and has called on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to allow a conscience vote on the issue.
Ironically, most of our staunchest advocates for assisted suicide and the reinstatement of the Northern Territory's short-lived laws do not have a voice in the argument — because they are dying. Unable to dedicate their precious remaining time to influencing politicians, they wait for a potentially gruesome end, denied ultimate medical assistance that residents of progressive European nations take for granted.
Many other advocates of voluntary euthanasia have already been lost. One was my father, Alan Coleman. A true son of St Kilda, he was typically blue-collar — honest, hard-working and a dedicated family man. He tinkered with cars, grew tomatoes and watched war movies. A boilermaker, he worked his guts out his whole life. He didn't deserve the death he was dealt.
After his cancer diagnosis, but before his health declined, we discussed the plight of Maria Korp, who was at the time alive but declared brain dead. Dad grunted his assent at the decision to allow her to die, but was sickened that she would be left to starve to death. His voice was gruff: "If that ever happens to us," he nodded towards Mum, not liking to make a specific allusion to his terminal illness, "flick the switch. Don't think about it, just do it."
In the end there was only a morphine drip and, in the ultimate kick in the teeth, he died the same death as Maria Korp, only Alan kept regaining consciousness, enduring each of the four tumours eating away at his body as he slowly starved and dehydrated to death, all the while paralysed from the neck down and unable to speak. Theoretically, I knew how to boost the morphine dose, but I didn't know how much it would take to kill him. I was afraid of increasing his suffering without bringing an end to his misery, and I also knew hospital staff were monitoring the machine-fed doses with a thoroughness that would have revealed family interference. I regret my cowardice every day.

The tumour that ate his bowel caused him unendurable pain, while those that rent his lungs caused him to fight for every shallow breath. But it was the spinal tumour that finished him mentally and physically. Not only did it paralyse him, in a fierce and cruel twist, it seemed to magnify his sense of pain, so that between bouts of unconsciousness he had torturous waking moments in which he experienced the shut-down of his organs over seven days, each small death defeating the massive morphine doses with outrageous breakthroughs of pain.
The effect of a dehydrated human body is something to behold. At first there were consistent attempts to keep his mouth wet, but the longer he survived the more difficult it became, until the skin of his mouth dried to the consistency of desiccated coconut. Over a few days the dryness spread throughout his mouth and descended down his throat into the reaches of his oesophagus and windpipe. In his waking moments every breath he took was like a thousand paper cuts across that dead, flaked skin.
The once tall, handsome man had been whittled away to 35 kilograms and his mouth hung open in a pre-death rigor mortis, his body rigidly knotted with tension in his waking moments. He was just 58.
A workmate shook her head sadly at my description of his demise. "You wouldn't do it to a dog," she said, her voice thick with disgust.
She was right. My father is dead, but with hope his voice can still be heard in the debate on allowing the terminally ill the right to a peaceful death.
Michelle Coleman is a Melbourne freelance journalist.

(Posted in Euthanasia)

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26 FEBRUARY 2008

The Hon Theo Theophanous, MP,
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region,
Legislative Council,
and Minister for Industry and Trade,
Parliament House,
Spring Street, East Melbourne Vic. 3002.
Tuesday, 26 February 2008.
From: Kendall Lovett,
2/12 Murphy Grove, Preston Vic. 3072.
Dear Minister,
The Government intends to lapse our State ban on Genetically Manipulated (GM) canola on Friday of this week.
As an elected member for the Northern Metropolitan Region, I think you should tell the Premier that a lot of people (and I’m one of them) in your region want the ban to stay because as shoppers we will not be able to know whether or not the Australian canola product we buy is GM free if he allows the ban to lapse. Victoria by lifting its ban allows GM canola to enter the food chain and be grown in Victoria unrestricted, unregulated and unlabelled GM.
It looks to me as though the Premier did not ask the wider food industry and any of us if we wanted the ban lifted. He only listened to the big agribusiness front groups for Monsanto and Bayer.
So, please stand up in Parliament for those of us who want the ban retained. After all the other States are not lifting their bans on GM like Victoria plans to do.
Kendall Lovett.
Similar letter sent to MLC Jenny Mikakos, MLC Nazih Elasma and MLA Robin Scott.

28 FEBRUARY 2008

2 MARCH 2008

The following article appeared in the Sunday Age on 2 March 2008 in response to the concerns being expressed in Victoria about the ban on gm canola being lifted by the Victorian state government:
Tighten GM food labelling: Woolies

GROCERY giant Woolworths has called for all food containing genetically modified ingredients to be clearly labelled, as Victorian farmers prepare to sow GM canola for the first time. In a statement to The Sunday Age, Woolworths chief executive Michael Luscombe said that while the company supported choice for farmers it strongly advocated clear "labelling of all GM ingredients in food products to protect the interests of our customers and to enable informed decision making".
Woolworths operates more than 900 supermarkets, which account for an estimated 30% of the Australian grocery and liquor market. It has a policy of avoiding GM ingredients in its house-brand products wherever possible.
The stance by Woolworths highlights a contentious loophole in current labelling standards, which do not require food items containing highly refined GM material, such as oil from modified canola, to be labelled as GM.
Woolworths also expressed concern for those farmers opposed to GM technology.
"Woolworths believes that segregation protocols and assurance processes for GM and non-GM crops should be considered very carefully to protect the rights of those farmers who choose to stay GM-free," Mr Luscombe's statement said.
Anti-GM campaigners welcomed the retailer's stance.
Greenpeace's community organiser on the GM issue, Louise Sales, said it was good to see Woolworths standing up for the rights of consumers because once the NSW and Victorian moratoriums were lifted, "there's going to be a large influx of GM canola, which is going to make its way unlabelled and unwanted into the food chain".
Jim Cooper, a spokesman for Australia's second largest retailer, Coles, said the company believed current labelling requirements for GM ingredients were reasonable.
"However, we're aware that this is an emerging and often contentious issue, and if the consensus across grower groups, industry, government and consumers was that the labelling of GM ingredients should be changed in the future, then we would support a review," he said. Coles required its house-brand products to be GM-free, and asked suppliers to provide it with a supply chain audit trail to certify the origins of all goods.
Mr Cooper said Coles would be introducing a GM testing program for house-brand products in coming months.
Independent grocery chain IGA said it believed the current labelling standards were adequate. Like Woolworths, it has a policy of not using GM ingredients in its house-brand products if possible.
Another retailer Foodland, which operates stores in NSW, South Australia and the Northern Territory, announced in January that customer feedback had prompted it to exclude GM ingredients from house-brand products.
Food processor Goodman Fielder, which owns brands including Meadow Lea, Praise, White Wings and Helga's, wrote to state premiers late last year warning of consumer unease about GM material in their food.
Consumer surveys show Australians are gradually becoming more tolerant of GM foods, but December 2007 research by Roy Morgan showed 51% of respondents would not buy GM foods if given the choice.
Dick Wells, the chief executive of the Australian Food and Grocery council, said the concerns customers expressed in surveys were often not reflected in purchasing behaviour. "At the end of the day, consumers rule," he said. "If consumers don't want to buy these products, they will be delisted by the retailers."
But Clare Hughes, a senior food policy officer at consumer group Choice, said current labelling standards did not offer consumers enough information to make an informed choice.
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon did not respond to requests for comment.

Dan Harrison
(Posted in Genetic Modifications - Food)

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Letter in The Age, 22 February 2008
No place for God in schools
JOHN Howard's idea of a "God Squad" infiltrating schools with his particular ideology has come unstuck before it has even started (The Age, 21/2). Its introduction was an ideologically driven mistake and a wise Kevin Rudd would end it as soon as is possible. Impressionable young minds are not in need of subtle indoctrination with a particular narrow belief system.
Education that goes beyond factual knowledge is a matter for priests and shamans, not secular governments.
David Nicholls, president,
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc

(Posted in Atheists and religions)

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Israel, it seems, will never learn - well, not until it has at last lost support around the world for the atrocities it is committing on a daily basis.
The world has colluded with Israel for too long, and has allowed the genocide of the Palestinians to continue at an ever-increasing rate.
The disgusting spectacle of the ongoing attacks on the Gaza prison and its captive population have still not made any difference to the world community. The murders of Palestinians does not seem to stir the consciences of those who have the power to stop Israel doing what it does best, genocide of the Palestinians.
It is hard to believe that the Jews, who sixty to seventy years ago were the subjects of one of the worst genocides of the 20th century - these same Jews now having their own state and power, supported all the way by the USA - are committing genocide in the 21st century on a population which they are first trying to starve into submission, and then doing the rest by force of arms so that Israel will finally be in control of all of what used to be called Palestine.
What may have been a zionist dream of the late 19th-early 20th century, to have a homeland free of the nightmare life of the Jews of Europe who were subject to pogroms, discrimination, murder and humiliation of the worst sort by czarist Russia and then Nazi Germany and Stalinist USSR, has now become the same nightmare for the Palestinian population of the territory of what used to be their homeland.
Maybe a change of administration in the USA at the end of 2008, now only 8 months away, will create a new political climate with a dramatic change in leadership policies towards the middle east, and particularly to Palestine.
In the mean time, the Israelis will continue to kill hundreds of Palestinians and the world will look on and do nothing!

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi gras turns 30 in 2008.
Police brutality during the 1978 parade, the first one ever, was spectacularly disgusting, and was followed by NSW police behaving disgustingly for many years until there seemed to have been something of a culture change, and the brutality diminished.
Events in 2008 in Oxford Street in Sydney show that police culture has changed basically very little over that 30-year period.
This story from BNews in Melbourne on 28 February 2008, by the publishing editor of the Sydney Star Observer, Scott Abrahams, tells some of the story of current-day events:
Bashed, beaten, abused . . . and vindicated
Violence in Sydney's Oxford Street has become an increasingly regular occurrence, but the community is fighting back.
"As far as we have come, homophobia is still a relevant threat in our world today.
There are still people out there who consider fag bashing a legitimate Friday and Saturday night sport. Sydeny has, in recent months, seen a visible increase in the level of homophobic violence. Oxford street is no longer the golden gay mile it once was. It is a melting pot of gay, lesbians, twinks, straights and creeds - a combination that has developed into a time bomb.
The brutal bashing of Shane Brennan and Craig Gee occurred when they were set upon while walking along Crown Street holding hands, just a few blocks from Oxford Street. The angry gang of men yelled, "Give us your money you fucking faggot" at the pair - making it clear this was a homophobic attack.
Both sustained horrendous injuries. Part of Craig's skull was reduced to powder and one of his legs broken. His partner Shane thought he was going to die. The police, we were told, were not being very co-operative. They were "investigating a number of leads."
As publishing editor of the Sydney Star Observer (SSO) I felt it was vital the paper took Craig and Shane's case to the public. The reaction was instant. Letters to the paper tripled, more people who had been the victims of homophobic violence came forward. Even more frightening, many of them also reported a disappointing reaction from the police at Surry Hills station.
A group of community-minded individuals set to work to organise a vigil in the park next to the police station as a show of strength and a call for action. It drew more than 1000 people.
The paper continued to print stories of violence and police inaction - and the police fought back through other media, claiming we had misrepresented the facts, embellished the story and fancified the claims. SSO was under a lot of pressure to cease its attack on the police, to stop stirring the community into a unified position.
Then things started to change. The AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) sent a damning file to the NSW Ombudsman which contained a string of cases of homophobic violence reported to and dismissed by the local police.
NSW Police Minister David Campbell stepped in and ordered investigations into Surry Hills Police Station.
Eight weeks later the paper's position has been vindicated. Surry Hills police commander Supt Daryl Donnolley and his crime manager, Det Insp David Eagan-Lee have been shifted from Surry Hills to other posts. Donnolley now has a desk job at corporate headquarters and Eagan-Lee has been sent out to the western suburbs.
Their replacements - Ashfield's Donna Adney and Shane Wolbank, are our new hope. They, along with Assistant Commissioner Catherine Burn, say it is their intention to tackle homophobic violence head-on.
What we have achieved as a paper in these intense and difficult two months is to show that Sydney's gay and lesbian population is still passionate about community and that, given the right circumstances, it will flex its political muscle and demand action."
It is thirty years since the first Mardi Gras in 1978. Police brutality was well documented at the time, both in writing and in film, some of which illustrates the culture which was prevalent in the police force in NSW at the time, and Neville Wran's inaction and refusal to take action to stop the homophobic violence on the streets, in the police force, and in the community at large.
What is alarming is to discover, yet again, over this 30 year period, that "The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same."
Morris Iemma's government has been amongst the most homophobic in recent times, and the culture propagated by the Howard government over nearly 12 years only exacerbated an already critical situation, giving the religious right a controlling interest in government and in preaching hate in the community about gay, lesbian, transgender, HIV members of the community.
At least the actions of the Sydney Star Observer in exposing the current situation meant that action had to be taken to change the culture.
Let us hope that it has happened. Homophobia has been out of control in Australia for too long and changes are needed. Whether Kevin Rudd and his religious culture will allow any changes to occur which will be positive in the longer term - well, don't hold your breath!!!

(Posted in Homophobia)

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This obituary of a great South African anti-apartheid activist was published in The Age newspaper on 28 February 2008, originally in the UK Guardian newspaper:
Ronald Segal

Anti-apartheid activist, writer and editor who founded the Penguin African Library

Denis Herbstein
Tuesday February 26, 2008
The Guardian
Ronald Segal, founder of the Penguin African Library and author of several groundbreaking works on international affairs, has died of cancer, aged 75. His unwavering support for the anti-apartheid struggle reached a dramatic apogee during the state of emergency in 1960 when he crossed the South African border into exile with the African National Congress leader, Oliver Tambo. But if he pinned his colours to the liberation movement throughout the hard years of exile, blind acceptance of the party line was not his style.
At an early age he had proclaimed himself a socialist, saying he did not want to be a millionaire. But he had no choice. His father was a co-owner of Ackerman's, the giant cheap clothing chain. At their home on the slopes of Cape Town's Lion's Head, his Zionist parents entertained visiting dignitaries. At eight, he read Gone With the Wind and a biography of Disraeli. Relatives thought him precocious; on being berated by an uncle for spending the sixpence he had been given on sweets, Segal asked if he was expected to invest in property.
Matriculating at 16 from Sea Point boys' high school, he arrived in England hoping for a quick passage into Oxford. But not even a letter from family contact Viscount Samuel, former high commissioner for Palestine, and visitor of Balliol College, could slip him into the university without sitting an exam for which his South African education had left him ill-prepared. It was just as well.
At Cape Town University he majored in English and Latin and learned the raw facts of political life. Trinity College, Cambridge, followed, where he was more influenced by Enid Welsford, tutor in the English moralists, than by FR Leavis. An upper second was a disappointment. A dissertation on Paradise Lost won him a fellowship to the University of Virginia, but he found Charlottesville a "museum world". Within six months, in 1956, he was back in Cape Town to launch the magazine Africa South. Politics had won out.
Segal had access to a family trust, for advertising would be difficult, and he could expect no support from his late father's business friends. Africa South arrived at a dangerous time, ruffling the feathers of a regime that brooked less and less criticism. It gave a voice to communists, socialists, liberals (Alan Paton was one), the church and people of no known ideology. It was not scared of sacred cows. Economic sanctions, slave labour on white-owned farms, the status of South-West Africa, revolution - all were investigated or recommended. He was a man of opinions, but not opinionated. His editorials were trenchant but full of common sense. He was harsh on the Soviet invasion of Hungary.
He became a marked man, not helped by a speaking tour of US campuses, where he argued with passion for an economic boycott. Eleanor Roosevelt spoke at a fundraising event for Nelson Mandela and others on trial for treason in Pretoria - Segal ran the defence fund in Cape Town. His arrest one night in an African township, with a gun and pamphlets calling for a boycott of Afrikaner businesses, did not help. His car was torched. He lost his passport and was (somewhat ironically) banned as a "communist", making it a criminal offence to associate with other people.
After the Sharpeville shootings in 1960 and the banning of the ANC, every conceivable enemy of the state was detained. Tambo, designated to run the movement from abroad, had avoided arrest by being in Cape Town. Segal drove him in his mother's Vauxhall into British Bechuanaland (now Botswana), and they both eventually arrived in England.
When, two years later, Segal married Susan Wolff, Oliver and Adelaide Tambo's children were their flower girl and page boy. Africa South continued in exile for a few editions until Pretoria stopped the money. But then Tony Godwin, chief editor of Penguin Books, asked Segal to launch the Africa series. After Sharpeville, the public hungered for information and, for a generation, the PAL's 65 titles, led by Basil Davidson and Ruth First, fulfilled that need. As one of his authors, I can vouch for Segal's helpful editing and demands for grammatical rigour.
All the while he wrote books. After the autobiographical Into Exile (1963), he plunged into India, the US, the Middle East and a biography of Trotsky. His great quality was the commitment to work things out for himself, so he did not see these countries in the conventional way. He never set out to be controversial, though Oliver, his son, says he could be inordinately proud at having rubbed someone up the wrong way. Later he collaborated with Michael Kidron on a world atlas that ran into several editions. Perhaps his most ambitious project was his last: a companion set on the black diaspora, including a history of Islam's role in Africa's east coast slavery.
The Segals lived in a fine manor house in Walton-on-Thames, once the home of Justice John Bradshaw, who quite possibly signed Charles I's death warrant in the living-room. Segal, whose commitment to local issues mirrored his involvement in international affairs, founded the Walton Society, a local residents' association, which took over the majority of the town's seats on the Elmbridge borough council. Its previous Tory majority spoke of the "rabid red" in its midst, but did not prevent the loss of control to the society and its largely independent allies. Last year the battle with Surrey county council to save Walton bridge was won in a campaign that Segal chaired.
In between the travelling, Segal had a passion for literature and classical music and collected first editions, in particular Henry James, George Orwell and Graham Greene. Round his bridge table could be found Peter Jay, Mark Boxer and Hugh Stephenson, while his poker mainstay was the Marxist Joe Slovo.
When finally unbanned by the South African government, Segal returned to visit his homeland many times, including to a hero's welcome in 1992 when he shared the stage with Mandela, Tambo, Slovo and others, in order to deliver a typically brilliant speech at the inaugural presentation of the Ruth First memorial prize for journalism on behalf of the trust which he had been instrumental in setting up after the activist's death by parcel bomb in 1982.
He is survived by Susan, Oliver and daughters Miriam and Emily.
• Ronald Michael Segal, editor, author activist, born July 14 1932; died February 23 2008

(Posted in South African Issues)

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GM-FREE RALLY - URGENT!!! 26.2.2008

Josken (?),
I have just found your website re: GM food. I thought I might forward to you the latest newsletter from GeneEthics – the anti-GM group – who are pushing hard this week as we near the end of the GM ban in Victoria.
I was wondering if you would be able to spread it around your networks to help spread the word?
Greg Revell
(GeneEthics supporter)

Please send to all your contacts
We can still win a GM-free future!
Hullo Gene Ethics supporters:
Premier Brumby says Victoria's GM canola ban will be allowed to lapse this Thursday, February 28.
Victoria is a renegade, going it alone, as WA, SA, Tasmania and the ACT will continue to be GM-free.
Bayer and Monsanto (licensee NuFarm) may begin to sell seed for the permanent and unrestricted
commercial release of herbicide tolerant GM canola crops. But that is NOT the end of the story ...
We can stop this madness if we act together!!
To do list (urgent):
Peace and joy,
1. Protest to your state MPs and Premier Brumby at
before Thursday February 28. Also, ring and write a personal note to your own MPs, in both the
lower and upper house of state parliament. The government can just write a new date in the
executive order behind GM ban. Tell them to do it! Why? See the Gene Ethics briefing on the
'GM canola bans - unresolved threshold issues' at http://geneethics.org/resource
2. Rally on Parliament House steps, Spring Street Melbourne Thursday February 28 at Noon.
See the attached flier for details.
3. Print or order GM-free Zone signs for your place at http://geneethics.org/resource
Thousands of these signs are posted but more are needed in high profile spots.
4. Print the GM-free Zone petitions at http://geneethics.org/resource
Please get these petitions signed locally and submit them to your local councillor or Mayor.
Gene Ethics has written to all councils asking them to declare a GM-free Zone but your local support
is essential if councils are to take the demand for GM-free Zones seriously.
5. Join or form a local group. Gene Ethics can put you in touch with others in your area.
The GM-free campaign will continue in the food stores and supermarkets.

we depend entirely on your support
To donate securely online to the joint Environment Projects Australia & Gene Ethics
Education Project please visit: http://www.geneethics.org Click on donation button
Or you may (local) call 1300 133 868 to make your donation on the phone.
Or send your cheque or card details to Gene Ethics 60 Leicester St, Carlton 3053
Bob Phelps
Executive Director
Gene Ethics
60 Leicester St, Carlton 3053 Australia
Tel: 1300 133 868 or 03 9347 4500 {Int Code +613}
Fax: 03 9340 5102
Email: info@geneethics.org
WWW: http://www.geneethics.org

THINK, CARE, ACT! .....................................................................

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Project of A$2 or more are tax deductible. If you have already donated recently,
please accept our sincere thanks.


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Subject: We can still win a GM-free future! To do list (urgent)
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(Posted in Genetic Modifications - Food)

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