29 November 2011

IAN MACNEILL , FRIEND, GAY ACTIVIST, WRITER, TEACHER, MENTOR - DIED ON SUNDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2011

IAN MACNEILL, 1946 TO 2011, AGED 65, DIED FROM LIVER CANCER AT ST VINCENT'S HOSPICE, DARLINGHURST, SYDNEY



Ian was visiting Melbourne and came to Preston for dinner - circa 2007.

In 1996 Ian interviewed Mannie De Saxe and Ken Lovett for an article in the Sydney Star Observer. Here is the link to Ian's article:


INTERVIEW FOR SYDNEY STAR OBSERVER - 1996


The Editor of ART MONTHLY AUSTRALIA, Deborah Clark, and the author of the article on Brian Finemore in ART MONTHLY AUSTRALIA September 2005 No.183, Ian MacNeill, have both given permission for the article to be reproduced in full here on our web pages:

BRIAN FINEMORE




Ian entertaining friends to lunch at his flat in Elizabeth Bay, Sydney - 2006.


Ian in his flat which he so proudly bought after living for so many years in rented accommodation. It was small but he made it as comfortable as possible and he was able to entertain a few friends at a time. This photo was taken in 2006.

Ian was very closely associated with Laurin McKinnon and Gary Dunne at gay-ebooks and for many years before that with writing and publishing. Here is a tribute to Ian on the gay -ebooks web site:

Ian MacNeill Remembered




Ian's very close friend Gavin Harris was requested by Ian to speak at his wake - but for only two minutes!! - very Ian indeed! and here is Gavin's obituary as published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 December 2011:

WITTY WRITER FOUGHT FOR GAY RIGHTS

26 November 2011

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTINUES PUNISHING THE MOST DISADVANTAGED PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY!

Cutting Centrelink cash won't stop indigenous truancy



Article in The Age newspaper

Pat Turner

November 25, 2011

The federal Labor government has decided that the last resort for getting Northern Territory Aboriginal children to attend school is to cut their parents' Centrelink payments.

The poorest people, those Australians who are totally reliant on Centrelink, will be subject to suspended legal income support. How will the children be fed if there is no money in the home?

Legislation to put this into effect was introduced into Parliament yesterday. As a former, long-serving senior public servant, I see this as the last straw in Aboriginal affairs policy. I am absolutely opposed to it. This is bad public policy, it is morally objectionable, and it will not work.

It's time for all ALP politicians to oppose this proposed legislation. How can any true Labor member support such an illogical policy? Surely such punitive measures are not supported in Labor heartland. I cannot believe that Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating or even Kevin Rudd, especially after his national apology to us, would have allowed such ill-founded policy to even get out of Jenny Macklin's and Peter Garrett's offices, let alone be endorsed by cabinet.

The independents and the Greens also need to stand up against this proposed legislation.

Where is the evidence-based policy to support this legislation? This legislation is based on a pilot scheme being run in schools at Ntaria (also known as Hermannsburg), Wadeye, Tiwi Islands, Katherine and its town camps, and Wallace Rockhole. The pilot scheme has all but failed. School attendance has not changed markedly. There are no indisputable positive results. Evidence-based policy has disappeared into thin air. One rarely hears any MP citing it when talking about Aboriginal affairs these days. And that's because there isn't any. Evidence-based policy is what we as Aboriginal people were promised emphatically by the ALP government. As ever, we are still waiting.

In my long experience, exceeding 40 years working in Aboriginal affairs at the local, regional and national levels, I have never known Aboriginal children to have access to fully resourced and fully staffed schools in the remote communities in the Northern Territory.

It would be much more effective to spend the multiple millions of dollars on fully staffing remote schools with experienced teachers who have already worked with Aboriginal people, rather than employing fly-in, fly-out truancy officers. It should be compulsory for teachers assigned to work in a remote Aboriginal community to undertake a thorough background briefing on the history of the community and its present composition and profile. Every teacher should receive accredited cross-cultural training before even moving to the community. The government has long recognised the need to provide better incentives for doctors to work in regional and remote areas, so why not for teachers too?

A concerted effort is needed to train local Aboriginal people to be fully qualified teachers in their own right. This is the only way to stabilise the teaching workforce in remote areas, making school attractive for the children. The government is clearly focused on employment/workforce participation for all Australians. Jobs for qualified Aboriginal people resident in remote communities should be a high priority. Where are the intensive training programs for our own people to become fully qualified teachers? In our remote Aboriginal communities our cultures are resilient and our languages are still in everyday use.

The abolition of bilingual education has been a shame. It should be a choice available to communities. Service delivery in remote areas is costly. So, too, has been the loss of our languages and culture, so entwined with our land. Surely Aboriginal people have lost so much already that a decent education for all our children is not too much to ask.

This legislation must be withdrawn. Ministers Macklin and Garrett should go back to the drawing board to find evidence-based policy to show you what will work. Let's not waste any more taxpayers' money on using yet another stick to penalise the poorest people in our own land.

Pat Turner, an Arrernte/Gudanji woman living in Alice Springs, is former deputy secretary of the Commonwealth Departments of Aboriginal Affairs and Prime Minister and Cabinet. She is also a former CEO of ATSIC and former deputy CEO of Centrelink.


25 November 2011

WHERE ARE AUSTRALIA'S VETERANS AGAINST THE WARS?

Iraq Veterans Against the War: Support Our Work: Donate Now



THANK YOU!
Make an end-of-year gift to IVAW.
Send us your feedback.

Dear Mannie,

We wanted to express our deep gratitude for all of the support you have shown us. Your donations, letters, emails, and phone calls have made possible all of our accomplishments this year.

Here are some of the ways you've made a difference:

We launched our Operation Recovery campaign, which enabled us to support soldier, Jeff Hanks, to refuse deployment back into combat until he received treatment for his PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury from previous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thanks to your phone calls, emails, and donations, today Jeff Hanks is getting the treatment he needs for his war wounds.
Ten thousand of you signed the Operation Recovery pledge of support, and your donations have sustained a team of organizers down at Fort Hood, Texas who have already surveyed close to 400 soldiers' about their experiences of war trauma. Your emails and postcards are helping to pressure Fort Hood Commander, General Don Campbell, to stop violating service members' right to heal and end the deployment of traumatized troops back into combat.
Donations from some key supporters brought together our first women veterans' retreat out of which the first issue of Ain't I a Veteran?, our zine for and by women soldiers and vets was published at the start of the year. If you are one of them, we thank you.
You stood with us when we told Wisconsin Governor Walker not to deploy the National Guard against citizens protesting his attacks on the rights of public sector workers. Together with labor and community groups, we helped link the fight against economic cutbacks to the fight to end war spending, and we led a large march and rally in Madison on the anniversary of the Iraq invasion.
Your support made possible a landmark peace mission to Afghanistan by two members of our Afghanistan Veterans Against the War committee. Brock and Jacob met with Afghan peace groups who also are using nonviolent organizing to bring about peace in their country.
To mark the occasion of the ten years of U.S. occupation in Afghanistan, we helped organize the forum, War Voices, which featured testimonies and cultural performances by veterans, Afghans, and military families about the effects of ten years of war. Your support allowed us to livestream this event to a national audience.
Finally, your abiding support has allowed IVAW members around the country to participate in their local Occupy Wall Street movements. And when IVAW member, Scott Olsen, was shot in the head by a police projectile in Oakland, you sprung into action to condemn Mayor Jean Quan and raise an unprecedented amount of money for a healthcare fund (over $30,000!) for Scott. We and Scott thank you very much.

Whether Thanksgiving for you is a day of family celebration, or a time for reflection on our nation's colonial past, we ask that you remember our IVAW active duty sisters and brothers away from their families on bases across the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan. We are holding them in our thoughts and hearts.

Thank you,

Iraq Veterans Against the War national staff

Aaron, Amadee, Andrew, Bryan, Chantelle, Jose, Maggie, and Selena

Iraq Veterans Against the War is a 501(c)(3) charity,
and welcomes your tax deductible contributions
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SOUTH AFRICA'S ANC GOVERNMENT ENTERING DICTATORSHIP TERRITORY OF OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES!

University of the Witwatersrand opposes South African government's censorship attempts - Statement on the "Secrecy Bill"




23 November 2011

"The University of the Witwatersrand notes with concern the decision by Parliament and the ruling African National Congress to pass the "Secrecy Bill", which we believe stands as a deep threat to the fundamental principles enshrined in our Constitution.

The Protection of State Information Bill may be a necessary replacement for apartheid-era legislation, but in its current form would obstruct the access to information citizens need to ensure transparent and accountable governance. The Bill entrusts the power of classification, and the avenue of appeals against classification, to those who might benefit from the obscurity provided by classification. The Bill allows for ‘national interest’ to be invoked in justification of classification, but provides sufficient latitude of interpretation of what constitutes the ‘national interest’ to allow unscrupulous use of this measure. It remains silent on the 'public interest'. The current formulation of this Bill and the heavy penalties it mandates would impede both the right of the public to legitimate freedom of information and the intellectual enquiry that is the essence of academic work.

The proposal for a Media Appeals Tribunal, currently under consideration by the ANC, might enable direct State suppression of the freedom of expression. Accountable to Parliament, which is constituted overwhelmingly by the ruling party, the Tribunal could undermine the media’s necessary role in informing society. The ruling party’s antagonistic attitude to the print media has been illustrated by the recent public eviction of a journalist from a media conference and – very disturbingly – by the arrest and detention of a journalist at the order of a politician. Even in the absence of such provocation the proposed tribunal would represent an unacceptable intrusion into media freedom.

Taken together, the two initiatives attack key principles that underpin a democracy – access to information and freedom of speech – and threaten this country’s widely admired constitutional order. The University expresses its deep concern at the implications of these measures for civil liberties and the pursuit of intellectual enquiry, and insists that, in their current form, they be abandoned."

Read Wits' 2010 statement on the Protection of Information Bill and the Media Tribunal Process

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, together with the Wits School of Law, has been engaged in processes of dialogue around the Protection of State Information Bill since its first emergence as a draft piece of legislation in 2008. Read an analysis of the Bill’s remaining flaws –

Summary Version


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Full Version


.

22 November 2011

SOUTH AFRICA'S ANC GOVERNMENT EMULATING APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA'S CENSORSHIP!

ANC 'taking SA beyond apartheid'


RETHA GROBBELAAR, NIVASHNI NAIR and CHARL DU PLESSIS | 21 November, 2011

(This article is from the South African "Times and Sunday Times" on-line)

Nadine Gordimer was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1991 for being "of very great benefit to humanity" Picture: MAX BERG (Photo to follow)

Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer has accused the ANC of taking South Africa beyond apartheid with its Protection of Information Bill.


ANC in rush to sell contested secrecy bill

Gordimer, speaking in Johannesburg at an 88th birthday celebration yesterday, said the bill goes "totally against all ideas of freedom".

"People have fought and died to gain the opportunity for a better life, which is ruined and dirtied by corruption.

"The corrupt practices and nepotism that they [politicians] allow themselves is exposed if we have freedom of expression. When we all voted together, which was a great moment in my life, [we thought] everything would be alright. That was a childish idea."

Her comments were made as protests about the Protection of Information Bill intensify. It is expected to be voted on tomorrow in the National Assembly.

Dene Smuts, the DA's spokesman for justice and constitutional development, said there was "quite a long way to go" before the bill was enacted.

Following tomorrow's vote, the bill will have to be voted on in the National Council of Provinces, which could refer it back to the National Assembly.

Smuts said she would petition President Jacob Zuma to refer the bill to the Constitutional Court to determine its constitutionality.

Yusuf Abramjee, chairman of the National Press Club, yesterday confirmed that the club had lodged a complaint about the Info Bill with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Abramjee said Madonsela's office had "a good track record of looking at things independently".

Abramjee said the club's major objection to the bill was its exclusion of a public interest defence and the harsh penalties journalists and whistle-blowers would face.

The club launched a renewed Black Wednesday campaign - evoking the events of October 19 1977, when the apartheid government banned two newspapers - and has asked that people wear black on Wednesday as a sign of their opposition to the bill.

The office of ANC chief whip Mathole Motshegka yesterday slammed the campaign, saying comparing a "purely democratic and open process to one of the darkest days of apartheid" was "gravely senseless".

In a statement late last night, Motshekga's office said people should not "campaign in a manner that trivialises the deep pain and suffering experienced by the majority of our people" under apartheid.

The statement repeated previous statements made by the chief whip that the bill was in line with international standards and said there would still be further opportunities for discussion around it when it was sent to the NCOP.

"This government will never and has no intention to ban, torture or murder journalists," it read.

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils yesterday said an attack on him by ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu was "patently very ill-considered, highly abusive and intemperate".

Mthembu accused Kasrils of wanting to rule the intelligence services "from the grave" after he criticised State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

"As someone who fought in the struggle . I am appalled. I want to raise my voice for the principles the ANC stood for and that is exactly what I've been doing, though it's akin to talking into a toy telephone," Kasrils said.

Concerns about the Info Bill are mounting against the backdrop of Mac Maharaj, Zuma's spin doctor, laying criminal charges on Saturday against two Mail & Guardian journalists for allegedly obtaining information illegally.

The newspaper featured a picture of Maharaj with the words: "Censored. We cannot bring you this story in full due to a threat of criminal prosecution."

Yesterday, Maharaj criticised M&G editor Nic Dawes, accusing him of playing "political games" by trying to garner support for his campaign against the bill.

In response, Dawes said he was "unembarrassed" about being an advocate for press freedom and Maharaj was wrong about him pushing a hidden agenda.

"If Maharaj believes we are reporting this to make some kind of elaborate performance around press freedom, he is a fantasist."

Dawes said Maharaj had brought the charges to "use state resources" to try to uncover his journalists' sources.

"Maharaj will answer any question except the question about him lying under oath to the Scorpions about the large sums of money that he received from a company that was awarded a tender under his department."

According to yesterday's Sunday Times, secret payments totalling 1.2-million French francs (about R3.2-million at the time) were deposited into the offshore bank accounts of Maharaj's wife, Zarina, shortly before the Department of Transport awarded French arms company Thales a R265-million tender. Maharaj was transport minister at the time.

21 November 2011

"WE LOVE GAYS - BUT ONLY JEWISH ONES" AND ONLY FOR VOTES!

The following article was received on 20 November 2011 from Mondoweiss:
Pinkwashing Lieberman, whitewashing fascism



Nov 19, 2011

Scott Long

Outinisraelmonth

The Out in Israel Month website

It’s November in Boston. Leaves carpet the streets and a chill sharpens the air; we prepare to give thanks that smallpox killed the Indians and left us their land; and it’s Out in Israel Month. This is a “campaign of education and celebration. We aim to educate about the status of civil rights for LGBT Israeli citizens, hard-fought for throughout the years, and celebrate the LGBT community and culture in Israel. Israel is a multi-faceted society with many faces and just as many narratives.” The Jerusalem Post tells me,

The program was an initiative of Israel’s consul-general to New England, Shai Bazak, and will feature performances by gay heartthrob Assi Azar. Azar, a popular TV host in Israel, will screen his made-for-television coming-out film Mom, Dad, I Have Something to Tell You to audiences around the Boston area, followed by panel discussions about life as an openly gay man in Tel Aviv. The event makes Israel the only country in the world to run a campaign promoting its LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) population.

Bazak’s job as consul-general is obviously to promote Israel, and promoting its protection of LGBT rights is a task he embraces eagerly. At a campus speaking engagement recently, he made the de rigueur comparison to the rest of the region:

“It is clear from what we have seen that large masses of people in the Middle East want democracy, and civil rights, and liberty and freedom … Democracy is the right to speak up. Democracy supports the rights of women and gays and minorities in society who are oppressed. However … this is a problem in the Middle East because even though many people want democracy, they don’t want it for everyone. This is a source of much conflict and much harm and is at the root of many of our problems.”

Now, Bazak knows exactly what it means to want democracy for some but not for others. In his past life — before serving as Binyamin Netanyahu’s press secretary during his first Prime Ministerial term — he was spokesman for the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the major settlers’ organization. As such, he defended the idea that settlers had rights and deserved political representation, while Palestinians who owned the land would get neither.

Bazak “lost Netanyahu’s affection over the years,” according to one press report, but gained another patron: Yisrael Beiteinu party chief and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman originally wanted to put Bazak in the prestige post of consul-general in New York. Netanyahu vetoed that, but approved Boston as a consolation prize.

Diplomatic sources deflected criticism that Bazak, with his strong Likud credentials, is not the right man to send to Boston, the site of numerous universities and one of America’s most liberal cities, saying that he has proven his ability to represent the country’s policies faithfully and well.

Clearly Bazak has hit on the gay angle as a way to sell Israel to “one of America’s most liberal cities.” His official biography on the consular website, meanwhile, omits his service to the extremist settlers, saying only that “Mr. Bazak has held many positions in Israeli government and the private sector.”

This is “pinkwashing” to the max: using rights protections for one group to conceal rights abuses against another. But the intriguing thing –suggested by Bazak’s own record — is the specific role of the Israeli right. After all, the two ministries most involved in marketing Israel’s gay record are both under the control of Yisrael Beiteinu: not only Lieberman’s Foreign Ministry, but the Ministry of Tourism under Stas Misezhnikov.

Yisrael Beiteinu has been widely called a fascist party. Its stab-in-the-back, racist rhetoric against Israeli Arabs fits part of that bill: “no loyalty, no citizenship” was its election slogan (think “even though many people want democracy, they don’t want it for everyone”). And its promotion of a heroic leader cult and a macho-mythologized Israeli identity fits another. Here, Haaretz describes its junior wing at a party conference:

The youths, ages 16-18, many of them good friends from school, had stood for a long time before the event began at the intersection near the hotel, waving Israeli flags and shouting “Death to the Arabs” and “No loyalty, no citizenship” at passing cars. …

On the bus back to the center of Upper Nazareth, one of the youths offers this explanation for his excitement about the party: “This country has needed a dictatorship for a long time already. But I’m not talking about an extreme dictatorship. We need someone who can put things in order. Lieberman is the only one who speaks the truth.” Adds Edan Ivanov, an 18 year old who describes himself as being “up on current events”:

“We’ve had enough here with the ‘leftist democracy’ – and I put that term in quotes, don’t get me wrong. People have put the dictator label on Lieberman because of the things he says. But the truth is that in Israel there can’t be a full democracy when there are Arabs here who oppose it.

“All Lieberman’s really saying is that anyone who isn’t prepared to sign an oath of loyalty to the state, because of his personal views, cannot receive equal rights; he can’t vote for the executive authority. People here are gradually coming to understand what needs to be done concerning a person who is not loyal.”

The party’s core appeal is to the xenophobia of Israel’s million-plus immigrants from the former Soviet Union. However, it’s not just nationalism that wins their loyalties. Many, encouraged to make aliyah to Israel by a demographically desperate state, found that the Law of Return welcomed then but Jewish law didn’t. Up to half a million Russian Jewish immigrants don’t qualify as halakhic Jews in the eyes of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

In part this is because of the celebrated “grandchild clause” in the Law of Return, which allows people with one Jewish grandparent to immigrate (on the argument that since this was the Nazi standard for extermination, it should be Israel’s standard for citizenship). Orthodox parties have long campaigned to scrap this provision and bring the law into line with halakhic definitions – which would only deepen Israel’s demographic crisis. In the meantime, though, the incongruity between the state’s and the rabbinate’s definitions casts significant numbers of self-identified Russian Jews as outsiders in the land. Yisrael Beiteinu gives them psychological consolation by offering an Israeli-hood defined by loyalty and the exclusion (if not execution) of Arabs. It also promises material consolations: it’s a proudly secular party that presses to institute civil unions. This secularism in a state steadily more dominated by the Orthodox gives the party a peculiar appeal to gays as well.

So the semi-fascist party’s flirtation with gay rights has a logic to it. One self-described gay leftist writes:

It’s very tempting to just say “no” and resist any ties with Lieberman, whose MKs [members of the Knesset] are responsible for proposing a bunch of ugly new bills all meant to restrict freedom of expression.
But there’s more to it than that. I’m as Israeli as the next guy. I am a proud, left-wing patriot. As a gay activist, my first mission is to promote and normalize LGBT life in Israel.

The Russian immigrants who form the base of Lieberman’s constituency are in general the most homophobic part of Israeli society, even more than Shas’s ultra-Orthodox Jews.

So having Lieberman’s followers embrace the gay community is a very positive development, even if their motivations aren’t pure.
The fact is, there’s no way back for them.

After Lieberman embraces the gay community, he will never be able to speak or vote against gay laws in the Knesset. Next year, when we try again to get equal rights in adoption and surrogacy, his party will have to support those measures.

Mazel tov.

There’s a lot to be argued about in this dilemma. I’m sure somebody will invoke the figure of the little gay kid growing up in a Russian Jewish family, who will take untold comfort from the fact that his father’s favorite political party is no longer homophobic. And wouldn’t it be nice if President Mitt Romney in the US launched a campaign to attract gay tourists, to a country which by that time will be so broke and devastated that any travelling French homo would be welcomed as a savior along with his Euros francs! Wouldn’t that strike a blow for internal acceptance too? And so on … But there’s a larger cost to the whole political community when an authoritarian thug like Lieberman gets to paint himself as a defender of somebody’s, anybody’s, rights. “Pinkwashing” corrupts the idea and practice of human rights, by throwing out the promise of universality and turning them into instruments of division and exclusion. What this story suggests is that it’s not just deception for external consumption: it also corrupts the polity from within. Lieberman pinkwashes himself. By expropriating the language of diversity and tolerance, he makes himself look like a decent participant in politics, and burnishes his own racism and violence with a secular and progressive sheen. The writer above isn’t going to vote for Lieberman, but he’s willing to accept Lieberman’s votes for his own causes. Isn’t that just about as bad?

In the way that absolute power corrupts, occupation — the exercise of absolute control over a population — has corrupted Israel’s politics. Lieberman’s ascent to respectability marks a further descent into corruption. That a foreign ministry under his leadership can talk with a straight face about “a multi-faceted society with many faces and just as many narratives” means the narrative has become a fantastic fairy tale. Among the many faces of tolerance, Lieberman’s is the portrait of Dorian Gray.

18 November 2011

MARK LIEBLER - 2011 ZIONIST DINOSAUR

In the year 2011, Mark Liebler, who is Jewish, zionist and part of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, has an article published in The Age newspaper on Thursday 17 November 2011, in which he is still bleating about the idea of a two-state solution to solve the intractable Israel/Palestine problem.

If Liebler doesn't know that the founding fathers of Israel never intended allowing a Palestinian state to exist side-by-side with a Jewish state then he is living in cloud-cuckoo land!

With the Israeli state building settlements on Palestine at a rate which occupies most of the occupied territories other than the Gaza strip, Liebler is certainly aware that no such possibility exists on the ground for a separate state.

Israel and Palestine have one solution for a permanent peaceful middle east state and that is a democratic secular Israel/Palestine state.

Then and only then will peace come to the middle east. By then, the United States of America will have stopped supporting Israel, because it will no longer be able to afford the luxury, and the whole complexion of middle east politics will have changed because the peoples of the region are seeing through their dictatorial leaders and are demanding some form of democratic processes in their countries.

Israelis themselves will one day rise up in protest when the reality sinks in that the religious right and the ultra-right reactionary forces of Israeli-US politics together with those of their current allies will be able to be collapsed with pressure from the people themselves.

That day can't come fast enough for all the Palestinians and many of their supporters from around the world!

17 November 2011

SOUTH AFRICA - ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE BOMB EXPLODES!

Subject: Article by Moeletsi Mbeki (Thabo Mbeki's brother) - South Africa: Only a matter of time before the bomb explodes



South Africa: Only a matter of time before the bomb explodes



7 November 2011

by Moeletsi Mbeki: Author, political commentator and entrepreneur.


I can predict when SA's "Tunisia Day" will arrive. Tunisia Day is when the masses rise against the powers that be, as happened recently in Tunisia. The year will be 2020, give or take a couple of years. The year 2020 is when China estimates that its current minerals-intensive industrialisation phase will be concluded.

For SA, this will mean the African National Congress (ANC) government will have to cut back on social grants, which it uses to placate the black poor and to get their votes. China's current industrialisation phase has forced up the prices of SA's minerals, which has enabled the government to finance social welfare programmes. The ANC is currently making SA a welfare state and tends to 'forget' that there is only a minority that pay all the taxes.

They are often quick to say that if people (read whites) are not happy they should leave. The more people that leave, the more their tax base shrinks.

Yes, they will fill the positions with BEE candidates (read blacks), but if they are not capable of doing the job then the company will eventually fold as well as their 'new' tax base. When there is no more money available for handouts they will then have a problem because they are breeding a culture of handouts instead of creating jobs so people can gain an idea of the value of money. If you keep getting things for free then you lose the sense of its value. The current trend of saying if the west won't help then China will is going to bite them. China will want payment - ie land for their people and will result in an influx of Chinese (there is no such thing as a free lunch!)

The ANC inherited a flawed, complex society it barely understood; its tinkerings with it are turning it into an explosive cocktail. The ANC leaders are like a group of children playing with a hand grenade. One day one of them will figure out how to pull out the pin and everyone will be killed. .and 20 years on they still blame apartheid but have not done much to rectify things - changing names etc only costs money that could have been spent elsewhere.

A famous African liberation movement, the National Liberation Front of Algeria, after tinkering for 30 years, pulled the grenade pin by cancelling an election in 1991 that was won by the opposition Islamic Salvation Front.

In the civil war that ensued, 200,000 people were killed. The 'new' leaders are forgetting the 'struggle' heroes and the reasons for it - their agenda is now power and money and it suits them for the masses to be ignorant - same as Mugabe did in Zim. If you do not agree with the leaders then the followers intimidate you.

The former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, once commented that whoever thought that the ANC could rule SA was living in Cloud Cuckoo Land .
Why was Thatcher right? In the 16 years of ANC rule, all the symptoms of a government out of its depth have grown worse.

* Life expectancy has declined from 65 years to 53 years since the
ANC came to power; - a leader who did not believe that HIV causes AIDS
(Mbeki) and another who believes having a shower after unprotected sex is the answer and has 5 wives and recently a child out of wedlock (Zuma).
Great leaders for the masses to emulate!!- not!!

* In 2007, SA became a net food importer for the first time in its
history; Yet they want to carry on with their struggle song 'kill the boer(farmer)' and stopping farm killings does not seem to be a priority.
They do not seem to realise where food actually comes from.

* The elimination of agricultural subsidies by the government led to
the loss of 600000 farm workers' jobs and the eviction from the commercial farming sector of about 2,4-million people between 1997 and 2007; and - yet they want to create jobs and cause even more job losses - very
short-sighted thinking.

* The ANC stopped controlling the borders, leading to a flood of poor
people into SA, which has led to conflicts between SA's poor and foreign African migrants. Not much thought was given to this - their attitude was to help fellow Africans by allowing them 'refuge' in SA. Not thinking that illegals cannot legally get jobs but they need to eat to live. I believe that most of our crime is by non-South Africans from north of the borders.
They need to do something to survive! Remove the illegal problem and you
solve most of the crime problem.

.but is it in their interest to solve crime?

There are whole industries built on crime - each burglary, car hijacking etc results in more sales of product and contribute to GDP. What would sales be if crime was down? I do not believe that anyone has worked out how much electricity is consumed a day because of electric fencing and security lights at night. Reduce the need for this (crime) and Eksdom (Eskom) would probably have a power surplus. - or if they charged our African neighbours the correct rates at least make a decent profit to build more power stations.

What should the ANC have done, or be doing?

The answer is quite straightforward. When they took control of the government in 1994, ANC leaders should have: identified what SA's strengths were; identified what SA's weaknesses were; and decided how to use the strengths to minimise and/or rectify the weaknesses. Standard business principle - but they too busy enriching themselves. People who were in prison or were non-entities 20 years ago are now billionaires - how? BEE??

A wise government would have persuaded the skilled white and Indian population to devote some of their time - even an hour a week - to train the black and coloured population to raise their skill levels. This done by lots of NGO's but should have been more constructively done by the ruling party.

What the ANC did instead when it came to power was to identify what its leaders and supporters wanted. It then used SA's strengths to satisfy the short-term consumption demands of its supporters. In essence, this is what is called black economic empowerment (BEE). .and put people in positions they could not cope with making them look stupid where if they had the necessary grounding could have been good in the position at the right time.

You cannot 'create' a company CEO in a couple of years. It takes years of work starting at the bottom of the ladder - not in the middle. Only some things can be learnt in books - experience is the most important factor and this is not found in text books or university corridors.

BEE promotes a number of extremely negative socioeconomic trends in our country. It promotes a class of politicians dependent on big business and therefore promotes big business's interests in the upper echelons of government. Second, BEE promotes an anti-entrepreneurial culture among the black middle class by legitimising an environment of entitlement. Third, affirmative action, a subset of BEE, promotes incompetence (what I said above)and corruption in the public sector by using ruling party allegiance and connections as the criteria for entry and promotion in the public service, instead of having tough public service entry examinations. Nepotism is rife - jobs for friends and families who are nowhere near qualified - and then hire consultants to actually get the work done - at additional cost of course!

Let's see where BEE, as we know it today, actually comes from. I first came across the concept of BEE from a company, which no longer exists, called Sankor. Sankor was the industrial division of Sanlam and it invented the concept of BEE.

The first purpose of BEE was to create a buffer group among the black political class that would become an ally of big business in SA. This buffer group would use its newfound power as controllers of the government to protect the assets of big business.

The buffer group would also protect the modus operandi of big business and thereby maintain the status quo in which South African business operates.
That was the design of the big conglomerates.

Sanlam was soon followed by Anglo American. Sanlam established BEE vehicle Nail; Anglo established Real Africa, Johnnic and so forth. The conglomerates took their marginal assets, and gave them to politically influential black people, with the purpose, in my view, not to transform the economy but to create a black political class that is in alliance with the conglomerates and therefore wants to maintain the status quo of our economy and the way in which it operates.

But what is wrong with protecting SA's conglomerates?

Well, there are many things wrong with how conglomerates operate and how they have structured our economy.

* The economy has a strong built-in dependence on cheap labour; with
tight labour legislation they are preventing people from getting jobs. For some industries minimum wages are too high resulting in less people being employed. Because it is almost impossible to get rid of an incompetent employee without it costing lots of money in severance people rather do not employ - run on minimum with no incentive to grow the business - or alternatively automate. Result - more unemployment and employment of
illegals at more affordable wages.

* It has a strong built-in dependence on the exploitation of primary
resources;

* It is strongly unfavourable to the development of skills in our
general population; Gone are the days of the artisan - no more structured learning to be artisans over a period of time. Try to fast track everything resulting in little on the job experience to be able to do the job. That is why Eksdom has sub stations blowing up and catching fire - lack of skill and maintenance. A friend told me about 5 years that this would start happening after Tshwane (Pretoria) started qualifying
electrical engineers who were not up to standard.

* It has a strong bias towards importing technology and economic
solutions; and - at a higher cost

* It promotes inequality between citizens by creating a large,
marginalised underclass. Who depend on handouts that cannot be maintained into perpetuity.

Conglomerates are a vehicle, not for creating development in SA but for exploiting natural resources without creating in-depth, inclusive social and economic development, which is what SA needs. That is what is wrong with protecting conglomerates.

The second problem with the formula of BEE is that it does not create entrepreneurs. People do not develop necessary skills when being fast-tracked into a position and being given a free ride. You are taking political leaders and politically connected people and giving them assets which, in the first instance, they don't know how to manage. So you are not adding value. You are faced with the threat of undermining value by taking assets from people who were managing them and giving them to people who cannot manage them (what I said earlier above) BEE thus creates a class of idle rich ANC politicos.

My quarrel with BEE is that what the conglomerates are doing is developing a new culture in SA - not a culture of entrepreneurship, but an entitlement culture, whereby black people who want to go into business think that they should acquire assets free, and that somebody is there to make them rich, rather than that they should build enterprises from the ground. Agree!

But we cannot build black companies if what black entrepreneurs look forward to is the distribution of already existing assets from the conglomerates in return for becoming lobbyists for the conglomerates. All companies start from the bottom - when they are 'given' these businesses they are usually run into the ground because of inexperience. And when they are given loans to buy business the loans invariable are not repaid and the businesses go bankrupt.

The third worrying trend is that the ANC-controlled state has now internalised the BEE model. We are now seeing the state trying to implement the same model that the conglomerates developed.

What is the state distributing? It is distributing jobs to party faithful and social welfare to the poor (what I said in different words) This is a recipe for incompetence and corruption, both of which are endemic in SA.
This is what explains the service delivery upheavals that are becoming a normal part of our environment.

So what is the correct road SA should be travelling?

We all accept that a socialist model, along the lines of the Soviet Union, is not workable for SA today. The creation of a state-owned economy is not a formula that is an option for SA or for many parts of the world. Therefore, if we want to develop SA instead of shuffling pre-existing wealth, we have to create new entrepreneurs, and we need to support existing entrepreneurs to diversify into new economic sectors.

Make people work for their 'handouts' even if it means they must sweep the streets or clean a park - just do something instead of getting all for nothing. Guaranteed there will then be less queuing for handouts because they would then be working and in most instances they do not want to work - they want everything for nothing.

And in my opinion the ANC created this culture before the first election in
1994 when they promised the masses housing, electricity etc - they just neglected to tell them that they would have to pay for them. That is why the masses constantly do not want to pay for water, electricity, rates on their properties - they think the government must pay this - after all they were told by the ANC that they will be given these things - they just do not want to understand that the money to pay for this comes from somewhere and if you don't pay you will eventually not have these services.

And then when the tax base has left they can grow their mielies in front of their shack and stretch out their open palms to the UN for food handouts an live a day to day existence that seems to be what they want - sit on their arse and do nothing.

Mbeki is the author of Architects of Poverty: Why African Capitalism Needs Changing. This article forms part of a series on transformation supplied by the Centre for Development and Enterprise.

FREEDOM RIDERS - IN ANOTHER COUNTRY!

The following article comes from Mondoweiss and is reproduced here because,as one of the other bloggers has reported, none of the local Australian media have bothered to report the story. They are so disgusting, their censorship of news on a daily basis so appalling, the lack of substance to what is left of any journalism is so disgraceful, that it is not surprising that more and more people are turning to the internet for their news from around the world.

The Freedom Riders of Bus 148



Nov 15, 2011 11:33 pm | Mariam Al-Barghouti and Deema Al-Saafin

The Palestinian Freedom Rides movement was inspired by the Civil Rights Act of 1961, when African Americans and Americans alike boarded buses and road throughout the south in order to break segregation marked by Jim Crow laws. This act branded them the name “Freedom Riders”. Segregation of the 1960’s revolved around a direct schism between “blacks” and “whites” in every aspect of life imaginable; education, public eating, public transportation, and housing provinces. This began the Freedom Riders movement where Americans, “blacks” and “whites” alike, rode segregated buses.

. Inspired by such a movement, six Palestinian activists decided to do the same regarding segregated Israeli buses, in which they would be non-violently defying illegal Israeli settlements, and Israeli segregation.


Earlier Tuesday November 15th, 6 Palestinian activists as well as people of the press headed to the illegal Israeli settlement of Kohav Yakov, where they attempted to board segregated Israeli buses headed to Jerusalem in defiance of Israeli apartheid and segregation. The first bus passes the activists however, the driver keeps driving on. The second bus, and the third pass, to no avail.

Five buses passed the activists without stopping to allow them to get in as passengers; instead they completely ignored their existence. Whilst they were waiting for a bus to stop, an IOF military jeep came to the location of the Freedom Riders. It wasn't until the sixth bus, bus number 148 that the Palestinian Freedom Rides activists were able to board. Illegal Israeli settlers boarded the bus with the Freedom Riders. At this point, history had already been made, as Palestinians had physically got onto segregation buses headed to Jerusalem. Aboard the bus, the Palestinian flag was flown.

During the first and second Intifada, the waving of the Palestinian flag was an action enough to land a person in jail. During the weekly demonstrations in villages such as Nabi Saleh, Bil'in, Ni'leen and Walaja, waving the Palestinian flag can bring a person an arrest, or worse as in the case of Ashraf Abu Rahmah, administrative detention.

A settler aboard attempted to grab and confiscate the Palestinian flag, but his attempt was defied.


Bus 148 began its move to its perceived destination: Jerusalem. The driver of the bus was following an Israeli police vehicle, while the bus was accompanied by Israeli Occupying Forces from behind. The bus was led to Hizmah checkpoint, which is one of 522 checkpoints that are spread throughout the West Bank. Upon arrival to Hizmah checkpoint, Israeli Border Police as well as Israeli soldiers boarded bus 148 which carried the six Palestinian Freedom Rides activists: Nadeem Al-Sharbate, Huwaida Arraf, Dr.Mazin Qumsieyeh, Fadi Qura'an, Basel Al-Araj, and Badee' Dwaik, as well as several journalists documenting the event. The Police asked all the settlers on board and the driver to leave the bus, to which they obeyed but not before remarking to the activists still on board that "this is our land."

The settlers were able to board another bus heading to Jerusalem without any harassment from the Border Police. However the activists were asked for their ID's, and confiscated them in an attempt to get the Freedom Riders to exit the bus. "I will show them my Palestinian ID card and say I want to go to Jerusalem. We'll see what happens," said Dr Mazin Qumsiyeh. However the Freedom Riders were determined to remain on the bus, saying over and over again "We are headed to Jerusalem."

Journalists were then kicked out of the bus and fined 500 Israeli Shekels for "parking on the side of the road". This is merely an attempt to punish those who spread the word of Israel's apartheid regime and its racist implications to the rest of the world.


At this point, Freedom Riders had begun chanting, "We are not getting off, even if you throw us in jail". They knew that they could be arrested but remained defiant, and most importantly, non violent. Palestinian activist, Badee' Dwaik, resisted by nonviolently laying on the floor of the bus. He asked the Israeli Border Police "Why didn't you ask a settler for his permission slip into Jerusalem? Is his blood red and mine blue?"

When journalists and settlers were removed from the bus, only IOF and Israeli Border Police remained with the Freedom Riders. The bus then began its move to a police station.

Once at the police station, Israeli Border Police began forcibly removing Freedom Riders one by one. (Due to the camera shooting the live stream footage running out of battery, we were only able to see three arrests (Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, Huwaida Arraf and lastly Fadi Quran’s). Israeli Border Police tried to negotiate with activists Huwaida Arraf and Fadi Quran, if negotiating meant saying "You are here illegally. Yallah, you will be taken off the bus."

The Freedom Riders remained in their seats, staring straight ahead. IOF and Border Police then began to violently grab these activists one at a time forcing them off the bus. Whilst being arrested, Huwaida and Fadi both introduced themselves as Freedom Riders and said "We are only trying to go to Jerusalem." Alongside the activists, Fajr Harb was also arrested, even though he was not on board the bus, nor part of the Palestinian Freedom Riders group, he was merely arrested for showing support for the cause, and being Palestinian. As Fadi Quran said as he was being arrested "We only want our freedom, justice, and dignity." The activists and Fajr Harb were taken to the detention center of Atarot, where they remain now until further notice.


This post originally appeared on the website WrittenResistance. All the Freedom Riders have since been released from Israeli custody.


Mariam Al-Barghouti is a Palestinian-American graduated from high school May 2011, currently taking a gap year in attempt to bring more awareness to the Palestinian cause.

Deema Al-Saafin is from both Gaza and West Bank,she also holds a British passport. She graduated from high school May 2011. She is continuing her studies at Birzeit University, where she is majoring in public administration.

12 November 2011

PALESTINE - FOR AND AGAINST

The following articles published in The Age newspaper over the week ranging from 5 to 11 November 2011 provide some diverting and diverging views on the Palestine bid for statehood - or at least standing as a nation at the United Nations:

ALP senator laments Gillard's Palestine stand



By Daniel Flitton

November 5, 2011

A PROMINENT Labor senator has expressed dismay at Julia Gillard's decision to overrule Kevin Rudd on a key United Nations vote on Palestine.

NSW Labor Senator Doug Cameron said Australia had missed a chance to help win peace in the Middle East.

The government is yet to declare how it will vote on the contentious plan for Palestine to join the world body, although Britain, France and Colombia told the UN overnight they will abstain on a vote.

The Age revealed yesterday Mr Rudd had also urged Australia to abstain from a separate resolution on Palestine becoming a member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, only for Ms Gillard to ignore the advice and side with Israel, the US and 11 other countries in opposing the proposal.
Senator Cameron said yesterday he supported Mr Rudd's position and that recognition would have helped their cause and not harmed Israel. ''It would have meant we could take a very small step towards fixing the problems in the Middle East, which is so important in the overall fight against terrorism,'' he said.

Asked on ABC radio if he was disappointed Ms Gillard had overruled Mr Rudd, Senator Cameron responded: ''Yes, I am.''

Mr Rudd told reporters in Brisbane, when asked if he was satisfied with the UNESCO vote: ''I support the government's policy.'' The New York Times reported the Palestinian bid for UN membership - which Washington had threatened to veto - had moved closer to outright rejection in the Security Council.

Britain, Colombia and France told a private meeting of the council's membership committee they would abstain, raising doubts Palestinians could muster the nine votes needed on the 15-member body before the US would likely wield a veto. Should Palestinians push ahead to seek observer status in the General Assembly - similar to the Vatican - Australia would then be force to take a position.

A spokeswoman for Mr Rudd yesterday issued a statement in response to questions from The Age that has not changed since September.

''If a Palestinian resolution is introduced to the General Assembly - and that is not yet certain - the government will consider it carefully. The government will not make a decision until it has seen a draft resolution,'' it read.

Obama's gaffe exposes uneasy relationship with Israel



November 10, 2011

By Simon Mann in Washington


A CANDID moment between French and US Presidents has laid bare the testy relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel's allies, and underscored the lingering discord between the White House and the Israeli Prime Minister.

In an exchange at last week's G20 meeting in Cannes, Nicolas Sarkozy allegedly branded Mr Netanyahu a ''liar'', inviting agreement from Barack Obama.

According to French journalists, who overheard the exchange, Mr Obama obliged, responding: ''You're sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.''

The loose remarks reflect mounting international frustration with the stalled Middle East peace process, as well as a barely concealed animosity between Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu.

The gaffe gave Mr Obama's Republican opponents ammunition and prompted the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League to express concern over the extent to which the ''private views'' might inform US and French policy towards Israel.

''We hope that the Obama administration will do everything it can to reassure Israel that the relationship remains on a sure footing and to reinvigorate the trust between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, which clearly is not what it should be,'' said the league's national director, Abraham Foxman.

Republican presidential wannabe Michele Bachmann demanded that Mr Obama apologise to Mr Netanyahu, linking the incident to the administration's lax efforts to protect Israel from the nuclear ambitions of Iran and to other ''tragic errors'' of the President's foreign policy.

The uneasy relationship between the two leaders was most on show in May when Mr Netanyahu lectured Mr Obama before reporters in the Oval Office, after the President had raised the prospect of a return to Israel's pre-1967 borders as a means of advancing the peace process. Mr Netanyahu flatly rejected the idea and appeared to patronise Mr Obama by offering a history lesson.

In an earlier meeting between them, Mr Obama had reportedly sat down to dinner, making the Israeli leader wait in another room at the White House.

Despite the embarrassment, a former US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, did not believe the blunder would damage US-Israel relations, particularly over the issue at hand - Iran's nuclear ambitions.

''The subject is too serious to be affected by personalities. They agree on the nature of the threat and they also agree on the way to deal with it. That is by ratcheting up sanctions.''



Public backs Palestine bid



November 11, 2011

AUSTRALIANS broadly back an independent Palestinian state joining the United Nations but mostly confess to ignorance about the Middle East conflict, a poll has found.

The findings come as it appears the question of Palestinian membership at the UN will fail in the Security Council. The US has indicated it would veto any such resolution and Palestinian negotiators are now likely to take their quest to the General Assembly, where the Gillard government will be required to take a position.

The Roy Morgan poll, commissioned by advocacy group Australians for Palestine, found Australians had roughly equal sympathy for Israelis and Palestinians. But 62 per cent of those surveyed said Palestine should be accepted as a UN member after being told ''Israel and the USA are opposed to it'', although the question neglected to mention other countries also opposed.

The figure dropped to 52 per cent of people saying Australia should vote in favour of the Palestinian bid.

Voting against Palestine may cost Australia a seat on the Security Council



By Richard Woolcott

November 11, 2011

Our national interest requires a rethink on the Middle East.

The importance of Australia's candidature for election next October as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term (2013-14) should be better understood and supported by our politicians and the Australian public.

Unfortunately, our prospects have been undermined by our recent vote against Palestine's admission to the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

The Security Council is the principal organ of the UN with the power to impose sanctions and the responsibility for initiating peacekeeping operations. Like the G20's role in dealing with international economic and financial issues, the council deals with the maintenance of international peace and security. It is the world's pre-eminent crisis management forum.

Membership of the council is important to us. It will enhance our international standing as a responsible middle power. As I know from my experience in representing Australia on the council, membership offers an opportunity to make a difference, to influence situations in the direction of peace and to contribute to reforms.

The election, by secret ballot, will be contested. There are three candidates for two seats. When then prime minister Kevin Rudd announced our candidacy in March 2008, Finland and Luxembourg had already been in the field for well over a year.
Should we fail in our bid, the addition of two more western European voices, in addition to Britain and France, both permanent members of the council, would unbalance it, as happened in 1996 when we were defeated by Sweden and Portugal.

I have recently returned from two weeks in New York. Since my time at the UN, the global situation has changed enormously. Unprecedented economic growth, especially in China and India, and the increase in membership to 193 have driven change. The UN now reflects a different and much more complex, multipolar and interconnected world.
Australia has a proud record in the United Nations. We have played a major role in peacekeeping and peace-building since 1947. We have provided some 60,000 servicemen and police to more than 50 multi-lateral operations, including our major contribution to the UN Transitional Authority that brought peace and elections to Cambodia. We are in the top 10 contributors to the World Food Program, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the UN Development Program and the Human Rights Commission.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has described the Security Council's work as ''vital''. She worked to secure the support of the Pacific Islands Forum in Wellington in September and again at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth. She will have more opportunities to seek support for our election at the APEC and East Asian Summit talks later this month.

In these circumstances, I find it both surprising and a decisive setback to our election prospects that the Prime Minister decided Australia should vote against the admission of Palestine to UNESCO.

The applications committee is to report to the Security Council today on Palestine's bid for statehood. If it is decided to vote in the council, the US is committed to a veto. Ultimately, however, the issue will presumably go to the General Assembly in the attempt to upgrade Palestinian representation. A positive approach to this issue is actually in the US and Israel's long-term interests.

Putting it bluntly, I consider that if we again vote against Palestinian ''statehood'' when it comes to the General Assembly, we are most unlikely to be elected to the council. At worst we should abstain.

I have never argued that we should change policies to secure a vote. What I have argued is that policies should be changed if they are ineffective or overdue for change, which is the case on a number of our votes on Middle East issues. We will do considerable damage to the more even-handed and reasonable policies we have been moving towards in the Middle East if we continue to vote against Palestinian statehood. This is also illogical because we support a two-state solution.

Middle Eastern diplomats outside Israel have depicted the present situation as like two people arguing over a pizza, but before the argument is resolved one side (Israel through the acceleration of its settlements program) has started to eat the pizza.

I do not think the security of Israel, which we rightly support strongly, is at issue. Israel's security needs to be underpinned by a negotiated two-state solution. Statehood itself can only result from a negotiated settlement, as all sides know.
This is a historic moment although it will not create a state, as the Palestinians themselves know. It does, however, reinforce their moral position and progress towards the accepted two-state solution.

We can and should win a seat on the Security Council. But I fear we will be defeated again, as we were in 1996, if we continue to vote against upgrading Palestinian representation, especially when it comes before the General Assembly. This will be a matter for regret and it will not be in our national interest.

Richard Woolcott, former head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was Australia's ambassador to the UN (1982-88) and represented Australia last time it was elected to the Security Council in 1985-86.

11 November 2011

PETER C OLLARD - SISTER MARY MARY QUITE CONTRARY - GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN!!

I met Peter Collard at his flat in Randwick in April 1988.

I had been to my first demo as a gay man when, at the age of 61, I discovered that there was to be a gathering outside the British Consulate at Circular Quay in April 1988 to protest Margaret Thatcher's introduction of clause 28 into the British Parliament. This clause was as homophobic as they come. It was an attempt to stop any mention of homosexuality in schools and also an attempt to prevent gay teachers being employed in government schools. It was a vicious attack and was so outrageous in its discrimination and vilification that it needed to be protested as much as possible and wherever possible.

At this demonstration I was informed that it was being held by a group called Gay Solidarity which held regular meetings at members' homes because they didn't have enough money to have their own premises.

The meeting to which I was invited - my first ever meeting to a specifically gay event - was to be held at Peter Collard's flat. Coincidentally, at that meeting I met Kendall Lovett, my partner, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Peter Collard became a very good friend and over the years he demonstrated what true friendship meant when we established the Sydney Park AIDS Memorial Groves on 15 May 1994. Peter must have come to every tree planting from then on up to and including the last one on 31 July 2011.

Peter's other persona was Sister Mary Mary Quite Contrary and it was in his Sisterly capacity that MMQC, as he was fondly known, mustered members of the Order of Perpetual Indulgence to come to tree plantings and do a "Blessing of the Trees" at every event.

Peter was an ongoing member of Lesbian and Gay Solidarity as the group became in 1992 after changing its name from Gay Solidarity, and contributed items to the LGS newsletter when possible.

Peter set up our web site in 1999 and taught me how to upload items to our pages and we are eternally grateful for all the hard work he did over the years to help us in whatever way he could.

Peter's life was complicated by the fact that he had a Thai partner who subsequently died of AIDS, leaving a grieving Peter and a son and other relatives in Thailand.

In fact Peter was due to spend November 2011 in Thailand when he seems to have been found dead in his flat in Randwick about 24 October 2011.

We still have no information about his death, but we are profoundly saddened and affected by his death at the very young age of mid-fifties!

We will ensure that trees are planted for Peter in the Groves which he came to love so much.

We will miss you Peter!

The following item was on page 9 of the newsletter of the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board issue "Equal Time Number 83 Summer 2011:

08 November 2011

FREEDOM WAVES PRISONERS ABUSED AND IMPRISONED

The following item was posted in Mondoweiss on 7 November 2011

Freedom Waves prisoners abused and imprisoned; ‘Anonymous’ hackers strike back


Nov 07, 2011

By Ben Lorber

In the immediate aftermath of the illegal capture of the Freedom Waves flotillas, Israel’s public image has been tarnished, as reports of violence at sea surface to counteract its claims of a peaceful takeover, and as human rights cyber-resistance group Anonymous retaliates by shutting down Israeli government web sites.

As Israeli naval soldiers boarded the Tahrir and Saoirse Friday afternoon, the IDF released a statement saying that the ships were intercepted peacefully, and that no activists were harmed in the takeover. In addition, in an attempt to portray its own reasonable benevolence, the IDF released a video of soldiers contacting the ship and offering to reroute its humanitarian aid by land or through Ashdod, shortly before releasing another video which seemed to show Israeli soldiers peacefully and non-threateningly boarding one of the flotillas.

When Egyptian journalist Lina Attalah, an activist aboard the Tahrir, wrote an account of Israel’s seizure of the boats after her release on Saturday, however, the world began to see a different picture. “Towards the early afternoon,” she said, “we saw three Israeli warships in the horizon… Soon after, the Israeli presence in the waters around us intensified. We counted at least 15 ships, four of which were warships, and the rest a mix of smaller boats and water cannons. From inside the smaller boats, dozens of Israeli soldiers pointed their machines guns at us. This is when our communications system was jammed and we lost contact with the world…the Israelis sent radio messages to our boat, asking us to stop sailing because they would board the boat and take us to the Israeli port of Ashdod. When our boat refused to surrender, they aimed their canons at us, showering us with salty water. The boat had become highly unstable and panic was in the air… Israeli ships hit our boat and soldiers started boarding. Dozens of masked soldiers screamed “on your knees,” and “hands up.””

The violent nature of Israel’s takeover of the Tahrir and Saoirse became more apparent with a statement released mid-Sunday by Fintan Lane, the National Coordinator of the Irish Ship Saoirse, in a hurried phone call made from an Israeli prison. “The whole takeover [of the Saoirse by Israeli naval authorities] took about three hours”, claims Lane. “It began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with high pressure hoses and pointing guns at the passengers through the windows. I was hosed down the stairs of the boat. Windows were smashed and the bridge of the boat nearly caught fire. The boats were corralled to such an extent that the two boats, the Saoirse and the Tahrir, collided with each other and were damaged, with most of the damage happening to the MV Saoirse. The boats nearly sank. The method used in the takeover was dangerous to human life.”

The same day, Saoirse activist Paul Murphy, Socialist Party and United Left Alliance MEP for Dublin, related in a 3-minute phone call, monitored by Israeli prison authorities, that “our boat was almost sunk by the manner in which it was approached and boarded by the Israeli navy. People were shackled and deprived of all personal belongings. In Givon prison the authorities tried to disorientate us through sleep deprivation and the removal of our watches and the prison clock recording the wrong time. We have been given no time frame as to how long we will be kept here before the deportation trial. We were denied our right by Israeli law to contact our families within 24 hours of our arrest.”

Also on Sunday, Greek captain of the Tahrir Giorgos Klontzas, after his release from jail, told Greek Omnia TV that during interrogation, Israeli forces handcuffed him tightly and stuck fingers in his eyes.

The clearest testament to the abuse suffered by the activists at the hands of the Israeli military has come from Canadian activist David Heap, in a letter smuggled out of his prison cell. “I write to you from cell 9, block 59 Givon Prison near Ramla in Occupied Palestine”, the letter stated. “Although I was tasered during the assault on the Tahrir, and bruised during forcible removal dockside (I am limping slightly as a result) I am basically ok… [we] were transported in handcuffs and leg shackles...[we have created] a political prisoners’ committee in order to press our collective demands- association in the block, i.e. open cells; adequate writing and reading material; free communication with outside world- i.e. regular phone calls; [and] information about shipmate women held at same prison”. In response to the shortage of information regarding the female activists currently behind bars, the Women's Organisation for Political Prisoners (WOFPP) offered Sunday night to send a lawyer free of charge to visit the female prisoners.

As reports of Israeli military violence leaked throughout the weekend, an international group of hackers named Anonymous released a video threatening retaliation against “a clear sign of piracy on the high seas.” The ‘Open Letter from Anonymous to the Government of Israel’ was pointed in its critique- “your actions”, it claimed, “are illegal, against democracy, human rights, international and maritime laws”, and an example of “justifying war, murder, illegal interception and pirate-like activities under an illegal cover of defense” which “will not go unnoticed by us or the people of the world”. Anonymous, which has temporarily disabled many web sites in past publicized acts of moral retribution, further threatened that “if you continue blocking humanitarian vessels to Gaza or repeat the dreadful actions of May 31st 2010 against any Gaza Freedom Flotillas, you will leave us no choice but to strike back, again and again, until you stop….we do not forget, we do not forgive. Expect us.”

A day later, Haaretz reported that “the websites of the IDF, Mossad and the Shin Bet security services were down”, likely due to an Anonymous cyber-attack. Hours later, however, the Israeli government released a statement on Facebook claiming that the websites were down "due to a systematic malfunction of the servers”, denying that Anonymous was behind the crash1. It is highly unlikely, however, for this shutdown to follow so soon after Anonymous’s threat as a matter of pure coincidence.

As the international community rises in condemnation of Israel’s illegal takeover of a ship in international waters, 21 of the 27 activists captured by Israel remain in prison awaiting deportation, and the whereabouts of one, PressTV journalist Hassan Ghani, remains unknown. The Irish activists have refused representation by a lawyer in the Israeli court system, on the grounds that they do not acknowledge the legitimacy of Israel’s legal system. In addition, they refuse to sign a waiver which would forfeit their claim to legal representation before a judge and allow for their immediate deportation, because the offered waiver claims that they came to Israel voluntarily and entered illegally, statements which are patently untrue in light of the fact that Israeli naval boats seized the activists from the Tahrir and Saoirse, and forcibly transported them to Ashdod. They will therefore, according to Israeli law, be detained for 72 hours and then brought to court, where they will almost certainly be deported- though, because they refused to sign the waiver, the deportation will occur without their consent.

As Israel unsuccessfully attempts to save face in the aftermath of its illegal and violent seizure of innocent civilians on a humanitarian aid mission in international waters, the international community once again bears witness to the fact that, in the words of a Saturday press release by the Canada Boat to Gaza team, “there is no legal justification for stopping or in any way impeding the passage of the totally peaceful Freedom Waves boats from the international solidarity movement with Palestinian people”. What is clear to all, in spite of Israeli repression, is that the recent aid mission is only the first of many Freedom Waves bound for Gaza’s shore. “Whatever the Israeli Occupation Forces do to us,” said David Heap and Ehab Lotayef, steering committee members of the Tahrir, from behind Israeli prison bars, “this flotilla marks the launching of the Freedom Waves. It is the continuation of many efforts over the years to bring the plight of Gaza and Palestine to the world's attention. We will keep coming again and again, until the closure of Gaza is ended and Palestinians have been able to achieve liberation and justice… Expect us. Again and again. The Freedom Waves are just beginning.”

Ben Lorber is an activist with the International Solidarity Movement in Nablus. He is also a journalist with the Alternative Information Center in Bethlehem. He blogs at

freepaly.wordpress.com.


05 November 2011

ADDAM STOBBS INTERVIEWS MANNIE DE SAXE

ADDAM STOBBS INTERVIEWS MANNIE DE SAXE ON JOY RADIO 2010



15 MAY 2010



The following is an interview of Mannie De Saxe by Addam Stobbs in his radio programme "Allegro Non Troppo" on Joy Radio in Melbourne about Fairfield, SPAIDS, political activism. This was one of Addam's last interviews as he tragically died one month later on 16 June 2010



ADDAM STOBBS INTERVIEW OF MANNIE DE SAXE ON JOY RADIO




ALEX DAY INTERVIEW ON JOY RADIO 2002

ALEX DAY INTERVIEW WITH JOY RADIO 2002





ALEX DAY INTERVIEW WITH JOY RADIO AUGUST 2002 (14.30 minutes)

01 November 2011

JOHN DUGARD'S REPORT ON APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA AND PALESTINE




The following article appeared in Mondoweiss on 31 October 2011:

The law and practice of apartheid in South Africa and Palestine



Oct 31, 2011, John Dugard

Editor Note: Richard Goldstone has just published a new Op-Ed on the New York Times website titled "Israel and the Apartheid Slander." This recent article by South African international law expert John Dugard provides an interesting counter argument.

I spent most of my adult life in South Africa opposing apartheid, as an advocate, legal academic and, from 1978-1990, director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies( a research institute engaged in human rights advocacy and litigation). In my work I compared and contrasted apartheid with international human rights standards and advocated a Constitution with a Bill of Rights in a democratic South Africa. Unlike many other South Africans, I was never imprisoned but I was prosecuted, arrested and threatened by the security police. My major book, Human Rights and the South African Legal Order (1978), the most comprehensive account of the law and practice of apartheid, was initially banned.

I had wide experience and knowledge of the three pillars of the apartheid state – racial discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation. I lead lawyers campaigns against the eviction of black persons from neighborhoods set aside for exclusive white occupation by the Group Areas Act, and against the notorious “pass laws”, which made it an offense for blacks to be in so-called “white areas” without the correct documentation. These campaigns took the form of free legal defense to all those arrested which made the systems unmanageable. Through the Centre for Applied Legal Studies I engaged in legal challenges to the implementation of the security laws and emergency laws, which allowed detention without trial and house arrest – and, in practice, torture. I also challenged the establishment of Bantustans in the courts.

After South Africa became a democracy, I was appointed to a small committee of experts charged with the task of drafting a Bill of Rights for the 1996 South African Constitution.

I visited Israel and the OPT in 1982, 1984, 1988 and 1998 to participate in conferences on issues affecting the region. In 2001 I was appointed as Chair of a Commission of Enquiry established by the Commission on Human Rights to investigate human rights violations during the Second Intifada. In 2001 I was appointed as Special Rapporteur to the Commission on Human Rights (later Human Rights Council) on the human rights situation in the OPT. In this capacity I visited the OPT twice a year and reported to the Commission and the Third Committee of the General Assembly. My mandate expired in 2008. In February 2009 I lead a Fact-Finding Mission established by the League of Arab States to investigate and report on violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the course of Operation Cast Lead.

From my first visit to Israel/OPT I was struck by the similarities between apartheid in South Africa and the practices and policies of Israel in the OPT. These similarities became more obvious as I became better informed about the situation. As Special Rapporteur I deliberately refrained from making such comparisons until 2005 as I feared that such comparisons would prevent many governments in the West from taking my reports seriously. However, after 2005 I decided that I could not in good conscience refrain from making such comparisons.

Of course the two regimes are very different. Apartheid South Africa was a state that practiced discrimination and repression against its own people. Israel is an occupying power that controls a foreign territory and its people under a regime recognized by international humanitarian law. But in practice there is little difference. Both regimes were/are characterized by discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation. The main difference is that the apartheid regime was more honest. The law of apartheid was openly legislated in Parliament and was clear for all to see, whereas the law governing Palestinians in the OPT is largely contained in obscure military decrees and inherited emergency regulations that are virtually inaccessible.

In my work as Commissioner and Special Rapporteur I saw every aspect of the occupation of the OPT. I witnessed the humiliating check points, which reminded me of the implementation of the pass laws (but worse), separate roads (unknown in apartheid South Africa) and the administrative demolition of houses, which reminded me of the demolition of houses in “black areas” set aside for exclusive white occupation. I visited Jenin in 2003 shortly after it had been devastated by the IDF. I spoke to families whose houses had been raided, and vandalized by the IDF; I spoke to young and old who had been tortured by the IDF; and I visited hospitals to see those who had been wounded by the IDF. I saw and, on occasion, visited settlements; I saw most of the Wall and spoke to farmers whose lands had been seized for the construction of the Wall; and I traveled through the Jordan Valley viewing destroyed Bedouin camps and check points designed to serve the interests of the settlers.

A final comment based on my personal experience. There was an altruistic element to the apartheid regime, albeit motivated by the ideology of separate development, which aimed to make the Bantustans viable states. Although not in law obliged to do so, it built schools, hospitals and roads for black South Africans. It established industries in the Bantustans to provide employment for blacks. Israel even fails to do this for Palestinians. Although in law it is obliged to cater for the material needs of the occupied people, it leaves this all to foreign donors and international agencies. Israel practices the worst kind of colonialism in the OPT. Land and water are exploited by an aggressive settler community that has no interest in the welfare of the Palestinian people - with the blessing of the state of Israel.

John Dugard is a South African international lawyer who headed the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in Johannesburg during the Apartheid era. In 1995 he assisted in the drafting of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution. For seven years he was Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the UN Human Rights Council and Commission on Human Rights. This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2011 issue of Al-Majdal.


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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

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