28 April 2013


Asylum seekers are people who, because of circumstances in the countries from which they have fled, are trying to reach countries where they might be able to live safely and without fear such as they have experienced elsewhere.

To demonise people in these circumstances, which is what the media and politicians have done, is to show total disregard for human rights, and much of this in countries such as Australia, which are signatories to many of the United Nations Charters on Human Rights and the rights of people to seek and obtain - asylum in other countries.

It must never be forgotten that so many of those fleeing are from countries which have been attacked and invaded by Australia and the countries with which it is in unholy alliances.

Because the media in Australia are willing participants in demonising these people, citizens of Australia see these people - as portrayed - as queue jumpers, economic migrants and people who want to enter Australia illegally.

All of these assertions are lies and mostly are done for political gain by most politicians who are each trying to outdo the other in their viciousness against desperate and helpless people who are then incarcerated in concentration camps and treated as criminals of the worst sort when they haven't committed any crimes.

The concentration camps in places such as Nauru and Papua New Guinea - the Manus Island "detention" centre - are run by organisations employed under contract to the federal government and are renowned for the viciousness of their controls in these "camps".

On top of these human rights abuses - there is no end to man's inhumanity to men, women and children - many of the people assessed for security by ASIO and other arms of government, and "found" to be unsuitable for refugee status "because they pose security risks" are then returned to the countries from which they fled, facing arrest, torture, imprisonment and often murder.

Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan - just to name a few of those places where desperate people flee from - are countries in turmoil, having been invaded by foreign countries or have police state/dictatorship regimes and human rights abuse records where leaders of these regimes should be tried in the International Criminal Court.

Much has been recorded and written about human rights abuses in some of the countries mentioned, but for reasons which are not as yet clear, Sri Lanka seems to have escaped the media's attention until fairly recently, and when it does get mentioned, the Australian government staunchly defends it to the hilt, despite the appalling actions of its dictatorial and police state government. Memories of South Africa and the apartheid state? ....and currently Israel as another apartheid state - but we don't mention Israel!!! - it is always above reproach and one is an anti-semite if you mention the horrific human rights abuses against the Palestinians who, like the Tamils in Sri Lanka don't exist!

So to some articles which have at last started appearing in the main stream media, and here are two examples, one from Geoffrey Robertson, well known to many, dated March 2013, and the other from 28 April 2013:


Justice crushed in Sri Lanka

March 6, 2013
By Geoffrey Robertson

Commonwealth countries risk a human rights nightmare if they capitulate to the Rajapaksa regime.

Illustration: Andrew Dyson.

The Commonwealth is sleepwalking towards a human rights disaster, if it goes ahead with November's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, where it will be presided over by Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Perhaps emboldened by getting away with murder - the army slaughter of some 40,000 Tamil civilians in 2009 - his government has now moved to destroy the independence of the judiciary. It has sacked the Chief Justice for a decision that it finds inconvenient.

Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, former dean of Colombo Law School and the first woman to be made a Supreme Court judge, is a highly respected jurist.

Last year she infuriated the government by declaring unconstitutional a bill introduced by the President's brother, the Minister for Economic Development, which would have centralised political power (especially at the expense of the northern, largely Tamil province) and would have given the minister wide-ranging powers to infringe civil liberties. So the government decided to remove her and 117 of its tame MPs introduced a bill to impeach her on 14 charges of alleged ''misconduct''.

The principle of judicial independence requires that no judge should be impeached for doing his or her duty, merely because the decision has upset the government. That is exactly what the Rajapaksa government has done in the case of Dr Bandaranayake.

Three of the charges accused her of misinterpreting the constitution. But it is a judge's job to interpret the constitution and she gave it a purposive construction with which most judges - in Australia and elsewhere - would have agreed. Indeed, with two colleagues who joined in her judgment she interpreted the meaning of a key word in the constitution by looking it up in the Oxford English Dictionary - a familiar source of linguistic enlightenment in courts throughout the Commonwealth. But not for these 117 MPs.

Before politicians sack a respected judge, they must at least afford her a fair trial. So to whom did the Speaker, Rajapaksa's elder brother, entrust this task? To a ''Star Chamber'' of seven cabinet ministers.

It sat in secret, refusing the Chief Justice's request to admit the public and refusing to have international observers. It declined to be bound by any rules about the prosecution bearing the burden of proof and it gave her no time to prepare any defence - she was presented with 1000 pages of evidence and told to be ready for a trial starting the following day.

The tribunal chairman told her expressly that it would allow no witnesses, whereupon she and her counsel walked out, despairing of any fair trial. The next day, in her absence and without notice to her, they called 16 witnesses whom she could not in consequence cross-examine.

The result was a foregone conclusion. She was found ''guilty'' on three charges of misconduct on evidence that could not stand up in any real court and could not in any event amount to ''misconduct'' under any sensible definition.

For example, the fact that her bank had addressed her as ''Chief Justice'' on her statements was regarded as an abuse of office justifying her removal. The Supreme Court quashed the Select Committee's findings of guilt, but the President refused to obey their orders.

The President sacked her and appointed the government legal adviser, who had no judicial experience, as Chief Justice in her place. Her impeachment was celebrated with a fireworks display from the Sri Lankan navy and with entertainment, feasting and fireworks supplied by the government.

The prospect of the Queen travelling as head of the Commonwealth to Sri Lanka to provide a propaganda windfall - a royal seal of approval - for the host President after his destruction of judicial independence would make a mockery of the core democratic values for which the Commonwealth is meant to stand.

Canada has already signalled it may refuse to attend what will be a showcase for the regime, but Bob Carr is determined that Australia will be there, a position that is sure to damage Australia's standing on human rights. Mauritius, an exemplary democracy, is willing to host CHOGM, and that's where it should take place.

Geoffrey Robertson, QC, is a former UN appeal judge and the author of Crimes Against Humanity. Read his report at



'Hypocritical' government ignoring Sri Lankan abuses: Greens

By Chris Johnson
April 28, 2013

Greens leader Christine Milne has accused the government of placing domestic politics ahead of human rights by refusing to boycott the coming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.

And Amnesty International says the violations there should be more seriously considered when Australia is forming refugee policies.

Its campaign co-ordinator, Ming Yu, said a new Amnesty International report to be released on Tuesday, titled Sri Lanka - Assault on Dissent, provided ample evidence that violations were escalating.

''We would encourage the Australian government to properly consider all the credible evidence that exists on this issue and take it into account when making their asylum seeker polices,'' Ms Yu said.

''Amnesty International would like to see Australia and the whole international community insist that if these kinds of human rights abuses continue then the government of Sri Lanka not host CHOGM or be awarded the Commonwealth chair.''

The Greens leader said it was hypocrisy on Labor's part to be sending asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka when its government continued to sponsor human rights violations - and turning a blind eye to those abuses by attending CHOGM was appalling.

Senator Milne said the Australian government was taking a ''hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil'' approach to events in Sri Lanka.

Her rebuke follows Foreign Minister Bob Carr's insistence on being at the November summit despite increasing rights violations.

Senator Carr told ABC's Lateline he was not convinced the Sri Lankan government was engaging in human rights abuses.

''I think some of the stories that have been put to us, when we've checked them out haven't been sustained,'' he said.

He also pointed to evidence of improvements in the country when it came to human rights and said boycotting CHOGM would be counter-productive. ''I think the concerns we've got about human rights in Sri Lanka are best met through engagement with that country,'' he said.

But Senator Milne, who last year visited Sri Lanka and heard of some of the atrocities committed there, said the Australian government's position could not be sustained.

She said Australia should follow Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's example and refuse to attend the summit unless there were dramatic improvements in Sri Lanka.

Mr Harper does not believe claims made by the Sri Lankan government that it killed only Tamil Tiger rebels and not Tamil civilians.

He told his country's question period last week that without major reform in Sri Lanka he would not personally go to the meeting in Colombo.

''I know we are deeply troubled by the direction in Sri Lanka and the fact that Sri Lanka is, at this point, the host of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,'' he said.

''I know suggestions have been made of any number of countries who would be willing to host that.''

Senator Carr appeared to dismiss Canada's position and said all Commonwealth countries were expected to attend the summit.

''Apart from Canada, I can identify no other country in the 55-member Commonwealth that would not be represented at Colombo,'' Senator Carr said.

But Senator Milne said the government's excuse for not taking a stronger stance was weak.

It was trying to bring about change by engaging with Sri Lanka, which would work only if Australia was prepared to be blunt.

But the government wanted asylum seeker issues ''off its plate'' before the election and so would not properly engage Sri Lanka, she said.

''It really is a closed loop between the Australian government, the Sri Lankan government and the churn of asylum seekers, and no questions asked about what actually is going on in Sri Lanka as we speak,'' she said.

''If Australia, being on the UN Security Council, wants to be taken seriously in this region as a middle power, then we've got to be seen to be putting at the head of our agenda the strengthening of human rights.

''It should not be pushing it to the bottom of the agenda beneath domestic political considerations in relation to an election and asylum seekers.''

Prime Minister Julia Gillard did not comment, a spokeswoman saying there was nothing to add to Senator Carr's remarks.

Asylum seekers have been political footballs to politicians and human rights abuses have been ignored along the way. Concentration camps are run under contract by some of the worst organisations in the world - Serco and G4S are the two which come to mind - and everything that goes on in the camps is, as it were, behind closed doors - literally. People who have tried to go to Nauru and Manus Island to see for themselves what is going on there, find it almost impossible to get access, and this is yet another example of the way the federal government wishes to hide their disgrace from the public gaze.

They prefer to treat asylum seekers as "others" - people who are "different" from us - they are not white middle class anglos - they are - what???

Through our media and politicians we tell the Australian population that these people will take away their jobs, that they have these strange religions and customs which are alien to our "way of life" and we will become tainted by them!

The fact is, this is a country of migrants and asylum seekers and was ever thus after displacing and killing off the indigenous population and treating them with apartheid disdain to rot in their own "outback" concentration camps.

I started this petition some time ago when the federal government and its friendly opposition were vying with each other to see who could torture people who had already been traumatised by their persecution due to wars which Australia had been busy fighting in countries with which it had no right to be involved in.

People quickly lost interest in the issue because of other scandals blowing up around that time and subsequently the two concentration camps used by the Howard government were found to be useful for incarcerating those managing to get to Australia alive!

It is time to resurrect the petition and ask you to get your friends to sign it too. Thanks for your assistance in this humanitarian crisis.

Stop Australian Incarceration of Asylum Seekers


Target: Australians and International communities
Sponsored by: Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne

Australia is trying to negotiate an off-shore solution to Asylum Seekers coming to Australia in boats which are not seaworthy, and which have already been responsible for many drownings offshore. The latest attempt is the so-called Malaysian solution involving Australia sending 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 2000 refugees in Malaysia. Both the Australian Government and its parliamentary Opposition are demonising people fleeing desperate situations in their countries of origin, mainly because of Australian military intervention in those countries.

The total numbers of asylum seekers trying to enter Australia is a miniscule number in terms of refugees and asylum seekers around the world, and most of the people in Australia illegally have arrived by plane!

Australia is signatory to United Nations conventions on refugees but is ignoring these UN documents in its political attempts to stop the demonised "boat people" ever setting foot in Australia.

Help to obtain justice for Asylum Seekers in desperate situations.

The situation has worsened with the federal government reopening the concentration camps on Nauru and Manus Island.

Get the government to close these camps now.


To highlight the crimes committed by our governments in the name of "border protection" - lies if ever there WERE any! - come some more alarming stories from our infamous concentration camps. The following item was in The Age newspaper on 29 APRIL 2013:

Refugee advocates push to end detention

By Thomas O'Byrne
Demonstrators demand refugee rights.

Refugee advocates have rallied outside a Broadmeadows detention centre following two suicide attempts at the facility last week.

More than 200 people assembled outside the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation site on Sunday, pushing for an end to mandatory detention. Organisers said their action was precipitated by the two attempted suicides last Wednesday, one involving a 17-year-old Iraqi boy.

Among the crowd was a former asylum seeker who said public support, in the form of letters and rallies, helped his fellow detainees deal with depression and suicidal thoughts. ''I did not have a name. I was number 27,'' he said, declining to be named. ''We were dehumanised.''

Rally organiser Lucy Honan said it was unfortunate it had taken the tragedies at the detention centre to shine a light on the issue. ''We want to send a message to the two major political parties that there are members in the community for whom this is an election issue,'' she said.

24 April 2013


A few years ago and a few editors ago the Sydney Star Observer, as it was called in better times, had an editor who decided that online was the way to go and the print edition didn't need to have a letters page any longer. Anyone wanting to write a letter to the editor - or paper - was told that there would be provision online for a letters section.

The Sydney Star Observer immediately lost impact and became this wishy-washy rag which presents itself today to people who bother to get the print version in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria.

What a waste of time and paper and anything else connected to the Star.

There is a journalist, Simon Copland, who writes a weekly column in the Star. Simon thinks we are all "queer" which is his collective word to describe various permutations and combinations of sexuality in our communities.

For the purpose of my vitriolic diatribe I will use the terminology I prefer for those members of our communities whose battles we have been fighting for over many years. I refer to gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV (GLTH) members of our communities.

I object to being collectively called "queer". When I was at school in South Africa in the 30s and 40s, men and boys who were seen to be "different" were called "queers".

I lived in a heterosexual closet until I was 61 when I started coming out as a gay man and becoming a political gay activist. This period was a few years into the devastating AIDS epidemic when young men in our communities were dying horrible deaths amidst great fear and terror and an increased level of homophobia, violence, murder and horror.

The police of course were not on our side and more often than not did not look for the criminals who were wreaking havoc on the streets of cities like Sydney and Melbourne, instead ignoring the horror and in fact very often aiding and abetting these activities.

In leaping forward to 2013 we have had 25 years of some improvements in our lives and measures taken by federal and state governments to reduce some of the homophobia in our midst, other than from religious organisations. These organisations in a secular state are still given exemptions and remain tax-free.

Back to Simon Copland who writes that he doesn't understand why people waste their time on such issues as rainbow crossings and same-sex marriage when there are more important things to worry about. He is right, of course, there are more important things to worry about.

However the fight is for equality, to not be treated as second- or third-rate citizens by our governments, media, religious organisations and those who consider homophobia to be the norm.

Simon seems to think all of us only want to be the same as all those heteros who have such marvellous existences, when actually all we want is the same human rights we are entitled to in every respect of the law, as available to all heteros, whether married or in de facto relationships like that greatest of hypocrites in our communities the prime minister Julia Gillard.

One of the reasons for this diatribe is that I wrote a letter to the editor of the Star explaining that I had tried to have a letter I wrote in response to Simon's article about the rainbow crossing and same-sex marriage posted under Simon's article and I was unable to do so.

The editor ignored me so I sent my letter a second time, and the editor ignored me.

This confirms for me that the editor and the Star Observer are a waste of time and effort, and I shouldn't get my "knickers in a knot" because it is not worth it.

This blog allows me to express my feelings about the issue and to place my letter here, so that it is published.

.........and here is the letter:

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne
PO Box 1675
Preston South
Vic 3072
15 APRIL 2013

I came out as a gay man in 1988 at the age of 61. The person who helped my coming-out process was Margaret Thatcher, one of the great homophobes of our generation.

Thatcher was in the process of introducing Clause 28 into the British parliament, a disgusting homophobic piece of legislation designed to stop homosexuality from being spoken about in schools and to stop homosexual people from being employed as teachers. There was much more, but that is enough to introduce the topic of homophobia. I went to my first demo as a gay activist to protest Thatcher outside the British Consulate in Sydney’s Circular Quay in April 1988.

At the same period of time Sydney – and other places around Australia – saw a spate of hate crimes involving bashings and murders of gay, lesbian, transgender and HIV/AIDS (GLTH) members of our communities, many of which remain unsolved to this day.

The police who were supposed to be investigating these crimes were homophobic in the extreme, and events at the recent Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney in 2013 show that 25 years later, little has changed.

Fred Nile is still in the NSW parliament, and religions still continue to preach homophobic hatred.

It is in this sort of climate that we fight for equality and an end to universal homophobia.

Why are rainbow crossings and same-sex marriages important when there are so many other problems besetting our communities?

Because without these open symbols of who we are as communities, homophobia continues unabated.

The removal of the rainbow crossing is a symbol of the Barry O’Farrell government’s homophobia. The refusal to accept same-sex marriage is a symbol of the homophobia besetting most of the politicians in this country.

We want equality, and we want it now! We have been second – and third – grade citizens for far too long and in 2013 it is time for this denigration to stop.

Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne


21 April 2013


This article was received from Mondoweiss on 20 APRIL 2013. It is yet a further illustration of how far zionist thuggery has gone and how the zionist feel that they can rule the world and every country supports their thuggery.

Johannesburg demo against Israeli Independence Day ends in violence

Apr 19, 2013 By Annie Robbins

Protest Israeli Independence Day April 15, 2013

Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013

A protest against Israeli Independence Day at the Gold Reef City Casino in Johannesburg turned violent on Monday night after members of the South African Palestinian solidarity activist community were reportedly assaulted by the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO). One activist suffered a concussion.


Jewish security organization violently assaults two women protesters; one protester left in concussion

South African activists are pressing charges against the South African Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO), the South African Zionist Federation and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) for the recent violent assault of two young women Palestine solidarity protesters (including the daughter of a senior member from South Africa's largest trade union federation, COSATU) . One Palestine solidarity protester was left in a state of concussion due to the assault injuries.

Last night supporters of Israel held a music concert to celebrate Israeli Independence Day at Gold Reef City Casino in Johannesburg, which was organized by the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD).

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) had insisted on arranging their own security (the "Jewish Community Security Organization") instead of allowing either Gold Reef City Casino or the South African Police Services (SAPS) to perform the role of safety and security for the Israeli event.

Palestinian protesters contested that the Israeli celebration was essentially a "celebration of murder, expulsion and continued Israeli oppression against the indigenous Palestinian people" and arranged a picket outside the venue where over 250 members from COSATU, the SA Students Congress, BDS South Africa and several other civil society organizations were present. In addition, young activists (mostly women students) had also bought tickets, made their way into the venue of the Israeli event and partook in a direct-action Greenpeace-like protest where they released bad smelling "stinky-bombs" and wore T-shirts that read "Israeli Apartheid Stinks" in luminous green writing.

During the direct-action protest inside Gold Reef City, two young women protesters were violently assaulted by the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO) including having their hands tied with cables, their faces covered and their heads smashed into the parking lot's concrete paving. Other protesters were forcibly thrown down escalators and one protester was locked into a passageway where he was repeatedly and simultaneously kicked in the stomach by more than five Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO) personnel - he later suffered a concussion. Members of the Jewish community attending the event also punched a woman protester in the face several times resulting in a serious swelling injury.

Charges against the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO), the SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) include:

- Smashing the heads of two young women protesters into the concrete paving of the Gold Reef City Casino parking lot;
- Illegally restraining the young protesters with cable ties and leaving them with their heads covered in the Gold Reef City parking lot;
- Locking a protester into a passage way, throwing him to the ground and then instructing over five security personnel to kick the protester, which resulted in a state of concussion;
- Throwing two young women protesters down escalators resulting in several body bruises, including a badly injured leg;
- Forcibly hurling several women protesters onto walls;
- Verbally abusing the young protesters, including threatening to "find them" and "kill them";
- In addition, a charge of theft will be laid against the Jewish CSO, the SAJBD and the SAZF for having illegally confiscated cellphones and other possessions from the protesters.

University of Johannesburg academic, Professor Farid Esack, who witnessed the violent assaults on protesters by the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO), commented: "Its unacceptable that any local community security organization, including that of the the Jewish community (the Jewish Community Security Organization), operates above the law and in this militarized fashion.Given that the Jewish Community Security Organization was recently guilty of racial-profiling and discrimination at Wits University, they together with all Israeli-connected security entities operating in this country, should be banned from any and all future events. They are a threat to our people and I will personally be taking this up with relevant government departments."

The Jewish CSO, a mostly clandestine security body operating in South Africa since 1993, is led by former Israeli Defense Force (IDF) member, Colonel Amir Noy. Noy served for 14 years in the IDF before working as a project manager for the Zimbabwean government. Noy explains the role of the Jewish CSO as that of: “Protecting Jewish life and Jewish way of life [in South Africa]...[its] a bond of brotherhood".

Another high-profile witness to the violent assaults was Chris Mathlako, the International Relations Secretary of the South African Communist Party (a member of the ruling ANC tripartite alliance). Mathlako also slammed the Jewish Community Security Organization (CSO) and added that: "I was shocked at the way in which the Jewish Community Security Organization was behaving like a bunch of thugs, carrying large semi-automatic weapons, beating up young activists and threatening to kill them. The Jewish Community Security Organization is not above the law and should not think that they can get away with this sort of behaviour in our country. This is a serious indictment on the SA Jewish Board of Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation."

Uyanda Mabeche, one of the seriously injured protesters had this to say: "The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) and their Jewish CSO must be held accountable for what they did to me and my fellow colleagues...its also a sad reflection of how Israel and its supporters deal with protests and criticism. However, I'm very deeply aware that what myself and my colleagues experienced - although very traumatic - is nothing in comparison to what Palestinians go through on a daily basis under the yoke of Israeli apartheid and occupation."

Issued by Muhammed Desai for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in South Africa (BDS South Africa)

Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013

Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013

Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013

Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013

Israeli Independence Day protest Johannesburg April 15, 2013

20 April 2013


This video was sent to us by David Conolly, and shows yet again how the Australian government and its loyal opposition have become even greater jokes than we already thought they were. Will they get any worse? Watch the circus for the next 5 months for the future instalments!

14 April 2013


This article appeared in the UK newspaper "The Independent" on 14 APRIL 2013. It is a further example of the USA's failed democracy and yet another nail in the coffin of US world domination.

Guantanamo Bay - President Obama's shame: The forgotten prisoners of America's own Gulag

No charge, but no release. Yesterday the anger of hunger-striking detainees boiled over in clashes with their jailers

By Rupert Cornwell Author
Sunday 14 April 2013

For long periods we forget it, even though it is a human rights disgrace surely unequalled in recent American history. But now, 11 years after it opened, the prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay is demanding our attention once again, thanks to the largest hunger strike by detainees in its infamous history. Al-Qa'ida has been decimated; America's war in Iraq is over and the one in Afghanistan soon will be. But the scandal of Guantanamo endures.

Today, 166 inmates remain. Three have been convicted, while a further 30 will face trial. Fifty or so are in a legal no-man's-land, deemed by the authorities too dangerous to release but against whom there is not enough evidence to prosecute. And then there are 86 who have been cleared for release, but who instead rot in a hell from which there is no escape. No wonder yesterday more than 160 of them were involved in clashes with guards that led to what the US said were "less than lethal" rounds being fired.

In 2009, Barack Obama entered office vowing to close Guantanamo within a year. Perhaps he should have listened more closely to his predecessor. George W Bush, too, wanted to shut Guantanamo; even he came to understand it was perhaps the most powerful single recruiting agent for global terrorism. But, he warned presciently, the devil was in the detail – or, more exactly, in Congress.

Mr Obama planned to transfer most inmates to a high-security prison in Illinois, but that idea was blocked. Then Congress made things harder still, first scotching a plan to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the organiser of 9/11 and Guantanamo's best-known prisoner, in a civil court in the US, and effectively banning the use of public money to transfer Guantanamo detainees to the US or abroad.

Even so, Dan Fried, the special envoy in charge of closing the prison, managed to resettle 40 detainees during Obama's first term. But at the end of January, Mr Fried was reassigned and not replaced, his duties incorporated into the State Department's existing legal office. For the 86 inmates eligible for release it was the last straw. Within a week the hunger strikes started.

Detainees tell their lawyers that up to 130 now are taking part. The Pentagon claims they number no more than 40, of whom a dozen are being force-fed. Given the lack of independent access to Guantanamo, the exact number is impossible to establish.

Like others before it, the protest may have been sparked by complaints that guards were abusing detainees' copies of the Koran. But even the Pentagon admits the real reason was despair. Inmates were "devastated" by the signal that the administration no longer believed that closing the prison was a realistic priority, Marine General John Kelly told Congress, so "they want to turn the heat up, get it back in the media". And who can blame them?

By all accounts, the atmosphere within Guantanamo has never been as bleak. The Soviet Union had gulags, "but no Soviet gulag ever had 52 per cent of its prisoners cleared for release," says Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity Reprieve, who has been representing Guantanamo detainees almost since the place opened in January 2002.

One of his clients is the Saudi-born British resident Shaker Aamer, captured in Afghanistan in November 2001 and brought to Guantanamo in February 2002. He has been cleared not once but twice, in 2007 and then by the Obama administration in 2009. But the US won't let him go, not even back to its trusty ally Britain, where Aamer's family live. Fluent in English, Mr Aamer is regarded as a "leader" among the detainees. Many suspect that the Americans will never free him, because he knows so much, and would speak out.

Today, even George Orwell would have been pressed to conceive the plight of the 86: cleared for release, but denied freedom, using a hunger strike as their last weapon, only to be kept alive by the very people who will not let them go. On Thursday, Mr Aamer gave the most recent account of events at Guantanamo to Mr Stafford Smith in an hour-long phone conversation, described by his lawyer in a sworn affidavit.

Mr Aamer is participating in the hunger strike, although he is not yet being force-fed. But other harassments abound. He is in Guantanamo's Camp Five, where "non-compliant" prisoners are held. His health is poor and deteriorating. There is noise throughout the night. It is getting harder to speak to lawyers. Then there are the FCEs, or "forcible cell extractions", to use the euphemism for being picked up and shackled by a team of six guards who burst into your cell. "They FCE me just to give me water," Mr Aamer recounted.

Each day, he says, there are 10 to 15 "code yellow" incidents, when a prisoner on hunger strike collapses or passes out. Even contact with lawyers is a mixed blessing. "Each phone call [from a lawyer] is a curse. They hear what I am saying to you and use that against me to make things worse," he told Mr Stafford Smith. The situation, in short, is grimmer even than during what Mr Aamer calls "Miller time". For ordinary residents of the US, the phrase advertises a well-known brand of beer. But in the extra-territorial Hades of Guantanamo, the reference is to General Geoffrey Miller, the prison's second commandant before he was sent to Iraq in August 2003 to advise on "more productive" interrogations of prisoners, that is, to "Gitmo-ise" Iraq.

The hunger strike is succeeding in returning the spotlight to Guantanamo. On the day Mr Stafford Smith talked to Mr Aamer, Chuck Hagel, the Defence Secretary, told Congress he favoured closing the prison, while leading human rights groups wrote to Mr Obama demanding again that Guantanamo be shut and its inmates either released or tried in civilian court. But it seems optimism bordering on insanity to believe these entreaties will succeed where every other has failed.

Mr Aamer, by all accounts, is a proud man not given to self-pity. But by the end of the phone call, Mr Stafford Smith declared, his client seemed to be crying. "They are killing us, so it is hard to keep calm. It's hard to understand what they are doing, or why. No matter how much I show you I am tough, in reality I am dying inside. If you want us to die, leave us alone. But they do not want us to die, and they do not want us to live like a human being. What is worse than that?" What indeed?

Forced feeding

International medical groups have denounced the forced-feeding of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, which invariably involves strapping detainees into restraint chairs (marketed as a "padded cell on wheels" by their manufacturer), pushing a tube up their nose and down their throat, and pumping liquids into their stomach. Although it is considered a method of torture by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the US military insists forced-feeding is a form of "medical intervention" and that the practice is less aggressive than it was.

Forced-feeding first received widespread public attention in the Edwardian era, when it was used against hunger-striking suffragettes who were held down as the instruments were painfully inserted into their bodies, an experience that has been likened to rape. This technique was also performed on hunger-striking Irish Republicans: in 1917, Thomas Ashe died as a result of complications from the procedure.

Forced-feeding in prisons has been outlawed since 1975 when the World Medical Association issued the Declaration of Tokyo, guidelines for physicians concerning torture and other cruel or degrading treatment in relation to detention. The declaration stipulates that: "Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by the physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgement concerning the consequences of such a voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially."

Katie Grant

12 April 2013


Australian zionists find it hard to learn and hard to understand - they are not adapting well to the 21st century - and the longer it takes them to move forward the more they slide backwards.

This post on Antony Loewenstein's blog on 10 APRIL 2013 says almost all there is to say on the topic.

April 10th, 2013 from Antony Loewenstein’s blog

Australian Zionist lobby media complaint rejected as a pest

Earlier in the year, after the ABC broke a massive story about an Australian man Ben Zygier spying for Mossad and dying in an Israeli jail, there was a great deal of media coverage that questioned the ways in which some Jews saw their relationship with the Israeli state. I was interviewed on ABC Radio AM and predictably elements within the Zionist lobby complained that I was invited and allowed to breath on the air.

The ABC has rejected the complaint and it’s posted below. The fact that the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, a supposedly serious organisation, thinks it’s appropriate to try and censor perspectives that challenge Israel and its policies indicates a profound arrogance and insecurity about its role in society and how it believes its key responsibility is dedication to the Israeli government. Media groups should be well aware of this and act accordingly:

A complaint to the ABC by The Executive Council of Australian Jewry following a radio interview with journalist Antony Loewenstein dealing with the activities of the late Ben Zygier has been dismissed by the national broadcaster.

In a statement released this week, the ECAJ said:

The ABC has dismissed a complaint made by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) about an interview on ABC Radio’s ‘Saturday AM’ program on 13 February 2013 conducted by presenter, Elizabeth Jackson, with commentator Antony Loewenstein.

The ECAJ complained that false claims were made about the supposed ‘dual loyalties’ of Jewish Australians, and that the interviewee making those claims was doing so without evidence, qualifications, expertise or representative status in any part of the Jewish community.

According to ECAJ Executive Director, Peter Wertheim, “During the interview, without evidence or substantiation of any kind, the entirely baseless suggestion was made that there is a relationship between ‘the Jewish establishment in Australia’ and ‘the Mossad, and indeed Israeli intelligence’ which facilitates and encourages Jews from a young age to join up and fight with the IDF and the Mossad.”

Wertheim was especially critical of the Saturday AM program. “It is supposed to be a fact-based news program, not a chat show with entire segments devoted merely to uncontested expressions of opinion. Where were the tough questions, or any questions, asking Loewenstein to provide evidence for his completely unfounded assertions? Isn’t that what fact based program interviewers are supposed to do? Isn’t it their role to elicit the factual basis of opinions expressed by their guests, if any exist?”

“The ABC’s answers to our complaints are either not responsive to the specific matters we raised, or evaded the issue, or were disingenuous”, Wertheim said. “The answers consist for the most part of simple denials that anything untoward was being implied, and irrelevant assertions that Loewenstein has a right to express his opinions”.

Wertheim does not believe there would be any point in the ECAJ pursuing an appeal to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, but noted that this would not be the end of the matter. “The ABC launched a baseless attack on Australian Jews, with insinuations of disloyalty, by interviewing someone who the ABC itself describes as a ‘provocateur’. The ABC has now demonstrated that the process whereby one section of the ABC investigates another does not work”, he said.

The ABC response to the complaint as reported in J-Wire…

Thank you for your letter of 19 February 2013 regarding the recent AM interview with Antony Loewenstein. Your concerns have been investigated by Audience and Consumer Affairs, a unit which is separate to and independent of program making areas within the ABC. We have reviewed the broadcast and assessed it against the ABC’s editorial standards for accuracy, impartiality and harm and offence as well as considering information provided by the program.

The program has explained that this short interview with Antony Loewenstein was intended to provide a perspective on the highly newsworthy story cf the Australian man Ben Zygier's death in an Israeli prison, which had broken that week. As a commentator and opinion writer who is often critical of mainstream Israeli and Jewish organisations for their approach to issues of state security, military service and middle-eastern politics, Mr Loewenstein presented a relevant perspective on the case of the so-called “prisoner X”.

1. Given the context of the discussion was the mysterious and perplexing case of “prisoner X” and his secret detention in an Israeli prison for suspected espionage-related crimes while working for the Mossad, we believe it was reasonable that the report’s introduction referred to “the most secretive workings of the Jewish state”. Audience and Consumer Affairs note that the term “Jewish state” is frequently used to describe Israel, and the country’s Basic Laws refer to Israel as the Jewish State. We have concluded that the use of the term in this broadcast did not have sinister or subliminal intent as you suggest, and was in keeping with ABC editorial standards.

2. Having died in detention in Israel under mysterious circumstances and seemingly harsh conditions, Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied that it was relevant and a matter of public interest for the program to question why Ben Zygier’s family had remained silent on the matter.

We have concluded that the reference to the “silence from the Australian Jewish community” was in keeping with the accuracy standards in section 2 of the ABC Code of Practice.

ABC News management has advised that the program’s production team worked for several days seeking principal relevant perspectives from the Jewish community on this issue and even in the rare instances where comment was obtained, it was of a vague and non-committal nature. I have reviewed the interview with Philip Chester on Radio National Breakfast that you reference in your correspondence and note that he was unable, or unwilling, to engage with any of the issues put to him regarding this case. In virtually every instance, he clearly stated that he was not in a position, or did not have sufficient knowledge, of the issues to speak to them;

PHILIP CHESTER: “Everything that surrounds it, what actually happened to Ben,is just speculation that I can’t add to.”

Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied that AM’s description of the silence as “perplexing” accurately reflected the complexity and mystery of the case.

3. The program’s introduction of Mr Loewenstein as the “Co-founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices” was accurate and provided sufficient context about his perspective. We are satisfied that this reference was not misleading to the program’s audience. As noted above, as a commentator and opinion writer who is often critical of mainstream Israeli and Jewish organisations for their approach to issues of state security, military service and middle-eastern politics, he presented a relevant perspective on the case of the so-called “prisoner X”. In regard to your statement that the ABC seeks Mr Loewenstein’s view “frequently as a commentator about Israel”, AM has provided the following statement;

“We could only find two previous uses of Mr Loewenstein in the AM program, one from 2010 when he was commenting on a book launched by the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, and another from 2009 when he was involved in an international protest over Israel’s a blockade of Gaza.”

4. The claim that “the journalist says the case involving Ben Zygier should be a wake-up call to the community in Melbourne and Sydney to re-examine the way young Jewish youths are educated at religious schools in Australia” was clearly attributed as Mr Loewenstein’s personal opinion and was not presented as a statement cf fact that ls beyond dispute.

In response to your concerns, AM has provided the following comments:

“Although Antony Loewenstein did not attend a religious school, many of his friends and associates did. He grew up as part of the Australian Jewish community in Melbourne and through his associates, is familiar with what is taught in Jewish schools.

Mr Lowenstein mentioned Jewish schools in an attempt to illustrate his belief that Australian Jews are taught that to be “the best Jew they can, they should spend some time in Israel. lt is Mr Loewenstein’s belief that young Australian Jews are told this in religious schools. This is the only connection Mr Loewenstein drew between the Ben Zygier case and religious schools in Australia”.

Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied this was a suitably relevant issue for inclusion within the context of the broadcast and did not, as you suggest, “feed into the propagation of anti-Jewish stereotypes.”

5. Mr Loewenstein’s view that Australian Jews ‘need to rethink the wisdom of a culture which encourages young men and women to join the Israeli military” was clearly attributed as his opinion, based on his personal experience, and we are satisfied that he is entitled to express that view about a culture of which he was a part, growing up in the Jewish community in Melbourne.

6. Please refer to our response to point 2 above.

7. In the interview Loewenstein called for public discussion about “the relationship between the Jewish establishment in Australia and the Israeli government, and indeed Mossad, and indeed Israeli intelligence and the Israeli embassy.” He did not make any accusations or suggestions of improper dealings, he merely called for public debate, in light of the Ben Zygier case. An interviewee calling for public discussion does not breach the ABC’s Code of Practice.

8. Audience and Consumer Affairs note that in November last year, the ABC current affairs program 7.30 broadcast a report on young Jewish Australians who were following a long tradition of ‘making Aliyah’ and preparing to travel to Israel. The program’s research confirmed that in the past four years more than 400 Australian Jews had made the move and most had completed compulsory military service in the IDF. Those who featured in the report spoke passionately about their active support for Israel.

Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied that the issue of encouragement and facilitation of young Australian Jews travelling to, living in and serving Israel was suitably newsworthy and relevant for inclusion in the AM discussion and is in keeping with the accuracy standards in section 2 of the ABC Code of Practice.

9. Having asserted his view that Jewish institutions facilitated a certain culture, we are satisfied that it was relevant for the interviewer to follow up with a question asking for more detailed information, asking Mr Loewenstein whether he believed that the culture was perpetuated in synagogues, because they are important community gathering places. This question did not invite Mr Loewenstein to “denigrate observance in synagogues generally of the Jewish faith’ or to “invite uninformed speculation by Loewenstein” as you claim. Loewenstein responded by qualifying that ‘Now this sort of stuff I’m not saying is regularly discussed openly in synagogues in Sydney or Melbourne – it’s not. “We are satisfied that this relevant question and the response did not as you suggest “feed into the propagation of anti-Jewish stereotypes.”

10. We note your comment regarding Mr Loewenstein’s reference to Australian Jews being “sent” to Israel. We do not believe that Loewenstein was claiming that young Australia Jews are deliberately travelling to Israel with the intention of joining Mossad. He was suggesting that this is a possible outcome (as in the case of Ben Zygier) and the Australian Jewish community would do well to discuss it.

There was no editorial requirement for the interviewer to request the interviewee provide “supporting evidence” to substantiate the opinions he expressed on the issues raised in the broadcast. Mr Loewenstein’s perspective was not presented as factual content or the definitive, accepted position on the issues examined in the interview. He was introduced as the “Co-founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices” and we believe it would be clear to the program’s audience that he was expressing a critical, counter view to the mainstream Jewish community in Australia. As you have noted, he is known as a provocateur who has published inflammatory material and he is renowned as a critic of many Israeli policies. We are satisfied that the program’s audience would not have taken his comments as established facts, but rather his own personal views.

We are satisfied there was a clear editorial context in which to raise the issues posed by the interviewer and we cannot agree that she engaged in “anti-Jewish speculation”.

ABC News management has explained that AM made attempts to contact a range of representatives from the Australian Jewish community, but none were willing to participate in an alternate interview. In light of this, the program believed it relevant and newsworthy to raise the issue of why people were not willing to speak publicly on the matter, with Mr Loewenstein. Audience and Consumer Affairs are satisfied that the program made reasonable efforts to seek and include a range of perspectives and and that the broadcast did not unduly favour any one view over another. The fact that others chose not to comment did not preclude the program from discussing the matter with Mr Loewenstein.

On review, we are satisfied that it was newsworthy and a matter of public interest to question why the Zygier family chose to remain silent on the matter. There was a clear editorial context for that issue; it was not raised gratuitously and it was not in breach of the editorial requirements of 7.1 of the ABC Code of Practice.

Audience and Consumer Affairs have concluded that this broadcast did not engage in the unjustified use of stereotypes or discriminatory content that could reasonably be interpreted as condoning or encouraging prejudice.

We are satisfied that it was in keeping with the requirements of clause 7.7 of the ABC Code of Practice.

I have enclosed a copy of the ABC Code of Practice for your reference.


When Independent Australia started out, it was refreshingly different. Investigative journalism seemed back on the agenda, and exposures relating to the HSU, Kathy Jackson, Ashby, Slipper and all the goings-on seemed to promise more of the same.

Latest postings indicate a subtle injection of anti-semitism from people quoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and I am disgusted such postings were allowed by the moderators of the site.

As someone who is Jewish and has lived through some of the worst excesses of apartheid South Africa and to see that Israel has refined and extended the meaning and significance of apartheid in maintaining one of the world's biggest concentration camps is to abhor that which is done in the name of being a "Jewish State" and the only "democracy" in the middle east.

Israel is a country which has received unwavering support from most - if not all - of Australia's prime ministers and governments since at least 1980, and this zionism shows no signs of abating, both Gillard and Abbott showing how much they love that country. Considering how small is the Jewish vote in Australia, one has to wonder whether this "unqualified " support has more to do with financial issues than political ones, but it is repulsive nevertheless.

And then "independent" media online get themselves bogged down with rants about Jews and zionists controlling the world - the "Protocols" world conspiracy to control the USA, the banks, the world's finances, and many other things besides, leaves one despairing of where our freedoms lie.

Lie may be the operative work here, because so many lies are told about Jewish and zionist world control without proper analyses of the policies and politics of what is actually happening in all the countries involved and the numbers of Jews involved in all of these "conspiracies" and no one comes up with the understanding that there are more christian zionists than there are Jewish ones.

It really is disgusting and it goes on and on!

07 April 2013


If the quartet, whose members are Pell, Rinehart, Murdoch and Abbott, win government on 14 September 2013, Australia and Australians may fear the worst in every respect of government, social issues, freedom of the media, health, education and everything else that people anticipate from their governments.

All people on welfare benefits will suffer, religious fanatics will enforce their god-driven beliefs on the population at large, and human rights, which are already fairly low on the horizon, will sink without trace and we will be left with a theocracy such as we would never believe could exist in Australia, similar to the xenophobic religious zionist Israeli bigot models so admired by all our politicians.

04 April 2013


This very brave young man is in the same category as Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, but is not at this stage in the same parlous situation that both of them are.

From Mondoweiss 03 APRIL 2013 and Antony Loewenstein 04 APRIL 2013

Meet Nathan Blanc, Israeli conscientious objector

Apr 02, 2013
By Annie Robbins

Nathan Blanc is an Israeli conscientious objector. He's getting ready to serve his 8th stint in jail for refusing to serve in the Israeli military. He believes in democracy. From the video:

The main reason for my refusal is the feeling our country is going towards a non democratic condition of civil inequality between us and the Palestinians. There are two people in the same land but only the Israelis can vote in the elections.

Blanc has internalized one state/ two peoples.

Israel is refusing to offer him civil service as an alternative to military service and he doesn't want to get a mental health deferment; "I'm not going to put on an act," he told Haaretz last January. He thinks the army is trying to "wear him down with the repeated confinements until he gives in and enlists."

That was after two months in prison, now he's been in for over 100 days. Harriet Sherwood reports for The Guardian, Israel set to jail teenage conscientious objector for eighth time:

It is a routine Nathan Blanc knows well. At 9am on Tuesday morning, the 19-year-old will report, as instructed in his draft papers, to a military base near Tel Aviv. There he will state his objection to serving in the Israeli army. Following his refusal to enlist, Blanc expects to be arrested and sentenced to between 10 and 20 days in jail. He will then be taken to Military Prison Number 6 to serve his time. And then, following his release, the cycle will begin over again.

The reason why Blanc knows what to expect is that this will be the eighth time the teenage conscientious objector has been jailed in the past 19 weeks. Since the date of his original call-up for military service, Blanc has spent more than 100 days in prison; on one occasion, he was released on a Tuesday and re-imprisoned two days later on a Thursday.

Blanc began to consider the possibility of refusing the draft several years ago. "It was a very hard decision, it took me a long time to get to it," he says.

The turning point was Operation Cast Lead, the war in Gaza that began at the end of 2008 and ended three weeks later with a Palestinian death toll of around 1,400. In a statement issued when he was first imprisoned, Blanc said: "The wave of aggressive militarism that swept the country then, the expressions of mutual hatred, and the vacuous talk about stamping out terror and creating a deterrent effect were the primary trigger for my refusal." The government, he said, was "not interested in finding a solution to the existing situation, but rather in preserving it … We will talk of deterrence, we will kill some terrorist, we will lose some civilians on both sides, and we will prepare the ground for a new generation full of hatred on both sides … We, as citizens and human beings, have a moral duty to refuse to participate in this cynical game."

In an interview with the Guardian, he says: "The war going on in this country for more than 60 years could have ended a long time ago. But both sides are giving into extremists and fundamentalists. The occupation was supposed to be temporary, but now no one speaks of it ending."

The Israeli state, he adds, keeps people "under our control" without democratic rights. Palestinians are subject to "collective punishment" for the actions of a few.

Will our msm write about this? Probably not. Here is a facebook page with updates about Blanc, including video messages for him from other Israeli Refusniks.

War Resistors International:

Repeated imprisonment is a violation of international legal standards. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in Opinion 24/2003 on Israel came to the conclusion that the repeated imprisonment of conscientious objectors in Israel is arbitrary, and therefore it constitutes a violation of 14 par 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which Israel is a signatory.

Natan Blanc refuses to enlist in the Israeli Army based on beliefs and conscience. He claims his human right to conscientious objection, as guaranteed by Article 18 of the ICCPR.

Nathan Blanc Israeli Conscientious Objector

03 April 2013


The Wikileaks Party web site is as follows:


This is a new party and it needs at least 500 members in order to register as a political party in Australia.

The current members of the federal party of most of the current parties have done the voters of this country the greatest of disservice in the way they have behaved in the 5-year period since Labor was elected to government.

Some of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of Australia relate to the responses of the politicians and main stream media - which now includes the Australian Broadcasting Corporation - to the asylum seekers who risk their lives in order to get as far away from the countries they have lived in, been persecuted in and whose countries have been decimated by the USA, UK, Australia and many other allied nations.

Whistleblowers in Australia have usually been treated like pariahs and of course this too is not unique to Australia, but the problem at the moment is that our politicans have demonised Julian Assange because he has exposed the lies and subterfuge employed by those who are in our parliaments, and they are quite willing to assist the USA in getting him sent there so that they can try him and send him to prison for life or pass the death sentence on him for exposing their dirty lies and filthy wars.

Bradley Manning's treatment at the hands of his government is just a foretaste of what awaits Assange - and worse - if he ever gets delivered to the USA.

This has got to be prevented by all the means at our disposal, and one of those means is to help establish a political party which exposes the lies and deceit which are part of our daily lives.


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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