The New Pacific Wall

Some 230 miles north of Perth, at Geraldton on Australia's west coast, the Bush administration is building a base. When completed, it will control two geostationary satellites that feed intelligence to U.S. military forces in Asia and the Middle East.

Most Americans know nothing about Geraldton, just as they know nothing about other Australian sites such as the U.S. submarine communications base at North Cape or the U.S. missile-tracking center at Pine Gap. But there is growing concern Down Under that Prime Minster John Howard's conservative government is weaving a network of alliances and U.S. bases that may one day put Australians in harm's way. According to Australian Defense Force Academy Visiting Fellow Philip Dorling, once the Geraldton base is up and running, it will be almost impossible for Australia to be fully neutral or stand back from any war in which the United States was involved.

Indeed, that may already be the case.
Canberra and Tokyo

Australia, along with Japan, India, the Philippines and South Korea, signed on to the U.S. anti-ballistic missile system (ABM), which China fears is aimed at neutralizing its modest fleet of 21 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

On Mar. 12 Australia signed a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation (JDSC) with Japan that, according to Richard Tanter, a senior research associate at the Nautilus Institute, is an "anti-China U.S.-dominated multilateral alliance system" that "confirms the already accelerating tendencies for both Japan and Australia to militarize their foreign policies."

Certainly both Australia and Japan have been flexing their muscles of late.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put a strong nationalist spin on Tokyo's foreign policy that has raised hackles from Seoul to Beijing. Japan has also sent troops to Iraq and recently declared it intends to repeal Article 9 of its post-war constitution. Article 9 renounces war and rejects "force as a means of settling international disputes." Japan has the fifth largest navy in the world and spends over $40 billion a year on defense.

Australia, whose defense budget is slightly more than half of Japan's, also has troops in Iraq as well as the Solomon Islands, East Timor, and Tonga. Last August, Prime Minister Howard told the parliament that Australia needs to prepare for an even greater role in monitoring and assisting troubled nations in the Pacific region. Howard has also adopted some of the rhetoric of the Bush administration, calling for "preemptive" strikes against "terrorist groups" in regional neighbors.
Twisting South Pacific Arms

Australia, New Zealand, and the United States have moved forcefully to assert their authority in the myriad island nations that make up much of the South Pacific. Using a combination of troops, aid, and control over transportation, the three countries dominate the politics of places like Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Samoa.

Many of these island nations are almost totally dependent on either international aid or money earned from renting out their land for military bases. Some 60% of the Marshall Islands' GDP comes from U.S. aid and the 50-year Pact of Free Association that allows the U.S. to use Kwajalein Atoll for missile tests. The United States only got the pact by engineering a change in the Marshal Island's constitution that allows a simple majority of legislators to okay the Association. Before this change, Marshallese voters had rejected the pact eight different times.

When Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare accused Australia's High Commissioner of "unwarranted interventionism" in the Republic's affairs, Howard's foreign minister, Alexander Downer, warned ominously that "the last thing the Solomon Islands government can afford is to get into arguments with major donors who are helping to keep their country afloat."

According to UNESCO cultural expert Mali Voi, the "big three" use devices like transit visas for "effectively isolating small and poor countries of the Pacific from each other, as well as from the rest of the world. It is almost impossible for the citizens of most Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines and Indonesia, to visit their neighbors in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia."

The arm-twisting gets so bizarre that aid-dependent Nauru and Kiribati -- both threatened by rising sea levels due to global warming -- joined the United States and Australia in voting against the Kyoto Protocol.
Containing China

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is elbowing its way into the region as well. In talking about Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said last November, "We all face the same threats and it is in their interests, as well as our own, that we come closer together." U.S. Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns was blunter: "We seek a partnership with them so that we can train more intensively, from a military point of view."

But if there is a push to dominate and militarize the region, there are countervailing winds as well. On the one hand, Australia is part of an ABM system that China sees as a threat. On the other, China is Canberra's third-largest trading partner with an insatiable appetite for Australia's coal, uranium, gas, and oil. In 2006, energy exports earned Australia $33.9 billion, a figure that is certain to rise steeply over the next decade. "With the right policies," says Howard, " we have the makings of an energy superpower."

Japan finds itself in a similar position. While there is continuing tension between Tokyo and Beijing over Taiwan, and oil and gas fields in the South China Seas, China will become Japan's number one trading partner by the end of 2007. Trade between the two countries topped $200 billion last year.

The trade potential has made Japan and the Australia careful about tying themselves too closely to some of the bombast about "Chinese militarism" coming out of Washington. This past April, Japan and China pledged "closer cooperation." But when Beijing made clear its unhappiness with Australia's hosting part of the U.S. ABM program, Australian Foreign Minister Downer was quick to state, "We are opposed to a policy of containment of China. We believe the best way forward is working constructively with China." Australia and Japan are caught between "wanting to ride the Chinese economic gravy train," writes Tanter, while at the same time trying to "beat the drum about supposed [Chinese] military expansionism."
Australia Rethinks?

The Howard government's muscular foreign policy has touched off a debate about what role Australia should play in the region and how closely Canberra should be tied to U.S. designs in Asia and the Middle East. Foreign policy, particularly the Iraq War, has become a major issue for the upcoming general elections in October.

Polls indicate that two-thirds of Australians want to withdraw from Iraq, and 70% think Australia should be more independent from U.S. foreign policy. The Aussies were evenly split between what constitutes a greater danger to the world: the United States or Islamic fundamentalism.

For now, Washington is too bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay much attention to the Pacific. But given the importance of the region to the U.S., that it not likely to last. Will the United States eventually move to confront China, its rival in Asia? That may well depend on where other nations in the region conclude their interests lie, and whether most of them decide that butter and trade trump guns and walls.

Conn Hallinan is a Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) columnist.


A tragedy waiting to happen – Minister must go!

Thursday, 31 May 2007, 9:28 am
Press Release: Global Peace And Justice Auckland

31 May 2007

Media Release:

A tragedy waiting to happen – Minister Mallard must go!

The tragedy of the death of Folole Muliaga in Mangere was a tragedy
waiting to happen.

There is the usual smokescreen of inquiries but whatever details
emerge it is abundantly clear that the quest for profit in a
state-owned company has come before the basic humanitarianism New
Zealand once took for granted.

The Mangere family tragedy is the outcome.

Families in low-income communities pay a far higher proportion of
their income for essential services than others but no account is
taken of this by the government or its corporate bullies in
state-owned corporations.

Government research shows that one in six families across the country
borrow money to pay for day to day living expenses such as the
electricity bill or the grocery bill. In low-income communities such
as Mangere this figure would be far higher – perhaps up to 80%

Trevor Mallard as been the main driver and cheerleader for these
profit-driven policies for essential services. If there was
accountability within the government then this Minister of State-Owned
Enterprises would resign.

The bitterest of ironies is that the very Pacific Island families who
so loyally support Labour are the very ones who have suffered the most
from the free-market policies and corporate capitalism pursued by Labour.

Last week the Prime Minister was in Mangere and spoke boldly of the
community being Labour’s community. She could deliver far more to the
people of Mangere in the short time if she delivered the resignation
of Trevor Mallard.



Folole Muliaga

The Muliaga family owed less than $200 on their power bill. They had made several attempts to pay some of it but not enough for Mercury Energy. The company switched off their power supply and three hours later Folole Muliaga, a woman who relied on an oxygen machine to help her breathe, was dead.

And Mercury Energy is being blamed for her death.

The closest Lopaavea Muliaga can get to holding his wife is shutting his eyes and imagining she is still in the room.

"I love my wife because she is a lovely wife, she love me and my kids and my family," says Lopaavea.

The family is grappling to understand why a big power company would switch off power to a woman needing oxygen.

The problem is that since Folole Muliaga got sick, the family has fallen behind on its bills.

"When she stopped working because she was sick, that's why my family struggle," says Lopaavea.

They had made two payments to Mercury Energy last month, but that wasn't enough.

On Tuesday, a Mercury Energy contractor switched the family's power off despite being begged not to by Folole Muliaga who was sitting next to her oxygen machine. It's alarm had been set off by the sudden loss of power.

"My mum told him to give us a chance," says Ietitaia Muliaga, Folole's son. "He said he is here doing his job and he's here to cut the power off."

Folole Muliaga started feeling unwell but told her son not to call for help. But three hours later when she collapsed, he called an ambulance. She died in front of her sons.

"They were trying the first aid thing but its too late," says Ietitaia.

The Muliagas are trying to cope with the sudden loss of their mother.

On Tuesday night they were forced to sit in the dark and on Wednesday morning a shocked extended family rallied around.

"We all came here today to pay the power because we love the husband and the kids staying in a dark place last night," says Sarai Tokuma, a relative.

However, following publicity about the case, Mercury Energy had already switched the family's power back on.

"I think their actions are reprehensible, it's absolutely disgusting what they've done," says Brendan Sheehan, a relative.

The family are calling for an independent inquiry into the actions of Mercury Energy. But they say they know it won't bring their mother back.
Source: One News

Interview with Lopaavea Muliaga



Mercury Energy- Murder Energy! Protest tomorrow 4pm

Trade unionists and community activists from South Auckland will join
forces tomorrow at an angry picket at the headquarters of Mercury
Energy, 602 Great South Road in Green Lane, tomorrow Thurs 31 May at
4pm, to protest the death of Folole Muliaga.

Folole died after her power was disconnected from her house by a
contractor employed by Mercury Energy, leaving her family to grieve in
the dark. Her family had warned and pleaded with the company
beforehand that her life support required electricity. She was $200
behind her bill.

Protest organiser Joe Carolan-

"Yet again we see a so-called State Owned Enterprise put profit before
people in New Zealand. Mercury Energy should be renamed Murder Energy-
they are corporate bully boys who prey on the weak, old and vulnerable
of South Auckland, and are no better than the corrupt money lenders
who plague our communities. They rely on the fact that people feel
alone and isolated- thats why we want to give them a dose of people
power tomorrow they will never forget.

Trade unions like my own Solidarity Union will join community
activists at Murder Energy Headquarters tomorrow, 602 Great South Rd,
Greenlane. We will be calling for the sacking of Murder Energys CEOs
and their blood soaked moenymen, and for proper democratic community
control over the decision making to ensure that this tragedy that
Folole and her family suffered is never, ever repeated. We call on the
people of Auckland who are angry about this to come join us and say
People Before Profit- Murder Energy- Never Again!"


* http://www.solidarityunion.com


This is farken disgusting, neo liberal bullshit putting people before profits run amuck. Our love and condolences go out to the aiga of Folole Muliaga.Haere e te Whaia, Haere ki te Po, Haere i te ara whanui a Tane, Ki o Tupuna, ki a ratou ma i haere a mua i a koe, Ki te Kainga Tuturu,
Haere, Haere.

Date: 30 May 2007
Auckland : The bill that was owed by the Mangere family who lost
their mother yesterday after Mercury Energy cut their power was just $299.

A family spokesperson has also cleared Pacifcia Radio News to name the
mother of four...

She was Folole Muliaga...

The mother was on an oxygen machine but collapsed and died yesterday
afternoon after Mercury cut the power.

Brenden Sheehan says the family were making arrangements to pay off
the $299 bill and were set to pay off the rest today.

He says even when Victim support got involved Mercury Energy still
wouldn't budge. (listen)


And there's concern today, too, about the jump in water rates....

Food Service union rep Fala Haulangi has been part of the campaign to
get Metrowater to give Auckland families a reprieve from their water

Haulangi says like power, water is an essential service and the latest
increase will hurt many families, who're already struggling. (listen)


An Auckland mother of four died yesterday when her electrically-operated oxygen machine was cut off because of an unpaid power bill.

Now the family of the woman, in her mid-40s, is demanding a full investigation into the tragic incident

The woman had been recently released from hospital after an ongoing illness, and was dependent on the machine which was installed in her Mangere home.

Power company Mercury Energy shut off power to the property at 2pm, and shortly afterwards the woman became faint, had difficulty breathing, and collapsed.

An ambulance was called but officers were unable to revive the woman, and she was pronounced dead within two hours of the power being cut.

A family spokesman, Brendan Sheehan, told Radio NZ that when a Mercury Energy representative arrived to disconnect the electricity, the woman and her son told the person that she relied on the oxygen machine to stay alive.

"They came to the house and they were aware of the circumstances when (the power) was cut off," he said.

He said he didn't know how much the unpaid bill had been.

The family were "hard-working immigrants"; the woman had been unable to work because of her illness, and her husband had cut back his hours in order to care for her.

Mercury Energy spokesman James Moulder said there was a policy in place to deal with issues of medical need and hardship.

"Once we've been notified that someone is dependent on electricity-powered medical support, we...request evidence from a medical practitioner and then we move into another process which puts them onto different payment terms."

He said the Mercury representative should have told the woman and her son to ring the company and speak to someone about the situation, before the power was shut off.

Mercury was still trying to ascertain whether this happened.

Mr Moulder said the company was also working on restoring electricity to the house, where the grieving family had spent a night without power.

Mr Moulder said the company had not yet identified the person who went to the house yesterday and shut off the power.

Mercury contracted out the work to independent firms and it was working with its partners to find out who had shut off the power.

"I'm confident that if our people had been spoken to and we had been made aware of the situation...then this wouldn't have occurred.

"At seven o'clock in the morning we're still trying to ascertain the full facts of what happened yesterday."

Mr Moulder said he expected more information to come to light today.


The World Social Forum 2007 - a mass movement or a mass of contradictions?

By Red Sonia

This is an excellent article by a friend & comrade of mine that attended this years WSF

The World Social Forum took place this year at the Moi International Sports Stadium, Kasarani, Nairobi. And was "proudly sponsored" by Celtel, a multinational telecommunications company. So as you can imagine, the controversy and contradictions began early....

I was staying with mates who live in Nairobi, who informed me that there were hundreds of Kenyans who had agreed to billet delegates, having been promised payment for doing so. So locals shelled out lots of money for new bedsheets and food for delegates, only to be undercut at the last minute by a company connected with a government minister, who had their security guards escort unwitting delegates to the hotel accomodation provided by said company. For most of the Kenyan would-be hosts, their delegates never arrived, and they never got paid...

The World Social Forum that I saw on TV was very different from the one I experienced. When I got back to Kariakor of an evening, I would see footage of human rights superstars or celebrities giving speeches in spacious rooms with great sound gear and translation headphones for all in the audience. In the session on "memories of struggle" at which Kenya's Mau Mau rebels, still shunned by the government, spoke alongside Leila Khaled of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and other veterans of past or ongoing struggles, the microphones didn't work, volunteer translators had to be plucked from the audience and there were no headphones. This was fine for an English speaker, because most speakers chose to present in English (though it was not the first language of any of the speakers) but it was pretty rough on the Swahili or Kikuyu speakers (of whom there were many in this session - Swahili is the lingua franca of Tanzania and coastal parts of Kenya, and Kikuyu is the first language of a large proportion of the Kenyan population - and in particular, of most of the Mau Mau war vets).

By the second day, protests about the high cost of entry for Kenyans had begun. Though there was a sliding scale entry fee for delegates from the Global North, Global South and then for Africa, the 500 shillings was an enormous impost for your average Kenyan. Moi International Stadium is next to Korogocho, one of the largest slums in Nairobi. The Korogocho Mirror, a publication of the Coalition of Urban Poor in Kenya (CUP-Kenya) had this to say in its editorial of the January edition, selling for 50Khs at the forum:

"Slum dwellers in Nairobi, such as the sprawling slums of Korogocho which is in the same constituency with the stadium where WSF is taking place, is crying foul and questions the composition of the WSF secretariat in Kenya, saying: "World Social Forum is taking place in our constituency and none of our youth or women groups have been involved in its planning. For sure, we are the people who are hosting the World Social Forum and its amazing that none of the vibrant groups have been consulted, let alone involved, in its planning," Josephine Ameyo, Chairperson of the Care Takers Women Group."

In another article by Jacklyn Awino at the beginning of the paper, the criticisms went deeper: "Most non-governmental organizations, and surprisingly enough even religious bodies are only active at the moment simply to gain credibility and raise funds," asserts Pastor Michael Njoroge.

"Communities are not so naive that they cannot talk about their problems. They know where they are hurting, and how they want their plight addressed. The problems of the poor people should not be used for personal enrichment. Can we see communities being given a chance to express themselves at meetings such as the World Social Forum?" posed Mr Gathu, a village elder in Korogocho."

On Day 3 of the conference, the direct action escalated. A group of Kenyans gained entry for free and were subsequently arrested. This was announced at the end of an amazing workshop I attended, run by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement http://www.mxgm.org and some speakers from http://www.pambazuka.org (a newswire run out of Oxford, Nairobi and Cape Town) called "NGOs and neo-colonialism". This workshop, featuring pambazuka editor Firoze Manji and prominent scribe Tajudeen Al-Raheem, focussed in not on NGO corruption or misbehaviour, but who or what NGOs represent, even when not behaving obviously badly. Whilst Tajudeen presented a passionate and articulate polemic against the commodification of human misery and governance by technocrats that he identifies with the rise and rise of the NGO, Firoze Manji made the following stunning statement: "Let me make it absolutely clear, so there can be no misunderstanding: I am against development." I say stunning because stunned mullet is the only expression I can think of to describe the look on the face of many of the delegates in the room.

Firoze posed the question: what are the ends of the aid industry? He argued that the NGO sector is the private sector within the public domain, seeking to replace the functions of a retrenching state. He went further to describe development as the de-politicisation of poverty, and the de-mobilisation and professionalisation of struggles over resources - that which we used to call class struggle.

This, the key contradiction of the WSF, which positions itself as a gathering of social movements but is in reality dominated by NGOs and professional, paid campaigners, played itself out rather nicely the next day.

While many delegates were inside the stadium listening to fine speeches from aid professionals and church groups (SO many church groups) about food security, poverty alleviation and capacity-building (my favourite aid industry nonsense-term), African delegates and kids from the slums were taking direct action. Apparently, the guy who had called the cops on the non-paying Kenyan delegates of the day before was the same man who was running the mega-pricey food tent which by virtue of the cost was virtually a white-only space. So, delegates from South Africa and Kenya and their supporters rushed the food tent and pushed the kids forward to get free food, in a protest against the high entry fee and ridiculous food prices. Activists and other delegates took over serving duties from the kitchen staff, and for at least an hour we stood around keeping an eye on the cops whilst the kids ate their fill. The cops seemed reluctant to move in on so many professional foreign do-gooders and trouble-makers armed with camcorders.... So it seems that with a little bit of direct action and solidarity, the slum dwellers are pretty capable of looking after their own food security - their capacities to take action to determine their own lives seemed pretty good to me. It was those of the well-meaning whiteys standing around clicking their tongues in disapproval and muttering about "violence" that I think we should be worried about.

Later that day, it was announced that bottled water would be provided free...

It was good to see the head of the South Korean trade union delegation taking the rough ride home in the matatu (the people mover vans that are the main source of public transport in Nairobi complete with fuck-off huge subwoofers and pumping booty music) with the rest of us. Hard to imagine 'comrade' Burrows or Combet doing that....

On the way home on day 3, we met a volunteer from the WSF on the matatu back into town. Apparently, the Kenyan volunteers were supposed to be given food vouchers and travel reimbursements so they wouldn't be out of pocket for their efforts. Our friend on the matatu never saw either of these....

On day 4, I went to a session run by the Hurricane Katrina People's Relief Fund, in which the extraordinary repression against the predominantly black working-class in New Orleans post-Katrina was detailed. (see http://www.peopleshurricane.org for more info).

According to Malcolm Suber of the PRF, the gentrification pressures building before Katrina have now burst into open class warfare. Not only have the public housing blocks next to the touristy French Quarter in New Orleans been literally chained and boarded to prevent their poor black residents from returning home, but the public school system has been the subject of a hostile takeover. The 121 state public schools pre-Katrina are now 50 charter schools (for a basic definition of charter schools check out http://www2.edweek.org/rc/issues/charter-schools - there are heaps of critical analyses in online radical ed journals). These charter schools are privatised consortiums, and union-free zones. The teachers union in New Orleans has apparently been de-certified as a result, along with the bus drivers union! The predominantly black school board is no more. The process of "development" or "urban renewal" ie pushing out poor blacks, that in Australia finds its driver in media-driven moral panics over sex abuse in remote Aboriginal communities, and the desire to "clean up" Redfern is exposed for what it really is by the situation in New Orleans.

All in all, the WSF was a positive experience for me, in that I finally found a way to articulate my discomfort with the WSF and its agenda. I met some great revolutionaries from Tanzania, Kenya, Palestine, Holland, the US, the UK, Brazil, South Africa. The passion, committment and determination of those involved in the actual daily struggle for self-emancipation and liberation is, it turns out, so much more inspiring than some nob in a suit prattling on about good governance and capacity-building....

40 years on nothing to celebrate

Lionel poets burns the Oz constitution

I can't help but wonder what there is to celebrate about the fact that
it was only 40 years ago that we decided to acknowledge that the First
Australians were human beings. It was, after all, 22 years after the
demise of Nazi Germany and the failure of our own 'final solution' (a
phrase in common use in 1930's Australia) was due more to our
inefficiency compared to Germany than any moral fibre we possessed. As
I recall, the 90% vote was as much a repudiation of the more
embarrassing vestiges of the White Australia Policy than out of any
real concern for the status the First Australians.

At the time the Gurindji people had just begun their walk-off from
Wave Hill to assert that, after 180 odd years, the colonists had not
destroyed all resistance. In 1967 Bill Stanner called the Gurindji
walkoff 'a little miracle' in his lectures describing the 'great
Australian silence' about the absence of the First Australians in our
Colonial histories.

The struggle to reclaim this land from the colonists continues to this
day with little success. The misnamed Native Title Act has become
nothing more than a way of legalising the continuing theft of land by
the colonizers. As Marandoo Yanner put it the other day, "For every
[square]kilometer we've gained we've lost 100 square kilometres".

Instead of Native Title being something worth valuing and respecting
it has been universally seen as a problem by the comprador class led
by John Howard, the traitor. I accuse him of high treason.

When this country is invaded by the next colonial empire they will
turn around to us all and say your title only exists in the 'crown' of
some old empire. How can you demand that we respect your backyards and
your farms when you have shown no obligation to settle with your own
people. This is the great travesty that has been wrought over the last
12 years by this cowardly little man beholden to no Australian cause.
This man has betrayed us all irrespective of our antecedents. Sure he
has had allies on both sides of politics but it has been his desire to
live in the lotus land of the present, recognizing no past and no
future, that has called the tune.

What sort of country are we that celebrates our soldiers acting as
mercenaries ('lest we forget' indeed) and despises and forgets those
people who have fought and died defending it's own shores over the
last 200 years?


Splitting the Sky

27 min 30 sec - 10/09/2005

Splitting the Sky
Operation Enduring Resistance: Remembering 9-11
Simon Fraser University, Harbour Centre
September 10, 2005


First of all, who is Splitting the Sky? He is an activist, struggling for justice for the indigenous peoples of the Americas. His Mohawk name, Dacajeweiah, translated into English, is "Splitting the Sky". He was born in Buffalo, New York, colonized as "John Boncore", and also became known as "John Hill". From the age of seven, Splitting the Sky survived many years in New York foster homes and youth detention centers which sought to brutalise him with numerous depredations. Eventually he would become the only man convicted as a ringleader of the infamous 1971 Attica State Prison rebellion in upstate New York, in the course of which 43 inmates were killed. This event has inspired several movies -- "Against the Wall" (1994) starring Samuel L. Jackson, and "Attica" (1980) starring Morgan Freeman -- and documentaries including "Attica" (1974), and "The Ghosts of Attica" (2001). He was listed by former UN Ambassador Andrew Young of the Carter administration as the number one political prisoner in the USA in 1975.

Splitting the Sky founded an organization to unite all Indigenous Peoples into a great confederation called the League of Indigenous Sovereign Nations of the Western Hemisphere (LISN). In 1995 Splitting the Sky was the Sundance Chief at Gustafson Lake, British Columbia, and headed the armed defensive standoff there against Canada's illegal occupation of that First Nations land. Most importantly, Splitting the Sky raised the whole question of so-called Aboriginal Title according to international law, or the 1763 Royal Proclamation, which is validated as an enshrined aboriginal right in section (35) of the Canadian constitution. With his wife Sandra Bruderer, whose Cree name translates to "She Keeps the Door", he co-wrote a 653 page book titled "The Autobiography of Dacajeweiah Splitting the Sky John Boncore Hill; From Attica Lake to Gustafsen Lake: Unmasking the Secrets of the Psycho-sexual Energy and the Struggle for Original People's Title". Splitting the Sky currently resides in British Columbia, Canada. Note: The preceding synopsis is based on [http://www.spidel.net/justice/speakers.htm]. For a review of Splitting the Sky's autobiography, please look here or here (local copy).

Secondly, what was "Operation Enduring Resistance: Remembering 9-11"? It was a three day event that was "organized by an anti-imperialist coalition of community-based organizations fighting for justice for peoples of the global South and for such migrant communities in Canada" [1], including the Vancouver branch of No One Is Illegal. The second day of this event, September 10, 2005, was a public forum hosted in a lecture hall at Simon Frazer University's Harbour Centre. The talks were not only centred around September 11 of 2001, but also other coinciding dates, including the CIA backed military coup of Salvador Allende's democratically elected government on September 11, 1973; hence the phrasing "Remembering 9-11".

Third, what was Splitting the Sky's address about? Splitting the Sky's fiery speech covered various topics including 9-11 of 2001 being an inside job; indigenous people's land rights, via a "historical 101"; two 9-11's, ones in which he was personally involved, including the Gustafsen Lake Siege of 1995 (the largest paramilitary operation in Canadian history with over 77,000 rounds of ammunition fired at 18 traditional Ts'Peten* defenders), and the 1971 insurrection at Attica State Prison (organized by predominantly political prisoners from the American Indian Movement, the Black Liberation Army, and anti-war activists).

Protests in Germany against the G8 summit

Over 5,000 people marched through Hamburg against the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the G8 summit. When the route was all settled with police the march started. The march was led by a "black block" of over 1,0000. In Germany it is illegal to cover your face but everyone dressed in black with hoods, hats and sunglasses.

Flares and fireworks were let off along the way.The police peppersprayed the crowd and the march was stopped by water cannons several times but then went on again. The organisers finally decided to end the march early as a protest over police tactics. There had been arrests and other harassment. The march began to disperse but the cops blocked the street. People tried to break through the lines then eventually sat down in the street. Dozens of people were arrested today.

Small demonstrations formed and riots erupted around the left-wing district of Hamburg. At one stage, a cop lost the plot and, after his car was attacked by protesters, he pulled out his gun to fire a shot in the air. A paint bomb was thrown at him and he got back into his car and drove away.

More: Report http://indybay.org/newsitems/2007/05/28/18422048.php

Photos http://indybay.org/newsitems/2007/05/28/18422079.php

Timeline 28.5.07 http://de.indymedia.org/2007/05/178833.shtml




John Laman & Tavake Fusimalohi

Date: 28 May 2007
Auckland 6pm: One of Tonga's most experienced....and hard-hitting journalists.....has been awarded the 2007 Pacific Media Freedom Award.

Tavake Fusimalohi is the editor of the Kelea newspaper, the paper which has been leading the charge against Government and the establishment.....

Fusimalohi and his team were the first to expose the human rights abuse by police and military after the Black Thursday Riots...

But the editor has been exposing irregularities in the Kingdom for years now...

Tavake Fusimalohi, whose been charged for sedition in the latest run of charges the government's handing out after the Nukualofa riots, was invited to the PINA fono in Honiara but was not allowed to leave Tonga

Soldiers close Kele'a newspaper

Title -- 5125 TONGA: Soldiers close Kele'a newspaper
Date -- 13 February 2007
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- Pacnews/IFEX 12/2/07
Copyright - P/I
Status -- Unabridged


NUKU'ALOFA (Pacnews/IFEX/Pacific Media Watch) - Tongan soldiers forced the closure of the pro-democracy newspaper, Kele'a, last night, without any explanation, according to newspaper editor Tavake Fusimalohi.

In an email to PACNEWS this morning, Fusimalohi said the soldiers only told his employees that the decision came from the military commander, Brigadier General 'Uta'atu. He said the decision was arbitrary and amounted to censorship of the Kelea newspaper.

"This is a blatant breach of natural justice because there was no prior notice to close down the newspaper on Sunday. As such, Kangaroo Justice has arrived in Tonga," Fusimalohi said.

A check at the newspaper confirmed that the employees closed the office yesterday evening but completed production of the newspaper after midnight, PACNEWS was told.

For the past two years, Fusimalohi said the newspaper has been working every Sunday to meet its Monday morning deadline for printing in Auckland.

"The action by the military will go on for sometime as long as the Kele'a newspaper is critical of the government and exposes corrupt practices in the public sectors.

Kele'a has always been critical of the government for the last two decades. It was founded by leading reformist in Tonga, 'Akilisi Pohiva, in July 1986.

PACNEWS understands that the newspaper's latest edition was going to expose confidential documents that exposes a request for an urgent referendum by a Tongan cabinet minister to Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele.


Anti-Colonial - Anti-Capitalist - Convergence 2010

Calling on all native warriors, anti-capitalists, anti-poverty activists, environmentalists, and concerned individuals, to convergerge against the the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

In February 2010 the Winter Olympic Games and its supporters will be converging on Vancouver, Whistler, and surrounding unceded native land in Coast Salish Territories.

Let them know that it will not be business as usual and that where ever the neo-colonial beast spreads its parasitic tentacles that the people will rise to sever them.

Converge against the Olympics and let our voices be heard!

No Olympics on Stolen Native Land!
No Social Cleansing!
No Environmental Destruction!

For more info:

No Olympics on Stolen Land


“What causes opponents to come of their own accord is the prospect of gain.
What discourages opponents from coming is the prospect of harm.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The 2010 Winter Olympics, to be held in Vancouver-Whistler from February 12-27, 2010, is today a very real threat to Native peoples, the urban poor (many of whom are also Native), and the environment.

While cutting social services, healthcare, education, etc., the BC Liberal government is at the same time providing billions of dollars to construction companies & other Olympic-related industries. The capitalists are making millions, while the poor are literally dying in the urban & reservation ghettos.

Already, more land has been destroyed for the expansion or construction of highways, ski resorts, & Olympic venues. Billions of ‘public’ money is also being spent on new bridges, port facilities, railways, as well as urban transit.

Most of this work is directly linked to 2010, to improve transportation & other infrastructure in preparation for the games. Some of it forms part of a larger strategy aimed at capitalizing on 2010 and related tourism and trade, especially with Asia-Pacific (the International Trade & Investment to
2010 Strategy, as well as the $600-million Gateway project).

All the expansion in transport infrastructure (highways, ports, railways, bridges, etc.) is meant to assist in greater resource exploitation, including ski resorts, mines, logging, natural gas, oil, etc. Since 2003, the BC government has been working to speed up the application process for these industries, making it easier for corporations to get projects approved. Premier Gordon Campbell has described these as “reforms to open up every sector of our economy” (BC Resort Strategy & Action Plan). The result has been huge increases in mining, gas & oil, as well as ski resorts.

Mountains Under Attack

“The mountains, pure & undisturbed, are essential to the survival of all people. Mountain ecosystems provide us Indian people with all of our physical, cultural and spiritual needs… the mountains are our shelter and protection… The most powerful medicines are collected in the mountains.

The source of all water comes from the mountains. The mountains are the most spiritual place for us.”
Elder quoted in “Our Elders Tell Us,” Our Mountain Worlds & Traditional Knowledge, 2002

Since 2000, the main Native struggles in the BC interior have been against the construction, or expansion, of mountain ski resorts.

At Sun Peaks (Skwelkwek’welt) ski resort near Kamloops, over 70 arrests have been made of mostly Secwepemc youth & elders. They’ve blocked roads, occupied buildings, established protection camps and sent delegations to Europe, Japan, and across N. America. This is all part of their campaign
against a massive $294-million expansion of Sun Peaks, including new hotels & condominiums, more ski hills and golf courses, all of which involve large-scale destruction of mountain habitat.

At Melvin Creek, just north of Mt. Currie, the St’at’imc have established the Sutikalh camp to stop a planned $530-million ski resort. The camp was first set up in May 2000, and continues to be occupied to this day. It has served as a rallying point for community resistance to the resort, which also forced many chiefs & councilors to publicly oppose it as well.

In Cheam, 2003, several Pilalt were arrested after blockading a train during protests over logging on Mt. Cheam, the site of a proposed ski resort by Resorts West. Plans include 20 ski lifts on 8 different peaks, three resort villages, a golf course, and as many as 500,000 visitors a year.

Two resorts are planned for Merritt (Nlaka’Pamux territory), along the Coquilhala Highway.

At Valemount, Revelstoke & Blue River, new resorts have also been approved, while the Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort (near Invermere), has been approved for a $450-million expansion (all of these are in Secwepemc territory).
Near Kelowna (Okanagan), Big White and Crystal Mountain were both approved for over $100 million in expansion. And there are more.

This sharp increase in resort development is largely due to government promotion of the industry, which included the establishment of a Ski Resort Task Force in 2004. The task force was largely comprised of members of the resort industry (inc. Darcy Alexander, Vice-President of Sun Peaks), and

their primary goal was to increase ski resort development in the province.
The group released a Resort Strategy & Action Plan in 2004, which made clear the connection between the industry’s rapid growth and 2010:

“The Resort Strategy links to the Spirit of 2010 Tourism Strategy & the International Trade & Investment to 2010 Strategy. All these strategies are designed to grow tourism throughout the province, maximize opportunities created by hosting 2010… and attract national & international investment.”

Expansion of the ski resort industry was accomplished largely through Land & Water BC, Inc., a government agency that sells & leases ‘Crown’ land. The LWBC streamlined the application process and made other changes to increase certainty for investors, improve transportation infrastructure, etc.

Despite their portrayal as being eco-friendly, ‘low-impact’ tourism, ski resorts cause large-scale ecological destruction to mountain habitat. If you think about it, building a resort town along with massive ski runs & chairlifts on top of a mountain obviously has a big impact on the environment. There is extensive logging for roads, ski runs, parking lots, town centers, golf courses, and townhouses. Then there’s water, sewage, & electrical systems. On top of all this there is the operation of the ski resort itself.

Besides the influx of millions of tourists into mountain resorts annually, their activities include not only skiing, but also heli-skiing, cat-skiing, and snow-mobiling. Most ski resorts also use fake snow that contaminates the land & nearby water (and many are beginning to use recycled ‘waste’
water to make fake snow). In the summer there may be mountain biking, dirt-biking, festivals, etc. All these people & ‘sports’ activities, in mountain habitats, adds to the ecological impact of resorts on wildlife, land, & water systems.

Nor are ski resorts just about skiers & snowboarders; they are also major sources of money in real estate deals, the selling & leasing of land. Most mountains are claimed by Canada as Crown land, and it is the provincial government that is both the regulator of the resort industry, as well as its main promoter. The government & resort corporations are also the main beneficiaries, gaining huge profits from real estate deals.

The government often leases out areas for ski runs, while selling land to be used for the resort town, far below market value. In turn, the resort corporation then re-sells or leases parcels out for condominiums, shops, hotels, etc. For the provincial government, selling land below market value encourages investment by corporations, and is a form of subsidizing them (like tax-breaks & building infrastructure such as roads). In the end, what’s it to government? The land is stolen & represents primitive accumulation; that is, capital acquired at little or no cost, so it’s all profit anyway!

Stolen Native Land

BC is unique in Canada in that most of the province is unceded, non-surrendered Indigenous territories. According to British & Canadian laws, sovereign Indigenous territories were to be legally surrendered to the Crown prior to any trade or settlement. This was set out in the 1763 Royal Proclamation. In accordance with this, the British, and later Canada, carried out a series of treaties in its westward expansion across the prairies, and the northwest territory. These included the Numbered Treaties (such as Treaty No. 1, etc.).

In BC, aside from a small number of treaties on Vancouver Island (the 1850’s Douglas Treaties), and Treaty No. 8 in the northeast portion of the province, all of BC remains unceded Indigenous territories.

In 1875, when the BC government passed a Lands Act to open land to settlement, the federal government issued the 1875 Duty-of-Disallowance, striking down the Act and citing the absence of treaties legally surrendering Native lands.

In response, BC threatened to withdraw from Canada. The next year, the federal government passed the 1876 Indian Act, extending government control over all Natives, including those in BC. Natives were dispossessed of their land, which came under the control of the government.

At the same time, the Indian Act imposed the band council, reserve and status systems, and authorized the relocation of Native children & youth into Residential Schools. It was also used to ban important ceremonies and traditional forms of governance.

Despite this, Native peoples in BC remained aware of the illegal dispossession of their land, and continued to protest & lobby the government. In the early 1900s, several Native organizations devoted to land claims were established. Delegations were sent to England to petition the Crown to upheld British & Canadian laws.
In 1927, the Indian Act was amended to outlaw land claims organizing, and many of these first Aboriginal political organizations ceased to exist.

Today, most of BC remains unceded sovereign Native lands, over which neither the Canadian or BC governments have the legal or moral authority to govern.
With current attempts to legalize the prior theft of Native land & extinguish Native title & rights (the BC Treaty Process), the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands continues, and by itself constitutes an act of genocide.

Native Opposition to 2010

2010 Olympic organizers knew they had to gain the support of Native peoples in the region to avoid charges of racism as well as protests. They also saw Native culture as a good way to promote the Olympics & tourism overall.

Their primary agents to accomplish these goals were the Indian Act band councils, primarily the Squamish & Mt. Currie, but also the Musqueam & Tseil-Watuth.
In 2004, these bands formed the Four Host First Nations Society to “take advantage of all opportunities including economic, and establish a clear First Nations presence in the Games while protecting aboriginal rights & title” (November 24, 2004, press release). Chief Gibby Jacobs of the Squamish band is himself a board member of VANOC.
In 2003, even before Vancouver was selected as the host site for 2010, the Squamish & Mt. Currie bands were given $20 million in money, land, and facilities, including a Native cultural & craft center to be built in Whistler itself. This was a clear move to buy off not only the band council, but also segments of the community with promises of jobs in construction & services.

The deal committed the two band councils to participation & support for 2010.
As part of its promotional work, VANOC has also begun sponsoring many Native events & seminars, including a February 2007 Vancouver hip hop concert organized by the Knowledgeable Aboriginal Youth Association (KAYA, a government-funded youth group).
John Furlong, VANOC president & CEO, praised this collaboration, stating that the 2010 Games will “raise the bar internationally for building partnerships between Organizing Committees & Indigenous peoples.” What he fails to mention is that these partnerships are the result of literally buying people off, to pacify and silence opposition.

Despite Furlong’s claim of ‘raising the bar’, neither the Vancouver Bid Corporation, VANOC, or the International Olympic Committee (IOC), responded to submissions made by the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Center & the Sutikalh camp, in June, 2002, stating their concerns about the impact of the Olympics. In 2003, a Secwepemc delegation traveled to Switzerland to make a formal complaint to the IOC, informing them of ongoing violations of Indigenous & human rights in this country. Although the IOC has an official policy to not hold events in countries where human rights abuses occur, Canada’s & BC’s violations were ignored.

Most Native political leaders --those in government-funded organizations-- support the Olympics. Overall, they also support the government’s plans to increase corporate access to lands & resources (neo-liberalism). This is because they are mostly capitalists who are themselves enriched through partnerships with government & corporations. Their promotion of 2010 is really an extension of their overall promotion of ‘economic development’, which is capitalism.

Due to their ‘leadership’, as well as multi-million dollar Olympic propaganda, many Native people in general see the Olympics as a huge money-making opportunity (which is, after all, its real purpose). Some plan to mass-produce artwork, or t-shirts, or jewelry, or food, etc. for 2010 tourists. Others are already working in the construction industry.

Aboriginal tourism is seen as another market that will benefit from 2010.
The capitalists would applaud this ‘Olympic Spirit’. But many Natives also see the Olympics for what it really is: big business at the expense of the natural world. Nor is it just the concern of the ‘four host First Nations’, who may gain the most economically. As the Native Youth Movement has correctly pointed out, 2010 is a concern to all Indigenous peoples in BC:

“Although the 2010 Olympics are planned to take place in only St’at’imc & Squamish Territories the negative effects of these Games will carry out onto other Indigenous territories of the area and the aftermath of this will create an invasion, not seen since the gold rush.”
(Cancel the 2010 Winter Olympics, NYM leaflet, 2006)

While a few benefit from jobs, and even fewer make millions in profits, the real Olympic legacy for future generations will be ecological destruction.
That this is occurring now, even as the world faces a growing environmental crisis, reveals how short-sighted and greedy people can become through their long-term exposure to capitalist ideology. The land defenders of the Secwepemc & St’at’imc, along with NYM and a Squamish elder (Harriet Nahanee, see below), have been the most vocal Native opposition to 2010.

Countdown 2010: Anti-Olympic Resistance into 2007

For the urban poor of Vancouver, which includes many Natives, 2010 has already meant hundreds evicted from low-income housing, more homelessness, criminalization, and increased police repression. Aggressive policing in the Downtown Eastside has also involved immigration officers targeting (mostly brown) immigrants. Organizations such as the Anti-Poverty Committee, Downtown Eastside Resident’s Association, No One Is Illegal, Downtown Eastside Women’s Center, and the PIVOT legal society, have been the most vocal & active in challenging these conditions. Since October 2006, over 20 arrests of members of the Anti-Poverty Committee have occurred during protests or occupations.

In May 2006, two dozen protesters were arrested at Eagleridge Bluffs in N. Vancouver, for blockading expansion work on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Many were middle-class residents, environmentalists, students and other concerned citizens. On January 23, 2007, Harriet Nahanee, a 73-year old Squamish elder and one of the first arrested at the blockade, was sentenced to 14 days in jail. Others were given fines of up to $5,000, as well as community

In East Vancouver, community groups have formed to stop the expansion of Highway 1, including the Liveable Region Coalition and Gatewaysucks.org.
They oppose a planned $1.4 billion project to twin the Port Mann Bridge and widen Hwy. 1 from Langley to Vancouver (part of the Gateway strategy).
Member groups of the LRC include the David Suzuki Foundation and the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC).


• If the 2010 Winter Olympics goes unchallenged, BC & Canada will indeed gain positive international exposure. This, in turn, will create greater international investment & corporate invasion, a process already underway & affecting many areas & communities. If opposition occurs, however, it can contribute to economic uncertainty , deter some investment, and limit the impact of 2010 on some communities & regions.

• While it is unlikely that social opposition will become so strong as to stop the Olympics from occurring, they can be disrupted. Due to the many diverse social issues & communities 2010 negatively impacts, there is potential for a strong anti-Olympics movement to develop. It can also be seen as a catalyst for new social movements & resistance to emerge from.

• Due to the diversity of social sectors & concerns, any anti-Olympic movement must include respect & tolerance for a diversity of tactics as a basic principle.
• Because 2010 is such a good example of corporate power & class conflict, anti-2010 opposition should incorporate anti-capitalist analysis in order to broaden understanding of this socio-economic system.

• The first crucial step is education to mobilize our people into action.

More Info:

Warrior Publications:

NYM: nymcommunications(at)hotmail.com



Jump for Justice

When Transit NZ declined the application to fly the Tino Rangatiratanga/Maori Independence Flag on the Auckland Harbour Bridge during Waitangi Day Commemorations this year, some people just wanted to throw themselves off it.

"Creative Resistance is one way to raise awareness to our struggles" Tia says. "The Maori Flag is banned yet we are constantly seeing other flags flown on this bridge, it is out right racist".

Indigenous peoples rights, independence and self determination are just some of the reasons Tia Taurere and Mera Penehira are draping themselves in their beloved Tino Rangatiratanga flag to bungy off the bridge.

Just recently Maori MP Hone Harawira was also appalled that Transit allowed the the European Union Flag to fly in recognition of European Day.

"The flag has long been recognized as broadly representing Maori aspirations. It has been flown at Waitangi, and in all the hikoi, both church and iwi based, for almost two decades"
Keep your eye on the skies, we intend to keep organising on this kaupapa, there is obviously a real need for our symbols to receive due recognition, because these are the things that remind us of who we are and the obligations and responsibilities that we have for the next generations, even if it means that we have to take it to the bridge" said Tia Taurere spokesperson for Te Ata Tino Toa.

All welcome to come in solidarity for the rights to fly our Indigenous Flag. Sunday 27th May 12.00pm at Westhaven Reserve (cnr Westhaven Drive & Curran St, Herne Bay) Auckland City.



Tia Taurere
021 311 815

Mera Penehira
021 478 194

Prisoners take to the roof of Rimutaka Prison

PRISON BREAK: Dramatic scenes unfolded at troubled Rimutaka Prison in Upper Hutt yesterday, when about 15 rioting inmates took control of the prison's youth unit for about five hours

Five and a half hour rampage by prisoners in Wellington's Rimutaka prison has been brought under control.

Fifteen inmates from its youth unit have spent much of the day on the prison's roof after causing thousands of dollars worth of damage during a cell riot.

Police and ambulance attended the scene and the jail was locked down while the incident was being controlled.

General Manager of Operations Bryan McMurray says there has been some damage to the prison and one prisoner was slightly injured.

Mr McMurray says Corrections will consider pressing charges against the nine prisoners believed to have caused damage to the jail.


Youth offenders on rampage at Rimutaka Prison

Rimutaka Prison was again plunged into chaos today as inmates took control of a section of a youth offenders unit, causing the lockdown of the entire prison.

The incident began this morning in the youth unit, understood to hold up to 40 teenaged inmates, and Department of Corrections general manager operations Bryan McMurray said staff were forced to take control of one section.

During the incident at the prison north of Wellington, understood to involve about 15 inmates, several made their way on to the roof of a building and had to be talked down, ending the longer than five-hour incident.

Mr McMurray said the prisoners damaged buildings and police were called in give back-up to Corrections staff.

"Our first priority was to maintain public safety by securing the prisoners and preventing further damage to buildings.

"We have achieved this, all the prisoners are now secured and charges will be considered for all the offenders in this incident."

He said no staff were injured and because the offenders were confined to the unit, there was no risk to the public.

Mr McMurray described such incidents as a "reality" for prisons worldwide.

The incident would be fully investigated.

Rimutaka Prison has been plagued by problems this year, and rival Black Power and Mongrel Mob-aligned youths rioted in April causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

In March, 11 staff were stood down pending investigations into corruption and smuggling.

The same month Corrections Department regional manager Dave East was put on special leave facing claims of mismanagement at Rimutaka.

It was also revealed convicted rapist Peter Mana McNamara, 37, managed to father a son while serving seven years in the prison.

Four guard were also suspended following allegations a convicted rapist was allowed conjugal visits while receiving medical care at Wellington Hospital.

This month the Employment Relations Authority ordered the prison to reinstate a prison officer who allegedly assaulted an inmate, finding there was insufficient evidence to fire the guard.


No hope of assimilation without English: Racist Arse Wipe-Howard


INDIGENOUS Australians have no hope of being part of mainstream society unless they can speak English, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

Mr Howard today backed a proposal by Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough to ensure indigenous children in remote communities learn English.

“He's absolutely right,” Mr Howard told Southern Cross Broadcasting.
“Indigenous people have no hope of being part of the mainstream of this country unless they can speak the language of this country.”

Mr Howard said the best way to ensure indigenous children became proficient in English was to send them to school.

“If you require them to go to school they'll have to learn English,” he said.

The children of non-English speaking immigrants learnt English through their contact with the school system and so should indigenous children, Mr Howard said.

“In the case of indigenous people, none of them come to Australia as mature-aged people. They were all born in this country, in that sense they're different from migrants,” he said.

“The children of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants are forced to learn English because they go to school. Equally, Aboriginal children should learn English because they should be required to go to school.”


An Australian Aboriginal activist has labelled the Government's push to force Indigenous children to learn English as "racist".

Australia's Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough says Aboriginal children should learn English so they can get jobs and have more options in life.

He says he is considering quarantining welfare payments to ensure Aboriginal parents send their children to school.

Activist Sam Watson says the government is pinning the blame on the victims instead of helping them.

"I'm absolutely infuriated by this," he said.

"The Howard government seems to be inventing new ways and means of perpetually blaming Aboriginal people and showing cultural disrespect to Aboriginal people."

Tauto Sansbury from the Aboriginal Justice Advocacy Committee says the government proposal will take attitudes to Aborigines back 60 years.

He says it is insulting and reinforces old-fashioned stereotypes.

"They still want to treat Aboriginal people back in the 30s and 40s, where they're the master and we're the servant and our attitude is 'yes boss, we'll do what you want'," he said.

Central Australian Native Title holder Rosalie Kunoth-Monks says Mr Brough needs a reminder that he is not God.

She says Mr Brough should stop putting Aboriginal people down.

"To have the freedom in an affluent democratic country to speak your language as well as access that which is outside that will enable you to get jobs and so forth, we're well and truly aware of that," she said.

Children of the dust

John Pilger, The New Statesman

23 May 2007

As the Israeli army attempts to imprison an entire nation, it is the youngest who suffer most. Half of all Palestinians killed in the past six years are children.

Israel is destroying any notion of a state of Palestine and is being allowed to imprison an entire nation. That is clear from the latest attacks on Gaza, whose suffering has become a metaphor for the tragedy imposed on the peoples of the Middle East and beyond. These attacks, reported on Channel 4 News, were "targeting key militants of Hamas" and the "Hamas infrastructure". The BBC described a "clash" between the same militants and Israeli F-16 aircraft.

Consider one such clash. The militants' car was blown to pieces by a missile from a fighter-bomber. Who were these militants? In my experience, all the people of Gaza are militant in their resistance to their jailer and tormentor. As for the "Hamas infrastructure", this was the headquarters of the party that won last year's democratic elections in Palestine. To report that would give the wrong impression. It would suggest that the people in the car and all the others over the years, the babies and the elderly who have also "clashed" with fighter-bombers, were victims of a monstrous injustice. It would suggest the truth.

"Some say," said the Channel 4 reporter, that "Hamas has courted this [attack] . . ." Perhaps he was referring to the rockets fired at Israel from within the prison of Gaza which killed no one. Under international law an occupied people has the right to use arms against the occupier's forces. This right is never reported. The Channel 4 reporter referred to an "endless war", suggesting equivalents. There is no war. There is resistance among the poorest, most vulnerable people on earth to an enduring, illegal occupation imposed by the world's fourth largest military power, whose weapons of mass destruction range from cluster bombs to thermonuclear devices, bank rolled by the superpower. In the past six years alone, wrote the historian Ilan Pappé, "Israeli forces have killed more than 4,000 Palestinians, half of them children".

Consider how this power works. According to documents obtained by United Press International, the Israelis once secretly funded Hamas as "a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO [Palestine Liberation Orga nisation] by using a competing religious alter native", in the words of a former CIA official. Today, Israel and the US have reversed this ploy and openly back Hamas's rival, Fatah, with bribes of millions of dollars. Israel recently secretly allowed 500 Fatah fighters to cross into Gaza from Egypt, where they had been trained by another American client, the Cairo dictatorship. The Israelis' aim is to undermine the elected Pales tinian government and ignite a civil war. They have not quite succeeded. In response, the Palestinians forged a government of national unity, of both Hamas and Fatah. The latest attacks are aimed at destroying this.

With Gaza secured in chaos and the West Bank walled in, the Israeli plan, wrote the Palestinian academic Karma Nabulsi, is "a Hobbesian vision of an anarchic society: truncated, violent, powerless, destroyed, cowed, ruled by disparate militias, gangs, religious ideologues and extremists, broken up into ethnic and religious tribalism and co-opted collaborationists. Look to the Iraq of today . . ."

On 19 May, the Guardian received this letter from Omar Jabary al-Sarafeh, a Ramallah resident: "Land, water and air are under constant sight of a sophisticated military surveillance system that makes Gaza like The Truman Show," he wrote. "In this film every Gazan actor has a predefined role and the [Israeli] army behaves as a director . . . The Gaza strip needs to be shown as what it is . . . an Israeli laboratory backed by the international community where human beings are used as rabbits to test the most dramatic and perverse practices of economic suffocation and starvation."

The remarkable Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has described the starvation sweeping Gaza's more than a million and a quarter inhabitants and the "thousands of wounded, disabled and shell-shocked people unable to receive any treatment . . . The shadows of human beings roam the ruins . . . They only know the [Israeli army] will return and they know what this will mean for them: more imprisonment in their homes for weeks, more death and destruction in monstrous proportions".

Whenever I have been in Gaza, I have been consumed by this melancholia, as if I were a trespasser in a secret place of mourning. Skeins of smoke from wood fires hang over the same Mediterranean Sea that free peoples know, but not here. Along beaches that tourists would regard as picturesque trudge the incarcerated of Gaza; lines of sepia figures become silhouettes, marching at the water's edge, through lapping sewage. The water and power are cut off, yet again, when the generators are bombed, yet again. Iconic murals on walls pockmarked by bullets commemorate the dead, such as the family of 18 men, women and children who "clashed" with a 500lb American/Israeli bomb, dropped on their block of flats as they slept. Presumably, they were militants.

More than 40 per cent of the population of Gaza are children under the age of 15. Reporting on a four-year field study in occupied Palestine for the British Medical Journal, Dr Derek Summerfield wrote that "two-thirds of the 621 children killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest - the sniper's wound". A friend of mine with the United Nations calls them "children of the dust". Their wonderful childishness, their rowdiness and giggles and charm, belie their nightmare.

I met Dr Khalid Dahlan, a psychiatrist who heads one of several children's community health projects in Gaza. He told me about his latest survey. "The statistic I personally find unbearable," he said, "is that 99.4 per cent of the children we studied suffer trauma. Once you look at the rates of exposure to trauma, you see why: 99.2 per cent of the study group's homes were bombarded; 97.5 per cent were exposed to tear gas; 96.6 per cent witnessed shootings; 95.8 per cent witnessed bombardment and funerals; almost a quarter saw family members injured or killed."

He said children as young as three faced the dichotomy caused by having to cope with these conditions. They dreamt about becoming doctors and nurses, then this was overtaken by an apocalyptic vision of themselves as the next generation of suicide bombers. They experienced this invariably after an attack by the Israelis. For some boys, their heroes were no longer football players, but a confusion of Palestinian "martyrs" and even the enemy, "because Israeli soldiers are the strongest and have Apache gunships".

Shortly before he died, Edward Said bitterly reproached foreign journalists for what he called their destructive role in "stripping the context of Palestinian violence, the response of a desperate and horribly oppressed people, and the terrible suffering from which it arises". Just as the invasion of Iraq was a "war by media", so the same can be said of the grotesquely one-sided "conflict" in Palestine. As the pioneering work of the Glasgow University Media Group shows, television viewers are rarely told that the Palestinians are victims of an illegal military occupation; the term "occupied territories" is seldom explained. Only 9 per cent of young people interviewed in the UK know that the Israelis are the occupying force and the illegal settlers are Jewish; many believe them to be Palestinian. The selective use of language by broadcasters is crucial in maintaining this confusion and ignorance. Words such as "terrorism", "murder" and "savage, cold-blooded killing" describe the deaths of Israelis, almost never Palestinians.

There are honourable exceptions. The kidnap ped BBC reporter Alan Johnston is one of them. Yet, amidst the avalanche of coverage of his abduction, no mention is made of the thousands of Palestinians abducted by Israel, many of whom will not see their families for years. There are no appeals for them. In Jerusalem, the Foreign Press Association documents the shooting and intimidation of its members by Israeli soldiers. In one eight-month period, as many journalists, includ ing the CNN bureau chief in Jerusalem, were wounded by the Israelis, some of them seriously. In each case, the FPA complained. In each case, there was no satisfactory reply.

A censorship by omission runs deep in western journalism on Israel, especially in the US. Hamas is dismissed as a "terrorist group sworn to Israel's destruction" and one that "refuses to recognise Israel and wants to fight not talk". This theme suppresses the truth: that Israel is bent on Palestine's destruction. Moreover, Hamas's long-standing proposals for a ten-year ceasefire are ignored, along with a recent, hopeful ideological shift within Hamas itself that amounts to a historic acceptance of the sovereignty of Israel. "The [Hamas] charter is not the Quran," said a senior Hamas official, Mohammed Ghazal. "Historically, we believe all Palestine belongs to Palestinians, but we're talking now about reality, about political solutions . . . If Israel reached a stage where it was able to talk to Hamas, I don't think there would be a problem of negotiating with the Israelis [for a solution]."

When I last saw Gaza, driving towards the Israeli checkpoint and the razor wire, I was rewarded with a spectacle of Palestinian flags fluttering from inside the walled compounds. Children were responsible for this, I was told. They make flagpoles out of sticks tied together and one or two will climb on to a wall and hold the flag between them, silently. They do it when there are foreigners around and they believe they can tell the world.

John Pilger's latest book, "Freedom Next Time", is published in paperback by Black Swan (£8.99). His first film for cinema, "The War on Democracy", is released on 15 June

:: Article nr. 33122 sent on 24-may-2007 11:43 ECT

As Gaza burns

It is imperative that Fatah and Hamas reach an accord sooner or later to prevent further infighting, writes Khaled Amayreh in the West Bank

Careful to ensure that the "shortcomings" of last year's war with Hizbullah were not repeated, the Israeli army continued to bomb Palestinian residential neighbourhoods in Gaza and surrounding areas, inflicting death and destruction on the defenceless population.

Last Sunday evening, an Israeli F-16 bomber launched two missiles at the home of Khalil Al-Hayya, a Palestinian lawmaker representing the pro-Hamas Reform and Change Party.

The missiles destroyed his home, killed at least six members of his family, including his wife and a number of his children. Another two visitors in the Al-Hayya home were also killed in the attack which Israeli officials suggested were designed to cause "shock and awe". Al-Hayya, however, escaped injury.

Earlier, the Israeli airforce carried out a number of sorties against government buildings, injuring many civilians and causing untold damage to the infrastructure.

Tuesday afternoon, Israeli warplanes, including Apache helicopters and unmanned surveillance drones bombed a number of metal workshops, claiming that the family businesses were involved in manufacturing Qassam missiles.

Approximately 30 Palestinians were killed, over half of them unarmed and with no connection to any armed groups. The Israelis claimed that the attacks were carried out in response to a barrage of Qassam missiles that were launched into Israeli towns, such as Sderot, near the Gaza border.

However, the Qassams are notoriously inaccurate and although they make a lot of noise and smoke, and cause some destruction, they have killed very few people. This is why they are viewed by Israelis and many Palestinians as primarily a psychological weapon that fosters a collective feeling of anxiety amongst the Israeli population, especially those in Sderot.

This anxiety was exacerbated when one Israeli woman was killed in Sderot. So far, this was the sole casualty caused by the firing of more than 60 Qassams, a clarion testimony to the relatively ineffectiveness of these projectiles.

Indeed, the majority of Israeli "casualties" have been people suffering from shock. But if "suffering from shock" is viewed as "an injury" or a "casualty" then the Palestinians can rightfully claim that the entire Palestinian population of Gaza (nearly a million and a half) are suffering from even greater shock due to the nearly daily bombardment and indiscriminate killing to which they are subjected.

There is no doubt that the fundamental motivation behind the latest Israeli incursion into Gaza has far more to do with the Israeli government's desire to compensate for the shortcomings of the Lebanon war and to implement the Winograd Committee's recommendations. This followed the strong criticisms made against the political-military establishment by the committee which issued accusations of mismanagement and claimed that these had allowed Hizbullah to inflict high casualties on the Israeli side.

Some observes speculated that the disproportionate attacks on Hamas, coupled with renewed threats to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal constitute pro-active Israeli intervention in the intermittent confrontations between Hamas and the so-called "pro-American trend" within Fatah, headed by Mohamed Dahlan.

Indeed, Israeli military leaders were hesitant about attacking Hamas while the infighting between the two Palestinian organisations raged. However, when it died down, the Israeli army moved specifically against Hamas.

Last week, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that unnamed Western governments, including presumably the US, had asked Israel to help Fatah defeat Hamas, following the example of Ethiopian intervention in Somalia against the former Union of Islamic Courts' fighters.

Fatah angrily dismissed these accusations as any veracity thereof would portray them as proxies of the Israelis and Americans fighting Patriotic Palestinians.

On Sunday, Urayeb Rantawi, a Palestinian commentator based in Jordan, urged Fatah to confirm their raison d'être and clarify their goals. "We want to know and the Palestinian people want to know, is Fatah still the glorious liberation movement that started and maintained the struggle for freedom and liberation over the decades or has it turned into an Israelised group that is being financed and armed by the United States and Israel?"

Meanwhile, the latest clashes between Fatah and Hamas seem to have ended for the time being, mainly due to intensive mediation efforts by Egypt. Surprisingly there has been no mediation efforts by other Arab states.

The last bout of infighting, which lasted more than a week, left as many as 45 Palestinians dead, and many more injured. Furthermore, the fighting exacerbated the psychological chasm between the two movements and may have set the stage for future armed confrontations if comprehensive resolutions are not reached in the near future.

Gaza journalist Salah Al-Naami, an expert on Israeli affairs and correspondent for the London- based pan-Arab newspaper, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote on Monday that unless Hamas and Fatah agreed to a true partnership, the latest ceasefire would be a mere hiatus or a brief respite in the fratricidal fighting .

Al-Naami also suggested that traditional forms of reconciliation between the clans and families of Gaza, who have lost sons in the internal fighting, be adopted whereby "bloody money" or diyya, is paid to each and every bereaved family.

Al-Naami called on rich Arab states to undertake this task, saying that such an undertaking would be considered a radical treatment of the problem.

On the political level, it is also safe to assume that confrontations will resume sooner rather than later if the forces and militias answerable to Dahlan, and Hamas's Executive Force continue to refuse to answer to the Palestinian Interior Ministry.

Indeed, it was due to this refusal that Hani Al-Qawasmeh, the former interior minister, angrily quit his job recently, arguing that the militias ignored orders from the Interior Ministry.

More to the point, it is also imperative that the Palestinian leadership make sure that the Fatah forces sever all contacts and coordination with American representatives, such as the United States Security Coordinator to the PA and Israel, Keith W Dayton, who make no secret of their desire to stoke the fire of civil war among Palestinians, apparently for the purpose of serving Israeli interests


DLT and Che Fu - Chains

Australia's military spending: The high price of a deputy sheriff's badge

By Bob Briton

Since coming to power in 1996, the Howard Government has increased spending on the military by 46 per cent in real terms. Spending for the current financial year will reach $19.9 billion. Thanks to Costello's 12th Budget, next year it will be $22 billion or around 2 per cent of gross domestic product. By 2016-17 it is expected to rise to $29.9 billion.

These figures do not include the huge sums handed to the Attorney General's Department to maintain its role in the bogus US-lead "War on Terror" or the "Pacific Solution". They do not include the cost of the military-style presence of members of the Australian Federal Police in the region.

The figures DO include:

* $6.6 billion over 13 years to buy, maintain and arm 24 Super Hornet fighter bombers;
* $1.55 billion on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the next three years;
* $228 million to "market and brand" the army, navy and air force as "employers of choice";
* $2.1 billion for improved pay and conditions to help stop 11 per cent of personnel leaving the forces every year;
* $864 million for a new defence home ownership scheme.

The list is long. The cost of items for the military dwarfs other, truly urgent, community needs. For comparison, the truly shameful state of Aboriginal health will have just $120 million spent on it over three years. The conservative Australian Medical Association had recommended that $460 million be spent every year to overcome the crisis but its advice was ignored.

What could possibly justify such enormous expenditures on utterly unproductive infrastructure, equipment and expertise? Is Australia facing a threat that in any way justifies the squandering of so much of society's productive capacity? Defence Minister Brendan Nelson, the person in charge of putting the best spin on the scandalous waste, does his best to heighten people's fears. "We face a future shaped largely not by what we know but that which we don't," he told the media last week.

"The big increase in spending was needed to give Defence the resources to deal with the growth of non-state threats, terrorism inspired by Muslim extremists and widespread proliferation of advanced military hardware", as defence correspondent Brendan Nicholson put it in The Age.

The Australian Defence Forces (ADF) recently weighed into the battle for ideas with a report entitled Joint Operations for the 21st Century. It foreshadows "deepening interdependence with the forces of our allies" (increased subjugation to the military command of the US) and anticipates that Australia's military might be involved in a variety of roles including conventional war fighting. We can expect bigger outlays on "joint" spy facilities and other US bases in Australia and further expensive and environmentally destructive war games with American forces.

But the report's main thrust is that Australia's military should undergo a transition from a force designed to tackle a conventional external threat to a more agile one; able to deal with terrorism and the consequences of "climate change and the impacts of global demography", as Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston explained at the launch of the document.

The military has tapped into the community's justified concerns about climate change and come up with a nightmare scenario involving the collapse of fragile governments in the region, the sinking of Pacific islands, the destruction of productive land, the loss of reliable water supplies and the outbreak of pandemics and civil strife. The clear implication is that it will be all hands on deck to defend Fortress Australia from a wave of environmental refugees.

Furthermore, "The ADF should expect to be involved in a larger number of low-intensity operations, particularly stabilisation operations." This will require the best intelligence and stealth and precision weaponry. Even with this high tech advantage, more personnel will be required and the government has already agreed to boost the number of forces personnel from the current 51,000 to 57,000 by 2016.

Having lost the non-existent Communist threat, having been caught out on equally non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction and having just about exhausted the credibility of the threat of "Islamic Terrorism", the military in imperialist countries is on the hunt for a plausible excuse for the huge amounts paid by working people for their upkeep. The real reasons, like the growth of the prestige and influence of emerging economies like China and the threat that peaceful competition poses to the longstanding economic dominance of the US, would not work.

Workers the world over have the same interest in peaceful relations, fair trade and environmental sustainability.