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Protesting Illegal in Australia?

Originally Posted at PopularResistance.org

Last week, the Legislative Council of Victoria passed the Summary Offence Act 2013, which outlaws the right to protest in Victoria, by a vote of 20-18.

Several activists involved in the Tunnel Picket protests were arrested during in Parliament as the voting was taking place. One of those activists, Sean Bedlam, is the subject of our interview today.

From September onwards the police in Victoria will have the power to ‘move on’ groups of people at their will, including those involved in peaceful protests and pickets. Those who refuse to comply with these orders can be issued with fines of $750, exclusion orders, and jail terms of up to 2 years.

How to Blockade a Military Base

By Simon Moyle, WagingNonviolence


(WNV/Jon Osborne)

It would be fair to say the anti-war movement in Australia has been struggling, particularly since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. When governments decided to go to war despite the largest demonstrations the world has ever seen, many people declared the situation hopeless and simply gave up. Coupled with the rise of online activism, getting people to actively resist war in an embodied way has been a great challenge. At the end of September, however, a group of just 40 people demonstrated that small numbers are no barrier to successful nonviolent action by blockading the entrance of one of the most significant military bases in Australia over two days.

Organizers had planned a five-day convergence at the Swan Island military base in southern Victoria from September 23 to 27. The first day was spent making banners for visual impact, getting to know one another and learning about the latest developments in the war in Afghanistan — as well as how this particular base contributes to the war there.


(WNV/Jon Osborne)

The entire next day was spent in trainings, from theory in the morning to blockading tactics in the afternoon. An arrest workshop was also run to answer questions people might have about the process or about legal implications. All of this combined provided the tools to reduce people’s fears, particularly for first-timers. After dark, the children led us on a lantern walk to the gates of the base, where they read the words of the Afghan Peace Volunteers: “We wish to live without wars” and “Love is how we ask for peace.”

On the third day we rose early and took up position at the gate. Police emerged from the shadows, but only 10 to 15 in number. With 40 of us, about 15 of whom were prepared to risk arrest, we thought we stood a good chance of holding the space for longer than we had in previous years.

Assange Labeled an 'Enemy' of the US in Secret Pentagon Documents

 

By Dave Lindorff


An investigative arm of the Pentagon has termed Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, currently holed up and claiming asylum in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London for fear he will be deported to Sweden and thence to the US, and his organization, both “enemies” of the United States.

Assange Labeled an 'Enemy' of the US in Secret Pentagon Documents

 

By Dave Lindorff


An investigative arm of the Pentagon has termed Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, currently holed up and claiming asylum in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London for fear he will be deported to Sweden and thence to the US, and his organization, both “enemies” of the United States.

Assange Labeled an 'Enemy' of the US in Secret Pentagon Documents

 

By Dave Lindorff


An investigative arm of the Pentagon has termed Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, currently holed up and claiming asylum in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London for fear he will be deported to Sweden and thence to the US, and his organization, both “enemies” of the United States.

Peace Activists to Blockade Swan Island Military Base: A Stand Against Australia’s Continued Military Involvement

The Swan Island Military Base in Queenscliff will be targeted for a week of blockades and disruptive action as part of the annual Swan Island Peace Convergence. The act of resistance will be held September 23rd – 27th, and aims to hinder Australia’s continued military involvement in Afghanistan, demanding all troops to come home.

Reverend Simon Moyle, one of the event organisers, visited Afghanistan last year. He explained the reasons for the convergence by saying:

“The Australian Government wants the public to think that our involvement in Afghanistan ends with the withdrawal of Australian troops by 2014. This is not true. Gillard has said that Australian Special Forces will continue their deadly occupation of Afghanistan until the end of the decade at least. We’re saying that if they want to do that, they’ll have to go through us.”

“Australia’s alliance with the U.S. has dragged us into two disastrous wars in the last decade and is fuelling rising tension in the Asia Pacific. Australia needs to end the ANZUS alliance and develop cooperative relationships in our region”

Jess Morrison, a member of the convergence who works as a university lecturer, explains the group’s philosophy:

“We plan our protest with nonviolence at the core. This helps keep the event safe, and ensures we focus on the political change we want, not on the individual police or soldiers.”

“The last decade of Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan has fuelled fundamentalism and armed resistance. We listen to the voices of Afghan people who have had enough guns and bombs, of foreign soldiers breaking down their doors, and of war destabilising their country. We believe that all troops, including the SAS troops trained here in Swan Island, need to come home now and allow Afghans to start rebuilding their own country.”

The Swan Island Military Base is home to the secretive SAS unit SAS 4 as well as the ASIS (Australian Secret Intelligence Service).
Last year’s event resulted in ten arrests. A larger turnout and more extensive blockade of the base are planned this year.

We Don’t Need No Bloody Treaties: Britain Blows a Fuse over Ecuador’s Asylum Grant to Wikileaks’ Assange

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

The concerted and orchestrated campaign to capture Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and ultimately to hand him over to the tender mercies of a kangaroo court in the US, where he would likely be tried for spying and other possibly capital offenses, continues as Britain threatens the Ecuadoran Embassy with a police assault.

 

U.S. and Australian War Criminals Would Prefer Their Emails Not Be Made Public

From The Australian:

THE Australian Federal Police will assist US authorities if needed to investigate a widening hacking scandal that has engulfed hundreds of prominent Australians including politicians, businessmen and defence and security experts

The hacking of the customer database of international security intelligence service Stratfor is set to escalate following threats by the hackers to release as many as 2.7 million emails obtained from the firm's servers.

These emails are alleged to include off-the-record correspondence between Stratfor and US defence and intelligence officials, which has the potential to embarrass the US government and cause concern in Canberra.

READ THE REST.

Australian Police: Tents aren't clothes

This follow up to the Tent Monster video from Occupy Australia shows police stripping a woman in public. I have to wonder about the police response to people dressed in clothes that happen to be tents. What's next - cutting off t-shirts that have messages the police don't like?

Making Australia a target as a friend and ally of the most aggressive nation the world has seen.

A course of action australia will live to regret

http://www.ikners.com/?p=36915

U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard hold joint news conference in Australia

Clinging to the US as if it were a life raft in a stormy sea and expecting to be respected by our Asian neighbours makes Australia look both complicit in US war crimes and a partner in future US imperial expansion in the area. The Australian record in Asia is deplorable. From the White Australia policy to outright racial fear and connivance in countries affairs in the area. The apparent Australian adoration for the Indonesians has been a constant source of concern and was reflected so vividly in the Australian attitude to East Timor.
There also seems that there is strong evidence that Australia was a first hand assistant to Suharto during a period of mass extermination of opposition forces. The role in Vietnam and sending its own youth to that country to kill and murder innocent men women and children was and will always be a matter of national disgrace. Over 2-3 million Vietnamese died in the conflict and more bombs in history were dropped on countries like Cambodia and Laos.   George Ikners  ikners.com  gikners@gmail.com

Barack Obama and Julia Gillard announce plans to station US troops in northern Australia from next year. Photograph: Larry Downing/Reuters

US to stockpile cluster bombs in Australia?

By NAJ Taylor, Al Jazeera

Cluster munition or parts of the munition often do not explode on impact, causing great harm to the envrionment [EPA]

Brisbane, Australia: A US military "base" in Darwin, Australia (spun as a "rotational deployment" for China, I suspect), will necessitate foreign weapons systems and armaments being stockpiled, retained and transited on and in Australian territory.

Although they are long-standing and committed allies, Australia and the United States hold different positions on many matters relating to both arms control and humanitarian law. One recent normative development where the US and Australia's views have diverged is the ban on cluster bombs, a weapon that has inside multiple - often hundreds - of small explosive sub-munitions or "bomblets" that are dispersed over an area the size of several football fields from either the air or ground. As a result, the final location of each bomblet is impossible to control for those deploying them, and so whom they maim or kill is both unknown and indiscriminate. Roughly 30 per cent of those deployed "fail" to explode on impact, and so the unexploded bomblets become de facto landmines.

Overcoming Contradictions

By Kathy Kelly and Hakim - Adelaide, Australia

At Tabor House Technical College, 21 young people sit in a semicircle looking curiously at Hakim and me. We’ve been invited to speak with them about the practice of justice. Hakim, who has lived among Afghans for the past nine years, begins by describing how an Afghan youth, Zekerullah, would greet them. “Salam,” he says to all. With his hand over his heart, Hakim makes eye contact with each student, and then nods in silent greeting. I smile, having watched Zekerullah do just this, whenever he entered a room. The students are interested.

“You can’t listen only to leaders,” Hakim tells them. “We must put our ears close to the hearts of ordinary people and listen to them.” Hakim is often poetic, but he’s also a trained physician, prone toward assembling data and seeking careful diagnosis.

Rising early this morning, he prepared for today’s presentation by collecting statistics about government responses, in various parts of the world, to massive manifestations of public opinion. As expected, the short survey showed that leaders aren’t listening well to ordinary people, that ‘national interests’ routinely overrule the people’s interests:

Seems we're losing the war on slavery too

Up to 27 million trapped in slavery worldwide: U.S.

By Catherine Hornby
ROME | Wed May 18, 2011
(Reuters) - Up to 27 million people are modern-day slaves, and migrants fleeing violence in North Africa are among those most at risk of being exploited, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.

Countries where migrants arrive should try to identify potential victims and protect them, rather than opting for immediate repatriation which often sends them back into the hands of human traffickers, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca said.

Tens of thousands of migrants are fleeing turmoil in North Africa, with many trying to reach Europe by boat, but the problem of slavery exists all over the world and India, Thailand and Malaysia are among the worst-affected countries.

MORATORIUM: Any Radiation Exposure Is Unsafe

Physicians for Social Responsibility Calls for a US Moratorium on New Nuclear Reactors, Citing Medical Risks

Warns Any Radiation Exposure Is Unsafe

Washington, DC - March 19, 2011 – Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) today called for a nationwide
moratorium on new nuclear reactors in the United States and a suspension of operations at the nuclear reactors with a similar design as those involved in the disaster in Japan, as well as those on fault lines. PSR cited the medical risks associated with any level of radiation exposure regardless of how small. Lower doses result in less chance of harm than higher doses, but any dose level can put an individual at risk.

Something Rotten in Sweden:

By Dave Lindorff

With a grown daughter and a wife, far be it from me to minimize the issue of rape, but to borrow from the Bard, in the case of the “rape” case being alleged against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, currently being held in a British jail without bail pending an extradition request from Stockholm: “Something is rotten in Sweden.”

As I wrote earlier in this publication, the alleged sexual crimes that Assange is currently being sought for by a Swedish prosecutor are:

1. Allegedly failing to halt an act of consensual sexual intercourse when his sex partner and host, Anna Ardin, claims she somehow became aware that the condom he was using had “split” and,

Even the Aussie's Saw What Was to Come

Along with the Millions around the World!

Keelty judgment on terror upheld

July 22, 2010 Six years after public rap, Keelty judgment on terror upheld

FORMER Australian Federal Police chief Mick Keelty's judgment that the Iraq war had increased the terrorist threat has been vindicated.

It has taken six long years, but he has been vindicated in thunderous fashion during the British inquiry into the US-led conflict.

After the 2004 Madrid train bombings, Mr Keelty agreed during that if al-Qaeda proved to be responsible for the Madrid train bombings, then it was likely the US-led war in Iraq was a motivating factor for terrorists.

He was promptly jumped on by the Howard government for contradicting its line on the war.

A government gone mad, a media gone flaccid: Attacking the Wrong People

By Dave Lindorff

By Dave Lindorff

What does it say about the the American government, its president, and its military today, that the the largest military/intelligence organization in the history of mankind has launched a global manhunt for Julian Assange, head of the Wikileaks organization? And what does it say about corporate American journalists that they attack the only real journalist in the White House press corps, when she alone has shown the guts to speak truth?

The Hunt for Julian Assange

Murphy's Law and the Stupidity of Obama's Drill-Drill-Drill Offshore Oil Policy

By Dave Lindorff

British Petroleum had a fail-safe system for it’s Deepwater Horizon floating deep-water drilling rig.

You know, the one that blew up and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving a tangled spaghetti pile of 22-inch steel pipe one mile long all balled up on the sea floor a mile below the surface, and that is leaking oil at 42,000 gallons per day...so far.

The thing is, the fail-safe system, about the size of a McMansion sitting at the wellhead on the ocean floor, um, failed. It didn’t collapse and shut off the flow of oil as intended, and it could take months now to shut the well down--during which time the leak rate is likely to increase to up to 300,000 gallons per day, or over two million gallons a week.

Australia Warns Israel Over Dubai Killing

Australia warns Israel over Dubai killing | CNN

Australia warned Israel Thursday of a possible diplomatic rift if Israel condoned the use of fraudulent Australian passports in the killing of a Hamas leader.

Israel's ambassador was given the warning after it was learned that three Australian passports were used by members of an alleged assassination crew connected to the recent slaying of a Hamas leader in a Dubai hotel room, Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Thursday.

"I made it crystal clear to the ambassador that if the results of that investigation cause us to come to the conclusion that the abuse of Australian passports was in any way sponsored or condoned by Israeli officials, then Australia would not regard that as the act of a friend, "Smith said Thursday. " We would not regard that as the act of a friend."

The stern statement from Smith is part of the growing international diplomatic tiff stemming from the January 20 killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founding member of Hamas' military wing. Read more.

Obama's War: Afghanistan Is Spelled V-I-E-T-N-A-M

By Dave Lindorff

President Barack Obama has staked his presidency on winning his “necessary” war in Afghanistan. Coming into office, one of his first acts, on Feb. 18, was to boost US troop levels in that country by 17,000, bringing the total number of soldiers and Marines in the country to about 57,000, to which one must also add 74,000 private contractors who are doing things normally done by soldiers, and about 33,000 other soldiers from NATO countries and Australia. That’s 164,000 foreign soldiers fighting against Taliban fighters.

My Book Is Now Available from Publisher Before Stores Get It

"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.

Chasers War on Everything - Torture John Yoo

Author of Torture Memos Pranked in Classroom
By Kim Zette | Wired

A former Justice Department official who wrote controversial memos authorizing the Bush administration to conduct torture was the object of a prank by an Australian comedian during one of his recent law class lectures.

John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general who has faced intense criticism for authoring constitutionally-questionable memos justifying torture and the government’s warrantless wiretapping program, was confronted last week during a lecture he was giving on international law at Chapman University School of Law, a private school in Southern California. Read more.

Foreign Troops to Participate in FEMA Terrorism Prevention & Protection Exercise on US Soil

From the FEMA Website:

National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09) is scheduled for July 27 through July 31, 2009. NLE 09 will be the first major exercise conducted by the United States government that will focus exclusively on terrorism prevention and protection, as opposed to incident response and recovery.

NLE 09 is designated as a Tier I National Level Exercise. Tier I exercises (formerly known as the Top Officials exercise series or TOPOFF) are conducted annually in accordance with the National Exercise Program (NEP), which serves as the nation's overarching exercise program for planning, organizing, conducting and evaluating national level exercises. The NEP was established to provide the U.S. government, at all levels, exercise opportunities to prepare for catastrophic crises ranging from terrorism to natural disasters.

NLE 09 is a White House directed, Congressionally- mandated exercise that includes the participation of all appropriate federal department and agency senior officials, their deputies, staff and key operational elements. In addition, broad regional participation of state, tribal, local, and private sector is anticipated. This year the United States welcomes the participation of Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom in NLE 09. Read more.

Obama Asks Australia To Take Guantanamo Detainees

Obama Asks Australia To Take Guantanamo Detainees | Reuters

The United States has made a new request for Australia to accept a group of detainees from Guantanamo Bay for resettlement, a government spokeswoman said on Saturday.

The request is the first by President Barack Obama's administration, which plans to close down the detention camp in Cuba within the next year.

Media reports have said the request involves a group of Uighurs from China's largely Muslim western province of Xinjiang. Beijing has reportedly been pressing Washington to return them to China, but U.S. officials have expressed concerns about their likely treatment there. Read more.

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