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Global Peace And Justice Auckland Newsletter

GLOBAL PEACE AND JUSTICE AUCKLAND


Global Peace And Justice Auckland Newsletter

PROTEST: No SAS Troops to Afghanistan - 12 noon Saturday 22nd August outside Papakura Military Camp, Grove Road, Papakura. A car convoy will leave from Unite Union office, 6A Western Springs Road, Morningside. Gather at 11am.
Papakura Military Camp is the training base for the Special Air Services (SAS) troops who will be deployed to fight in Afghanistan in three rotations over the next 18 months. These troops will join the foreign occupation of Afghanistan which has caused so much chaos, death and misery over the past eight years since the US and its western allies invaded the country The foreign forces are losing the battle in the country because of a resurgent Taleban who have been joined by all manner of other groups for the common fight against foreign occupation. The occupation has in fact strengthened the Taleban rather than weakened it. At the same time our troops will be propping up a violent, vicious regime led by a US puppet government of Hamed Karzai and comprised of warlords and drug runners.

This war is being waged in the interests of US foreign policy rather than to fight terror or protect the people of Afghanistan. The occupation instead is nurturing terrorism. New Zealand troops have no role in this conflict. The protest will be calling for the decision to deploy troops to be rescinded. Please spread the word.

Hammer the Pokies: More hammers needed!!
Thanks for the positive responses to the appeal for people to join the campaign. We won't be calling for action in the short term as we need to build numbers much higher. This campaign aims to enlist a minimum of 200 hammers (with people attached!) and take civil disobedience action to drive pokie machines out of our neighbourhood communities. 80% of the cases of gambling addiction relate to pokie machines in the community (aside from casinos) These are parasites on poverty and predominate in low-income areas of the country. They have to go.

If you are prepared to join a crowd (min 200) and take civil disobedience action against pokie machines then please email John Minto jbminto@xtra.co.nz or Phone 8463173.

NZ SAS: complicit in torture and civilian casualties (Peace Movement Aotearo)
Kia ora, as you will have heard by now, Cabinet decided yesterday to deploy the SAS in Afghanistan again. A decision rather at odds with Prime Minister John Key's statement only last week that: "there's no place for violence in the New Zealand Parliament, of even the suggestion of violence and I think if that was the case Parliament should take a very hard line," he said. "We're the lawmakers and frankly we're meant to be role models to, particularly young, New Zealanders." [1]
Not only is there more than a suggestion of violence in any SAS deployment, but it is hardly good role modeling for "the lawmakers" to breach the government's Defence Policy Framework, and to put armed forces personnel in a situation where they are likely to be complicit in torture (which is prohibited in NZ law) and implicated in killing civilians (which is apparently permitted, providing it takes place overseas).
This alert has five sections: 1) about the SAS deployment, 2) the Defence Policy Framework and human rights; 3) complicity in torture and the Crimes of Torture Act; 4) civilian casualties in Afghanistan, and 5) contact details for politicians. It is available online at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/nzsas09a.htm

1) About the SAS deployment

According to John Key's announcement yesterday, 70 SAS personnel will be deployed in Afghanistan for up to 18 months, in three rotations. He did not say whether or not the US air force will send planes to pick them up as they did in 2005. [2]
With regard to what they will be doing when they get there, he said: "In keeping with long-standing practice, I will be making no comment on the operational aspects of the SAS deployment." [3]
However, an educated guess can be made on their likely activities based on earlier Minister of Defence media releases on the SAS deployments in Afghanistan - they will be operating with special forces from other nations, planning and executing long-range reconnaissance and direct action combat missions inside Afghanistan. [4]
SAS troops previously deployed to Afghanistan have been integrated with other special forces in the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force under US military command. Along with US Special Forces, "six foreign nations including New Zealand and Australia, also assigned some of their best "hunters and killers" to the group" which is headquartered near Bagram air base." [5]

2) The Defence Policy Framework and human rights

The government's Defence Policy Framework states:
"18. New Zealand will not engage in military co-operation or exercises with the armed forces of states which sanction the use of their armed forces to suppress human rights. This does not preclude New Zealand involvement in UN peace support or other appropriate multinational peace support operations where the armed forces of such countries are also involved." [6]
As outlined above, when SAS personnel have been deployed to Afghanistan previously, they have operated with other special forces under US command and this clearly cannot be described as mere "involvement" with "multinational peace support operations where the armed forces of such countries are also involved".
It is beyond dispute that US armed forces have been involved in a range of human rights violations in Afghanistan. According to Human Rights Watch, for example:
"International security forces, in particular US forces, have focused much of their efforts on killing or capturing al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, rather than providing a safer environment for Afghans to enjoy their basic rights.
"The US military operates in Afghanistan without an adequate legal framework, such as a status-of-forces agreement, and continues to detain hundreds of Afghans without adequate legal process. The expanding US-run Bagram detention facility holds over 600 prisoners, including children, who are given negligible legal rights. Unlike at Guantanamo, prisoners at Bagram are not allowed to see lawyers. Administrative review of detainees’ cases is cursory. The detainees have no right to a personal advocate, no opportunity to review the evidence against them, and very little means of contesting the grounds for their detention." [7]
Conditions for persons detained at the Bagram air base have been described as "far worse than at Guantanamo". [8] The BBC recently interviewed individuals held at Bagram between 2002 and 2008 (none of whom were charged with any offence nor put on trial), and reported: "Many allegations of ill-treatment appear repeatedly in the interviews: physical abuse, the use of stress positions, excessive heat or cold, unbearably loud noise, being forced to remove clothes in front of female soldiers. In four cases detainees were threatened with death at gunpoint." [9] An expanded detention centre is currently being built at the base.
The SAS deployment is an obvious breach of the Defence Policy Framework.

3) Complicity in torture and the Crimes of Torture Act

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (which NZ signed in 1986 and ratified in 1989) makes it very clear that there are absolutely no circumstances under which torture can be justified, even in a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency. [10]
Furthermore, it is a criminal offence under the Crimes of Torture Act 1989, which brought the Convention into NZ law, for any public official (which includes armed forces personnel) to aid, abet or conspire with any person to commit an act of torture [11] .
Yet that is apparently what SAS soldiers on previous deployments have done, according to an article recently published in the Sunday Star Times which stated:
"International legal experts say New Zealand broke the Geneva Convention and laws against torture when, from 2002, our elite SAS troops transferred 50-70 prisoners to the Americans at the Kandahar detention centre in southern Afghanistan.
"The centre was known by US soldiers as "Camp Slappy", and prisoners there have described being severely beaten and tortured, drenched with water and left to freeze outside in winter." [12]
The article quotes a Danish special forces operative as saying: ""We knew the prisoners were not being treated the way they should be treated. We also knew that there were innocent people among them." These two facts also caused concern to the New Zealanders, who were worried their prisoners were being mistreated by the Americans." [13]
Commenting on the Danish government's response to the evidence of severe abuse and torture being perpetrated on prisoners that Danish special forces had delivered into American custody at Kandahar: "Copenhagen University law professor Jens Elo Rytter said the Danish government made a political decision to trust the US to treat transferred prisoners well, despite evidence of mistreatment. It appeared New Zealand had followed a similar path, and "certainly, to my mind, that's a breach of the Third Geneva Convention as well as the Convention on Torture". [14]
The article also reported that: "The chief of the defence force, Lieutenant-General Jerry Mateparae, told the Star-Times that the rules about the handing over of prisoners had been tightened since the SAS first went to Afghanistan". [15]
While the rules may have been tightened, there is still no guarantee that NZ soldiers handing prisoners over to US authorities can be assured they will be decently treated as there is no evidence to suggest that US torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners has ceased.
Perhaps in response to this, John Key said yesterday that the SAS would be most likely to hand any detainees over to Afghan authorities, and: "Like New Zealand, Afghanistan is a party to the Geneva Convention," he said. "New Zealand has already received an assurance from the Afghan government that all transferred detainees will be treated humanely according to these conventions and international law." [16]
This is absolutely absurd, as there is similarly no guarantee of freedom from torture for prisoners handed over to Afghan authorities, indeed it is extremely likely that the opposite will be the case. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has reported that fewer than 20 per cent of Afghan law-enforcement officials are aware it is illegal to torture someone accused of a crime, and that "torture and cruel, inhumane and belittling behaviour" is widespread among that country's law-enforcement agencies." [17]
Furthermore, Amnesty International's 2009 Report on Afghanistan states: "NATO and US forces continued to hand over detainees to the NDS, Afghanistan’s intelligence service, which perpetrates human rights violations including torture and arbitrary detention with impunity." [18]
So what exactly are SAS soldiers going to do with any prisoners to avoid violating the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and committing criminal offences under the Crimes of Torture Act? Bland assurances from John Key, in the face of evidence to the contrary, are not sufficient either for the SAS or for NZ as a state party to fulfill its legally binding obligations under the Convention.

4) Civilian casualties in Afghanistan

The combat operations of previous SAS deployments have included "short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive operations to seize, destroy, capture, recover or inflict damage on designated personnel or material"; and guiding "precision weaponry", that is, marking targets for bombing runs and missile strikes. [19]
The latter remain the largest cause of civilian deaths and injuries by pro-government forces (PGF), as indicated by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan's (UNAMA) recent report on civilian casualties in the first half of this year:
"Operations carried out by the Government of Afghanistan and its allies “have resulted in a rising toll in terms of civilian deaths and injuries and destruction of infrastructure, including homes and assets, which are essential for survival and the maintenance of livelihoods,” stated the report. UNAMA noted that international military forces have tried to minimize the number of civilian casualties resulting from their operations. Nevertheless, “airstrikes remain the largest cause of civilian deaths attributed to PGF during the first six months of 2009,” with 40 incidents of airstrikes since the beginning of 2009 in which 200 civilians reportedly lost their lives." [20]
A Human Rights Watch release in response to the bombing of Garani village in May, when at least 100 civilians were killed, pointed out: "The US, working with its Afghan counterparts, should have known that there was a large civilian population in the village at the time of the airstrikes," said Adams. "The US needs to answer some basic questions about the sources and quality of information it requires before authorizing these kinds of devastating bombing runs." [21]
Whatever benefit the government anticipates it might get from the US government as a result of this deployment, is it really worth the possibility that the next murderous airstrikes on Afghan civilians will be as a result of information supplied by the NZ SAS? To borrow a phrase from the lotto advertisements, how great would that feel?

5) Contact details for politicians

If you wish to convey your views about the SAS deployment to politicians, as well as sending them to your local MP - contact details for MPs are available at http://www.parliamentnz/NR/rdonlyres/5858C8A5-ACDF-4B35-8D7A-3ABB7B19ACDB/92234/listofmembers0107092.pdf or by phoning Parliament, tel (04) 471 9999 - you could send them to the following in particular:

•John Key, Prime Minister, at parliament: Freepost Parliament, Private Bag 18-888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160, fax (04) 473 3689, email j.key@ministers.govt.nz; electorate office: PO Box 258, Kumeu 0841; fax (09) 412 2497, email john.key@national.org.nz or email genelle@johnkey.mpnet.nz You could also leave a comment on his web site at http://johnkey.co.nz/index.php?/archives/778-Afghanistan-review-decisions-announced.html

•Wayne Mapp, Minister of Defence, at parliament: Freepost Parliament, Private Bag 18-888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160, email w.mapp@ministers.govt.nz or fax (04) 817 6512; electoral office: PO Box 33 017, Takapuna, North Shore City, fax (09) 486 5336.

•Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at parliament: Freepost Parliament, Private Bag 18-888, Parliament Buildings, Wellington 6160, email m.mccully@ministers.govt.nz or fax (04) 817 6510; electoral office: PO Box 35 657, Browns Bay, North Shore City, email murray.mccully@xtra.co.nz or fax (09) 479 8089.

It is very helpful for our work on this if you can send us a copy of any letters or messages you write (bcc if by email), and of any replies you receive, to Peace Movement Aotearoa, PO Box 9314, Wellington 6141, fax (04) 382 8173, or email pma@xtra.co.nz

* References

[1] David Garrett in hot water again, NZPA, 7 August 2009 - http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/5784845/david-garrett-in-hot-water-again
[2] See, for example, SAS hitch ride on US planes, NZ Herald, 2 June 2005 - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10328650
[3] Afghanistan review decisions announced, John Key, 10 August 2009 - http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/afghanistan+review+decisions+announced
[4] See, for example, Further New Zealand contributions to Afghanistan and the international campaign against terrorism, Helen Clark and Mark Burton, 2 June 2005 - http://www.beehive.govt.nz/node/23263 For more detail, see the references in note 19 below
[5] See, for example, GlobalSecurity.org - http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/dod/soccent.htm
[6] The Government's Defence Policy Framework, June 2000 - http://www.defence.govt.nz/pdfs/archive-publications/def-pol-framework-June2000.pdf
[7] World Report 2009: Afghanistan, Events of 2008, Human Rights Watch - http://www.hrw.org/en/world-report/2009/afghanistan
[8] Bagram: Is it Obama’s new Guantanamo? msnbc.com 3 June 2009 - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31046933/
[9] Ex-detainees allege Bagram abuse, BBC News, 24 June 2009 - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8116046.stm
[10] Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 2:2 - http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cat.htm
[11] Crimes of Torture Act 1989, 2, and 3: (1) and (2) - http://www.legislation.co.nz/act/public/1989/0106/latest/DLM192818.html
[12] Kiwi troops in 'war crimes' row, Jon Stephenson, 2 August 2009 - http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2712026/Kiwi-troops-in-war-crimes-row
[13] See note 12
[14] See note 12
[15] See note 12
[16] SAS to be deployed in Afghanistan, NZPA, 10 August 2009 - http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/national/2737700/New-Zealand-SAS-to-be-deployed-in-Afghanistan
[17] See, for example, Afghan officials unaware torture illegal, The Globe and Mail, 30 April 2009 - http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090430.wafghan30/BNStory/International/home
[18] State of the World's Human Rights 2009, Amnesty International - http://report2009.amnesty.org/en/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan
[19] See, for example, New Zealand's SAS troops in Afghanistan under US control, NZ Herald, 4 April 2004 - http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-12862.html and Our secret war: What the government did not want you to know, Sunday Star Times, 16 February 2003 - http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/sst160203.htm
[20] Civilian casualties in Afghanistan keep rising, finds UN report, UN News, 31 July 2009 - http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=31636&Cr=afghan&Cr1=civilian
[21] Afghanistan: US Should Act to End Bombing Tragedies, Human Rights Watch, 14 May 2009 - http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/05/14/afghanistan-us-should-act-end-bombing-tragedies See also, Report: “Troops in Contact” Airstrikes and Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch, 8 September 2008 - http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2008/09/08/troops-contact-0

WHAT'S ON IN AUCKLAND

Wednesday, August 19, 6.30pm-8pm, Lecture Theatre 039, Clock Tower (on Prince Street), University of Auckland
The United Nations Youth Association of New Zealand presents: From Ground ZERO to Reaching ZERO - How Realistic is the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons? How realistic is nuclear disarmament? Can we erase the bomb from existence? Hear from the leading experts in this interactive panel discussion. Topics to be addressed include the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's "Five Point Plan" for nuclear disarmament.
Three guest speakers, featuring:
- Dr Kate Dewes: Recently appointed to the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Disarmament. Dr Dewes has served on the New Zealand Pacific Advisory Committee and was a key pioneer in the World Court Project, an international campaign that led to a legal challenge to nuclear deterrence in the International Court of Justice. Dr Dewes is also the current coordinator of the Peace Foundation and Security Centre in Christchurch.
- Alyn Ware: Alyn is the Vice President of the International Peace Bureau, International Coordinator for the Parliamentary Network for Nuclear Disarmament, Consultant for the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms, and Coordinator of the Wellington Peace Foundation. He was the former UN Coordinator for the World Court Project, as well as one of the chief individuals who assisted in the drafting of the model Nuclear Weapons Convention - a proposed treaty on the abolition of nuclear arms.
- Lyndon Burford: Lyndon is working towards his Masters at the University of Canterbury, researching New Zealand's nuclear disarmament voting and advocacy under the fifth Labour government. Lyndon has tremendous experience in research both domestically and overseas, and attended the CSCAP Asia-Pacific security forum.
The discussion will be chaired by Wilson Chau (member of the Students for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World global network). There will be plenty of opportunities for questions and comments. If you have any questions regarding this event, please send them through to Wilson Chau: wcha160@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Wednesday, August 19, 7:00pm - 9:00pm, Clubspace at University of Auckland (above the quad), Alfred Street, Auckland
Resistance in Korea - Socialist Aotearoa Public Forum - In 2008 hundreds of thousands of Koreans joined massive candle light vigils protesting the right-wing government of Lee Myung Bak. A wide cross section of people were angered by Lee's policies of privatisation, attacks on public education and his decision to allow imports of US beef despite fears over Mad Cow Disease. Following the protests the government launched a heavy crack down on democratic freedoms. Riot police brutally attacked demonstrators. Many protest leaders were imprisoned. Recently the occupation of the Ssangyong auto factory by 600 workers, facing off attacks by police helicopters, tear gas and tasers has received media attention around the World. Jacob Lee, a member of the Korean socialist group All Together, will give a first hand account of the militant mass movements in Korea.

Thursday, August 20, 8pm, Wine Cellar, K'Road, Auckland
David Rovics Gig - "Politically charged folk music from the US".

Thursday, August 20, 7.30pm, St Columba Centre, Vermont St, Ponsonby
UNIFEM Auckland Committee would be delighted to have you join them for the AGM and to hear about: Field visit to UNIFEM projects Aceh, Indonesia & UNIFEM Global Coalition Meeting, Singapore also Pacific projects Update from Beverley Turner, National Committee UNIFEM Past President. The evening will conclude with supper. A gold coin donation would be appreciated to help cover expenses, thank you. We look forward to your company. Enquiries:please contact Maureen, ph: 575 6254 or e-mail: mjew@orcon.net.nz ** UNIFEM activities continue to expand – can you share this exciting phase by joining the Auckland Regional Committee?? Volunteers welcome!! UNIFEM is the women’s fund at the UN. UNIFEM NZ - HELPING TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF PACIFIC WOMEN

Saturday, August 22, 9.30am -10.30am, 14 Taylors Road, St Lukes, off Morningside Road
Protest Kwila Sales at Carters - Say no to Kwila - Carters Kwila Kills: Major building supplier Carters is currently selling Kwila decking that comes from a forestry concession owned by the murderous Indonesian military in West Papua. Come along and help us tell Carters customers that Kwila sales must end! BBQ Factory last week announced that it would end Kwila sales after campaign lobbying! 3 very good reasons to demonstrate: 1. If present rates of logging continue this species of tree will be extinct in the wild in less than 35 years. 2. Most Kwila outdoor furniture in Auckland stores comes from the forests of Indonesian controlled province of West Papua, where human rights groups such as Amnesty International have documented the vicious and corrupt military forcing villagers off their lands and torturing and imprisoning those opposed to the logging. 3. The UN has identified tropical deforestation as the single biggest man-made contributor to greenhouse emissions; responsible for 20 percent of emissions. Organised by Rainforest Action Auckland | More info contact Omar omarhamed123@gmail.com or visit www.rainforest-action.blogspot.com

Saturday, August, 11am, Unite Office, 6a Western Springs Rd, Morningside, 12 noon, Papakura Military Camp, Grove Road, Papakura
PROTEST: No SAS Troops to Afghanistan - 12 noon Saturday 22nd August outside Papakura Military Camp, Grove Road, Papakura. A car convoy will leave from Unite Union office, 6A Western Springs Road, Morningside. Gather at 11am.

Thursday, August 27, 6pm, Tom Fordes Irish bar and political museum, 122 Anzac Ave, City
"Unite & $15 hr Public Meeting" - Come along and have a drink and a think. Join the movement. Host: Movement for a Living Wage - $15 ph Campaign Network. Are you an Auckland student, campus worker or academic who wants to learn about or get involved in the $15 hr Campaign for a Living Wage? If so then come along to this public meeting to learn more about the campaign and why the Unite Union is making a stand against poverty wages in Aotearoa. Hear about the campaign and the new progressive union movement from union leaders Mike Treen and John Minto. 450,000 people are paid less than $15 an hour. 100,000 workers are on the minimum wage of $12.50. That’s not enough to live on. We’re standing up against poverty wages and we’re going to need you It’s time to put workers first.

Saturday, September 5, 2pm, QEII Square, Customs Street and Queen Street intersection, outside Downtown Shopping Centre.
Rally for Justice and Peace in Palestine, come and support justice and peace based on an end to 40 years of Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (including East Jerusalem), the right of return for Palestinian refugees, sharing Jerusalem, vacating all settlement colonies in Israeli occupied Palestine, and stopping Israel's annexation / apartheid wall in occupied Palestine. Starts 2pm, Organised by the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, for more information contact email or go to this web site.

Saturday, September 5, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, Council Chamber - Waitakere City Council, 6 Henderson Valley, Waitakere
In the spirit of ‘Working Together during times of Global Financial Crisis’. We invite you to: A follow-up forum – Migrants’ Solutions to Migrant Issues. This meeting is being set up: As a follow-up to the 30th of May Forum and meeting with Minister of Immigration Meeting last 9th July 2009; For migrants to put their thinking hats together and offer solutions to the issues faced by migrants and employers during the current global financial crisis; Migrant presentation of job creation initiative; To get your signature as we convert this paper into a national petition. It’s vital we get your full support. Kindly, advice by emailing migrantaction@xtra.co.nz , number of people from your group attending the forum. Thank you and we look forward to see you there. Regards | Agnes Granada | Coordinator | Migrant Action Trust, 161 Stoddard Rd, Mt Roskill | P O Box 8315 | Auckland. Tel# (09) 629 3500 Fax 629 3504 email a.granada@migrantactiontrust.org.nz migrantaction@xtra.co.nz www.migrantactiontrust.org.nz

Saturday, September 19, 1pm, 3rd Floor, Auckland Public Library
DISPLAY AT THE AUCK PUBLIC LIBRARY: If you have any archival material from 1969 – photographs, clippings, leaflets etc, please send to ‘Jumping Sunday ‘09’, PO Box 86022 Mangere East 2158, or contact us by return email. The library display, including unique film footage, will continue for 2 weeks during the festival.

Sunday, September 20, 1pm, Albert Park
Come and Celebrate the Liberation of Albert Park - Bring Friends & Family. September this year marks the 40th anniversary of the “liberation” of Auckland’s Albert Park as a free speech area. On Sunday September 21st, 1969, Albert Park was taken as a free speech area, with a jug band in the rotunda and music interspersed with speakers. At first the Auckland City Council vehemently opposed the events, which became known in the media as “Jumping Sundays”. However, as the crowds increased the Council backed down, Albert Park was recognised as a free speech area and for several years served as an Auckland version of Hyde Park in London. The legacy lives on, and the occasion is being celebrated with music and speakers this September: 1pm on SUNDAY 20th SEPTEMBER 2009. (Rain day: Sun. 26th Sept.) Other events are in the pipeline. A fuller history of the event and photos can be found on: http://pym-vietnamwaractivismhistory.blogspot.com/ If you want to be on the organising group email list contact: jumpingsunday@clear.net.nz

October 7-8, Manurewa Marae
NA TA TATOU ROUROU - With Our Baskets the Children Will Prosper - A hui to build activism to end child poverty in Aotearoa. For registration details see the CPAG website at www.cpag.org.nz

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

Q. "Mr. President, have you approved of covert activity to destablise the present government of Nicaragua?"

A. "Well, no, we're supporting them, the - oh, wait a minute, wait a minute, I'm sorry, I was thinking of El Salvador, because of the previous, when you said Nicaragua. Here again, this is something upon which the national security interests, I just - I will not comment.": Ronald Reagan, former US President, Washington press conference, February 13th 1983, as quoted by John Pilger in 'Heroes'

"At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst": Aristotle

"Man is subject to innumerable pains and sorrows by the very condition of humanity, and yet, as if nature had not sown evils enough in life, we are continually adding grief to grief and aggravating the common calamity by our cruel treatment of one another": Joseph Addison

"If we do not maintain Justice, Justice will not maintain us.": Francis Bacon

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.": Edmund Burke

ANNOUNCEMENTS

MOVEMENT FOR A LIVING WAGE - $15 PH CAMPAIGN NETWORK.

Kia ora all, The $15 hr campaign is rolling along well. Thousands of people are signing the petition each week at work, school, uni and on the street but we've still good months of hard work ahead to reach 300,000 signatures. The National government won't be keen on raising the minimum wage for next year but the campaign is about building a movement the politicans cannot resist. A movement against poverty wages in Aotearoa.

This is where you can help out.

1. Get petitioning! - Everybody can do something! Go to http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.unite.org.nz and download the petition form, print it out and sign up your friends and family. Or give the office a ring on 0800 2 UNITE and ask for a few petition forms to get sent to you.

2. Invite 5 of your friends to join this facebook group or even better give your friends a copy of the petition to get out amongst their networks.

3. Britomart Commuter Stalls - Monday & Tuesday next week Come along and help the campaign team sign up city workers & students in the morning outside Britomart Transport Centre from 8am-9am Monday 17 August & Tuesday 18 August.

News & events

August Unite newsletter - information for members & supporters Read the August Unite Union newsletter online at http://www.unite-news.org.nz/2009/unite_newsletter2_5thAug09_web.html

Information for cinema and fast food workers and with links to the campaign for Auckland's assets, stories about Unite in NZ and Australia and even an online game about builders unions!

Music for the movement - David Rovics plays in Auckland If your feeling in the mood for some pro-worker, pro-union music then come along to the David Rovics gig in Auckland on Thursday 20th August. Details are here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=96784774932

Listen to David's song "Minimum Wage Strike" here: http://wwwfacebook.com/l/;soundclick.com/share?songid=762361

Minimum wage campaign aims to strengthen working class Meetings have been held in recent weeks in Wellington & Whangarei as the $15 hr campaign spreads around the country. Read an overview of teh campaign here: http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/806/41469

If you've got any good ideas or want to get more involved in the campaign drop me a line. This campaign is like a strike. It needs all of our involvement and as much commitment to win. Solidarity, Omar Hamed, Unite Union campaigns organiser omar@unite.org.nz

LIBERATION OF ALBERT PARK - ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION 1PM SEPTEMBER 20
September this year marks the 40th anniversary of the "liberation" of Auckland’s Albert Park as a free speech area, on September 21st 1969. An event with bands and free speech is planned for the afternoon of September 20th to celebrate the anniversary. Everybody is welcome! Remember – September 20, 1.00pm – Albert Park. Albert Park Photos: http://pym-vietnamwaractivismhistory.blogspot.com/ Contact: jumpingsunday@clear.net.nz Speakers include Tim Shadbolt & Sue Bradford. Entertainers: The Frank E. Evans Band, Graham Brazier (‘Hello Sailor’), ‘Starfish Magic’ with Dave Neumegen (Arif Usmani), Tigi Ness (‘Unity Pacific’), & special street theatre performance! We are also hoping to track down Alistair Riddell (‘Space Waltz’ singer) who played in the ‘Mad Dog Jug Band’ in 1969. If you know how to contact him, please let him & us know.ALSO! DISPLAY AT THE AUCK PUBLIC LIBRARY: Come to the launch 1pm on Sat 19 September (Floor 3). If you have any archival material from 1969 – photographs, clippings, leaflets etc, please send to ‘Jumping Sunday ‘09’, PO Box 86022 Mangere East 2158, or contact us by return email. The library display, including unique film footage, will continue for 2 weeks during the festival.

MUSICAL VOICE OF THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT - DAVID ROVICS TOURS NZ IN AUGUST
“… the peace poet and troubadour for our time.” Cindy Sheehan. “In that Wobbly tradition of sharp social commentary, David is a master.” The Industrial Worker. David Rovics, singer, songwriter has been accurately described as the musical voice of the progressive movement in the US. In the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs and Pete Seeger, David is a scholar of the history of social struggle and a sharp social critic of current affairs His hard hitting lyrics accompanied by his mastery of his acoustic guitar encompass themes including the war on terror, the environmental crisis, the Middle East and Latin America. With lyrics containing sharp analysis and satire, Rovic’s brings a sense of fun and hope to his shows. His hope is inspired by a strong identification with the movements for social change of which he is very much a part. During his shows in New Zealand last year, he made himself aware of the local social issues and supported the direct action of the ANZAC Ploughshares Community who are currently awaiting trial for deflating a dome covering an intelligence gathering satellite dish at the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough. Cutting edge analysis, beautiful poetry, skilled guitar playing, standing with those who struggle for peace and justice, David Rovics passion is inspiring and his humour infectious. His concert should not be missed. Download music: www.davidrovics.com Contact for interview: drovics@gmail.com

Itinerary:

Friday, August 14th, 7:30 pm, Riverside Community and Cultural Centre, Inland Moutere Highway, RD2 Upper Moutere, Motueka

Saturday, August 15th, Show for grownups..., Newtown Community & Cultural Centre, Corner Rintoul and Colombo Streets, Newtown, Wellington

Sunday, August 16th, Show for KIDS!, Newtown Community & Cultural Centre, Corner Rintoul and Colombo Streets, Newtown, Wellington

Tuesday, August 18th, Poverty Bay Club, Gisborne

Wednesday, August 19th, Mosiac Church, Newton Rd, Mt Maunganui, Tauranga

Thursday, August 20th, 8 pm, Wine Cellar, St. Kevin's Arcade, Karangahape Road, Auckland

Moana Cole: moanacole.barrister@paradise.net.nz Tel: 027 6609335

CALLING ALL NEW ZEALANDERS: JOIN THE NEXT SOLIDARITY BRIGADE TO VENEZUELA! DECEMBER 1-9, 2009
Organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution led by President Hugo Chavez is shaking up global politics and inspiring millions of ordinary people with the evidence that a better – a peaceful, democratic and socially just – world is possible.
* Whereas in Australia and Aotearoa, public health, education and infrastructure is being run down or privatised, in Venezuela, major industries are being nationalised and put under workers’ control, and universal access to health, education and social welfare is now guaranteed.
* Whereas in Australia and Aotearoa, workers are being sacked, and wages and conditions are being eroded under the guise of “weathering” the economic crisis, in Venezuela, wages are increasing, and union membership and organisation is growing.
The Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network-organised brigades to Venezuela are a unique opportunity to see an unfolding revolution first-hand. The AVSN warmly welcomes the participation of New Zealanders on the brigades. Participants in the December 1-9, 2009, brigade will visit worker-controlled factories and cooperatives, free public education and health programs, and community media outlets. They will observe “popular power” at work in communal councils, and speak to a range of grassroots organisations, unions and government representatives about the radical changes being implemented by the Venezuelan people.
The AVSN has organised nine solidarity brigades to Venezuela, involving more than 165 participants. These study/solidarity tours are inspiring experiences, providing an opportunity to observe and understand why Venezuela’s goal of creating “socialism of the 21st century’’ is transforming the world.
Brigade organisation and costs: The deadline for registering for the December 2009 brigade to Venezuela is October 31, 2009. Participants will need to book their own international airfares, but the brigade organisers can help with advice. Accommodation, transport and English translation within Venezuela will be organised for brigade participants. You will need to budget for a total cost of approximately $4000. This includes: international return airfare and taxes; accommodation (twin-share basis); transport and food in Venezuela; and the brigade registration fee ($500 for workers, $300 for full-time students or pensioners). Reports and photos from previous AVSN brigades are posted at http://www.venezuelasolidarity.org. For more information, please email brigades@venezuelasolidarity.org

27TH SOUTHERN CROSS BRIGADE TO CUBA
"A better world is possible": The Cuban people have proven that there is another way. ICAP (the Cuban Institute for Friendship between Peoples) provides, through its Brigades, the opportunity for people from all over the world to experience and participate in the Cuban revolutio.

What does the Brigade entail?
Join the Southern Cross work/study tour and support Cuba in the most direct manner by working (picking fruit or pruning fruit trees, etc) and then visiting schools, hospitals, urban agriculture projects, etc You will experience at first hand the cultural, political and social conditions in revolutionary Cuba. This year we will be having a closer look at Cuba’s innovative approaches to the environment and climate change. Children are welcome on this tour as are older participants. Our Cuban hosts take great care of visitors of all ages. The main features of the Brigade include:
* Talks on various aspects of conditions in Cuba given by prominent Cuban speakers;
* Working with Cubans;
* Visits to places of interest (eg schools, hospitals, factories);
* Opportunities to explore Havana independently;
* Visits to provincial centres;* Homestays and visit to Las Tunas Province

Unbeatable value – $1000. (Includes: All meals, accommodation, excursions and transportation in Cuba during program). Not included:
- Air travel to Cuba - get in early to book your flights! (Check out Aerolineas for cheap flights. There are now also weekly flights with Continental from Los Angeles to Havana.)
- Compulsory travel insurance
- Any additional nights stay in Cuba prior to commencement of the Brigade or following the conclusion of the program (prior to the flight home). Inexpensive accommodation is available – opportunity for independent tourism

Contacts: NZ Paul Maunder (03) 732 4010 email wkcultur@ihug.co.nz; Ina Lawrence (09) 303 1755 email inashina@clear.net.nz Australia Robert Cooper – National Coordinator of the 27th Southern Cross Brigade – 0408 624 629, email robert@conceptis.com.au or write to PO Box 6139 Kingston ACT 2604.

WAIHOPAI SPYBASE PROTEST JANUARY 22-24, 2010
The Waihopai spybase was dragged into the public spotlight in April 2008 when three Ploughshares peace activists penetrated its high security and deflated one of the two domes concealing its satellite dishes from the NZ public. The Anti-Bases Campaign was happy to support this non-violent direct action anti-war activity (which is yet to come to trial). The public face of New Zealand’s role as an American ally is the NZ military presence in Afghanistan. But New Zealand’s most significant contribution to that, and other American wars, including the one in Iraq, is the Waihopai electronic intelligence gathering base, located in the Waihopai Valley, near Blenheim. It is controlled by the US, with New Zealand (including Parliament and the Prime Minister) having little or no idea what goes on there, let alone any control.
First announced in 1987, Waihopai is operated by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) in the interests of the foreign Powers grouped together in the super-secret UKUSA Agreement (which shares global electronic and signals intelligence among the intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ). Its two satellite interception dishes intercept a huge volume of civilian telephone calls, telexes, faxes, e-mail and computer data communications. It spies on our Asia/Pacific neighbours, and forwards the material on to the major partners in the UKUSA Agreement, specifically the US National Security Agency (NSA). Its targets are international civilian communications involving New Zealanders, including the interception of international phone calls. Post- 9/11 the GCSB and Waihopai now spy further afield, to those regions where the US is waging wars. The codename for this – Echelon – has become notorious worldwide as the vast scope of its spying has become public. New Zealand is an integral, albeit junior part of a global spying network, a network that is ultimately accountable only to its own constituent agencies, not governments, not citizens.
Join us for the weekend of anti-war protest at this spybase. Come prepared for roughing it and camping out. We provide the food (we cater for vegetarians but vegans will have to bring their own). Bring sleeping bag, groundsheet, a tent, torch, water bottle, eating utensils, clothing for all weather, and $40 (or $20 unwaged) to cover costs. No open fires.
How to find our camp at Whites Bay: turn off SH1 at Tuamarina (9km north of Blenheim or 20 km south of Picton) and drive to Rarangi on the coast. Follow the steep Port Underwood Road over the hilltop before descending to the Whites Bay turnoff. There is a DoC public camp at the bay with basic facilities. ABC has to pay a fixed charge per head.
This will be the first Waihopai spybase protest since the Domebusters’ courageous 2008 citizens’ deflation action. Waihopai does not operate in the interests of New Zealanders or our neighbours. Basically it is a foreign spybase on NZ soil and directly involves us in America’s wars Waihopai must be closed.

Register to take part in the protest ($40 waged / $20 unwaged). Writre to: CLOSE THE WAIHOPAI SPYBASE NOW! Organised by the Anti-Bases Campaign, P.O. Box 2258, Christchurch. E-mail cafca@chch.planet.org.nz www.converge.org.nz/abc Make all cheques to ABC

NOMINATIONS FOR 2009 ROGER AWARD
Nominations are now open for the 2009 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand, which is organised the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa and GATT Watchdog. You can download the nomination form (in either Word or PDF) from http://canterbury.cyberplace.co.nz/community/CAFCA/publications/Roger/index.html Nominations close on October 31, 2009. Send your nomination to: The Roger Award, Box 2258, Christchurch; e-mail cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

AUCKLAND HERITAGE PEACE WALK
9.00am Sunday 27 September, QEII Square - New Zealand is the starting place for a World March for Peace and Nonviolence which will travel around the globe with stops in 90 countries, beginning with an event in Auckland, to be followed by the official launch in Wellington on 2 October. The World March was initiated by the organisation World Without Wars. The objectives of the World March are: •To give a voice to the majority of world citizens who want peace by having them send out a unified signal •To create global awareness of the urgent need to condemn of all forms of violence and bring about real peace •By highlighting the work of individuals and organizations around the world to end violence and promote peace, citizens who are moved to support this work will be empowered to do so. Aotearoa-New Zealand was chosen in recognition of: •The nonviolence traditions of Moriori and Parihaka •Being the first country to grant women the vote •Being the only country to have a Minister for Disarmament •Our inclusion of peace studies in the school curriculum and the establishment of Peace Cities •Our moves towards peaceful resolution of past injustices to Tangata Whenua and other ethnic communities
•Our nuclear-free status •Our government’s support for the UN. The Auckland Heritage Peace Walk Launch is Auckland’s welcome to the international participants in the World March. The walk will visit various peace landmarks around the central city, ending at St Matthew-in-the-City with performances, exhibits, music and speakers. Sites on the walk include: • Rainbow Warrior mural, Marsden Wharf
• The Peace Place, Emily Place • Memorial - Tiananmen Square Massacre , Maclaurin Chapel, Princes St, • Albert Park - the band rotunda • Gateway sculpture, Victoria St • Suffragette mural, Khartoum Place. Local individuals and groups have endorsed the World March including: Helen Clark, Jim Anderton, Jacinda Ardern, Phil Goff, Phil Twyford, Sir Paul Reeves, Kerry Prendergast, Dr Kate Dewes, Marion Hancock, Kevin Clements, Pauline Tangiora, Moana Manipoto, Yulia, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Disarmament and Security Centre, The Peace Foundation, Oxfam, United Nations Association of NZ. We are seeking further endorsements as well as participation in the Auckland Heritage Peace Wal. Auckland co-ordinators for the volunteer team organising the Auckland events: Audrey van Ryn: 368 1516 audrey@writeaway.co.nz and Wende Jowsey: wende@jowsey.com www.worldmarch.co.nz www.theworldmarch.org

BEST ON THE WEB

NEW ZEALAND

SAS troops join foreign occupation of Afghanistan http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0908/S00111.htm

NZ SAS: complicit in torture & civilian casualties http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0908/S00115.htm

Gordon Campbell: A Man, A Plan - Afghanistan! Combatting the threat of global terrorism and bringing stability to the Afghan government are John Key’s current soundbite rationales for sending in the SAS. Since we have given the SAS only 18 months, this seems a fairly tall order. http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2009/08/11/gordon-campbell-sas-going-dutch-%e2%80%93-or-canadian/

Cowardice in Afghanistan: News reports over the weekend confirm what most people who have followed the Afghanistan conflict have known for many years – New Zealand was a participant in US operations which led to torture, abuse and death of suspects. http://johnminto.org.nz/cowardice-in-afghanistan/

Watchdog Watch: Jane Kelsey On Her SIS File “My experience since applying for my SIS file last November reveals two things: there is still no accountability for SIS actions in gathering intelligence on lawful dissent; and the SIS is apparently targeting academic critics of failed free market policies at a time when debate is needed most.” http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0908/S00094.htm

SIS – New decade same old crap!! Gatt Watchdog is supporting Professor Jane Kelsey’s demand for the release of her Security Intelligence Service (SIS) file. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0908/S00099.htm

Heavy-handed SIS spies threaten academic freedom: “We cannot afford to have a society where the SIS is spying on academics who are simply doing their job,” says TEU president Dr Tom Ryan. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/ED0908/S00029.htm

Have a look at this video on the campaign to save Auckland's assets under the super city: http://www.issues.co.nz/notyourstosell/Videos

MPs caught wallowing in the trough http://johnminto.org.nz/mps-caught-wallowing-in-the-trough/

Paula Bennett fails to attend trial - found guilty in absentia http://socialistaotearoa.blogspot.com/2009/08/paula-bennett-fails-to-attend-trial.html

FEATURES

Books that counter our "training" to make war: In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger asks his readers to set aside the usual summer holiday reading lists and reach for books that help us make sense of extraordinary times and to resist our "training" to make war. http://www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partid=543

The Great Hiroshima Cover-Up - In the weeks following the atomic attacks on Japan 64 years ago, and then for decades afterward, the United States engaged in airtight suppression of all film shot in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings. This included footage shot by U.S. military crews and Japanese newsreel teams. In addition, for many years, all but a handful of newspaper photographs were seized or prohibited. http://www.countercurrents.org/mitchell070809.htm

The Tragedy of Our 'Disappeared' Veterans By Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted August 12, 2009. How the justice system has been manipulated to put astonishing numbers of vets with PTSD and other psychiatric injuries behind bars. http://www.alternet.org/world/140828/the_tragedy_of_our_%27disappeared%27_veterans/

Big Ideas That Changed The World - Democracy Must Watch Video: Tony Benn is a former Labour MP and cabinet minister in Britain.In this BBC film, Tony Benn looks at how the concept of democracy developed and spread across the world over the centuries from its beginnings in Ancient Greece. Particularly considers the impact of extending the vote to more people in 19th century Britain and the state of democracy in 20th century Britain. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23238.htm

More of the Same in Latin America By MARK WEISBROT: There were great hopes in Latin America when President Obama was elected. U.S. standing in the region had reached a low point under George W. Bush, and all of the left governments expressed optimism that Obama would take Washington’s policy in a new direction. These hopes have been dashed. President Obama has continued the Bush policies and in some cases has done worse. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/12/opinion/12iht-edweisbrot.html

WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS

Faulty Forecasting By Ralph Nader: Unlike sloppy plumbers and carpenters who pay a price for their mistakes, Wall Street forecasters seem to be paid very well despite being chronically wrong. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23228.htm

What the mainstream press can learn from a Goldman takedown By Dean Starkman: http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/taibbi_goldman.php

FOOD, FARMING AND THE ENVIRONMENT

21st Century Climate Blueprints By Andrew Glikson: The severe disturbance of the energy balance of the atmosphere ensuing from the emission of over 320 billion tonnes of carbon since 1750 threatens a shift in the state of the atmosphere/ocean system to ice free greenhouse Earth conditions http://www.countercurrents.org/glikson120809.htm

The Plight of the Tuna: Greenpeace Calls On Scientists To Save Tuna: Greenpeace today urged the fifth annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Scientific Committee to do more to end overfishing of Pacific bigeye and yellowfin tuna, by calling for larger reductions in fishing http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0908/S00215.htm

REVIEWS

Getting your class organized - Sarah Knopp reviews a new book that looks at the class stratification in our schools. PATRICK FINN'S Literacy with an Attitude, which State University of New York Press re-released this year, is indispensable reading for socialist and social justice educators. http://socialistworker.org/2009/08/05/getting-your-class-organized

Not the public's enemy - Public Enemies could have been an exciting movie about a gangster who defied the banks and law enforcement. Amanda Maystead explains why it wasn't. http://socialistworker.org/2009/08/04/not-the-publics-enemy

Sicko: Movie By Michael Moore - Moore shows us how France, England, Canada and - yikes! - Cuba actually help sick people instead of letting them wither and die for lack of health insurance. Then he instructs us to loot those places for ideas. Anti-American? Hell, no. Moore argues that if another country builds a better car, we buy it. If it crafts a better wine, we drink it. Why not free universal health care? http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23246.htm

AFGHANISTAN

Afghan War: NATO Makes History's First Global Army http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0908/S00196.htm

ECUADOR

Ecuador's Correa vows socialism in a slow economy http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN1048074020090810?rpc=401&

HONDURAS

"People Are In The Streets Every Day" http://www.alternet.org/world/141837/honduras%3A_%22people_are_in_the_streets_every_day%22/

Honduras coup: Dress rehearsal for imperial coups across Latin America http://links.org.au/node/1192

Honduras Anti-Coup Marchers Defy Media Conviction that They Do Not Exist: Myriad anti-coup marches en route from different parts of Honduras have merged into eight and are set to converge tomorrow, August 11, on the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. http://www.narconews.com/Issue59/article3756.html

INDIA

Should Indian Leaders Who Spend Billions On Submarines While Others Starve Go Unpunished? Indian Prime Minister Mammohan Singh launched a 3 billion dollar nuclear submarine. A submarine made at the cost of taking bread from the mouths and life from the chests of Prime Minister Singh’s fellow citizens. India is a gigantic torture chamber for the 47% of its children under five who suffer malnutrition http://www.countercurrents.org/janson120809.htm

PACIFIC

Samoa: Who needs the neach? http://readingthemaps.blogspot.com/2009/08/who-needs-beach.html

Indonesia: No progress by police investigation into killing of peaceful Papuan protester http://www.amnesty.org.au/news/comments/21516/

SOUTH KOREA

Ssangyong workers occupy plant, win partial victory -- Class war in midst of economic crisis http://linksorg.au/node/1187

UK

Vestas workers end occupation, but `the campaign is anything but over' http://links.org.au/node/1190

Revealed: Big Brother Britain has more CCTV cameras than China: Britain has one and a half times as many surveillance cameras as communist China, despite having a fraction of its population, shocking figures revealed yesterday. http://snipurl.com/pohuo

Paranoid, suspicion, obsessive surveillance - and a land of liberty destroyed by stealth Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1205676/Paranoid-suspicion-obsessive-surveillance--land-liberty-destroyed-stealth.html#ixzz0O3ErlcCY

USA

Explosive Allegations: Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder http://www.alternet.org/world/141763/explosive_allegations%3A_blackwater_founder_implicated_in_murder_/

Most Americans oppose Afghanistan war: poll: In a new low in public support for the war effort, 54 per cent of respondents said they opposed the US-led fight against the Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies, with only 41 per cent in favour http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25895398-12335,00.html

Time for United States to keep promise on nuclear disarmament: Today, the United States still possesses more than 9,000 nuclear warheads, approximately 2,000 of them on hair-trigger alert, ready to deploy and explode within 30 minutes of launch. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2009605884_guest06eichholz.html

About half of U.S. mortgages seen underwater by 2011: The percentage of U.S. homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will nearly double to 48 percent in 2011 from 26 percent at the end of March, portending another blow to the housing market, Deutsche Bank said on Wednesday. http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-Housing/idUSTRE5745JP20090805

Labor's last stand: The corporate campaign to kill the Employee Free Choice Act http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/07/0082563

War "Hero" Tackles US Over Degrading Prison Conditions By Rupert Cornwell: When it comes to sending people to jail, America is the undisputed world champion. In 1970, a mere 200,000 people were behind bars. Last year, 2.3 million were held in federal, state and county prisons, more than 1 per cent of all adults in the US and five times the international average. Blacks, predictably, bear the brunt of this compulsion to incarcerate, accounting for 40 per cent of the prison population. This punishment industry gives work to more than two million, more even than the 1.7 million employed in higher education. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23229.htm

Inside Story on Town Hall Riots: Right-Wing Shock Troops Do Corporate America's Dirty Work http://www.alternet.org/rights/141860/inside_story_on_town_hall_riots%3A_right-wing_shock_troops_do_corporate_america%27s_dirty_work/

Can Labor Get Out of This Mess? By David Bacon Truthout.org: http://www.truthout.org/081109R?print

The patriotic service of Leonard Peltier versus the treason of Scooter Libby http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/7/2007/1560

Dean Baker: Governor Palin's Crazed Health Care Rant As a basic rule, politicians will say anything they can get away with. If an effective politician thinks that he can call his opponent a drug-dealing, serial-murdering gangster, and have the charge taken seriously by the media, then he will do it, even ... http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0908/S00085.htm

VENEZUELA

Socialist party prepares for ‘transition to socialism’; PSUV discussion document http://linksorg.au/node/1197

Freedom of speech, fantasies and double standards by Federico Fuentes, Caracas http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/806/41449

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's /Foreign Correspondent/ current affairs TV program screened on August 11, titled “Hugo Chavez: Total Control ” did nothing to shore up the ABC’s reputation for well-informed, accurate reporting. Eric Campbell's report from Venezuela was riddled with inaccuracies, half-truths and transparent biases that need to be corrected. The program’s main message –- that President Hugo Chavez is “the dominator… aiming for total control” in Venezuela -– is the stock-standard propaganda being peddled by a mainstream media that refuses to recognise or reflect the voices of the poor majority in Venezuela. Full article at http://links.org.au/node/1200

S. America concerned about US military in Colombia http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gRttmbmYwQjgM9zUeHXcQQ8SVXjwD9A0BS580

U.S. Plan Raises Ire in Latin America - Troops, Planes Would Use Colombian Bases http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080703431.html
ends


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