Thursday, July 26, 2007

'Artists for the Burrup' art auction

Sunday 29 July 2007, 2-5pm (Viewing Sat 2-5pm, Sun 10-2pm)
Moores Building, 46 Henry Street, Fremantle.

Friends of Australian Rock Art (FARA) is hosting an art auction at the Moores Building, 46 Henry Street, Fremantle, on Sunday 29th July 2007.

'Artists for the Burrup' has attracted a diverse range of immensely collectable artworks by many of WA's top artists including Robert Juniper, Sally Morgan, Julie Dowling, Norma MacDonald, Jody Broun, Loreen Samson, Pippin Drysdale, Sandra Black, Richard Woldendorp, Frances Andrijich, Greg Crowe, Elizabeth Durack, Iris Francis, David Gregson, Hans Arkeveld, Tony Jones, Mac Betts, Cedric Baxter, Alex Spremberg, Marie Haass, Michael Iwanoff, Harry Hummerston and many more.

"The response to our invitation to artists has been overwhelming", says auction convenor, Ms. Judith Hugo. "The range and standard of the artworks registered for the auction makes this particular event very special."
"Artists are especially concerned about the destruction of our ancient cultural heritage and this event provides them with a unique opportunity to show their support for our campaign," says Ms. Hugo. "A busload of concerned people has just returned from the Burrup / Murujuga where they were blown away by the ancient and spiritual significance of the rock carvings. It is the oldest and largest gallery of man's earliest artistic expression – far older than the pyramids and Stonehenge – and all here in WA's industrial backyard! "

Funds raised will go towards FARA's efforts to increase local, national and international public awareness of the fragile and unique heritage value of the ancient rock art on Murujuga/The Burrup.

For more information visit the website standupfortheburrup.com.

This event is kindly sponsored by the City of Fremantle and the Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Elliot on cyber-hiatus

Taking a break from smashing the state for a little while... about to get really busy offline - ek

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Howard's assault into indigenous communities - Land Grab

July 16, 2007: The Howard Government's assault into indigenous communities in the Northern Territory is to access valuable uranium deposits, and not to protect children from abuse, a rally was told in Melbourne last week. More than a hundred community organisations have since criticised the government's plan.

They have described it as a land grab...

Robbie Thorpe, who was also part of the Black GST and Camp Sovereignty protests during the Stolenwealth Games in Melbourne last year, says the Howard is not interested in the welfare of indigenous children.

"It's the only bit of land the commonwealth government hasn't got access to and there are minerals like uranium there," Mr Thorpe told the rally. "That's what it's about. How can you believe Howard? He don't give a f**k about our kids."

He said Indigenous Australians had suffered from 100 years of abuse. "You have taken our people to the brink. "There has been 100 years of human rights' crimes against our people," he said. "Things are not going to change until there is a treaty in this country."

500 people joined the rally. The protest was part of a national day of action being held in capital cities and Alice Springs. In Perth, 120 people rallied. The crowd heard from Ray Jackson from the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Mark Newhouse from the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and Mark Lawrence from Friends of Australian Rock Art.

About 200 people of all ages and races took part in a demonstration through Canberra to protest against the intervention in Northern Territory communities, likening it to the "Children Overboard" scandal of 2001, or as a land grab or election stunt.

One of the founding members of the Aboriginal tent embassy, Isabell Coe, said the days of Aboriginal people being used as a "political football" had to come to an end. "...what he is doing is disgusting, it is one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen," she said about John Howard's invasion of Aboriginal Lands.

In Sydney, protesters were angry about the compulsory acquisition of remote indigenous communities and the abolition of the permit system, which they consider a land grab. Aboriginal leader Pat Turner said a six-month intervention would be acceptable but had to be done in partnership with local Aborigines.

Mick Dobson says the federal government does not need to seize land from indigenous communities to combat child abuse in the Northern Territory. He said today he feared the government's seizure of 73 communities in the NT was a land grab. "That's what I'm worried about," Prof Dodson said.

"I don't for the life of me understand what the connection between child abuse and land tenure is, why the land tenure has to be given up, albeit for a short period of time according to the prime minister. The two things are not connected," he said to corporate media. "Why steal the land to deal with child sexual abuse?"

Prof Dodson said he, like his brother Pat Dodson, was finding it hard to trust the government on indigenous issues.

SOURCES:
News Ltd
GLW
Canberra Times
Sydney Morning Herald

Julie Bishop's nuclear waste dump in earthquake zone

July 18, 2007 - The Northern Territory site recently nominated for a national nuclear waste facility by the Federal government is near one of the nation's earthquake hotspots. Muckaty Station is about 120km north of Tennant Creek - one of the most seismologically active areas in Australia...

There have been 239 earthquakes in that area in the past decade and 1298 earthquakes since 1988. Tennant Creek had a 6.3 quake in 1988, according to Geoscience Australia, which tore up the town.

Anti-nuclear waste dump campaigners have long condemned the nomination of Muckaty Station as a site.

The Environment Centre NT says it's "political expediency rather than proper scientific evaluation in terms of siting a waste dump," she said. Seismologists say the frequent quakes are due to a fault line running through the area. "The quakes are frequent, due to a weak fault-line running through the area," Geoscience Australia said. Two small quakes have hit the Tennant Creek area in the past three weeks.

The proposed nuclear waste dump site has been opposed by environmentalists, the NT Government and traditional owners. Despite overwhelming community opposition, the Federal Government seems determined to let nothing stand in its way to procure a site in the Northern Territory to dump its radioactive waste.

ASEN* say that despite giving an "absolute categorical assurance" that the NT would not be targeted for a Commonwealth dump, in June 2005 the Howard government announced that three defence sites in the NT would be assessed for suitability. All sites have people living within 10 kilometres. None of the sites were short listed when the Federal Government undertook a scientific study to find a site.

At a media conference in June 2005, then Science Minister Brendan Nelson expressed the reasoning behind targeting the NT, asking "why on earth can't people in the middle of nowhere have low level and intermediate level waste?"

The Northern Land Council has offered overt support for the NT dump proposal. Yet, according to ASEN* many Elders have spoken out to strongly oppose a dump on their own country, and have travelled to NT parliament and interstate to voice their concerns.

The NLC also supported Science Minister Julie Bishop’s recent amendments to the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act, which further restrict opportunities for public input into site selection for the dump. The changes to the legislation mean that a nomination of a site by a Land Council will no longer require:

+ consultation with the traditional owners
+ that the nomination be understood by the traditional owners
+ that the traditional owners have consented as a group
+ that any community that may be affected has been consulted and had adequate opportunity to express its views

The proposed changes also remove the right of any group to appeal site nomination on the grounds of procedural fairness.

The risk of transporting radioactive waste is also major concern for communities living along potential routes.

NUCLEAR PLOY

Recently, Dr Helen Caldicott, an anti-nuclear activist of more than 20 years, said she feared Prime Minister John Howard would turn Australia into the dumping ground for the world's nuclear waste. She said the takeover of Aboriginal land titles, part of the government's assault on Indigenous communities, is a ruse to clear the way for the dumping of waste in remote areas.

"The land grab from the Aborigines is actually about uranium and nuclear waste," Dr Caldicott said. "It is obvious - you don't take land away from people just because their children are being sexually abused." Dr Caldicott said Australia should reject nuclear power, ban uranium mining and concentrate on developing renewable energies such as wind, solar and hot rocks.

She said the health consequences of uranium mining, nuclear power and nuclear power plants were serious and would induce epidemics of disease, malignancy and deformity that would be experienced for generations.

"Australia is in great danger of becoming a major nuclear nation now," she said. "I think it is very, very, very dangerous medically. I am worried that people making decisions do not understand medicine or genetics. They (the government) are being pushed by the economy and wealthy corporations, like Western Mining and BHP Billiton, who seem to have no regard for the health and well-being of this generation and all future generations."

KE07

*Terrorising the Territory with Toxic Trash - ASEN, jan07.

Sources:
Herald Sun
Terrorising the Territory with Toxic Trash - ASEN
NUCLEAR DUMP DANGEROUS FOR TERRITORY - Foe
Geoscience Australia
National Indigenous Times: NT takeover ploy for nuclear waste dump
Wikinews - Opposing_a_nuclear_waste_dump_in_the_Northern_Territory
Australian government paves way for nuclear waste dump in Northern Territory

WA Police "brutal" attack on peaceful protesters over nuke dump

From the newswire: On Friday 13th June 2007, around 40 people from across Australia converged in Subiaco, to deliver a letter to Federal Science minister Julie Bishop over her proposed NT nuclear waste dump. During the peaceful action, witnesses say WA Police used "brutal" and "excessive force" to break up the action. Two anonymous witnesses, both veterans of dozens of local NVDA demonstrations, told Perth Indymedia on Friday afternoon that the police action was "horrific", the "worst behaviour by members of the WA Police they had ever seen at any protest in Perth..."


READ MORE: Pepper Spray and Batons Used at Bishop’s Office


After an initial discussion with the Minister outside her office, the group walked into the foyer to deliver their letter. As the group were asked to vacate, without warning police used batons and pepper spray to attack the campaigners inside the minister's office. Witnesses say one officer grabbed a woman by the hair before producing his baton and using it on random people.

Described by witnesses as "brutal" and "disgusting", officers targetted people with cameras including an elderly woman who was pushed to the ground. A young woman was pinned to the ground by an officer, her video camera seized and confiscated by police for evidence. It is understood five people were charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing police and assault - despite the excessive force sisplayed by police. Three people were hospitalised as many others were treated on the scene by paramedics.

The group, representing dozens of environmental and student organisations from around Australia, were delivering a letter to Ms Bishop requesting she visit the communities affected by her Nuclear waste dump.
A participant in the national action, Toby Lee, told corporate media that police launched an "unprovoked attack" on the congregation. "As I was leaving," he said, "I was directly sprayed with capsicum spray into my eyes 10 centimeters from my face without warning". Another activist, Natalie Wasley, told corporate media she was negotiating a peaceful exit with police officers as inside they began using their batons. Read More...

"We didn't get a chance to leave peacefully. The police just started pepper spraying people, hitting them with batons and throwing them to the floor. It was absolutely shameful." Ms Walsey denied the group provoked the violence. Protesters left the office with eyes streaming and burnt faces, after being struck with batons and pepper sprayed...

READ MORE/Comment...

BE THE MEDIA: Publish your media/got photos/video/audio...?

Interviews on Perth Indymedia Radio - Weds 7-8PM RTRFM 92.1

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Students of Sustainability Conference - Perth July 07


Students of Sustainability Conference 2007 (SoS).
From the newswire: SoS is being held at Murdoch University in Perth 9 – 13 July! If you have an interested in anything from water to climate change, modifications you can make to your house to the nuclear fuel cycle and biodiversity, SoS has something for you. There are also sessions on social justice, militarism, indigenous caring for country, genetic engineering and much much much more.

There will be big name speakers, panel discussions, practical workshops, time to meet people from across Australia and chat about how we are going to create a sustainable world and much more. With a proud history as a conference which launched campaigns such as the Jabiluka Campaign and has inspired thousands of people to become life-long change makers, SoS is now in its 16th year and is the largest environment and social justice conference in the country.

Come along and be part of this amazing experience, at this years SoS – Solutions for Change, because everybody is a Student of Sustainability.

REGISTER NOW and find out more information at studentsofsustainability.org for an amazing week. You can attend for the whole week or even just one day - the draft program is available online.

READ MORE/Comment...

Howard admits to killing Iraqis for oil security


July 5, 2007: Despite the denials of 2003, the Howard Government has now admitted that oil security is indeed a major factor in Australia's perpetual military involvement in Iraq. Defence Minister Brendan Nelson says oil was a factor in Australia's contribution to the extremely unpopular war. He said "energy security" in the Middle East would be crucial to the nation's future. Dr Nelson said defence was about protecting the economy.

Dr Nelson also said it was important to support the "prestige" of the US and UK...

"The entire (Middle East) region is an important supplier of energy, oil in particular, to the rest of the world. Australians and all of us need to think well what would happen if there were a premature withdrawal from Iraq?" said Dr Nelson.

In a major speech outlining the Government's defence priorities, Mr Howard said Australian troops need to stay in Iraq to ensure a continued supply of oil, as well as to assist the United States.

In 2003, as Australia followed the US invasion into Iraq, Mr Howard told Australians it was because Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction".

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd said the conflict had killed 600,000 Iraqis while pushing their country into civil war, jeopardising global oil supplies and strengthening Iran's threat to Iraq. Mr Rudd said: "When Mr Howard was asked back in 2003 whether this war had anything to do with oil, Mr Howard said in no way did it have anything to do with oil. This Government simply makes it up as it goes along on Iraq."

As a "magnet, inspiration and training ground for international jihadists", the Iraq war has boosted Australia up the ranks of countries targeted by terrorism, Mr Rudd said. It had been a mistake to send troops into Iraq, he said.

"Australia's involvement in the Iraq war continues to make Australia a greater terrorism target than we'd otherwise be. The uncomfortable fact for Australia is that we have now become a greater terrorist target as a consequence of our military involvement in Iraq, a fact acknowledged by many experts in the field," said Mr Rudd.

Greens Leader Bob Brown said the Prime Minister's belated admission that the invasion of Iraq is linked to 'the major stake of energy dependency' underlines his dishonesty in 2003. "Saddam Hussein's oil, not weapons of mass destruction, was in the Bush-Blair-Howard mindset in this monumental mistake which has cost a
reported 67,000 civilian lives (the Lancet estimates 655,000 deaths)," Senator Brown said.

"It has boosted global terrorism and undermined Australia's homeland security. Mr Howard has put oil corporations' interests ahead of Australians domestic security," Senator Brown said.

Democrats leader Senator Lyn Allison said the government had been denying the link between oil and the war for years. "After years of denials the Howard government has finally conceded that oil and powerful mates were behind sending Australian troops to a bloody war in Iraq," she said. "This has been a despicable fraud. Countless lives have been lost and a society torn apart based on lies. And yet the prime minister's repeated refrain is 'trust me'. How can we believe anything this man says about anything?"

"The reality is money and oil and powerful mates were always key reasons for going into Iraq despite ruses about weapons of mass destruction. Now he says the international terror threat is one reason for staying the course but that terror threat would not have been so great had it not been for catastrophic policy decisions like the ones the Howard Government has made," said Senator Allison.

Meanwhile a new report suggests that Australia is not directly threatened by terror. A national security review has found Australia faces no direct conventional threat but ought to be ready anyway for unforeseen events. The review, Australia’s National Security: A Defence Update 2007, was released today by prime minister John Howard at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Global Forces 2007 conference.

An increase of 47 percent in the Defence budget since the Howard government came to power has provided the Australian Defence Forces with a greatly enhanced military capability. Howard, who has committed Australia's military to a $43bn build-up, said Canberra had buried the "self-defeating" idea that Australia's military should be based on home defence.

Australia has about 1,500 troops in and around Iraq.

SOURCES:
The Age
The Australian
The Australian
ABC Radio
Aljazeera
Courier Mail
Independent Broadcast Network
ABC News

Howard's indigenous land-grab military-invasion opens door to nuclear waste dump


July 4, 2007: Prim Minister John Howard's electioneering intervention in the Northern Territory is a ploy to allow the dumping of nuclear waste in the outback, anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott says.

Radical measures announced by Mr Howard last week include welfare restrictions, compulsory health checks for children, bans on alcohol and pornography, abolition of the Aboriginal lands permit system and extra police and defence forces to restore order.

Feminist Germaine Greer said she believes the suspension of the permit system by which outsiders' movements to and from communities was the worst aspect of the intervention...

Dr Helen Caldicott, an anti-nuclear activist of more than 20 years, said she feared Prime Minister John Howard would turn Australia into the dumping ground for the world's nuclear waste. She said the takeover of Aboriginal land titles, part of the Government's crackdown of child sexual abuse in indigenous communities, was a ruse to clear the way for the dumping of waste in remote areas.

"The land grab from the Aborigines is actually about uranium and nuclear waste," Dr Caldicott said at the Australian Medical Students' Association conference in Adelaide this week. "It is obvious - you don't take land away from people just because their children are being sexually abused."

Dr Caldicott said Australia should reject nuclear power, ban uranium mining and concentrate on developing renewable energies such as wind, solar and hot rocks. She said the health consequences of uranium mining, nuclear power and nuclear power plants were serious and would induce epidemics of disease, malignancy and deformity that would be experienced for generations.

"Australia is in great danger of becoming a major nuclear nation now," she said. "I think it is very, very, very dangerous medically. I am worried that people making decisions do not understand medicine or genetics. They (the Government) are being pushed by the economy and wealthy corporations, like Western Mining and BHP Billiton, who seem to have no regard for the health and well-being of this generation and all future generations. We as doctors now have to teach the politicians the implications of the ramifications of what they are currently considering."

Meanwhile, feminist writer Germaine Greer says Howard’s emergency measures to deal with child abuse in the Northern Territory are a land grab which he knows will be a certain vote-winner. Ms Greer said the move was a mask to remove native title rights to allow freer access to mining companies.

"Howard has never been happy with the fact that small groups of illiterate hunter-gatherers can still hamper and delay exploitation of Australia’s mineral wealth for as long as they did in the case of the Ranger uranium mine and Jabiluka," Ms Greer says in The Bulletin.

Ms Greer, who supports a treaty with Aboriginal people, said authorities had known about the abuse of Aboriginal women and children for 30 years. "Indeed, the Little Children Are Sacred report adds little in the way of hard facts to what we knew already," she said. "Where the report plays into Howard's hands is in its slightly hysterical demand for immediate, decisive, unspecified action."

"If native title means Australian industries are uncompetitive, then native title must go. The real importance of Howard’s bizarre interpretation of the urgings to immediate action contained in the Little Children Are Sacred report is that it provides kneejerk justification for massive erosion of Aboriginal title — Howard knows, none better, that this will be a sure vote-winner," said Ms Greer.

The Guardian Newspaper also reports that it’s a Federal "land grab". The Prime Minister’s Department has already had talks with mining companies. The Guardian asks: Why should anyone believe that these talks were "increasing employment for Indigenous people" or protecting the environment or sacred sites.

Of all the plans and policies implemented by the Howard Government, this attack on the Indigenous people is the most disgusting, says the Guardian - the most cynical and the most evil and dishonest. Anyone who claims that it is out of care for children is at best extremely na├»ve and ignorant, but much more likely complicit in Howard’s schemes.

It is another in the long list of lies — invasion of Iraq, children overboard, no GST, and all of the others. It is being used as an excuse to destroy native title and land rights, and as a pre-election ploy from a government that could not even say the word “Sorry” for the Stolen Generations — the thousands of children removed from their parents and communities.

Howard has refused to guarantee that Aboriginal land leased for five years by the Commonwealth will be handed back to the communities. In the meantime, it may be sub-leased to a mining company or any other company. Mining operations could be up and running within five years and by then the damage will have been done. The Howard Government has always been an enthusiastic servant of these corporations.

Dr Sally Cockburn, a Melbourne GP and medical commentator says: "Let them prove this is not shallow electioneering. Let them put in place a proper collaborative, sustainable response against child abuse throughout Australia," she writes in the Herald Sun. "Child sexual abuse in our country is an election issue because any party without a sustainable plan for dealing with it does not deserve to win office."

Pat Turner, former head of the now-defunct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, warned yesterday that the takeover could lead to indigenous people losing their lands altogether. "Redressing child abuse and enabling our children to live safely and healthily in our communities has absolutely nothing to do with land tenure," she said. "I believe that's why the Prime Minister called it a national emergency, because the Land Rights Act has a national interest clause,' she said.

Ms Turner said the Government's claim it had to take over the land so it wouldn't waste time negotiating with councils to make repairs and collect rents was a farce. "Rubbish," she said, "it's rubbish. If the Government is serious about this it can negotiate an arrangement and no community is going to say 'no, we don't want you to come in here and build us houses'.

A Galaxy poll this week found 58 per cent of voters believe the reforms are a vote-grabbing move while just 25 per cent think Prime Minister John Howard launched the scheme because he really cares about the problem.

SOURCES:
Brisbane Times
The Age
Border Mail
The Guardian
Herald Sun
The Australian
The Australian

All WA police to carry stun guns

July 5, 2007: Perth Indymedia research reveals that the WA Police Force has tendered for Supply and Delivery of Bulk TASER equipment at a cost of over four million dollars for another 1100 Taser stun-guns. WA Police say all officers on duty will soon be equipped with the so-called "non-lethal" stun guns.

Shaped like a gun but battery-operated, a Taser fires two fishhooklike barbs into a person's skin and disrupts a person's muscle control for five seconds. Taser darts have a range of over 6 metres and can be pressed directly against a person to use in stun mode. Victims say the pain is "excruciating". WA Police say officers will have a one-day training course on how to use the guns.

Tasers are used by over 7,000 of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the USA. Tasers incapacitate people by conducting 50,000 volts of electricity into your body which induce skeletal muscle spasms that immobilise and incapacitate, causing you to collapse.

More than 150 people have died in the US after being struck by tasers since June 2001 - 61 in 2005 alone - and numbers are continuing to rise. Most who died were subjected to multiple or prolonged shocks. In 2006, Nickolos Cyrus, a 29-year-old man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was shocked 12 times with a Taser stun gun after police found him trespassing on a construction site. AMNESTY

Police have fired Tasers at a teenager who ran after not paying a $1 bus fare, a 71-year-old man who refused to get into a police car, and a partially deaf man who couldn't hear deputies ordering him to stop. Three out of four of those shocked by police were unarmed.

Critics say Tasers are being drawn too quickly and with extreme unnecessary force. They worry about potential abuses as more officers come to rely on tasers to subdue people who pose no serious threat. Amnesty International has published a comprehensive report detailing serious concern over the use of tasers - calling for a suspension of Taser use pending an independent, rigorous and impartial inquiry into their use.

READ MORE/Comment...

MORE: Tasers Kill People - WA next? Perth Indymedia: Feb 2005 || Death by TASER: The Killer Alternative to Guns || Excessive and lethal force? Amnesty International’s concerns || Video of US Police Taser Abuse || SEARCH Perth Indy for "Taser"