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A pledge is not a pledge if…

5 Dec

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the paper that he did not regret the party’s proposal on the increased university tuition fees despite student backlash.

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Expect protests for G20 Seoul summit

6 Nov

Expect protests and counter-repression tactics during the upcoming G20 Seoul summit happening between 11 and 12 November. According to the NGO coalition, Put People First! Korean People’s G20 Response Action, which consists of an alliance of student, trade unions and other civil society participants, 200 foreign activists have already been banned from entering Seoul during the intergovernmental meeting.

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Why are they persecuting Wikileaks frontman, Julian Assange?

26 Oct

According to this New York Times report, Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange is on the run. Wanted by the U.S. government for the 1917 Espionage Act and facing sexual assault charges by the Swedish government, he believes he has also lost the possibility of refuge in other countries such as Britain and Iceland which are likely to hand him over to the Americans. Even Australia, where he was born, will do the same. In a reported conversation with an Australian senior official, the latter said, “You play outside the rules, and you will be dealt with outside the rules.”

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European corporations criticised for workers’ rights violations

2 Sep

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has just published a new report on its website, ‘A Strange Case’ highlighting the questionable labor practices of supposedly law abiding European corporations in America.

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A blast from the past – resettling Vietnamese refugees

31 Dec

According to an SMH report based on declassified documents, the former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was so paranoid about having refugees in the country that she asked Australia to buy an island for their resettlement.

The issue of force migration must have been a controversial issue even back then. This could be inferred from the drastic measures of the Malaysian government which chose to push back the boats that is believed to have caused many of the refugees to drown. It was also ironic that the former Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, was quoted as objecting to this resettlement plan as he was afraid that it might become a ‘rival entrepreneurial city’. This would contradict his social Darwinian views in which he believed that a prosperous society is based on being governed by ‘educated’ elites.

Malcolm Fraser, the Liberal Prime Minister then, rejected the plan for a refugee colony and Australia went on to receive about 220,000 Vietnamese refugees. He has also publicly criticised the Opposition for their fear-mongering propaganda against refugees.

As Obama’s administration escalates its war on terror (both in Afghanistan and Pakistan) coupled with climate change related catastrophes, the global issue of forced migration is expected to intensify. In that sense, it is time to re-examine the international laws on refugees (the 1951 Convention & 1967 protocol) which is clearly dated and leaves too much discretion to individual states in arbitrarily defining who constitutes a refugee.

Channel 4 – Dispatches – Israel Lobby in the UK

19 Nov

According to Peter Oborne and James Jones who made this documentary for channel 4, the influence of the pro- Israel lobby is significant in the UK. For example,during the production of this film,

… Many people who privately voiced concerns about the influence of the lobby simply felt they had too much to lose by confronting it. One national newspaper editor told us, “that’s one lobby I’ve never dared to take on.” From MPs, to senior BBC journalists and representatives of Britain’s largest charities, the pattern became depressingly familiar. Material would come flooding out on the phone or in a meeting, but then days later an email would arrive to say that they would not be able to take part. Either after consultation with colleagues or consideration of the potential consequences, people pulled out…

The power of the lobby has even extended to MPs who felt threatened to voice any doubts on Israel’s OPT policies:

… It was only senior MPs whose careers are winding down that felt able to voice what many MPs told us in private. One of them, Michael Mates, a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee and former Northern Ireland minister, told us on the record that “the pro-Israel lobby in our body politic is the most powerful political lobby. There’s nothing to touch them.” Mates added: “I think their lobbying is done very discreetly, in very high places, which may be why it is so effective.”..

Read the pamphlet html text from Open Democracy on the makings of this film.

Censoring WikiLeaks – Will Australia go German?

11 Apr

According to wikileaks, the German authorities have shut down German, without notice, a fortnight after the house of the domain sponsor, Theodor Reppe, was searched by the police. Continue reading