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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

POLICE ACTED UNLAWFULLY 

MAGISTRATE DISMISSES RUDDOCK HOUSE PROTEST CHARGE

Magistrate Taylor at Hornsby local court on Monday dismissed a charge of assault on police arising from the controversial refugee protest at the then Minister for Immigration, Philip Ruddock's house on Saturday 19 July.

Police had refused permission for the protest which went ahead after a Supreme Court judgement dismissing the police restraining action. On the day of the protest however a line of police blocked the protesters from reaching the vicinity of Ruddock's house.

Three people were arrested at the protest after police stopped the march 50 metres short of Ruddock's residence. Two of the protesters were released with no charge, but police charged Mia Kriznic, 24, a union organizer, with assault police.

Dismissing the charges against Kriznic today, magistrate Taylor found that police had not been acting lawfully in the execution of their duty. Talyor said it was clear, considering the Supreme Court judgement and all the evidence surrounding the events, that police had acted unlawfully by stopping the protest arbitrarily in Britannia Street.

"The decision by the magistrate today totally vindicates the refugee protest," said Ian Rintoul, a spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition which organized the march on Ruddock's house.

"We now expect an apology from the NSW police for their disruptive actions on the day and their attempt to undermine the democratic right to protest," he said.

"We are very concerned with the possibility of political interference in the police decision to block the march. We will be writing to the police to get an explanation of their decision and to find out who was responsible for the moves to subvert the Supreme Court decision allowing the march on Ruddock's house."

"We look forward to better co-operation with the NSW police in the future to safeguard and uphold the right to protest" said Ian Rintoul.

"The right to protest has been under considerable pressure in recent days both at a state and federal government level. There has even been attempts to silence parliamentarians during the recent visit by George Bush. We hope this decision will remind the politicians that the right to dissent is an essential democratic right that cannot be minimized without being lost," he said.

For more information contact; Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713 or Mia Kriznic 0423 593 344

ADI Residents Action Group website update 

The website of the ADI RAG has just been updated. On the front page you'll see a photo taken by Bernie of the great Greens for ADI projected image (using very bright lights they shone their protest onto the Blacktown Council Building and the Arnotts factory on the M4).

You can also access the entire ADI RAG submission on the draft Development Plan.

http://www.savetheadisite.bmt.com.au

Public Health Forum 

BE INFORMED BUT NOT DISARMED!
Attend a Public Forum on Saving Medicare: Public Health & Private Practice in Macarthur & South West Sydney and Launch of Macarthur Branch of Save Medicare Alliance
Date: Sunday, 2 November 2003
Time: 10.00am registration for 10.30 start to 12.30-1.00pm
Venue: Phillip Room, Campbelltown Catholic Club
Admission by donation. Ample PARKING available

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Professor Jeanette Ward (Area Director, Division of Population Health,
South West Sydney Area Health Service)
Professor John Dwyer (Clinical Program Director, Division of Medicine,
Prince of Wales Hospital & Chairperson, Australian Health Reform Alliance)
Mr Ian McAuley (Lecturer, School of Management & Policy, University of Canberra)

GUEST PANEL INCLUDES
Elizabeth Harris Director, Centre for Health, Equity, Training, Research & Evaluation, Liverpool Hospital, University of New South Wales
Dr Warwick Ruscoe Macarthur Division of General Practice
Dr Alf Liebhold Doctors' Reform Society
Mr Morrie Mifsud State President, Combined Pensioners' & Superannuants Association of NSW Inc

Councillor Brenton Banfield, Mayor of Campbelltown and Acting Chair, South Western Sydney Area Health Service shall act as raporteur.
Senator Ursula Stephens ALP Duty Senator, Macarthur Electorate & Member of the Senate Inquiry into Medicare will chair the Forum.

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION & REGISTRATION
The Audience shall be invited to comment or ask questions during the panel discussion. PLEASE REGISTER in advance to assist with catering by phoning the CPSA on 02 9281 3588, or by Fax 02 9281 9716 or by Email cpsa@cpsa.org.au
You may phone Bob Kijurina on 0409 369 863 for any general enquiries.

The Peace Movement rocks out! 

Way to go for some of the most awesome rallies to honour the arrival of Bush on Australian shores! Actions were held all around the country in the week leading up to, during and following George Bush?s 20-hour stay in Canberra, sending a clear message that there is a strong dissenting voice to the bloody, hypocritical and downright outrageous policies of Bush and Howard administrations.

In Sydney, around 6,000 people took to the streets on the evening of Bush's arrival. Entertained by local hip-hop artists and inspired by national and international speakers representing a variety of church, community, union, activist and political groups, demonstrators grasped democracy with both hands and gave it good hard shake. The vibe and passion of the crowd was electric and played no small part bolstering the confidence of federal MPs to take a stand during Bush?s address the next day.

On the morning of Bush's speech to a joint sitting of Parliament, five coaches from Sydney plus a cavalcade of cars joined 3000 people from other parts of Australia on the lawns of Parliament House. The security surrounding Bush?s visit in Canberra and the restrictions placed on protesters were farcical, given that the real terrorist was safely escorted through cleared streets by US Secret Service officials, helicopters, and thousands of Australian police.

(Not only were protesters relegated to the rear lawns of Parliament House, but we were kept more than 1000m away from the entrance. Even the speakers for the PA system had to be faced away from the so-called 'people's house', on the off-chance that Bush may hear some of the public outcry from which he is constantly scurrying. Police officers, significantly outnumbering protesters and with their batons fully extended tried unsuccessfully to prevent us from reaching the Lodge, although one demonstrator was run over and injured. The only consolation for this unnecessary display for state force occurred when a police dog to be used on demonstrators attacked an officer instead.)

Back inside the bowels of the locked-down Parliament, Bush gave his saccharine-laced, platitudinous praise for the US-Australia relationship, his speech peppered with blatant inaccuracies (the US' support for multilateralism and the arrest of Habib, to name but two). The only relief to the general obsequiousness of our pollies was provided by the actions of Bob Brown and Kerry Nettle. At this point (and I never thought I'd say this, but) thanks must go to CNN. If it weren't for them sneaking their camera into the Gallery and refusing to hand over the film to Parliamentary officials, we wouldn't have any footage of the Greens welcome disruption to this heavily scripted visit by the Imperial Overlord. The interjections of Senators Brown and Nettle, not to mention the physically aggressive way in which Liberal MPs sought to silence them,
ensured that international coverage of the visit focussed heavily on the anti-war movement in Australia.

All in all, the events of the past week were definitely an important victory for the anti-war movement in the on-going struggle for peace. Just the mere fact that Bush?s spontaneous interaction with the public (including journalists) was limited speaks volumes for just what an impact our global opposition has made.

But, as always, there is still much work to be done. The next meeting of the Stop the War Coalition will be held on Monday, 3 November at 7pm at the Lev 3, Spanish Club, Liverpool Street, Sydney. At this meeting we will be having a bit of a debrief on the Stop Bush actions, watching some footage from the rallies and discussing upcoming activities for the Coalition. (http://www.stopdubya.org)

The next action being supported by the Stop the War Coalition is the international day of protest on 9 November against Israel building an apartheid wall in Palestine. For more info contact Joyce on 9613 0201.

Anna Samson

Ethnic Communities Conference 

The Australian Malaysian Singaporean Association (AMSA) would like to invite representatives from your organisation to attend our 3rd annual Ethnic Communities Conference to be held on Saturday 29th of November 2003.

The topic for discussion this year is " Ethic communities and Australian parties: How relevant are they to each other?"

Panellist: Laurie Ferguson MP (Labor); Senator Tsebin Tchen (Liberal); Senator Andrew Barlett (Democrats); Clr. Thang Ngo (Unity party) and Sen. Kerry Nettle (Greens)

The organising committee hope to make this conference a good platform from which to air our concerns to the major political players in Australia. Apart from that this event will also help different communities to form new links or renew old friendships.

Please register interested participants by returning the registration form below to our postal address. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0409-659095.

Australia Malaysian and Singaporean Assoc (AMSA)
GPO Box 4768 Sydney NSW 2001
E-mail: webmaster@amsa.com.au
www.amsa.com.au

ADI St Marys 

I am currently involved in the production of a website regarding the ADI Site at St Marys. I was hoping that locals or concerned people could help me out.

The website traces the history of the site, and will contains photos and video of the area as well as a detailed discussion about the development plans. As part of the site i want to have the voices of the local community heard, and i am asking people to send me brief submissions about that the site means to them, and what they think of the development.

Could people please email them in the next week to timothy.k.vollmer@uts.edu.au. The aim is to not just have the voices of
government and big business, but also of the community members who the decisions actually affect.

I am also interested in the history of the site, so if you worked there it might be interesting to talk about your experiences in that light.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Week of rallies against BUSH!!! 

Check out the pictures of Sundays Rally at

www.anti-bases.org

Anyone who attended any of the protests in Sydney or Canberra should email me a description of the events and what went on so that people who couldn't make it can get a feel and be inspired by the numbers of Australians who are still opposing this war of illegal aggression and conquest by a powerful nation over a very poor and weak one (which we all knew had no stockpiles of WMD)

PEACE

Justice for Joel - rally for Industrial Manslaughter 

I am sure all of you have noticed the death of Joel Exner on the cover
of our local papers. He was a 16 year old boy who died on his third day
of work. The fact that his boss put him up on a roof with no harness and
no training is discraceful, and there is a family missing a son because
of this. However, there is currently no law against industrial
manslaughter, and the negligence of a company that leads to the death of
a worker is not adequately punishable. It is time workers could feel
safe on their job, and that bosses had something to inspire them to
guarentee the safety of their workers.
If i drive my care negligently and kill someone, that is manslaughter,
if i do the same through negligent work practices it is not. There is
something wrong here.
There are some urgent events on Monday 27th October

SAFETY MEETING and MARCH 11AM MONDAY 27 OCTOBER 2003.

Meet: Sydney Town Hall Square 11am.
Regional Centres:
Wollongong: Amphitheatre, Wollongong City Mall.
Newcastle: Newcastle Trades Hall, Ground Floor meeting room.

Joel Exner was 16 years of age. He was killed on Wednesday October 15.
Joel was killed when he fell 15 metres through the roof of a storage
shed under construction at Eastern Creek.

The Building Unions intend to ensure justice for Joel and his family and
friends. Joel had the right to live. He was a keen footy player for
Blacktown City Rugby Club.

Joel was killed on his third day on the job. He left school to help his
mum out with finances. Now he is dead.

Unions have been fighting for a long time for the implementation of a
crime of industrial manslaughter. It was passed at ALP State Conference
but this is not enough. It is a crime. We want laws that ensure that if
workers are killed due to negligence, bosses can be and WILL be jailed.
In NSW one worker dies every TWO days from accidents and workplace
diseases. Enough is Enough.

Please come and show your support for this important cause and remeber
Joel and every other worker who has been killed whilst at work.

PS. It might be an idea to write to local papers and state politicians
about this to demand justice for this local family!

Week of rallys against BUSH!!! 

Check out the pictures of Sundays Rally at

www.anti-bases.org

Anyone who attended any of the protests in Sydney or Canberra should email me a description of the events and what went on so that people who couldn't make it can get a feel and be inspired by the numbers of Australians who are still opposing this war of illegal aggression and conquest by a powerful nation over a very poor and weak one (which we all knew had no stockpiles of WMD)

PEACE

Justice for Joel - rally for Industrial Manslaughter 

I am sure all of you have noticed the death of Joel Exner on the cover
of our local papers. He was a 16 year old boy who died on his third day
of work. The fact that his boss put him up on a roof with no harness and
no training is discraceful, and there is a family missing a son because
of this. However, there is currently no law against industrial
manslaughter, and the negligence of a company that leads to the death of
a worker is not adequately punishable. It is time workers could feel
safe on their job, and that bosses had something to inspire them to
guarentee the safety of their workers.
If i drive my care negligently and kill someone, that is manslaughter,
if i do the same through negligent work practices it is not. There is
something wrong here.
There are some urgent events on Monday 27th October

SAFETY MEETING and MARCH 11AM MONDAY 27 OCTOBER 2003.

Meet: Sydney Town Hall Square 11am.
Regional Centres:
Wollongong: Amphitheatre, Wollongong City Mall.
Newcastle: Newcastle Trades Hall, Ground Floor meeting room.

Joel Exner was 16 years of age. He was killed on Wednesday October 15.
Joel was killed when he fell 15 metres through the roof of a storage
shed under construction at Eastern Creek.

The Building Unions intend to ensure justice for Joel and his family and
friends. Joel had the right to live. He was a keen footy player for
Blacktown City Rugby Club.

Joel was killed on his third day on the job. He left school to help his
mum out with finances. Now he is dead.

Unions have been fighting for a long time for the implementation of a
crime of industrial manslaughter. It was passed at ALP State Conference
but this is not enough. It is a crime. We want laws that ensure that if
workers are killed due to negligence, bosses can be and WILL be jailed.
In NSW one worker dies every TWO days from accidents and workplace
diseases. Enough is Enough.

Please come and show your support for this important cause and remeber
Joel and every other worker who has been killed whilst at work.

PS. It might be an idea to write to local papers and state politicians
about this to demand justice for this local family!

Support for Peace Actions in Parliament 

Here is a list of the email addresses for the MPs who signed the Bush Protest letter in today's SMH. I think you should be able to copy and paste the whole list into as the address for a congratulatory email to each of them if you want to. That's if you're time-stressed. If you have more time, its probably better to send an individual letter as Tanya Plibersek mentioned in her talk. But the most important thing is feedback, so that they can point to support from the community.

Please if you get the chance, you might like to call a radio program or write a letter to the paper, or do something to record your opposition. And tell MP's you don't want them giving Bush a standing ovation. Contact details for all politicians can be found on the Chilout website.

Signatories to the Bush protest letter were -

D.Adams.MP@aph.gov.au; A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au ; Anna.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au ; Ann.Corcoran.MP@aph.gov.au ; Laurie.Ferguson.MP@aph.gov.au ; Jennie.George.MP@aph.gov.au ; Steve.Gibbons.MP@aph.gov.au ; Sharon.Grierson.MP@aph.gov.au ; Alan.Griffin.MP@aph.gov.au ; Jill.Hall.MP@aph.gov.au ; Kelly.Hoare.MP@aph.gov.au ; Julia.Irwin.MP@aph.gov.au ; Harry.Jenkins.MP@aph.gov.au ; Duncan.Kerr.MP@aph.gov.au ; M.Latham.MP@aph.gov.au ; Carmen.Lawrence.MP@aph.gov.au ; Kirsten.Livermore.MP@aph.gov.au ; Jann.McFarlane.MP@aph.gov.au ; L.McLeay.MP@aph.gov.au ; Bob.McMullan.MP@aph.gov.au ; D.Melham.MP@aph.gov.au ; Michelle.Obyrne.MP@aph.gov.au ; Brendan.O'Connor.MP@aph.gov.au ; Gavan.Oconnor.MP@aph.gov.au ; Tanya.Plibersek.MP@aph.gov.au ; Harry.Quick.MP@aph.gov.au ; Lindsay.Tanner.MP@aph.gov.au ; Maria.Vamvakinou.MP@aph.gov.au ; senator.bolkus@aph.gov.au ; senator.george.campbell@aph.gov.au ; senator.cook@aph.gov.au ; senator.crossin@aph.gov.au ; senator.denman@aph.gov.au ; senator.faulkner@aph.gov.au ; senator.kirk@aph.gov.au ; senator.lundy@aph.gov.au ; senator.mclucas@aph.gov.au ; senator.marshall@aph.gov.au ; senator.moore@aph.gov.au ; senator.webber@aph.gov.au ; senator.wong@aph.gov.au

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Protect the ADI site at St Marys 

The ADI Site at St Marys is an amazing environmental asset for western Sydney that will soon be developed if we dont stop it.

It is an idea for anyone who is concerned with this to get involved to protect this land, and the 3500 kangaroos and emus, for our children and grandchildren. ADI Residents Action Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at the North St Marys Neighbourhood Centre from 7:30pm. There are lots of things planned and more input is always great.

Another way to help get media coverage for this is to visit the following link to chanel nine and recoment a story about it on A Current Affair or 60 Minutes.

There are lots of issues such as the Cumberland Plain Woodland, the native animals, the contamination, flood risks, salinity etc.

http://ninemsn.com.au/tvshows/linetonine.asp

Get more info about the site and what you can do to protect it at the ADI Residents Action Group website.

http://www.savetheadisite.bmt.com.au/

50,000 Protest Bush in the Philippines 

http://sydney.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=35539&group=webcast

50,000 people took to the streets across the Philippines today to protest George Bush's arrival there...

The Arroyo government is spending 100 million pesos for only an 8 hour state visit of Mr. Bush, while the Urban Poor were only allotted a budget of 3 billion pesos for a housing program this year which is far away short enough to provide them a decent housing. On the other hand, the government is spending the 40% of the national budget for debt servicing.

Lecture on the abolition of war 

Irish Catholic moral theologian, Rev Dr Enda McDonagh, is speaking on the topic "From Shoa to Shalom - The case for the abolition of war in the 21st Century". ("Shoa" is the Hebrew word for the Holocaust.) Jointly hosted by the Broken Bay Institute (of the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay) and Caritas Australia.

7.30 - 9 pm
Wednesday, 29 October, 2003
Harrington Hall, Our Lady of Dolores Parish Church, 94A Archer St, Chatswood

Parking available in the parish school grounds (entry from Archer St), or St Pius X School (entry from Ferguson Lane), or the Willoughby Council carpark (entry from Archer St, free after 6 pm).
Cost $10.
Bookings essential!
Contact Liz Jones of the BBI on ph 9473 4565, fax 9484 5105, or PO Box 125, Wahroonga NSW 2076.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Auburn Rally 

The Turkish Government voted on October 6 to send troops to Iraq.
The Government will be paid US$8.5 billion blood money for this.

The Turkish and Kurdish communities in Sydney are organising a protest rally to demand no Turkish troops be sent to Iraq.
They ask you to support them.

Sunday, 26 October
12 noon
Auburn Railway Park


There will be speakers and Turkish & Kurdish music.

SIEV X Anniversary letter writing effort 

Saturday 18 October marks the anniversary of the SIEV X tragedy. SIEV X was the boat carrying refugees to Australia which sank during the election campaign drowning 353 people.

Unlike the media frenzy that exploited the Bali anniversary, SIEV X will get very little official or media attention. It would therefore be good for refugee supporters to make an effort to have this anniversary remembered in the media and by the public.

On the Friday before the anniversary and the Monday after the anniversary we should all make an effort to write a letter to the paper, or call up talk back radio and bring up the subject.

Write a letter to the editor: letters@smh.com.au or fax SMH (02) 9282 3492 letters@dailytelegraph.com.au or write a letter to your local paper who are often desperate for material to publish.
Write to Margo Kingston's Web Diary - mkingston@smh.com.au

Radio 2UE open line: 13 13 32
Radio 2GB open line: 131 873
Radio 2BL talkback: 8333 1000

Visit www.sievx.org for the full and detailed story.

Some talking points/facts:

* 353 people died, (146 children, 142 women, and 65 men)
* Many of these people died trying to reach Australia because the Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) does not allow family reunion or overseas visits. Many of the women and children on SIEV X risked the dangerous journey to be reunited with their husbands and fathers because of this system.
* Call on the Minister to grant those who lost loved-ones on SIEV X permanent visas on humanitarian grounds.
* Howard continually lied about the boat sinking in "Indonesian Waters" when all the facts say it sank in International waters where Australia conducts surveillance.
* There has been a cover-up as to why Australian search and rescue failed to locate or help SIEV X.
* There has been a cover-up of the extent of Australian involvement in people smuggling disruption/sabotage programs.
* There is a real possibility that SIEV X was deliberately sabotaged to sink, and that the Australian Government/authorities were involved at some level.
* Compare the media frenzy and political reaction over Bali to that of SIEV X. Why do we get saturated with the personal stories of Bali victims but hardly a mention of the personal stories of SIEV X victims? Where is the memorial to SIEV X?
* Remember that the 353 were human beings just like those killed in Bali.
* The Australia Government refuses to release the names of those who died on SIEV X - call for these names to be released.

18 October 2001
A small, unnamed 19.5 X 4 metre wooden fishing boat that would later be dubbed SIEVX (Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel X) departs Bandar Lampung with 421 passengers. This dilapidated, unseaworthy boat would have been overcrowded with 150 aboard, let alone 400. (Later, survivors would report that many were forced aboard at gunpoint by Indonesian police who supervised the loading.) Some hours into the voyage the boat stops near an is land in the Sunda Strait and 23 passengers disembark due to fears that the horrendously overcrowded vessel will soon founder and sink.

19 October 2001
3pm: The boat goes down in international waters, about 60 nautical miles south of Sunda Strait, inside the Australian border protection surveillance zone. 146 children, 142 women and 65 men perish.

23 October 2001
First Australian news coverage of the sinking is heard on AM at 8am Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Prime Minister John Howard states that the disaster has nothing to do with Australia because the boat sank in 'Indonesian waters' (a line he continued to repeat throughout the 2001 federal election campaign).

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Testimony of Australian intelligence expert Andrew Wilkie 

Andrew Wilkie is a top-level Australian intelligence officer who recently resigned over his government's manipulation of intelligence to justify joining the war in Iraq. On Aug. 22, Wilkie testified before a parliamentary committee about the intelligence cited by Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Many Australian, British and American intelligence analysts have said that intelligence was abused in the run-up to the war, but only Wilkie has resigned in protest.
Those who dismiss such efforts as an exercise in futility should know that, in a rare move, the Australian Senate on Oct. 7 censured Howard for misleading the public in justifying sending off Australian troops to war. The Senate statement of censure noted that Howard had produced no evidence to justify his claims last March that Iraq had stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons. The Senate also castigated the prime minister for suppressing Australian intelligence warnings that war with Iraq would increase the likelihood of a terrorist attack. One senator accused Howard of "unprecedented deceit.

What follows is an edited transcript of Wilkie's Aug. 22 testimony. It was provided by VIPS, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of retired senior American intelligence professionals from the CIA, State Department and military's intelligence agencies.


Mr. Chairman, thank you for inviting me to appear before the Committee.

You would be well aware that I resigned from the Office of National Assessments [Australia's CIA], before the Iraq war, because I assessed that invading Iraq would not be the most sensible and ethical way to resolve the Iraq issue. I chose resignation, specifically, because compromise or seeking to create change from within ONA were not realistic options.

At the time I resigned I put on the public record three fundamental concerns. Firstly, that Iraq did not pose a serious enough security threat to justify a war. Secondly, that too many things could go wrong. And, thirdly, that war was still totally unnecessary because options short of war were yet to be exhausted.

My first concern is especially relevant today. It was based on my assessment that Iraq's conventional armed forces were weak, that Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction program was disjointed and contained, and that there was no hard evidence of any active cooperation between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

Now the government has claimed repeatedly I was not close enough to the Iraq issue to know what I'm talking about. Such statements have misled the public and have been exceptionally hurtful to me.

I was a Senior Analyst with a top secret positive vet security clearance. I'd been awarded a Superior rating in my last performance appraisal, and not long before I resigned Id been informed by the Deputy Director-General that thought was being given to my being promoted.

Because of my military background (I had been a regular army infantry Lieutenant Colonel), I was required to be familiar with war-related issues…and was on standby to cover Iraq once the war began.

I've also worked specifically on WMD issues. In 1999 I prepared the assessment on WMD and terrorism, and represented ONA at the WMD working group held in the U.K. In 2001 I helped prepare the update on my 1998 assessment, and I represented ONA at the Australian WMD working group.

I was involved also in covering global terrorism issues. In fact, on two occasions I provided the relevant brief for the Standing Advisory Committee for the Protection Against Violence.

Finally, as the Senior ONA Transnational Issues Analyst, I was involved routinely in matters relating to Iraq. This provided me with almost unrestricted access to intelligence on that country. In particular, my December 2002 assessment on the possible humanitarian implications of a war required me to research in detail the strategic threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

If I could now turn more directly to the Committee's Terms of Reference. When I said that Iraq's WMD program was 'disjointed and contained,' I was describing a limited chemical and biological program focused on developing a break-out capability, in part by reliance on dual-use facilities.

Weapons production was possible, though only on a small scale. My view was broadly consistent with ONA's position, maybe a little more moderate. I still believe evidence of such a program may be found eventually, if not already.

Now, in fairness to Australian and Allied intelligence agencies, Iraq was a tough target. From time to time there were shortages of human intelligence on the country. At other times the preponderance of anti-Saddam sources desperate for United States intervention ensured a flood of disinformation. Collecting technical intelligence was equally challenging.

A problem for Australian agencies was their reliance on Allies. We had virtually no influence on foreign intelligence collection planning, and the raw intelligence seldom arrived with adequate notes on sources or reliability. More problematic was the way in which Australia's tiny agencies needed to rely on the sometimes weak and skewed views contained in the assessments prepared in Washington.

A few problems were inevitable. For instance, intelligence gaps were sometimes back-filled with the disinformation. Worst-case sometimes took primacy over most-likely. The threat was sometimes overestimated as a result of the fairy tales coming out of the U.S. And sometimes Government pressure, as well as politically correct intelligence officers themselves, resulted in its own bias.

But, overall, Australian agencies did, I believe, an acceptable job reporting on the existence of, the capacity and willingness to use, and immediacy of the threat, posed by Iraq. Assessments were OK, not least because they were always heavily qualified to reflect the ambiguous intelligence picture.

How then to explain the big gap between the Government's pre-war claims about Iraq possessing a massive arsenal of WMD and cooperating actively with Al Qaeda and the reality that no arsenal of weapons or evidence of substantive links have yet been found?

Well, most often the Government deliberately skewed the truth by taking the ambiguity out of the issue. Key intelligence assessment qualifications like 'probably', 'could' and 'uncorroborated evidence suggests' were frequently dropped. Much more useful words like 'massive' and 'mammoth' were included, even though such words had not been offered to the government by the intelligence agencies. Before we knew it, the Government had created a mythical Iraq, one where every factory was up to no good and weaponization was continuing apace.

Equally misleading was the way in which the Government misrepresented the truth. For example, when the Government spoke of Iraq having form (being up to no good), it cited pre-1991 Gulf War examples, like the use of chemical weapons against Iran and the Kurds. Mind you, the Government needed to be creative, because 12 years of sanctions, inspections and air strikes had virtually disarmed modern Iraq.

The Government also chose to use the truth selectively. For instance, much was said about the risk of WMD terrorism. But what was not made clear was that the risk of WMD terrorism is low, that leakage of weapons from a state arsenal is unlikely, and that the weapon most likely to be used will be crude. That is, the chemical, biological or radiological device most likely to be used will not be a WMD.

The Government even went so far as to fabricate the truth. The claims about Iraq cooperating actively with al Qaida were obviously nonsense. As was the Government's reference to Iraq seeking uranium in Africa, despite the fact that ONA, the Department of Defence, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, all knew the Niger story was fraudulent. This was critical information. It beggars belief that ONA knew it was discredited but didn't advise the Prime Minister, Defence knew but didn't tell the Defence Minister, and Foreign Affairs knew but didn't tell the Foreign Minister.

Please remember the Government was also receiving detailed assessments on the United States in which it was made very clear the United States was intent on invading Iraq for more important reasons than WMD and terrorism. Hence all this talk about WMD and terrorism was hollow. Much more likely is the proposition the Government deliberately exaggerated the Iraq WMD threat so as to stay in step with the United States.

In closing, I wish to make it clear that I do not apologise for, or withdraw from, my accusation that the Howard government misled the Australian public over Iraq, both through its own public statements, as well as through its endorsement of Allied statements.

The government lied every time it said or implied that I was not senior enough or appropriately placed in ONA to know what I was talking about. And the government lied every time it skewed, misrepresented, used selectively and fabricated the Iraq story.

But these examples are just the tip of the iceberg. For instance, the government lied when the Prime Minister's Office told the media I was mentally unstable. The government lied when it associated Iraq with the Bali bombing. And the government lied every time it linked Iraq to the War on Terror.

The Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister in particular have a lot to answer for. After all, they were the chief cheerleaders for the invasion of another country, without U.N. endorsement, for reasons that have now been discredited.

Mr. Chairman, I've skimmed over a lot of important issues here. Of course I'd now welcome the opportunity to discuss any particular aspect in more detail.

Free Tafe website: students campaign for better tafe system 

A group of students from Bankstown TAFE have set up a website and campaign for a better TAFE System.

To find out more about their campaign go to:

www.freetafe.com

They are organising a planning day for students to get involved in the campaign to save tafe. Information is below. To attend or find out more information, contact Jessica

Jessica Mills on: 9832-4762 OR 0415 932 673
Email: westernsydneyfreetafe@yahoo.com.au

Planning day for FREE TAFE campus organisers.
NSW Parliament House Macquarie St Sydney Wednesday 29th October

The aim of this day is to:
* Give student organisers an orientation to our political system.
* Plan future action co-ordinated action across NSW against TAFE fees

What will happen on the day:
* You will meet with other organisers
* You will get an overview of how the political system works
* You will meet with politicians
* You will help plan the future campaign

What you need to bring:
* Yourself and one or two other organisers from your campus
* Your brain and your sense of justice

What we can do:
* Help you find somewhere to stay if coming from outside Sydney
* Provide you with everything you need on the day
* Give you encouragement and support to participate

Want further info, call Jessica Mills on: 9832-4762 OR 0415 932 673
Email: westernsydneyfreetafe@yahoo.com.au
Fax: 9832-4802

JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF THE COUNTRY 

Gilbert Holmes is trekking 1,500 km from Brisbane to the Aboriginal Tent
Embassy in Canberra. His walk aims to promote understanding of the
issues facing Aboriginal Australians, to give people along the way an
opportunity to contribute to a spiritual offering he is taking to the
Tent Embassy, and to show support for Aboriginal sovereignty.

Gilbert is currently in Newcastle, where people can meet him tomorrow,
Wednesday, at 10 am for morning tea at Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal
Co-op. The address is 64 Hannell St Wickham.

Gilbert will be arriving in Sydney on Tuesday 21. There will be a dinner
with Gilbert on Tuesday night. Anyone interested in meeting him should
call Peter or Ben on 9211 4164.

On Wednesday morning people are asked to join Gilbert as he walks across
the bridge to be welcomed to Sydney in First Fleet Park by Allen Madden.
Walkers should meet at the corner of Miller Street and the Pacific
Highway at 9.45 to begin walking at 10.00.

From Sydney Gilbert will be walking on to Canberra via Wollongong,
Kiama, Nowra, Sandy Point, and Bungendore. Anyone from these areas
interested in meeting Gilbert along the way should call him directly on
0407 177 541.

ADI Site protest - special event 

Wednesday and Thursday evenings this week will see a very special visual protest in the campaign.

The words SAVE THE ADI SITE will be projected onto the walls of prominent buildings:
on Wednesday, Arnotts building next to the M4 (northern side) west of Blacktown
on Thursday, buildings in the Blacktown CBD (near Campbell St)

If you would like to see the effect, be in those areas between 7pm-9pm.

If you would like to HELP or to get more details, please phone Gab on 9673 4098.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Senate Censures Prime Minister over Iraq 

The Senate has backed the Greens motion to censure the Prime Minister over misleading Australia in the reasons for invading Iraq.

"This is only the second time in his 7 1/2 years in office that the Prime Minister has been censured by either house of parliament," Senator Brown said.

"It is only the fourth censure of a Prime Minster in over 30 years. The motion, with amendment by Labor, read follows:
That the Senate, notes (a)

(i) that no evidence has been produced to date by the Prime Minister to justify his claims that as at March this year Iraq possessed stockpiles of completed biological chemical weapons that justified going to war, and
(ii) that the Prime Minister failed to adequately inform the Australian public on intelligence agency warnings that a war with Iraq would increase the likelihood of terrorist activity; and
(b) censures the Prime Minister for misleading the Australian Parliament and the Australian people in his justification for taking this country to war with Iraq.

"The Prime Minister was involved in an unprecedented deceit of this nation, in the most serious matter of sending Australia's defence forces to invade another country.

"Equally, now knowing his reasons were wrong, the PM says of his misjudgement, 'I don't retreat from that one iota'.

"It is appropriate for the Senate to invoke its strongest sanction: to censure the Prime Minister," Senator Brown said.

More information: Ben Oquist 02 6277 3170 or 0419 704 095
There are a number of events being organized and hosted by the Research
Initiative on International Activism (RIIA) this month. Details are as
follows:

- Workers Control Conference: 10-12 October
Friday Open Forum - 7.00pm-9.00pm: Reforming the Union Movement Today
UTS Tower Building
Entry $5 or donation
Speakers include:
- Michael Crosby (Co-director, ACTU Organising Centre)
- Paul True (Author of "Tales of the BLF - Rolling the Right!", and Special Projects Officer, NSW Branch, Construction Division of CFMEU.
- Joan Doyle (Victorian State Secretary, Postal and Telecommunications branch of the CEPU).
The conference on Saturday and Sunday will also be held at UTS. More details available from http://www.jura.org.au/workerscontrol/

- RIIA Monthly Meeting: Thursday, 23 October 2003 - 200.pm - 3.30pm
Land Reform and Indigenous Peoples

Presenters
Dr. Tim Anderson (University of Sydney) "Land Reform in PNG and the World Bank"
Chaired by Dr. Heather Goodall, UTS, who will also discuss: "Native
Title: Commodifying Land Rights"
Details: Bon Marche Building, Room 432

- Sydney Social Forum
24-26 October 2003
Key note speakers include:
DAVID BARSAMIAN - Award-winning director of Alternative Radio in the US.
NICOLA BULLARD - Deputy-director of Focus on the Global South.
ARIEL GUIDES - Representative from BMP (Solidarity of Filipino Workers), the largest trade union congress in the Philippines,
For more details see: http://www.sydneysocialforum.org/

Please call me if you have any questions.

Warm regards,

James Arvanitakis
Research Initiative on International Activism
Social Inquiry
02-9514-2714 or 0438-454-127

RIIA Website: http://www.international.activism.uts.edu.au/

OUR UNIVERSITIES ARE NOT FOR SALE: 

- No attacks on workers' rights
- No student fee increases


On October 16 staff and students will join together to shut universities
across Australia down in a national strike.

Staff and students will be protesting against the Howard Governments'
attacks on tertiary education in recently released legislation. The
'reforms' are an attack on workers' rights - they propose to introduce AWAs
to replace pattern bargaining in the staff unions, and to make legitimate
forms of industrial action illegal. They are also an attack on students with
dramatic fee increases, course cuts and the deregulation of university fees.

If these reforms are passed, universities will be changed forever.

Staff and students will be holding pickets at most campuses from 7am on
Thursday. There will be a rally in Sydney beginning at 12pm on the front
lawns of Sydney Uni. We will be marching to Belmore Park via UTS.

Please join us in this national day of action to send a message to the
government that we will not put up with further attacks on our industrial
rights, and the increased financial burden of university, creating a
generation of debt.

Thank you for your support in this on-going campaign.

Solidarity,
Anna York
0402 025 703

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Western Sydney Peace Group forum 

"Workplace Privacy: Who is watching you at work?"

Monday October 13
7pm-9pm
Rooty Hill Uniting Church, 84 Rooty Hill Rd Nth, Rooty Hill

Cameron Murphy, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties will be speaking on the issues of video surveillance and email surveillance, as well as the recent trends towards biometrics to moniter workers.

For more details contact Tim Vollmer on 0404 273313

Invitation to attend the 2003 Sydney Social Forum 

Sydney Social Forum (SSF)
October 24-26
University of Technology, Sydney.


Taking its inspiration from the World Social Forum which took place this year in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the Sydney Social Forum is an open series of meetings, workshops and discussions promoting peace, social justice and environmental sustainability.

In September 2002 the first Sydney Social Forum (SSF) was held, attracting over 400 people, the support of 35 organisations and over 70 workshops covering a broad range of topics and issues.

Since that time, a number of events have made the need for collaboration and discussion even more urgent.

The war on Iraq has signalled an intensifying permanent war on the world's poor, adding more open unilateral military aggression to existing neo-liberal offensives conducted through organisations like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and World Trade Organisation.

In Australia, the Howard government's enthusiastic support for US foreign policy has been accompanied by increasing attacks on public healthcare and higher education, the continuation of a deplorable refugee policy, and a push for wider deregulation and privatisation as part of a Free Trade Agreement with the US.

On the other side, the worldwide movement against the war in Iraq - and Sydney?s largest ever political demonstration in February - was also a spectacular expression of opposition to corporate greed and lack of democracy.

Within this context, the SSF aims generally to promote discussion of analyses of the state of the world, visions of an alternative world and strategies to get from one to the other.

We are hoping that you can publicise the forum through your networks and, even better, that you may decide to participate in discussion and perhaps even hold a workshop at the SSF - it is an open forum accessible to all who wish to contribute.

If you would like further information about the SSF, please check some of the details below, contact me directly or visit the SSF website: http://www.sydneysocialforum.org

We hope that you can participate in this year's event and assist in promoting activity for peace and social justice in our community.

Yours in the belief that another world is possible,

Vince Caughley
for the Sydney Social Forum Oganising Group
vince@sydneysocialforum.org
0438 800 244

Can you afford a wage cut? 

Rally against ABBOTT and for Building Workers:

Assemble at: Sydney Town Hall Square

Time: 11am

Date: Thursday October 9th


In mid-September the Federal Minister for Workplace Relations Tony Abbott tabled in the Australian Parliament his special anti-worker legislation for building workers. The Federal Government has specifically pointed its guns at building workers with the tabling of this legislation.

Building workers arguably have some of the best wages for blue collar workers in Australia,along with other conditions such as the introduction of the 36 hour week next year and extra paid leisure days. Through their unions, building workers have over many decades created strong union organisation to defend and improve wages and conditions.

Our successes have resulted in the Federal Government now targeting us as they did the Maritime Union of Australia. The new laws if passed by Parliament, will be disastrous for building workers.

•Ban pattern bargaining, thereby dividing workers with every enterprise bargaining agreement being different and expiring on different dates.

•Destroy site allowances, ACIRT redundancy, top-up workers compensation and 24 hour accident insurance—worth $200-$300 per week.

•Make it impossible for union officials to visit workplaces.

•Make legitimate strike action impossible by tying building workers up in red tape.

•Impose fines on workers and unions who do not comply with these anti-worker laws.

Make no mistake that with these new laws the Federal Government will undermine our standards. Abbott will not be happy until our conditions are reverted back to those of the 1950’s and our wages are slashed.

We will be calling on the Australian Democrats to support federal Labor in opposing Abbott and his industrial thuggery. We need to stop these laws in the Senate. We need to kick the Liberals out of office.

Authorised by: Andrew Ferguson, Secretary, Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union , NSW Branch, Tel: (02) 9749 0400
Steve McCarney, Secretary, CEPU (Plumbers Union) NSW Branch, Tel: (02) 9280 1512
Bernie Riordan, Secretary, Electrical Trades Union NSW Branch, Tel: (02) 9267 4844
Paul Bastian, Secretary, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union NSW Branch, Tel: (02) 9897 2011

LAUNCH OF SAVE MEDICARE MACARTHUR BRANCH 

Public Forum Topic: Saving Medicare: Public Health & Private Practice in Macarthur & South West Sydney
Date: Sunday, 2 November 2003
Time: 10.00am registration for 10.30 start to 12.30-1.00pm
Venue: Phillip Room, Campbelltown Catholic Club (capacity 200)
Cost: $2.20; tea/coffee & biscuit $3.50 per head.

Speakers confirmed so far: Professor Jeanette Ward (South West Sydney Area Director, Division of Population Health); Senator Ursula Stephens ALP Duty Senator for Macarthur to chair.
B R Kijurina
PO Box 963,
Campbelltown NSW 2560
Telephones 02 4625 7952 (0409 369 863 mobile)

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Western Sydney Peace Group forum. 

"Workplace Privacy: Who is watching you at work?"

Monday October 13
7pm-9pm
Rooty Hill Uniting Church, 84 Rooty Hill Rd Nth, Rooty Hill

Cameron Murphy, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties will be speaking on the issues of video surveillance and email surveillance, as well as the recent trends towards biometrics to moniter workers.

For more details contact Tim Vollmer on 0404 273313

We’re Being BUSHWACKED!!! 

George Bush is coming to Australia.

Give him the welcome he deserves.


Hoedown at 2pm till 4pm Prince Alfred Park (walk south from central station down Chalmers St – yes, it’s the one with the pool!),

Sunday 19th October

It’s a Western day of ridicule, filled with comedy, entertainment and performances:

World’s first protest line dance

Best Dressed Western Competition

Creative ridicule, $100 reward for best placard & display.

MCs from CNNNN

Performances by Paul Catsis, Bertie Blackman, Rap version of Jimmie Hendrix Star Spangled Banner, Andrew Hansen from the CNNNN Band, the Radical Cheerleaders and more ….

Come and pick up leaflets and posters from the Labor Council of NSW (lvl 10/377 Sussex St Sydney) during business hours.

Attached is a leaflet for you to download and circulate. If you live far away from the city, we can organise for some posters and leaflets to be mailed to you.

If you want to help out leafleting trainstations, contact Ben Stirling on bstirling@fed.cfmeu.asn.au or 0417 08 12 77.

For more information about the event, contact Hannah Middleton on 0418 668 098 or Bruce Childs on 0412 803 457, or email info@nswpeace.org.

If you’re a Delegate or Workplace activist:

Print out the leaflet and hand it around. Circulate this notice on email. If your keen, organise a group to leaflet your local trainstation one morning or evening before the event (the sooner the better). Come into Labor Council and pick up a few coloured posters for your workplace, and stick some up in your neighbourhood too. Organise your workmates/friends to go to the rally together on the day (make your own t-shirts, placards, costumes etc)

If you’re an Organiser:

Make sure your union has copies of the posters and leaflets (Labor Council can send you some if you can’t make it in here to pick some up). Ensure your active workplaces have posters and leaflets. Send the notice out via email to your delegates or take out leaflets and posters on workplace visits. Make sure your union organises a big contingent for the day – there will be prizes for the largest, most ‘themed’ union contingent! Make sure you sign up your activists and delegates to the register so they get these notices.

2. National Day of Action to defend Higher Education and University Staff: 16 Oct

In response to the aggressive attacks on University Staff, university unions are organising a National Day of Action on 16th October. The Government wants to tie university funding to universities adopting AWA’s and anti-worker industrial systems. This comes on top of their funding cuts and desire to increase university fees. These attacks threaten the viability of our higher education system.

On 16 October there will be actions at individual campuses, and lunchtime rallies in University towns across the country.

In Sydney the picket lines will converge into a lunchtime rally in the city. Further details will follow, but be prepared to join with thousands of university staff and students to fight for decent education on that day.

What you can do: stay tuned to the Tertiary Education Alliance website for more information: www.tertiaryeducationalliance.org, or visit the union web pages, either the NTEU or the CPSU:

www.nteu.org.au
www.cpsu.org.au
For Heavens Sake Speak Out
against the militarisation of space

Saturday, October 11

2 - 4 pm
Teachers Club
23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills
Dear Friends,

American President George W Bush will visit Australia in October. More than 300,000 people marched through the streets of Sydney to say NO WAR in Iraq. Now four months after Bush declared an official end to hostilities, all the evidence says that we were right and Bush, Blair and Howard lied about weapons of mass destruction and other issues. They were wrong. They are still wrong.

Now the Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition is calling the people of Sydney together again on Sunday, 19th October at Prince Alfred Park between 2 pm and 4 pm.

There will be speakers to analyse the tragedy created in Iraq, the US-led war’s destabilising effect in the Middle East, its impact on the Palestinian situation, and the secretive Australian-US free trade agreement.

We will roast the inglorious leaders Bush, Blair and Howard in a program of satire, comedy and entertainment. Everyone is asked to sharpen their wit to cut down the arrogance of George W Bush and his Australian lap dog.

Who can forget the many slogans and images of Bush and Howard which were broadcast around the nation on February 16. In that spirit, there will be four $100 prizes in our "creative ridicule competition" for the best placard/banner and the best display by adults and by school students.

All who participated in previous rallies are asked to mobilise their friends and to take part in our campaign. (This letter is attached for printing)

Yours for peace

Bruce Childs Dr Hannah Middleton Rev Ray Richmond Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition Convenors

Messages to the President

We want everyone to send a "message to the President" about why we reject his policies.

A letter sent to the daily press can also be sent to local papers and Parliamentarians.

We also encourage people to say in their letters why they are going to participate on 19th October.

A wide range of issues can be canvassed, including the "embedded" media campaign, the terrorist issue, race and religious hatred, intelligence issues, weapons of mass destruction, Australia’s national interest, and more.

While everyone will have a different angle, that is part of our strength as we represent so many different points of view.

Nevertheless we can agree that the occupying forces in Iraq should be withdrawn to allow the United Nations to create a transitional regime to ensure genuine democratic elections and the speedy restoration of Iraqi sovereignty.

We have a number of useful sources and site to assist letter writers. These include: www.nswpeace.org and http://evatt.labor.net.au/

Donations: You can also help by helping with the costs of organising and publicising the 19th October event. Donations can be sent to Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition, PO Box A899, Sydney South NSW 1235.

For further information please contact:
Bruce Childs 0412 803 457
Dr Hannah Middleton 0418 668 098
Rev Ray Richmond 0412 915 161

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