Thursday, January 08, 2004

Welcome back in 2004 

Hello, and welcome back to everyone who is a member of the Western Sydney Peace Group, and to the many visitors to our site. This is a new year, and unlike the last few, it has had no new wars and no major terrorism, however, what this year has already had is an increase in the invasion of the civil liberties of people worldwide, with people being forced to surrender their control over their control over their personal information. Biometrics has made a sudden push into the counter terrorism game, and people are being forced to surrender unique information about themselves with no guarantees about its storage, safety or future use. It is a bad sign that the push by Bush to turn America into some form of dictatorship by undermining the rights and privileges of his own citizens (who didn’t vote for him) as well as the rights of global citizens (who didn’t even get a chance to not vote for him) is continuing full strength in the new year.
I guess I just want to remind you all that now, more than ever it is important that we stand up for the ideas of peace, justice, hope, compassion and love. Lets look at every policy, and ask how it is going to affect the weak and this disenfranchised, and demand that if this is the case it is changed. There is no point sacrificing rights and privileges fought for over thousands of yours in the blink of an eye because of the fear promoted by a fictional leader who won a fictional election and decided from that to rule over the whole world, by force if necessary.
This new year is a new year for the future, one where we need to turn the recent tide, not only for us, but for our children and grandchildren, and the children around the world who will inherit this mess long after Bush and his cronies are gone.
Keep up the good work, and don’t give in.

1] Army shoots with live bullets at Israeli peace activists
Joint Israeli-Palestinian action of breaking through the fence at Masha

[After we got the following message we just heard by phone that one of
the anarchists lost consciousness after being shot with a live bullet in his
leg - and was taken by an ambulance. Everything was photographed by
both still - and video camera - see addresses in the end.]

Israeli, Palestinians and international activists
Bringing down the apartheid wall in Mash'a

In this moment, Friday afternoon {seventh candle of Hanukah} dozens of activists are tearing apart and breaking down the gate of the apartheid wall which is also known as the "separation fence", to enable a free passage for the people of Mas'ha to their lands.
The activists, equipped with tools, are breaking the gate that has remained closed since the wall was built two months ago.
The farmers, whose land is on the other side of the fence were told that they would be able to cross through the gate to work their lands. That promise turned out to be a methodical, crude and cruel lie. All throughout the suffocating wall the gates are remaining blocked and the Palestinian residents remain with no access to their only source of income.
The army is present - at the Mas'ha village gates, which are located next to Elkana settlement - and yet, its not clear how will the confrontation between the army and the activists will end.
The activists are calling for a joined active resistance of Israelis and Palestinians toward the ghettoizing policy that the Israeli government is issuing.
The action is being held as a part of The Alternative Protest Camp Against The Apartheid Wall that started a week ago in Beir Balut.
The camp is hosting Israelis and Palestinians, and located on the path of the Apartheid Wall, on the land of the village's elementary school. (The building of the school was stopped due to the land being confiscated for the building of the wall.)

We invite the media that follows Ariel Sharon's promises, for the so called evacuation of he settlements, to come and see for them selves the land confiscating and settlement expansion operation that is operating this days.
Deir Balut protest camp and other protest actions that take place and that will take place in the future will set a live and kicking alternative to the occupying, stealing and confiscating actions that the Sharon government and the Israeli army are responsible for.

For more details and for pictures and video footage from the action: Liad:067-724519 Jonathan:066-327736 Franceska:064-494030


If you want to be among those from all over the world who prepare to welcome Mordechai Vanunu ("the nuclear whistleblower ") upon his release in April (imprisoned since 1986), write to:

2] Letters the Troops Have Sent Me... by Michael Moore
December 19, 2003

As we approach the holidays, I've been thinking a lot about our kids who are in the armed forces serving in Iraq. I've received hundreds of letters from our troops in Iraq – and they are telling me something very different from what we are seeing on the evening news.
What they are saying to me, often eloquently and in heart-wrenching words, is that they were lied to – and this war has nothing to do with the security of the United States of America.
I've written back and spoken on the phone to many of them and I've asked a few of them if it would be OK if I posted their letters on my website and they've said yes. They do so at great personal risk (as they may face disciplinary measures for exercising their right to free speech). I thank them for their bravery…. [FULL ARTICLE http://groups.yahoo.com/group/westpeace/message/693]

3] Stop the War Digest

Dear activists,
Happy new year! Hope you’re all pumped for what is shaping up to be a pretty full-on year in both domestic and international politics.

Just a couple of things to draw your attention to in this edition of the digest:

* The Women in Black will be having a special vigil for Palestine TONIGHT, Thursday 8 January. 5:30-6:30pm, Sydney Town Hall steps. If you can make it, please wear black. For more info, visit http://www.womeinblackoz.com

* The next Stop the War Coalition meeting is NEXT MONDAY, 12 January.
7pm, Lev 3, Spanish Club, 88 Liverpool St, Sydney. It’s our first meeting for 2004 and there’s sure to be a lot to discuss including the idea of electing a steering committee, building for the March 20 demonstration, resolutions from the Coalition’s forum in December last year and local peace group activities. All welcome.

Also, the new website for the Coalition is almost up and running. You can get a sneak preview at http://www.stopwarcoalition.org

See you Monday,


=== Upcoming actions ===

1) Vigil for Palestine

Organised by Women in Black
5:30-6:30pm Tonight, Thursday 8 January
Sydney Town Hall steps
Please wear black
For more info visit http://www.womeinblackoz.com

2) Fair Go for Will and Dave
9am, Friday 30 January
District Court, Downing Centre, 141–147 cnr Elizabeth and Liverpool St, Sydney
Final sentencing hearing for Opera House NO WAR painters Will Saunders and
Dave Burgess.
Please come along as part of our show of strength and to provide moral support for Will and Dave, who face the possibility of a three-year prison term for their courageous anti-war protest.
For more info contact: 0409 762 081 / 0403 902 588 /

3) Troops Out! – End the Occupation of Iraq!
Global demonstration
11am, Saturday 20 March.
Assemble Hyde Park North
Speakers include: JOHN PILGER and ANDREW WILKIE (Tariq Ali has
unfortunately had to pull out)
For more info, contact StWCoalition@yahoo.com.au / Angela 0408 321 327 / Luke 0419 135 019 / Bashir 0413 859 060

Global boycott for peace http://www.globalboycottforpeace.org/
Saturday 20 March

=== Conferences, meetings, forums, etc. ===

1) Defeating the US Empire – Anti-War teach-in

Saturday, 10 January, 10am - 5.30pm
Resistance Activist Centre, 23 Abercrombie St, Chippendale
(10 min walk from Central Station, 200m from Broadway)

A whole day of workshops on a variety of topics including imperialism, Palestine, revolution, the Vietnam War resistance and regime-change at home.
Guest presenters including Humphrey McQueen and veteran North American anti-war and socialist activists Barry Sheppard and Richard Fidler Full programme details at
Organised by Green Left Weekly (http://www.GreenLeft.org.au), Action in solidarity with Asia & the Pacific (ASAP)
(http://www.Asia-Pacific-Action.org/) and Committees in Solidarity with Latin America & the Caribbean (CISLAC) (http://www.CISLAC.org.au/)

2) Stop the War Coalition Meeting (the first for 2004)
7pm, Monday Jan 12, 2004
The Spanish Club, Lev 3 88 Liverpool St, Sydney

3) Breaking the Silence – Truth and Lies in the War on Terror
6pm, Sunday February 15, 2004
Clancy Auditorium, University of NSW, Gate 9, High St, Kensington
Featuring the screening of John Pilger's new film, 'Breaking the
Silence', followed by discussion with JOHN PILGER & ANDREW WILKIE
$20/$10 conc.
Bookings, enquiries, phone: 9690 1977, 9211 2600

4) Pennant Hills Peace Group together with North-West Friends of Refugees have organised a public forum with Andrew Wilkie
7:30pm, Thursday 26 February
Pennant Hills Community Centre
Yarrara Rd, opp the station
For more info, contact Phil or Martha on 9484 2442

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