SPRING HILL VOICE
The Australian website where spooks, media advisors, media monitors, partisan shills, sentiment miners, establishment media purloiners, fabricators, marketing and PR people start their day!
STOP THE WARS! TAX THE RICH!
"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time ... but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." - Lilla Watson, aboriginal educator and activist, Brisbane
* Other Things *
Seasons Greetings from the police state of Queensland
Images: @reblev - ABC personality, Rebecca Levingston [8/12/13]
The Army Bus:
FULLY AWESOME, INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH PARTY BUS
Why endure the hassle of co-ordinating a large group, with navigating, traffic, parking and drink driving issues.
Our Queensland Transport certified professional drivers are trained to ensure the entire group will arrive together, on time, and unstressed, ready to enjoy your event to the full.
Everyone will applaud your thoughtful planning and consideration.
Whatever the occasion..............
Weddings, Hens nights, Birthdays, Concerts, Casino, Sporting events, Formals, Horse racing carnivals and more...
You don't just 'turn up' in the rockin rumbling ARMY BUS, you 'ARRIVE'! YOU WILL MOST CERTAINLY BE NOTICED !
The ARMY BUS can accommodate up to 33 combat ready party animals.
Two dance floors, Two stripper poles, BIG audio-system ,LED and laser light show..........for those about to ROCK !
The perfect Christmas gift for families ...
Whose idea of fun is pointless cruelty.
Hospital attacked in Central African Republic
Al Jazeera [8/12/13]:
A hospital in the capital of the Central African Republic has been attacked by armed gunmen, according to Al Jazeera sources.
At least ten people were killed when Seleka rebels arrived late on Friday night at Bangui's Amitie hospital, where many of those wounded from days of violence were being treated.
The gunmen reportedly pulled injured victims from the hospital, and shot them dead. The hospital has since been abandoned, Al Jazeera has been told.
On Saturday, the country's interim authorities ordered all forces except foreign peacekeepers and the presidential guard off the streets of Bangui.
The order for gunmen to return to barracks in Bangui came as France dispatched troops to the country, where almost 400 people have died in three days of violence. On Saturday, France announced it was increasing the number of French troops from 1,200 to 1,600.
French President Francois Hollande also said on Saturday it would be difficult for the current head of Central African Republic to stay in place because he let the crisis there unfold.
"I don't want to point fingers but we cannot keep in place a president who was not able to do anything, or even worse, who let things happen," Hollande said in an interview broadcast on the France 24 TV channel.
He said elections should be held before 2015 when the mandate of the interim president, Michel Djotodia, ends.
"The idea is to head as fast as possible towards elections," he said.
French forces started deploying to the north and west of the country to secure main roads and towns outside the capital, French army spokesman Gilles Jarron said on Saturday.
"Peacekeepers are patrolling the main roads. This is helping keep the looting down. But the atrocities are inside the neighbourhoods," said Amy Martin, head of the UN officer for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA).
"If they can get into the neighbourhoods, we might start seeing a reduction in these crimes. The level of atrocities and the lack of humanity, the senseless killing defies imagination," Martin said.
The bloodshed started on Thursday as armed Christians from Anti-Balaka group raided Muslim neignbourhoods in a country that has been seeing tit-for-tat violence since mainly Muslim rebels, called Seleka, seized power in March and toppled President Francois Bozize.
Michel Djotodia, leader of the Seleka ex-rebel alliance, is CAR's interim president, but he has struggled to control his loose band of fighters, many from neighbouring Chad and Sudan.
French troops rumbled into their former colony on Friday, trying to stop violence in the capital and to stabilise the country after the UN Security Council authorised Paris to use force to help African peacekeepers.
Two bombings kill four people in Iraq
Daily Star [7/12/13]:
Iraqi authorities say two separate bombings north of Baghdad have killed at least four people.
Police officials say a bomb went off Saturday afternoon inside an outdoor market in the northern city of Mosul, killing two shoppers and wounding 15 others.
One hour later, police said two people were killed and seven others were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded on a road frequently used by military convoys in Mishahda village, just north of the capital.
Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to media.
Today's attacks bring the death toll in Iraq this month to at least 74, according to an Associated Press count.
Many deaths may go unreported.
soldiers to face 11 more 'trials' over Iraq deaths [Telegraph - 7/12/13]
Greek parliament approves 2014 austerity budget
The Globe And Mail [7/12/13]:
Greeces parliament approved a budget plan on Saturday filled with over €3-billion ($4.37-billion) of austerity cuts that sees the debt-laden country emerging from a six-year recession next year.
After nearly going bankrupt and almost crashing out of the euro zone last year, Greece expects growth of 0.6 per cent in 2014 and hopes to secure more leeway on its debts to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
This is a historic day, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told lawmakers, calling the 2014 plan a budget of recovery and hope. Peoples sacrifices bore fruit and changed the course of the country.
Outside parliament, an anti-austerity rally called by the countrys largest labour unions drew only a few hundred people, a shadow of former demonstrations where tens of thousands took to the streets of Athens to protest the belt-tightening.
A total of 153 lawmakers voted in favour of the 2014 budget plan in the 300-seat house. Samaras conservative-led coalition controls 154 seats in parliament.
Athens sees a budget surplus before interest payments at €812-million in 2013 thanks to higher than expected tax revenues. Posting a primary surplus is key as it would open the way for Greece to pursue debt relief from the EU and IMF.
But Athens and its lenders disagree on the forecasts for 2014, arguing over the size of a potential budget gap next year and the slow pace of reforms.
International lenders have not given their approval for the plan, which sticks to a target for a primary budget surplus (before interest costs) of about 1.5 per cent of GDP next year, and have said that unless it found new savings, Athens would miss its surplus target by about €2-billion.
Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has said the difference had narrowed to about €1-billion.
The so-called troika of EU, IMF and European Central Bank inspectors, who left Athens last month, will return to Greece in January to complete their latest review, the IMF said.
The troikas technical teams were expected to continue talks in Athens next week.
We expect a full negotiating team to return to Athens in January, after the authorities have made further progress in implementation, with the objective of reaching a staff-level agreement, an IMF spokeswoman said.
The review, which has dragged on since September, is crucial to the release of up to €5.9-billion in bailout funds, although Greece has no immediate funding pressures.
The lenders want Greece to ease restrictions on bank foreclosures and on companies carrying out mass layoffs. Samaras has rejected further across-the-board wage and pension cuts to fill any budget gaps.
The economy has shrunk by nearly a quarter since 2008, and repeated rounds of austerity have squeezed households and sent unemployment to record highs of over 27 per cent.
The bailout has destroyed Greece and will be remembered in history as a tragedy, Alexis Tsipras, head of the main opposition, the leftist Syriza party, said during the debate.
Hundreds rally in capital Kabul against racial discrimination
Hundreds gathered in capital Kabul on Saturday to protest against the broadcast of a TV program which resulted to rhetoric racial discrimination.
The protesters condemned Zhwandoon TV for airing the remarks of an analysts regarding the non-Pashtun ethnic groups in Afghanistan, and called it an act to spread racial discrimination among the people of Afghanistan.
Gen. Wahid Taqat made the remarks regarding the non-Pashtun ethnic groups in Afghanistan, during a round table, which was organized to debate the controversial census of population law in the Afghan parliament.
Afghan lawmakers have been busy to debate the census of population law during the recent weeks, and the debate has resulted in clashes among the lawmakers in a number of cases.
The lawmakers have not reached to an agreement on whether to mention the ethnicity of the civilians in the national identity card, or the identity should be mentioned only as Afghan.
In the meantime, the organizers of the rally insisted that the ethnicity of citizens of Afghanistan (Pashtun, Hazara, Tajik, Uzbek) should be mentioned in the national identity cards, as the word Afghan reflects only the identity of the Pashtun ethnicity.
They also urged the government of Afghanistan to take control of such programs which spreads racial discrimination among the Afghan people.
This comes as Afghan president Hamid Karzai recently said that a number of medias are involved in spreading racial discrimination among the Afghan people.
Appeal against ASIO's 'jihadi mentality' passport ban
Around 20 people who have had their passports cancelled are launching an appeal against the decision.
Their lawyer Zali Burrows says they all received letters saying they've had an adverse security assessment on grounds they're likely to engage in conduct that might prejudice Australian security.
One of the group, a 19 year old Australian citizen known only as Abu Bakr, denies he had any travel plans and is yet to surrender his passport.
In the letters, the men were accused by ASIO of having a 'jihadi mentality'.
"It seems ASIO has conducted an investigation without them knowing" said Ms Burrows.
"They haven't had the right of reply".
She's also representing 39 year-old Hamdi Alqudsi who was arrested last week and accused of assisting Australians to travel to conflict-ridden Syria. ...
Vietnam is joining the ranks of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China, as being known as a country that censors its citizens on social media.
The government introduced a new law this week that fines people $4,740 for posting comments critical of the government on social-networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, according to Reuters.
Some people could also face extensive prison terms.
While the law is unclear about what kind of speech sparks government censorship, it does say that "propaganda against the state" and "reactionary ideology" would elicit fines. ...
Rally for Refugee Rights: Murray Street Mall, Perth [8/12/13]
Italy Rescues Boat with 105 Syrian Refugees
The Italian navy and coastguard said Saturday they rescued overnight over 100 Syrian refugees after their boat got into difficulties off the coast of Sicily.
The boat, which had launched distress signals while more than 300 miles south of Sicily, was located in the night by two naval vessels, said officials, adding that life jackets were then given to all passengers.
Weather conditions had initially made it difficult to transfer the refugees from their ailing craft. But on Saturday morning the coastguard was able to recover 105 passengers, including six women and 25 children, all of them Syrians.
They were taken to Syracuse, in the southeast of Sicily's main island.
Their rescue comes just days after another group of 120 refugees, mainly Syrians, were saved on December 2 after their ship was found adrift off of Calabria, on Italy's southern mainland.
More than 400 immigrants died in early October in two shipwrecks, one near the Italian island of Lampedusa, the other near the coast of Malta.
Shortly after the tragedy, the Italian government launched a major operation called "Mare Nostrum", mobilizing warships, amphibious vessels and aircraft to prevent further incidents.
Also on Saturday, Spanish authorities announced they had saved some 46 refugees. The group had been plucked from four boats off of Spain's southeastern coast.
South Africa-born, Community Information Summary [DIAC]:
... Following the end of the apartheid system in South Africa, thousands of South Africans migrated to Australia. They included farmers, entrepreneurs and people with technological and engineering skills. Most of the South Africans now living in Australia are of Afrikaner, British or other European backgrounds. ...
Lisa Pryor, Sydney
Morning Herald [7/6/08]:
Last week I found myself, briefly, in the land of menace and fortified shopping malls, prestige cars and electric fences, natural beauty and violent crime. And I found myself thinking about all the South Africans migrating to Australia. For although public debate about African migration tends to focus on Sudanese refugees, many more African migrants arrive from South Africa - and they tend to be white.
"Packing for Perth" has become slang for whites leaving South Africa, so popular has Australia become as a destination. At the time of the 2006 census, there were 104,120 people in Australia who were born in South Africa. More than half had arrived since Nelson Mandela became president in 1994. And yes, they do all live in St Ives. At least, St Ives is the Sydney suburb with the highest number of South Africans, followed by Rose Bay, Vaucluse, Dover Heights and Cherrybrook. ...
Australian Financial Review [7/12/13]:
... Australia's South African-born business community members including Westpac Group chief executive Gail Kelly also paid tribute. Ms Kelly' and her family left South Africa to come to Australia in 1997.
"He united our troubled South Africa in a way no-one thought possible," Ms Kelly said. "He was also a wonderful man; courageous, compassionate and extraordinarily humble. The world will mourn his passing."
Oceanway Walk [8/12/13]
Image: My Perspectives
Friends of Currumbin:
It was a very good walk this morning - the obstacles are diminishing and there is goodwill from both sides of the boundaries.
A gate on the road reserve land that has been locked for the last two weeks was open today AND our numbers are growing!
First week an estimated 90, second week an estimated 120 and today the number estimated was 220.
Surfers Paradise [8/12/13]
Not a short-tailed shearwater (muttonbird) but possibly a "little shearwater" washed up on Surfers Paradise beach.
Teenager dies on NSW road
Nine MSN [8/12/13]:
A 16-year-old boy has died after being struck by a ute near Dubbo.
NSW police say the boy was hit on Old Dubbo Road about 10km south of Dubbo on Saturday night.
He died at the scene.
The ute driver, a 24-year-old man, was taken to hospital for mandatory blood and urine tests.
Investigating officers are inspecting a quad bike the boy was riding shortly before he was struck.
Earlier on Saturday night, a 20-year-old man died after a car crash near Cowra, also in the state's central west.
Police say three men were in the Holden Commodore when it hit a tree about 7pm, trapping the back-seat passenger who sustained head and internal injuries.
He was released by emergency crews and taken to Cowra Hospital where he died about 10pm.
The 20-year-old driver and 23-year-old front-seat passenger sustained minor injuries.
The driver has undergone mandatory blood and alcohol testing.
Victorian woman found with critical injuries
Nine MSN [8/12/13]:
A woman is fighting for her life after being hit by a car in Melbourne's north.
A passer-by found the woman, 32, on Clarendon Street in Thornbury just before 3am (AEDT) on Sunday.
She was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where she remains in a critical condition.
An 18-year-old Reservoir man presented himself and his vehicle to Northcote police station about 4.30am.
He was later released pending further inquiries.
Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen a late model burgundy BMW sedan in the area to contact them.
Mona Vale truck deaths: head of firm in spotlight
Sydney Morning Herald [7/12/13]:
One of Australia's richest men could find himself prosecuted by the new national trucking regulator after two deaths in a Mona Vale truck accident and multiple problems identified with the fleet since the accident.
Transport industry observers believe the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, established this year, is likely to pursue a high-profile prosecution that could drag in the directors of Cootes Transport, whose tanker ran out of control in Mona Vale, on the northern beaches, in October.
Mark Rowsthorn, whose wealth has been valued at more than $500 million, is the chairman of McAleese Group, the owner of Cootes.
Since the accident, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has been incensed by repeated problems identified in the Cootes fleet, the biggest fuel fleet in the country.
Late on Thursday, and after leaks found in two Cootes tankers in the past week, Mr Gay said he was losing patience with the assurances of the company's directors that they were on top of their compliance issues.
''The head of the company has been put on notice under national chain of responsibility legislation that the board of directors and management are responsible for the safety and roadworthiness of its fleet,'' Mr Gay said.
Chain-of-responsibility laws, introduced in 2005, allow for the directors of a company to be prosecuted for the safety failings of their fleet. In NSW, 45 directors have been charged under these laws since 2005.
But this year responsibility for prosecuting chain of responsibility cases passed to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, which, according to several people in the transport industry, would be keen to make its mark on the safety issues in the trucking business.
''The regulator has been very clear to us that they are looking for a number of very high profile cases to make people understand they are serious about what they are doing,'' said Steven Asnicar, a director with Chain of Responsibility Australia, an industry compliance group.
Mr Asnicar said the implications for Mr Rowsthorn and other directors would depend on what it could be shown they knew.
Since the Mona Vale crash, more than 420 defect notices have been issued to the Cootes fleet, including 224 major-defect notices.
''If it is found that the company was aware of those issues and did nothing about them, they've got real issues that will go right up to the directors of the company,'' Mr Asnicar said.
''I would think they are going to make a landmark case very soon to make it dead serious they are serious about trying to save people's lives.''
In response to Mr Gay's comments, McAleese, whose shares fell 4 per cent on Friday, said it had appointed an external adviser to review its maintenance systems, leased an extra service workshop in Sydney, and approved extra spending on new brake testing equipment.
The company has previously said that it was already increasing its investment in fleet maintenance.
Drink-driving police officer demoted after attempt to escape breath test
Brisbane Times [8/12/13]:
The demotion of a drink-driving Queensland police officer, who tried to influence junior officers not to give him a breath test, has been confirmed by a tribunal.
Senior Sergeant David Tolsher was pulled over on August 12, 2012, a month after he was promoted to the rank, and blew a reading of 0.15 three times the legal limit.
Senior Sergeant Tolsher was off-duty and had just attended a work social function.
He pleaded guilty in the Magistrates Court to drink-driving, was fined $700 and disqualified from driving for six months.
As a disciplinary measure for the drink-driving, Police Commissioner Ian Stewart demoted Senior Sergeant Tolsher to Sergeant and docked his pay.
However, Mr Stewart considered Sergeant Tolsher's attempt to avoid a breath test to be a more serious breach of conduct, for which he was demoted to the rank of Senior Constable a sanction that was suspended for two years.
"Your conduct towards the junior officers undermines my confidence in your ability to be a senior supervisor," Mr Stewart said in his decision.
In his recorded conversation with the two constables, then-Senior Sergeant Tolsher attempted to pressure the junior officers into not giving him a breath test.
He told them he would "walk away for two hours, three hours" before getting back into his car.
Constable: "Senior, we'd rather not be doing this as you well know, but it is what it is and..."
Sergeant Tolsher: "You don't have to do it, you don't have to do it."
Constable: "Mate, we do have to do it, we do."
Sergeant Tolsher: "You don't have to do it."
Constable: "We do."
Sergeant Tolsher: "You and I know we don't."
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal senior member Kerrie O'Callaghan said the negative effect on the junior officers was clear in their interviews.
"I felt sick knowing we had pulled over a police officer," said one.
"It made me feel like I was doing the wrong thing because he was a Detective Senior Sergeant and I'm only a Constable," said the other.
Ms O'Callaghan said Mr Stewart had "formed the view that the conduct undermined his confidence in Sergeant Tolsher's suitability to be a supervisor at the level of Sergeant or Senior Sergeant".
"I consider a demotion to be a preferable sanction," she said in her finding.
"I consider however that in light of the duties undertaken by Sergeant Tolsher since the disciplinary action was taken that it is not preferable to demote him to Senior Constable.
"The seriousness of his conduct however, particularly the attempt to influence the junior officers, warrants a permanent demotion to Sergeant (paypoint) 3.1."
Sergeant Tolsher had sought the promotion to Senior Sergeant so he could avoid shift work and spend more time with his son following a divorce in 2010, QCAT was told.
"Whilst I have some sympathy for Sergeant Tolsher, I consider this to be an unfortunate consequence of his actions rather than a strong mitigating factor," Ms O'Callaghan said.
QCAT ordered that Tolsher's demotion from Senior Sergeant 4.1 to Sergeant paypoint 3.1 be suspended for two years on the conditions that he does not engage in any further misconduct, and that he be demoted to Sergeant paypoint 3.4 "being eligible to progress paypoints under normal industrial arrangements".
New Zealand: Who's spying? Who isn't?
This years headlines have been dominated by one topic: spying.
Top spooks Ian Fletcher and Warren Tucker made history by appearing in front of a public hearing of the intelligence and security committee. They offered reassurances that the Security Intelligence Service and Government Communications Security Bureau are not conducting unlawful surveillance on Kiwis.
The meeting was designed to boost public trust in the intelligence community following a series of scandals. But many questions remain about the Kim Dotcom case and the GCSBs relationship with the US National Security Agency, through the shadowy Five Eyes intelligence alliance.
IS THE US SPYING ON NEW ZEALANDERS?
The Five Eyes gentlemans agreement' dictates no spying on each others citizens. Before the committee this week Fletcher said he had no reason to believe the NSA targets Kiwis. However, he could not guarantee their electronic information was not being monitored if it passes through the United States, or other countries.
According to documents leaked by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA uses PRISM to access the content of emails, video chats, photographs and other communications. The US says it accesses those online records for a foreign intelligence purpose and on targets outside of the US. The Snowden documents have indicated the agency has snooped on the citizens of its allies and friends.
WHAT ABOUT THE SHARING OF INTELLIGENCE?
Fletcher insists the GCSB does not flout the law by getting data from overseas agencies that it cant legally intercept itself.
It emerged last week that in 2008, Australian spies offered to share raw metadata on its citizens with other Five Eyes partners. They believed they could get around the law by collecting raw metadata in bulk so that it appeared unintentional because no-one was specifically targeted. Fletcher says this meeting was just a conversation" about what information could legally be pooled.
IS NEW ZEALAND SPYING ON ITS PACIFIC NEIGHBOURS?
Prime Minister John Key has repeatedly refused to answer. He faced some awkward questions after it emerged Australia had snooped on Indonesia. In fact a secret document written in 1986, and released a decade later, revealed New Zealand was using Tangimoana, with the help of the US, to spy on France, China, Japan and a number of Pacific Island countries like Tonga and Fiji. Should any more recent cases emerge in the leaked documents, diplomatic relations will be very strained, particularly if the surveillance is linked to US attempts to contain China's influence in the region.
DOES NEW ZEALAND USE PRISM OR XKEYSCORE?
Fletcher wouldnt answer that question. According to the Snowden documents, XKeyscore retrieves metadata the NSA has already collected either using diplomatic posts, satellites or by tapping cables, and allows anomalies or patterns to be identified. Among the facilities listed as being involved in the programme is Waihopai Station. Commentators have suggested beefed up spying laws introduced this year allow for greater use of mass surveillance in the future.
DID THE NSA SPY ON KIM DOTCOM?
He certainly believes so, saying that he plans to offer proof the agency carried out surveillance on him, millions of Kiwis, and that it has access to XKeyscore, in the course of his extradition court battles. Recently released police files show the GCSB was passed information from somewhere relating to Operation Debut, the raid on Dotcoms home. Most watchers are assuming it was the NSA but no further details have been made public. Again, neither Key or Fletcher will confirm specifics about operations or techniques.
WHAT DID HELEN CLARK KNOW?
Key has taken much of the flack for the behaviour of New Zealands spies. But a good deal of the illegal spying went on under the previous Labour administration, as revealed in details of the April 2008 Five Eyes meeting. Labour is still pressing for an inquiry - saying there cant be two sets of rules.
Well-known New Zealanders not associated with paramilitary training in the Te Urewera National Park were monitored by police during Operation 8, Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says. ... [Stuff.co.nz - 4/12/13]
whistleblowers emerge in Australias Timor spying scandal [WSWS
Mandela Will Never, Ever be Your Minstrel.
By Musa Okwonga
December 07, 2013 Information Clearing House - Dear revisionists, Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try to hide his anger from view. Right now, you are anxiously pacing the corridors of your condos and country estates, looking for the right words, the right tributes, the right-wing tributes. You will say that Mandela was not about race. You will say that Mandela was not about politics. You will say that Mandela was about nothing but one love, you will try to reduce him to a lilting reggae tune. Lets get together, and feel alright. Yes, you will do that.
You will make out that apartheid was just some sort of evil mystical space disease that suddenly fell from the heavens and settled on all of us, had us all, black or white, in its thrall, until Mandela appeared from the ether to redeem us. You will try to make Mandela a Magic Negro and you will fail. You will say that Mandela stood above all for forgiveness whilst scuttling swiftly over the details of the perversity that he had the grace to forgive.
You will try to make out that apartheid was some horrid spontaneous historical aberration, and not the logical culmination of centuries of imperial arrogance. Yes, you will try that too. You will imply or audaciously state that its evils ended the day Mandela stepped out of jail. You will fold your hands and say the blacks have no-one to blame now but themselves.
Well, try hard as you like, and youll fail. Because Mandela was about politics and he was about race and he was about freedom and he was even about force, and he did what he felt he had to do and given the current economic inequality in South Africa he might even have died thinking he didnt do nearly enough of it. And perhaps the greatest tragedy of Mandelas life isnt that he spent almost thirty years jailed by well-heeled racists who tried to shatter millions of spirits through breaking his soul, but that there werent or arent nearly enough people like him.
Because thats South Africa now, a country long ago plunged headfirst so deep into the sewage of racial hatred that, for all Mandelas efforts, it is still retching by the side of the swamp. Just imagine if Cape Town were London. Imagine seeing two million white people living in shacks and mud huts along the M25 as you make your way into the city, where most of the biggest houses and biggest jobs are occupied by a small, affluent to wealthy group of black people. There are no words for the resentment that would still simmer there.
Nelson Mandela was not a god, floating elegantly above us and saving us. He was utterly, thoroughly human, and he did all he did in spite of people like you. There is no need to name you because you know who you are, we know who you are, and you know we know that too. You didnt break him in life, and you wont shape him in death. You will try, wherever you are, and you will fail.
Musa Okwonga is a poet, author, sportswriter, broadcaster, musician, communications adviser and commentator on current affairs, including culture, politics, sport, race and sexuality. A scholarship student at Eton College, Musa studied law at Oxford University and then trained as a solicitor in the City before leaving the legal profession to pursue a career as a poet. http://www.okwonga.com/
From Cynthia McKinney: Remarks at the UN International Meeting on Palestine in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia [2/5/13]
Africa's support of anti-apartheid strategies, role of donor aid in achieving Palestinian independence, sovereignty spotlighted during Addis Ababa meeting [General Assembly - 30/4/13]
John Pilger: Apartheid Did Not Die [Documentary]:
Apartheid Did Not Die is a 1998 Carlton Television documentary, written and presented by John Pilger, which was directed and produced by Alan Lowery, which provides analysis of South Africa's then new, democratic government.
Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Teen in W.Bank
Israeli troops shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian during a Saturday night clash in Jalazoun refugee camp, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, a Palestinian medical source told Agence France Presse.
He named the youth as Wajih al-Ramhi and said he was dead on arrival at Ramallah, from a single gunshot.
Israeli news website Ynet said that he was hit in the back.
The Israeli army could not confirm or deny the reports, saying only that military police were investigating the allegations.
The camp is close to the Israeli settlement of Beit El and is the scene of frequent clashes between young Palestinian stone-throwers and soldiers.
Saturday's death brought to 26 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of this year, the great majority in the occupied West Bank, according to an AFP tally.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said Israeli-Palestinian peace talks relaunched earlier this year are unlikely to bear fruit within the envisioned nine-month timeframe, but that dialogue should continue in order to contain the long-running conflict.
"I don't believe it is possible in the next year to achieve a comprehensive solution to achieve some breakthrough, but I think it is crucial to keep our dialogue," he said on Friday in Washington after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said peace was closer than it had been in years.
Cambridge, Oxford universities support Aussie boat race protester
West Australian [8/12/13]:
Staff and students from Cambridge and Oxford have thrown their support behind Australian Trenton Oldfield, who faces deportation from the United Kingdom after he disrupted the 2012 boat race between the two universities.
Mr Oldfield will front an immigration tribunal in London on Monday after his request for a spousal visa was refused by the government on the grounds his presence in Britain was "not conducive to the public good".
The 37-year-old activist has lived in the UK for more than a decade and earlier this year had his first daughter with his British wife.
To protest elitism and inequality he swam into the path of the Cambridge and Oxford rowing crews as they raced down the Thames in April 2012.
He was subsequently jailed for seven weeks.
Now staff and students are backing Mr Oldfield's appeal against the Home Office's decision to kick him out of the country.
More than 250 people from both institutions have signed a letter in the past few days that calls on Home Secretary Theresa May to stop the proceedings against Mr Oldfield.
"The boat race is a game - its disruption should not result in any individual's deportation," the letter states.
"Certainly its disruption should not be cause to separate an individual from his family which includes a recently-born child."
Priyamvada Gopal, a senior English lecturer at Cambridge, says staff and students only realised a few weeks ago that the deportation threat was real because it had seemed absurd.
"It was absolutely out of the question that such an extreme measure was going to be done in the name of our universities," Dr Gopal told AAP.
"We had to make clear that it was not being done with our consent or support."
Dr Gopal is a member of the Cambridge Academic Campaign for Higher Education - a group of lecturers and professors that wants to democratise public higher education.
She doesn't think it's ironic that staff and students are backing Mr Oldfield.
"Trenton was protesting a social and political structure rather than everyone who actually attends or teaches at Cambridge," she said.
"We are a very large institution with an undoubted history of shoring up British elitism, but again, there are several people here, dons and students, who are deeply committed to democratising the institution and widening access to higher education."
Activist group Defend the Right to Protest is organising a rally outside Monday's immigration tribunal hearing.
Spokeswoman Hannah Dee hopes the show of public support will influence the tribunal, which will also hear from several witnesses who'll argue Mr Oldfield is an asset to the UK.
"There is a widespread opposition to government austerity measures and cuts, so, in that sense, the (boat race) protest and the things Trenton stands for are for the public good at a time when many people feel the government doesn't have a popular mandate," Ms Dee told AAP.
Ulysses Club, 30th Annual General Meeting
Queensland Parliament Hansard [2/5/13]:
Mrs MADDERN (MaryboroughLNP) (2.40 pm): For almost an hour they rolled pastsmall motorbikes, large motorbikes, old motorbikes, new motorbikes, some with sidecars, some with three wheels; over 2,000 of them. Some of the riders and passengers had green feather boas, there were muppet helmet covers, streamers and balloons, helmet cameras, fairy wings and, from the community of Wollondilly, a group of Wheres Wally characters with their red and white striped shirts and beanies. It was the parade for the 30th AGM of the Ulysses Club on their way to their official civic welcome ceremony in Queens Park, Maryborough.
From 15 to 21 April Maryborough hosted some 3,300 Ulysses visitors at the Maryborough showgroundsthe same showgrounds which had hosted the 11,500 scouts for the 2013 jamboree. Riders and their passengers came from all over Australia and, in some instances, from overseas to share a week of friendship and fun, an annual general meeting, committee meetings, church service and weddings, demonstration rides, self-guided rides, escorted rides and adventure rides, entertainment in the Piazza and the closing ceremony. This event only happened because of the large number of local and outside volunteers who gave up significant amounts of time, particularly in the last couple weeks before the event. Sponsorship and donations also provided the necessary support for the event.
On Saturday night Lloyd and I were privileged to attend a black and white themed dinner for 2,200 people with live entertainment afterwards. This event was held under a huge marquee which had been erected before the event. But as is usual with this type of event nothing goes smoothly and a huge downpour of rain meant that 600 cubic metres of hardwood sawdust needed to be laid in the marquee to make it a suitable surface to walk on. The catering for this event was carried out with military precision. Bars manned by local rotary clubs were busy and a good time was had by all. I was privileged to meet with the mayor of Alice Springs, the host city for the next AGM.
It is estimated that the event generated some $10 million for the Maryborough economy. The biggest thrill for me was seeing the signs held up by riders saying Thank you Maryborough. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the Ulysses visitors. We loved having you and please come again bringing your friends and families. Thank you also to local club members and volunteers who made this even so successful.
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JUDICIAL CRITICISM OF THE MURDOCH MACHINE
BOB BROWN, THE FIRST GULF WAR AND UNITED NATIONS INTERVENTION
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