Sunday, January 15, 2006
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Antony Loewenstein's Blog
Web Diary (started by Margo Kingston)
Friday, December 16, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Now we have a prime minister called John Howard who says the recent rioting in Sydney is not a race based issue - there is very little racism in Australia! And he should know! He took over Pauline Hanson's policies, made them his own and at Cronulla and Maroubra and other Sydney suburbs the rioting is not race related!!
But of course none of it matters any more. He now has anti-terrorism legislation in place, thanks to the loyal opposition Alternative Liberal Party (ALP) and all the loyal state and territory premiers and chief ministers, none of whom want to be seen to be soft on terrorists!
So, easy! Just invoke a few crises needing curfews and other controls, and John's your uncle!!
Very interesting to read the comments posted on the Blogs of Antony Loewenstein and Webdiary on the riots - right wing reactionary versus left wing counter-arguments, backwards and forwards. Not addressing some of the key issues such as underprivileged, unemployed, living in group ghettos in certain suburbs. Shock jocks on radio inciting violence and racism - very ugly goings-on which are not analysed. The list goes on and on.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
He is now able to say to the Australian population at large: "You see, we needed the anti-terror laws to stop racist attacks like those which started in Sydney over the weekend of 10-11 December 2005", when white anglo thugs attacked people of "Middle-eastern appearance" at Cronulla, Maroubra and other suburbs.
So, with anti-terror, industrial relations, student union and other pieces of legislation in place, Howard will now be able to control Australia as he and Ruddock see fit without any fear of opposition from anyone in the federal parliament - they have all caved in to his attacks on human rights by arguing that if there is a terrorist attack in Australia, we will be well prepared, and we don't want, under any circumstances to be seen as not supporting legislation designed to control the citizenry of this country.
Oh, and guess what?? The people who were involved in these activities are being called "UN-AUSTRALIAN!"
This beggars belief! What is "un-Australian"? Well, to start with there are the government's anti-terror laws, followed by the industrial relations laws, followed by student union laws. And into this ghastly mix and causing some of the horrors - Steve Fielding of the so-called "Family First" party with its one senate seat in Victoria - handed to him on a platter by the Alternative Liberal Party (ALP) in order to ensure, with its preferences, that the Greens would NOT get the remaining senate seat in 2004!
And Steve Fielding will assuredly have done a deal with John Howard over the abortion pill RU486, in order to ensure that it does not become available to those who need it - women!!
These men have the audacity to label themselves "family-orientated" and this has to be oxymoron or tautology or both! But where does this leave our free and fair society that they love to boast about - it leaves it neither free nor fair, and the most worrying aspects of Australia as it enters 2006 is that it is becoming the very model of a police state, the likes of which so many have recently been criticising the Singapore government's (assurances of death sentences being carried out on drug-runners and so deterring others from doing the same) police state tactics!
Well, anti-terror laws have not ever stopped those wishing to carry out terror attacks from carrying them out - remember the Hilton Bombing in 1978 and ASIO?
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
SINGAPORE AND THE DEATH PENALTY
Singapore has a government, the head of which calls himself “Prime Minister” in a country which has no free and fair elections, has a theoretical opposition which is not allowed to say anything, trumps up spurious charges against the opposition leader and allows him to starve by selling his books in a park!!, has the strictest of censorship regulations and a media which is controlled by the state and treats its citizens as third class people, thus maintaining its dictatorship.
Singapore has been involved in the shadiest of drug dealings with the shadiest of countries – Burma – and by virtue of hanging a young man who was not even involved with bringing drugs into Singapore – has shown its utter contempt for the rule of law. Whose law? Human Rights laws?
Singapore claims – as it would – that the death penalty acts as a deterrent. If this were true, and it has been proved over and over again that the death penalty deters no crimes whatever, there would be no crimes in Singapore (nor the other countries such as the USA, China, Iran, Democratic [sic]Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Yemen ) and no need to exercise the option of capital punishment.
Singapore’s “Prime Minister” Lee Hsing Loong and “High Commissioner” in Australia Joseph K.H.Koh have both tried to justify their government’s murder of a young Australian man Nguyen Tuong Van with claims about their country’s strong stance on drugs. So drugs are not a problem in Singapore? Drugs are not a problem globally? Why are there drug problems in the first place? Does that mean that society is deficient in its behaviour towards people who use drugs?
Society is deficient in its handling of the drug situations around the world in many ways. The social conditions which start people using drugs in the first place have been analysed over and over again, and some solutions consist in changing the circumstances of people’s lives. But capitalists can’t allow this, they need people to remain in a subdued submissive state in order to tolerate their conditions, so they and the governments of the countries in which they operate encourage the use of drugs – many of them illegal – supplied by drug handlers globally, and the main dealers and the governments which permit this trade encourage and get rich on the process.
There is an abhorrence in the thought of state-sanctified murder, and the states which exercise this system of “justice” are themselves guilty of crimes against humanity, and they should be tried before international courts and brought to justice.
David Marr’s article in The Age, Saturday 3 December 2005 gives details of capital punishment countries around the world in tables supplied by Amnesty International. In a table for 1999-2003, these are some of the figures quoted in the article:
THE DEADLIEST COUNTRIES
REPUBLIC OF CONGO---350
*Known Executions (China)
THE DEATH PENALTY AROUND THE WORLD
• 74 countries have the death penalty• 122 countries have abolished the death penalty, either in law or in practice• Of those, 11 have abolished it for all but exceptional crimes, such as during war
In a further article on the death penalty in the same newspaper, Meaghan Shaw writes that executions are on the rise despite a new wave of abolition. She writes:
“One of the paradoxes highlighted by the hanging of Nguyen Tuong Van is that while fewer and fewer countries are practicing the death penalty, the number of people being executed worldwide in recent years has increased.”
Iran, which continues to be one of the world’s worst state sanctioned murder centres, has just perpetrated yet another horrendous homophobic murder by executing two gay men, just months after executing two young teenage boys on homosexual charges, which many believe may have been trumped up events.
Despite all the capital punishments inflicted by states around the world, state murders which are therefore not considered as crimes against its citizens by the perpetrators, those “crimes for which people are executed continue and will continue, despite the mealy-mouthed statements by the Singaporean Prime Minister (sic) and his yes-person in Canberra, the High Commissioner Joseph K.H.Koh. As Singapore continues to be a Commonwealth country, the Queen of the UK, who is the titular head of the Commonwealth countries, could have intervened to stop this heinous crime, but did nothing about it. So much for Lizzie Windsor!!
Let us make no bones about it, the death penalty is merely governments trying to show they are in control of crime and that state-sanctioned executions will reduce crime, but Human Rights advocates around the world have proved over and over again that the death penalty is no deterrent and is merely murder by the state!
And let’s look at one of the most hypocritical responses yet by the Australian government! They did everything in their power to stop the execution – so they say, but those who have been involved in the story from the beginning paint a very different picture, and the Australian government had one response for Singapore and a completely different one for Indonesia over other death sentences in that country.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Singapore is a police state with a dictatorship, first by the father, and now by the son, similar to North Korea, but is not afforded the pariah state which is afforded to North Korea.
Singapore has no free elections, no democratic opposition, strict censorship of the media, virulent homophobia, the list is endless.
The death penalty, with the Singapore government claiming it helps reduce crime and drug trafficking, is no deterrent when a government itself is complicit with such dealings - and all for financial gain, of course.
The countries which exercise this option are those countries with which many other countries around the world, have trading relationships - don't forget globalisation these days! - the good old USA, China, Iran, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, to name but a few.
Now here's the rub!! If the death penalty worked, there would be no crime in those countries which use this form of state-sponsored murder, but there is continued crime, drug-dealing, homophobic murders such as in Iran, because homosexuality is on their statute books - or their so-called legal system's death penalty sentences.
The CIA of the USA has used drug-dealing to finance its heinous crimes around the world for decades, but still many of the states in the USA have the death penalty on their statute books!
The solution to the drug-dealing situation is to legalise drugs around the world, but then guess what?? - all those countries with their severe drug-dealing death sentences would probably go bankrupt because of state sponsored dealings!
And, of course, it is never the Mr Bigs of drug dealing who are caught and sentenced - it is the poor people doing this to help finance their own drug habits or those of their friends and relatives!!
Singapore needs to be condemned and needs to continue to be condemned - to the death penalty for its hypocrisy! Let the country die - who will mourn its passing? It is an aberration anyway! What is it - a money dealing tax haven society whose people are cowed and subdued into submission without any control over their own destinies.
And Australia entered the same territory with the passing of the anti-terror laws by the Senate.
The Australia media suddenly decided they were under threat and at the 11th hour made a few howls of protest - where were they when so many of us around the country were protesting at the nazi-style bills sitting before parliament??
So, althought the government has given the media assurances that journalists, cartoonists, actors and a few others will still be free to be seditious, don't hold your breath! We know what the government's assurances are like. They break their words as quickly as you or I might break a piece of crockery, if not quicker!
I have seen it all before, in South Africa from 1948 onwards, in Nazi Germany from 1933 onwards, in Stalinist Russia from 1924 onwards - the number of countries knows no limits, and it is indeed very frightening!
The new industrial relations laws will also take their toll on human rights in Australia and we will end up in the same situation as the Singaporeans - and then, "Cry the Beloved Country" yet again!!
Hypocrisy is too kind a word for this sort of state murder!