Tag Archives: australia

The strange case of Mohammed el Halabi

A Palestinian man jailed in Gaza by the Israeli authorities on the basis that he streamed $50 million from the Australian Government to Hamas, a organization labeled as being a terrorist group by both Israeli and Australian governments. Despite an audit by DFAT the Israelis continued to detain Mohamed el Halabi even though he has the full support of World Visions founder here in Australia, Kim Costello, the brother of the former treasurer of Australia, Peter Costello.

Nikita – Amnesty International (click CC for subtitles to overcome poor sound)

One can only conclude that Israeli authorities just pick up whom they wish and make up fictitious charges that could never be upheld in a properly constitued court of law. How does a young Palestinian man funnel money from the Australian Government to a terrorist organization? How fanciful is that?

The other aspect of this case is that it is not an isolated incident. Similar allegations were made against APHEDA (Union Aid Abroad) which had received $11 million from the Australian government and it was alleged by both right wing politicians both in Australia and Israel that Union Aid Abroad was funding Hamas instead of providing monies for agricultural projects in Gaza to grow fresh food.

Once again an audit was conducted. And despite that, the funding of Union Aid Abroad funding was pulled. This is ludicrous. This highlights the conduct of Australian, Israeli and United States governments that in concert with each other are attempting to withdraw all funding from NGOs and welfare organizations, which were set up because Palestinian land was stolen during Al Nakba in 1948. They set up these welfare organizations to assist the refugee Palestinians from their own houses.

Many Palestinians still carry the key to their residences which have been stolen by settlers under the full support of the Israeli military. So once again, we see the the colonial settler states implement illegal policies and then claim that they are not ‘failed democracies’. Full democratic rights need to be restored to the 800,000 Palestinians who have been made political prisoners in their own land since the Six Day War in 1967.

Free Free Mohamed El Halabi. Free Palestine from the river to the sea.

Ian Curr
2 April 2022

US Ambassador on her country’s blockade of Cuba

“Irony is the bringing together of contradictory truths, to make out with a contradiction, a new truth, with a laugh or a smile. And I confess that, a truth must come with one or the other, or I count it as false and a denial of the very nature of humanity itself (chuckles).” – The character of Jane Austen, in the film ‘On becoming Jane‘, based on the novel by John Spence.

Interview with the US Ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy on the US blockade of Cuba and related matters.

4PR: Can you please introduce yourself?

Caroline Kennedy: My name is Caroline Kennedy and I am the US ambassador to Australia. I am proud to carry on my father’s legacy of public service … you know, my father had hoped to be the first US President to visit Australia.

4PR: Instead we got Lyndon Baynes Johnson – all the way with LBJ (sardonically). I would like to make reference to a speech by your uncle, Robert Kennedy, made on a visit to apartheid South Africa in 1966. Let’s have a listen to a speech he gave at the University of Capetown on 6 June 1966:

Robert Kennedy 

I come here this evening because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid 17th century, then taken over by the British and at last independent, a land in which the native inhabitants were at first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day, a land which defined itself on a hostile frontier, a land which is tamed rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology, a land which was once the importer of slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the last traces of that form of bondage. I refer of course to the United States of America. [Crowd murmurs and then applauds].

There is discrimination in New York, the racial inequality of apartheid in South Africa, and serfdom in the mountains of Peru. People starve to death in the streets of India; a former Prime Minister is summarily executed in the Congo; intellectuals go to jail in Russia; and thousands are slaughtered in Indonesia; wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere in the world. These are different evils; but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfections of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, the defectiveness of our sensibility toward the sufferings of our fellows; they mark the limit of our ability to use knowledge for the well-being of our fellow human beings throughout the world. And therefore they call upon common qualities of conscience and indignation, a shared determination to wipe away the unnecessary sufferings of our fellow human beings at home and around the world.

4PR: Why didn’t the United States impose sanctions on apartheid South Africa.

Caroline Kennedy: It did. You know, my uncle Robert gave his life for his beliefs.

4PR: The US did not initiate an economic blockade on apartheid South Africa until 1986, 20 years after your Uncle’s visit.

Caroline Kennedy: The disinvestment campaign in the United States took that time before it gained critical mass, you know.

4PR: The United States did not do so until black South Africans mobilized to make the townships ungovernable, black local officials resigned in droves thus making the whole country ungovernable. The former Democrat President, Jimmy Carter, wrote a book called Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid. Do you agree with it?

Caroline Kennedy: Well not all of it, I am a strong supporter of Israel, you know,  and I believe an undivided Jerusalem must be Israel’s national capital.

4PR: Didn’t you say that when you sought the New York senate seat of Hillary Clinton after Obama made her Secretary of State?

Caroline Kennedy: I made that as a policy statement in response to a New York Times political questionnaire in, you know, 2008.

4PR: What about the requests by Palestinian civil society that Palestinians have the same democratic rights as Israelis?

Caroline Kennedy: Israel is a democracy, you know.

4PR: Yes that is why progressive Israelis are being driven out of Palestine by right-wingers. Your father, John F Kennedy, made the following statement in his inaugural address as President of the United States in 1961.

John F Kennedy   

Before the dark powers of destruction, unleashed by science, engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction, we dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt, can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed. But neither can too great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course. Both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final loss. So let us begin anew remembering on both sides, that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

4PR: Your father’s speech was followed by the CIA’s failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 and 1962 October Crisis with Cuba where he did not negotiate with Fidel Castro but formed a naval blockade around that small island off the coast of Miami.

 Caroline Kennedy: I was only 5 years old at the time but it was always referred to later as the Cuban Missile Crisis. You know my father gave his life for his beliefs.

4PR: This crisis brought the two super powers to the brink of nuclear war.  The US military deployed nuclear armed missiles in both Turkey and Italy pointed at Moscow. The naval blockade imposed by your father led to an economic blockade of Cuba which still exists to this day. Do you support that blockade?

Caroline Kennedy: Why, yes, of course I do. You know, I am a member of the Biden Administration and we are determined to bring freedom to the Cuban people. We oppose communism.

4PR: By assisting disaffected Cubans in bringing down a sovereign government that has the broad support of its people?

Caroline Kennedy: You know, my father knew less that Khrushchev about the Bay of Pigs.

4PR: Your uncle Robert Kennedy said that there is nothing criminal in a Cuban patriot leaving the United States with the intent of joining an insurgent group. There is nothing criminal in his urging others to do so. There is nothing criminal in several Cuban patriots departing at the same time.

Caroline Kennedy: You know, my uncle Robert said that nothing of what happened at the Bay of Pigs offends the neutrality laws of the United States.

4PR: Would you say that about US citizens going to fight with Al Queda in Iraq or Daesh in Syria?

Caroline Kennedy: You know, I opposed the invasion of Iraq from the outset.

4PR: Yes, you used that to distinguish yourself from Hilary Clinton who supported the Iraq war … this was when you were angling for the New York Senate seat after Hilary became the Secretary of State under Obama.

Caroline Kennedy: You know, the truth is I withdrew from that contest.

4PR: Are you aware that there is a ‘From Australia to Cuba with Love’ campaign that explicitly intends to assist in ending the US blockade of Cuba?

Caroline Kennedy: Why no, but I am new to the office of ambassador to Australia. You know, I would be happy to talk with the organisers.

4PR: Are you aware that since 1992 the Australian government has either abstained or voted against the US blockade in the United Nations? Let’s have a listen to what one of the organisers, Sue Monk, has to say.

Sue Monk
But back in the 90s, when the Soviet Union collapsed … Cuba’s  major trading partner at that time … Cuba really nosedived. It was desperate and starvation conditions for Cuba. And similarly with COVID, Cuba has experienced a problem with food, transport, lack of access to material goods, and in particular access to syringes to distribute and implement their vaccination program. So again, it’s been a critical situation. And so one of the things that we discussed in our meetings was, how do we do something a little bit differently …. so that we’re not just continually fundraising, fundraising fundraising. We would never have to fundraise if the blockade was lifted, the single most thing that’s affecting Cuba’s development is the US blockade. So we wanted to refocus back on the US as the major problem for Cuba.

4PR: Is it fair for the US to maintain this blockade at a time when the global pandemic threatens to end the lives of so many people? Over 800,000 US citizens have already died. Why should the same fate await the Cuban people who have had difficulty in getting syringes to administer the vaccines developed by Cuba?

Caroline Kennedy: You know, I would be happy to talk with the organisers.

4PR: One quick question before you go, the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has said that Julian Assange should be returned home. What is your position on this?

Caroline Kennedy: The Biden administration will not involve itself in matters before the courts. I understand the British High Court has ordered Mr Assange’s extradition to face trial in the United States on 17 espionage charges relating to his involvement with Chelsea Manning who released classified videos of US engagement in the Iraq war.

4PR: A war which you opposed from the outset, a war which was illegal, was not sanctioned by the UN, and which was based on a lie that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Caroline Kennedy: Yes, all of those things but we must uphold the rule of law particularly when Mr Assange and his organisation insists on undermining our democracy by releasing private emails of Hilary Clinton leading directly to the election of Donald Trump as President.

4PR: No better proof of the decline of the American empire. Oh, one last thing, former CIA operative Christopher Boyce warned the Australian people that the CIA was behind the sacking of the Whitlam government in 1975.

Caroline Kennedy: You know Christopher Boyce was convicted of espionage.

4PR: Just like the US government did to Chelsea Manning and are trying to do to Julian Assange. I think we should leave it there.

Please note: So there is no doubt, the answers given by the US Ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, were performed by a voice actor. All other voices are by the persons as stated.

Song
We shall overcome sung by Sue Monk

FOR INFORMATION about the ‘From Australia to Cuba with Love‘ campaign go to from-australia-to-cuba-with-love.raisely.com/

Say no to war with China

“I don’t believe that China represents a military threat to Australia” – Associate Professor Marianne Hanson, Vice-Chair of ICAN Australia – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons.

When the sun scorched the earth, a child was being born in the mountain, in a cradle of hard stone that poisoned him.”Strike The Beast Hard by Ruben Galindo

Why go to war with China when you can buy a perfectly good bicycle from there for $100 and if you have $16 left over you can add a bike rack to carry your groceries home on.

Last Friday on International Human Rights Day, the independent and peaceful Australian Network (IPAN) organized a rally at Brisbane Square. One of the invited speakers was the former Attorney General and Environment Minister Mr Rod Welford who said that the new pact with the United States and the United Kingdom is ‘an election stunt‘.

The photos were taken by Lachlan Hurse and can be found at https://photos.app.goo.gl/ntcX7Fnukat7WBjCA

Let’s go now to the announcement of the new pact called AUKUS made by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.

Scott Morrison (Prime Minister): “Today I announce a new partnership, a new agreement that I describe as a forever partnership, a forever partnership for a new time between the oldest and most trusted friends, forever partnership that will enable Australia to protect our national security interests to keep Australians safe. But I’ve got to say my greatest thanks to my partners in this forever partnership, this AUKUS partnership, to President Joe Biden, and the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. I introduce them today as great friends of freedom and great friends of Australia. And they truly are. They understand what goes to the heart of our relationship, the security and defence of peace and freedom. That is what is always has sustained us.”

4PR – Voice of the People 

That was the Prime Minister of Australia speaking at a nuclear submarine / AUKUS Alliance press conference on the 16th of September 2021. So this podcast is going to summarize the response to that announcement and try to analyze what is going on with it. So let’s go now to the former Labor attorney General and Environment Minister in Queensland, Rod Wellford, when he’s speaking to a crowd on International Human Rights Day in Brisbane square last Friday, on the 10th of December,

Rod Welford – former Qld Attorney General 

Friends, one year short of 50 years ago, on the second of December 1972, Australians elected a government that took the first tentative steps to building this nation to be a proud, peaceful and independent nation in the world. It was the essence of those three years of Whitlam government that brought us into a more international footing. We recognize China for the first time in our short history, the position that the Australian government has put us in is effectively to say that Australia should be on a war footing with China. It is an election stunt. And there’ll be plenty more election stunts like this, designed to play to the fears of the Australian people in the months ahead in the run up to next year’s Federal election. It’s our job, today, to encourage Australians, to help Australians see through that cynicism. And when they go to the ballot box next year. See that the only way to change Australia and to change the world towards a peaceful path is to re-establish Australia as an independent and a peaceful nation. And we will only do that if we change the government next year.

Australian Prime Minister Goff Whitlam sits down with Chaitman Mao in 1972

4PR – Voice of the People 

Mr. Welford, who was a minister in the Beattie and Bligh Labor governments in Queensland made no mention of successive Australian Labour government’s lack of independence from the United States. Labor governments’ willingly supported Indonesian invasion of East Timor. The Hawk Labor government supported Australian involvement in the first Gulf war against Iraq in 1991. And Labor supported for murderous war in Afghanistan where war crimes were committed and (finally) Labor’s opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, threw his support behind the AUKUS / submarine deal, saying ‘a close relationship with the US is among the three pillars of a labour government’s future foreign policy‘.

Does Mr. Wellford ‘s opposition to AUKUS and to the purchase of the nuclear submarines, does that place him at odds with his own party over the US Alliance and over the purchase of these attack class submarines?

Union Choir sings

“You are not my enemy these governments do not speak for me. And I am one just one of many who wish you well.”

4PR – Voice of the People 

That was the union choir singing at the anti-AUKUS and anti-nuclear sub rally last Friday. The next speaker was Kristen Perissinotto, the media officer of the electrical trades union, and she spoke about workers rights and conditions, the impact of war on climate, (impact) on First Nations people, and on refugees and people seeking asylum. Ms Perissinotto made a simple comparison of the cost of nuclear submarines, and that women’s safety, of refugees and creating jobs for workers. Let’s go to her now.

Kristin Perissinotto ETU 

So speaking, of course, I know the coalition are all about the economy. So I’ll speak their language, one nuclear submarine will cost $20 billion to build, estimated, and (its) estimated our entire cost will be $100 billion. So I thought it would be fun to compare that to some of the spendings that the LNP have committed to in the 2021 budget. And the first one, an issue close to my heart, is the spend on women’s safety. So this was Scott Morrison’s alleged women’s budget in 2021. And he’s putting aside $1.1 billion for women’s safety. That’s $86 per Australian woman. And it’s also 1%, or less than 1% of the entire cost of the estimate for all of our nuclear submarines.

Kristin Perissinotto ETU 

So the Liberals go on about how good they are for the economy, but they’ve only pledged $3 billion for new jobs. And I’m no economic expert, but I do know that people need a secure job in order to contribute meaningfully to the economy and continue to do so into eternity. So 3% of what we’re going to be spending on nuclear submarines will be spent on jobs.

Kristin Perissinotto ETU 

$0 was pledged for supporting refugees and people seeking asylum, although a shitload more was pledged for keeping them out of this country. Even though like I said, with Australia’s involvement in the Afghanistan war, and all of our partnerships across the world, we have a lot on our hands when it comes to some of those refugees, and yet nothing spent on supporting refugees and people seeking asylum. So obviously, that is 0% of the price the we’re going to be spending on nuclear submarines.

Kristin Perissinotto ETU 

And finally, the coalition’s investment in climate action, the LNP allocated $30 million for one renewable project in the Northern Territory, nothing for just transition to workers for workers, which is what something we desperately need nothing towards a clean recovery from COVID. And nothing towards a genuine effort to decarbonize. That is less than 0.1% of the cost of just one submarine spent on our climate.

4PR – Voice of the People 

That was Kristin Perissinotto from the electrical trade union speaking at the rally. Next up was a spokesperson from the International Campaign to Abolish nuclear weapons, Marianne Hanson, and she warned the rally last Friday against the acquisition of nuclear powered submarines.

Marianne Hanson (ICAN) 

Here’s one of the key problems. To date, no country which doesn’t have nuclear weapons, there are nine states that have nuclear weapons … apart from those states, no country in the world has been given this technology, nuclear powered submarines. We are therefore going to break this taboo. And if it does go ahead, this will set a very dangerous precedent.

4PR – Voice of the People 

Ms Hanson told the rally that other states are trying to copy Australia and get access to the nuclear submarine technology.

Marianne Hanson (ICAN) 

Already, we have other states in the world saying well if Australia is going to be given this technology and is permitted to go ahead and use what is highly enriched uranium in their submarines; now, the highly enriched uranium which will power the submarines is exactly the same material that is used in nuclear bombs. Uranium which has been enriched to 95 – 96%. It can be converted into weapons very, very quickly. And that’s the problem.

Marianne Hanson (ICAN) 

Already Iran has out as I say other states, South Korea, even Canada sought to have this kind of exemption and all these states have been denied. Suddenly, in AUKUS, Australia is given this technology or were promised to have this technology So there are big problems here, for our reputation and presenting a very, very risky precedent.

Marianne Hanson (ICAN) 

Now, the nine states that have these weapons have promised to eliminate them, but they are not living up to their promises. And that is why I can respond, the International Campaign to Abolish nuclear weapons … we managed to get a treaty in the United Nations. Our organization won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts. Of course, the government didn’t even bother to phone any of us to say congratulations.

4PR – Voice of the People 

After we marched across to Southbank, Marianne Hanson pointed out to the protesters that Q super, the Queensland superannuation fund for most of the public servants, is very much involved in the nuclear industry, and that people should write to that organization and say that it should divest from all of the nuclear companies that it is involved with. So that leaves us till the end of the rally, there was a resolution put to the rally that we should not support the purchase of the submarines and that we should be getting out of AUKUS, this AUKUS pact that the federal government is putting, and this is the response by the Department of Defense in regard of the concerns put forward by Ms. Marianne Hanson at the rally. And by her organization, ICAN.

Defence Dept Spokesperson 

AUKUS … offers great opportunities for defense to keep that capability edge in new and different ways, moving into the future. Prime Minister, in terms of the nuclear powered submarine venture, we will over the next 12 to 18 months, undertake that detailed work with US and UK partners. I know we we’ve been directed by government to absolutely maintain the highest standards of safety and security when it comes to the development of a nuclear capability …. that is important for the Australian people Prime Minister but it’s also important for our people who will operate these capabilities for decades to come. So I reassure you and the government and the Australian people of Defence’s absolute commitment to the highest international standards of nuclear safety and security.

4PR – Voice of the People 

Similar assurances were given when Malcolm Fraser and the Hawk governments both decided that Australia needed to have a uranium industry and to enter the nuclear fuel cycle. And of course, Australian uranium ended up in some meltdowns in both Chernobyl and Fukushima, despite all the assurances given at the time about the high standards of safety that would be  used. Finally, Janette McLeod put two resolutions to the rally. Jeanette McLeod is from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Here are the resolutions:

Janette McLeod WILPF 

So the first resolution that we’ll put today is around the Brisbane City Council. As people probably know, the Brisbane City Council has had for a long time, with a bit of a gap in the middle, a nuclear free zone policy. And that policy is still in existence. So that’s, that’s the first thing. And then the second thing is that even though there’s this in Brisbane, there is nothing at the state government level regarding being nuclear free, which is, you know, pretty absurd. So, let’s put up a show of hands to say, Brisbane City Council, please actually actively keep your pot nuclear free policy, make sure that it’s actually implemented. Let’s not let any nuclear subs sneak up the Brisbane River. And further the state government, could you introduce a nuclear free policy for the whole of Queensland because that’s what we need. So let’s have a show of hands. Great

4PR – Voice of the People 

So there we have it, an Australian government that’s hell bent on testing its relationship with biggest northern neighbor, China. Of course it takes some degree of insanity to  test that relationship when Australia is at the economic mercy of the Chinese government. Just about every major manufactured good that we acquire here in Australia is manufactured in China. And also so many of our natural resources are traded with China. And so to enter into a military confrontation over the South China Sea where, it would seem to me ,  the main objective of the Chinese is to have access to the shipping routes and the shipping lanes that it’s huge trade services. So to try to to prevent them from doing that by concocting some kind of relationship with Taiwan doesn’t really make much sense at all. So this is Ian Curr signing off from 4PR – voice of the People let’s go out with a song. This is PEGALE DURO AL FIERO or Strike the Beast Hard

Frontera (Sue Monk, Sergio Aldunate, Lachlan Hurse and others) 

Frontera (Sue Monk, Sergio Aldunate, Lachlan Hurse and others) 

Translated from the Spanish …. When the sun scorched the earth a child was being born in the mountain, in a cradle of hard stone that poisoned him. – Strike The Beast Hard Words and music: Ruben Galindo Original arrangement: Grupo Moncada

Frontera (Sue Monk, Sergio Aldunate, Lachlan Hurse and others) 

When the sun scorched the earth a child was being born in the mountain, in a cradle or hard stone that poisoned him.
He opened his eyes to the world and saw nothing but misery, he touched the cruellest inferno where the fire attacked him; he grew up among the brambles where the smoke was like grape-shot.
He rises up above the Andes with his warrior’s poncho seeking a path, a path that he desired, that he wanted as a child; he never complained about being American by blood, sowing his determination and with his hands pulling out the spur of evil.
Strike the beast hard because if you don’t it will leave you hunger; strike it because they’ll kill you and they’ll cover you with earth, sing your thousand songs and set out walking with your wounds, and together we’ll go to the forest to sing, then, to life.
They’ve given you very little bread for the sweat which you burned, you spent your whole life extracting riches for the beast; it’s not time for fear because the sun’s gone bad, the sky’s covered over with terror and the fire’s sputtering out.
Now you’ve found the road that the light gave to your life, raise the child who follows you and teach him to sing, teach him that man has a lot of struggling to do, put your cope over him and set him on the road to struggle, jump from the Andes and shout over the earth.

SPEAKERS

Scott Morrison (Prime Minister), Marianne Hanson (ICAN), Janette McLeod WILPF, Rod Welford – former Qld Attorney General, Kristin Perissinotto ETU, Union Choir, Frontera (Sue Monk, Sergio Aldunate, Lachlan Hurse and others), 4PR – Voice of the People, Defence Dept Spokesperson