Saturday, December 17, 2011

Council and Police try to close down Bradley Manning support action

On Saturday December 17, activists gathered in Perth’s city centre for a speakout as part of an international day of action for accused Wikileaks' whistleblower Bradley Manning.

In May 2010, 24 year old Bradley Manning was arrested over suspicion of leaking secret US military and government documents to Wikileaks.

These leaks included evidence of the torture and killing of countless individuals, the illegal bombing of Yemen and extent of the drone attacks on Pakistan.

Since his arrest Manning has faced imprisonment in conditions described as "degrading" by some of the US’s top law professors. They stated that it violates the Eighth Amendment (outlawing cruel and unusual punishment) and the Fifth Amendment (prohibiting punishment without trial).

This included being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for 10 months, exercising only by walking around in a room in circles and being made to stand naked and to attention every morning after he was charged on March 2 2011.

The International Day of Action was called in response to the beginning of Manning’s Article 32 hearing
which will rule on whether there is enough evidence for a general court martial Manning’s defence team attempted to call 32 witnesses to the stand but all bar two were refused.

They have called this measure unfair and also stated that the unusual action of letting the media report on the case may also jeopardise their chances.

Manning has been charged with multiple criminal charges including "aiding the enemy" and sharing state secrets which could leave him facing life imprisonment after the US government said they would not seek the death penalty.

The 25 protesters stood up to intimidation from Perth City Council rangers from the beginning of the action. Rangers wanted the banners and tables removed from the public space.

Activists took some steps to allay concerns of the rangers, however, the rangers called police in order to enforce their will. Police asked the protesters to remove the tables and banner and said that the action could continue unhindered if that happened. However, before police had finished explaining this, council rangers had already begun seizing tables, a megaphone and other materials.

Rangers seized letters that participants and passers by had written to the prime minister and other politicians calling for justice for Bradley Manning.

By this time, a crowd of up to 100 people had gathered to watch the events. Two protesters were given move on notices for nothing more than talking to police.

Despite interruptions from the police, the activists continued raising the issue of support for Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks as well as raising the issues of free speech locally. "Democracy is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back" was chanted by the protesters.

Activists are now discussing the next steps in the campaign.

[Article by Kate Massam. Photos by Leela Cheary. Live stream video from Karum Cowper/Occupy Perth.]

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

GLW end of year BBQ

Celebrate a year of SOLIDARITY and STRUGGLE

Green Left Weekly end-of-year BBQ

4pm Sun 18 December

21a Jarvis St, O'Connor
Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Includes GLW raffle draw (7pm).

(It's not too late to buy or sell raffle tickets - please phone numbers above or email: to help support Australia's best progressive newspaper. This raffle is a critical part of Green Left's annual fundraising push.)

Occupy Perth Corporate Scumbags Tour

Occupy Perth Weekend of activities

Sat 10 December
During the Day: Market stall with arts and crafts
10am - Children's Activities (incl face painting)
12noon - Friends of the Forrest rally outside PICA
1pm - Corporate Scumbags Tour
3pm - Public meeting/forum
5pm - Community Music (bring an instrument)
6:30pm - Community Dinner (bring a plate)
7:30pm - Full length film documentary (tbc)

Overnight Occupation

Sun 11 December
10am - Laughter Yoga
11am - General Assembly
1pm - Poems and Music

All at (or beginning at) Perth Cultural Centre

Corporate Scumbag Tour details:

We will be marching to each of the following corporations head offices with speak-outs exposing their abuse of power at the expense of the 99%.

Serco has run Australia’s disastrous and increasingly unstable refugee detention centres since 2009, owns two Australian super-prisons and took over Western Australia’s court security and custodial services. Serco has contracts with no obligation to be independently audited and must not allow the media any access to information or facilities.

Toro Energy Ltd, proponent of the First Uranium mine in WA -at Lake Way- they have been bullying Tradi Toro Energy Ltd, proponent of the First Uranium mine in WA -at Lake Way- they have been bullying Traditional Owners in Wiluna, have not completed Aboriginal Heritage Survey’s or a management plan and still trying to get people to sign off on the mine - they have released an ERMP with huge gaps and are dodging public scrutiny, make claims that Fukushima has done no harm to human health, are of the school of thought that radiation is not only safe but is good for you....they want to be the biggest uranium miner in Australia.

BHP Billiton - Olympic Dam Uranium mine in South Australia a recent example- 260 million litres of water a day, exemptions from Freedom of Information, the mining Act, Aboriginal heritage Act, and the Environment Act, receiving more in Diesel subsidies than they’re paying in royalties.

NAB, one of the "big four" banks — Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth and NAB — in Australia recently exposed by Greenpeace Australia as investing billions of dollars in Australia’s dirty coal boom. NAB has invested $382 million in coal-fired power and $633 million in coal mining. Meanwhile, Westpac (which includes St George Bank) threw in $454 million for coal-fired power, $354 million for coal mining and put $220 million into coal ports. This while recently posting record $5.5 billion record profit.

Chevron Australia Pty Ltd, currently the target of a campaign by WA unions concerned about foreign workers taking jobs away from local people. Earlier this year fined in Equador for 20 billion gallons of polluted water, oil and toxic waste released between 1972 and 1990 by oil company Texaco (now a part of Chevron) into the ecosystem in eastern Ecuador. The pollution has caused thousands of deaths, cancers, birth defects and incalculable environmental damage — poisoning animals, plants and the water table — as well as huge economic loss.

Barrick Gold- Canadian Gold miner who operates the Lake Cowal Gold Mine in NSW the Lake is the Sacred Heartland of the Wiradjuri Nation, and there has been 10 years of court battles between Barrick and the Traditional Owners- the Mooka Kalara United Families - they also operate a Gold mine in Tanzania which has had workers strikes, water contamination and more.... they also operate the Porgera Gold mine in Papua New Guinea – which employs mercenaries to protest the mine from local villagers who try and fossick for gold to pay their way because the mine has completely fucked the environment there so people struggle to live the subsistence life they’re used to... The Mercenaries have regularly raped young women and killed local men, and Barrick get away with it- threatening local land owners when they travel to speak out.

Fortescue Metal Group - Andrew "Twiggy" Forest's company - responsible for the exploitation and manipulation of the Yindibandi people brought to light through video footage of one of the Native Title meetings. Aboriginal leader and campaigner for jobs with justice Barbara Shaw said on October 27: “The way Generation One (FMG) are carrying on is disgusting, a real slap in the face. They come through town with a fancy road-show while hardworking Aboriginal people are being thrown out of work by the intervention or are now working for the Basics Card. Is this the future for the next generation in ‘proscribed areas’?

More info:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ALP National Conference protests

Over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of december there was a national convergence of activists on sydney to protest the ALP National Conference, that included members of perth socialist alliance.

Two of the main issues highlighted were equal marriage and refugee rights.

Equal Marriage

Refugee Rights