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Tangled Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian-Iraqi Web

The article “Two thousand Turkish Special Forces in ISIS” published on 20 September 2014 at Kurdish Question [http://kurdishquestion.com/kurdistan/west-kurdistan/two-thousand-turkish-special-forces-in-isis.html] reports Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Demir Celik stating in a press conference in the Turkish Parliament (and I have added extra … Continue reading

The Lunchbox

A film about being on the wrong train but still getting to the right destination … India, despite being a country of chaos, poverty and inequality, still manages to support the distribution of fresh home cooked meals to workers … the distribution system uses bicycles, public transport, incredible organisation … and this film reveals its beautiful people … and sadly, its deep paternalism.

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Deep in philosophical discussion?

Are we safe – a contest between fear and hope?

The Westender found this news story that we re-published in 
May last year (2013) .... If you substitute “ISIL” for 
“Al Qaeda” throughout, it still makes perfect sense today.
                         -- Quote from local paper, Brisbane

I understand The Westender is trying to highlight the specter of fear that western governments and Mass Murdoch push but I would like to look more closely at the politics of fear and show how words are important.

The word Al Qaeda (arabic word meaning ‘The Base‘) only appears once in the article referred to by The Westender:

Jabhat al-Nusra, affiliated with Al Qaeda and other extreme Islamist groups, control the majority of the oil wells in Deir Ezzor province, displacing local Sunni tribes, sometimes by force.

- from European powers fund Al Qaeda looting of Syrian oil

Al Qaeda is mentioned here to differentiate it from Jabhat Al Nusra (arabic word القصاص meaning retribution). *

It is true that western leaders, including the Australian Prime Minister, now refer to ISIL much more than they do to Al Qaeda, western government’s  buzz word for evil only a few months ago.

In The Westender there is a confusion, admittedly shared by the Australian Federal Police, that people can interchange willy nilly names such Al Qaeda or Al Nusra or ISIL.

The reality is that Al Nusra and ISIL are engaged in a bloody conflict where they are shooting and killing each other in Iraq. This may be seen by the Australian Federal Police as a quibble over words but when journalists, whose business is words, also join in, its a worry.

Take for example, recent raids against members of the Islamic community in Brisbane and Sydney. Police allege that Omar Succarieh from Logan City demanded $7,000 be returned to him so that he could pass it on to Al Nusra.

Brisbane journo, Sarah Elksin, claims in her frontpage Australian article titled The rocky road for Logan’s zeroes that Succarieh was ‘charged with funding the terrorist group of choice for his brothers, Jabhat al-Nusra‘.

The Australian article claims that his co-accused, 22-year old Agim Kruezi, is charged with ‘with preparing for hostile foreign incursions into Syria’. Succarieh is charged with this and with extorting the $7,000 from Kruezi’s schoolmate, Adrian Vaevae, at least according to the Murdoch press.

At the same time, the Australian government has promised 8 Super Hornet Fighters to assist the US in bombing ISIL and to equip their enemies with weapons. The Australian military have already supplied arms to the Peshmerga (Kurdish word meaning ‘those who confront death’).

And Prime Minister Abbott has claimed that “… exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country.

Police say that Azari “did conspire with Mohammad Baryalei and others to do acts in preparation for or planning a terrorist act” meaning picking out random people and cutting their heads off. Only problem is, both police and Abbott are talking about ISIL not Al Nusra. And two of the accused from raids last week in Brisbane and this week in Sydney, namely Azari and Kruezi, are supposed to be connected with Al Nusra but at the same time planning to work for ISIL – groups that are fighting with each other. Surely police can do better than this?

Australian Federal police, the Australian, and the Prime Minister are all involved in the same thing, confusing words to advance the politics of fear.

As the No vote in the Scottish Independence referendum demonstrates, fear sells.

The Australian newspaper is publishing maps to show countries “that have committed resources towards a US-led stronghold to repel and defeat Islamist extremists in parts of Iraq and Syria” – direct quote from the Australian. The Australian government has promised:

. Military transport planes to deliver weapons to Kurdish forces.
. to deploy 600 troops to the UAE.
. $4.6 million in humanitarian aid.

middle-east-map.jpg

All police, mainstream media and government are doing is killing hope that some settlement can be found by highlighting lunatic acts on video … surely journos and local newspaper can do better and not get sucked in.

What is more brutal: being killed by a knife or by precision bombing of your home by a Super Hornet jet fighter?

Conclusion
The only hard facts police have presented against Succarieh and Kruezi in court is that they tried to get money out of a school kid to send to Syria. The rest is speculation seemingly based on a misreading of intelligence provided to them about al-Nusra and ISIL. Until police come up with some hard evidence that these men are committing crimes, the rest is a beat-up by the mainstream media and the government. It is guilt by association for followers of Islam.

Attempting to make people feel unsafe is no way to conduct policing at home or foreign policy abroad. Nor is following the US and its agencies into another war in the middle east. Australia needs to make its own decisions as to what is right for those people abroad who do not have the luxury of being safe. Australian government should withdraw its offer of troops and planes until a proper debate about what is going on and how best to deal with it.

The middle east is a huge oil field and everybody wants a piece of it; western powers, Russia and Islamic fundamentalists.

At the end of the day, its poor middle eastern people who are suffering, this war is so bad and good people are powerless. And it hurts … we need to help by trying to understand not by inflaming the situation.

Ian Curr
September 2014

Postscript
See also Tangled Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian-Iraqi Web :

Is Australia (together with our NATO allies) now unofficially at war with Syria, together with a rather large number organisations, some of which we have prescribed (proscribed, sic) as terrorist organisations?

References
*Suqour al-Sham commander: “Our land can’t bear a proxy war.”
Coalition against the Jihadists

Bicycle-truck tragedy leads to call for Cycle Safety Summit

Rebekka MeyerThe recent death of a Danish student, Ms. Rebekka Tine Lousdal Meyer, 22, has heightened existing concerns regarding the safety of cyclists on the roads of Brisbane.

According to the police, Ms. Rebekka Tine Lousdal Meyer was pronounced as deceased on the scene following a collision at the corner of Stanley Street and Annerley Road in South Brisbane at about 07:45am on 11th September.

She was struck by a semi-trailer travelling in the same direction, and was dragged about 20m by the dog trailer of the truck which killed her instantly. Ms Meyer was a humanities student at the University of Queensland.

Local Councillor, Cr. Helen Abrahams of The Gaba Ward, is disappointed that neither the Minister for Transport nor the Lord Mayor have allocated funds to improve the bicycle safety on the number one hot spot for cyclist accidents, as identified by RACQ in February, this year.

“Data shows that there has been 34 crashes and 14 hospitalizations reported along the Annerley Road corridor, but I’m aware of many other cycling accidents in this area, including one of my own,” Cr. Abrahams said.

“It doesn’t take a safety expert to see that the Vulture Street, Stanley Street and Annerley Street cycling route doesn’t have a consistent approach to bike lanes with the lane widening and narrowing to accommodate cars and trucks,” she said.

“I’ve repeatedly written to the Lord Mayor asking for immediate funding for safety improvements for cyclists along the Vulture Street, Stanley Street and Annerley Road corridor. So far, no real action has been taken to address the cycling community’s concerns and I’m worried it’s because the Lord Mayor and his Administration don’t want to invest in on-road cycling improvements.”

The Public and Active Transport Chairman, Cr. Peter Matic, said that last week’s cyclist incident at South Brisbane was currently under QPS investigation and if required Council would act on any recommendations.

“The Council conducted a road safety review along Annerley Road earlier this year. This review identified a number of improvements to enhance safety, including refreshing line markings, replacing missing and damaged signs, and removing overgrown vegetation. This work has been completed,” Cr. Matic quoted.

“Additionally, Council has made a number of safety upgrades at the intersection of Stanley Street and Annerley Road in recent months, based on feedback from Cycling Queensland,” he added.

“Council has made an unprecedented investment into bikeway infrastructure across Brisbane, $220 million across the last two terms and all of Council’s cycling facilities are constructed in accordance with relevant local, State and Australian Standards. Council has over 1,100km of dedicated on-road and off-road cycling paths and continues to deliver practical measures to increase safety.”

The council’s repetition of this claim on various platforms motivated the co-convener of Brisbane CBD-Bicycle User Group (BUG), Dr. Richard Bean, to conduct an analysis of the data used to underpin this figure, and he concluded that the Council used incorrect and inconsistent approaches to measure the network.

“This issue affects me as a cyclist because the Council is adopting a strategy of appearing to do something and proclaiming that much has already been done, as opposed to actually building the infrastructure or upgrading the quality of the existing amenities. We are dealing with a Council that proclaims a statistic of 1,100 km without taking into account connectivity or quality.” Dr. Bean said.

“ BCC’s annual spending on cyclists is approximately 2% of the total annual BCC transport budget and is only window dressing – all they want to do is throw good money after bad in the futile exercise of trying to deal with traffic congestion by expanding the road network, an approach that hasn’t worked anywhere in the world,” he added.

On 7th September, the Minister for Transport and Main roads, Mr. Scott Emerson, released a media statement  announcing the state government’s plan to invest $2 million for the construction of a new cycle path to ensure a safer and more direct connection between Brisbane CBD and the northern suburbs.

Cr. Helen Abrahams said enough is enough, and to address this issue she has called for an immediate cycle safety summit in Brisbane.

“I am aware that the Minister for Transport and Main roads, Scott Emerson, has announced a new cycle- way in his electorate. It is disappointing that neither the Minister for Transport nor the Lord Mayor have allocated funds to improve the bicycle safety on the number one hot spot for cycle safety, as identified by RACQ earlier this year,” Cr. Helen Abrahams said in response to the state government’s plan.

“I have been calling for a Copenhagen style bike lane along Stanley Street for five years. Each year it is one of my top priorities for funding in the annual budget. My requests have been ignored. I believe that the Stanley Street and Annerley Road are the major arterial route for on road cycling in Brisbane as they are the most direct link from the Goodwill Bridge and the Eleanor Schonell Bridge. The allocation of road space should be consistent with the number of cyclists using these roads,” she added.

“We need to get in a room and close the door until Council’s decision makers and south side cycle groups have hashed out a plan to improve cyclist safety along the Vulture Street, Stanley Street and Annerley Street corridor.”

On the contrary Dr. Richard Bean thinks that the Minister’s announcement of $2M to improve connectivity between the CBD and the suburbs is a re-announcement of funding that was detailed in the Queensland Government’s June 2014 budget.

“Cr. Helen Abrahams is genuine in her desire to stop more cyclists being killed – but a summit is likely to suit the BCC administration in being just a talkfest.  We just finished having a Cycling Issues Inquiry so the time for talk is over. The only thing that matters now is real action on new segregated cycling infrastructure and road rule changes to protect vulnerable road users,” Dr. Bean commented.

The current building boom in West End and South Brisbane has seen a huge increase in the number of heavy vehicles using local roads. As well as causing noticeable damage to the road surface, they make it far more hazardous for other road users.

While Dr. Bean suggested that restrictions must be enforced on heavy vehicles during peak hours, Cr. Abrahams commented that she was not aware of any existing restrictions on heavy vehicles.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the Transport and Main roads said “Our Transport Inspectors randomly patrol West End, monitoring compliance and enforcing transport laws, including regulation mass, dimensions and loading. We also act on received complaints from the public but do not enforce council by-laws.”

Finally when Dr. Bean was asked to rate the council’s response to address cyclist issues, he replied “somewhere between head in the sand and callous indifference,” whereas when Cr. Abrahams was asked what the council is doing, she replied “ They have done nothing to date.”

Sam Navin 17 September, 2014 Community News, Cover, Ride 31 Comments

Politics of fear

Don’t blow out the lantern
Or the snow will collapse in the center of your pain.
                    - Candile de Nieve by Raul Torres

see evilFollowing on the Prime Minister’s announcement last night (18 Sept 2014) that people are going around thinking of cutting other people’s heads off, the Australian government is sending eight (8) Hornet jets to bomb Iraq to help people feel safe.

Which is more brutal, to be killed by the knife or by precision bombing of your home?

Retiring ASIO chief Irving has accordingly issued this poster to Government Printers for immediate publication.

With mad announcements of yet another war in the middle east  and at a time when there is a sense of isolation for progressive ideas and organisation, some solace can be found in the way Cuba struggled to overcome the US embargo in the 1990s.

This song reflects those feelings and that struggle.

Ian Curr
September 2014

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Help needed with distribution of G20 Peoples Summit leaflets

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The organising for the Peoples Summit social forum, rally and march and other events to coincide with the November G20 leaders summit is shaping up. International speakers, including Sharan Burrow, will be addressing the Peoples’ Summit. The issues will include … Continue reading

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BrisCANG20: upcoming Gig & events info

BrisCAN G20 community action network – upcoming events and exciting meetings 1) Gig: Band Together- Oct 1 2) G20 People’s Summit: Idea Jam – Sept 20 3) Brisbane Community Action Network (BrisCAN) G20 Meeting – Sept 28 Gig: BAND TOGETHER! … Continue reading

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2014 Australian Climate Change Action Summit

This weekend will be a huge weekend for climate change in Australia because of the Summit and because of the massive Peoples Climate Mobilisation events taking place all over the world. Please help us get as many people to the … Continue reading

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Boycott SodaStream and defend the right to organise

The left wing Socialist Alternative group is copping a lot of flak from right wing university administrators, Zionists, the Murdoch press and Abbott government ministers, especially Christopher Pyne.
I urge you to sign and to circulate it widely. I’m not a member of SA but the left as a whole should unite to defend them. The real villain of the piece is the ineffable Christopher Pyne.
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Jewish State and Islamic State, Like Breeds Like

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Victims from the Sabra and Shatilla massacre in Lebanon, Sep 1982,carried out by the Israeli army and their allies. (Reuters/file) Sixty-six years after the establishment of the “Jewish State” in the Middle East, the world is witnessing the establishment of … Continue reading