Rally for Peace in the Middle East

Atroops-out-s23-13-sep-version-2.jpgbout 100 people attended this rally to hear speakers like Les Thomas, Ian Rintoul (Solidarity), Halim Rane (Fair Go for Palestine) and the Greens candidate in Mount Cootha, Juanita Wheeler, who polled well in the recent state elections.

Les Thomas spoke in support of his brother Jack and condemned the government for using his brother as a smokescreen for its ‘war on terror’. His brother has been found innocent of all charges of terrorism.

“This has nothing to do with national security – it’s about appearing tough on the war on terror and they are quite happy to ruin my brother’s life in pursuit of their political objectives.

“I think he’s somebody the authorities have been desperate to make an example of for a long time and having failed in their attempts to present Jack as a terrorist threat in the courts they are willing to take any measure at their disposal no matter how extreme or draconian they may be.”

On the evidence presented by authorities themselves (usually full of bias against the defendant and misinformation), Jack Thomas’s trip to Pakistan was an act of naivete by a working class melbourne man interested in Islam. The move by ASIO and the Australian Federal police is clearly a move to justify their large budget and increased staffing levels since the “war on terror” was commenced.

Les Thomas was one of about 90 in an anti-war rally of people in Brisbane’s CBD marching under the slogans shown in the poster above.

Les said the demonstration, which was addressed by speakers from Solidarity, Socialist Alliance, the Greens and Fair Go for Palestine began at Post Office Square before the protesters marched to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade office in Ann Street, highlighted the Government’s threat to civil liberties in its deception, the war on terror.

“Today we made connections between the broader war on terror and how laws are being fundamentally changed in Australia so we are seeing things like control orders, closed courts and secret hearings that we would normally hear in authoritarian regimes,” Les Thomas said.

Juanita Wheeler for the Greens argued that the size of the rally should not deter people and that the media was cyncial not to report it — she said that the people at the rally should take heart that they represented the majority of people in Australia who oppose the war in Iraq.

However a greater dynamic has to be set up by the organising groups sufficient to bring larger numbers to such rallies.

The Anti-war Coordinating Committee (a coalition of Socialist and Peace groups, some of which are mentioned above) raised $435 which covered the cost of the rally.

Discussion: Will the US/Israel force a change of government in Lebanon?

This may be high on the list of priorities for the neo-liberals in Lebanon.

On Saturday, Hizballah had a rally in Beirut of hundreds of thousands of people.

The Hizballah rally (23 September 2006) looked very big on the ABC news — however the 2005 Hizballah rallies in Beirut looked bigger. Hassan Nasrallah gave a victory speech; Hizbalah may have been forced to move up the Bekkah valley toward Syria and at the same time Israel may have a buffer zone — one of its objectives in its war on Lebanon.

Meanwhile BushTelegraph has received news of large payments being made and received by members of the Lebanese cabinet. The neo liberals under the leadership of the son of Saad Hariri (a lebanese neo liberal assasinated last year) may well be behind these payments in an attempt to manipulate a change of government. Either the payments may also be evidence of corruption in government (or both). See article below:

NTV news 07/07/2006:

The Minster of Industry Pierre Amine Gemayel signed contract for 80,000$ with Mr. Abou Malhab (ex – childhood friend to Pierrot who lived 20 years in Sweden and having a business administration degree) in order to make a Study.

The National Accounting committee refused to pay the contract of Mr Pierrot 120,000,000 L.L Pierrot tried to convince them by reducing the price to 100,000,000 L.L. , but the committee still refuse because of many factors:
1. The “etude” should be done by the ministry employees and not by a private side; the price contracted is not logic and very high; employees of the ministry are getting salaries for doing this job and it is unnecessary to make a private contract.
2. The Contract is incomplete and doesn’t contain any details of the “Study”.
3. The National Accounting Committee called the General Director of the ministry for a meeting but he refused to come backed by a call from Pierrot asking him for not going there.Pierrot was upset because he could not do it in a legal way. So he asked Mr. Seniora to provide the money separately from “Reserve of Treasury ” 120,000,000 L.L. to pay Mr. Abou Malhab (a Lebanese living 20 years in Sweden).

Uncle Senioura accepted and signed it during the last meeting of government, NTV showed copies of documents for the public including the contract signed between Pierrot and Mr. Abou Malhab.

This is a small sample of what is happening in Lebanon’s Saad Hariri and his 14th of February [2006] band.

Is the conflict between the US and Iran just a deception by Neo Liberals?
A palestinian refused to speak at the rally on the basis of his belief that Iran and the US are in cahoots in laying waste to Iraq and that the public squabble between them is a deception.

He says that he has documents proving that Iran is refining stolen Iraqi oil for the Americans.

He argued that the slogan: “No to war on Syria and Iran” did not convey a true picture in the middle east (or the correct emphasis) and should have been taken from the rally poster.

This speaker should be invited to speak at the next Anti-War Coordinating Committee to outline his perspective.

Ian Curr
25 September 2006

2 thoughts on “Rally for Peace in the Middle East

  1. It is not clear what perspective of the Palestinian who refused to speak at the rally on the ground that the slogans on the poster failed to recognise collusion between Iran and the USA.

    Possibilities include:

    1. Is the palestinian speaker from the Fatah side of the difference between Hamas and Fatah? [One faction of Hamas is based in Syria].
    2. His perspective may be secularist.
    3. His perspective may be from that of the Baathist Party (Iraq or Syria).

    Whether clarity can be obtained and explained to an Australian audience is a difficult proposition.

    Hopefully, the Palestinian’s view will not be dismissed out of hand.

  2. Ray Bergmann says:

    Some confusion here. The person who declined to speak is Iraqi, a supporter of the Iraqi resistance against American and Iranian imperialistic designs, against their black-ops operatives and proxy militias, and against the provocateurs from the US-and-Iran-supported Iraqi government, all of which are complicit in the sectarian slaughter now tearing Iraq to pieces.


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