Monthly Archives: July 2010

Predictions on Parliamentary Politics

Sancho Panzas and Don Quixotes
And, alas, some Lots from Sodom
Are sampling the deadly juice.
Aphrodites rise from the foam,
Helens shimmer in the mirrors,
And the time of madness nears
— Anna Akhmatova

Socialists should not get too caught up in parliamentary politics. There is no real change coming from parliament. However once in a while, the madness surfaces to reveal that truth is stranger than fiction.

Having said that, I made a written prediction on New Year’s eve 2009 which reads:

  1. There will be a double dip recession in 2010 (meaning the second dip of the 2008 recession)
  2. The Rudd government will not have access to funds to spend their way out of it.

Obama will emulate Jimmy Carter, Anna Bligh will emulate Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd will emulate John Gorton.

That is they will all become ‘oncers’.

[‘oncer’ = only serves one term as Prime Minister or President]

Part of this prediction came true when Rudd was deposed by Gillard, he has become a ‘oncer’. Part of this was his own stupidity, Rudd launched a mining tax without mobilising support in his political base in the Labor Party. It was a top down decision without building a case for the benefits that would accrue to workers if the government had more money to spend on infrastructure.

Such is the stagnation in global capital, Gillard has lacked the money to buy a second term in the way the Howard did while he was in government.

My prediction was a lucky one. No one was seriously thinking on New Year’s eve that Rudd would be deposed and that his government would be on the verge of defeat in the 2010 election. But accuracy in prediction is not the real point — it is a frivolous excercise at best — for example Gillard may still win thus making my prediction less precise. No one can forsee the future, but to understand why things occur can often give us insight into the world around us and enable a reasoned response to events as they occur.

Interets rates
I think that we misunderstood the reason for the defeat of the Howard government. It was down to interest rates. The government could not contain them, it hurt people with mortgages and so they voted for Rudd. Remember Howard lost his own seat of Bennelong, such was the concern even in the wealthier electorates. Certainly workers were worried about their loss of rights and conditions under WorkChoices but that was a pull factor organised by their unions, the push factor was that people’s mortgages were costing them and reducing their expected standard of living.


Rivers of bile in Griffith

There were rivers of bile in Stanley Street, Woolloongabba last night. We have received this report from ‘4PR – Voice of the people’ who were on the spot to cover the madness.
You may have not heard yet, but most of Brisbane’s TV media is assembled outside the Mater Private Hospital (in the electorate of Griffith) ready and waiting to report just how much bile Kevin Rudd’s gall bladder holds.

Surgeons have a big task in front of them tonight to remove what much be one of the largest gall bladders in political history, that of Kevin Rudd. Retired surgeon, Dr Eric Saint has informed our news room that usually key hole surgery would be used in gall bladder removal but in a case like this it would be more like open cut mining so large is the organ shown on the ultra sound.

One thing seems certain — Kevin Rudd won’t be giving out leaks of the type he gave the Laurie Oaks (Channel Nine) this week on Julia Gillard’s remarks to cabinet on Parental leave:

“This parental leave is going to cost us how much? Can we afford it? And how about this pension increase. How much will that set us back? I’m simply looking at it from all angles. I mean how much does a pensioner really need to live? Besides they all vote Liberal, don’t they? “

Workers Media (4PR) was on hand to ask the important questions along with the rest of the media scrum: ‘how much bile is there left in Rudd’s gall bladder?’

Over the years, we had been mildly sceptical of all the stories of abuse and harassment dealt out by Rudd to public servants, airline staff, night club security — even since he was Wayne Goss’s right hand man here in Qld. But the proof is in the Mater Private surgical ward tonight.

It is only recently we have realised what a nasty piece of work the ex-PM is personally as well as politically. But these days, aren’t all the people at the top in companies, parliament, church and public service all evil nasty people.

Alas, so bad is traffic outside the Mater Private hospital on Stanley St Woolloongabba that the 4PR mobile van was soon forced to drive on.

We hope that when Kevin Rudd gets out and back on the campaign trail (minus the bile) he will do something about the traffic congestion outside his electorate’s biggest private hospital. His slogan does say ‘Standing up for the south side’ after all.

One postscript just to hand.

Cheryl Kernot, former Australian Democrat turned ALP cabinet minister has emerged from retirement to run for the Senate in NSW. Cheryl was quoted saying her objective is to return some respect to the institution of parliament.

Sorry Cheryl, you’re on a hiding to nothing there, given the current focus of parliamentary politics.

This is 4PR – the voice of the people, on the roadside near the Mater Private hospital, wishing there was a political organisation built on collective good rather than on ego and bile.

Worth Voting for:
Sam Watson (Socialist Alliance) in the Senate (Qld)
Hamish Chitts (Revolutionary Socialist Party) for Griffith
Andrew Bartlett (Greens) for Brisbane

and any other socialist candidate on the ballot paper.

Ian Curr
August 2010

PS

If there are none (or even if there are) a ‘No to Privatisation’ discretely written on the side might make the job of AEC workers a little less boring when they do the counting on election night

Public Meeting: Who Rules Australia?

Despite the widespread celebration of our first female prime minister, the treatment of Rudd was reminiscent of that inflicted on another Labor leader Gough Whitlam.

Gough was sacked by the Governor General for trying “to buy back the farm”.

PUBLIC MEETING

Saturday 7th August, 5-9 pm  Gold Coin admittance.

Kurilpa Hall, West End.

Brisbanel Bulletin pdf

Contact: cpabris@live.com.au

Empire monster mess in Central Asia and the Middle East

Washington’s Wars and Occupations:
Month in Review #63
July 30, 2010
By Francesca Fiorentini, War Times/Tiempo de Guerras

ISRAEL: THE DIPLOMACY OF FORGIVING AND FORGETTING

The outrageous attack on the flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in May seemed to shift a few pebbles beneath Washingtons Israeli policy. It ruffled the feathers of many who are afraid Israel has become a liability for the U.S. and called into question blanket support for its every land-grab and military adventure. Among Israeli politicians and Israels many cheerleaders within the U.S., there is growing worry that Israels next military outburst could lead to serious consequences. As the New York Times pet pundit Thomas Friedman put it in a recent op-ed, Israel must buy its next [military] timeout with diplomacy or it could be forced to kill even more civilians. This way of treating Israel as a forever justified victim with anger management problems is replicated in Washington.

At the White House meeting between Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu early this month, there was no mention of the flotilla or Israels defiance of Washingtons demand for a moratorium on settlement-building. Instead, it was all smiles and warm handshakes along with a White House endorsement of Israel being exempted from what is required of all other countries when it comes to nuclear weapons possession. Conversation focused on re-starting peace negotiations, a pitiful process on an ever-uneven playing field: the State of Israel with a nuclear arsenal estimated at 200-300 warheads vs. Palestinian population fragmented by occupation. That same week the Israeli human rights organization BTselem released a new study showing that there are currently Israeli settlements on 43% of the West Bank.

Numerous commentators attributed Obamas royal treatment of Netanyahu to Democratic worries about the 2010 mid-term elections and maintaining the favor of the pro-Israel lobby and vote. But as proves the recently released video from 2001 of Netanyahu bragging about manipulating and ultimately scuttling the Oslo Accords–politically out-maneuvering the so-called pro-Palestinian Clinton administration–Israel is also quite adept at playing U.S. politics. What Netanyahu said then summed up the Israeli rights attitude about its relationship with the U.S.:

America is a thing you can move very easily, he said, move it in the right direction. They wont get their way.

But Israels attack on the Gaza aid flotilla and the spike in media coverage about the real impact of the Gaza siege has opened the door to changes in U.S. public opinion. Palestine solidarity activists within the U.S. will need to harness the energy of this moment in their favor and hammer away at the point that the main obstacles to peace are Israeli policies of settlement expansion, collective punishment and occupation.

This weeks declaration by British Prime Minister David Cameron – a conservative! – that the attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable and that Gaza is a prison camp is the kind of statement that can provide a lever for getting our viewpoint into the mainstream. The Presbyterian Church USAs vote this month to support a proposal that calls for an end to U.S. aid to Israel as long as settlements expand is also a heartening and important step in broadening the justice movement for Palestine.

THE FRANKEN-STATE OF IRAQ

“I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. –Dr. Victor Frankenstein

Upon realizing he had created what he considered a monster, the infamous Dr. Frankenstein was horrified and abandoned the creature to fend for itself. Kind of like the U.S. and the U.S. media when looking (or not looking) at Iraq. Political stalemate, continued violence, and a gaping lack of infrastructure describe the nation many in Washington have the nerve to refer to as a democracy, while a Senator John McCain can say with a straight face that it is the welcome fruit of U.S. victory!

Since parliamentary elections nearly five months ago, politicians have been unable to form a government. Power is largely suspended between Ayad Allawi and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, essentially seen as expats out touch with the average Iraqi. The standstill reveals among other things that Iraqis are wholly disenchanted with the current politicians, who have not been able to keep them safe, give them jobs, nor provide basic infrastructure. In the lead-up to the parliamentary elections, 57% of Iraqis in Baghdad said they felt conditions for peace in the country had worsened. Since the elections, the country has seen a spike in bombings and targeted killings of politicians, police, and members of The Awakening, a Sunni militia paid directly by the U.S.

Iraqi police and military reports show that just from July 1 to 18, 189 Iraqis (including women and children) had died in various attacks, with close to another 700 wounded. A plan for parliament should come with broader national reconciliation if Iraqis are to ever go a week without violent loss of life. The U.S. – which was happy to fund and utilize ethnic conflict as part of its defeat the insurgency campaign from 2004-2008 – now issues patronizing calls to Iraqis to get it together. Iraqs failure to form a government will ultimately be blamed on Iraqis themselves, seen through a twisted and racist lens about Arabs and their endless sectarianism, as if the U.S. invasion and occupation were not at the heart of todays problems.

Add to this the lack of basic services like roads, water, and electricity. This month riots broke out across the country demanding more than the few hours of electricity Iraqis receive per day. Back in 2008, Siemens and General Electric signed a $7-8 billion-dollar agreement with the Iraqi government to upgrade the countrys power grid. Iraqis have yet to see the fruits of that contract. Earlier this month, the Times reported that U.S.-led projects have either been scaled back or abandoned altogether, like a $102 million sewage system in Fallujah waiting to be completed after six years of work.

But Washington says not our problem like the mad scientist deserting his creation. The U.S. wants it both ways: preserve influence (in part by renegotiating an agreement so U.S. troops can stay indefinitely), but take no responsibility for the destruction and displacement (several million refugees) that the U.S. war caused. Iraq is rarely on the front pages now, but the antiwar movement must fight to make sure Washington does not slink away from responsibility to help heal the country it ravaged.

NATION-BULLDOZING IN AFGHANISTAN

With the pace of U.S. deaths in 2010 double that of 2009 and one incident after another of NATO troops killing Afghan soldiers and civilians, it is clear that there is a more chaos than order to the U.S. nation-building in Afghanistan. And if any more evidence of the wars senselessness was needed, WikiLeaks just supplied it with 90,000 damning documents straight from the source. Written by soldiers and intelligence officers, the documents confirm what the antiwar movement has argued for years: this war is horrific, mismanaged, and futile. The documents also add new details and expose the cover-ups and under-reporting of civilian deaths that have become common military practice. For Phyllis Bennis assessment of the significance of the WikiLeaks revelations, go to:
http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/pentagon-papers-2.0-afghanistan

The most significant short-term reaction to the leaked documents is likely to be in European countries whose populations are massively opposed to the war. It was no accident that WikiLeaks sent the documents to Germany’s Der Spiegel and The Guardian UK in addition to the New York Times. And no accident that those papers coverage stressed revelations about Afghan civilian casualties rather than the main thing emphasized by the Times – the role of Pakistans intelligence agencies in assisting the Taliban (and implicitly the need for Washington to get its ally into line.)

An antiwar surge in U.S. public opinion may take longer. But the WikiLeaks documents stand as a semi-official validation of previous criticisms of the counterinsurgency strategy adopted by the Obama administration. WikiLeaks provides important back-up, for instance, to the memo from U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry that was leaked back in January. Eikenberry warned that an increase in troops will increase Afghan dependency… and will deepen the military involvement in a mission that most agree cannot be won solely by military means. He expressed concerns that the longer-term goal of a secure and sovereign Afghan nation will be undermined, and went on to say that President Hamid Karzai is not an adequate strategic partner who seems to shun responsibility for any sovereign burden and who would be glad to see the U.S. dig in deeper into the country. He pointed to the rampant corruption (including Karzais fraudulent re-election), and the lack of a political ruling class that can provide a national identity.

Eikenberrys observations earned him a New York Times editorial suggesting that the White House fire him as part of a wider housecleaning after giving Gen. Stanley McChrystal the boot. The Times described Eikenberry as having a lack of enthusiasm for the counterinsurgency strategy.

But the main point is that the counter-insurgency strategy – which war reporter Ann Jones describes as a process by which soldiers kill civilians and then apologize over tea – deserves no enthusiastic support. It is a rolling set of war crimes and needs to be abandoned, period.

AFGHANS WANT THE U.S. OUT

Instead of winning hearts and minds, the U.S. has turned more Afghans toward the Taliban. As former U.S. State Department official in Afghanistan Matthew Hoh who resigned in 2009 told Democracy Now!, the Taliban is a very large organization thats not monolithic but composed of separate groups that have joined together, basically to repel foreign occupation…and resist a central government that is very corrupt. He clarifies that Afghans joining the Taliban dont do so out of kinship with Al Qaeda or because theyre terrorists, but because they do not want to be occupied.

The results of a recent poll by the International Council on Security and Development in Afghanistan are therefore both staggering and unsurprising. They show:

*75% of Afghans believe foreigners disrespect their religions and traditions.

*74% believe that working with foreign forces is wrong

*55% believe that foreign troops are in Afghanistan for their own benefit, to destroy or occupy the country, or to destroy Islam.

This evidence – which cries as loud as World Cup vuvuzelas – has fallen upon deaf ears. The Obama administration and others seem to have put their faith in General David Petraeus, the last sailor deranged enough to swear he can conquer the stormy waves of Afghanistan by brute force. In his latest move of insanity, Petraeus decided to go forward with a NATO plan to arm Afghan villagers to fight the Taliban. This despite protests from Karzai himself against a tactic that has a history of failure – creating anti-government militias and building dependence on fighting as employment. These are not the sustainable jobs Afghans sorely need, no more than Karzai is a democratically-elected president.

One year from now, the 100,000 US troops will supposedly begin to leave Afghanistan. But the White House itself admits the date will be almost assuredly be pushed back. Even one more year – one more day – in Afghanistan mean more lives lost and a society further divided and uprooted. Withdrawal cannot wait. Commitment to total U.S./NATO withdrawal has always been the pre-condition to peace in Afghanistan, key to national reconciliation backed by a regional agreement, and a pledge by Washington to finance rebuilding the infrastructure of a country battered by decades of war.

__,_._,___

Labor 4A Just Palestine weekly report beginning 26 July – including another village demolished

Dear all

Including CFMEU (C&G) QLD 2010 convention motion passed (see attached)

Regards

David Forde

Labor 4A Just Palestine

Weekly update for week beginning 26/07/10

This week’s articles

· UN Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 21 July – 27 July

· LA Times – Israel razes homes in Bedouin village

· Arab News – Editorial: ‘A prison camp’

· Guardian – Israel’s harassment of citizens could ignite uprising, warns Arab politician

· Mondoweiss – Israeli BDS bill would turn opponents of the regime into enemies of the state

· Ma’an – Oxfam calls for compensation from Israel

· Ma’an – Abbas: Israel renewing cycle of violence

· Christian Science Monitor – Ten years after Camp David, Israel has made peace even harder

· Australian – New settlements to build tension

· Haaretz – Do you still have hope after the IDF killed your daughters and niece in Gaza?

· Haaretz – UN rights body names team to probe Gaza flotilla raid

· Christian Science Monitor – Why a young Israeli woman spies on Israeli settlements in West Bank

· All the latest from the Palestinian News agency Ma’an

UN Protection of Civilians Weekly Report | 14 July – 20 July

Four Palestinians killed and 17 others injured throughout the oPt. In the West Bank, demolitions continue; 17 structures in Area C and five others in East Jerusalem targeted. Israeli settler violence escalates. In the Gaza Strip, Tunnel situation remains dangerous. Crossings; imports continue to increase however impact remains limited. Industrial fuel and cooking gas imports decline; electricity shortages continue. To read both reports click on: Protection of Civilians Weekly Report

LA Times – Israel razes homes in Bedouin village

For the sixth time in a decade, farmer Ismail Mohamed Salem watched Israeli bulldozers raze his home in this disputed Bedouin village. Hours later, he sat next to the rubble and vowed to rebuild — yet again. To read the article click on: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/middleeast/la-fg-israel-bedouins-2…

Arab News – Editorial: ‘A prison camp’

The new British Premier David Cameron appears unafraid to speak his mind. Visiting his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Tuesday, he described Gaza as “a prison camp” and urged the illegal Israeli blockade be lifted. To read the article click on: http://arabnews.com/opinion/editorial/article91933.ece

Guardian – Israel’s harassment of citizens could ignite uprising, warns Arab politician

Israel could ignite a third intifada if it continues to push its 1.2 million Arab citizens into a corner, claims Haneen Zoabi, the Arab member of the Knesset vilified for joining the Gaza aid flotilla. To read the article click on:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/25/israel-arab-citizens-knesset-zoabi

Mondoweiss – Israeli BDS bill would turn opponents of the regime into enemies of the state

For many years now, Israel has boasted about being “the only democracy in the Middle East.” It has never been a democracy: it has systematically discriminated against its non-Jewish citizens. To read the article click on:.

http://mondoweiss.net/2010/07/israeli-bds-bill-would-turn-opponents-of-the-regime-into-enemies-of-the-state.html

Ma’an – Oxfam calls for compensation from Israel

The international aid agency Oxfam demanded Monday that Israel compensate Palestinians in a northern Jordan Valley village after soldiers destroyed at least $29,000 of aid when soldiers demolished 79 structures in the village. To read the article click on: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=302109

Ma’an – Abbas: Israel renewing cycle of violence

President Abbas said Sunday that Israel’s continued settlement building on what would become a future Palestinian state was impeding a two-state solution and renewing the cycle of violence. To read the article click on:

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=302336

Christian Science Monitor – Ten years after Camp David, Israel has made peace even harder

In an interview earlier this year with The Jerusalem Post, one of the Jewish settlers in Sheikh Jarrah, an area in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem where Palestinians are being evicted from their homes, explained that he had no “personal problems” with “the Arabs” – but insisted that “they have to admit who the landlord is here.” To read the article click on: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0726/Ten-years-after-Camp-David…

Australian – New settlements to build tension

ISRAEL has given the strongest indication yet that it will resume building in Jewish settlements when the current 10-month freeze expires in September, setting the scene for renewed tensions with the US and the EU. To read the aticle click on: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/new-settlements-to-build-tension/story-e6frg6so-1225897733919

Haaretz – Do you still have hope after the IDF killed your daughters and niece in Gaza?

TORONTO – Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish speaks frankly to Israelis and Palestinians, in synagogues, mosques and cultural centers, in this city, where he now resides. On January 16, 2009 three of his daughters, Bessan (20 ), Mayar (15 ) and Aya (13 ), and his niece, Noor (17 ) were killed by an Israel Defense Forces shell fired directly into their bedroom. To read the article click on: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/dr-izzeldin-abuelaish-do-you-still…

Haaretz – UN rights body names team to probe Gaza flotilla raid

The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed a team of international experts on Friday to investigate Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla and called on all parties to cooperate. To read the article click on: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/un-rights-body-names-team-to-probe-gaza-flotilla-raid-1.303683

Christian Science Monitor – Why a young Israeli woman spies on Israeli settlements in West Bank

If Palestinians ever achieve the viable state to which they aspire, they will have a determined young Israeli activist to thank for its territory not being entirely swallowed by Israeli settlements. To read the article click on: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0728/Why-a-young-Israeli-woman-s…

Palestinian News agency Ma’an

For all the latest from Ma’an News click on:http://www.maannews.net/eng/Default.aspx

CFMEU (C&G) QLD 2010 Convention motion Palestine Israel.pdf

UN vote on Human Rights to Clean Water – Australia Abstains

[Aboriginal News]

Explanation of the Australia’s vote on the United Nations General
Assembly resolution A/64/L.63/Rev.1 on the human right to water and
sanitation, as delivered by Ambassador Andrew Goledzinowski on 28 July
2010.

Access to water and sanitation is fundamental to the realisation of a
range of human rights. Globally, two-thirds of those without reliable
access to clean water live in the Asia-Pacific region; and of our
region’s 3.8 billion people, over half do not have access to sanitation.

Australia also acknowledges that access to water and sanitation is of
critical importance to the achievement of the Millennium Development
Goals. Therefore, Australia has increased development assistance for
water and sanitation by $300 million dollars in the last two years.

We appreciate the sincerity of the Plurinational State of Bolivia as
the lead sponsor of this resolution, and, respect Bolivia’s commitment
on this issue.

Nonetheless, Australia has reservations about the process of declaring
new human rights through a General Assembly resolution. In particular,
we are concerned that the precise status and nature of such rights
will be uncertain. – Uncertainty makes consensus difficult. When we
recognise new human rights, consensus is very important.

Australia supports the work of the Independent Expert on the issue of
human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and
sanitation. We have followed with interest the progress of the
Independent Expert’s work in clarifying the content of rights related
to access to water and sanitation. This resolution has now been
adopted. But we would have preferred that the Independent Expert had
been allowed to finalise her work before the tabling of a resolution,
so that her work on this subject could be fully taken into account by
the General Assembly.


Les Malezer <les.malezer>

28 July 2010

Aside

Photo: Sam Watson Speaks at campaign launch The last Aboriginal Rights Coalition meeting recognised the call from the Defending Indigenous Rights convergence held in Alice Springs July 6 – 9 calling on campaign groups to support Aboriginal candidates who support … Continue reading

Straddie needs your help

To all SIMO members and friends

Submission Guidelines to Straddie Vision

The future of North Stradbroke Island is at a critical stage. The Premier announced 80 per cent of the island is to be made national park, and mining is to be phased out by 2027. Another 17 years of mining would see the last big tracts of ancient sand dunes destroyed, country earmarked for national park.

Seems crazy to recognise an area for its national park values but then let the bulldozers in first.

It’s important to send a message ASAP to government. Submissions of any length can be sent to straddie.vision, cc the Premier, premier and forward a copy to SIMO if possible – Jackie Cooper ume

More information and maps at www.qld.gov and see attachments.

You can send more than one submission, so if there are points you have missed, send them in. If you are in a rush, just include the first 6 points below in bold.

If you have more time, have a look at the rest of this email, which gives more suggestions and background. See also the attached letter from Professor Carla Catterall about rehabilitation outcomes and CRL’s notice to the ASX regarding halving the workforce. Also add other concerns or ideas you have: it’s up to us to help shape our future.

Key points you might like to use in your submission:

  1. Strongly support 80 per cent national park for North Stradbroke Island, and call for much more of the island to be gazetted in this term of government, especially pristine country. 80 per cent is needed because so much of the pristine country is scattered through mined country, and the island is relatively small.
  1. Don’t mine our future national park: no more mining in pristine areas. County rehabilitated after mining is a very poor substitute for the original. All remaining old growth forest and original landscape (including areas of limited disturbance) should be protected now. After 60 years of mining, every last scrap of original landscape is precious.
  1. Request the application of existing legislation, including provisions of the Mineral Resources Act 1989, to end mining in the shortest possible time. The island needs protection now, not in 17 years time.

(i) Do not renew any expired or soon-to-expire mining lease, especially the Enterprise leases (including ML1117) and two Vance leases (ML1124, 7064). The massive pit of Enterprise moving through the landscape is hugely destructive.

(ii) Cancel the Vance lease ML1108 on the basis of serious breaches of law and mining lease conditions. The Supreme Court has found that Unimin has unlawfully taken and sold non-mineral sand from Vance for a decade. This sand should have been used to help reduce the holes left after the legal silica mining..

(iii) Ensure rehabilitation obligations are met, not by renewing mining leases but by an alternative tenure arrangement. If a mining lease is renewed to allow rehabilitation, there is always a risk that a future government could amend legislation to re-enliven mining or quarrying.

4. Support joint management of the national park with the traditional owners.

5. Request that mine workers and their families receive due consideration. Mineral resources have been running out. Yarraman is due to finish in 2013, and CRL announced to the stock exchange in 2009 that the workforce would halve (a loss of about 100 jobs). For the remaining employees there will be many jobs in decommissioning of plant and rehabilitation. Encourage government to facilitate the creation of alternative job opportunities.

6. Call for the national park to be world class, based on ecological principles. The island’s sensitive ecosystems, rich diversity of plants and animals, scenic and cultural sites should be front and centre of decision-making right now. This includes the island’s koalas. Adequate pristine county is needed for ecosystem health, and is what tourists will want to experience.

7. Request that the pristine country of Blue Lake catchment and Swallow Lagoon be included in national park immediately. Recognise that ‘the Pines’ area includes an important swamp, native vegetation is recovering well and the area forms prt of the catchment of Brown Lake. Therefore this area requires sensitive management.

8. On the government’s map, the red nature-based tourism area at Flinders is at odds with the environment: it’s koala territory, swampy, home to rare orchids, low-lying and subject to sea level rise.

9. Support genuine 4WD access within the park, but do not support opening up areas of the island for recreational, destructive 4WD activity. Stradbroke’s fragile ecosystems quickly erode when churned up by vehicles. The state should not be supporting “just for fun” activities that are ecologically so damaging. Special consideration is needed for beach wildlife, turtle nesting, migratory birds, shorebirds and invertebrate fauna that underpin beach ecology.

Background

On June 20, the Premier announced a new vision for North Stradbroke Island. Additional information has followed: see New Vision for North Stradbroke Island at www.qld.gov.

Key points of the vision are:
80 per cent of NSI to be national park by 2027.
56 per cent to be declared national park within 18 months, the remainder to be successively phased in between 2011-2027.
Sand mining to be phased out by 2027 when the last lease expires.
Expired mining leases are not to be renewed, and no new leases to be granted.
The government will legislate to create certainty for the closure date of all mines and will ensure rehabilitation obligations are met.

Comment on national park
Given that so much of the island has been mined or impacted on by mining, a very large percentage of the island needs to be under national park protection. This is essential for ecosystem health and to ensure the best possible outcomes for the land in recovery from mining. The rehabilitated land is dependent on the surrounding natural bush for “supply” of species and cushioning from stressors such as invasive species. Refer to attached letter by Professor Carla Catterall. The island is relatively small, so maintaining connectivity throughout its length and breadth is crucial. The government was right to set aside 80 per cent national park.

But there are some catches!

The first 56 per cent will consist of 18 Mile Swamp and some lagoons and wetlands in the south of the island (that are protected by Ramsar anyway). Apart from a couple of very small parcels in the north, the rest is primarily land already mined or impacted on by mining (the Gordon, Ibis and Bayside mine areas). See maps at www.qld.gov.

This land is important for national park and includes some very valuable wetlands and koala habitat, but it’s hard to understand why so much country in the north of the island – some not even covered by mining lease – is not being included in national park in this term of government. That’s why it’s important to encourage the government to gazette as much land as possible now.

Matters of concern relating to mining
On the day of the announcement, everyone got the impression that all the expired leases would not be renewed. But then it emerged that the massive Enterprise mine, the big pit that features in so many press photos, may be renewed. This mine is on a lease that expired in 2007, so mining has already been occurring here on borrowed time. This mine is still clearing old growth forest and digging very deep. It’s true that parts of the Enterprise leases were dry mined in the 1960s, but that was shallow mining: nothing like the scale and depth of current operations. Native bush has recolonised the dry-mined areas reasonably well, particularly as it’s surrounded by pristine country. But all that landscape would be homogenised if the expired Enterprise leases were to be renewed.

Yarraman mine lease expires in 2027 but the minerals are running out and the mine is due to close in about 2013. CRL announced in 2009 that half the workforce (about 100 jobs) would go when Yarraman closed. Yarraman is still clearing old growth forest and has a big pit, like Enterprise.

At the silica glass mine, two of the leases have expired and the other lease – ML1108 – runs to 2025. This is ancient dune country, very scenic, home to threatened frogs, endangered heathlands and part of the rooftop of the island. There are masses of pink boronias in spring. It’s from this site that Unimin had been unlawfully taking and selling sand to the landscape and building industries. This mine is also clearing pristine old growth vegetation.

So while the announcement of 80 per cent national park is very welcome, the reality is the silica glass mine is set to run another 15 years; and if the government renews Enterprise, then island mining will be allowed to run its course. Effectively the government will not have curtailed mining at all.

So far, ecological principles and the island’s biodiversity do not appear to be at the forefront of planning decisions. It’s critical this is brought into play ASAP. We should urge the government to commission a rapid assessment ecological report to gather together all the information like koala habitat mapping, sites of rare and endangered species, the most pristine wetlands, vegetation types and so forth. Much of this information exists; it just needs to be pulled together so that planning can make use of it.

Many islanders are naturally concerned about jobs, but mining always was going to end. The heavy minerals are definitely running out. Silica mineral may have lasted longer. But if we recycled glass better, we wouldn’t need to keep destroying pristine country on Stradbroke. The thing is, it’s cheaper to dig sand out of Stradbroke than it is to use recycled glass. Something is wrong there.

Isn’t it better to plan for the future now and save what’s left of the last big tracts of pristine country?

SIMO is pushing to obtain true and accurate information about our island economy and how we can best make the transition to a sustainable future.

Thank you for reading this, and thank you for making your submission.

Committee
Stradbroke Island Management Organisation
PO Point Lookout QLD 4183
07 3409 8944
ume
www.simo-stradbroke.org
Stradbroke letter Catterall 2010.pdf

Radio National this Saturday

Saturday 31, 2010

THE MUSIC SHOW with Andrew Ford – Toying with the rules of music genres
10am, repeat 8pm

Popular bands of today toy with the rules of their particular music genres. Glam electro pop of Scissor Sisters found huge audiences for the Brooklyn band anywhere but home and London folk darlings Mumford and Sons appear to be spearheading a musical revolution that values the banjo over electric guitar.

THE SCIENCE SHOW with Robyn Williams – Moving the elephants
Midday, repeat Monday 7pm

If climate is really changing so much that thousands of species will lose their home territories, is it feasible to move them? Even elephants? The Science Show examines the needs and possibilities of an Ark for 2010.

ALL IN THE MIND with Natasha Mitchell – Stories from inside the asylum (part 3 of 3): Up the Line to Goodna
1pm, repeat Monday 1pm

In 1977 the first patient advocacy service in the confines of an Australian psychiatric hospital opened. Part advocate & part whistle-blower, Nadia Beer was there from the start at Queensland’s Goodna Hospital.
Join presenter Natasha Mitchell in the All in the Mind blog.

THE PHILOSOPHER’S ZONE with Alan Saunders – Philosophy’s mystery man
1.30pm, repeat Monday 1.35pm

According to some commentators, there was a mysterious, dark presence lurking behind the Bush administration. Leo Strauss, professor of political science is this man and we see if he was really as dark a figure as all that?

360documentaries with Brent Clough – Weeds etc
2pm, repeat Wednesday 1pm

What is a weed? For writer Noëlle Janaczewska, the definition of ‘a plant growing in the wrong place’ is only part of the story. In Weeds Etc. Noëlle explores our interactions with weeds on public and private land, in courtrooms, kitchens, myth and fiction.

POETICA with Mike Ladd – The Mother Workshops
3pm, repeat Thursday 3pm

Jeri Kroll’s suite of poems about her relationship with her ageing mother.


ELSEWHERE
with Beth Yahp – Cuba
4pm, repeat Sunday 6am

A journey through love, music, poetry and immigration authorities. We begin with a transatlantic love affair which blossoms when a Dutchman falls in love with a Cuban woman and the search for El Poeta, Jose Armando Fernandez Cuba’s leading poet.

Morrison does not understand Nauru Constitution

Editor’s Note: The Scott Morrison referred to in the article below is the Member for Cook (not the electorate in Nth Qld which had the first aboriginal state member of any parliament, Eric Deeral), that’s Scott Morrison in the photo of the BBQ. Cook (see map below) is one of the places where the British invaded lands of the first nation people of Australia. Scott Morrison is a refugee of sorts himself, accorded privilege by virtue of British conquest of Aboriginal lands. You won’t find any history of that on the Shadow immigration minister’s website. You will find Scott Morrison’s top priority as being to ‘Restore our Nations Birthplace‘ by which I think he means the descendants of the British.

Why not send Scott Morrison and his supporters by boat to Port Arthur in Tasmania and put someone in charge, say Mr. Ruddock, just to make sure that they do not get in or out of their detention centre and so that they do not inconvenience the descendants of Truganini, a proud first nation person of Tasmania.

This is to put the article below in context.

Ian Curr
July 2010

********************************

Here is the article:

THESE CLAIMS BY SCOTT MORRISON ARE BUNKUM.- See Constitution link below.

Earlier, Mr Morrison said Nauru would be an instant solution to stop asylum seeker boats arriving in Australia, dismissing Labor’s claims that a deadlocked Nauruan parliament was a barrier.
“The constitution of Nauru enables the president to enter into an agreement with Australia to reopen the centre,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Brisbane.
“There are no constitutional barriers. It could be done today, it could have been done three weeks ago.
“I’ve also met with the opposition leader of Nauru and he has indicated strong support.” SMH today

Has he forgotton or does he not know that Australia assisted Nauru to write its constitution in which there is a provision that no person will be detained arbitrarily without charge.
This prohibits the sort of indefinite arbitrary detention which Australia indulges in.

In order to overcome this constitutional legal problem – a legal fiction was dreamt up by Howard bozos.

Nauru did not have a detention centre- it had a “reception and processing centre” and the asylum seekers dumped there were issued with a “visa” which only allowed them to stay in the “reception and processing centre” – clever eh? Howard, Downer and Ruddock thought so.

Morrison clearly knows about this which is why he is woofing about there being ” no constitutional problem”.

As for this rubbish that asylum seekers had club med privileges – bicycling swimming etc.

They were locked up in black plastic shelters with flush toilets with no water to flush them and potable water available for a few hours per day- on some days. We have photos to prove that people lugged water by bucket to their shelters.

Only in the last days when a few people were left languishing on the island, were they allowed to leave the camp with a curfew imposed.

How did Nauru protect the human rights of the last two men left on Nauru? Then the last man left on Nauru?

Truth is a scarce commodity in an election – could we not have just a little drop of truth.

Please ask Scott Morrison which part of the Nauru Constitution on Protection of Personal Liberty which he does not understand.

-- 
Pamela Curr
Campaign Coordinator
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
12 Batman Street, Melbourne
ph 0393266066 / 0417517075

FACT: Australia June 2010 - 508 CHILDREN IN DETENTION

Reference:

Constitution of Nauru
http://www.paclii.org/nr/legis/num_act/con256/

Protection of personal liberty

5.(1.) No person shall be deprived of his personal liberty, except as authorised by law in any of the following cases:-

(a) in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of an offence of which he has been convicted; (b) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court; (c) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or being about to commit, an offence; (d) under the order of a court, for his education during any period ending not later than the thirty‑first day of December after he attains the age of eighteen years; (e) under the order of a court, for his welfare during any period ending not later than the date on which he attains the age of twenty years; (f) for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease; (g) in the case of a person who is, or is reasonably suspected to be, of unsound mind or addicted to drugs or alcohol, for the purpose of his care or treatment or the protection of the community; and (h) for the purpose of preventing his unlawful entry into Nauru, or for the purpose of effecting his expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal from Nauru.

(2.) A person who is arrested or detained shall be informed promptly of the reasons for the arrest or detention and shall be permitted to consult in the place in which he is detained a legal representative of his own choice.

(3.) A person who has been arrested or detained in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (c) of clause (1.) of this Article and has not been released shall be brought before a judge or some other person holding judicial office within a period of twenty‑four hours after the arrest or detention and shall not be further held in custody in connexion with that offence except by order of a judge or some other person holding judicial office.

(4.) Where a complaint is made to the Supreme Court that a person is unlawfully detained, the Supreme Court shall enquire into the complaint and, unless satisfied that the detention is lawful, shall order that person to be brought before it and shall release him

Ciaron O’Reilly on Christian Anarchism & the Catholic Worker

VID (8 mins 30 secs) – Ciaron O’Reilly on “Christian Anarchism & the Catholic Worker”.

Talk given at Christian – Anarchist gathering in England 2010.

The August 4th Meeting of the 17 Group

The next meeting of the 17 Group is on Wednesday the 4th of August at 7pm in unit 6 at 20 Drury St in West End. The speaker is Richard Cassels. Hereunder is the title and an account of the content of the talk and of the distinguished speaker.
.
“The Sustainability challenge: your genius needed”.

Richard Cassels, Director of Climate Leadership, will talk about the challenge of embedding sustainability into the political and community consciousness at the August 4 meeting of the 17 Group.

Richard trained as a Stone-Age archaeologist at Cambridge University and excavated in the Middle East. He was then a senior lecturer in Prehistory at Auckland University, with his research focussing on prehistoric environments and their people. His next career was in managing and directing museums in New Zealand and Australia, including holding the position of Director of Exhibitions and Publications at The Queensland Museum. He and his wife have built two “more sustainable” homes in Brisbane. Now he directs Climate Leadership, a group committed to community learning about sustainability.

About sustainability, he says that: “Sustainability itself is a rather soggy word, not one that is easy to raise a revolutionary flag for. The meaning of its opposite, unsustainability, is rather more obvious”.

“If my family was starving in the desert, and the last Arabian Oryx in the world walked past, I would kill it and eat it. Sustainability is about making sure you don’t end up in the desert, and that the oryx isn’t the last oryx in the world. It’s about having foresight”.

Richard’s view is that one of the problems is the view that people who fail to act sustainably are just plain stupid. “There is a dangerous myth that sustainability is easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it. Some things are easy, like turning off electrical appliances. But for other things it’s like trying to turn around the Titanic when it’s going at full speed for an iceberg. We genuinely need geniuses to help us achieve this. Even Alan Greenspan, former Governor of the U.S. Reserve Bank, admitted he did not understand the world’s financial system”.

Richard will talk about his own journey towards sustainability, including his experiences of man-made deserts of the Middle East, archaeological sites of the last Ice Age, animal extinction in prehistoric New Zealand, and museum collections around the world that tell stories of past historic battles for sustainability. He then will invite the 17 Group to share their stories and experiences of being more sustainable, and join him in his search for one “Golden Rule” and “The Ten Amendments”, guidelines that could pave the way for developing more sustainable communities and improving the future for our grandchildren.

Leon is definitely thinking of being at this one when he reads about the need for a genius. Climate is of interest too. Think Siberian exile, think Mexico. So we can hope, but even without him this one will be very interesting and highly relevant to someone like you. So come, and bring someone like you as well. Eat, drink, and be talkative. As usual.

stoptheintervention ARC mtg, Thursday, 6.30pm, Peel Street, South Brisbane

On 18/07/2010, at 2:32 PM, Dominic Hale wrote:

With a Brisbane ARC bus returning from the Amazing ‘Defending Indigenous Rights’ convergence this week, we have a whole new layer of activists keen to get involved in the Brisbane Aboriginal Rights Coalition. Lets seize the momentum.

Join the Bus Participants for a meeting (with Food) at the TLC Building in Peel St on Thursday the 22nd of July.

Where: TLC Building, 16 Peel St, South Brisbane
When: Thursday 22nd July @ 6:30pm
If possible, bring a plate of Food to share

Proposed things for Agenda
– quick reportback from convergence/bus trip/SOS
– proposals coming out of convergence/bus trip
– organizing public reportbacks to unions,churches/ on campus etc.
– building the campaign
– black deaths in custody
– election
__,_._,___

Resolutions from the Defending Indigenous Rights Conference

Hi ARC mob,

Below are some of the main resolutions coming out of the Defending Indigenous Rights: Land, Law and Culture gathering held in Alice Springs between the 6-9 July. There are several more resolutions which will be available on the Intervention Rollback Action Group website in the next couple of days, and can be accessed at www.rollbacktheintervention.wordpress.com

If you’ve got any questions or feedback on any of these or follow up on the conference please don’t hesitate to get in contact with myself, or at rollbacktheintervention

in solidarity,
Lauren

Resolutions from the Defending Indigenous Rights Conference Alice Springs 6-9 July 2010.

We the people in attendance at the Defending Indigenous Rights conference held in Alice Springs from the 6-9th July 2010 stand in solidarity with Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory to condemn the NT Intervention. We call on all political parties to call for the abolition of the NT Emergency Response legislation and return rights of self determination and restore control over Traditional lands, including remote communities, homelands, and town camps.

1. Women’s Statement

To Prime Minister Julia Gillard:

We, the women, mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters in support of our men who are the shared caregivers of the NT wholeheartedly demand the NTER be abolished immediately.

The media has heralded your promotion to PM as a breakthrough for women. All this talk is a slap in the face for Aboriginal women whose communities are being devastated by this government’s racist intervention.

For three years the removal of our human rights has been justified with lies about protecting women from violence and feeding our children. We are living proof of the damage it has caused to us as Indigenous peoples of the NT who are trying to survive, live and practice our way of life. Shame on you!

We call on you, and Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, to abolish this law that takes away our human rights as Indigenous peoples of this country.

Minister Macklin consistently claims that women support Income Management and the Intervention. This is not the truth. Under current policies we have no choice and no change and now a big cloud is covering our struggle and journey. The Working Futures policy is about closing our homelands and communities. This is damaging and destructive to our families, our language, law, culture, everything that is important to us. This is our identity, passed down through generations, and this is what makes us the oldest unique culture in the world.

Income Management, cuts of the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP), the bi-lingual education ban in schools, compulsory five year leases over our land and housing – all these measures are taking away our control over our lives and our communities. Your legal discrimination against us has given a licence to racists to abuse us in the street, in supermarkets and to attack our kids at school.

We call for the immediate end of the NT Intervention and the resignation of Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin.

2. Worse than Workchoices: Exploitation of Aboriginal workers must stop! Jobs with Justice now.

The Rudd government committed to halving the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in a decade. But due to a continuation of Howard era policies such as the NTER, the gap is becoming far wider. ABS data released on June 3 shows that Indigenous unemployment has drastically worsened from 13.8% in 2007 to 18.1% in 2009. The employment to population ratio of Indigenous males in remote areas decreased 6% in just one year 2008-09.

Minister Macklin has promised to deliver ‘real jobs’ for Aboriginal communities through the NT intervention. Instead, thousands of CDEP positions have been lost.

At the end of 2010, 500 ‘real jobs’ created to replace some of the lost CDEP positions in remote shire councils face the axe. The Commonwealth is refusing to release the $8.5 million per year needed by the NT government to keep the jobs. Many Aboriginal communities serviced by these shires already suffer atrocious living conditions which shame Australia – 500 more job losses will be devastating.

Worse than Workchoices

Under the new CDEP scheme designed by the federal Labor government, Aboriginal people no longer receive wages. They are being forced to work providing vital services such as rubbish collection, school bus runs, sewerage maintenance, construction and aged care in exchange for quarantined Centrelink payments.

There are cases of people working between 25-40 hrs a week for a base rate of approximately $120 cash and $110 on the Basics Card – that is $4 an hour plus rations. Centrelink is threatening to cut off payment entirely if people do not participate in CDEP. This is far worse than anything the Liberals inflicted on workers under Workchoices.

Minister Macklin has referred these shocking revelations to a departmental enquiry and to Fair Work Australia. But this is not good enough. The gross exploitation of Aboriginal workers must stop immediately. The government is planning to spend $350 million (over 4 years) to expand income management across the NT. This money is desperately needed to create real jobs in remote communities and ensure the provision of basic services.

We call on the trade unions, State Labour councils and the ACTU to endorse this statement, provide funds for its publication and help organise members to attend a national day of action in September to push these demands.

The government must act immediately to:

-Guarantee the 500 threatened Shire jobs

-End compulsory income management

-End current CDEP arrangements forcing people to work for the BasicsCard

-Turn all CDEP positions into fulltime waged jobs

-Provide massive investment in job creation and service provision in all NT communities.

3. No to Radioactive Racism

The nuclear industry continues to have a disproportionate impact on remote and Indigenous communities in Australia and overseas. Nuclear projects leave a lasting legacy of environmental contamination and adverse social issues. The NT Intervention, NT government ‘Working Futures’ and other regressive and paternalistic policies are stripping communities of funding and resources and pushing Traditional Owners and communities to consider high impact projects like uranium mines and nuclear waste dumps in exchange for essential services which are basic human rights.

The Defending Indigenous Rights gathering calls for full government investment to provide services for all communities. The gathering supports the strong stance taken by the Electrical Trades Union in banning their members from working on nuclear projects and commends the support of the Maritime Union of Australia, Unions NT and the Australian Council of Trade Unions in solidarity with Muckaty Traditional Owners opposing the federal radioactive waste dump.

The gathering supports the upcoming Australian Nuclear Free Alliance meeting and will start work to support delegates to attend the conference.

We commit to immediate and ongoing protest actions in cities/towns and a blockade at Muckaty if the site is announced and the community calls for support.

4. Defend Aboriginal Languages – Scrap the Bi-Lingual Education Ban

Stop the erosion of Aboriginal language rights. The government is denying Aboriginal people our identity and culture through the Bi-lingual education ban.

The Defending Indigenous Rights gathering calls on the Australian Education Union to pledge support for any teachers who refuse to follow the policy of assimilation being enforced on NT communities – the restrictions on teaching in Aboriginal languages. That all conference participants work to get signatures on the AEU petition against the Bi-lingual Education Ban and works with teachers around the country to build forums and protest actions.

5. Indigenous Media and Media Representation

The Defending Indigenous Rights gathering i) calls for a boycott of the National Indigenous Times, and ii) condemns the ABC Lateline program.

i) The conference congratulates Chris Graham, Amy McGuire, Larissa Behrendt and others who have edited and written for the National Indigenous Times over many years. They have reported the truth about Aboriginal affairs, an area characterised by mainstream media racism and propaganda. This conference condemns the push to run a pro-Intervention editorial line in the current National Indigenous Times to gain access to government funding. We call for a boycott of National Indigenous Times while this sell-out strategy continues. We support efforts by former NIT staff to establish alternative forums for news and critical analysis of Indigenous issues.

ii) That this conference calls upon the Federal Minister for Communication to investigate the ABC’s Lateline program of reporting false, inaccurate, misleading statements on Aboriginal communities in its program of 2005 of alleged sexual abuse in Mutitjulu. Participants of this conference condemn the ABC on this program and call for an on-air apology in casting all Aboriginal communities in a derogatory light. Particularly the male participants at this conference condemn child/sexual abuse and agree that those matters should be properly investigated without racist targeting of all Aboriginal communities.

Refugee Afghanistan war logs: Kabul – inciting ethnic violence

This comes from a friend in Kabul.

Last night Emruz TV in Kabul broadcast a sermon by Mullah Mir Farooq Hussaini in which he stated that:

– Shias are worse than infidels

– Shias are the enemies of Islam

– Shias should not be in the parliament, we must not elect them

– At the time when the Mujahedin took Kabul in 1992 he claimed to have seen 20 [shipping] containers full of women’s breasts which he claims
Shia people in Ghazni were distributing as ‘presents’.

This programme was aired on Emruz TV on 24 July 2010 8-9pm.

HAZARAS are Shia Muslims- anti Shia propanganda and violence is directed at Hazaras.

Actually these types of ethnic violence inciting programmes are on the increase in Afghanistan….

Pamela Curr

Reference:

Afghanistan war logs: Massive leak of secret files exposes truth of occupation

• Hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops

• Covert unit hunts leaders for ‘kill or capture’

• Steep rise in Taliban bomb attacks on Nato

• Read the Guardian’s full war logs investigation

Challenging the Jewish National Fund

image

al majdal

Challenging the Jewish National Fund
Hazem Jamjoum, The Electronic Intifada, 21 July 2010

For anyone taking a road trip along the highways of the part of Palestine that became Israel in 1948, one is bound to spot a blue and green structure in the shape of a bird marked with the Hebrew letters KKL, which stands for Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael, the Hebrew name of the Israeli branch of the Jewish National Fund (JNF). All around the bird one will see expanses of forests planted sometime in the past few decades. A walk through one of these forests will take the visitor past fruit trees, cactus plants, terraced hillsides and the ruins of buildings. In some cases, these ruins are explained in a JNF brochure pointing to their ancient history; in other cases, one is left to the devices of one’s imagination. In all cases, these sites are what remains of some of the more than 500 villages depopulated and destroyed through the course of Israel’s establishment, the homes of millions of Palestinian refugees struggling to return to them for more than 60 years. By walking through a JNF park or forest, one inhales the fresh smell of the greenwashing of Palestine’s Nakba.

The history of the JNF is well documented, the seminal text still being the late Walter Lehn’s 1988 book The Jewish National Fund written in association with Uri Davis. After heated discussions at the first four Zionist congresses, the JNF was established at the Fifth Zionist Congress held in Basel in 1901, and incorporated in England in 1907. Its Memorandum of Association defines the primary objective of the JNF as “to purchase, take on lease or in exchange or otherwise acquire any lands, forests, rights of possession and other rights in the prescribed region [Palestine and surrounding areas] … for the purpose of settling Jews on such lands” (Lehn). The JNF was expressly prohibited from selling any land to ensure that it would hold on to these lands in the name of the Jewish people in perpetuity (Lehn p. 31-32).

The organization began its fundraising activities and began to seek out willing sellers, the most significant of whom were absentee landlords living in what would become Lebanon and Syria. The JNF’s “blue box,” a small box for collection of donations, became both a fixture in Jewish communities outside of Palestine, as well as an important tool of mobilizing Jewish community support behind the colonization of the country. By the 1920s, Palestinians were sufficiently knowledgeable of the Zionist project to colonize their country that they refused to sell their land to the Fund. In response, the JNF reverted to more insidious means to acquire land, including proactive recruitment of Palestinians who would acquire land on their behalf. The Diaries of Yosef Nachmani is a film that goes into some of the details of these methods based on the diaries of the JNF’s main agent in the Tiberias region. To serve this process, the JNF systematically kept files on each Palestinian locality that included the names of Palestinians involved in resisting the British and Zionist colonization. These “village files” were later used as a central source of military intelligence for the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and many of those activists named in the JNF’s files were executed by Zionist forces (see Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oxford: One World Press, 2006, pp.17-22).

After the establishment of the State of Israel, the JNF seemed to have achieved its purpose. The land controlled by the JNF and other Zionist agencies, which amounted to no more than seven percent of the land in British Mandate Palestine, had jumped to almost 90 percent as Palestinian land appropriated by force was transferred to state and JNF ownership under Israeli military orders and laws passed for this purpose. The JNF had to be repackaged and its role reassessed.

The statement of Israeli author Amos Elon that “[f]ew things are as evocatively symbolic of the Zionist dream and rationale as a Jewish National Fund Forest” encapsulates the most notorious role of the JNF since 1948 (Ted Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt: The 1936-1939 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995, p.55). For many Jews abroad, the act of donating to plant a tree in Israel, sponsor a park bench, or bankroll a section of forest became an important avenue to support the maintenance and growth of the Zionist movement. The JNF’s charitable status in most countries, usually based on the JNF’s new packaging as an ecological organization that plants trees and develops “green” technology, has facilitated this process by creating a governmental subsidy in each country in the form of tax returns to the donors.

For the indigenous Palestinians and people concerned about basic human rights, the JNF forest is a concrete manifestation of Zionism’s attempt to erase not only the presence of Palestinians in their homeland, but also any visible sign that they ever existed here. Israeli novelist Abraham Yehoshua’s well-known 1970 short story “Facing the Forest” 1970 attests to Israeli cultural attempts to bring the truths of the Nakba repressed within the Israeli psyche back to the surface. The story is of a Jewish-Israeli student who, together with a Palestinian who has lost his ability to speak, works as watchman at a JNF forest. The story culminates in the Palestinian burning down the forest to reveal the previously obscured remains of a destroyed Palestinian village.
Eager to maintain a noncontroversial image abroad, the JNF has avoided visible engagement in Israel’s post-1967 colonial enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory. It has rather done so in disguise: through its subsidiary — Himanuta — the JNF works to continue Zionist colonization in the 1967 occupied territory through acquisition of land earmarked for Jewish settlement construction and expansion (see Lehn, p. 67). Furthermore, in the Latrun salient, a pre-1967 demilitarized zone claimed by Israel, the rubble of the villages of Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba sits under the trees of the JNF’s Canada Park, awaiting the return of the Palestinian villagers.

While “greenwashing” is what the JNF is most notorious for, its role as a pillar of Israel’s colonial apartheid regime has been much less understood. As an institution that has incorporated the Zionist concept of an extraterritorial “Jewish race/nationality” in its statutes, the JNF was granted special status in Israel and charged with “the mission of gathering in the exiles and helping build Israel as the state of the “Jewish people” under the Israeli laws of the early 1950s that incorporated the JNF and defined its status.

At the same time, the JNF registered branches in numerous countries as local charitable organizations. The charitable nongovernmental status of the JNF’s branches abroad has allowed the agency to support Zionism practically and financially, whereas the State of Israel is precluded, as any foreign state, from interfering in the status of citizens in any country outside its sovereign jurisdiction. A look at the honorary members of JNF boards in many countries reveals a roster of political and economic elites, including past, present and future heads of state, who facilitate the work of Israel lobbies as well as JNF fundraising.

In Israel, the JNF joined the Israel Lands Authority, the arm of the Israeli government responsible for the management of “Israel Lands” based on its legal status as a para-state institution. As owner of 13 percent of land in Israel, and the organization that appoints the largest number of people to the Israel Lands Authority board of directors (6 out of 13), the JNF is the central pillar of Israel’s regime over land. As a Zionist “national” agency unburdened by restrictions on whether or not it treats citizens equally, the state has systematically subcontracted the JNF for the implementation of demographically engineering the land in the country in favor of the Jewish community, or what Israeli officials have called “Judaization.” This process of outsourcing apartheid has been most meticulously described by Uri Davis in Apartheid Israel, a seminal text for those wishing to understand the workings of Israel’s apartheid regime over land within the Green Line boundary.

The JNF’s role in Israel’s colonial apartheid regime over the Palestinian people has not gone unchallenged, however. Activists in various cities around the world have organized protests to JNF fundraising dinners and other elite functions, while others have called on their government agencies to strip the JNF of its charitable status. In the late 1960s, a successful legal challenge against the JNF’s charitable status in the United States forced Zionist organizations in that country to reshuffle their official names and statuses in order to protect the inflow of donation money. More recently, information gathered and exposed by activists, scholars and lawyers has forced the JNF to weave a tighter corporate veil over the relationship between worldwide JNF branches and its headquarters (JNF-KKL) in Israel, including new logos and websites, in order to avoid “brand risks” and possible liability for violations of international law and human rights abuses. In 2007, the JNF-USA suffered a defeat in the United Nations, when the UN’s Committee on NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) rejected an application of the JNF-USA for consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). While the JNF-USA told the Committee that it was independent and involved in water, environmental and development projects in the Middle East, state representatives stated that they were unable to distinguish between the activities of the JNF-USA and JNF-KKL and argued that the JNF’s work violated the principles of the UN Charter, which emphasizes respect for human rights and equality.

In November 2008, civil society actors from all around the world gathered in Bilbao to discuss strategies to develop the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. A concerted campaign to challenge the JNF was one of four main priorities adopted as part of the Bilbao Initiative. As follow-up to this step, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Housing and Land Rights Network and the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network brought legal experts, academics and civil society organizations together in early May 2010. The organizing meeting launched a coordinated campaign under the title “Stop the JNF: Stop Greenwashing Apartheid” (http://stopthejnf.bdsmovement.net/).

Hazem Jamjoum is the Communications Officer of the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights (Bethlehem, Palestine). This essay was originally published as the editorial of al-Majdal, Badil’s English-language quarterly. The winter/spring 2010 issue of al-Majdal looks at the Jewish National Fund from various vantage-points (click here to download the entire publication).


Related Links

Aside

[Editor’s Note: The Supreme Court decision referred to in the Media Release below does not relate to nor does it directly affect attempts by indigenous and environmental groups to stop construction sand being stolen by Unimin from the Vance Mine … Continue reading

“Eleganza italiana: 50 years of Made in Italy”

‘Eleganza Italiana: 50 Years of Made in Italy’
by Tiziana Ferrero-Regis

6:30 p.m. Friday, July 30th

at the
Dante Alighieri Cultural Centre

Tiziana Ferrero-Regis will speak (in English) about the birth of Made in Italy. From the couture dress by Sorelle Fontana, made for the wedding of Linda Christian to Tyrone Power in 1949, to the rise to success of Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace, the talk traces the history of Italian ingenuity in dressmaking through the presentation of beautiful images.

Tiziana Ferrero-Regis worked for many years in Milan in the fashion publishing industry and is currently Lecturer in Theory and History of Fashion at the Queensland University of Technology, Creative Industries Faculty. Her research interests are in the areas of Made in Italy, the fashion industry, the relationship between film and fashion, and fashion and copyright.

Entry is free. The talk will be followed by refreshments.

RSVP: Wednesday 28th July 2010, Ph.3356 7731 , e-mail: danteb@bigpond.net.au

Advance Notice

The Brisbane Dante is organising a group booking for a guided tour, in Italian, of the ‘Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future’ at GoMA in October. Tiziana has very kindly agreed to be our guide to this major exhibition.

Eleganza Italiana – Castellano Memorial Lecture.doc

REMINDER Celebrate July 26 – the anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

The AustraliaCuba Friendship Society (Brisbane)presents
Poetry in Motion VIIDay of solidarity with Cuba

Celebrate the beginning of the Cuban Revolution the 57th anniversary of the assault on the Moncada Barracks

Monday July 26
6.30 p.m.

Qld Council of Unions Building
16 Peel St, South Brisbane

A program of Cuban poetry readings and live music, with food and drinks available. Entry by donation.

www.acfs-brisbane.org.auYou have received this email as you have indicated your interest in receiving email from the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society. If you have received it in error or wish to be removed from the mailing list, please reply to sender with the message “unsubscribe”

Photo of ‘Jose Marti and cyclist’ by Adam Creed.

ALP don’t tell the full story on Ark

I have included a video of the Brisbane rally in support of Ark Tribe with the article from Critical Times below as they offer commentary on the current predicament for building unions immediately prior to the 2010 federal election.

There were claims made at the Support Ark Tribe rally on 22 July 2010 by Shayne Neumann, the Federal Labor member for Blair, that the  Labor Government tried to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission [ABCC].

That is not the whole story.

The current Prime Minister Julia Gillard made a speech to the 2009 ACTU congress where she indicated that she would legislate the functions of the ABCC into an inspectorate in FairWork Australia.

You only have to read the legislation:

Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC)

An independent statutory body responsible for ensuring workplace relations laws are enforced in building and construction industry workplaces and to educate industry participants on their rights and obligations under relevant legislation. The ABCC will cease to exist on 1 February 2010; its functions will be amalgamated into a specialist division of the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman. [see http://www.fwa.gov.au/index.cfm?pagename=assistglossary%5D

However this was not passed through the Senate so we still have the ABCC together with the coercive powers it has used against Ark Tribe and others in the building industry.

For example, Kane Pearson, an organiser with the BLF in Qld, who spoke at the Brisbane rally on 22 July 2010, faces similar charges to Ark Tribe under the same legislation.

The laws have not been changed under Labor, nor is it the policy of Labor to get rid of them, merely to incorporate them in the Fair Work Australia legislation.

The Prime Minister made that clear as long ago as 2009, to the assembled ACTU delegates in Brisbane Convention Centre.

Listen and watch to how Shayne Neumann, Federal ALP MP for Balir, tries to spin this in his speech to the rally shown in the video below.

I do not understand why the buidling unions let the ALP off the hook at this rally.

The most important power workers have is their combined strength in the union. Their strength is what they can do for themselves, it does not lie in going cap-in-hand to the parliament. That is a marginal aspect of the struggle.

At best, it is a high risk strategy that puts all into efforts to reform the laws through parliament.

The ALP delivered no change in its first term of government (2007-2010). The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard,  is on record saying that even if she could, she would not abolish the functions of the ABCC, she would merely incorporate them into Fair Work Australia.

So I say these laws can be busted — not in the parliament — but in the workplace.

in solidarity
Ian Curr
July 2010

Reference:

Defy the laws in a concerted campaign

BLF – GILLARD’S STASI — Australia’s ‘Construction Stasi’ by — Humphrey McQueen

*************************

Ark faces jail as bosses go on killing

July 22nd, 2010 by mike

Adelaide construction worker Ark Tribe returned to the courts of the capitalist class on June 20.

He is being tried on charges that he refused to attend a compulsory and secret interrogation by the thugs of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, created to intimidate workers in the building industry.

In a tragic twist of fate Arks return to court came just three days after a fellow construction worker was killed at the Adelaide Desalination Plant site (below).

In South Australia, bosses who kill workers may be fined. Multinational giant BHP Billiton was recently fined $75,000 for causing the death of worker Scott Rigg. Its a paltry sum for a giant corporation.

There is no law on industrial manslaughter in SA.

Hence the international consortium building the bitterly opposed desalination plant wont see any of its executives sent to jail for the death at the plant.
But Ark, who refused to be interviewed by the scum of the earth after standing tall over a safety issue at his workplace, faces a mandatory 6 months jail!

To support Ark, rallies were held in major cities around Australia. Altogether tens of thousands of workers downed tools. For the sake of some minor disruption to the work at the Flinders University site where Ark was employed at the time he was charged, tens of thousands of work hours have been lost to some of the biggest construction comanies in Australia each time Ark has fronted the courts.

And if Ark is jailed, his union the CFMEU has pledged to stop work right around the country.

Photos of the rally follow:

(The oath of the 1854 Eureka rebels at the Ark Tribe Embassy opposite the courtroom).

(Ark Tribe, second right, listens to speeches of support).

(State President of the Australian Education Union Correna Haythorpe details how members proposing to place a moratorium on NAPLAN testing to oppose school league tables were threatened with individual $6000 fines under Gillards FairWork Act. Gillard, now Prime Minister, also threatened to send parents into schools as strikebreakers.)

(Jamie Newlyn, State Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia and President of SA Unions. His members stopped work for 24 hours nationally after a death of a member on the Melbourne wharves a week ago.)

(Ark Tribe here to stay!)

(CFMEU here to stay! with the support of comrades in the AEU, AMWU, ETU, CEPU, IEU, PSA, RBTU, MUA, LHMU present at the rally.)

(And as Ark went into court, we went off to confront the ABCC in its rats nest and vent our anger at its attacks on our class.)

source.> http://www.criticaltimes.com.au/news/ark-faces-jail-as-bosses-go-on-killing/

Aside

Transnational mining company UNIMIN and its predecessors (CRL & ACI) have been taking sand unlawfully from Straddie (NSI) since the 1990s. It has been doing so under the pretext that the sand is used as a mineral i.e. for the … Continue reading

Aside

Earlier this year 2010 mineral sand mining firm, UNIMIN, was charged by Qld Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) for selling building sand from the silica sand mining process on North Stradbroke Island off Brisbane. The sand was unlawfully … Continue reading

Not Quite White: Lebanese and the White Australia Policy 1880 to 1947

Not Quite White: Lebanese and the White Australia Policy 1880 to 1947

by Anne Monsour, Post Pressed, Brisbane, 2010

My book has finally been published thanks to Dr John Knight and Post Pressed.

The book can be purchased from eContent management @

Not Quite White: Lebanese and the White Australia Policy 1880 to 1947

By Anne Monsour.

Fishing in Lebanon Photo: P. Monsour

Not Quite White focuses on early Lebanese immigration to Australia, a group of immigrants and their descendants, who, with a few exceptions, have been largely ignored in the recording of Australian history.

While this book considers the experience of one immigrant group within the context of a particular locality and time, it is also about Australia as a new nation seeking to privilege a white, Christian majority. The Lebanese Australian story contributes a new understanding of the implementation of the White Australia Policy because although Lebanese do not feature predominately in historical studies of the White Australia Policy, in fact, when it came to its administration, they presented a significant challenge.

The structure of the book is outlined below:

Chapter one considers basic questions such as: who were the immigrants; where did they come from; how many came; when and why did they come to Australia and, in particular, to Queensland?

Chapters two, three and four are primarily based on archival research and consider the impact of exclusionary legislation such as the Queensland Aliens Act, and the Immigration Restriction Act.

In chapter five, the generally accepted portrayal of Lebanese immigrants throughout the world as indefatigable traders is scrutinised in the Australian context; and chapter six examines the mainstream response to the involvement of the early Lebanese immigrants in commercial enterprises such as hawking and shopkeeping.

The final two chapters focus on the settlement experience of Lebanese using Queensland as a case study. Through the use of interviews and questionnaires, these chapters give voice is to the immigrants and their descendants.

If you google eContent management the site will come up. You can either search for the book by title or by monsour OR go to books. The books are listed alphabetically and you just scroll down to N.

Who is killing the Dead Sea? It’s Seacret!

Successful Boycotts, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) action against Israeli Aparthied

Hi everyone,

There was a very successful BDS action in town (Brisbane) this morning.

The target was the Israeli cosmetics company, Seacret (the information flyer that we distributed is attached).

The action attracted a lot of attention – with the huge banner, signs, t-shirts, loud chanting (which reverberated throughout the Myer Centre) and hundreds of flyers distributed. And the action had an immediate impact – the Seacret stall shut down after we left!!

More photos and footage will be posted soon as well as details of the next action on August 14 – put it in your diary now!

Free, free Palestine! Boycott Israel!

in solidarity,
Kathy

www.justiceforpalestinebrisbane.org

__._,_.___

seacret flyer.pdf

kooii album pre-selling

Hello,

to help kooii pay for production of the new kooii album and bring it into fruition, we’re pre-selling copies of it. It’s almost done, we’ve just got artwork and printing to go. We’ve got this to pay for and owe money for the recording of it.

The plan is to release it on September 11 at Northey st City Farm.

You can pre-purchase the album at our upcoming kooii gigs (of which there is only one in Bris before the launch) or by making an electronic transfer.

The price of the album is $25. With pre-purchase of it, we record your details and give you a numbered receipt that you can present for collection of the album at the launch or anytime later. The receipt will also get you free entry into the launch.

The first and simplest option for us would be to pre-purchase at our upcoming kooii gig at the joynt, Sat July 24.

But otherwise, If you would like to make a transfer we ask that you email us to let us know so and we’ll return the message with the kooii bank details. When we see the transfer has come through we’ll email you back a numbered receipt/ticket.

if you are intending on buying the new kooii album we’d much appreciate your help in pre-purchasing it. This would make it much easier for us to finally bring into being.

looking forward to it being out there

Peter

Film screening: The Coathanger Project

Pro-Choice Action Collective presents:

Film Screening

The Coathanger Project

The Coat Hanger Project is a documentary about abortion and the current state of the reproductive rights movement in the US. Abortion was legalised in 1973 in the landmark Roe vs. Wade case. Since this time the Christian Right has been doing its utmost to claw back the freedoms won. The fight continues. www.thecoathangerproject.com

Tuesday August 10, 6:30pm
Turnstyle Community Hub, 10 Laura St, Highgate Hill

Free entry.
A cheap meal and drinks will be available.

click here to join the Facebook event & invite your friends

Pro-Choice Action Collective
Drop the abortion charges! Repeal all anti-abortion laws!
Free, safe, accessible abortion on demand
http://www.prochoiceactionqld.org

Support Ark Tribe: Rally Notice

Ark Tribe RallyConstruction workers are being harassed by the ABCC, over efforts to fix safety problems on jobs.

Time: 10:00 am
Date: Thursday, 22 July 2010
Assembly point: Roma Street Forum, Brisbane

Ark Tribe is a rigger and rank and file member of the CFMEU in South Australia. He was working on the Hindmarsh job at Flinders University when a safety dispute arose last year.

Ark was summoned for questioning by the ABCC.

The ABCC has now decided to charge Ark with an offence of failing to attend the interview at the appointed time.

Ark has to front court to defend the unreasonable charges.

If he has done something wrong, he is prepared to cop it, but he will not be treated unfairly.

Ark Tribe is to face court of the 20th, 21st & 22nd July 2010 for the fifth time. If found guilty of not subjecting himself to the ABCC’s interrogations, Ark could find himself in jail for six months.

Construction workers deserve the same rights as other workers.

Demand an end to Federal Government laws that undermine safety and stop unions from looking after their members.

Gallery

Supporters of Israel’s Occupation and Genocides Must Not Get Our Votes!

Elections are imminent. Please send me your thoughts and suggestions if you believe we can extend the BDS to the political arena and do something to:   * apply pressure on all political parties this federal election to reconsider their … Continue reading

Refugees on NAURU – LEST WE FORGET

Both MPs Pyne and Morrison are running a rehersed line on Nauru claiming that within 10 days of the Howard announcement of Nauru as a refugee dumping ground in 2001 that it was up and running.
Please note that this involved putting up timber skeletons and then stapling black plastic to the frames. Nauru is on the Equator, hot and humid- plastic wrapped shelters exacerbated extreme discomfort. water flush toilets were installed but there was no water to flush them Children became sick with diarrohea and skin conditions in the heat, flies and poor sanitary conditions.
Do not let the Liberals whitewash the appalling conditions in which they dumped human beings in 2001.

Nauru, bankrupt and corrupt with its population of less than 10,000 people was overweeningly compliant. They said that no violence was to be used in removing people from the boats to Nauru, They then joined Minister Ruddock in saying that everyone had disembarked voluntarily. This was despite media photographs illustrating that 10 men were physically dragged and carried off the boat.

Nauru complied with Australian government requests in stopping doctors, lawyers and church representatives from going to Nauru even when there was extreme distress among the asylum seekers. None went in unless the Australian government approved. Of course the LIBERAL PARTY would want to see Nauru reinstated.

Nauru cost ONE BILLION DOLLARS to incarcerate 1500 people for up to 4 years. Two men were left on Nauru because ASIO gave them an adverse security assessment. Then when one of these men became so ill that his life was in danger , he was transferred to Australia and ASIO reversed the security assessment. he lives peacefully in Australia today. The other man eventually found refuge in Sweden where unsurprisingly he too is living peacefully. This makes a mockery of ASIO adverse security assessments when used for political purposes.
This report by Oxfam ‘A Price Too High: The cost of Australia’s approach to Asylum Seekers, outlines the financial , moral and health costs of the Pacific Solution.
http://www.oxfam.org.au/media/releases/?oldID=386
http://crisishub.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/case-study-4-a-price-too-high.pdf

‘leftside’ Review by Don Wilson

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08-book.jpg

Issue #1463 redball9.gif 14 July 2010

Book Review by Don Wilson

leftside

by Jim Sharp – a prolie who writes poetry

Australian poetry tends to neglect if not deny its working-class voices. Literary journals rarely publish poetry that focuses on working-class life. Some educated people claim that there is no such thing as class in Australian society and that these ideas are outdated and belong to Europe. Others say it is propaganda. http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2010/1463/08-book-review.html

Refugee AFGHANISTAN civilian violence worse than ever

Afghanistan: civilian casualties ‘on the rise’

Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Monday, 12 July 2010 12:46 UK

Civilians are suffering most in the conflict

More than 1,000 Afghan civilians were killed in armed violence and security incidents in the first six months of 2010, a new Afghan study says.

Afghanistan Rights Monitor says 1,074 civilians were killed between January and June – a slight increase compared with the same period in 2009.

However, the number of people killed in Nato air strikes in the same period has halved, the report says.

Changes to rules of engagement helped reduce that figure, the report says.

Former Nato commander Gen Stanley McChrystal issued instructions in 2009 severely limiting the circumstances in which troops could call in an air strike or fire into buildings.

The newly arrived coalition international forces commander, Gen David Petraeus, has vowed to carry on with the policy.

‘Deadly insurgency’

Violence in Afghanistan is now at its worst since the conflict began in 2001, the report says.

“The Afghan people have only witnessed and suffered an intensifying armed conflict over the past six months and insurgency has become more resilient, multi-structured and deadly,” it adds.

Violence has soared across Afghanistan in recent months, with 212 civilians killed during June alone, Afghanistan Rights Monitor says.

Most of the deaths documented by the report were caused by insurgents, the report notes, with the widespread use of roadside bombs particularly deadly, killing almost 300 civilians.

Suicide bombs were also a major cause of death, the organisation said.

It does acknowledge that Nato-led forces have been trying hard to reduce civilian casualties, partly in response to pressure from the Afghan government.

And the new counter-insurgency strategy introduced by Gen McChrystal does seem to have had some effect, the report says.

According to its data, 94 Afghans were killed in air strikes between January and June 2010 – compared to 207 for the previous year.

In all 210 civilians had died in the past six months as a result of Nato-led strikes, shootings and raids, the report said.

“Dozens of people, including women and children, were shot dead during violent and barbaric intrusions, raids into houses and other counter-insurgency operations by US-Nato forces,” the report’s authors say.

Whilst the deaths of foreign soldiers often make headlines, the widespread deaths of Afghan civilians receive much less attention.

The United Nations has also charted rising civilian deaths in Afghanistan – it says 2,400 people were killed in 2009, up from 2,118 in 2008.