Tag Archives: injustice

Australia Day

Australia Day

Today is the day that white Australians celebrate their take-over of a continent that had been inhabited by people whose resilient culture had endured for more than fifty-thousand years. Australia is an inhospitable place and the invading British were frequently kept from dying of starvation by the generosity of the indigenous people.

We celebrate that when the British felt secure, they then started evicting the locals, and when they objected, the British government made a declaration that Australia was completely uninhabited when they arrived, therefore the British had the absolute right to take whatever land and resources they wanted.

Consequently, whenever an indigenous person complained, they were killed. Entire communities were uprooted and driven from their land, massacred, starved, poisoned like vermin, imprisoned and forced into slave labour, raped and left for dead. When the demoralised indigenous people were reduced to a rump of starving wretched souls living on the refuse heaps of towns, forbidden to live in decent houses or within the town limits, they were grudgingly offered work as cowboys on the vast sheep and cattle ‘stations’ now occupying their land. But they were not to be paid. Food and a vile hovel for shelter was all they got while the landowners and the British became ever richer.

Any groups who complained had their children stolen to become slaves in white houses. No records were kept because they didn’t legally exist and were not counted in the Census, had no identification, no validity and were not legally Australians.

Then in 1967 a referendum was held asking the people if the indigenous people were human, and could therefore be allowed to become Australian citizens. It passed, but not unanimously, but little has changed. An indigenous orphan boy of 12 who steals a chocolate bar will get life imprisonment. It mat start off as incarceration in a boy’s prison, but that is effectively the end, after years of brutalisation, prison is the only place he knows because there are no jobs for ‘blacks’ . If an indigenous girl doesn’t pay her parking tickets, she goes to prison where, if she gets sick she will probably die because of the racism of guards and hospital staff. If any other Australian commits the identical ‘crime’ they won’t even get a slap on the wrist.

We are celebrating that indigenous people do not share our excellent Medicare health coverage, they have an odd system that provides little except profits for the whites who run it. We celebrate their continued neglect and the institutionalised racism in all mass media, as well as by most politicians and political parties, Law Courts, law enforcement, education, health and welfare. We celebrate that after more than 200 years, an indigenous man’s life expectancy is roughly half of the rest of Australians, and he is more likely than not to spend half his life in jail, where he has a very large chance of dying.

Julia Gillard, A dangerous woman. [reposted from ICH. Thanks to John Pilger.]

Making the World a More Dangerous Place: The Eager Role of Julia Gillard

By John Pilger

October 24, 2012 “Information Clearing House” – The Australian parliament building reeks of floor polish. The wooden floors shine so virtuously they reflect the cartoon-like portraits of prime ministers, bewigged judges and viceroys. Along the gleaming white, hushed corridors, the walls are hung with Aboriginal art: one painting after another as in a monolithic gallery, divorced from their origins, the irony brutal. The poorest, sickest, most incarcerated people on earth provide a façade for those who oversee the theft of their land and its plunder.

Australia has 40% of the world’s uranium, all of it on indigenous land. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has just been to India to sell uranium to a government that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and whose enemy, Pakistan, is also a non-signatory. The threat of nuclear war between them is constant. Uranium is an essential ingredient of nuclear weapons. Gillard’s deal in Delhi formally ends the Australian Labor Party’s long-standing policy of denying uranium to countries that reject the NPT’s obligation “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”.

Like the people of Japan, Australian Aborigines have experienced the horror of nuclear weapons. During the 1950s, the British government tested atomic bombs at Maralinga in South Australia. The Aboriginal population was not consulted and received scant or no warning, and still suffer the effects. Yami Lester was a boy when he saw the nuclear flash and subsequently went blind. The enduring struggle of Aboriginal people for recognition as human beings has been a fight not only for their land but for what lies beneath it. Since they were granted a status higher than that of sheep — up to 1971, unlike the sheep, they were not counted – many of their modest land rights have been subverted or diminished by governments in Canberra.

In 2007, prime minister John Howard used the army to launch an “emergency intervention” in Aboriginal communities in the resource-rich Northern Territory. Lurid and fraudulent stories of paedophile rings were the cover; indigenous people were told they would not receive basic services if they did not surrender the leasehold of their land. Gillard’s minister of indigenous affairs has since given this the Orwellian title of “Stronger Futures”.

The tactics include driving people into “hub towns” and denying decent housing to those forced to live up to a dozen in one room. The removal of Aboriginal children has reached the level of the infamous “Stolen Generation” of the last century. Many may never see their families again.

Once the “intervention” had got under way, hundreds of licences were granted to companies exploring for minerals, including uranium. Contemporary politics in Australia is often defined by the power of the mining companies. When the previous Labor prime minister, Kevin Rudd, proposed a tax on record mining profits, he was deposed by a backroom party cabal, including Gillard, who reduced the tax. Diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that two of the plotters against Rudd were informants of the US embassy, which Rudd had angered by not following to the letter US plans to encircle China and to release uranium for sale to US clients such as India.

Gillard has since returned Australia to its historic relationship with Washington, similar to that of an east European satellite of the Soviet Union. The day before Barack Obama arrived in Canberra last year to declare China the new enemy of the “free world”, Gillard announced the end of her party’s ban on uranium sales.

Washington’s other post-cold war obsessions demand the services of Australia. These include the intimidation of Iran and destruction of that country’s independence, the undermining of the NPT and prevention of nuclear-free zones that threaten the nuclear-armed dominance of the US and Israel. Unlike Iran, a founding signatory of the NPT and supporter of a nuclear-free zone Middle East, the US and Israel ban independent inspections. And both are currently threatening to attack Iran which, as the combined agencies of US intelligence confirmed, has no nuclear weapons.

The necessary inversion of reality and double standard require a “carefully orchestrated process”, the US embassy is assured by an Australian official quoted by WikiLeaks. According to the US cables, there are enthusiastic “Australian ideas” for “dredging up” information to help discredit Mohamad El Baradei who, as director of the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1997 to 2009, repeatedly refuted US claims that Iran was building a nuclear weapon. The Director of the Australian Arms Control office is portrayed as a US watchdog, warning against “a slippery slope” of governments “exercising independent judgment” on nuclear matters. A senior Australian official, one Patrick Suckling, is reporting as telling the US that “Australia wants the most robust, intrusive and debilitating sanctions possible” against Iran. Suckling’s victims are today mostly ordinary men, women and children.

On 5 October, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, which includes Aboriginal groups from across the country, gathered in Alice Springs. They called for a moratorium on all uranium mining and sales. Indigenous women made a special plea to Gillard, recently ordained by the white media as a feminist hero. No response was expected.

On 17 October, all the testaments of obedience and servility to the mighty patron finally paid off when Australia was rewarded with a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, known in Canberra as “the top table”. The timing is striking. An attack by Nato on Syria or Iran, or both, has never been closer. A world war beckons as 50 years are marked since “the world stood still”, wrote the historian Sheldon Stern. This was the 1962 Cuba missile crisis when the US and the Soviet Union came within an ace of nuclear war. Declassified files disclose that President John F. Kennedy authorised “NATO aircraft with Turkish pilots … to take off for Moscow and drop a bomb.”

The echo today could not be clearer

www.johnpilger.com

Some countries are more equal than others

I persist in wondering why some heads of state that have used their armies to commit atrocities are taken to the International Court of ‘Justice’ in The Hague and tried for war crimes, or crimes against humanity, and others aren’t. Why, for instance, isn’t the Australian head of state prosecuted for sending the army to assist in the destruction of the infrastructure of Iraq and Afghanistan, and of assisting materially the murder of thousands and the maiming of hundreds of thousands of innocent people? Neither of those countries have ever attacked us. Their governments have not declared war on us. They pose no threat to us. Why are the Australian acts of merciless, lethal aggression not punishable, but the massacres perpetrated by a South Sudanese War Lord are?