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15 minutes | Oct 10, 2020
Nagorno-Karabakh, context and call for peace
15 minutes | Sep 12, 2020
On Belarus and a note on Hokkaido
This week we're going to touch briefly on a protest in Japan before having a look at Belarus. We'll go over its formation as a modern state, its economy and geopolitical importance before a quick bio of Lukashenko and a look at the current situation. First, to Japan. HOKKAIDO PROTESTS The GSDF, Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force, or ‘army’ as it would be called in any other country, roused protests in the northern island of Hokkaido, when they conducted training exercises using 3 tanks, 11 armoured trucks, and 32 military vehicles on a public road on the first day of September this year. Protestors chanted ‘don’t use our road’ . The protests are unusual for their location; while Japan’s pacific island of Okinawa, where 40% of the island is used by the U.S military has long been the site of protests by local people against the presence of U.S bases due to noise, pollution, and assaults by US Marine Corps members, Hokkaido, in the far north, is usually known for snow in the winter and hiking in the summer. However, Hokkaido has been the site of increased cooperation between the US Marine Corps and the GSDF and this January they conducted some of the largest joint exercises in the history of Japanese cooperation with the American military, involving 1600 members from the GSDF and about 2500 US Marines. The increasing size of the exercises and the cooperation between the GSDF and the Marines is no coincidence. It comes after years of efforts by both Japanese politicans and the US to push the boundaries of Japan’s post-war constittion which forbids Japan having a standing army. Recent administrations have tested the limits by using Japanese forces as support for American military operations and increasing the scope and range of cooperation with the Marines. However, as the Hokkaido protesters show, the militaristic politicians don’t have it all their own way. Older Japanese have vivid memories of the awful consequences of the last time Japan had a strong military society and several generations have grown up used to a country which put its own prosperity ahead of military expansion and well aware of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo. The protests in Hokkaido will not be the last we hear of Japan’s large pro-peace constituency. Now toBELARUS The East-slavic state of Belarus emerged from feudalism under the alternating dominion of Russia and Poland. Various programmes of Polonization or Russification have changed the religion and character of its people over the centuries. HISTORYBelarus as a national identity didn't exist prior to 1917Belarusian as ethnicity existed, this is correct.Prior to the 1861 abolition of serfdom in the Russian Empire the people of what is now Belarus would have identified more with their village and their lord than the national identity of Belarus. As an outcome of WWI and the Russian Civil war the region was split and a portion of the West became part of Poland. The Catholic religious minority is concentrated here. The remaining part of the country became the Byelorusian Soviet Socialist Republic which was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics until its dissolution in 1991.At the same time as the Byelorusian Soviet Socialist Republic was established the Belarusian National Republic was established as a puppet nation of the German empire. This is the origin of the white-red-white flag of the contemporary opposition. This flag was also used by the Nazi occupation administration and its colloaborators during WWII. The Belarusian National Republic was almost immediately side-lined by the Soviet Socialist Republic of Byelorusia and to this day carries the auspicious title of longest serving government in exile. The BSSR was occupied by the Nazis in 1941 before being liberated by the Red Army in July of 1944. In 1945 Western Belarus was returned from Polish possession to the BSSR.After WWII Belarus joins what became the United Nations. In 1986 the country suffers greatly from the fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear reaction disaster. In 1990 Belarus beings to declare independence from the USSR and gains this in 1991. Lukashenko was elected in 1994 and remains to this day. More on this to come. Lukashenko wanted to create a union state Belarus-Russia. He bgain this process when Boris Yeltsin was the Russian President. When Vladimir Putin was elected in 2000 the new Russian president put the Union on the backburner.As of 2015 focus on the development of relations of former soviet countries is continued with the development of the EAEUCurrently the Union State exists as predominantly an economic alliance. The two countries generally enjoy a warm economic relationship but this is not always the case. The "Belarus as Russian puppet" narrative is simplistic and untrue. ECONOMY Belarus is heavily dependent on Russian energy sources and plays an important role in the export of Russian hydrocarbons to Europe. It “inherited” from the USSR an important section of oil and natural gas pipelines, from which 50% of Russian oil and 30% of Russian natural gas is exported annually to Europe. At the same time, it earns significant revenue from the processing of Russian crude oil, as it has large refineries which produce gasoline and diesel which resell in European countries, ensuring up to 25% of the state budget revenues (8 billion euros a year). In addition, it has received a number of subsidies and loans from Russia, which currently account for 40% of its external debt, while the second largest financier is China (26%). In addition, Russia is the main importer of Belarus products ( e.g. dairy products, tractors, buses), while China is the second largest importer. The key foreign investors in 2019 came from Russia (44,2% of all investments), followed by Britain (19,7%), Cyprus (6,6%), countries in which Russian capital is highly active. In February 2020, US Secretary of State, M. Pompeo, visited Belarus, stating that the USA can meet 100% of the energy needs of Belarus in hydrocarbons. A. Lukashenko declared that the country would cut its Russian hydrocarbon imports to 30-40% of its needs, proceeding to the purchase of American, and even Saudi oil. It is worth noting that this arrangement was not finalised and may have been announced solely to provide Belarus with some leverage with regards to the state of affairs with Russia. The state-owned companies where workers are on strike, according to the Handelsblatt, accounted for $10 billion out of a GDP of less than $60 billion. Official figures show that roughly 60% of the working people work today in non-public enterprises Belarus is economically tied to Russia and China, but makes overtures to the West to give it leverage with Russia. GEO POLITICS Relations between Belarus and Russia are friendly but this is not always the case. There have been instances of "trade wars" between the two states. Which also shows that Belarus is not a Russian puppet as put forwards by Western media outlets. For instance:Lukashenko on several occasions has undermined Russian plans to deepen the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), e.g. shaking up plans for a common currency. At the last teleconference summit of the EAEU in May 2020, Belarus and Armenia blocked the Russian proposal for “strategic development until 2025”, citing above all, the need for the same prices for hydrocarbons across EAEU territories. The strategic position of Belarus is very important to Russia. Russian hydrocarbons travel through Belarus to Europe.Belarus is also holding back NATO from part of Russia's border. The EU and the USA for years now, view Belarus as a “forbidden fruit”. For this reason, they pressured Lukashenko to “open” the country to the West, to proceed with political and economic “reforms”. They have been pressuring for decades, at times with the “carrot” (See “EU Eastern Partnership), but mainly with the “stick”, financing and training opposition forces, imposing sanctions on the leadership of Belarus, developing and strengthening NATO forces on its borders. Belarus is also the last country which China's Belt and Road Initiative will pass through before hitting Europe. It stands to reason China has a vested interest in a stable and co-operative Belarus. As far as stability goes there are some real issues in the country: Belarus situation key pointsProtesters: • On the 9th of August of 2020 there took place elections in Belarus, with Lukashenko winning elections with 80% of the vote, whereas the closest rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya got 10% percent of votes and the rest came in even further behind. • Various opposition candidates were barred for participating in this election and jailed or self-exiled. • Supporters of the opposition claimed election results are fake and called for the international community to recognise Tikhanovskaya as president of belarus. (Wikipedia claims Tikhanovskaya as president elect) • Subsequently this caused the protests to occur and police were deployed which were meant to cause the protests to dissipate but instead led to growth • The protesters are made up of petty bourgeoisie (Small business owners) students and some sections of the working class. • The main figurehead of the protesters, or at least aims to be, is “Svetlana Tikhanovskaya” wife of blogger and businessman Sergei Tikhanovsky (Who was arrested on charges of obstructing elections) • Other figure heads include: ◦ Viktar Babaryka: former chairman of the board of belgazprombank who represents the interests of big business men (Also arrested on 18 July on charges of tax evasion and money laundering) ◦ Valery Tsepkalo: another businessman and founder of Hi-Tech Park who is in favour of privatising industrial enterprise and to integrate belarus into the world system, like joining Belarus to WTO (Who self-exiled since his candidacy was denied) • All of these oppositionists have in common the goal of opening Belarus to • The demands of the protesters, in essence, are to apply shock therapy (similar to Yeltsin’s shock therapy in Russia) by enacting widespread privatisation, casualising jobs, removal of price controls and to remove education standards, as well as Belarus to move away from Russia and move towards the west • The rutherian Belarus flag has become the symbol of the opposition, this was the flag of the Belarus puppet state of the German Empire during WWI and even used by nazi collbaorators during WWII • Of course some of the opposition and some of the reasons are indeed legitimate grievances against the current regime but overall the opposition stands to benefit western interests more than actually dealing with the problems of the country and grievances of the people Lukashenko: • Has been in power since 1994 elections • The shock therapy applied to former soviet countries in the 90s did not get applied to Belarus but instead a slow move towards privatisation is taken. The 1993 constitutional crisis in Russia was a standoff between slow privatisation led by Alexander Rutskoy and shock therapy led by Boris Yelstin • Even under Lukashenko workers rights have been suffering, with the retirement age raised, enterprises privatised and trade unions suppressed, it is a battle over power between one group of capitalists over another group • Sections of police and military are loyal to Luklashenko but not total coverage. This leaves open the opportunity for opposition or foreign elements to attempt to get the security bodies to topple the government. • Lukashenko has been warming up relations to the west, but the west still has interests in removing Lukashenko from power. • Lukashenko has also been planning to move towards creating a union state of Belarus and Russia, although there are periodic tensions between the 2 countries, so far the plan either is stalled or moving forwards very slowly. Summary • In summary; Lukashekno is no better than the opposition but the opposition is much worse, with the opposition making vague promises of “free and clean elections”,”freedom and democracy“ and “ending of dictatorship” when actually wanting to open the country to western control and as a buffer against Russia.Meanwhile Lukashenko is slowly privatising the economy and opening up to the west given the difficult economic while workers rights are being eroded regardless if either Lukashenko or the opposition are in power, just one side wants to enact reforms much quicker and much more suddenly.
15 minutes | Aug 22, 2020
Alternative News - Julian Asssange and The deal between Israel and UAE
In today’s program we will speak about: Julian Asssange: Andrew Fowler is an Australian award-winning investigative journalist, and the author of The Most Dangerous Man in the World: Julian Assange and WikiLeaks’ Fight for Freedom. The deal between Israel and UAE supports the illegal annexation plans.The Joint Statement of the United States, Israel, and the United Arab of Emirates supposed to Normalize Relations with Palestinians and to advance peace in the Middle East region.Does this mean Israel has or will end its occupation of Palestine? No this is not the case. And Raise the Rate Campaign.
15 minutes | Aug 15, 2020
Alternative News - US Marines in Darwin
In today’s program we will hear Nick Deane, who is a peace activist from Marrickville Peace Group and NSW representative on Independent and Peaceful Australia Network IPAN’s National body. Nick was invited to speak at a zoom event organised by Dr Hannah Middleton and Denis Doherty on US Marines in Darwin. Nick has been active in a campaign to stop the annual stationing of U.S. Marines in Darwin. Nick speaks about what are the strategic advantages to Australia from the presence of the U.S, and who actually benefits, from this arrangement?
15 minutes | Aug 8, 2020
Alternative News - 75th commemoration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Covid-19, we are seeing the COVID-19 outbreaks mainly in private aged care where there are no mandated skilled staff ratios. In comparison, Victorian state-run aged care has very few cases. The difference? These facilities have mandated skilled staff.75th commemoration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, With so much turmoil in the world right now, it can be difficult to step back to truly assess where we are. But, we must commit to remembering the past. 6 August 2020 marks 75 years since the U.S. atomic bomb was dropped on the people of Hiroshima, and on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945.
15 minutes | Aug 1, 2020
South China Sea claims are complicated. US's only interest is aggression.
This show compiled by the Alternative News team and presented by Zachary Doney, CICD member.LOOSE TRANSCRIPT:[presenter signs on]This show will consist of some general news, both domestic and international and then a closer look at a current hot-button topic, that of the South China Sea.General NewsDomestic:An anti-China rally supposedly took place at Martin Place, Sydney with many people waving the Australian flag, holding signs that say “CHINA LIED”. This happened around the same time Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested in Sydney.The Council of Attorneys-General decided there was not enough evidence to raise the age of juvenile detention from 10 years old to 14 years old and has postponed the issue until at least 2021. International:Pyongyang has reported their first suspected coronavirus case and have put their city into lockdown to stop the virus from spreading.Australia has sent a letter to the United Nations declaring that China’s claims on islands in South China Sea are ‘illegal’. Australian politicians have cited the security of South China Sea as one of our interests under ‘Operation Gateway’.Australia has consolidated our alliance with the US at the Australia-US Ministerial talks, but resisted going all the way with the US in their aggression towards China by conducting “freedom-of-navigation exercises” in the South China SeaAustralia promised to continue joint military exercises with the US to pursue their shared national interests in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to apparently “deter bad behaviour”. We ask that the militaries of both China and the US stay home.At the talks, Australia and the US also spoke of expanding the US military presence in Darwin and of installing a US-funded military fuel reserve for the American military in the Northern Territory.Mike Pompeo complimented Australia on our new $270 billion defence strategy that makes us what he called an “extremely capable partner of the US” in defending international law.Thousands of workers, peasants, and students mobilised across India in late July against the Modi administration’s neoliberal policies to privatise India’s railways. Many protestors were arrested including Council of Indian Trade Unions cadres and members of the Dakshin Railway Employees’ Union.Vietnam evacuated 80,000 people from the city of Danang after three people tested positive for coronavirus. Most of the people evacuated were local tourists from around Vietnam. Vietnam has been a role model in containing the virus with a total of 446 confirmed cases and 0 deaths.After elections were postponed in Bolivia last week for the third time since the 2019 coup, the Bolivian Workers’ Union, Central Obrera Boliviana, and the organised coca farmers of Cochabama mobilised the people to demand democracy from the interim government. The Bolivian workers’ union told the government that if the decision to postpone elections is not retracted, then the workers will enact a general strike and road blockade nationwide on Monday the 3rd of August.The Census Bureau of America found that almost half the population of the US are facing evictions for not being able to pay rent because of the financial strain coronavirus has put on the country. Millions of people could be forced out of their homes.Early this week, the Israel Defence Force fired into Lebanon to stop an evidence-free “Hezbollah infiltration” attempt along the Blue Line. The IDF fired into a civilian house in Lebanon. Hezbollah claimed that the Israeli army were pre-emptively firing at Lebanon in fear of a Hezbollah retaliation attack after one of their members died in an Israeli air strike in Syria. Hassan Diab, the Lebanese Prime Minister said the incident was a “dangerous military escalation by Israel” and that if escalation continues, it will be an excuse for a push to alter the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon which ends next month. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon are conducting research into the incident. South China SeaWe've been hearing a lot about the South China Sea lately. history of area, competing claimsrom the beginning of last century until now the South China Sea has been under dispute by several regional players - China, Vietnam (who call it the East Sea), the Phillippines (who have called it the West Philippine Sea since 2011)Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Taiwan. $3.37tn of trade passes through this region including 40% of the world's LNG. Presumably for this Imperialist think tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations rate the impact of the conflict in the South China Sea on US interests as "critical". Ostensibly to keep this trade moving, though it is not really clear if this is the whole reason, the US prefers to be able to sail weapons platforms around the region and would like to continue to do so. To achieve this aim it relies on the United Nations Convention of the Law Of the Sea. This is a Convention which the United States of America has not ratified.[ title only: explanation of 1982 UNCLOS]After 3 decades of negotiations the United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea was signed in 1982 and came into effect in 1994. It establishes various zones around nations and decrees what activities can lawfully occur in those zones in terms of fishing and resource extraction.Under the Convention area of the sea the area of the sea floor which belongs to "everyone" has shrunk from 70% to 43% thanks to claims by countries.UNCLOS does not address sovereignty issues related to the South and East China Seas, and its vague wording has prevented it from serving as a credible body of law in resolving territorial disputes.current situation[who is in disputeevery regional player has some kind of claim to the South China Sea. ]what are they disputing?access to resources, fossil fuels and fisheries. Although it is only estimates there seems to be a huge amount of oil and gas under the seabed. Each claimant to the area is trying to push its sovereignty out into the region to the detriment of other claimants.why is the issue being raised again?this ongoing and complicated dispute is being used to further the domestic political interests of the ruling political class of the United States.We shall return to this point briefly later but as far as this is the case Australia has no business getting involved.[Thankfully an Australian delegation which flew to the coronavirus capital of the world during a global coronavirus pandemic did not commit to participating in so called freedom of navigation operations with the US.]Australia did issue a statement calling China's activities in the South China Sea illegal. As discussed earlier, this illegality is based on a Convention which was written in such a way that it could not be used to solve the dispute in question.There is a huge mess of details in the issue of the South China sea and the US is not interested in solving any of them.The US seems to limit itself to countering Chinese aggression in the region.So what constitutes Chinese aggression?China sees itself as having a valid claim to the South China Sea. The South China Sea is a coastal water of China. Does that then mean that everyone should obey the nine-dash line and Vietnam can't fish in the East Sea anymore? Well… I don't think so but I have some doubts about this Chinese aggression.According to American exceptionalism, the US is the only country that can have interests close to its own borders.It's easy to forget this because the border of the US seems to be everywhere in the entire world. For instance, how did their freedoms get in Syria? China has militarised some reefs -this project seems to have concluded in 2016. Possibly this constitutes aggression. There have been collisions at sea over the years - and also some recent near-misses. These are very serious incidents. Oil spills should not be tolerated.Regional players have been involved in a series of maritime collisions and violations of each others' sovereignty. Disputes over moving oil rigs into Vietnamese waters and disputes over fishing activities in the wrong places and so on.As far as militaries go essentially there is a tit-for-tat series of activities in the sea - China develops the Spratly islands, the US sails warships near the islands, China puts a missile on the islands. What the US views this as escalation, China views this as exercising sovereignty, and so on.what constitutes US/imperialist aggression?Here's a quote from a US news magazine called The Nation: "On July 4, it deployed two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers— the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan—along with their accompanying squadrons of cruisers, destroyers, and submarines; joining them was a nuclear-capable B-52 Stratofortress, flown in all the way from Barksdale Air Force Base, La. On July 15, the guided missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson sailed within 12 nautical miles of Cuarteron Reef and Fiery Cross Reef, two tiny islands converted by the Chinese into military bases. And on July 21, two B-1B supersonic bombers, originally designed to carry nuclear weapons, flew over the South China Sea in yet another demonstration of America’s military prowess."In 2014 the US and Philippines sign a military pact which gives the US higher troop presence in the country and greater access to bases, ports and airfields in the region. For their part in this the Philippines gain a more prolonged taste of the military-industrial jackboot. A taste that we know all too well in Australia.Blaming China for everything going wrong with the world. From the US economy to coronavirus everywhere you turn the demonic apparition of the Chinese Communist Party lurks! OK, what should Australia do?should pursue a genuinely independent foreign policy position on this issueit is correct that we want peace in the SE asian region.we also want the respect of the parties involved if we're speaking out on peace in the regionFor a possible example of how Australia could behave: ‘Vietnam does not pursue a military buildup, but Vietnam pursues protecting our sovereignty, firstly with peaceful measures, diplomatic mea"sures, and even justice measures." VIETNAMESE PRIME MINISTER NGUYEN XUAN PHUCwe should urge against aggression in the region particularly on the part of the US whose neighbourhood it is not.we should call for the demilitarisation of the islands in the south china sea.we should call for the united states to remove its military from the regionwe should call for the US to ratify the UNCLOS. Are we strategically independent, as M Payne insists?We are heading for a big crash, in Australia - in the developed world. JobKeeper and JobSeeker are being reduced as of September and JobKeeper has already been cut to our Early Childhood Educators. Australia’s interests are much more local than those of the US, and US exceptionalism provides a poor model for Australia to emulate. Secretary Pompeo’s chest-beating on China may play well to the US Republican base, but it does nothing to assist Australia in navigating a changing and difficult relationship.Although we aren't participating in the next round of sailing close to the Spratly Islands, we have a long way to go in the battle for our independence. Currently we're being positioned as being able to guide the US in the Asia-Pacific:From a recent Australian Foreign Affaris article: 'Canberra is now in an unusual position – it can make demands of Washington and try to set the terms of the alliance. “Australia has got quite a lot of bargaining leverage with the United States, which we’re not using at the moment,” [Michael] Wesley says. “The United States needs us as it hasn’t needed us for a long time, possibly since the Second World War, and that should be giving us the ability to help shape US strategic thinking in the region.” 'Ashley Townshend from the United States Studies Centre said in a recent ABC article: '"Put simply: the US can no longer uphold a favourable balance of power on its own, which means that likeminded partners such as Australia, Japan and key South-East Asian countries must contribute more purposefully to a multilateral regional military strategy," [Ashley Townshend from the United States Studies Centre] said.'to the extent that this is about more than US domestic policy it is about this.this shows that the US wants to have multi-lateralism in Asia on American terms. This is the role of the minor-imperialists in the region, Japan, South Korea and good old, true blue, fair dinkum Australia. Let's hope we can avoid an absolute catastrophe. The Morrison government wants to invest in a bilateral conversation that will not make any difference to the problems now facing humanity - economic collapse, pandemic and climate change. These problems demand sustained international effort and in that every nation, including China, has a role to play. [presenter signs off]
16 minutes | Jul 25, 2020
Bolivia - 6th Sept Elections, COVID-19, Coup regime bad behaviour
The main topic of this show is the upcoming elections in Bolivia. This show was produced to meet a deadline after which the elections in Bolivia were, once again, postponed. The episode has been amended slightly to reflect the change.You can read more here.----Good morning and you are listening to Alternative News produced by the Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament brought to you by 3CR.I'm Zachary Doney and you can listen to Alternative News every Sunday at 9:15amon 855AM, 3cr digital and 3cr.org.aufor all news related to international issues, peace, imperialism, disarmament and domestic issues. This week’s focus will be on the current political situation in Bolivia. It’s now been about 8 months since the 2019 coup, and the Bolivian people are still without a fair and democratic election.But first, some general news from the past week.Domestic issues:COVID-19 in Victoria is reaching high daily cases of up to 500 per day. Last weekend we saw the virus breach Victoria’s prisons, of which 6 are now in “lockdown”. The recent prison outbreak has brought back discussions around Victoria’s overcrowded prisons and getting low-risk and Indigenous prisoners out before another death in custody.Daniel Andrews’ government has introduced a $300 financial hardship payment for those who need to self-isolate after taking a COVID-19 test. This is separate to the $1500 hardship payment for those who test positive for COVID-19.Campaigns to change the minimum age for juvenile prisons from 10 to 14 years old have amplified over the week in response to The Council of Attorneys-General meeting tomorrow [Monday 27th] to review the law.Outrage has sparked among unionists after an ABCC commissioner was flown with “special permission” from Melbourne to Brisbane to investigate CFMEU members for a rally held 8 months ago, risking a COVID-19 spread from Melbourne to Brisbane.JobKeeper and JobSeeker are both to be reduced by a minimum of $300 starting in October.International:Australian warships encountered China’s navy in the South China Sea after travelling through the region to train with other imperialists, namely Japan and America. We ask: why are our warships so far away from our domestic waters?Tensions between the US and China rose after the US ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas. The Black Lives Matter movement continues in the US after unions organised a Strike for Black lives on the 20th of July. Also this week Trump deployed unidentifiable military personnel to Portland, Oregon to act as secret police and kidnap Black Lives Matter organisers and protestors.President of Brazil, Bolsonaro, yet again tests positive for COVID-19.Russian officials claim to have a COVID-19 vaccine ready and possibly will get the green light for productions in August. A week ago the UK accused Russia of hacking their own COVID-19 vaccine research.Apple and Google maps have removed Palestine from their maps, with only Israel marked.Analysis: BoliviaThis episode has been amended to reflect some breaking news. The September election, much talked about in this episode have been postponed by Bolivia's Supreme Electoral Tribunal until the 18th of October. This move, ostensibly about the safety of the people during the pandemic, will only hurt the poor and marginalised members of Bolivian society. The coup-regimes' current response to the pandemic is to punish the Chapare and Cochabamba regions and try to destroy all social gains made by the 14 years of Movement Towards Socialism. Every day that the coup-regime continues is another day the poor suffer and lose ground. Elections in Bolivia must happen as soon as possible. We denounce the move to further postpone elections.Here at Alternative News we have done a few shows about the Bolivian coup last year that ousted democratically elected Evo Morales of the Movement towards Socialism party. You can listen to these shows at 3cr.org.au/alternativenews.Bolivia has been under the leadership of interim President Jeanine Áñez since the coup last year. You might remember that she promised swift and democratic elections as soon as stability was brought back to Bolivia after the coup she helped lead.Another major player of the coup, as you may have remembered from our previous shows, is Carlos Mesa. Both Mesa and Áñez represent the white, bourgeois elite in the east. Mesa’s political career is a direct result of US imperialism as the political party he was involved with received millions in donations from the US since Evo Morales was first voted in in the 2000s.Current situation:Now the interim government of Bolivia has been shifting their foreign alliances from China, Russia, and other non-aligned countries to the US, the European Union and Israel. This includes asking Israel’s help to fight “terrorism” in Bolivia and pledging allegiance to the IMF.The Anez government has also cracked down on public dissent and left organisations. According to Latin-American news outlet, Telesur, at least 50 community radio stations have been shut down, as well as at least 67 journalists imprisoned, threatened, or accused of committing crimes of sedition and terrorism since the Anez took office.Since then it has been complaining about 'leftist' influence. The thousands of people who took to the streets after Moralez was forced to resign and the continuing resistance of the thousands of members of Six Federations of Tropical Cochabamba and the workers represented by the Central Obrera Boliviana can correctly be assigned the political category of 'leftist'. This 'leftist influence' is really the resistance of the people and should be supported.COVID-19:Bolivia currently has about 65,000 COVID-19 cases with about 1,700 new cases each day. The interim government is trying to blame the pandemic crisis on the previous socialist government for apparently “not doing anything from healthcare”. This, however, is just another right-wing lie spread by the government. The coup regime has wound back many social programmes since November including Unified Health System (Sistema Unico de Salud). As well the Bono Juancito Pinto, Bono Juana Azurduy and Renta Dignidad cash transfer schemes, have been eviscerated. This is in contrast to a 700% increase in healthcare spending during the previous MTS administration.But what is the interim government doing except for expelled hundreds of Cuban doctors and medical personnel, winding back co-operation with China and Russia and cutting social programmes which help the poor? Well, they are currently on to their third health minister. The health system is failing under the increased load the coronavirus pandemic has produced. 20 of 34 hospitals had closed at the end of June according to Bolivia’s Health Workers Union.The poorest regions have been the hardest hit. These regions have high support for Morales and Movement towards Socialism. In Cochabamba, the K'ara K'ara region was the site of protests against state abandonment and hunger in May. In June, three MAS were arrested for involvement in these protests, allegedly for terrorism and health-related crimes. Locals in K’ara K’ara were also denied water to help combat the pandemic after the area had their water cut off by authorities.The interim government is using the pandemic as an opportunity to postpone elections it promised last year to bring to Bolivia. These elections, however, are not looking to be democratic.Elections:The twice-postponed election in Bolivia is currently expected to go ahead on the 6th of September. Almost one year since the election last year.To the current leaders’ dismay, Movement towards Socialism candidate Luis Arce currently dominates in the polls at 42%. The beneficiaries of last years' coup trail in votes: Carlos Mesa at 27%, Jeanine Anez at 13% and Luis Fernando Camacho at 9%.However, there are currently talks of a right-wing coalition before the elections in order to defeat Movement towards Socialism at the polls. The political teams of Mesa and Anez have met to discuss an alliance. We at Alternative News are unsure how this will pan out in reality, but we predict that the distrust of Anez government and the popular support for Movement Towards Socialism will be tough hurdles for a right-wing coalition to surpass.It is then no surprise that this week Anez, and the ruling alliance Juntos, is formally attempting to ban Movement towards Socialism from participating in elections. According to Kawsachun News, a left political news source from Bolivia, electoral authorities could be imprisoned if they don't ban the Movement towards Socialism from participating in the elections. One of the leaders of Bolivia's 2019 coup, Fernando Camacho, has asked the Organisation of American States to intervene to stop the elections from taking place on September 6th. Organisation of American States was the organisation that falsely accused Morales of rigging the elections and for justifying the 2019 coup. Now, it seems they might be back for round two in suppressing Movement towards Socialism. The conclusions drawn by OAS have been shown to be naive and false by researchers at MIT and researchers at the Centre For Economic and Policy Research. There you go, two bone fide Western sources for all you sceptics out there. *kissing noise* love ya.The interim government is justifying this political move by accusing Movement towards Socialism candidate Luis Arce of breaking electoral laws by mentioning an opinion poll before election campaigning has begun. The “opinion poll” mentioned was Luis Arce telling a reporter that he was generally favoured.Evo Morales spoke out against the current attack on Movement towards Socialism by pointing out the double standard since “Juntos‘ vice-presidential candidate, Samuel Doria Medina, [also] commented on and published opinion polls twice, but they all remained silent.” Argentina's Interior Minister has also stood up for the undemocratic attacks against Movement towards Socialism and said in a tweet:"Bolivia's de facto government is attempting to postpone the elections and ban the main political force. This is inadmissible for those of us who have a deep commitment to democracy and human rights."To sum up this section:Prior to Evo’s presidency and Movement for Socialism as the ruling party, Bolivia was likened to an apartheid state of the white and mestizo elite in the east, and the poor Indigenous campesino majority in the centre and west.The coup-regime and its allies are targeting members of Movement Towards Socialism and their supporters with fabricated criminal charges. The goal is to remove the social base of MTS and it's political representation. This cannot be done at the polls because Movement Towards Socialism is popular with a majority of the people. 55% of the people are poor and Indigenous. These people benefitted from the 14 years of MTS economic policies which were designed by the current candidate, Luis Arce.Conclusion:The current political situation is up in the air since the coup leaders are doing all in their power to repress political dissent, destroy the socialist opposition, silence left leaning media outlets, and manipulate the electoral process. The irony and double standards reek as the interim president, that the US helped gain power due to “undemocratic elections” in 2019, is behaving undemocratically. The situation is textbook fascism.Who is to benefit from the current situation? The imperialists that the interim government has aligned itself with, namely the US, the EU and Israel. These foreign countries that had their hands in the 2019 coup, are now able to exploit Bolivia’s lithium resource for electric cars and batteries (here’s looking at you Elon Musk….).Down with the coup regime. Down with the destabilising activities of US imperialism. Power to the people of Bolivia. Good luck to Movement Towards Socialism and good luck to Luis Arce in the upcoming elections.OutroYou were listening to Alternative News presented by the Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament every sunday at 9:15am on 3CR. Listen on 855am, 3cr digital or at 3cr.org.au.Next up we have Concrete gang!!
15 minutes | Jul 18, 2020
Alternative News - Interview with Pas Forgione from ACOSS
Today I’m speaking with Pas Forgione from ACOSS Aust’n Council for Social Services.Pas is the Raise The Rate community organiser, working closely with people on Newstart (now JobSeeker and JobKeeper) and Youth Allowance, to support them to share their stories, as well as with other supporters and organisations.Before this, he spent over 5 years coordinating Anti-Poverty Network SA, a grassroots campaigning organisation led by people directly affected by poverty and unemployment, that advocated on a wide range of topics related to social security policy, included the inadequacy of Allowances and Pensions, cashless welfare, robodebt, Job Active, Centrelink call waiting times, and other issues.
15 minutes | Jul 11, 2020
Excerpts from Politics In The Pub with Dr Margaret Beavis
LinksMedical Association for the Prevention of War (Australia)Politics In The Pub Livestream recordingPolitics In The Pub facebook pageAlternative NewsProduced by the Campaign for International Cooperation and Disarmament (CICD)Broadcasting from the stolen lands of the Wurundjeri people.On 3CR 855AM, 3CR digital and 3cr.org.auMy name is Zachary Doney, CICD member and hospitality worker. and I’ll be playing some audio clips from last week’s Politics in the Pub discussion on ‘Can Australia Have An Independent Foreign Policy?’ with guest speaker Dr Margaret Beavis of the Medical Association for Prevention of War.Politics in the Pub Melbourne is a new initiative led by peace activists, unionists and politically active members of the public. If you are interested in helping form a Politics in the Pub committee please contact Romina at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0414 352 542.The full audio and video of the event can be found here:Politics In The Pub https://www.facebook.com/Politics-in-the-Pub-105066541262764/Live stream video: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=294005101968687Now, let’s hear some clips from the event and discuss if it’s possible for Australia to have an independent foreign policy.Up first is Romina introducing the topic and the speaker:Romina:The subject of the event is "Can Australia have An Independent Foreign Policy and how can we do that?"Austrlaia's ruling class has always sought support from foreign powers, which pre-WWII was Britain. Following the fall of Singapore in 1942 and the withdrawal of British forces from the East the Australian govt. changed our loyalty from Britain to the US. In 1950 Aus followed the US into the Korean war, followed by the Vietnam war. In 2001, Afghanistan. In 2003, Iraq. Syria in 2014. In 2019 Australia followed the US to the Strait of Hormuz. Australia committed to participating in the "shipping protection force."Who better to talk about this topic than Dr Margaret Beavis?Dr Margaret Beavis is a GP with over twenty-five years’ experience in community medicine. Her research, writing and teaching interests include nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and the weapons industry. She is also interested in the Australian government spending on defence, diplomacy and foreign aid and how Australia decides to go to war. She has a particular interest in health and the environment, both on a global scale, and in her local community. Recent publications have focused on the UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons and nuclear waste issues in Australia.Dr Margaret Beavis is the Vice President of the Medical Association for prevention of War, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) Australia co-chair.Zachary: As I mentioned before I am going to play clips from the event. Here's Dr Beavis:Dr. B: The subsidising of the military weapons manufacturer is justified as "job job jobs, jobs & growth," we;ve all heard it. If you actually look at the research: when you spend a billion dollars on a particular industry there are better outcomes than weapons. Health, education and renewables all yield better returns. Health and education yield more than double returns. Renewables yield a 140% return. Z: We assume here Margaret is referring to a study done by the Costs of War Project at Brown University. Margaret is going off memory here and says there is a 40% increase in jobs from renewables investment, but the figure is 21 percent increase in jobs for wind energy development per 1 million dollars invested. She is right in saying that education investments create almost double the jobs per 1 million invested, the figure being an increase of 178 percent.In a time when there is 1 job for every 18 Jobseekers, the government should invest money wisely in industries that are more cost effective at producing jobs such as renewables, infrastructure, and especially healthcare and education.[Study at Brown: https://www.brown.edu/news/2017-05-25/jobscow]Dr. B: The place of the weapons industry in education is insidious. People are starting to become aware of this. As state education and tertiary education become increasingly starved of funds the weapons industry has stepped in to offer prizes at the secondary level and education assistance, subsidies. At the teriarty level, for instance in melbourne, they have multi-million dollar partnerships were they sponsor and pay for schlarships for PhD students. The weapons manufacturers then get access to the research. This is very comprimising. In the Melborne example it's Lockheed Martin which is the biggest weapons manufacturer in the world and is closely tied with nuclear weapons systems.Z: This is big news to me. Dr Beavis is talking about Australia’s Defence Science Partnerships program that partners universities with Defence and national security agencies on collaborative research projects.Margaret’s example of these partnerships is Lockheed Martin’s, the largest weapons manufacturer, partnership with University of Melbourne. This is a company that supplies weapons to Saudi Arabia that fuels the war in Yemen and to Israel that fuels their settler-colonial project against Palestinians. Our universities are now complicit in these activities and produce research that is favourable for weapons manufacturers and imperialist conflicts.It is also worth mentioning the US-Australia International Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (AUSMURI). This is a project that facilitates international research between American and Australian universities with US Department of Defense at its core. Australian universities are able to get a grant up to $3 million through the programme, subject approval by the US Department of Defense’s University research initiative.Between Australia’s Defence Science Partnerships program and the US-Australia Research Initiative, our universities are tied up with US Department of Defense and multi-national weapons manufacturers.https://theconversation.com/partnerships-between-universities-and-arms-manufacturers-raise-thorny-ethical-questions-93005Dr. B: Australia was the 4th highest weapons importer in 2018 and we risk starting a [regional] arms race [with the recent announcement of $270bn in military spending over the next decade]. This belligerent, Right-wing rhetoric of enhancing fear in the community to justify the purchases... it's really concerning what's happening.Z: In 2018 we were the 4th biggest importer of weapons but now we are the second biggest importer of weapons, second to Saudi Arabia. Why do we need this many weapons?https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-30/australia-worlds-second-biggest-weapons-importer-behind-saudi/11558762 Dr. B: I found out a few years ago that we have a senior Major General and other ssenior Australian military people in the chain of command in the Pacific. So, the top person is a US person, the second person in command, answering to the top person, is an Australian. We are enmeshed in the US chain of command. This means if the US decides to go to war we're already in their fighting machine.The other astounding piece of enmeshment is that our oil reserves are located in the US. How on Earth do we think that, in a war situation, those reserves are going to cross the Pacific to come to us. It's laughable and it's another piece of enmeshment tying us into the US war machine.Z: It makes sense for us to be able to co-ordinate with our military allies. What seems to be happening, though, is we have let our military alliance with the US become a unilateral affair in which we follow at their beck and call. We cannot exercise an independent foreign policy because our military affairs are so tightly interwoven with the US. An example of this are the activities co-ordinated through Pine Gap. Dr. B: When Australia was fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan a lot of that signals intelligence went through Pine Gap. Pine Gap is controlled by the Americans. Our military missions were, infact, under control of the Americans by default.Z: Also, Pine Gap is used to commit atrocities overseas. The bloodbath in Yemen is further inflamed by US drone strikes, co-ordinated through Pine Gap Dr. B: Of big concern: Pine Gap is used to target drone strikes. it does mean that Australia is culpable in these drone strikes which are effectively extra-judicial killings where suspects have no due process, there's no court of law, there's no hearing. Also the people around those subjects - there have been many civilian deaths documented and Australia is part of this.Z: While we're on the topic of Yemen: thanks to our govt using taxpayer money to subsidise multinational weapons manufacturers our taxpayer money goes directly to murdering the Yemeni people:Dr. B: The Govt is heavily subsidising weapons companies now, even though most of them are Australian branches of huge multi-nationals. There's a $3.8bn loan subsidy scheme. In addition to that there are direct grants to companies which we do not know about. One we doknow about is #38 million given to EOS Weapons systems in Canberra. This company makes gun emplacements that have rocket launchers and guns which can be placed onto of an armoured vehicle and operated remotely so one does not have to stand outside the armoured vehicle to fire the weapons. It's revolting that $38 million of our taxpayer money went to a weapons system that was then exported to the US and then exported to Yemen. This despite suppososedly good arms control measures preventing Australia selling weapons to places where tehre are human right violations.Z: Last but not least:Dr. B: Pine Gap is also used for nuclear weapons targetting.Z: Boo.Dr. B: I think it's really important, in any war situation, that we talk about the undue influence of the weapons industry. We need to address this and there are ways to address this. They're sort-of half-hearted measures being talked about in Canberra which would be good but are being done very badly. For instance: lobbying. It came out earlier this week that the government's promises to keep a lobbying register, the auditor-general has been given a scathing report to say they're not keeping a proper record of who is lobbying our parliamentarians. Really, lobbying is very important because successful lobbying basically means that vested interests triumph over public interests. Similarly donations: more than half of the donations made in Australia are opaque. We urgently need transparent, real-time donation reporting. In America you know about donations within two weeks, whereas in Australia it can take 14-18 months [for donations to be reported]. Often these donations are hidden by the use of foundations.Z: Yeah, so, we can't understand the full influence of weapons industry lobbying and donation if we haven't addressed lobbying and do not have effective donations reporting mechanism. Dr. Beavis' examples of the US' reporting system vs ours are interesting but obviously this hasn't stopped the US from militarising the world in their interests. I think this point continues into Margaret's next point, which is "war powers reform"Dr. B: War powers reform is terribly important. There's too many times where Australia has gone to war because it was politically convenient. The current process rests with the Prime Minister and the executive. In the US and the UK and various other countries both houses of parliament come together when war is contemplated. They debate what's happening, they debate what the information is, and then they vote. Andrew Wilkie, as you all know, the Tasmanian independent MP resigned over what poor-quality intelligence there was for [Australia's participation in] the Iraq War. And he was, of course, proved right in the end.Z: As we can understand from the examples given, war powers reform is no panacea for Australia's lack of independent foreign policy. It is part of a programme of changes, which include, as Dr Beavis tell us...Dr. B: Diplomacy is the key to peace. It's not terribly exciting. If you prevent a conflict you don't see too much. But it is a hugely cost-effective and a really worthwhile investment. We need electoral reform... what I think we're talking about is strategic independence. What we have now is strategic dependence and it's not strategic [for Australia] at all. We need an independent foreign policy so we're not dragged, yet again, into yet another US war.Z: The Campaign for International Co-operation and Disarmament stands firmly against US wars and stands firmly for a non-aligned and independent foreign policy. Thanks goes to Margaret for coming onto the first Politics In The Pub. As I mentioned earlier, if you are interested in being part of the committee to organise POlitics In The Pub, please reach out to email@example.com.[presenter signs off]Coming up next - Concrete Gang.
15 minutes | Jul 4, 2020
Alternative News - the grave weaknesses in Australia’s economy
Today we talked about the Politics in the pub event about “can Australia have an independent foreign policy? We also discuss the grave weaknesses in Australia’s economy highlighted by COVID-19 and the dangers they pose for the Australian people. We discuss the urgent need for a campaign to move Australia’s economic policy in the direction of independence and self-reliance. And Alexi present a brief report that wage theft has now been made a crime in Victoria after years of union and employee campaigning, this makes Victoria the first state in Australia to have such laws regarding wage theft.
15 minutes | Jun 27, 2020
Alternative News - The Government’s proposed changes the fee structures for university and Childcare and JobKeeper
Today we will speak about: The Government’s proposed changes to the fee structures for university degrees are not fair and not, responding to the needs of the labour market.Childcare and JobKeeper, and Human Rights experts call for global opposition to Israel’s annexation plans
15 minutes | Jun 20, 2020
Does the ASPI have a place in progressive spaces? No.
Intro Presenters: Zachary Doney and Bri AlderseaToday we’re talking about the Australian Strategic Policy InstituteWhat is it? Where does it come from? Does ASPI have a place in progressive spaces?We’ve spoken about ASPI before but the problem hasn’t gone away. For some context, here’s Bri:Recent eventsOn the 11th of June Twitter suspended 170,000 accounts from Twitter with the help of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which we will now refer to as ASPI. Accounts that, according to Twitter, spread “geopolitical narratives favourable to the Communist Party of China”. This includes so-called “deceptive narratives” around Hong Kong protests and COVID-19.What are these deceptive narratives? Is any criticism of the Hong Kong protests as violent or right-wing a “deceptive narrative”? It seems as though “deceptive narratives” are simply narratives that stray from the Western mainstream.It seems strange that a US company, Twitter, would pair with a “non-partisan, independent think tank” based in Australia to control who is allowed to use the social media platform. We’ll get into the funding relationship between ASPI and Twitter later the program.Twitter frequently expresses its inability to control fascists on its site yet it can delete 170,000 accounts in one swoop? Perhaps it is because fascists have a more acceptable narrative to the US government compared to pro-Chinese nationals.ASPI’s collaboration with Twitter is an example of why we must be critical of the think tank. It has yet to assess whether the US military, currently the greatest imperialist force, is a threat to national security or world peace. ASPI's pastUs at Alternative News are becomingly increasingly frustrated with the public’s blind acceptance of ASPI’s work. Today’s episode will be about ASPI’s history, funding, and goals to assess whether the organisation should be accepted in progressive spaces.ASPI was founded in 2001 by the Department of Defence as an independent body to advise on defence, strategy, and national security. It was initially fully funded by the Department of Defence. As Deputy Sheriff of the Asia-Pacific, our national interests extend to beyond our peace and safety. To us at Alternative News, ASPI is simply the think tank that operates to excuse militarisation, war and imperialism. An example of this is ASPI’s report from June 2003 titled “OUR FAILING NEIGHBOUR - AUSTRALIA AND THE FUTURE OF SOLOMON ISLANDS”. The report explored how Solomon Islands is under threat and is unstable because of nationalist groups that were attempting to reclaim the islands with the goal of eradicating poverty. ASPI positions the conflict in the Solomon Islands as a part of Australia’s national interests. In the report they say “The consequences for Australia are serious. A failing state on our doorstep engages Australia's interests at many levels, from short-term economic, consular and humanitarian concerns to our most enduring strategic imperatives.” A month after ASPI’s report the Australian government launched the interventionist "Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands". This mission lasted for 14 years where thousands from the Australian Defence Force and Federal Police were stationed at Solomon Islands to quell unrest.This is an example of how ASPI justifies neocolonialism in the Asia-pacific.Is an organisation that justifies national oppression, war, neocolonialism and militarisation something that progressives should associate with? No.From ASPI's charter:"Independence and Participation in Public Debate"...the Government places high priority on the development of ASPI as a centre of excellence in strategic thinking which both is, and is seen to be, independent of Government. At the same time, the Government will want to ensure that its significant investment in the establishment of ASPI is being used effectively [...] The Government will therefore seek [...] to have a regular input into the setting of ASPI's research agenda."Independent or of the government?If this were the Chinese Strategic Policy Institute statements like the above would be rightly subject to the most intense scrutiny and ridicule by the mainstream and the progressive left. Instead we're inviting ASPI members into our spaces to talk about how bad and scary is China! Pathetic.ASPI is a part of the imperialist agenda. If you are part of an anti-colonial group and platform or promote ASPI writers or contributors you are shooting yourself in the foot. ASPI nowWhat does ASPI get up to now? They are funded by weapons manufacturers, WEstern states and tech companies such as:Naval group the Australian subsidiary of the French company building the $50bn (or is it $80bn) submarines which will be obsolete long before they are dumped into our watersNorthrop Grumman, who deal with airforce-type technologies, including autonomous aircraft and cyber security Jacobs, who deal with cybersecurity, weapons systems and nuclear technologyLockheed Martin, who build missiles and military aircraftMBDA missile systems; Raytheon Australia, who deal with electronic warfare technology and submarines; Austal, a maritime defence contractor; Thales (pronounced: Tahl), a defence systems, products and services provider part-owned by the French govt;SAAB; Various parts of the Australian government, including the DoDAmazon; Twitter; Facebook and; Google.Twitter funds ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre. ASPI’s international cyber policy centre helps twitter to police its platform in the interests of western imperialism by excluding voices who disagree with US narratives. What ASPI is currently producing is a large amount of articles and reports bashing China. ASPI is spreading bad-faith interpretations of Chinese policy and domestic law to inform a legion of media and government bodies who are very bad at foreign policy.ASPI is interested in Australia's strategic interests. China, as a rising power, is the subject of ASPI's investigations because ASPI sees China as a threat. On the 8th of June in The Australian, ASPI Executive Director Peter Jennings penned an article congratulating Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on tightening Australia's foreign investment laws: "The new laws will apply to investment from any country, but make no mistake about it, by far the biggest source of concern is China." If the question is about sovereignty and not selling up the country to foreign ownership then the CICD is in favour of this position! Selling our resources and assets to private companies and foreign governments does not help the Australian people.Jennings agrees, but only when it comes to China: The Morrison govt has a problem i.e. "...how to unpick the consequences of poor decisions over many years that led to much of our electricity grid, gas pipelines and ports being sold into Chinese hands."As of 2019 the largest investors in Australia are: 1: USA, 2: UK, 3: Belgium, 4: Japan, 5: Hong Kong, 6: Singapore, 7: Netherlands, 8: Luxemborg, 9: ChinaJennings is not worried about that, saying that investment from "like-minded democracies" is good becuase these countries won't "economically threaten or spy on us and treat our political leaders with contempt."China is the threat - not because they invest so much in Australia but because they don’t have a Western-style democracy. This position is simplified through the media apparatus to: China is a threat because they invest in Australia.The CICD stands for an independent and non-aligned foreign policy. This is not the foreign policy for which the Australian Strategic Policy Institute stands. ASPI stands with the imperialist agenda, firmly placing us at the feet of the US as deputy sheriff in the Asia-Pacific region.ASPI wrote multiple reports and articles applauding the 1.6 billion dollar expansion of the Tindal base in NT. Why were they so happy about further militarising stolen land? Because China! China is the threat! As Deputy Sheriff, Australia MUST militarize the Asia-Pacific before China.As we mentioned previously, part of ASPI’s program is to protect Australia's national interests, which, as we have discussed, more often than not extend abroad to protect our economic interests in the Asia-Pacific and our alliance with the US. They run a fortnightly podcast aptly called ‘Policy, guns and money’ [gunshot and cash register chime sound effects]. Rebuttals:Are there arguments for the research which ASPI produces, despite the points we have raised? Is it worthwhile to separate the content ASPI produce from the sources of funding? After all, the people who work at ASPI have their own views and the ASPI self-declares as independent.Our objection to this position is the ASPI will not produce a truly independent piece of research because the ASPI, despite their own claims, is not an independent think tank. Their entire existence depends on the discretionary spending of warmongers. This is also why ASPI will never support peace.It is true that ASPI is non-partisan - it doesn’t not have any explicit affiliation with this or that political party. However, it does receive funding directly from the government of Australia and this government is run by a political party. Be it Labor or Liberal it’s all imperial.Some further pointsIt is essential to examine the funding sources of organisations to discover the character of their output. Who is paying them to say what?As a member of Chinese diaspora, someone is entitled to their dissenting opinion about mainland China and it is appropriate to grant them a place on a progressive platform to voice their opinion. However, as an employee of an imperialist think tank this same place on a progressive platform should not be granted. These people are paid to spread the ideas which contribute to the ASPI’s charter i.e. the interests of the government of Australia.These people have accepted salaries and commissions from weapons manufacturers and on that basis have accepted blood money. CICD demands that we keep blood money out of progressive spaces. ConclusionBased on what we have discussed today, does ASPI have a place in progressive spaces? No. if you are going to introduce ASPI research or people into a progressive space you must maintain your ability to critically analyse where these experts come from and who is putting money in their pockets. ASPI’s infiltration into progressive spaces is an example of how identity politics fail. ASPI is able to get away with its agenda by tokenizing members of the Asian diaspora in Australia. Behind these individuals are white imperialists like Peter Jennings and the weapons manufacturers who they represent. [presenters sign off]Up next, Concrete Gang!
15 minutes | Jun 13, 2020
Alternative News - The Queen’s Birthday awards and Population Ageing Research
Today we will speak about: The Queen’s Birthday awards have become a complete farce when the Australia’s racism denial like Tony Abbott being awarded a Queen’s birthday medal by a non-Indigenous “independent” panel for his “service” to Indigenous affairs. The US maintains more than 800 military bases outside its own borders, all of which are crucial for continuing the empire’s domination on global politics and economics. Population Ageing Research done by the University of New South Wales and was published on 25 May 2020
15 minutes | Jun 6, 2020
Trouble in the Imperial core - G. Floyd, BLM compared to HK protests.
List of ATSI causes:Blak Lives MatterSisters Inside - Free the PeopleJustice for Joyce ClarkeJustice for Tanya DayJustice for Walker (Yuendumu)Justice for David DungayGrandmothers Against Removals:BSB: 313-140Acc: 122 364 81Blak Lands MatterStop Adani (Wangan Jagalingou Corp)BSB: 034-003Acc: 278 038Djab Wurrung EmbassySEED (Climate Justice)Blak Labour MattersSolidarity member of First Nations Workers' AllianceVictorian Aboriginal Legal Services TRANSCRIPT (loose)(presenter introduction)It's been a big week everyone - a big week in a big year. Even the most spineless of liberals have noticed the difference.This show was recorded on Thursday the 4th of June to meet deadline. 3CR studios are still closed. My apologies if there are glaring ommissions in the show. The situation out there is developing rapidly. Yesterday, the 6th of June, was the Melbourne Black Lives Matter protest organised by the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance and participated in by a broad section of society. This was the biggest protest in Melbourne under any type of social distancing restrictions.I hope that the event was a success. I expect there was brutality and probably a lot of fines.Today's show will cover, in part, the current trouble in the imperial core, responses to said trouble, attempts from the imperial core to distract from the dysfunction, and compare the BLM protests in the US with the Hong Kong protests. Coronavirus news is on hold this week! First up, TROUBLE IN THE IMPERIAL CORE: namely the protests sparked by the "alleged" police murder of George Floyd. - US National guard depployments - 62,000 Nation Guard Members on duty according to National Guard Bureau. These troops operate under State Active Duty orders in co-operation and somewhat subordinate to state and local law enforcement. The rules as to force and armaments vary from state to state. Ranging from crowd-control armaments - batons, tasers and peppery spray in Colorado to pistols in Minnesota. Washington DC's National Guard is activated in its entirety and this particular grouping takes orders from the president, rather than the state authorities. - People continue to be murdered by police so far in ongoing protests. In Louisville David McAtee, BBQ restaurant owner was murdered by the police. No body camera footage is available to corroborate police claims they were returning fire because no body cameras were turn on. In response to this particular piece of news the police chief of Louisville was fired by the mayor. David McAtee is still dead. - It is telling that the country which had precious little money to respond to COVID-19 has bottomless coffers when it comes to deploying the full might of the state against its citizens and paying overtime for police. It's a classic portrayal of the kinds of rights which US citizens enjoy: abstract rights of political expression and free speech and the actual right to be murdered by an out-of-control police force which grew up watching the same kind of disgusting police dramas which still poison the minds of the populace today. No money for PPE but money for teargas. - Defense Secretary Mark Esper: “I think the sooner that you mass and dominate the battlespace, the quicker this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal,” said in a call with governors on Monday. The use of military language and tactics to control the populace is not new and is part of the problem which civilians have with the so-called "right normal".------ Attempted distractions from the imperial core Some kind of bizarre play to the envangelical right with Trump walking to a church. To provide this passage there was a huge assualt on gathered protests. During this assault an Australian 7 news cameraman was hit with a teargas projectile fired by police. To hear protestants say Trump is doing a Jericho walk should be a moment of shame for people of faith. US Courts have ruled that Syrian and Iran are liable for damages for American citizens who are wonded and killed by Palestinians in Israel in yet another insult to sovereignty. This isn't the first time US courts have tried this one and I doubt it will be the last. The US and UK imperial mainstream and the confused elements of the left over there and in Australia are all concerned about a proposed law in Hong Kong. According to such media agencies: "China's proposed national security law could end Hong Kong as we know it." Considering HK as it lies is a vestigial remnant of UK colonialism I think that the end of HK "as we know it" would be a good thing for HKers. The usual cohort of "pro-democracy" US bootlickers have lined up to whinge about it. US law-makers are assessing it under the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act- this is an act for which aforementioned subaltern imperialists lobbied. Under the act the US assesses whether HK is sufficiently autonomous from China and if not, sanctions will be applied. This "autonomy" actually means how rigorously HK is advancing the foreign policy interests of the United States of America. HK must enforce US sanctions, export law and trade policy relating to mainland China to safeguard US business interests operating in HK from the realities of business in a space which is being de-colonised by the PRC. Added to this the US is weighing in on China's policies toward its own ethnic minorities, namely, the Uyghur muslims in Xinjiang - a topic covered on Alternative News in previous months. In essence, East Turkestan separatists have allied with the sinophobic West over a disagreement about what China should do to manage poverty and terrorism in the northwest of the country and then how to manage a transition from an agraian economy to a technology-manufacturing economy. Today I saw a claim that there are 2 million Uyghurs in concentration camps in Xinjiang. This is the biggest figure so far. I hope, one day, that I see reports of 10 million detainees. These figures are absolute garbage and should be ridiculed and treated as such. The fact that our media parrots these figures handed down to us from US newspapers and Australian think-tanks sponsored by US weapons manufacturers should really be ringing the alarm bells.HK protests 2019-2020 vs USA protests 2020CharacterisationHK protests largely characterised (in good and bad faith) as anti-auth, anti-imprial, left-wing protests. This is because they are protesting both the HK govt and the govt of the PRC. These protests are mis-characterised *in the interests of US Imperialism*.The idea that these protests are left-wing is hard for me to understand. The demands of the protestors are: Withdraw the extradition bill, don't call the protests 'riots', amnesty for arrested protesters, independent inquiry into police use of force against protesters and for the CE (wtf) of HK to resign with new CEs elected. These demands have largely arisen from the activities of the protests themselves. The only 'democratic' demand is the one calling for the election of a chief exec.How about: affordable housing, extradition bill should only be for financial crimes, the expansion of existing poverty eradiction programs, sustainable development ONLY, UK reparations for 150 years of colonialism? How about: the end of financial capitalism? 90% tax rate on the 1%? Massive expansion of social programs?Possibly because these are the demands of the poor and marginalised, and the protests do not comprise these groups.Being pro-democracy does not mean left-wing. For instance, the USA is a democratic country but we don't call the USA left-wing. Australia is a democracy but you wouldn't call us left-wing.The foolish assumption that if there are protestors they are in the right has duped the vast majority of the left. Smashing windows doesn't make you left-wing.Now, the protests in the USA. Are the protesters left-wing? Are they in the right? What are their demands? There are plenty of smashed windows - are these protest, not, in fact, the SAME as the HK protests? I think not.Police ramming protesters with cars, the national guard firing at people who are on their porches, ongoing murders by police - these things are not common across both movements. These things are only happening in the United States of America. Why is this? This answer may not shock you: The USA is an authoritarian police-state in which you are free to speak your mind, catch COVID-19 while becoming medically bankrupt and then get shot in the face with a rubber bullet for walking home. But at least it's not communism!To conclude: the HK protests have more in common with right-wing "quarantine=communism" protests than they do the current wave of protests in the US sparked by the police murder of George Floyd.This brings me, with some chagrin to an appeal for support for this radio station, 3CR. Please donate. You can do so at 3cr.org.au and put your favourite show down too. I note that at this time there is a huge push for donations to Indigenous Lives causes. These causes are highly valuable. The Campaign For International Co-operation and Disarmament supports these causes - as does 3CR. On the Altnertive News page on 3CR I will include a list of ATSI Lives, Land and Labour causes which I encourage you to give to. I understand this is a rough time for heaps of us. My apologies if this is one request too many. Systemic racism is real and it has real-life implications. Oppressed people the world over suffer under the heel of this ill. Indigenous people in Australia are part of this cohort. Since the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody in 1991 there have been 432 further deaths and ZERO convictions. This must end. Black Lives Matter.(presenter signs off)
15 minutes | May 30, 2020
Alternative News - VIETNAM MORATORIUM 50th ANNIVERSARY – Part 2
Today Bevan Ramsden and Andrew Fullerton discuss the growth of the movement in opposition to the war, which culminated in the historic Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, which began in 1970 and involved hundreds of thousands of Australians from all walks of life taking to the streets to oppose the Vietnam War and conscription 50 years ago, on May 8th 1970, the first nationwide Moratorium rallies in Australia were held, following a similar campaign in the United States. Bevan, you were very involved in organising the campaign. Can you tell us why the Moratorium achieved what it did, despite intense hostility from politicians and the mass media?
15 minutes | May 23, 2020
Alternative News - VIETNAM MORATORIUM 50th ANNIVERSARY – the background History of the war
Today Bevan Ramsden and Andrew Fullerton will be discussing the fist part of the two part program on VIETNAM MORATORIUM 50th ANNIVERSARY – the background History of the war.Join us next week for part 2 of this program – Bevan and Andrew will be discussing the growth of the movement in opposition to the war, which culminated in the historic Vietnam Moratorium Campaign, which began in 1970 and involved hundreds of thousands of Australians from all walks of life taking to the streets to oppose the Vietnam War and conscription.
15 minutes | May 16, 2020
Alternative News - May Kotsakis on situation in Philippines
Today May Kotsakis will be presenting the Alternative News and will be speaking about what is happening in Philippine.May is– Co-Chairperson of Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA) – we thank May for presenting this program. The Philippines in the midst of COVID 19 and the continuous attacks on dissenting voice, advocates of the poor and Human Rights workers President Duterte’s promises on his campaign during the 2016 presidential election;Declaring the CPP and NPA as terrorist groups, red-tagging civil society organisations and individuals who advocate for poor people and who oppose Duterte’s anti-people policies;Duterte’s war on drugsConsolidation of Duterte’s power by eliminating political opposition and militarising cabinetsGovernment response to the PandemicMilitarising the whole countryMass arrestsPolitical PrisonersShut down of ABS-CBN
15 minutes | May 9, 2020
Alternative News - 50th Anniversary of Vietnam Moratorium
Today we are going to talk about the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam Moratorium.Friday 8 May was the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam Moratorium. The Vietnam moratorium protests, the first of which took place on 8 May 1970, were the largest public demonstrations in Australia’s history at the time.The protests took place during a period of great social change in Australia, when people from a range of backgrounds were prepared to confront authority.Labor politician Dr Jim Cairns at his address at the First Moratorium said:“Our spirit is the spirit of peace and understanding. Our spirit is opposed to violence, opposed to hate, opposed to every motive that has produced this terrible war … we can overcome.”
15 minutes | May 2, 2020
Alternative News - May Day 2020
Today we are going to talk about May DayDue to all the restrictions arising from the Pandemic, For the first time in 130 years, workers around the world will not be able to celebrate May Day in the streets.
15 minutes | Apr 25, 2020
Job Keeper by the numbers, military spending, sanctions on Syria.
LOOSE TRANSCRIPTGood morning and welcome to another episode of Alternative News on 3CR, 855AM, 3CR Digital and streaming at 3CR.org.auThis show is produced by the Campaign for International Development and Disarmament on the stolden lands of the Wurundjeri people. Today we're going to look at Job Keeper by the numbers, some ideas for redirecting military spending to social spending and a quick look at sanctions on Syria.----Coronavirus at home----States are beginning to roll out the legislature to enforce the eviction moratorium which was proposed by the nation cabinet earlier this month.Victoria has put aside 500 million dollars to assist landlords during the pandemic. Renters in dire straits can apply to have $2000 given straight to their landlord as long as the renter has less than $5000 in savings and rent makes up at least 30% of their income.This is another example of the poor and marginalised not being allowed to have savings. This is something which disability activists have been bringing to our attention for a long time. It is now that "ordinary Australians" - apologies for the loaded and exclusionary term - are seeing the truth of the situation.Anecdotal reports of an increase in experienced racism from ethnically Asian people - check in on your mates, let them know you're paying attention.Trades Hall has launched wearerenters.org.au and the IWW-organised Rent Strike struggles along. wearerenters.org.au is collecting stories about renting during the time of COVID-19. These stories will be used to inform the approaches to the government from the union sector. So far the Victorian Trades Hall Council has sent a letter to Marlene Kairouz, the Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs calling for immediate action to protect residential renters in Victoria. "We simply cannot expect all tenants to be able to negotiate a fair solution" in reducing their rent burden, VTHC Secretary Luke Hilakari writes, "Instead, agents should be brokering the waiving or reduction of rent where workers have lost income as a result of the current pandemic, advising tenants and landlords of the no eviction policy and assisting landlords to access mortgage relief."and members of our community.Îigrant workers, temporary visa holders and casuals who do not meet the current requirements for the Job Keeper payment are at the highest amount of risk in this time. "Having a home is a key to staying safe. It's time to make renters safe in their homes." Education Minister Dan Tehan told international students, “you are our friends, our classmates, our colleagues and members of our community.” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said "We have a responsibility as a ciountry to look after our fellow Australian regardlerss of their age, regardless of their income, regardless of their background." This he says while a million casual workers are left out of Job Keeper and migrant workers are left out of Job Keeper AND Job Seeker. The "Australian" part of the quote is the important part. Frydenberg doesn't think that Australians have any obligation to people who work and pay tax here but don't enjoy the status of Australian citizen.Let's take Job Keeper: $1,500 / fornight BEFORE tax. $3k per month, roughly. The projected costs are $133bn. This works out to $18k per eligible recipient over the 6 month term. this is about 7.4 million workers. Currently there are 2.2mil workers missing out on JK. To provide JK for them, assuming none of them can access Job Seeker, which is not correct, but for the sake of the exercise we will calculate a higher figure than in reality, would cost a futher $40bil. For a estimated projected cost of $173bil we could provide JK to just under 10 million workers. Yes, this would mean the economy takes more of 'a hit' or whatever - but this money is social spending: the great majority of this money goes back into the economy in the form of subsistence spending - food, clothing, shelter etc. The people, as a whole, bear the brunt of this spending into the future and this increased cost is managed by whatever government is in power. The alternative is we have increased poverty, deprivation and division between the Australian "haves" and the migrant "have nots" in society.This division is imposed in economics by an uncaring ruling class. If we want some extra money let's scrap the expansion to the $1.1bil expansion to the Tindal Royal Australian Airforce base in the Northern Territory. This expansion only exists to appease the United States of America. We're paying for the US to house their strategic bombers in our country. Let's nix the $80bil submarine project. It is already subject to delays and the first submarines aren't projected to be delivered until 2035. Fifteen years of waiting for some war toys for the boys? War toys which are largely constructed and maintained in France by the French Naval Group? No, I think not. Let's have less poverty, less homelessness, less precarity in our communities RIGHT NOW. If we want a better Australia then the people inside Australia's borders must be accounted and provided for.When the depression hits, when our lives are shit for ten years because the ruling class couldn't push the desires of the market below the capacity for the state to accomodate its populace we won't be able to eat submarines or use them to bolster our economy. A $40b provision to provide JK to 2.2mil workers is a drop in the bucket of the response to coronavirus. This drop in the bucket feeds, waters and homes 2.2 million people, rather than , in the case of the submarines, representing 50% of the cost of the design and construction of 12 submarines by the French. The penny pinching must stop. Military expenditure must be shifted to social expenditure.I don't believe the cost of our national debt is greater than the cost of the impoverishment of our nation's working class. 10% of military spending should redirected to social spending. This is a demand which applies outside of crisis. During the current crisis we need more social spending, not more bombing platforms.If there is a "war" on coronavirus - if the essential workers are "heroes" then we need to stop imagining that we're also at a war with certain countries in West Asia - notably Iran. Obviously, we wouldn't be messing around sending our ships and aircraft to Gulfs in the middle east if we weren't obsessed with playing deputy sherrif for the United States of America. If Australia is a sovereign nation then we should be able to tell the US 'no'. A brief look at our history shows the ruling class of our country to be incapable of this.The idea of national security extends beyond the military interests of the state. National security should start with the interests of the people of a nation. The interests of the people of Australia are not the interests of the ruling class of Australia. Our interests do not lie in the purchase of F-35 Joint Strike fighter jets or murdering civilians in Afghanistan. Our interests lie in knowing that we have a stable roof over our heads during the pandemic. There cannot be a secure state if there are not secure people who reside under the state. If the people are insecure then why would they support the goals of the state?Please reflect on this in your own time.Refugee Action Collective Car Convoy fines and charges:CICD calls for the 26 $1652 fines for breaking stage 3 restrictions to be waived and the charges levelled against protest organiser Chris Breen to be dropped. The stage 3 restrictions imposed by the state are being enforced arbitrarily to shut down political activity by the people.Sinophobia and coronavirus:----Comments sections of social media - the people are enamoured with USA media,claims of "Wuhan" "CCP" and "China" virus. CICD members, as dedicated anti-imperialists, should push back against these claims. Anti-Chinese sentiment has no place in our analysis of our govts response to the virus. The speculation around the idea that the virus was manufactured and intentionally or unintentionally released are distractions.To conclude this segment I am proud to announce CICD's 'Clown of the week' The Committee for the Present Danger: ChinaThis cold-war era body has been resurrected by alt-right darling Steve Bannonand neo-con Frank Gaffney. This is one of the sources of the anti-Chinatalking points we're hearing from our governments."There is no hope of coexistence with China as long as the Communist Party governs the country. We seek Chinaâ€™s peaceful evolution into a nation that respects the rule of law and individual human rights, instead of threatening its own people, as well as others." (guiding principles) [clown noises throughout] China is a signatory to the covenant of economic human rights, whereas the USA, UK and Australia and the rest of the West are signatories to the covenant of civil and political human rights. The civil and political human rights covenant is good in that anyone can come on 3CR and insult the government over its lack of provision of afforable housing which has produced a homelessness crisis in the "lucky country". The economic covenant is good in that it provides homes. From the above quote we can see that this "independent and non-partisan" think tank which purports to take "no idological point of view" in fact will only rest when the CPC has been removed from power in the PRC. In short, this organisation is a regime-change proponent. War----In this time of global crisis the need for the end to war continues. On the 23rd of March the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire.Continuing war will hinder the health response to the coronavirus and the economic recovery to the same. On the topic of war we turn toSanctions in the time of COVID-19----It is the CICD's position that sanctions are designed to promote the full extent of US foreign policy and on that basis all sanctions should be lifted, forever. During the time of COVID-19 this demand increases in necessity. The death-toll in Iran was 5,391 at the time of writing while the US blocks medical devices and equipment from getting to Iran. US Sanctions have exacerbated the impact of coronavirus on Iran.Sanctions of Venezuela are smashing the state's capacity to respond to coronavirus as oil prices plunge thanks to the US's fracking industry refusing to reduce production - another example of toxic US execptionalism.For the past 9 years the US, EU and a raft of other countries including Australia have imposed and increased the serveity of sanctions on Syria, ostensibly to force Bashar Al-Assad's hand and somehow have him dissolve the government of Syria. The sanctions are aimed at forcing regime change - as they are wherever they are applied. What sanctions actually do is impede aid and harm the populace of Syria. This immiserates the people and causes great social harm. Some of the generated unrest is levelled against the incumbent government, sure, we can see this in the membership of the Free Syrian Army as well as Al Nusra Front and ISIS. We must remember: the enemy of my enemy is not my friend and this applies to everyone. So, Al-Assad's enemies in Syria are not our friends here in Australia or the friends of the United States- they are, in many cases, terrorists who despise the West as well as the Syrian government.For clarity I want to add that Assad is no enemy to the people of Australia. The line that alleged rights violations can be addressed with sanctions is a political lie designed to deceive the naive. Embarrassingly the lie seems to be effective. CICD condemns the sanctions levelled against Syria.---[Presenter signs off]
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