Sunday, July 01, 2007

Howard Admits to Land Grab


This picture from ABC News (Australia) captures a soldier talking to an Aboriginal child in the Northern Territory. The accompanying story is baffling because it says that "(t)he chairwoman of the emergency response task force overseeing the Northern Territory intervention plan doubts many child sex abusers in Indigenous communities will be brought to justice."

Huh? So why the big intervention? Is this invasion not supposedly about bringing predators to book. If not, then why is the Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough calling for more police officers to be deployed?

There is of course a more 'sinister' reason for this dirty and twisted land invasion!!!

Thanks to Eugene for bringing the article Aboriginal Children Overboard to our attention. There are several other follow-up stories available on Perth IndyMedia so please check them out.

Now it seems like the arrogant Prime Minister is not even hiding his reason for invading the Northern Territory. See this breaking story: John Howard Admits Aboriginal Land Grab Intent." I have copied the article below.

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Friday June 29, 2007

"Prime Minister John Howard has this morning admitted, in response to questions by Neil Mitchell on Southern Cross radio, that "if" it comes to taking lands away from Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal people, he will adequately compensate them", WA Rights group Project SafeCom said.

"The Prime Minister's comments, given in his usual, passive, non-denial style in which he makes an initial admission, using his frequently used 'policy by stealth' methodology, have outed Mr Howard's true political intent of the dramatic 'invasion' of the army against the backdrop of health and community workers into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, with the otherwise valid agenda of creating safety for especially the children in those communities," spokesman Jack H Smit said.

"It is now abundantly clear, what many pundits have suspected during the last week," Mr Smit said. "The taking away of lands from Aboriginal people, and given those lands over to commercial interests and mining companies, was always Mr Howard's intent."

"We know, from the now confirmed departure of the Canadian Stephen Harper government from Canada's previous long-standing commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous people, and confirmed influencing of Canada by Mr Howard in this Canadian decision, where Mr Howard stands in relation to the Rights of Indigenous People," Mr Smit said.

"Now we also know what his intent is for Australian Indigenous people." Mr Smit concluded.

For more information: Jack H Smit, Project SafeCom Inc.
Office 2 (08) 9336-6048 | mobile 0417 090 130

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I have also asked folks on Eugene's blog whether an online petition may be a way to collect signatures from those of us who are disgusted with this land grab. Please let me know your thoughts.

Here are 3 more related articles from Perth IndyMedia:

1 Howard’s NT plans will “demoralise Aborigines” (2007-06-27 9:53 PM +0800)

2 Howards military plan causing panic in Indigenous communities (2007-06-26 2:17 AM +0800)

3 Governments draconian solution will add to trauma of children - ANTaR (2007-06-22 2:04 AM +0800)

See also the ANTaR website (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation). This is their list for mailings/email.

ANTaR also has a petition going. Should we contact them and add our names?

I humbly suggest that those interested should first read the mission statement of ANTar. If we decide to do so we should duplicate efforts by sending a similar petition to:

The Hon. Mal Brough MP
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

And, CC that petiton to the Australian embassy in Washington D.C. They also have a consulate office in San Francisco.

Please let me know what you think?

9 comments:

Jubin George said...

Hi Ridwan,
I very well understand the frustration and anger, and even worse I'm not very surprised! It's not as bad as it seems either, most people agree with their silence. Even if you don't get support in real terms, it's there. And it's only their insecurities that hold them back. I'm not justifying them, I'm only asking you not to lose heart. Without support you may not win the fight, but as long as the last man stands, you won't lose either.

I was thinking about the suggestion you made in Eugene's blog - about the online petition. I was (and is, but not as much as I was) skeptical about your idea for calling a tourist boycott. The prime reason being, who the tourists are. I can do my bit to publicise the initiative if we are going to put up that online petition. I went through the ANTaR site too. But, I support your idea that the protest should be with action, not just a protest. Hell! Even Howard knows there are thousands who don't approve his sinister plans! It's not enough to tell him those thousands are there, but to tell him that he can't get away with it. So, what I suggest is putting up a petition, or call to boycott - tourism/australian products/australian matches/anything white-australian. Meanwhile, we can offer solidarity to ANTaR to their efforts. It's not just the problem of the People of NSW, not just of Australia, not just of indigenous people, it's an issue of insane exploitation with power.

Tom Autopref said...

I don't know anything at all about the situation in Australia. To my inexperienced eyes, the ANTAR petition seems almost conciliatory? Maybe that's a good approach for them, I don't know for sure.

On the govt policies, I think a basic fairness test is missing. A policy of required examinations for sexual abuse, such a policy must be applied to all children in Australia, of all races, equally.

Ridwan said...

Hi Jubin George:

Thanks for the uplift my brother. You make a lot of sense and I am hoping you are right about "most" folks.

A petition may just be the thing. If they can muster enough motivation to click on a link and put their name to it.

I want to be positive though and hope that people all across will be moved to stand up. In these terms such a move is open across all divisions.

I read some of the other link that Eugene provided and was heartened to see white Aussies call Howard on his racism.

I think that we should call for a boycott of tourism because it would be clear enough to make potential visitors think.

Products is hard because it requires a closer knowledge of what is an Australian product.

I think the tourist boycott is important because it follows the lead of Aboriginal activists.

Let me know more. And especially on Tom's points.

Peace to Ya.

Ridwan

Ridwan said...

Tom you raise excellent points to think through. I, like you, was left with a little unease about AntaR's approach. Chelsea wrote me an email that raises the issue more in-depth. She will most likely comment here later.

I am therefore not comfortable in just supporting their petition. The group may have other strengths but on this one they seem too, as you say, conciliatory.

I dare to say this is not a good approach. Howard is a bulldozer kind of leader. He is not likely to care that they want to 'negotiate'.

So, we are back to a petition that is aimed at folks outside of Australia.

Thanks for weighing in ... it is good to know you are out there brother.

Peace,
Ridwan

ps. I am gonna talk to Eugene today and gather his thinking ... he is open to a petition I think.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

I'm an Aussie who's very interested in this issue. I'd ask that you consider the following before dismising the petition as "too conciliatory" - though of course you are free to do as you choose.

First, as you've seen, it has been signed by a wide range of organisations, many of whom are at least partially dependent on government funding. The Howard government has made no secret of its willingness to strip funding from NGOs that make trouble for it and has even put no-comment clauses into funding arrangements. Even without that consideration, any wide coalition must necessarily focus only on the essentials of its message, especially when you're trying to get agreement on wording within a week! As the intent of the petition was to allow as many groups as possible to sign, in order to express the widespread community dissent, the wording had to be very carefully considered.

Second, the media in Australia is almost exclusively Murdoch-owned, and almost exclusively conservative-dominated. Any criticism of Howard is portrayed by him and his party, and also their supporters in the media, as motivated by hatred of Howard, rather than a desire to get his policies matching his stated intent. When children's safety is at stake it is particularly easy for them to take the moral high ground and try and make out that critics are indifferent to children's wellbeing and only want to Howard-bash. Thus it is essential to make the point very strongly that this is not a partisan comment but is purely directed at helping Howard achieve his stated objective, rather than pointing out that the timing is suggestive of an election stunt and the measures of a land grab. Other people are doing that anyway, and doing so quite effectively. And in any case that's a secondary point, because...

Last, but by no means least, there is a real crisis here, one for which many of the signatories have been struggling for years to get adequate resources. Action is, in fact, a moral imperative. That action MUST be constructive, and so far Howard's plan is showing little sign of doing any long-term good and indeed will probably make things worse. (Removing the permit system that makes it harder for external predators to come in and abuse kids is one glaring piece of stupidity, for instance.) But if it's the measures rather than the overall aim you disagree with, that has to be the focus of your criticism.

Thanks anyway for your interest in the issue - it's one I care deeply about. Please do keep up your activity in support of both Indigenous children's right to safe and happy childhoods and Indigenous communities' right to a say in their own lives.

Phil

Ridwan said...

Hello Phil:

We were in sore need of the structure and complexity you have added here.

Thank you.

I can see how/why this petition must be viewed as a broad church.

In fact, we are similarly reeling with the pace of what is taking place. Most of us have to literally school ourselves as we decide what to do.

Your commentary is invaluable. We, and there really is no 'we' other than a community of pissed off folks who can't just stand by, do not want to be a fifth wheel.

We want to, I believe, join in with those who are leading from within.

And we do so from outside with a commitment to justice for the people of the Northern Territory.

May I 'lean' on you and ask where our efforts would be felt best.

Vox has posted a few addresses. Tom believes a letter campaign would be helpful. I tend to agree with Tom now. A petition however may collect many signatures that can show the scope of those outside of Aus who care.

Thanks again Phil. I hear you clearly and I'm thinking through the issues you raise.

Hope to hear you holla brother.

Peace and struggle,
Ridwan

Tom Autopref said...

Phil,

Thank you for the dose of realism about the political situation in Australia. I hear what you are saying and I apologize if I seemed to dismiss the petition.

I support the ANTaR petition. They seem to be doing something about the situation. Which is a lot more than I can say.

I usually focus on U.S. problems -- as you know, we are famous for our insanely flagrant violations of decency and human rights.

astar4u said...

M-kay, Im gonna tell you what i think
You are always putting down President Bush. Even fellow Americans are putting down President Bush. But if we stop fighting for our country!...how stupid!!! If we stop fighting for our country ...who is GONNA ???

Our USA will be GONE
GONE! just like that. We have fought for our freedom and we are the free-est country in the world. That is WHY terrorists are after us~!! That is WHY everyone comes to us...That is WHY every country in the world wants a piece of us...

But we have to FIGHT for it! IF we give up without a fight, who is GONNA fight???? wow. I dont get it.
yes . we have to sacrifice our sons. our daughters. our babies.
It comes with a price.
But:
What on EARTH is WRONG with you people!!!???? If we dont support our president, we wont have a country to fight FOR!!!???!!!!!!

~*StarAnna*~

Ridwan said...

Who is "you people" StarAnna? Bush is a terrorist and his policies have lead to the loss of more lives than anyone has counted.

His doings and legacy will undo more than you will want in this land you love.

A land stolen and founded on genocide.

You confuse me. But thanks for looking in hey.

Ridwan