Humiliated Australian imperialism lashes out: lawyer and intelligence agent with consciences threatened with gaol. by Max Lane

The laying of criminal charges under the Intelligence Services Act 2001 against Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery in relation to their exposure of the Australian government’s reprehensible bugging of the East Timorese government’s cabinet room is a case of a defeated and wounded elitist white imperialism lashing out at somebody at home because they can’t do it to the people who humiliated them: the leadership and people of Timor Leste.  Of course, no doubt they also see it as a warning against others who might dare try to expose the criminal activity of the Australian state.  But don’t under-estimate the resentment of humiliation and defeat that Australian imperialism has experienced at the hands of Timor Leste. The first court hearing is scheduled for July 25 in Canberra. If they are convicted, the maximum sentence is two years gaol.

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Gareth Evans and Ali Alatas signing the original Timor Gap Treaty.

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ARTICLE: Widodo, the death sentence and Indonesia’s political vacuum – by MAX LANE

I do not know what the prospects are that President Widodo will stop the current implementation of the death sentence for people convicted of drug related crimes. There is nothing in any of Widodo’s statements that indicates a change of mind on this issue. In a recent interview with Al Jazeera he reaffirmed his decision stating that it was necessary also to “remember the victims”. It was not clear whether this was being presented as a means to lessen the criminal activity as a disincentive or simply as punishment. On the other hand, the Indonesian government has now several times announced a delay in the process to await the outcome of legal processes. A positive outcome in one of the legal appeals is probably the best hope of commutation of sentences, although Indonesia is in an unpredictable state and perhaps anything can happen.

Within Indonesia itself there have been people both fighting the executions practically, such as the groups of lawyers, including well known legal figure, Todung Mulya Lubis, who have been assisting in various legal cases as well as speaking out. Human rights and civil liberties organisations have also spoken out. There have been public fora where academics from several different universities have spoken out against the death sentence. These include, among others, academics from the Jakarta State University, University of Indonesia and the Islamic oriented Paramadina University. The English language news media, especially the Jakarta Globe, has strongly editorialised against the death sentences. The Jakarta Globe’s editorial was entitled: “Okay, Mr. Tough Guy. We Get It. Now Stop.” Former foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda has also spoken out against the death sentences.

In an article on March 8 in the Jakarta Globe, the reporter was able to find street vox pop’s both in favour of the death penalty for drug crime convictees as well as those who thought the punishment was too harsh.

Despite these voices, it is probably true to say that they have been unable to make a major impact on the national political discourse. Widodo has announced, or hinted, that there may be an eventual moratorium on the death sentence. This was mentioned at a recent U.N. commission hearing in Geneva.  Such a hint probably reflects a combination of the considerable international criticism Widodo has received, as well as from the dissident domestic voices in society, and perhaps also in his cabinet. Even so, the dominant theme in the mainstream political conversation has not been around the rights and wrongs of the death sentence, but rather around the importance of resisting attacks on sovereignty on this issue, that is of resisting criticism and pressure from outside of Indonesia.

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Facebook status comments on politics: September, by Max Lane.

Both the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd government and now the Abbot LNP gang are carrying out racist, xenophobic and inhuman policies on refugees, shunting them off to Manus and Nauru. They should not just be welcoming refugees when they arrive on poor fishermen’s boats, they should be organizing them to fly safely down from Indonesia to settle in Australia. Australian society and economy can easily cope with all of the refugees currently waiting in Indonesia. Australia has a $40,000 per capita income economy; Indonesia only $3,500 per capita. The Indonesian society and economy should not have to bear this burden. At the same time, we should be aware that neither Gillard/Rudd/Abbott nor the Yudhoyono government in Indonesia care anything about the welfare and rights of the refugees (or any other ordinary people). They both rule for the elites. Personally, I don’t care much if Abbott and Yudhoyono don’t get along. What is important is that there are links at the grass roots between the forces for progressive change in the two countries.

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Race-caller, sports reporter ABC hack, Barry Cassidy, complaining because there is no match to report – as if politics is nothing more than a question of who has fumbled the ball, who has scored an own-goal, who is a good kicker, who missedthe pass etc., whether idiot A or idiot B would be the better captain. Actually, politics is another word for the affairs of the people; what determines their survival, dignity and culture or how they can determine these things themselves. …. No, not for the contemporary (mainstream) “journalist”: its just a sport to report on and have a career. (see http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-27/cassidy-while-labor-looks-inwards-abbott-goes-untested/4983264)

September 27, 2013

Why is it that in a AAA credit rated, 2.6% growing, 14 years non-stop growing economy (Australia), rated no 14 in this extremely huge world economy, that so many people feel economically stressed and both economically and socially on the edge. Is it because (a) the way the wealth is (not) distributed, via the wage-profit divide up and via provision of social services; or (b) who controls the wealth and decides on its use (the 1%); or (c) who controls jobs (the 1%) and therefore who doesn’t have real job security (the rest). Or ‘all of the above’.
There is no “win-win” strategy to achieve redistribution of wealth, let alone control over wealth. Redistribution: take from some, distribute to others: yes, ala Robin Hood. And the Sheriff and King John always use the Sheriff’s men to get it back. (Of course, all this ongoing tug-of-war would be unnecessary, if society as a whole collectively controlled the production of its wealth and how that was used.)

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Only two logical possibilities to explain Abbott’s decision regarding gender balance in his Cabinet. Either (1) despite being around at least 70 years, the Liberal Party has not attracted or recruited any (conservative) women with the required talents and abilities to be a Liberal Minister or (2) they have attracted and recruited such women, but men are given preference, and women discriminated against. Either way ………………………

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The media news in the capitalists’ society operates on a “need to know” basis, i.e. what they think we need to know.

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The reactionary Liberal Party government, having won 53% electoral support with the support of the for-profit media and the ABC, is being sworn in today. While the reactionaries are clear that the wealth of the elite must be accumulated through systematic taking from the rest of society, their opponents in parliamentary politics (ALP, Greens, who got around 40-42%)) keep looking for solutions that are “win-win” for the big business elite (big capitalists) as well as the rest of us. There is no “win-win” solutions under capitalism, when it comes to ensuring the people’s welfare, material, social and habitat (environmental)..

18 September, 2013

Article: Refugees and the ideological imperatives of late capitalism in Australia – by Max Lane.

As from July, 2013, the Australian government has a new policy as regards refugees arriving in Australian territory by boat, “without a visa”. The Australian government will no longer accept them as potential residents of Australia. They are to be shipped to detention camps in Papua New Guinea and, if recognized as ‘legitimate’ refugees, will be settled in PNG, not Australia – unless they can find another country somewhere else.  This harsh and mean decision towards people from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka who enter Australia arriving on a boat from Indonesia is one of a series of decisions in the same vein that began in its most serious form in 1992 when mandatory detention was legislated for all “unauthorized entries”. This was complimented by policies such as turning some boats back on the high seas, detaining people in camps, in Australia and off-shore, with worse and worse conditions, and providing only temporary visas condemning people to an indeterminate insecure future. In 2013, the Australian government and parliament legislated to also place the whole of Australian territory outside of Australia’s immigration zone denying people arriving by boat legal rights if they arrived by boat “without a visa”.

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Refugees and asylum seekers in a detention centre, Malaysia. (photo from sbs website.)

This sustained 21 year long escalation of harsh harassment and denial of legal rights to refugees arriving by boat between 1992 and 2013 points to the existence of a persistent attitude by the Australian ruling class. This approach has been implemented by governments run by both of the two big established parties, has been advocated by all the privately owned (by big business) media and supported by the various associations representating big business. What drives this approach? What is behind it?

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Mixing Marx and Indonesia by Mohammed Cohen

BALI – Max Lane is a Marxist and leading authority on Indonesia. That’s somewhat ironic since Indonesia has been a bulwark of anti-communism since the 1965 coup that brought General Suharto to power and led to the killings of up to 3 million alleged communists. Yet Lane says that Indonesia turned him into a Marxist. Read more

The Democratic Movement and East Timorese Solidarity movement in the 1990s: Interesting materials

During the 1990s an organisation called AKSI, later renamed Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) (where I was National Coordinator for much of the time) published several books and monographs on Indonesia and East Timor.  Some of these can be accessed on the web.

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