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Issue No. 152 13 September 2002  
E D I T O R I A L

The Legacy of 11/9
From the orgy of righteous indignation that has enveloped the ‘Free World’ this week a more chilling truth is emerging: if the suicide bombers were attacking Liberal-Democracy they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Still Flying
Flight Attendant’s Association international secretary Johanna Brem looks at life in the air since last September’s terrorist attacks.

International: President Gas
NSW Firefighter’s president Darryl Snow sent this missive to his members on the anniversary of a day when 343 of their colleagues died in the line of duty.

Politics: Australia: A Rogue State?
ARM director Greg Barnes argues that September 11 has summoned a new era of isolationism and international lawlessness.

History: Levelling September
Counterpunch’s Peter Linebaugh reminds us that September 11 is the anniversary of another seminal battle: the fight for the English commons

Unions: Welfare Max
Maximus Inc is big, American and controversial. Right now its knocking on the door of Australian welfare delivery and there is every chance the Howard Government will usher it inside, reports Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Welcome to Telstra!
A Telstra call centre has joined the race for Bad Boss after sacking a pregant woman who had the audacity to need to use the toilet

Health: Fat Albert: The Grim Reaper
Workers Online’s cultural dietician Mark Morey chews the fat over this week’s conference on child obesity

Poetry: A Man From the East And A Man From The West
Resident Bard David Peetz has penned this ode to the sacked Hilton hotel workers

Review: The Sum Of All Fears
Tara de Boehmler checks in to see that America’s cultural cringe is alive, well and sponsored by Marlboro cigarettes

N E W S

 ‘Robbed Generation’ Seeks Stolen Wages

 One Year On: Ansett Crash Still Hurts

 Cole Exposed By Immigration Scam

 Car Workers on Howard Hit List

 Mystery Windfall for Hilton Workers

 Shock: Abbott Backs Workers

 Union Billboards Censored

 Track Grab Ignores Lessons of Glenbrook

 Casual Approach to Air Safety

 Bosses Say No Living Wage For NSW Childcarers

 Pastry Workers Tell Boss To Get Puffed

 Injury Toll Mushrooms

 Victorian Zookeepers Down Buckets

 Pride and Safety for Workers Out!

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

Legends
Gough's Plaza
Labor's living legend challenged NSW Labor to lift its game as he attended a renaming of 2KY House to Gough Whitlam Plaza.

The Locker Room
Support The System That Supports You
This system is a certainty, a moral, a good thing and a knocktaker; well, at least according to Phil Doyle

Bosswatch
RIP Chainsaw Al
One of the heroes of corporate downsizing has been cut down but his memory lives on with golden handshakes for leaders of failed businesses still thick on the ground.

Week in Review
Lest We Forget
You can’t help a sneaking suspicion, Jim Marr writes, that George Bush is conscripting the dead of September 11, 2001, to lead his push for another war in the Gulf…

Awards
The Importance of Being Ernie
It was the tenth annual “Ernie” Awards for sexist behaviour and Labor Council’s Alison Peters was amongst the noisy punters

Activists
Workers Out!
Gay and Lesbian trade unionists are organising an international conference to develop a global response to homophobia in the workplace, writes Ryan Heath

L E T T E R S
 The CFMEU Race Debate #1
 The CFMEU Race Debate #2
 Keeping it Clean
 Sue the Leaders?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Editorial

The Legacy of 11/9


From the orgy of righteous indignation that has enveloped the ‘Free World’ this week a more chilling truth is emerging: if the suicide bombers were attacking Liberal-Democracy they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

In the 12 months since the horrendous attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the Bush Administration - with Australia following its every lead - has done more to wind back the international consensus than any fundamentalist regime could ever achieve.

From the West's initial shock and pain came disbelief bound in ignorance, followed by vengeance, morphing now into a calculated pay back to the entire Muslim world. It may be an understandable reaction, but it has not been one consistent with our self-image of enlightenment.

To review America's responses to September 11 is to see a nation departing from its founding principles.

In declaring its 'War on Terror', the Bush Administration gave itself seemingly unfettered powers to define its enemies and take them out without any reference to international law.

Military operations to oust the very same Taliban regime the US had installed a decade earlier killed many of its Al-Queda targets, but also thousands of civilians.

Hundreds of prisoners of war were then locked up without trial or any prospect thereof, in breach of all known rules of war and international diplomacy.

Against this backdrop the USA rejected an International Criminal Court, refused to join the global fight on climate change and made a counter-productive contribution to the Middle East which seemed to have more to do with clearing the way to attack Saddam Hussein, than securing a regional peace.

And how does Bush mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks? An ultimatum to the United Nations to approve war on Iraq or face being rolled over into the dustbin of history.

If possible, John Howard's performance in the past year has been more abject than George W's. Where Bush responded to his people's grief, Howard has exploited their fears; first cynically riding the war to election victory and now using it as a substitute for an agenda for his unexpected third term.

There are the insidious attempts by Howard and senior ministers to link asylum seekers to terrorists; backed by Australian anti-terrorism laws, still before parliament, that were the biggest assault on basic civil liberties since the attempts to proscribe the Communist Party in the 1950s.

As for the global consensus, Howard stood alone with George W in turning his back on Kyoto; but even outdid his Texan buddy in refusing to ratify the global convention on torture; joining the likes of Nigeria, Egypt and Libya.

Like George W Bush, Howard is prepared to cherry-pick international law to meet his political objectives, rather than seeing a broader responsibility as a national leader to meet his obligations on the global stage.

And all the while the military-industrial companies in both countries have been laughing to the bank, seeing huge wads of the budget diverted from social, welfare, health and education purposes and dedicated to building bigger machines of war.

As Greg Barnes observes this week, if you wanted to strike a blow against Liberal-Democracy you could not have scripted it better.

Beneath the rubble of the Twin Towers lies a system of beliefs in liberty, pluralism and tolerance that we had mistakenly taken for granted.

Peter Lewis

Editor


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