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Issue No. 184 27 June 2003  

To the Victors The Spoils
Revelations that private American lawyers, rather than the ILO, will rewrite the labour laws of countries levelled by the American military vindicate the warnings of those concerned by US unilateralism.


History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howard�s plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
It�s every power worker�s worst nightmare � and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEU�s Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues there�s another side to the recent furore over Telstra�s use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costello�s latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstart�s Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your �t�s, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.


 Rail Chaos Looms

 Electrolux Blows Fuse at Fundraiser

 ACM Loosens Handcuff on Democracy

 Sick Call on Mum�s Job

 Now For Industrial Shock and Awe

 Brian Miller � Working Class Hero

 Dynamite: Howard Handout for Rorters

 Family Case to Nurture Mothers

 Militants Lock Out Another 600

 Tipping the Turtle � Fijian Style

 Carr Goes Private

 Wages Blemish Sound Budget

 Westie Takes On Westfield �Hypocrisy�

 Eleventh Hour Reprieve for Women's Centre

 Activist Notebook


It�s Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALP�s union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstream�s media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
It�s all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

 In Defence of Cuba
 The Story in General
 Thinking of America
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Letters to the Editor

Thinking of America

I recently watched the TV presentation "What The World Thinks Of America" in Australia.

I acknowledge the limitations of sampling etc, however the acquired results are indicative of global regional attitudes. I am convinced in that the apparent paradoxes in statistics are indicative of the limitations of the exercise, and would have been clarified with further exploration.

I generally like Americans (but in carefully metered doses). I have American friends, I have observed US military operations first hand, have visited American military installations in the past, as well as having spent some time in the USA. I can state first hand of their generally overwhelmingly inward cultural focus, and was initially appalled at how little the average 'Joe' actually knew about the world historically, politically and even geographically. I distinctly remember a conversation with a pin stripe suited business man from New England, on a trip from Washington to Shady Grove. On answering his question in that I was Australian, he rubbed his chin, squinted and looked at me sideways and said "Australia, lemmee see now, that's next to New Mexico now, aint it?" I can say without hesitation that I have met much better informed and educated Cubans than I have Americans.

The US Economic Military Show

As the default world power, the US needs to look in retrospect. The global disapproval of George Bush Jnr may have to do with the Bush's 'Union Bank' past, whose profits derived, ultimately, from laundering Thysson Industrial War Profits which were, in part derived from Nazi slave / death camp labor. Prescott Bush (George Bush Snr's father) received a massive payoff from German clients shortly after WW2 ended, and used the money to go into politics, and so began the Bush dynasty. This was by no means unique. Between 1932 and 1939 for example, bosses of General Motors poured $30 million into I.G. Farben plants. Ford and Dupont, amongst many others were also implicated as supporting the fascist regimes for the money.

After the war, the US largely exonerated war criminals (despite the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials), in exchange for data and scientists i.e. Project Paperclip, which smuggled ex-Nazi scientists and S.S. officials into the USA and to spy on Russia or develop rocket technology. The Japanese Imperial Army's Unit 731 killed thousands of Chinese and Russians held prisoner in Japanese-occupied Manchuria, in experiments to develop chemical and biological weapons. Yet in autumn of 1945, Macarthur granted them immunity in exchange for their biological research data. Subsequently, the US have even covertly exposed selected US populations to various agents and substances i.e. infecting human subjects with cancer cells, Tuskegee Syphilis Study, The Pellagra Incident, Malaria infections in Chicago, mustard gas experiments on approximately 4,000 servicemen, Program F, administering intravenous doses of radioactive substances to human subjects, etc, ad nauseaum.

In Laos, the CIA airline, Air America, was running opium for Vang Pao and the Hmong during the Vietnam war. Many veterans of CIA drug operations in Asia went on to star in the agency's secret wars in Central America in the 1980s, where the above pattern was repeated. The Nicaraguan contras were partially funded by cocaine operations, smuggled to and from the US on customs-free supply flights. CIA assets in Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama helped facilitate the trade.

On the Industrial front, shortly after midnight on December 3, 1984, methyl isocyanate gas (MIC) leaked from a storage tank sited at a Union Carbide pesticide manufacturing facility in Bhopal India. As it leaked from the tank, the gas drifted across the neighboring communities with devastating consequences. Some 3,800 people died and thousands more were injured as a direct result of exposure to the lethal fumes. To date, no prosecution has resulted.

Many things that the US has recently done are not so clear cut however, i.e. the Echelon system. The UKUSA Agreement forged an alliance in 1948 among five countries--the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand--to geographically divvy up SIGINT-gathering responsibilities, with the U.S. as director and main underwriter. Its successor, originally a Cold War tool aimed at the Soviets, ECHELON has been redirected at civilian targets worldwide. In fact, as the European Parliament report noted, political advocacy groups like Amnesty International and Greenpeace were amongst Echelon's targets. The EU has leveled accusations that the systems resources are being used to promote American business, i.e. Industrial Espionage.

Tomes of documented incontrovertible evidence could be quoted. Suffice it is to say, that the world can generally draw the distinction between the American people, as distinct from American military / economic interests, and has had enough of their self serving Wars on Drugs, Terrorism, etc. Therein lies the crux of the problem. The average 'Joe' cannot. The quality of education, focus of current affairs, and the pervading, almost psychotic sense of patriotism colludes to produce, in large, an ignorant populace, whose total focus is inwards. This serves the current status quo, and a lot of time, money and effort are expended to ensure it continues.

Can we feel safe in assuming the USA has the world's best interests at heart? The American people may overall have the potential. However, benevolence is simply not a word to be found in the military / industrial dictionary. Let's not kid ourselves. We can't afford to.

I generally feel sorry for Americans, given their proud and hard fought historical and cultural legacy (Declaration of Independence, The Civil War, Articles Of Confederation, the Constitution, Bill Of Rights, etc), and by virtue of American global domination, share such empathy and concerns for the world at large. The American Constitution and Bill Of Rights are undoubtedly one of mankind's most humane, altruistic and ethical expressions of political aspirations. I can't help but wonder what Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, Adams or Lincoln, amongst others, would have to say were they alive today.

The American populace really ought to do some serious soul searching and put aside their mindless and undeserved patriotism to a Government and Institutions, which regard their revered constitution with utmost scorn and obvious contempt. They (and the world) need to rediscover the vision and values that made America a great nation, to rediscover true patriotism and pride once again, and as a nation stand squarely on the doctrine of liberty and justice for all. The mindless accumulation of power and capital without scruple, boundaries or any form of constraint is hardly something to aspire to or to be proud of. It is, by definition, inhumane, an antithesis to the spirit, legacy and memory of its founding fathers, and the root cause for much of the world's discontent with the current American Nation.

"History teaches us that history teaches us nothing"...Hegel

Tau C Ceti



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