Sydney: ‘No pride in genocide’: vandals deface Captain Cook statue

26 Aug 2017 – Early on Saturday, three statues in Sydney’s Hyde park – including one of Captain Cook – were attacked by vandals.

The words “change the date” and “no pride in genocide” were spray-painted on the Captain Cook statue, the former a reference to a campaign to stop celebrating Australia’s national day on the date the First Fleet landed.

Similar words were scrawled on a monument to Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth governor of New South Wales, and a statue of Queen Victoria was also targeted.

Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, in a lengthy Facebook post described the vandalism as a “cowardly criminal act”.

“But it is also part of a deeply disturbing and totalitarian campaign to not just challenge our history but to deny it and obliterate it,” Turnbull said.

“This is what Stalin did. When he fell out with his henchmen he didn’t just execute them, they were removed from all official photographs – they became non-persons, banished not just from life’s mortal coil but from memory and history itself,” he said.

“Tearing down or defacing statues of our colonial era explorers and governors is not much better than that.”

Police have launched an investigation into the “malicious damage” in Hyde Park, which they believe happened between 2am and 3am on Saturday.

Police said graffiti was also used on Sydney’s ANZAC memorial, park benches in Hyde Park, and on the Archibald memorial fountain.

Australia has been engaged in intense debate this week over an inscription on a statue of explorer, Captain James Cook, in Sydney’s Hyde Park. The statue’s inscription claims Cook “discovered” Australia, prompting criticism that it ignored tens of thousands of years of Indigenous history.

The assistant immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who is vehemently opposed to changing the date of Australia Day, condemned the attack.

“This disgraceful extreme attack on our history &culture is shameful.” he tweeted on Saturday.

Scott Morrison also tweeted that the attack was “A national insult & disgrace”

While debate raged in the media, many in Hyde Park remained oblivious to the controversy over the statue on Saturday.

One tourist lying next to the statue on Saturday said he was unaware anyone had been on the continent before the Europeans. Another was unaware of Australian Indigenous history.

 

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Anarchists welcome North Thailand’s new ‘Australian’ Honorary Consul to the job with a home visit

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On Sunday 29 January 2017, anarchists in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai visited the home of the newly appointed Australian Honorary Consul, Ronald Elliott, to share with him our analysis of Australia’s immigration policies regarding refugees, and to communicate our opinion of Australia’s highly offensive annual nationalist celebration of occupation, displacement and genocide.

We recognise Mr Elliott, who was appointed Australian Honorary Consul in northern Thailand on 17 January, 2017, as representing the vile policies of the colonised land known as ‘Australia’. Hence, in welcoming his new appointment as the ambassador of a government which makes no apologies for its racist immigration policies and unashamed barbaric treatment of refugees, we decorated the wall protecting his expensive upper-middle class property with a demand to “Free the Refugees”.

Similarly, in solidarity with the 7 Days of Resistance to Invasion Day, called by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR), we also added the demand to “Decolonise “Australia” to Mr Elliot’s property.

We trust that Mr Elliott will report our message to his superiors in the Australian Embassy proper in Bangkok, who will in turn submit a mandatory report regarding the incident to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and their cronies in the ‘Australian’ government.

In undertaking our visit to Mr Elliott’s residence in the over-policed and exclusive gated community, Mod Chic, in Moo Ban Sansaran, the strategy we used to negotiate entry reaffirmed that no matter how many walls and borders the rich, and by extension the State, create to keep out “undesirables”, those with motivation to gain access to spaces will always find a way-  a lesson the ‘Australian’ government would do well to consider when implementing its immigration policies and squandering billions of dollars on “defending the borders”.

via: Insurrection News

Narrabri: Traditional custodians lock-on at CSG wastewater plant

Gamilaraay custodians Paul Spearim and Nathan Leslie lock on to Santos equipment at its Narrabri wastewater treatment plant. Photo Iris Ray Nunn23 Dec – While people in the northern rivers are still celebrating the region’s new gasfield free status, two Gamilaraay traditional custodians from Moree are battling CSG company Santos using the same techniques that helped win the battle here.

The pair have entered Santos’ property about 25km south of Narrabri and halted construction at the Leewood coal seam gas wastewater treatment plant by locking themselves with a metal pipe to excavating equipment.

Fifteen supporters risked arrest to accompany the men onto the Santos’ property, while another 15 people demonstrated their support from outside the fence.

There has been a recent resurgence in protest activity against Santos’ works in the Pilliga forest near Narrabri as the company begins construction at Leewood.

The large-scale wastewater treatment plant is regarded as as a significant milestone in the development of the coal seam gas industry in NSW, and is the subject of a pending court case that will question the legality of its approval.

Fifty-four-year-old Paul Spearim, a respected Gamilaraay cultural authority, said in local language ‘Our ancestors are always watching (Ngiyaningu maran yaliwunga ngarra-li).’

‘We want Santos to get out of our sacred lands and protect our gali (water),’ he added.

His lock-on partner Nathan Leslie, a 32 year-old Gamilaraay man, said he saw it has his responsibility to stop the project on his ancestral land.

‘We’re halting construction at Santos’ Leewood coal seam gas wastewater treatment facility in the Pilliga as this operation is a major step forward for the risky CSG industry in NSW and as a Gamilaraay man it is my responsibility to oppose this threat to country.’

‘This Leewood facility will result in 500 million tonnes of toxic waste after just five years of exploration activity.

‘This toxic industry threatens our water, our country and our culture, and Gamiliaraay people say “no” to Santos’ coal seam gas,’ Mr Leslie said.

Pilliga: North coasters join CSG protest as women lock on the gates

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21 Dec – Anti-CSG campaigners from the northern rivers have joined an escalated protest against coal-seam gas mining in the Pilliga Forest at which two Coonabarabran women locked themselves by their necks to the gates of two sites near Narrabri owned by miner, Santos, at the weekend.

Scores of supporters at each site have interrupted construction at the Leewood wastewater treatment plant of Santos’ Narrabri CSG project and prevented movements in and out of the operations centre containing company equipment.

And, according to Ocean Shores anti-CSG campaigner Iris Ray Nunn, who is at the Pilliga, local Aborigines have also locked onto mining vehicles owned by Santos.

Ms Ray Nunn told Echonetdaily the action by the Gamilaraay people ‘on their sacred land’ was ‘historical’.

‘Pilliga is a recharge zone for the GAT, and the Liverpool Plains is the major food bowl for NSW that the Pilliga supports,’ she said.

She said that after the Bentley ’success’, she and other north coast locals ‘became active in protecting the forest from mining rape’.

Continue reading “Pilliga: North coasters join CSG protest as women lock on the gates”

Australia: Arrests as violent clashes break out between anti-Islam and anti-racism protesters

22 Nov – Hundreds of Reclaim Australia protesters and their anti-racist opponents have held rallies in cities and towns across Australia, with riot police using capsicum spray to subdue violent members of both groups.

Rallies were held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Alice Springs, as well as at Townsville and Cairns in north Queensland, Mildura in northwestern Victoria and Esperance in Western Australia.

At Melton in Melbourne’s outer northwest, there were six ­arrests as hundreds of police, ­including members of the air-wing, mounted branch and dog squad, maintained a barrier ­between about 500 protesters from each group.

A 29-year-old man who punched a police horse was subdued with capsicum spray and charged with animal cruelty, while three men were charged over possession of knives and another two with riotous behaviour.

Victoria Police Acting Commander Alan Byrnes said three members of the public were hurt, but the protest was largely peaceful. “It’s always a bit disappointing to see people turn up with masks,” he said. “You wonder what their motives are for doing that.”

A coalition of socialist, anar­chist and unionist groups calling themselves No Room for Rac­ism chanted “Nazi scum off our streets”, “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land” and “Shame, shame, Victoria Police”.

On the other side of the police line, Australian flag-clad youths screamed “you are a f..kwit” at a Syrian woman addressing the No Room for Racism group.

In Sydney, police arrested two people as up to 1000 packed parts of Martin Place, with police lines again separating the demonstrations. About 300 anti-racist demonstrators clashed with police along Macquarie Street from Martin Place, knocking batons from police belts before officers forced them back after an attempt to breach the police line.

200 meters down Martin Place about 100 anti-islam demonstrators listened to speeches while surrounded by police.

A 36-year-old man was ­arrested for allegedly damaging a war memorial while a 16-year-old boy was issued a “move on” direction for allegedly breaching the peace.

For a more detailed description of events in different cities check out:

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Australia: New facial recognition and drone investments

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14 Sept – The Australian government will spend $18.5 million to create a national facial recognition database for supporting law enforcement agencies. Known as Capability – short for The National Facial Biometric Matching Capability – the proposed database will scan 100 million facial images spread across different databases in the country.

The data platform has been envisaged as a critical response plan by the police ministers and attorneys-general for tackling cross-border criminal activities. Already agencies that issue identity documents in the country are keeping more than 100 million facial images in their data base, noted the Attorney General’s Department.

In the initial phase, the “Capability” platform will be used by Department of Foreign Affairs, Immigration, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Defence, and the Attorney-General’s Department.

Operational by 2016

According to the Federal Attorney-General’s Department, it expects the system to be up and running by the middle of 2016. The sharable data of citizens’ facial images will help in identifying unknown individuals and identities. The ‘Capability’ will be used in verification of facial photographs by comparing it with the existing images on passports, visas and driver’s licences.

The agencies trying to use the platform will need legislative authority to collect and use facial images.

“The technical architecture of the capability will adopt a hub-and-spoke model to facilitate ‘query and response’ matching requests between participating agencies,” the AGD clarified in August.

Methodology

In terms of its functionality, a software will identify the most unique facial characteristics in a ‘face print’ and measure the attributes within the eyes and nose region of a person’s face and try to match it with different databases of known individuals. Ultimately, the system is will cover every Australian citizen having a passport or drivers’ licence.

Right now the focus will be on sharing still photos and moving images and use of moving images from licence plate cameras or CCTV will be avoided. But stills from such technologies could be used, the AGD said.

The creation of “Capability’ follows the passage of a bill that sought more biometric data on travellers at Australian airports.

Some critics call the national database an invasion of privacy.

“This is a whole other league of creepy, this is a whole other league of invasive and the fact that there’s been no discussion around this is really weird,” was the reaction of cyber security expert Patrick Gray.

Police militarisation and crowd-control drones

The Queensland Police fleet of drones is being expanded, the state government announced in May.

The use of drones by authorities has increased around the globe. In the US, drones have been used not only for police surveillance and in operations, but also to patrol its southern borders. Police forces in the UK, Greece and other European countries are using drones in similar ways, as is Australia.

There is a consistency in the stated rationale for this use: drones are an effective way of gathering intelligence in situations that are unsafe for officers or impractical for helicopters. In Australia, for instance, drones have been touted for use in bushfire situations, for search-and-rescue missions and for gathering intelligence in drug-related crimes. Continue reading “Australia: New facial recognition and drone investments”