ULMWP spokesperson Jacob Rumbiak severely criticised the Indonesian government for its ongoing strafing the village of Kalguru since the June 27 local government elections. Rumbiak called for the United Nations to intervene and mediate talks.
Video has emerged of military-helicopters circling the flaming village after the election, and extra military, police and intelligence were sent to the isolated highland region ahead of the elections.
“The Indonesian government’s incineration of Kalguru is the republic’s scorched-earth policy at work; leaving us with a mass of heritage-charcoal and hundreds of women and children in the forest without food and medicine,” Rumbiak said.
ULMP said that no one knew how many had been killed by Indonesia’s recent attacks this month.
The Washington insider crowd was absolutely outraged and appalled by Donald Trump’s performance at Helsinki, Juan Cole notes, as he violated all the principles of American hawkishness.
Trump sat next to Vladimir Putin, leader of a rival power, signaling that Russia is a peer. He sided with Putin over the assessments of the CIA, the National Security Agency and other US intelligence organizations.
He denied Russian attempts to influence the 2016 elections. He declined to press Russian president Vladimir Putin on his annexation of the Crimea or border clashes with Ukraine, or the alleged poisoning of his critics while they were in Britain, or Putin’s crackdown on the press and on his political opponents.
Putin’s behaviour has been objectionable, but there is something profoundly hypocritical about the US elite pretending that the US does not embrace people like Putin all the time.
Take Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is guilty of most of the same infractions held against Putin. Netanyahu openly campaigned for the Republican candidates in 2012 and 2016. He openly interfered in US politics by insisting on addressing Congress to derail the Iran nuclear deal (a quest in which he ultimately succeeded, putting the US closer to war footing with Iran).
Netanyahu is in the process of annexing the Palestinian West Bank, to which he has much less claim in international law than Putin does to the Crimea. Netanyahu is presiding over an apartheid state in which 4.5 million of the 12.5 million people controlled by the Israeli government are stateless and besieged or patrolled by the Israeli military.
So in Trump’s fanboy performance with Putin in Helsinki, Trump waxed lyrical about how close the US is to Israel, and did opine that Iran needed to leave Syria. Nobody in DC is complaining about that piece of sycophancy.
In Washington, it is all right to slam Trump for treason (it isn’t really treason since the US isn’t at war with the Russian Federation) or for making nice with Putin despite the latter’s various misdeeds. But it is political death to criticise Israel.
Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, approved the controversial nationality bill on July 19 declaring Israel a nation-state for the Jewish people and downgrading the status of Arabic from official language to “special status”, TeleSUR English reported. Arabs make up 21% of Israel’s population.
The basic law, approved with 62 votes in favour and 55 against, recognises the Jewish people in Israel “have an exclusive right to national self-determination”. It also includes the declaration of a “united Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel, despite the fact that East Jerusalem is internationally recognised as being under Israeli occupation.
Furthermore, the law affirms “the state sees the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation”.
Legislator Avi Dichter of the ruling Likud party, who also sponsored the bill, explained: “We are enshrining this important bill into a law today to prevent even the slightest thought, let alone attempt, to transform Israel to a country of all its citizens.”
Arab lawmakers protested the bill’s approval said it codified apartheid, ripping it up in a symbolic gesture that prompted Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to remove them from the plenum.
Legislators Ahmad Tibi and Ayeda Touma-Souliman yelled at Netanyahu: “You passed an apartheid law, a racist law.”
Lawmaker Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, released a statement saying that Israel “passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citizens”.
Jewish Israeli peace activists also protested the bill by unfurling a large black flag in the Knesset.
“As social justice organisations from around the world, we write this letter with growing alarm regarding the targeting of organizations that support Palestinian rights in general and the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in particular,” the letter began.
“These attacks too often take the form of cynical and false accusations of anti-Semitism that dangerously conflate anti-Jewish racism with opposition to Israel’s policies and system of occupation and apartheid.”
The Jewish-based solidarity campaign was initiated by the Jewish Voice for Peace, a US-based group, along with 36 Jewish groups in 15 different countries, including South Africa, Brazil and Germany, according to The New Arab.
Activists and supporters of the BDS movement have taken inspiration from the boycott and sanctions campaign undertaken in the 1980s that helped end apartheid in South Africa.
The Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) is an umbrella group of left-wing organisations in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran that adhere to the ideology of Kurdish revolutionary leader Abdullah Ocalan (known as “Apo”), currently in jail in Turkey. Forces associated with the KCK have helped lead the Rojava Revolution in Syria’s north, which marked its sixth anniversary on July 19, the day Kurdish-led forces staged an insurrection.
Putting women’s liberation at the forefront, the Rojava Revolution is a multi-ethnic democratic process that has drawn in a wide range of non-Kurdish ethnic and religious groups.
The KCK executive committee co-presidents released the statement that is abridged below to mark the revolution’s sixth anniversary.
We celebrate the Rojava Revolution that initiated a new period for the peoples of Kurdistan, Syria and the Middle East in July 2012, and we remember with respect and gratitude thousands of fighters and people who fell as martyrs in this revolution.
The revolution will be carried out through out Kurdistan and their struggle will be kept going in the democratic revolution of the Middle East.
With Apo’s line of democratic confederalism and democratic autonomy based on democratic nation and organised democratic society, the Rojava Revolution became a model of freedom and democracy for the peoples of the Middle East.
The cantons formed in Rojava and the Federation of Northern Syria have heroically resisted all inhumane gangs and external attacks with the strength derived from society. Paying a heavy price, they became the assurance of the free and democratic life of all Syrian peoples.
Rojava and Northern Syria Democratic Revolution has once again proved that Turkey is an enemy of all the Kurds and Middle Eastern peoples. Pursuing animosity against Kurds and democratic forces within its own borders, Turkey is the leading enemy of democracy and Kurds in the entire Middle East.
Today, Rojava and Northern Syria is an oasis of stability and peace based on freedom and democracy, not only in Syria but entire Middle East territory. The fraternal co-existence of all folks and beliefs and their joint struggle against external attacks, has changed the destiny of the Middle East, proving that various ethnic and religious communities can lead a fraternal and equal life without conflicts.
The Rojava Revolution’s line of women’s freedom has excited not peoples and societies across the world. For this very reason, Rojava Revolution has been defined as a women’s revolution.
The Rojava Revolution has proved that the level of women’s revolution determines the scope of democracy and freedom in a country. With the Rojava Revolution, the level of freedom and democracy will now be measured by the level of women’s freedom.
The Rojava Revolution has revealed a model demonstrating how a democratic revolution and democracy will progress. From now on, those struggling for democracy and free life around the world will take the Rojava Revolution as an example.
It is clear that the power of the Rojava Revolution has made its enemies even more aggressive. It has been seen that resistance will get more extensive and deeper in line with the advancement and expansion of freedom and democracy.
As the Rojava Revolution enters its seventh year, it is facing even greater attacks as it has grown stronger. The revolution will grow even more successful as long as it bases itself on organised people and their self-power, as it has to date. It will achieve permanent gains by playing a role in the realisation of a Middle East revolution based on the democratisation of Syria.
The Rojava Revolution will be the foundation of a Democratic Syria.
Thousands of people march for refugee rights in Sydney on July 21. Photo: Zebedee Parkes
A wave of humanity that gathered in Sydney’s Town Hall swept past the NSW Labor headquarters and crashed against the department off immigration offices.
Thousands of voices defiantly chanted “Bring Them Here” in increasing speed and volume.
Bring them here — offer every person in Australia’s detention centres protection and safety in Australia and the ability to apply for it elsewhere, in countries such as New Zealand. We must start dismantling this cruel, inhumane system.
Photos of twelve people who were killed by the detention system in the past five years.are held up at the front of the march — and at marches and outside politician’s offices across the country.
Five years since that dark day – July 19, 2013 — when then Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in an act of political expediency designed to flank the Liberals from the right on refugee policy in the lead up to the 2013 election, implemented a policy that meant no one who came to Australia via boat seeking asylum and protection would be granted it by Australia.
A policy swiftly adopted and accelerated by the Liberals. A policy that has killed twelve people.
Reza Berati who was murdered by guards smashing a rock against his head.
Hamid Khazaei who died from a cut in his foot and was denied adequate medical aid.
The most recent Fariborz, died after he could not access the mental health support he and many others had pleaded for years for him to receive.
Many names. Many stories. Many loved ones left in despair and grief. Many avoidable deaths. Many more to come if this cruel policy is not defeated.
A policy thousands of people across Australia are actively opposing.
The protests begun on Thursday 19 July with dozens of protests outside politician’s offices around the country including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s and Labor’s Anthony Albanese.
Albanese, possibly laying the groundwork for leadership challenge, has recently shifted further to the right on refugee policy and now supports boat turn-backs.
Over the course of a few days protests happened in Geelong, Parramatta, Blue Mountains, New England, Sydney, Tasmania, Melbourne, Great Lakes, Shoalhaven, Bendigo, Albany, Perth, Brisbane, Canberra, Cairns and more in a reported fifty actions.
The diversity of locations reflects pockets of resistance to the detention system growing across the country .
The words of Iranian-Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani who has been fighting for freedom for years inside Manus Island detention centre, so often silenced by the Australian government, were finally given voice.
“I’m talking with you from Manus Island after five years of living in harsh conditions and too much suffering. I would like to thank you for standing for humanity today. It’s truly extraordinary and so valuable to see many people here who care about your human family and our shared moral values … We must continue putting the government under pressure until the day when they officially announce the end to this cruel offshore processing policy.”
A young Tamil woman, Avi Selva, spoke powerfully at the Sydney rally about the ongoing persecution of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Tamil activist Avi Selva speaks at the Sydney rally. Photo: Zebedee Parkes
Just days before to the rallies, a Tamil family was forcibly separated by Border Force. A mother was left crying outside Villawood detention centre as her partner was deported to Sri Lanka and subsequently arrested on arrival.
The connection and influence of Australia’s refugee policy on Trump’s much-condemned immigration policy was stark in the speeches and placards.
Children are still behind barbed wire fences on Nauru — conditions arguably worse, but less reported, than those in the US.
There were dozens of diverse groups, placards and messages weaving together to from the clear message: Close the Camps, Bring Them Here.
More than 200 people rallied outside Queensland state parliament on July 21 to support the call for abortion law reform.
The rally was called by Labor deputy premier Jackie Trad. Earlier in the week, she and other Labor leaders had announced the endorsement by cabinet and caucus of the recommendations in the Queensland Law Reform Commission's report into modernising the state's abortion laws.
The legislation drafted by the QLRC removes the offence of having an abortion, and makes it legal for a doctor to perform an abortion at a patient's request up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, and in consultation with another doctor thereafter. It creates a new crime for anyone who is not a doctor to perform an abortion on another person. It also establishes 150m safe access zones outside abortion clinics.
United Voice member Hannah spoke about her decision to have an abortion last year and the two things that stood out: how often she was asked by the nurse whether she was sure about her decision and that her doctor's referral letter said that she was not emotionally or mentally able to cope with continuing the pregnancy — necessary to comply with the exceptions allowed in the current law, but demeaning all the same.
To an enthusiastic crowd of mostly Labor supporters, Trad ridiculed the three male MPs who had voiced their opposition to the new legislation, and urged rally participants to keep up the campaign for the 87 days until victory. She neglected to mention that it is Labor's failure to bind its vote, that means passage of the majority government's bill is not assured and will likely depend on Greens and LNP members.
Donald Trump is the rallying symbol for the new nationalist hard right globally. Andy Stowe writes that his visit to England and Scotland on the weekend of July 13and 14 was an opportunity to gauge just how much he is loathed.
It was a test of strength between the left and neo-fascist right in Scotland as well as several English town and cities. It was a big victory for the left.
In Scotland it wasn’t even a contest. The right didn’t mobilise to welcome Trump and the left was out in force. Even the Scottish Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson sent messages indicating her support to the participants in the Pride march and the anti-Trump protests, reminding them to drink water and use sunscreen.
July 13 in London involved what was the largest demonstration in the city since 2 million marched against the war in Iraq in 2003. The police estimate that 250,000 people took to the streets to show Trump he’s despised and unwanted. Even the Evening Standard, edited by former Tory Chancellor the Exchequer George Osborne, had a front page which conveniently doubled as an anti-Trump placard.
Few of the marchers would have been natural Tory supporters. While thousands of organisations were represented, the most striking feature of the day was the huge number of homemade signs, placards and banners — always an indication that what you are seeing is a real movement of people who are organising themselves.
Trafalgar Square was the first of Jeremy Corbyn’s two major speaking engagements of the weekend. Addressing the demonstration, his speech marked a major departure from previous Labour leaders’ practice of grovelling to American presidents. He is an internationalist and anti-racist and he was not prepared to compromise on these things.
The next day was another major working-class demonstration, the Durham Miners’ Gala. It was attended by more than 200,000 peopleand Corbyn spoke at that too.
So, in two days the labour movement got more than 450,000 people onto the streets in a celebration of trade union solidarity and to reject a racist imperialist president.
While this was happening, Tory Prime Minister Theresa May was watching her days-old Brexit deal disintegrate in front of her eyes. The ever-helpful Trump had told the world that he thinks she’s useless and would prefer to have Boris Johnson as prime minister.
Just over a month before, a significant neo-fascist movement managed its largest mobilisation in some years when about 10,000 had turned up demanding the release of its figurehead Tommy Robinson.
On that occasion, the anti-fascists were heavily outnumbered. They were on the streets again on July 14 and this time the numbers were more evenly matched. About 5000 Robinson and Trump fans turned up. The smaller event shared some features with the earlier one. UK Independence Party (UKIP) was there; it was extremely Islamophobic and there was more evidence that they are co-ordinating internationally.
Their major coup was Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon calling for Robinson’s release on a radio showhosted by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. On air, Bannon more or less said he wants to see racial violence in Britain: “You’re going to have to fight to take your country back, every day.”
This will have been understood by his neo-fascist followers as an encouragement to physically attack immigrants and Muslims.
The anti-Trump protests were another reminder that British politics is polarisedbetween a pro-Brexit, nationalist, often racist alliance that includes Farage, hard-right Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and Tommy Robinson’s supporters on one hand and, on the other, a leftward moving Labour Party pulling together the internationalists and anti-racists, the overwhelming majority of whom are anti-Brexit.
Its challenge now is to capitalise on the success of these mobilisations to get the Tories out.
US President Donald Trump made a fool of himself when he stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that’s not the only thing he did in Europe. An editorial in US Socialist Worker, abridged below, says the left needs to keep its eye on the deeper threat.
After a press conference with Vladimir Putin at the end of his Europe trip, where Trump managed to look like a dupe of one of the most transparently evil people on the planet, the whole spectrum of mainstream US politics — from Democrats to the toadiest of Trump-toadying Republicans — erupted.
Trump’s bizarre appearance — where he repeatedly sided with Putin’s denials of Russian meddling in the US’s 2016 election, against the conclusions of his own administration, while condemning the FBI for investigating his campaign — overshadowed a trip that provoked plenty of outrage, though not as unanimous.
The protest blimp in London depicting Trump as an orange, tantrum-throwing infant in diapers was the perfect symbol for the real-life president’s usual mixture of compulsive lying, whiny insults and epic self-absorption.
Trump may pay a price for his press conference display of basic incompetence at the job he never expected to have. The US ruling class has put up with a lot from Trump because they’ve gotten a lot from him.
But Russia is one of the empire’s major rivals, and it won’t do to have the US president looking weak and craven next to Russia’s.
<sh>Little actual opposition
Then again, there’s very little stomach for actually standing up to Trump, among Republicans or Corporate America or anyone else in the elite. Today’s outcry could quickly become tomorrow’s afterthought — especially if Trump’s handlers can get him to take back his testimonials to Putin’s honesty and good character.
As for the Democrats, the obsession with Trump’s ties to Russia continues to be a convenient distraction to avoid taking a stand on issues like the revved-up deportation machine and Islamophobia. In those cases, their party is complicit in the injustices they denounce.
The uproar about Trump’s meeting with Putin and the Europe trip may dominate the headlines for a while. But for the left, anyone who stops at the limits of that discussion — with the “shock” and “outrage” at Trump’s “unstable” behaviour and his “lack of resolve” against Russia — is missing the deeper threat we must confront.
For all his unpredictable outbursts, Trump’s objective isn’t merely egotism and self-promotion — and still less servitude to Putin. It is to advance a right-wing agenda of nationalism, xenophobia and class war against workers and the poor.
If the opposition to Trump is confined to outrage at how he upsets diplomatic protocols and the old ruling order, the right wing will gain more ground. This is because the right thrives on discontent with this discredited status quo.
The millions who hate Trump need to unite in a resistance that confronts all the reactionary atrocities of the right — not so we can go back to the old days before Trump blundered into power, but to work toward an alternative to the system that spawned him.
Trump’s press conference in Helsinki will refuel the speculation machine about what Putin has on him. We have no trouble believing this — though our money has always been on criminal business dealings rather than election-fixing.
The left shouldn’t be indifferent to Russiagate, because how the scandal plays out can convince large numbers of people about the corruption of not just Trump, but the whole system.
But we also can’t forget the simpler answer for Trump’s affinity with Putin: The two share the same authoritarian and reactionary tendencies. Putin’s ruthless repression and contempt for democratic rights complements Trump’s.
The lovefest with Putin didn’t begin in Helsinki. From the moment Trump touched down in Brussels last week for the summit of the NATO military alliance, he couldn’t have been clearer about his hostility toward traditional US allies in Europe, particularly Germany — and his admiration for Russia’s authoritarian leader.
The reaction of European leaders was to bemoan Trump’s erratic behaviour. But outbursts aside, Trump is a reliable peddler of a right-wing agenda shared by European parties that have won more victories than suffered setbacks in the past several years — most recently in Italy.
<sh>Promoting the far right
Trump may have proven himself a fool to those who already believe he is one, but the popular base for right-wing politics is hardening around support for him — in the US and beyond.
In between the NATO and Putin summits, Trump went to Britain. There, he was actually pretty savvy in promoting his toxic mix of nationalism, xenophobia and the rest.
In an interview with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun, Trump attacked Conservative Party Prime Minister Theresa May for not pursuing a sharp “Brexit” from the European Union. He threatened that the US might withhold a closer economic partnership after Brexit, underlining Trump’s preference for country-by-country economic agreements, the better to leverage US power against divided rivals.
He even promoted May’s Tory Party rival, the recently resigned foreign minister Boris Johnson.
Trump also added his voice to the chorus of right-wingers who blame the continent’s problems on an invasion of migrants and refugees that is breaching the walls of Fortress Europe and threatening its “culture.” Europe’s Nazis stood taller because of Trump.
Meanwhile, Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon set up shop shortly before Trump’s arrival in a five-star London hotel, where he met with a parade of vile reactionaries that included Louis Aliot, boyfriend of France’s National Front leader Marine Le Pen, and Trump cheerleader Nigel Farage, former head of the UK Independence Party.
Bannon announced to anyone who would listen that he was there to drum up support for the president — while simultaneously helping to cohere the far-right forces in Europe.
But the loud complaints from both sides of the Atlantic about Trump’s lack of respect for “democratic norms” and “multilateral negotiation” are sheer hypocrisy.
French President Emmanuel Macron has positioned himself as one of Trump’s main adversaries among Western leaders. But since he took office, his intensification of austerity policies has been increasingly carried out through the French equivalent of Trump’s executive orders.
Macron’s government, like its predecessors from both the centre-left and centre-right, has joined in the scapegoating of migrants. It enforces repressive laws that criminalise Muslims in the name of “national security” — a not-so-distant analogue to Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
Germany’s rulers may yearn for the pre-Trump days when US government officials respected international treaties and practiced diplomatic niceties. But within the EU, Germany is very much the undisputed power.
In every country of Europe, the neoliberal program of economic austerity and political repression has dominated under centre-left and centre-right governments alike. If the far right has gained a hearing, it is because the status quo presided over by these mainstream parties has become intolerable.
In some cases, left forces have had success in putting forward an answer based on solidarity and hope. But more often, the right has won out — and it has the discredited policies and programs of the mainstream parties to thank for paving the way, particularly on hot-button issues like migration and civil liberties.
The same is true in the US. Trump is president today not because the Russians fixed the election, but because the Democrats nominated a despised pro-corporate hack who was the very symbol of business as usual. Trump still suffered a nearly 3-million-vote loss in the popular vote, but secured a narrow victory in the undemocratic Electoral College that won him the White House.
All this leads to the conclusion you can’t fight the right by creeping toward it from the centre — or by upholding a corrupt and dismal status quo, as Hillary Clinton did when she declared the US to be “already great”.
Since the 2008-09 economic crisis, there has been a clear radicalisation to the left. This is expressed in various struggles, such as the Occupy movement that was inspired by the Arab Spring and surges of protest in Spain, Greece and elsewhere, as well as political developments like the success of left-wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in Britain and Bernie Sanders in the US.
But there has also been a radicalisation on the right, ranging in form from Trump’s mix of nationalism and bigotry in the US to more explicitly Nazi-like parties in Europe.
And the right has an advantage: Its reactionary program can build on the conservative shift in politics during the neoliberal era, while also exploiting discontent with how the status quo has failed masses of ordinary people.
The right wing can be fought — and pushed back. But two things are needed.
In August, white supremacists are planning to celebrate the anniversary of their murderous violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended with the death of a protester, Heather Heyer — with a demonstration in none other than Washington, DC.
The call will go out from Democrats to ignore the far right, but we know what that led to last year in Charlottesville.
The left needs to organise a counter-protest like the response after the murder of Heather Heyer: an immediate upsurge of protest around the country that swamped racist mobilisations in Boston, Berkeley and elsewhere — proving that we are the anti-racist majority, and they are a tiny, hateful few.
There is a second task for the left. We have to confront the right’s politics of hate and despair with a political alternative.
Fighting the right doesn’t only mean confronting white supremacists when they try to mobilise, but challenging its wider agenda.
Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court offers a perfect opportunity to unite different struggles and movements against the right. Kavanaugh is a legal warrior for injustice, and he doesn’t confine his reactionary views to one issue. He’s an enemy of abortion rights, LGBTI equality, unions, voting rights and more.
Shamefully, the national leaders of the Democratic Party aren’t preparing for an all-out fight to derail the Kavanaugh nomination. Some liberal groups seem to be accepting defeat before the fight.
That can’t be our answer. Once again, we need to use our strength in numbers to mobilise a resistance that can’t be ignored.
Anyone who attended the Women’s Marches or the protests against the NRA and gun violence or the huge June 30 mobilisation to protest Trump’s cruel anti-immigrant crusade will know that people on our side are ready to take a stand.
The struggles we organise today are a first step toward making a left-wing answer to the social and economic crisis at the heart of politics in the Trump era. Against the right’s scapegoating, hate and nationalism, we answer with solidarity, democracy and struggle.
Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) press conference on July 20 in Dili, Timor Leste.
MOVIMENTU KONTRA OKUPASAUN TASI TIMOR (MKOTT)
Public Statement on the Prosecution Against Witness K and Bernard Collaery by the Australian government
Díli, 20 July 2018
It is with great astonishment and sadness that on 28 June the Movimentu Kontra Okupasaun Tasi Timor—the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) learned that the Australian Lawyer Bernard Collaery and the Australian former Inteligence Officer "Witness K" have both been charged for revealing the Australian Government Spying on Timor-Leste's Cabinet Room during the negotiations for off-shore natural resources in the Timor Sea between Timor-Leste and Australia in 2004.
It is a great shock as this prosecution of Mr. Bernard Collaery and Witness K was approved by the Australian federal attorney general, Christian Porter, which means Mr. Collaery and Witness K have been prosecuted by the Australian government. For many in MKOTT, this prosecution reminds them of the prosecution of so many of them, of their family members, friends and colleagues by the Suharto government during the 24 years occupation.
Ironically, these Timorese were charged as terrorists by the Indonesian government and today, Mr. Bernard Collaery and Witness K are charged with the anti-terror law by the Australian Attorney General, their very own government. MKOTT is shocked that in this day and age, the Australian government is doing what it thought only the Dictator Suharto was capable of doing during his reign.
The Australian government had come under intense international scrutiny when the government of Timor-Leste brought the spying case before the International Court of Justice in January 2014. As an act of good faith, the government of Timor-Leste dropped this case in June 2015, which paved the way for the conciliation process overseen by the Permanent Court of Arbitration for the delimitation of a permanent
maritime boundary between the two countries.
The Australian government publicly welcomed this and declared its own readiness to negotiate a permanent maritime boundary with Timor-Leste in good faith. The charges against Witness K and Collaery now shows that the Australian government had acted in bad faith with the mere intention of discharging the international pressure brought about by the espionage case at the ICJ.
MKOTT strongly condemns the charges against Lawyer Collaery and Witness K as politically motivated, which the movement regards as an attack on the freedom of expression and attack on democracy by the Australian government. This act on the part of the Australian government also shows that the government will use anything to pursue Australia's commercial interests in relations with its neighbors, even if it violates international law to deprive one of its poorest neighbor, and will crash anyone or anything stands on its way.
As a movement strives for justice, human rights, good neighborhood and respect for international law, MKOTT:
1. Expresses its solidarity with Witness K and his lawyer Mr. Bernard Collaery as they struggle to make the Australian government aware that their bugging of the Timorese cabinet room was not only illegal but also an infringement of Australia's spirit and tarnishing Australia's pride as a good and responsible member of the international community.
2. MKOTT calls on all the defenders of justice, human rights and international law in Australia and around the world to stand united in solidarity with Witness K and Lawyer Bernard Collaery against this prosecution.
3. MKOTT calls on the Australian government not to criminalise Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery as doing so is an attack on freedom of expression and democracy.
4. MKOTT calls on the government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to consider reviving the espionage case before the International Court of Justice should Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery are criminalized by the Australian government. They are charged because they revealed an illegal operation against the government and the people of Timor-Leste.
5. MKOTT calls on the Australian government to stop using the Australian state intelligence apparatus to spy on its neighbors for commercial gains, which is a clear breach of international law.
6. MKOTT applauds and support the stand of the Australian Federal Member of Parliament, Mr. Andrew Wilkie, who invoked his parliamentary privilege to let the public know about the prosecution against Witness K and Bernard Collaery by the government of Australia.
7. MKOTT appreciates the members of the Australian Federal Parliament; Andrew Wilkie MP, Senator Nick McKim, Senator Rex Patrick and Senator Tim Storer who requested the Australian Federal Police to investigate the legality of the Australian Spy Operation in the Timor-Leste Cabinet Room in 2004.
8. MKOTT calls on other Australian Federal Parliament Members and Senators from all the parties, particularly from the Labor Party who had opted the policy of respect to international law with regards to maritime boundary with Timor-Leste, to use their Parliamentary Privileges to reveal information in relation to the prosecution against Witness K and Lawyer Bernard Collaery to the public.
The Tamil Refugee Council has reported that asylum seeker Thileepan Gnaneswaran, who was deported on July 16, separating him from his wife and 10-month-old daughter, was arrested on unknown charges on arrival in Sri Lanka and later released.
His wife and daughter were both granted safe haven enterprise visas on July 11, two days before Gnaneswaran was issued with a removal notice after his claim for protection was rejected. Their separation will almost certainly be permanent as her visa does not allow for family reunion and she cannot return to Sri Lanka.
The case has received international attention after it emerged he was deported in defiance of the United Nations, which had urged the government to uphold international law and allow the family to stay together.