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Asia

Pakistan: ‘Cancel the debt to help flood victims’

March to demand debt cancellation, Lahore, September 19, 2010

September 18, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- Ammar Ali Jan is a 23-year-old activist in Pakistan who visited Australia earlier this year to speak at the Resistance national conference. He is an organiser of the Progressive Youth Front (PYF), which campaigns for democracy and against corruption. He spoke to Melanie Barnes from Resistance about what’s been happening in Pakistan, especially the devastating impact of the recent floods.

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Thailand: What the September 19 mass Red Shirt rallies mean for Thai politics

Bangkok, September 19, 2010. Photo by Ooi Thai Delphi, CBNpress (published with permission).

[For more on the Thai people's struggle for democracy, click HERE.]

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 21, 2010 -- In the afternoon of Sunday, September 19, 2010, tens of thousands of Red Shirts returned to the Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok to remember the coup four years previously, and the deliberate murder in April and May this year of around 90 unarmed demonstrators, many of whom were gunned down by army snipers near Ratchaprasong.

Since the brutal killings by the military-backed Abhisit Vejjajiva junta, there has been a climate of fear, with hundreds of political prisoners locked up and evidence of extrajudicial killings of some Red Shirt activists. Censorship has remained tight. Thai mainstream TV failed to report the extent of the demonstration, playing down the numbers, as usual.

Thailand: Return of the Red Shirts -- big protests mark massacre anniversary

A huge crowd mobilised at Ratchaprasong Intersection to mark four months since the May 19 massacre of pro-democracy protesters. Video by Richard Barrow.

By Thailand Troubles and Peter Boyle

Thailand: September 19 coup, four years on... bloodbath at Ratchaprasong, four months later

[For more on the Thai people's struggle for democracy, click HERE.]

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 19, 2010 -- Over this weekend protests are taking place in many parts of Thailand and in many cities around the world. We are Red Shirts and we shall be remembering those who were killed by the Thai military and those who are in prison. We shall demand democracy and human rights and an end to this brutal dictatorship. The military government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva hoped that by sending snipers to deliberately kill unarmed civilians [at Ratchaprasong in May this year], they would break the democratic spirit of the Red Shirts. They are mistaken. Their dreams of “stability” and a long secure future for the conservative elites are built on sand.

Thailand: Thousands demand release of political prisoners (+ photo essay)

Outside Klongprem prison on September 17. Photo by Ooi Thai Delphi CBN Press.

[See also "Thailand: Red Shirt protests on the rise again". For more on the Thai people's struggle for democracy, click HERE.]

By Peter Boyle

September 18, 2010 -- Up to 3000 members and supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) – popularly known as the Red Shirts – rallied peacefully outside Klongprem Remand Prison in Bangkok on September 17 to demand the release of the estmated 470 political prisoners held since the military violently suppressed the mass Red Shirt protest camp in Bangkok on May 19.

The protesters laid wreaths of red roses at the gates to the prison. Similar protests were held outside several other prisons around the country.

Burma: Asian left parties condemn attacks on workers' rights

Statement initiated by Working People Association (Indonesia) and Network of Progressive Youth Burma

[If your organisation would like to sign, please email:international@prp-indonesia.org.]

September 16, 2010 -- We, the undersigned organisations, strongly condemn the military junta of Burma for its new decree to curb workers’ right to form trade unions and its harsh punishments against any industrial action.

The military junta of Burma -- the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) -- decreed a new regulation on August 20, 2010, at a meeting in Rangoon attended by industry employers, government ministers and Burmese military officials, including Lt-Gen Myint Swe of the ministry of defence. It stated that, whoever launches or participates in industrial protests demanding better rights or conditions will be fired and blacklisted. The reason for the decree, labour activists in Burma believe, is that the junta wants to prevent further industrial action and employers don’t want their workers taking action to demand better wages, so now they can fire those who protest and stop them from getting jobs elsewhere.

Thailand: Red Shirts allege military behind activist killings

Krissada in Chiangmai hospital ICU. Photo by Ruangsil.

[See also "Thailand: Red Shirt protests on the rise again". For more on the Thai people's struggle for democracy, click HERE.]

By Peter Boyle

September 16, 2010 -- Chiangmai, in Thailand’s north, is considered to be a Red Shirt stronghold. On August 29, a 21-year-old local Red Shirt (popular name for the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, UDD) activist “James” Krissada Klaharn and his girlfriend Nongnuch Kampor were driving home at about 1.15 am after a long day selling popular stickers at a roadside stall, when the killers struck.

Nongnuch was driving. They noticed a vehicle, with headlights off, following them. Suddenly the vehicle accelerated, pulled alongside and sprayed their cars with bullets. Krissada was hit in the legs, abdomen and shoulder.

Thailand: Aksi Protes Kaos Merah Marak Kembali

Rabu, 8 September 2010

Oleh Peter Boyle

Berdikari Online -- Pada 4 September lalu, sekitar 20.000 pendukung Kaos Merah berkumpul dalam sebuah konser di Pattaya, kota pariwisata Thailand yang terletak di tepi laut. Mobilisasi ini salah satu yang terbesar sejak militer dengan berdarah membubarkan perkemahan protes mereka di Bangkok pada 19 Mei 2010, menewaskan 91 orang dan melukai ribuan lainnya.

Pemimpin Kaos Merah dan Anggota Parlemen dari Partai Puea Thai, Jatuporn Prompan, menyerukan kepada rakyat untuk meletakkan mawar merah di depan seluruh penjara di negeri itu pada 17 September nanti. Ratusan pimpinan dan aktivis Kaos Merah masih ditahan. Pada 18-19 September, akan digelar aksi-aksi massa di penjuru negeri dan di luar negeri untuk menandai empat bulan sejak pembantaian berdarah.

“Hari ini adalah awal kampanye kita untuk membuka pintu penjara dan membebaskan saudara-saudara Kaos Merah kita”, seru Jutaporn dalam konser tersebut.

Thailand: Red Shirt protests on the rise again

Sombat Boonngamanong (centre) at Pattaya beach action. Photo by Gunn Redguy.

By Peter Boyle

September 8, 2010 -- Up to 20,000 Red Shirt supporters rallied at a concert in the Thailand seaside resort city of Pattaya on September 4, in what was one the biggest mobilisations since the military bloodily dispersed their mass protest camp in Bangkok on May 19, 2010, killing 91 and injuring thousands more.

Red Shirt leader and Puea Thai party MP Jatuporn Prompan called on people to place red roses outside prisons around the country on September 17. Hundreds of Red Shirt leaders and activists continue to be detained. On September 18-19, actions marking four months since the massacre will be held all over the country as well as overseas.

“Today is the beginning of our campaign to open the prison doors to let our Red Shirts brothers and sisters free”, Jutaporn told the concert.

Thailand: How powerful is the Thai military?

Troops on guard after the September 2006 coup. "The primary role of the Thai military is to police and repress Thai citizens on behalf of the ruling class."

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

September 6, 2010 -- Despite the fact that millions of Thais believe that the centre of power among the conservative elites today is the monarchy or the Privy Council, the real centre of power, lurking behind the throne, is the military. The military has intervened in politics and society ever since the 1932 revolution against the absolute monarchy. This is because the Peoples Party led by Pridi Panomyong relied too much on the military rather than building a mass party to stage the revolution. Yet it is also a cliché to just state the number of military coups that have taken place. The power of the military is not unlimited.

Pakistan: Doob Gaya Hai -- a song for flood victims, by Laal (Red)

[Readers can donate to help flood victims via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

By Taimur Rahman

September 5, 2010 -- I am the main performer in this song. Laal (Red) is a communist band. My name is Taimur Rahman and I am also the general secretary of the Communist Mazdoor Kisan Party (Communist Workers and Peasants Party). This song is not produced for a particular organisation but just to raise awareness about the issue.

Mike Marqusee: Behind cricket's latest scandal -- Pakistan cricket and its discontents

By Mike Marqusee

September 3, 2010 -- MikeMarqusee.com -- On top of floods, war, bombs, a corrupt and incompetent government with a much feared military in the wings, the long-suffering people of Pakistan have now been betrayed, once again, by their cricketers. Most will not be shocked or will profess not to be shocked: over the last 15 years there has been a steady erosion of faith in Pakistan cricket, which has come to be held in the same low esteem as many of the country’s other institutions. It’s one of the reasons cited, along with exorbitant ticket prices, for the low turn-out from the Pakistani diaspora at this summer’s test matches in England.

But while people in and from Pakistan may not be shocked they are bitterly aggrieved. And rightly so. The antics of the three players accused of spot-fixing in the Lord’s test have destroyed the little portion of relief cricket affords for millions coping with trying conditions.

Pakistan: As floods move south, calls for debt cancellation grow

[Readers can donate to help flood victims through the Labour Relief Campaign via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

September 2, 2010 -- Democracy Now! -- In Pakistan, torrential rains a month ago that triggered unprecedented floods have moved steadily from north to south, engulfing a fifth of the country. Seventeen million people have been affected, and some five million have lost their homes. Meanwhile, a movement to cancel Pakistan’s external debt is now underway as campaigners plan a protest in front of Pakistan’s parliament house today to call on international institutions like the IMF to cancel the country’s debt.

Guests:

South Korea: The story of ROKS Cheonan -- repression, lies and half truths

The recovered remains of the sunken ROKS Cheonan warship.

By Roddy Quines

September 1, 2010 -- It has often been said that "the first casualty when war comes is truth". The latest string of lies and half truths on the Korean peninsula have set the stage for the reheating of old tensions between North Korea and South Korea. The two Koreas have been at war for the last 60 years, with only a ceasefire and a 250-kilometre “no man’s land” known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) holding the fragile peace.

Pakistan: Multi-party conference demands debt cancellation, launches mass movement to refuse debt

 
[Readers can donate to help flood victims through the Labour Relief Campaign via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

By Farooq Tariq

August 29, 2010 -- A multi-party conference in Lahore has decided to campaign for cancellation of Pakistan's crippling foreign debt and to organise mass rallies in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. The first rally will be on September 2 in Islamabad.

The Labour Relief Campaign in association with Oxfam Pakistan called the conference on August 29, in Lahore, to discuss the issue of debt repayment in the post-flood scenario. It was chaired by Aman Kariaper and Ammar Ali Jan. Senator Hasil Bezinjo vowed to take the issue to Pakistan's Senate and present a resolution to demand that government refuse to pay the foreign debt.

Philippines: PLM calls for an independent inquiry on the hostage killings

By Sonny Melencio, Partido Lakas ng Masa

August 28, 2010 -- The Philippines Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses) commiserates with the families of the eight Chinese nationals killed in the tour-bus hijacking in Manila on August 23. The blunders of the Philippines police and officials in the hijacking crisis, which led to the deaths of the eight tourists, are indefensible from many aspects.

Pakistan: The flood disaster and the way out


By the Labour Party Pakistan (Karachi) and the National Trade Union Federation

August 20, 2010 -- The recent floods represent the worst disaster in Pakistan’s history. The country has been devastated from the northern areas to its southern tip. The state, stripped of its capacity to meet peoples’ needs by neoliberalism and militarism alike, has been found wanting—both in its longstanding failure to maintain existing infrastructure, and in its response to the calamity.

The grassroots relief efforts that have emerged across the country are heartening, but a crisis of this magnitude can only be handled by an institution with the resources and reach of the federal government. As in all disasters, the assistance of the military will be necessary—but this must be subject to civilian oversight, and must not be exploited to glorify the army at the expense of the government. The military’s relative strength is a direct legacy of pro-amy federal budgets, and we remember too well the failures of the Musharraf government in 2005.

Pakistan flood catastrophe: West gives `billions for killing, little for life'


[Readers can donate to help flood victims via the Australian trade unions' aid agency APHEDA at http://www.apheda.org.au/news/1281331224_14992.html.]

By John Passant

August 15, 2010 -- The floods in Pakistan have threatened the lives and safety of more than 20 million people. Millions have lost everything. Now hunger and disease haunt the country. Dysentery and cholera are gaining a  foothold as people without homes starve and kids without Western help die.

The US gives the Pakistan government US$1 billion a year to fight "militants". It has increased its flood aid contribution from $10 million to $25 million. That’s right. Its aid figures is millions, not billions.

That’s because for US imperialism cowering the world before its might is much more important than providing aid to people affected by the floods.

Sri Lankan government's ties with Israel expose its duplicity

Donald Perera, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Israel, in his Tel Aviv office.

By Chris Slee

August 14, 2010 -- On July 21 the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published an interview with Donald Perera, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Israel. Perera, the former Sri Lankan Air Force commander and Chief of Defence Staff, thanked Israel profusely for its support in the fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), saying: "For years Israel has aided our war on terror through the exchange of information and the sale of military technology and equipment... Our air force fleet includes 17 Kfir warplanes, and we also have Dabur patrol boats. Our pilots were trained in Israel, and we have received billions of dollars in aid over the past few years. This is why I asked to be assigned to Israel -- a country I consider a partner in the war against terror."

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