Readers are invited to submit letters to The Guardian.
Letters may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters of 300-400 words are preferred.
Letters to the Editor:
Several weeks ago I attended the opening of the International Gay Games at the Sydney Football Stadium, and before the ceremony we met at a friend's house for drinks. One of the other guests was recounting a story about how a Muslim "friend of a friend" had warned them not to attend the Melbourne Cup. "Ridiculous urban myth", I countered, and explained how the Howard Government was deliberately fostering this fear in order to pass the "Terror Legislation". "That legislation is vital to protect Australia" he replied, "just look at Bali!" At that point I decided to write him off as an ignorant paranoid individual, and not worth the effort. As we were entering the stadium, I quickly realised these were not misinformed fears of an individual, but the pervasive view of the spectators. Audible whispers amongst the crowd: "this event is sure to be a target", and again — "I heard from a friend of a friend that tonight." Of course the event passed without incident, and indeed, as a staunch republican brought me great joy when the Australian team marched into the stadium under a huge Aboriginal flag, and the National Anthem was performed by Koori opera diva Debra Cheetham. At the last minute though, terror did strike. Thunderous bangs were heard on the metal awning above our heads. People ducked and screamed — I did too. And the first thought that raced through my mind? "We are being bombed!" It was fireworks, being fired from the roof to explode over centre field. If this is how I reacted, being a person who has so far refused to swallow Howard's terror bullshit, I can now better understand the fears of the Australian public. In this climate we must redouble our efforts to spread the truth. We must campaign tirelessly against Howard's lies, and the fascistic legislation that is currently being considered in Parliaments all around Australia. The Guardian is an important mouthpiece for that truth, and it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure it is distributed as widely as possible. R Gaudio
I wholeheartedly endorse the letter of Bob Saltis (The Guardian 13/11/02) and would like to add my little bit of thought. Never was there a time more than now when The Guardian (and all communist party papers throughout the world) are needed. With the ever-increasing flood of misinformation, disinformation, outright lies and propaganda that is pouring from all arms of the capitalist media - - print, radio and TV — it is no wonder that the vast majority of people are confused, bewildered, apprehensive — even frightened. They are swamped by the flood of so-called news being directed at them — cleverly calculated to have that very effect and make them easier to control. Regular readers of The Guardian and other such publications are not confused or bewildered — they are well aware of what is happening and why. The capitalist system is collapsing under the weight of its corruption, ineptitude and decay, and no amount of frantic efforts by its proponents and supporters can save it. But with the world's super power, with the world's greatest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction — including thousands of H bombs, in the hands of madmen intent on world domination — then we, all informed and ill- informed, have every right to feel frightened. Only the combined efforts of the whole of the world's working class can put a stop to the plans of these madmen. No to any war or military action of any kind. B Appleton
Killcare Hts, NSW
The revelations made in the program, The Big Picture, recently screened on the ABC, revealed some very interesting facts about the origin of the anthrax letters. New processes in determining the source of the anthrax strain point to USAMID (United States Medical Institute of Defence), a US army medical research base, as the likely source of the anthrax strain used in the anthrax letters. Personnel at USAMID noted that research had been conducted at the base in the early '90s on Anthrax. These personnel were later discharged unfairly from USAMID. A letter sent before the 9/11 attacks to the FBI tried to accuse an Arab American scientist working at USAMID of terrorist sympathies. This man was later interviewed by the FBI, and cleared of any such involvement. After 9/11, the anthrax letters were traced by the FBI to USAMID, but the suspect was not the Arab American scientist, but two scientists with CIA connections. On attempting to gain the CIA's help on the matter, the FBI hit a brick wall. The fact that the letter attempting to frame the Arab American scientist was sent before 9/11, and before the anthrax attacks, and that CIA connected USAMID scientists are suspected of the crime, not only points directly to CIA involvement with the anthrax letters, but with the 9/11 attacks themselves. The program, after giving all this information, which logically pointed to a US source for the attack, and the likely CIA involvement, instead pulled its punches and put forward a theory that it was "a lone madman" working at USAMID, and the CIA was protecting him just because he's "someone important" and "close to the top". Doesn't sound very likely now, does it? Andrew Lund
The TV and newspapers splashed Amrozi, supposed Indonesian terrorist, grinning, laughing and waving his arms around with laughing interrogators. This is so out of character for someone being interrogated for a bombing offence that could mean a death sentence, as to be unbelievable, unless he was high on drugs, tablets or injections. He had all the marks of a happy drunk or someone on ecstasy tablets or injected with hallucinatory drugs. A Jakarta government source said Amrozi "was hooked up to 220 volts, given a cup of scopolamine, and 30 minutes later was ready to swear he was George Bush". The US and Australian Governments and their media are doing all they can to blame Muslims for the Bali bombing, to demonise Muslims as a way of popularising the war on Iraq. Who really planted the bomb? Who gained? Vic Williams
John Howard says that a "Free Trade" agreement between the greatest economic power on earth, the USA, and Australia, might result in a "billion dollar" bonanza for Australian farmers. Might, is right. Howard's current economic policies have already resulted in a billion- dollar bonanza for Boeing Corporation. Boeing have just sold four spy planes to Australia for three and a half billion dollars. Senator Hill took delivery at Boeing. These spy in the sky planes, which are a bit out of date, are not "pie in the sky". They have been paid for by the Australian people. Doesn't Australia share all intelligence from the US spy in the sky satellites, as a result of their free occupation of intelligence gathering bases on Australian soil, e.g. Pine Gap? Why do we need spy planes? The sale has been kept very secret from the Australian people, but, maybe, the truth will out. Denis Kevans
Wentworth Falls, NSW
The people of Indonesia are protesting against the invasion of their homes by ASIO and Australian police in Australia. The one-time "Spice Islands" have a long history of rebellion against the Dutch colonialists who ruled Indonesia for more than 300 years. Indonesia now has a population of over 200 million. Their revolution of 1926 did not succeed. Its leaders, including Sarjohno, Secretary of the PKI (Communist Party), trade unionists and militants were exiled as political prisoners to a dreaded malaria infested camp in the Dyul River. Some came to Australia during the war against Japan but were sent to detention centres in Cowra and Liverpool, NSW. I was privileged to meet some of them and participated in the great movement here to help liberate Indonesia from colonial rule. Boycotts, strikes and militant actions for Indonesian independence were led by Jim Healy, Waterside Workers, E V Elliot, Seamen's Union, Hughie Grant, Boilermakers' Union and many more. Workers employed by Qantas refused to repair the Dutch Catalena flying boats at Rose Bay. Asian seamen left-ships at Australian ports and refused to take munitions for the Dutch colonialists who attempted to reoccupy Indonesia. In 1949 the independent Indonesian Republic was established in Java, free from Dutch rule. This revolution was suppressed by General Suharto in 1965 in a savage bloodbath and murder of more than half a million people. In spite of the anti-Asian statements of John Howard and Defence Minister Hill, the people of Indonesia will continue their historic mission started in 1926 and 1949. Phyllis Johnson
At the COTA International Maturity Matters conference in Burswood Perth Kevin Andrews MP minister for Aging, called for people not to retire at 55. What an oxymoron. Many mature underemployed people are forced out of the workplace early. They are ignored when they apply for jobs even though their qualifications are superior. They rarely even get an interview. Our Under employed People's Union (UPU) WA members are fed up of being forced to chase jobs all over when there is no hope of them getting work. They merely have to go through the Centrelink process that reduces them to distress and often sickness, even suicide. Just look at the suicide figures! John Hewson said at the COTA conference that the Government was way behind in their policy on employment matters. They had nothing in place to prepare for the future when baby boomers retired. That is why they are calling for people to work until they are 80! No one at the conference spoke about the present problems of people who had generally worked since they were 15 and were now forced out of their jobs, left to become victims of Centrelink policy orchestrated by Howard's team of black shirts. Today's mature underemployed people are written off, filed and forgotten in the too hard basket by a government devoid of any understanding of the real issues that face people today. Howard's ministry team suffer from "Scotosis" -a hardening of the mind against unwanted wisdom by repressing questions that may lead to a deeper insight into problems. The consequences of scotosis is community fear and terror for all but the ruling class. Government policy on terrorism endorses fear and terror. It's back to the dark ages! Back to the 1930s and the blackshirts! Mary JenkinsBack to index page
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