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:
Article on ASIO raids
The November 6 issue of The Guardian carried an article by Mike Head on the recent ASIO raids which had been sent to us by the Kominform (an overseas email news distribution agency). There was no reference to copyright, as is often the case with material from left organisations seeking to spread important information as widely as possible. We were not aware that it had also been published on the World Socialist Web Site, and certainly did not take the article from that site. The article was excellent. We had no idea that its author was a Trotskyist. It was published in good faith and an apology carried in the November 20 issue of The Guardian — Ed. The following letter is from Mike Head. I am writing to object in the strongest possible terms to your journal's unauthorised publication of an article from the World Socialist Web Site on the recent ASIO raids. On November 6, you published the article as your front-page lead, under the headline "Violent ASIO/Police Raids". The by-line attributed the article to me, stating that I am a lecturer in law at the University of Western Sydney. The World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) originally published the article a week earlier, on October 31, with the headline: Violent police raids in Sydney and Perth — Bali bombings used to activate repressive laws in Australia" [http://www.wsws.org/articles/2002/oct2002/asio-o31.shmtl]. Apart from changing the headline, cutting some paragraphs in half and inserting one sub-heading, the Guardian reprinted the article exactly as it appeared on the WSWS. You republished the article without seeking the permission of the WSWS or myself, and without any acknowledgement that it was taken from the WSWS. I demand a prominent front-page apology and correction, as well as the full publication of this letter in your journal. Not only have you breached the copyright of the WSWS, which is clearly indicated on the site. Implicit in your attribution of the article to me is that I am a conscious and willing contributor to the Guardian. This is particularly offensive to me as a life-long Trotskyist and member of the International Committee of the Fourth International, the world party that publishes the WSWS. Your journal and organisation have always advocated Stalinist politics and defended the immense political crimes of the Stalinist bureaucracy, including the Moscow Trials of the 1930s and the assassination of members of the Fourth International, above all Leon Trotsky, its founder and co-leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution. This is not the first time that the Guardian has misappropriated articles from the WSWS. On August 9 2000, you published a front-page report under the headline, "Troops' New Olympic Powers — Shoot to Kill". On September 20 2000 you printed a centre-page article, "Olympic Shadow over Australian Civil Liberties". The articles dealt with the introduction of military call-out legislation in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympic Games. As you no doubt recall, on October 11 2000 you were obliged, after receiving a letter of protest from me, to print a correction acknowledging that they were first published on the WSWS. Both articles were also attributed to me as a lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, so there is no doubt that you are perfectly aware of my identity, as well as my political affiliation. Your repeated offence, two years later, is inexcusable. Once again, I insist on an immediate retraction, under the heading "Apology", on the front page of the next issue of the Guardian, accompanied by the publication of this letter in full in a prominent position in the same edition. Sincerely, Mike Head
World Socialist Web Site
Education Minister Anna Bligh has once again publicly displayed her faulty memory in saying 158 extra teachers in our schools are the consequence of an election promise. The new appointments are part of a total package of 800 extra teachers secured as a result of campaigning by Queensland Teachers' Union members during the last enterprise bargaining agreement. The Beattie Government initially actively opposed employing the extra teachers and only agreed that the 800 be included in the enterprise bargaining agreement after intense lobbying by our members. It is therefore the height of hypocrisy for Ms Bligh to claim credit for this initiative. Teachers and the public will see straight through the Minister's blatant political spin doctoring. Steve Ryan
Vice-President, Queensland Teachers' Union
The credibility of Australia's politicians has reached a new low when calls for an independent Australian foreign policy come from outside the nation — in this case from Dr Mahathir, Prime Minister of Malaysia. The reaction of Kevin Rudd, Australian Labor Party spokesman for the American ambassador, indicates that Dr Mahathir was close to the mark. Mr Rudd said that "we have had nearly 100 Australians murdered in Bali in a terrorist attack". The fact that they were murdered as a result of our slavish aping of American empire building would seem to be a very good reason to abandon the American alliance rather than justify it. Col FrielBack to index page