The Guardian September 10, 2003

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Letters to the Editor:

Medicare's birthday

It is Medicare's 20th birthday on Wednesday October 1. It is 20 years to 
the day that the Governor-General assented the Medicare legislation.

There will be lots of actions, activity and rallies on that day. Please 
send this to others to make sure people know about this event.

This is firstly to let you know that this action is planned and, secondly, 
to encourage your union or organisation to take action on that day. You 
could get workers and delegates to wear Medicare Badges, have a meeting at 
work to support Medicare, come down to a rally at lunch time, hold a rally 
at your workplace (especially if it is at or near a hospital) or come up 
with a more imaginative way to celebrate 20 years of Medicare and to show 
that we all want it to be strengthened not destroyed.

Please let us know what you have planned so we can publicise the events.

To keep up to date about Medicare actions, join the Medicare announcement 
email list by emailing:

Amanda Tattersall
Special Projects Officer
Labor Council of NSW

Carr backs education privatisation
The NSW Carr Labor Government is right behind the Federal Government's 
agenda to privatise education. In the 2001/2002 financial year the state's 
78 wealthiest private schools received $46.9 million from the Carr 
Government. This was on top of $68.5 million those schools were given by 
the Howard Government.

Thus the State and Commonwealth together provided a massive gift of $115.4 
million to schools that already have resources public schools can only 
dream of.

The NSW Greens have called on the Carr Government to redirect the funding 
going to the wealthiest private schools into public education.

This is what their education spokesperson John Kaye says about this dirty 
privatisation agenda. "These figures show conclusively that the public's 
money is being squandered on the very wealthiest private schools while 
public education is going begging."

He points out that the Carr Government cries poor when it comes to public 
school and TAFE teacher salaries, but that it has no difficulty finding 
$2.7 million for Trinity Grammar School, or $1.7 million for Kings School, 

Guardian readers will also be interested to know that since Carr 
came to Government the interest subsidies that keep the funding to the 
private schools growing and growing add up to a whopping $334 million.

During that same time the Government launched a vicious attack on the NSW 
Teachers' Federation, trying to undermine teachers' pay and conditions, and 
has drastically cut funding to the State's TAFE system.

It tried to sell seven inner Sydney public schools to raise $110 million to 
pay for the refurbishment of other public schools as well.

John Kaye put in a nutshell: "The Carr Government cannot continue to 
pretend innocence and point the finger at Canberra. It is guilty of many of 
the same sins. It gives generously to the wealthiest private schools and it 
allows that funding to automatically grow each time there is an increase in 
public education expenditure."

What a bloody disgrace!

Jo Dunleavy

Open letter to Simon Crean
As leader of the ALP, you have prevented your parliamentary team from 
presenting a range of views about the Israeli-Palestinian war. Such one-
sided opportunism undermines our democracy.

Your assertion that "All Australians have applauded the Government and 
people of Israel for their determination in pushing ahead with the peace 
process" is incorrect. Israel has not fulfilled its obligations under the 

Jeremy Jones and the pro-Israel lobby do not speak for all Jews in 
Australia. Growing numbers of Jews in Israel, Australia and around the 
world condemn the actions of the Israeli Government in its continuing 
occupation of Palestinian land.

We condemn the murder of civilians by states or any other forces. Israel is 
by far the more powerful player in this war. If they cannot prevent 
terrorist attacks, it is dishonest to demand that the Palestinian Authority 
do so. The much greater daily suffering and much greater loss of life of 
the Palestinians merits our concern at least as much as that of the 
Israelis from suicide bombers.

Israel's current path is leading to its destruction. The conflict can only 
be resolved by addressing the need for peace, security and independence of 
both peoples. Our political leaders need to promote genuine solutions, not 
indulge in opportunist rhetoric and suppression of diverse views among 
elected representatives.

Paul Rubner
Jews Against the Occupation

Pepsi's role in the overthrow of Allende
As we approach the 30th anniversary of the September 11, US-backed 
fascist coup in Chile it is timely to recall the roll of certain corporate 
interests in the overthrow of the Allende government.

In 1970 Salvador Allende had just been elected president. He had won the 
election in the face of the economic might of US corporations and the 
government of Richard Nixon which had funded Allende's opponent.

Soon after in Washington Nixon received a personal phone call from Donald 
Kendall, chairman of PepsiCo. Kendal was an associate of Nixon's from when 
Nixon had been PepsiCo's corporate attorney.

From that phone call Kendall organised a meeting between the owner of 
Pepsi' s bottling operation in Chile and US National Security Advisor Henry 

And soon after that Nixon called in the head of the CIA, Richard Helms. 
According to Helms's hand written notes, Nixon ordered the CIA to prevent 
Allende's inauguration as president. The message to the CIA chief of 
operations in Santiago said that it was "the firm and continuing policy" of 
the US administration "that Allende be overthrown in a coup".

The CIA was to "review all your present and possibly new activities to 
include propaganda" and "the surfacing of intelligence or disinformation, 
personal contacts..."

The attempted 1970 coup failed, mainly because the CIA found it difficult 
to sway enough high ranking officers in the Chilean army.

Of course, Pepsi and other major corporations such as ITT (now AT&T) and 
mining interests, with the Nixon administration's cooperation, persisted 
and in 1973 the US engineered another coup attempt, with General Augusto 
Pinochet at the helm and Kissinger pulling the strings behind the scenes.

The result was a brutal fascist dictatorship that carried out the 
slaughter, torture and imprisonment of tens of thousands of people.

It is interesting to note that the other soft drink giant, Coca Cola, is 
today behind the assassination of trade unionists at its plant in Colombia, 
and that last month it was revealed that both Coke and Pepsi have allowed 
their products to be manufactured using water infected with pesticides in 
their operations in India, poisoning unknown numbers of people.

Marcus Browning
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