The official launch of ‘Richardson’s Lookout – Marrickville Peace Park’ took place on Sunday November 8. The event attracted around 80 people.
Organised by the Gallipoli Centenary Peace Campaign (GCPC*), speakers included John Butcher (GCPC Convenor), Allan Barnes (Marrickville Aboriginal Consultative Committee) who presented the ‘Welcome to Country’, Clr Sam Iskandar (Mayor, Marrickville Council), Clr Sylvie Ellsmore (Marrickville Council), Linda Burney MP (Member for Canterbury) and Jo Haylen MP (Member for Summer Hill). As well, Sydney’s Solidarity Choir performed at the launch.
A public forum on the bombing of Syria was hosted by the Independent Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) in Sydney on October 20.
Entitled ‘Is Bombing Syria the Right Strategy?’ the forum attracted over 50 people. Chaired by Denis Doherty (IPAN and Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition), the forum was addressed by two speakers: Nick Deane (IPAN and Marrickville Peace Group) and special guest, Vincent Emanuele, a former US Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq. He refused to do a third military tour and is now an anti-war veteran and peace activist.
Marty Morrison, who attended the forum, noted that Nick Deane outlined three main concerns about the bombing in Syria: (a) Of all the nations involved, Australia is perhaps the most secretive about its military operations and impact on civilians (b) Far from ‘degrading’ ISIS, the US-led bombing campaign is more likely to add to the suffering of Syrians in ISIS controlled areas and (c) The campaign risks being counter-productive in the sense that every misdirected bomb is a ‘recruitment poster’ for those at war with the US and its allies. Continue reading Is Bombing Syria the Right Strategy?→
Diplomatic cables and ministerial briefings, obtained on September 9 by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) under FOI laws, reveal that the Coalition Government has become increasingly “worried” about the “growing momentum” behind the Austrian-led Humanitarian Pledge to ban nuclear weapons.
This growing momentum was confirmed once again when foreign ministers and other high-ranking government officials met at the United Nations on Wednesday September 30 to commemorate the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
According to press reports in Britain recently, it has been revealed that the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, laid out a three-point plan in 2012 which included a proposal for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to cede power at some point after peace talks had begun between the regime and opposition parties.
This proposal, however, was rebuffed at the time by the US and other Western nations. In commenting on this peace proposal, former Finnish president and Nobel peace prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari said the failure to consider the Russian offer had led to a “self-made disaster”.
The same report in The Guardian noted that in 2012 “the death toll from the Syrian conflict was estimated to be about 7,500. The UN believes that toll passed 220,000 at the beginning of , and continues to climb. The chaos has led to the rise of Islamic State. Over 11 million Syrians have been forced out of their homes.”
This revelation about how the the US, Britain and France rejected Russia’s proposal in 2012, appears to have been ignored so far by Australia’s mainstream press.
To learn more about this story, read The Guardian’s report ‘West ‘ignored Russian offer in 2012 to have Syria’s Assad step aside”, Sep 17, 2015 here.
On September 9, Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed that Australia will extend its airstrikes in Iraq to ISIS targets in Syria.
This decision had been under consideration for a number of weeks. On August 21, Abbott announced that a “formal request” had been received from the US to join bombing missions in Syria. However, according to a Fairfax Media report on August 26, the driving force for the formal request came from the Prime Minister’s office, not Washington.
Following the PM’s announcement, Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, said that these RAAF aircraft would likely begin operations over eastern Syria within a week.
It can be safely predicted that these bombings, far from “degrading and ultimately destroying ISIS”, will not only cause more civilian casualties, but will also anger the Syrian civilians in these ISIS dominated areas. For the most part, these captive communities loath ISIS, but they also resent being attacked by American and Australian bombs. Continue reading Greens, Wilkie denounce decision to bomb Syria→