Oceania Theater

New Zealand: Maoris protest "storm trooper" tactics

New Zealand's Maori Party harshly protested the Oct. 15 police raids on Maori activists in which 17 were arrested. "This action has violated the trust that has been developing between Maori and Pakeha and sets our race relations back 100 years," party leader Pita Sharples charged, using the Maori word for New Zealanders of European descent. He called the raids "storm trooper tactics" by a police force that consistently targets the indigenous population.

New Zealand: Maori activists arrested in "terrorist" sweeps

Elite police units raided properties across New Zealand Oct. 15, apparently seizing weapons in what the media are calling "anti-terrorist" sweeps targeting Maori activists. An armed roadblock was set up around the inland Maori settlement of Ruatoki on the North Island, gateway to the Urewera mountains, home of the reclusive Tuhoe tribe. The raid allegedly followed sightings by hunters in the region of armed men in camouflage at a camp in the Ureweras. TV reports said that a napalm bomb had been tested at one camp, and a threat made against Prime Minister Helen Clark. Locations in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch were also raided. Among the 17 arrested was Tame Iti, 55, a prominent campaigner for Maori independence. He appeared before Rotorua District Court on eight charges relating to possession of firearms and petrol bombs. (Radio New Zealand, Stuff.co.nz, London Times, Oct. 15)

Tuvalu protests global warming

This gives new meaning to the phrase "Where you stand depends on where you sit." No "global warming skeptics" in Tuvalu! From Reuters, Sept. 13:

SEOUL — The tiny Pacific island state of Tuvalu on Thursday urged the rest of the world to do more to combat global warming before it sinks beneath the ocean.

Australia: military occupies aboriginal communities

Aborigine community leaders in a remote Northern Territory town set to receive the first police and army troops under an Australian federal government's plan to combat a reported wave of domestic and sexual abuse are questioning the need for "military occupation." The government last week seized control of 60 NT Aboriginal communities, including Mutitjulu, as Prime Minister John Howard declared the problem of child abuse a "national emergency."

Ex-Gitmo detainee runs for office in Australia

Mamdouh Habib, a "rendition" victim and former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, is running for a state parliamentary seat in New South Wales, Australia. He was picked up in Pakistan in October 2001, transferred to Egypt where he was tortured, then shipped to Guantanamo before being released without charges in 2005—because the Bush administration did not want the torture allegations aired in court, Australian and American officials admit. Habib suffers from severe digestive problems and his doctor believes his stomach has been permanently damaged from having gas forced into it through tubes inserted into his rectum when he was tortured in Egypt. He is running in a coalition that includes Greens, socialists and communists. (NYT, March 21)

New Hawaiian national monument: Bush's strategic sacrifice

Bush's declaration of a national monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is being hailed by world environmentalists, and certainly impresses by its sheer size—1,400 miles long and 100 miles wide. "To put this area in context, this national monument is more than 100 times larger than Yosemite Park," Bush said. "It's larger than 46 of our 50 states, and more than seven times larger than all our national marine sanctuaries combined. This is a big deal."

Anti-mining protests rock New Caledonia

Anti-mining protests have made some international news from Mongolia and Indonesia. The latest entry is from the French colonial holding of New Caledonia. Note that protests causing "millions of dollars" in damages to the mine took place weeks ago with not a flicker in the world media, and that a labor-indigenous alliance is now emerging around the issue. From Radio New Zealand, April 21:

Australia: one shot in mosque raids

Australian authorities say they foiled a large-scale terrorist attack, arresting 15 people in raids in Sydney and Melbourne Nov. 7. Among the arrrested is Muslim cleric Abu Bakr, who had earlier this year stated his support for Osama bin Laden. One suspect who had been under surveillance was shot and wounded after he had allegedly fired at officers near Sydney's Green Valley Mosque. "I am satisfied that we have disrupted what I would regard as the final stages of a large-scale terrorist attack, or the launch of a large-scale terrorist attack here in Australia," New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said. Australia's parliament rushed through amendments to anti-terror laws Nov. 3 to allow police to charge people suspected in the early stages of planning an attack. (Stuff.co, NZ, Nov. 7)

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