This weeks stories: Government Soft On Immigration Slavery...Trying To 
Kill Yourself Is A Sane Response To Refugee Detention...No Cash
Discount...Government Doesn't Know Why People Won't Take Public
Transport...Quotes of the Week.

Four people have been charged with slavery in Melbourne.  They are 
accused of bringing in Thai women and forcing them to work as 
prostitutes. Kathleen Maltzahn from Project Respect says that at any one 
time there are roughly 1000 women working as slaves in Australian brothels.

The traffickers are laregely protected by Australia's restrictive
immigration system.  Ms Maltzahn said that the government generally 
dealt with slaves by deporting them, rather than charging the 
traffickers.  The traffickers themselves often inform on the women to 
the Department of Immigration.

In 2001 Puongtong Simplee died days after being arrested and sent to
Villawood Detention Centre.  She said that she had been brought to 
Australia and sold into prostitution when she was 12.  No one was 
charged. The women are also often deprived of food and water and beaten 
if they try and escape.

(Melbourne Times, July 23).

A 14 year old boy who tried to kill himself in a refugee detention 
centre hadn't seen a psychiatrist because he didn't need one, according 
to lawyers for the government.

The boy tried to hang himself in July last year.

(AAP, July 28).

Despite claims that the GST would end the 'cash economy', Australians 
are evading tax on a total of about $100 billion income per year.

A report by economics lecturer Christopher Bajada found that the GST
"doesn't seem to have changed behaviour significantly".

Cynthia Cole, an associate professor in taxation law, said that "there 
is not a country in the world" where a tax like the GST has reduced the 
cash economy.

(The Age, July 26).

An investigation of Melbourne's rail system has found at least 30 sites
where trains could potentially crash into each other, in the same way as 
a crash at Epping last year.

(The Age, July 26).

Quotes of the week:

"We should not succumb to democratic dogmatisms about men being the best
judges of their own interests."
Harold Lasswell, writing in the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, 1933.

"Alamdar said he lived with his father and "about 40 other men" and 
three boys in White 3, in virtual isolation from other compounds. (White 
3 houses 33 males.) He said he cannot play with other children without 
first obtaining permission, which is not always given".

Interview by the Age newspaper with a 15 year old boy in Baxter refugee
detention centre.

"If the US government concludes that torturing Mohammed is necessary for 
the protection of lives, it should add a reservation to its treaty 
obligations with regard to torture".
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, arguing that torture should be
legalised in cases similar to that of Al Qaeda suspect Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed.  Mohammed is said to be suffering what intelligence sources 
call 'torture lite' involving techniques such as sleep deprivation.

"Actually, there is another article in the New York Times that describes 
how the professors are antiwar activists, but the students aren't. Not 
like it used to be, when the students were antiwar activists. What the 
reporter is talking about is that around 1970 - and it's true - by 1970 
students were active antiwar protesters. But that's after eight years of 
a U.S. war against South Vietnam, which by then had extended to all of 
Indochina, which had practically wiped the place out. In the early years 
of the war-it was announced in 1962-U.S. planes are bombing South 
Vietnam, napalm was authorized, chemical warfare to destroy food crops, 
and programs to drive millions of people into "strategic hamlets," which 
are essentially concentration camps. All public. No protest. Impossible 
to get anybody to talk about it. For years, even in a place like Boston, 
a liberal city, you couldn't have public meetings against the war 
because they would be broken up by students, with the support of the 
media. You would have to have hundreds of state police around to allow 
the speakers like me to escape unscathed. The protests came after years 
and years of war. By then, hundreds of thousands of people had been 
killed, much of Vietnam had been destroyed.

Then you started getting protests.

But all of that is wiped out of history, because it tells too much of 
the truth. It involved years and years of hard work of plenty of people, 
mostly young, which finally ended up getting a protest movement. Now 
it's far beyond that. But the New York Times reporter can't understand 
that. I'm sure the reporter is being very honest. The reporter is saying 
exactly what I think she was taught - that there was a huge antiwar 
movement - because the actual history has to be wiped out of people's 
consciousness. You can't learn that dedicated, committed effort can 
bring about significant changes of consciousness and understanding. 
That's a very dangerous thought to allow people to have".

Noam Chomsky.

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