Saturday, May 4, 2019

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's April 28, 2019 Letter

The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter.

“April 28, 2019

“Dear Comrades,

“Only a few weeks to go before we cast our votes for bad or much worse, and I’ll let you nut that one out for yourselves. Either way, the rorts and inequalities will continue with the rich getting richer and the rest of us getting slugged for the basics like gas, electricity, transport and water that were once in public hands.

“We don’t nurture our land, but allow the road lobby to do what it likes, cutting a swathe through precious Aboriginal sites and ancient trees and places of natural beauty. Climate change? Not interested. Homeless people? Ditto. Money talks and big money talks even louder.

“The world as a whole isn’t looking too flash. Fresh catastrophes just keep coming, some ‘natural’ and some not, mostly committed by screwed-up young men. Headlined for a day, before another nightmare comes along to take its place. The only thing that’s made me laugh out loud recently was the Ukrainian election which was won by a comedian, a fair dinkum comedian. Why not? When you cast your eyes around the world’s leaders, they certainly qualify as clowns, not funny ones though, just cynical caricatures who dish out crap and like to act tough. To impress the lying war-hungry clown who inhabits the White House?

“Even when Trump goes, he will be replaced with another war-hungry clown because they’re the ones who get the big gigs. Like corporate toady Joe Biden, who’s put his hand up to ‘rescue the Democrats from Bernie Sanders’.

“You’re probably sick of hearing about Julian Assange, but you shouldn’t be, because that’s what the powers-that-be want, so a few more facts about his incarceration in Britain’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison - its ‘Guantanamo Bay’ - wouldn’t hurt. And the knowledge that the slimy English magistrate who put him there is the same one who stopped a private prosecution of Tony Blair for war crimes. Assange is not allowed any visitors, including from his doctors and lawyers, despite needing urgent medical care. He’s being held in appalling conditions for exposing US war crimes. For being a journalist.

“A few weeks ago, the American Civil Liberties Union noted that ‘criminally prosecuting a publisher for the publication of truthful information would be a first in American history and unconstitutional…and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations’. The manufactured FBI indictment contains no evidence, no documents and no genuine testimony but was concocted by the Pentagon’s shadowy Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

“On 2 May Julian Assange will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary extradition hearing and the US must request his extradition from the UK by 12 June. But he could be in UK gaols for years if the extradition is contested in court. While the Ecuadoran, British and US governments are flagrantly violating its own laws in persecuting Julian, individuals and civil society organizations are mobilizing to defend him. The Australian Government? Labor Opposition? Not a peep. 

“Trump and his cabal despise civil rights and are doing everything possible to wind back former treaties and alliances enshrining progressive international law. A free press? You’re kidding. The aim of these thugs in suits is to dissuade investigative journalists from ‘investigating’. Beat them up and lock them up as an example to others who might still want to write the truth about American barbarism. And journalists and governments are watching and taking note.

“The Deep State has gone ballistic, especially after WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files, detailing the CIA’s gigantic hacking/cyber espionage repertoire, including the activities of the ultrasecret Centre for Cyber Intelligence, its NSA counterpart. There is every reason to believe that Assange will be hit with far more serious charges once he lands on US soil. They’re not going to all this bother to put him away for five years, but are clearly intent on setting a legal precedent to enable a US government to imprison any journalist who steps out of line.

“Never before in my long life have I seen such a belligerent United States. Jimmy Carter agrees. ’The most warlike nation in the history of the world’, he said. Vice-President Mike Pence told the UN Security Council that the White House intends removing Venezuelan President Maduro from power with ‘all options on the table’, adding that: ‘Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences’.

“The crisis in Venezuela could become global as Russia gears up for war. Like Iran, after Washington declared that part of the Iranian military was a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ and therefore subject to attack.

“As an antidote, I came across an article by George Burchett, son of the famous Wilfred, who recently attended the 70th anniversary of the founding of Ho Chi Minh’s School of Writing and Journalism, some 80 kms north of Hanoi. In 1949, resistance against the French colonialists, backed by US Imperialists, was almost impossible. In that year, 49 young students were trained as lecturers, including the famous General Giap, in revolutionary journalism so they could contribute to their country’s struggle for independence and liberty.

“Uncle Ho’s principles? Know why you write and who you write for. Be succinct. Get your facts straight. Don’t use complicated language. Believe in what you write. Revolutionary journalism is only possible when truth is on your side. Then the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. When words serve a just cause, no army can defeat them. Viva!

“Joan Coxsedge”