Tuesday 16th of July 2024

bashing the future.....

Policing of protest has long been fraught in New South Wales. Over years a slow creep has chipped away at the right to peaceful public assembly. We reached an ugly and repressive high watermark this year. Legal changes and growing police repression against climate protestors has been widely documented (for example, here and here). Readers of this journal are likely aware of this alarming trend. In this article, we convey stories of activists targeted by the new laws and Strike Force Guard. These are anonymised accounts written in consultation with affected persons.




Zara, 45, is a media and communications worker who lends her skills to the climate movement during large mobilisations and times of need. Zara was reading in bed at 9am on a Sunday morning when ten riot police in body armour smashed the door in and stormed into her house. Zara ran to the door, and was struck in the head by the battering ram. She was ordered to sit and not move for over three hours while police catalogued and removed her phones, notebook, hat, toothbrush and camping equipment. Over thirty-five police took part in this raid against a single woman in her dressing gown.

“I could hear a helicopter overhead. The policeman’s grip on my arms was painful and left bruises. My head was aching from the battering ram. They made me sit, without a drink, or my jumper, or access to the toilet, unable to contact anyone, for hours. … I was treated like a dangerous and despicable person”, Zara said.

For Zara, “the loss of my communications equipment was devastating. … It took three months to restore all my accounts. Strike Force Guard has still not returned my equipment. I had nightmares for months. I feel sick when I think about it. I am a peaceful person exercising a democratic right to participate in public discourse … [f]or this I was assaulted, detained and my life and work severely disrupted.”

A few months after the raid on Zara, Strike Force Guard spied on and raided climate activists on June 19 at a rural property in the Blue Mountains. People present at the camp were tracked through the bush with dogs and helicopters and were later charged with offences like ‘conspiracy to commit an indictable offence’. This raid was condemned by forty civil society organisations.

Despite the objections of human rights experts, the persecution of climate activists continues. A series of arbitrary raids and arrests targeted environmentalists during June and July. In November, police in four states ‘visited’ homes of climate advocates in the lead up to the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC). Video footage shows police stating ‘you may be arrested if you attend a protest’ and ‘this is an unlawful protest’. Police ‘visited’ school students, elders, tradies, nurses — over forty people in total — to deter their participation in activism.

Peaceful public assembly is not unlawful in NSW.  Further, organisers of the IMARC protest had submitted a Form 1 to police (a process under the Summary Offences Act which can lead to a protest being “authorised”). It is vital that we reject any assertions that peaceful protest are inherently ‘unlawful’.

Alex, 22, is a student from regional NSW. Alex was arrested and capsicum sprayed for peacefully walking on a street during a climate rally. Capsicum spray is intended to be used as a ‘last resort’ for police. Instead, it’s increasingly used as ‘crowd control’ at peaceful protest events, in a clear breach of police’ guidelines. Once sprayed, Alex was thrown to the ground, charged with ‘Block Sydney Harbour Bridge’ and held in custody overnight. This is a new offence, passed by the NSW parliament in April 2022 with the explicit purpose of stifling climate protest.  Alex was not close to the bridge.

Alex was released with draconian bail conditions that prohibited him from contacting his closest friends, prohibited travel and compelled him to reveal the contents of his phone to police on demand. The limits imposed on Alex’s freedom of movement and association and the abrogation of his right to privacy are grossly disproportionate to his ‘crime’: attending a rally.

On 2 November, Alex was pulled over by police while driving to a concert in Sydney. The police defected the car, confiscated Alex’s phone and arrested him for an alleged breach of bail. Alex was held overnight at a police station and granted bail the next day. Two hours after being released Alex was arrested disembarking a train in Sydney and again held in custody overnight. In court the police prosecutor opposed bail. The presiding Magistrate granted bail adding extreme conditions of daily reporting to a police station, a curfew at his residence and $10,000 bail surety.

“The totalising control that these conditions have on my life is crushing and it is clearly designed to be so. These conditions exist to suppress my spirit and sever my connections to my community and other activists. The prosecution and the courts know very well that the charges against me will result in very minor sentences so they have devised these obscene bail conditions to be the real punishment.

“The knowledge that police can re-arrest me on a whim has me jumping at shadows. The police have taken away my ability to feel safe even when I’m at home as they’ve shown me that they are willing to cross any boundaries to squash dissent.”

The policing in the lead up to IMARC has elicited a swift response. The NSW Council for Civil Liberties and others wrote to government Ministers and police to express concern. Alex Greenwich, MP for Sydney, has asked the Police Minister Questions on Notice about Strike Force Guard, and the City of Sydney Council has unanimously passed a motion condemning the policing of protest.

The right to peaceful assembly must be protected and defended. We must continue to condemn and resist regressive legal changes and over-policing. As these stories show, any one of us who has attended a protest, or intends on attending protests in the future should be concerned about this crackdown.


You may also be interested in: NSW police ‘Strike Force Guard III’ formed to silence threats to fossil fuel driven political order, published on November 10, 2022.





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in 1895.....

Australian coal exporters have been falsifying data to suggest their coal is cleaner than it is in order to increase its export price in a scam involving two testing laboratories, major accountancy firms and an investment bank, federal MP Andrew Wilkie is expected to tell parliament on Monday.

Wilkie says he has been provided with thousands of pages of documents by an industry whistleblower and will call for a parliamentary inquiry into the allegations, days after the corporate watchdog decided against taking action against one of the laboratory companies.






In 1895 Arrhenius wanted to quantify this influence of COon the greenhouse effect, which involved doing endless, complex and tedious calculations by hand—an activity that, apparently, served as a therapy to help him overcome his separation from his first wife. The results he obtained finally came to light in an article published in 1896. In it, Arrhenius concluded that a reduction in the atmospheric CO2 levels to half the then existing ones would result in a drop in the temperature of the planet of between 4 and 5°C, which could lead to a massive cooling like the one that takes place during glaciations.








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jo nova does it again....

 from JO NOVA  In the WEF’s own words — this rearrangement of cities is absolutely about climate change:

As climate change and global conflict cause shocks and stresses at faster intervals and increasing severity, the 15-minute city will become even more critical.

And the solution was the pandemic (they really say that):

The obvious, yet incomplete, answer is the pandemic…. with COVID-19 and its variants keeping everyone home (or closer to home than usual), the 15-minute city went from a “nice-to-have” to a rallying cry. Meeting all of one’s needs within a walking, biking or transit distance was suddenly a matter of life and death.

And then the dark hand of the totalitarian managers appears, as James Woudhuysen, warned in Spiked in late October:

The madness of the ‘15-minute city’

The green agenda is taking inspiration from the illiberal days of lockdown.

To this end, Oxfordshire County Council, which is run by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, wants to divide the city of Oxford into six ‘15 minute’ districts. In these districts, it is said, most household essentials will be accessible by a quarter-of-an-hour walk or bike ride, and so residents will have no need for a car.

On the surface, these 15-minute neigbourhoods might sound pleasant and convenient. But there is a coercive edge. The council plans to cut car use and traffic congestion by placing strict rules on car journeys.

Residents will have to register their cars with the council and they will be tracked to count their journeys through the key gateways. It’s the social credit scheme that starts with your car and works like anti-frequent-flyer points.

Under the new proposals, if any of Oxford’s 150,000 residents drives outside of their designated district more than 100 days a year, he or she could be fined £70.

The concept of the 15-minute city was born with ‘C40’. Chaired today by London mayor Sadiq Khan, C40 calls itself a ‘network of mayors of nearly 100 world-leading cities collaborating to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis’.

Climate lockdowns? Seriously?

It all sounds a bit ridiculous to suggest a lockdown “for the climate” but listen to the BBC.  They’re working awfully hard to persuade us — they obviously think voters won’t want this. Here they are connecting the “15 Minute City” to the fun of covid lockdowns, and setting this up as though it’s totally normal for the government to decide who your friends are:

How ’15-minute cities’ will change the way we socialise

And furthermore lockdowns in Paris were great social moments where we all made friends. Who knew how much fun it would be to be told you couldn’t drive far?

.. for Fraioli, the two-month lockdown that began on 17 March – confining her to a 1km radius of her home – gave her a nuanced, enriching view of her neighbourhood. “I discovered it’s possible to feel like you’re in a small village in Paris,” she says. “To get to know your neighbours, to maintain good links with shopkeepers, to favour local craftsmen and shops over large supermarkets. I even joined a citizens’ movement where people prepare food baskets for homeless people. I thought I would have a hard time living the lockdown, but I was perfectly at home, in a quiet place.”

I don’t seem to recall “getting to know neighbours” as being part of any lockdown anywhere?

And lookout —  the 15 minute city is not just Oxford, but turning up in BrisbaneMelbourneBarcelona, Paris, Portland and Buenos Aires. It’s everywhere.











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