Michael Darby

Observations on politics and poetry by Australian bush poet, Michael Darby.

Michael was born in Sydney in 1945 and is a former Australian Army Officer who has been writing and broadcasting on politics and economics since 1972.

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Saturday, June 14, 2003

Excerpt from “Wired” news:

THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT has quietly banned the sale of computers and computer accessories to the public, except in cases where the items are "indispensable" and the purchase is authorized by the Ministry of Internal Commerce.

The computer departments of the retail stores were divided into two zones: a well-stocked area for government buyers, and a smaller area where the public could buy diskettes, CDs and other such items. A store employee told the correspondent she was forbidden from discussing the move, which was also referred to briefly in a newsletter published by the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council.

"If we didn't have an embargo, there could be computers for everybody," Fernandez replied when asked this question: Are computer sales to the public banned in Cuba?

Several weeks later, a government employee in Cuba sent Wired News, through a Web-based e-mail account, a copy of a resolution mandating the ban. In an interview using an instant-messaging service, the source -- who asked to remain anonymous -- criticized the decree and said it had generated a great deal of controversy within government circles after it was unilaterally mandated by the Minister of Internal Commerce, Barbara Castillo.

According to Article 19, Chapter II, Section 3 of the ministry's Resolution No. 383/2001: "The sale of computers, offset printer equipment, mimeographs, photocopiers, and any other mass printing medium, as well as their parts, pieces and accessories, is prohibited to associations, foundations, civic and nonprofit societies, and natural born citizens. In cases where the acquisition of this equipment or parts, pieces and accessories is indispensable, the authorization of the Ministry of Internal Commerce must be solicited."

The source's decision to send the information was especially daring in light of a gag law that mandates a 3- to 10-year prison term for anyone who collaborates with "enemy news media." Because government officials refused to comment on the ban, the reason for the move is a matter of speculation.

The rise of independent journalists in Cuba, who published articles on the Internet criticizing the Castro regime, may have something to do with it. The correspondents, who risk jail time for their "subversive" reports, send their stories by fax, e-mail or phone dictation to supporters in Miami. "We believe our website had something to do with it," said Manrique Iriarte Sr., who helps run the website for the Cuban Institute of Independent Economists, which launched a few weeks before the ban was passed in late December.

The economists' site offers a sharp contrast to the rosy Marxist dream proffered by Castro, including news of opposition arrests and detailed reports on the decrepit state of the island economy. The site is blocked in Cuba.

Iriarte said he visited several Havana stores in January where employees told him computer equipment was only available for "accredited state entities."

The move didn't surprise Cuba-watchers in the United States. "This just reflects a further restriction on communications with the outside world," said Eugene Pons, of the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami.
The government already requires Cubans who can afford Internet accounts -- which cost $260 a month, while the average Cuban salary is $240 a year -- to register with National Center for Automated Data Exchange (CENAI), Pons said. For those who do manage to log on, the Internet experience is limited: The government-controlled ISPs block links to certain foreign media, anti-Castro sites and pornography.

The government has also admitted to monitoring e-mail. To circumvent such spying, residents use Web-based e-mail accounts and chat services to make their communication harder to trace. Indeed, the Cuban source used a Web-based account to reply to a message sent to the person's government account.

"If I disappear from cyberspace one day, it's because they found out I was talking to you," the source said


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Friday, June 13, 2003
The 20/20 foresight of Margaret Thatcher

By Cal Thomas (www.townhall.com)

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher left office years ago but in her book, "Statecraft" (HarperCollins), she settles some old scores and warns of severe consequences if Britain subsumes itself to a Euro currency and the European mentality.

In the book Lady Thatcher again takes on the former leader of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, and buries him. She worries that people will forget what happened in the '80s as revisionists re-write history and pretend that Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were minor players in the Soviet collapse: "...the role of Ronald Reagan has been deliberately diminished; the role of the Europeans, who, with the exception of (former German Chancellor) Helmut Kohl, were often all too keen to undermine America when it mattered, had been sanitized; and the role of Mikhail Gorbachev, who failed spectacularly in his declared objective of saving communism and the Soviet Union, has been absurdly misunderstood."

Thatcher goes on at some length about Gorbachev because she believes the revisionists (including Gorbachev) want us to believe a falsehood. She recalls a Nov. 16, 1999 gathering in Prague attended by some of the "main actors" in the dramatic events that ended with the collapse of Soviet communism. At the meeting, she writes, Gorbachev denied there had been any victor in the Cold War. He accused people such as Thatcher of having a "superiority complex." She states that Gorbachev "asserted that no single ideology...had all the answers, and informed us that 'even the communists wanted to make the world a happier place.' It followed, of course, that since no side had won (or, doubtless more important to Mr. Gorbachev, no side had lost) and no single ideology was sufficient for the needs of the world today, the search for solutions must go on." With exquisite understatement, Thatcher says Gorbachev's views have "doubtful validity."

More than just setting the record straight, Thatcher believes it's important for the future that the past be correctly remembered. Gorbachev's ideas, she writes, "represent the articulation of a strategy common to the left in many countries, of seeking to escape all blame for communism and then going on to take credit for being more pragmatic, modern and insightful about the world which those who actually fought communism have created. It is a pressing necessity to expose and defeat both distortions."

Thatcher says it was more than loyalty to her "old friend" Reagan that has caused her to remind us of the recent past: "...learning the wrong lessons could still result in adopting the wrong responses," she notes in the book. Which brings her to Europe and the future. Because Europe three times in the last century was home to ideologies that lead to two hot wars and the Cold War, Thatcher passionately asserts in her book that Britain should resist Europe's siren call to scuttle the pound and immerse itself in the Euro and the European mindset. How's this for not mincing words: "Europe as a whole is fundamentally unreformable...Europe's plans for a single currency to rival the dollar, its furtive but rapid moves to create its own armed forces to substitute those of NATO, its ambition to create a common judicial area which will intrude upon national legal systems, and the current project of devising a European Constitution, all betoken one of the most ambitious political projects of modern times."

Thatcher says that the attempt to form a United Europe is fatally flawed because, unlike the United States -- after which the shapers of Europe claim to be patterning their plan -- Europe does not have a common language, culture and values. "It is also flawed because the United States was forged in the 18th century and transformed into a truly federal system in the 19th century through events, above all through the necessities and outcomes of war," Thatcher writes. "By contrast, Europe is the result of plans. It is, in fact, a classic Utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme (cq) whose inevitable destiny is failure: only the scale of the final damage is in doubt." No wonder the weenies of the Conservative Party decided 12 years ago that Thatcher must go. She made them all look and sound like castrated chickens. "Statecraft" is more than a memoir. It is a book about Truth at a time when people prefer intellectual junk food to true nourishment.


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Thursday, June 12, 2003


The people of New South Wales should not forget that the brutal behaviour of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has gone unpunished by the NSW Labor Government.

In the latter part of October 2000, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service decided to cull the wild horses of the Guy Fawkes National Park. The reasons advanced include the claim that a bushfire had destroyed all the grass, and an assertion that the horses were in poor condition. The real reason is that the bureaucrats of the NPWS hate horses as an “introduced species”. The brave animals whose relatives carried pioneers across the deserts, or who provided the motive power for the coaches which opened up the nation, or who were proudly ridden by the finest soldiers in history, were brutally mown down by gunmen in helicopters. More than six hundred horses died, many after hours or even days of agony.

My poem, “The Horsekillers” dealt with the subject. I have now discovered a greatly superior poem by multi-multi-award-winning Dubbo writer, Ellis Campbell. Both poems are reproduced below. We should not forget, and I have yet to learn a reason why we should forgive.


By Ellis Campbell, 1 Lawson St Dubbo 2830

A fearful droning tremors deadly skies;
Then thunderous crack and flash of lightning’s sting.
A squeal of terror from the scrub replies
As tortured brumbies quail before this thing.
The nervous horses scale the steep incline
Their instincts tuned to warn of instant dread.
The snarling bullets ricochet and whine
Awakening the gorges of the dead.
They spew their lethal blast at lightning pace;
The volleys drown the tortured moans of slain.
Disoriented horses blindly race
Beneath the helicopter’s brutal rain.
A futile charge against horrific odds;
Horrendous war where only one can win.
Machine controlled by self-appointed gods
And death dispensed with hell’s unholy din.
Romance of brumbies streaked the poet’s page
On sweeping plains and rugged mountains high.
A gallant symbol roaming freedom’s stage
No pioneering bushman will deny.
The thunder of a thousand pounding hooves
A flash of brilliant colour on the hill
The dash of speed and cunning countermoves
Are lost to fiendish horror of the kill.
The rabbit knows its burrow’s guaranteed
And foxes hide in hollow logs and trees.
The horse’s only weapon is its speed
What use against such death-machines as these?
They swerve and baulk in terror-stricken fright,
And gallop till their mighty hearts near burst.
But shattered legs and backbones halt their flight
A lethal monster’s tactics well rehearsed
His coat of sable rippled when he walked;
His piercing whinny echoed loud and shrill.
His mighty mane blew wildly as he baulked
To wheel in pirouette below the hill
He fiercely guarded mares and foals from harm
A brumby stallion roaming free and proud.
Bewildered now, his snort a lost alarm,
He cringes in the shadows weak and cowed.
Disbanded horses scatter far and wide;
And quiver when they hear the whining sound.
A rotting carcass fouls the gully’s side
And putrid stench of death is all around.
How few are left to skulk and hide in fright
The glory of the past long nullified.
The gallant horse is not equipped to fight
The tyranny of equine genocide.



By Michael Darby, November 2000

A storm came over the mountain, a storm of fright and fear
As brumbies wheeled and scattered and I felt my mother near
It swept across the gullies where greenest grew the grass
It raced along the ridgelines and through each mountain pass
A deadly hail amongst us, with never a place to hide
From flying things with roaring wings as horses fell or died.
I saw my mother stagger as she whinnied loud with pain
Then she slumped against a boulder beneath the fatal rain
There’s a smell of death in my nostrils and the night feels fearful cold
I’m lying here with a shattered limb, and I’m nearly six weeks old.


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Wednesday, June 11, 2003


This letter (The Australian, 31 May 03) is even more valuable in the light of an announcement on 5 June 2003 by the ignoramus who masquerades as the Premier of Victoria, calling on the Prime Minister to “sign the Kyoto accords”. This was breathlessly reported around 6.30am by the ABC Radio PNN announcer, who warned “Victorian temperatures will double in the next hundred years”.

Global unWarming


The Lavoisier Group Inc.
A0039775B ABN 42 347 055 724
President: Hon Peter Walsh AO PO Box 424
Board: Harold Clough AO Collins Street West
Ray Evans Melbourne
Bob Foster Vic. 8007
Bruce Kean AM www.lavoisier.com.au
Peter Murray AOM
Ian Webber AO

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister
The Hon John Howard MP
Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

On 5 June 2002, in answering a question without notice in Parliament you said: “It is not in Australia’s interests to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. . . the Protocol would cost us jobs and damage our economy. That is why the Australian government will continue to oppose ratification.”

The Leader of the Opposition, Simon Crean, then interjected, and you responded to him with these words “It amazes me that a Labor Party that claims, from time to time, to represent the interests f the working men and women of this country would sign an arrangement that would hurt this country. . . The Australian national interest does not lie in ratifying Kyoto: that is why we are opposed to it.”

In stating these obvious truths you dealt a blow to the hopes of some elements of the Canberra bureaucracy, whose career aspirations had been transformed at the prospect of Australia becoming part of an international bureaucracy, with extraordinary powers of inspection and control over the domestic economies of the member states of the Kyoto Protocol.

On 5 June 2002, you ensured that Australia retained its sovereignty with respect to policies on decarbonisation. However, the debate on global warming, de-carbonisation, and Australia’s future as a growing, prosperous and influential nation continues within the government, within the bureaucracy, and within the community at large. It is indeed unfortunate that because of the ready access to substantial public funds which the global warming protagonists enjoy, it has been a one-sided debate.

It is understood that cabinet has recently been asked to approve expenditures which will allow the Australian Greenhouse Office and their colleagues in other departments to conduct economic research into the consequences for Australia of

(a) the introduction of a carbon tax; or alternatively,

(b) the introduction of an emissions trading scheme whereby consumers of fossil fuels such as brown and black coal, diesel and other liquid fuels, and natural gas will be required to buy permits to emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. (This is a carbon tax under another name, but the difference here is that traders will make money by buying and selling these government-issued permits, just as brokers earn a percentage in buying and selling taxi-cab licences.)

If the Australian government should adopt either of these proposals, our energy costs will rise. In particular, electricity costs could increase by as much as 50 percent (depending on the severity of the carbon tax). Our international competitiveness, which is based in large measure on low-cost energy, would be seriously affected.

The Europeans who have championed the Kyoto Protocol and the regime of de-carbonisation which is the essence of the Protocol, together with their supporters in Australia, would have us believe that by reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by an almost imperceptible amount (through the establishment and enforcement of an international treaty), we can influence the world’s climate. This notion is, quite simply, a fantasy. W R Kininmonth, former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre, has said: “Any suggestion that implementation of the Kyoto Protocol will avoid future damage from weather and climate extremes is a grand delusion.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations body established to give advice on prospective carbon dioxide emissions and their alleged impact on the world’s climate, has ignored the abundance of scientific evidence and advice which is contrary to the message of human guilt and climatic punishment which it wishes to convey. In particular the IPCC cannot bring itself to acknowledge that there has been substantial natural variability in the world’s climate. The IPCC has gone to extraordinary lengths to seek to deny the significance of the Mediaeval Warming Period, (900 to 1300 AD) and the Little Ice Age, (1300 to 1900 AD) which were climatic events of great importance in world history.

Astro-physicists now argue that these events were driven by solar perturbations, arguments ignored by the IPCC. The IPCC has also assumed almost unimaginable rates of economic growth in the developing world, in order to artificially boost their astonishing predictions of world growth in anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide during the next century.

Solar perturbations will continue to have a long-term influence, perhaps dominant influence, on our climate and there is nothing that we can do about that. We should, of course, continue our research into all of the factors, direct and indirect solar influences, oceanic heat transportation, atmospheric energy transfers, and others, which can influence climate change. But the admission, by the most committed greenhouse protagonists, that even if the Kyoto Protocol were to come into full effect, it would have no discernible effect on climate, should not be swept aside.
For example, on the ABC’s 7:30 Report on 13 November 2000, Dr Graham Pearman AO, then Head of the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, referring to atmospheric CO2 concentrations and their impact on global climate said, “The reality of the Protocol as it is at the moment is that even if all of the nations were able to achieve those targets it would hardly make any difference.”

Australia’s contribution, then, would make no difference, at all, to this already indiscernible result. Why should Australia, having joined the US in refusing to be party to a Treaty based on scientific and economic arguments which are strenuously contested by a growing number of eminent scientists and economists, continue to consider measures which will make us much less competitive than our trading partners; particularly when such measures would impact heavily on the poorer sections of Australian society?

Prime Minister, your response on 5 June 2002 was based on sound judgment, and on a concern for Australian workers and Australian industries which depend on low-cost energy for their competitiveness. We urge you to back your judgement and your concerns with a directive to the bureaucrats who seek to undermine your policy to cease and desist.
Yours sincerely

Peter Walsh


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Tuesday, June 10, 2003


Excerpts from a circular by Joe Bryant about Australia’s anti-terrorism legislation, passed in 2002:

The so-called Anti-Terrorist Bills are about the parliament taking away our constitutional freedoms, a power grab equal to that of Hitler in 1933 when he established the Third Reich dictatorship. The eight Bills were passed by the House of Representatives in a single day. The other ominous sign is that these bills have received virtually no coverage in the popular media. Sound familiar?

The Bills open the door for the establishment of a Gestapo-type operation similar to that of Hitler. These Bills are designed to allow government officials to act outside of our Constitutional Law and get away with it. The stage is being set by this legislation to silence you forever as the German people were silenced, a silence that allowed the rise of official terrorism that came to affect the whole world through WW2.

We have a duty, which is to stand against tyranny and to protect our constitutional freedoms. You are now being called upon to exercise that duty, before you are called upon to defend your freedom with your life in the balance. Now is the time to remember the ANZAC inheritance. It is no longer acceptable to march on ANZAC day and at the same time ignore our duty. If we do we are a disgrace to those who fought and died to protect your freedom.


I am obliged to tell you that you are wrong again.
Firstly you are wrong in linking ANZAC Day with any political campaign.
Secondly you are wrong in drawing any comparison with Australian legislation and the 1933 actions of the Nazi, Adolf Hitler (Recommended reading: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - Shirer)
Thirdly you are wrong in using the phrase "Gestapo-type" in respect of any legislation of the Howard-led Liberal-National Government.
Fourthly you are wrong in implying that there is something sinister in eight related Bills passing the House of Representatives in a single day.
Fifthly, your failure to quote the Bills, or even their short titles, suggests to your readers that you might not have read the Bills.
Joe, you are a man with a big heart and good intentions. Please focus your vast energy upon defeating the real enemies of Australia, including socialism, dirigism and islamist anti-bourgeoisism.
Kind regards
Michael Darby


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Monday, June 09, 2003
BOOK REVIEW: “Thorns Among The Briar Roses”

(ISBN 1 74027 187 4 Ginninderra Press, PO Box 53, Charnswood ACT 2615

Here are some of the reasons why I want this book to be bought in large numbers by Australians. Firstly, Bette and her husband Col are good mates of mine. Secondly, Bette brings all the skills of a talented poet to crafting this high quality work as a pleasure to read and a treasure to keep. Thirdly, this is a book full of love. Col and Bette’s love for each other gets a mention, but the focus is on love, joyful colour-blind selfless compassionate love for children. Fourthly, this book is an inspiration to anyone who has not yet thought about fostering children, adopting children or even parenting children.

The fifth reason is perhaps the most important. Deserted, unwanted, abused or disabled children are very vulnerable human beings deserving of great kindness, immense patience, effective protection and powerful advocacy. Far too often, the people who make the decisions vital to the well being of such children are harshly inflexible bureaucrats, contemptuous of their hapless charges and arrogantly dismissive of those who genuinely want to share the security of their homes, the embrace of their family life and the warmth of their love with kiddies who utterly lack and desperately need these vital elements of happy human existence.

Every extra copy of “Thorns Among the Briar Roses” in circulation spreads the story of the Shiels’ fight against the inadequate welfare system in the quest for justice in the unjust world of fostering children. And every extra copy of “Thorns Among the Briar Roses” in circulation increases that chance of some little girl or boy regaining a stolen childhood, being blessed with an optimistic future, or simply staying alive.

Here is an informative extract, where Bette writes about her anguish at discovering that a four-year-old foster child was the victim of sexual abuse by the child’s own father:

I asked (the social worker) if Paul was going to get home access with Sally, and Jenny was non-committal as usual, saying that the meeting would decide the outcome.

‘Well, for what it's worth, I'd like it noted that I strongly object to him having her at his flat.'

She sounded surprised at my reaction. `Why are you so emphatic about this?'..‘I have my reasons, but I'd rather discuss them with you personally. Can I see you before the meeting?'

We arranged to meet in Melbourne, between her appointments. I met her at a sidewalk cafe in Collins Street. Over coffee, I explained my suspicions and how they came about. She listened without comment. Her facial features would have made her a great poker player. My anger was slowly rising at this woman's complete lack of response. I concluded my story by saying, `What it amounts to is that I'm sure he's interfering with her sexually, and I don't want to be responsible for what might happen if he's left alone with her, unsupervised.'

Her next sentence shocked me into stunned silence. A hint of a smile crossed her face as she said casually, `I appreciate your concern, but don't you think you're overreacting slightly? This sort of thing isn't uncommon. He probably wouldn't really hurt her.'

That was all it took for me to show her exactly what overreacting was all about. I exploded. Forgetting where I was, I yelled, `I don't give a damn how common it is! It's not happening in my house! And I'll do anything I have to, to stop it!'

My outburst finally brought a reaction from her. She frowned and looked around to see if anyone had witnessed my comments. She leaned forward and shushed me, saying softly, `It's not up to you. We decide what's best for our placements, and he will be supervised. His de facto wife will be there too.'

And of course you'll warn her that she should keep an eye on Paul in case he assaults his daughter?' I spat, sarcastically.

She glared at me with intense dislike before answering, `Nothing you've said so far has convinced me that Sally's in any danger. The outcome will be up to the childcare panel.'

`So that's it? You couldn't possibly understand how I'm so sure he's molesting her, because you've never had a child and wouldn't know what motherly instinct means. Everything you know about kids is out of textbooks.'

She refused to discuss it further, stating that she must go or be late for her appointment. I was left fighting back tears of frustration at my impotency. The following two days were nerve-racking for me. I couldn't sleep for trying to think of excuses not to let Sally go to her father's home, and how I could convince a panel of textbook mothers that a little girl's life could be destroyed by their incompetence.
By the third day, I had decided to go to the police. I was beyond caring what my social worker thought. I had to do what I thought was right.

My experience with the constabulary was limited, and I was nervous about speaking to a stranger about such a delicate issue. The policeman I spoke to at the counter listened as I gave him an outline of the problem, then directed me to an inner office where I was pleasantly surprised to find that the woman police officer sitting behind the desk was one I had met when I fostered Tessa. She had been Tessa's parole officer. She didn't remember me, but re­membered my foster-daughter. She was compassionate and attentive, listen­ing with interest to what I had to say.

Finally, she sat back in her chair and said, `I can understand your concern, and you're probably right about him, but, unfortunately, a four-year-old can't testify. The only way we can prove anything is to catch him in the act. You'd only have to catch him with his hand down her pants, and I could put the bastard away for five years. Otherwise he'll get away with it'

This revelation was incredible. I spluttered, `I couldn't set him up. What if I didn't get there in time? And with my short fuse, I'd probably end up knifing him. Can't you have a talk with him to let him know we're aware of what he's up to, frighten him off?'

`Not without ending up in court over it. Do you realise what a serious allegation this is?' She went on to tell me how sexually abused toddlers and children learn quickly not to talk about what is being done to them.

If your local bookstore does not have this wonderful book on sale, insist they get it in for you.


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Sunday, June 08, 2003

The Zimbabwe ‘Stay Away’ Push: Reports

THE BRUISED, BATTERED, robbed, tortured and starved people of Zimbabwe are simply not prepared to take any more. The widespread belief is that nothing can be worse than the continuation of Mugabe’s illegal and despotic rule. So in great numbers the people have been responding to the call for a nation-wide “Stay-away”, in the full knowledge that they face, unarmed and unassisted, the whole State apparatus of repression

Robert Mugabe long ago declared war on his own people, much as Stalin declared war on the unfortunate citizens of the Captive Nations of Europe. That one-sided war now incorporates every imaginable brutality. The victims are no longer safe anywhere, even in a hospital.
Following are recent despatches from the brave men and women whose friends and families are being attacked as you read this.

Personal Account from Jenni Williams

AFTER 24 HOURS of reports of intimidation of family members attempting to bring food to those brave people being held for participation in the week of action, Human Rights Activists Jenni Williams and Sheba Dube-Phiri entered the Bulawayo Central Police Station with food. Some suspects being moved around from suburban station-to-station could have not been fed since Monday 2nd June.
On 2nd June 3 family members had been arrested feeding those arrested and had themselves been arrested and are still in custody. Today alone the Crisis Information Centre (CIC) had received 6 messages from families of suspects requesting assistance with food and the delivery of it to police stations as they were facing harassment.

Due to these arrests, the prominent activists sought the company of two human rights lawyers, Trevor Ndebele and Kosam Ncube.
All went well initially with the activists being made to carry the food to the fence surrounding the Cells. Several plain-clothes officers entered the courtyard and one embarrassed officer approached us and indicated that he had ‘received orders from above’ that we were to go back into the front charge office and await return of food containers.
We sat there for some time before a tall Central Intelligence Officer reeking of alcohol came to us and said, “MaPhiri what are you doing feeding people – Come here”. We all got up and accompanied him to the courtyard where he stopped us.

This officer is known to Sheba Phiri as Muchena, he is always drunk and disorderly and shabbily dressed. He was in a green shirt.
He then started to ask why she had bought all this food and why she was feeding these people. Shouting loudly, he switched to the lawyers and asked why they were here and asked if their bills had been paid. “Do you know that we have food here we do not need your food. Do you know why these people are here?

The lawyers proffered their cards and indicated that they had a right to feed their clients.

“If you are supporting them in what they are doing you must go inside with them.” By then other officers had come to observe and spotting one, he said to one called Banda to take us upstairs and arrest us.
Phoning furiously we made our way up the steps to law and order, a place most Byo activists are familiar with and when we arrived we were greeted by Mr Matshazi (a green bomber elevated to police officer) who told us to go into an office.

In that office, we saw another officer interviewing Sibothe Mpofu, a personal aide to MDC MP Fletcher Dulini-Ncube. He had obvious injuries but we could not speak with him.

After some minutes, Officer Banda came in and said, “It is a little thing that will be solved soon,” and he left. After some minutes our arresting officer, Muchena came in and started to verbally abuse us threatening to kill us. Two officers came in and cautiously tried to coax him away in an obvious attempt to stop him from arresting us. It is obvious from they way they gently touched him that they knew he would lash out at us at any minute.

He once again berated Sheba for coming to feed people. He then asked the lawyers for their cards and asked me if I was a lawyer. I replied by explaining that I was there for Human rights and he said you and Phiri are ok to feed people but not the lawyers.

Turning back to the lawyers, he lectured them on the fact that the law and order department were working tirelessly to restore law and order but there is a Hondo (war). “Don’t you know that I can make you disappear (can abduct and kill you)?”

He was then pulled away with the lawyer’s cards in his hand. He returned after a few minutes with more vitriol. He said if we fed people without tasting the food, it could be poisoned. A position we agreed with but the officers in the detention room had not allowed us time to do so and once we taste it we must have visual sight of it reaching the recipients, which we could not do as we had been chased into the front charge office. He then said you can go and we did not have to wait for him to say this twice and after a 20-minute detention, we left to return another day.

We began to make our way out to comments from Matchazi, which we ignored. It was wonderful to arrive home safe and sound and I look forward to supper and a good night’s sleep. Some 300 activists will not enjoy the same tonight as they remain in ‘state accommodation’ but at least 40 of them had a wholesome and plentiful supper tonight!
In closing I pay tribute to Monica Lubimbi, Sikhanisiwe Ngulube and Alice Mkhandla in detention since yesterday morning; they went as I did to feed people and got arrested for it!

Bulawayo Arrests

MIDNIGHT 4TH JUNE 2003: News just received that 40 MDC youth members were arrested at their base on the outskirts of Bulawayo. Assumed amongst those arrested are George Moyo, the organising secretary and the owner of the house. The group were pounced on by police and army in two army trucks and it is unclear whether they have been taken.

State concedes no law prohibits stayaways

THE ILLEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT of Zimbabwe today admitted that there was no law which forbids any citizen from organising or participating in a stay away. This admission was made by the Attorney-General's office in the treason trial in which the state is seeking an order from High Court Judge Paddington Garwe to alter the bail conditions of Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Welshman Ncube to include a condition which bars them from saying anything which the state considers could lead to public disorder.

The admission comes against the background of the fact that MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda was last month arrested and put on leg irons and held in police custody for a week on allegations of organising an illegal stay away. Many other MDC parliamentarians, leaders and activists have been arrested and tortured on the same charge. This means that all these people were arrested and tortured using a law that does not exist.

This also proves that all the propaganda by junior minister Jonathan Moyo about stay aways being illegal is based on ignorance and lack of basic understanding of ZImbabwe's laws. Zimbabweans must therefore realise that in arresting people for organising or participating in stay aways, they will be breaking the law.

Tichaona Kaguru confirmed murdered by the army and police.

MDC ACTIVIST TICHONA KAGURU (33) is confirmed dead after being abducted and brutally tortured by the ZRP and members of the Zimbabwe National Army allegedly led by one Marange officer-in-charge of Mbare. Kaguru was abducted with Sydney Mazaranhanga at the house of Mazaranhanga who is the Councillor for MDC in Mbare at around 4pm.

Mazaranhanga who narrated the ordeal that the two went through confirmed this. An army truck and a police truck arrived at the house and they searched the whole house alleging that a meeting was being held at this house. When they failed to find anyone they abducted Mazaranhanga and his nephew Tichaona Kaguru and threw them into the army truck and started assaulting them. They assaulted them with batons, wires and booted feet all over their bodies and heads. As this was happening the truck was driving towards Chikurubi and they stopped near a bush in Mabvuku where some sewage pipes had burst. The two were made to roll over in this sewage.

They were further assaulted and then threatened with death if they ever revealed their ordeal as this would tarnish the image of the police force and the Government of Zimbabwe. Kaguru was very weak and could hardly walk and so Mazaranhanga went to seek help. He managed to get a vehicle from Circle Cement, which took the two to Chikurubi Clinic. All the staff there refused to attend the two saying that the clinic only catered for the police. They insisted that they had to call an ambulance. The two waited for an ambulance for over two hours. When it finally came Kaguru was pronounced dead. His body was taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital. Mazaranhanga was also treated at Parirenyatwa and discharged this morning.

This brutality in which innocent Zimbabweans are abducted from their homes and brutally murdered by the police and members of the National Army proves that Zimbabweans are living in an era of barbarism that is sanctioned by an illegitimate regime. The freedom that the people won in 1980 has effectively been taken away. Not only has this regime failed to provide food and jobs for the people of Zimbabwe, it goes to their homes to take away precious lives and beloved breadwinners of families. Kaguru leaves behind a wife and three children.

Last month Tonderai Machiridza was taken from his home and tortured to death at St Mary’s Police Station. Steven Tonera also died in Ruwa as a result of torture by state agents in Ruwa.

This death will not deter us. Instead it will inspire the people of Zimbabwe to strengthen their resolve in demanding freedom, justice and accountability.

Sadly we know that this will not happen under the illegitimate Mugabe regime. We know that the perpetrators of this crime will walk free while Kaguru’s family and all the people of Zimbabwe mourn yet another precious life.

MP denied bail

MILTON GWETU, MDC member of parliament for Mpopoma was denied bail today when he appeared in court in Bulawayo. He was remnded in custody until Friday. He appeared with other MDC officials, Getrude Mtombeni, Abraham Mdlongwa and a 13 year boy who was only identified as Mpofu. The 13 year old boy is in police custody and his bail application is being done tomorrow.

Two women, Monica Luwindi and Sikhanyisiwe Ngulube were arrested by the police after they had gone with food to give to some MDC supporters who are police custody . Police in Bulawayo have been looking for five MDC councillors.

Ten MDC supporters who were arrested in Bulawayo are missing . Their whereabouts are not known.

The lawyers representing the MDC supporters, Costa Ncube have not found them. He has been making frantic efforts to find them but the police are not eager to give information. He was almost arrested.


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