Police Operation Cuppa  NimbinThe recent drug raid in Northern NSW town of Nimbin, the culmination of a 6 month investigation dubbed Operation Cuppa, was revealed to media on the day as netting $1 million dollars worh of cannabis, $50,000 cash, as well as finding mdma, ice, guns, a tazer and a slingshot.

This all on the surface seems to point to the Gold Coast criminal organisation that Police want the public to think is behind the ‘Laneway Boys’ who sell cannabis to locals, tourists and medicinal marijuana seekers.

But speaking to locals reveals a very different story. While three of the men charged were from Queensland, the majority of the ‘laneway boys’ as they are known in Nimbin, are locals, even respected in some quarters as being responsible for keeping ice dealers out of the township.

The reported mdma and ice found in the raids has not been assigned a cash value, (unlike the cannabis which has been given a street value of one million dollars), which indicates that these drugs were personal use only. Because the police cast a large net in the raids, these drugs could have belonged to anyone and it is disingenuous to portray this as evidence of hard drug dealing or hard drug syndications. Likewise with the weapons claimed to have been found: numerous locals who know the men under charges, have confirmed that only one gun was found and it wasn’t associated with the laneway area but was found in one of the residences raided. No firearms charges have been laid so it can only be assumed the firearm was legitmately licenced.

Police Operation Cuppa  NimbinOther residents have come forward stating that they were caught up in the raids, but not charged and not involved with the incidence at all other than being caught up in the police dragnet.

While there is still a lot of controversy in the township over the drug dealing that occurs in the laneway, and whether it extends to hard drugs or not, there is no shortage of respected community members who have stood up for the laneway boys in the aftermath of this raid.

It’s wise to be cautious with taking police reports to media at face value and instead look between the lines. It is standard police practice the world over to cast a large net and shake it to see what comes out. Not much consideration is given to any innocent people who get caught up, or whether genuinely guilty people’s crimes are exaggerated.

UPDATE: The amount of cannabis seized was in he order of 5kg, and the reported Street value of $1 million is wildly exaggerated. A realistic figure would be between $20,000 and $50,000.


Police Operation Cuppa Nimbin




An example of a Telecom Data Centre. Licensed under GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons.


Metadata – what does it capture:

  • IP address endpoints on http traffic, but not https.
  • GSM MetaData – who you called/texted and when/where.
  • Public wifi hotspots not required to collect metadata.
  • https mail is secure from metadata protection except —>
    Five eyes agreement (Share intelligence – US UK NZ CANADA and AUST)
    Not secure if you email a non-https email account.
  • Metadata DOES NOT INCLUDE your content on Facebook, however obviously public shared data is available to anyone, and private or friends only data is available through PRISM (see below).

Information held by Australian service providers, and sometimes international services can be subpoenaed. Example, copyright cases.


National Security Agency

NSA have several mechanisms for tracking/collecting data.  The main methods are Internet Backbone interception and PRISM

  • Internet Backbone:
    AT&T, Verizon, Sprint have all provided NSA access to their networks.  This means NSA can monitor and collect data going across those provider’s networks.   NSA have also been caught out intercepting routers enroute from manufacturer to customer and inserting software backdoors.  This means they can log any traffic that crosses that router once it is in operation.
  • PRISM. PRISM is a surveillance system that provides backdoor access to several main service providers.  It allows NSA agents to access data held on users of those services.   Known members of PRISM include:
    Yahoo (who fought it in FISA court but lost)
    Microsoft (and outlook.com)
  • FISA Court. – sometimes supports NSA, sometimes limits it.  FISA is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.  FISA is responsible for authorising or blocking NSA surveillance operations.


Security (Solutions)

Warrant Canary

Like a canary used by miners, if the canary dies, there is a gas leak.  Canaries will die from gas before humans, so a dead canary is advanced notice for humans of a gas leak.  Likewise, a warrant canary is a statement regularly updated by a provider indicating they have not been subject to a government warrant.  If the statement is out of date or missing, it means the company has been subject to warrant, and therefore your data held by the company may no longer be secure.

Warrant canaries are issued because warrant requests usually legally require the company not reveal that they are subject to a warrant.



Web browsing anonymity. IP address obfuscation. Slow, and can’t be used for torenting since torenting breaks the anonymity. Outbound nodes can be compromised.

https anywhere improves security by ensuring all traffic is encrypted.

VPN – Encrypts traffic between the user and the vpn proivder
VPN providers can be subpoenaed – look for vpn that doesn’t keep ip address logs.
Free vpn versus paid – pros and cons – Free VPN providers are less secure, unknown.  Large providers are more secure, but more likely to be subject to warrant.


Private chat/call/email

Wickr – goes through central provider but end to end encryption – they don’t know what you are sending.
Wick use Warrant Cannaries.

RISEUP – https secure email. Not encrypted at provider, but provider is trustworthy. They can still be subpoenaed. Riseup use a Warrant Canary.

TextSecure, now Redphone – recommended by Snowden – encrypted, but some metadata can leak.

Skype – encrypted, but can be captured if Skype has been subject to warrant (whereas wickr data is fully encrypted end point to end point). Also meta data is leaky. No warrant canary – owned by MS so part of PRISM

All above chat/call methods rely on third parties

Mesoporous silica particle

Mesoporous silica particle

The consumer and environment advocacy group Friends of the Earth has commissioned independent research that confirms nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and Silica in a range of food products.  Foods known to be affected so far include M&Ms, Nestlé Coffee Mate Creamer, Old El Paso Taco Mix and Woolworths Homebrand White Sauce.

In light of statements by Food Safety Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) given to Parliament that food products containing these ingredients will not be sold until they have been subject to safety testing and pre-market approval, there is concern that the problem is unquantified and many more foods may contain nanoparticles.

FOE Press Release available here: Independent testing finds illegal and potentially harmful nanoparticles in common food products.

Further evidence that the government have a head in the sand approach to nanoparticles in food can be found on the Department of Health (via National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, NICNAS) website that claims “Reported uses of TiO2 nanoparticles in Australia are similar to the overseas uses — cosmetic and sunscreen products and surface coatings such as paint”. No mention of food. Without labelling requirements, and with the government denying the presence of nanoparticles, consumers are unable to decide to exercise caution in the consumption of foods containing nanoparticles.

Read the NICNAS Nanoparticle Report.

There are few safety studies available on the use of nanoparticles in food, but studies that have been done on nanoparticles point to potential carcinogenic affects, genotoxicity or immune system compromise. The report “Titanium dioxide nanoparticles: a review of current toxicological data” provides a review of current research.  Part of the finding raises concern about pulmonary inflammation and lung cancers:

“Pulmonary inflammatory responses and lung cancers are the most important adverse effect observed in experimental animals due to TiO2 NP exposures. When only using realistic doses are considered, as in the case of some inhalation studies, inflammatory responses are still a prominent effect seen. ”  http://www.particleandfibretoxicology.com/content/10/1/15

More research is needed before deciding on whether nanoparticles are safe for human consumption.

UPDATE: In response to the SMH article Nanotechnology Found in Popular Foods Despite Repeated Denials by Food Regulators, FSANZ has released this statement. The statement essentially amounts to “FSANZ and other international food regulatory agencies have not identified any health effect known to be associated with the use of nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and silica, following oral ingestion in foods”.  They have also announced that a leading toxicologist will be undertaking a review into nanoparticles in food, with the final report expected to be published in late 2015 to early 2016.

Note: This article originally appeared in foodirradiationwatch.org, by the same author.

G20 Protesters Face Court

Anon Supporters

Anon Supporters

In Brisbane Thursday supporters of  protesters arrested during G20 gathered outside the Magistrates Court to show solidarity with those facing charges. Their charges ranging from possession of a prohibited weapon (an innocent bystander in the Valley, no intent to protest, happened to have a sling shot in his backpack that someone had just given him), Possession of masks, and contravene Prohibited Persons conditions.  Most elected to have the cases adjourned, with one arrestee choosing to have the matter dealt with on the spot receiving a small bond and no conviction recorded.

'Anthony' speaking to press after the hearing

‘Anthony’ speaking to press after the hearing

The support rally was organised primarily by Anonymous Brisbane and Anonymous Galactic in solidarity with ‘Anthony’, an Anonymous protester who was arrested during the Saturday march for wearing an Anonymous mask and refusing to remove it when asked.  Anthony intends to fight the charges, arguing that he had a lawful excuse to be in possession of a mask since it was being used as a form of political expression.

Under UN treaties to which Australia belongs, political expression and peaceful assembly without undue restrictions are considered rights.

Cairon O'Reilly talking to media

Cairon O’Reilly talking to media 

Even without relying on the Government to recognise it’s obligations under UN treaties (something that isn’t happening for asylum seekers or indigenous people), the G20 Act itself says that Prohibited Items can be legally carried or used if for a lawful purpose.  And under the G20 Act, peaceful assemblies were deemed lawful even if no permission had been sought from the authorities. So protesters are demanding that the charges be dropped.

Supporters going  in to court

Supporters going in to court

Supporters for two Anarchists charged were also present as well as supporters of Cairon O’Reilly.  Well known for his peaceful direct action protests, O’Reilly took advantage of his reputation in order to generate media coverage for his attempts to talk to US President Barack Obama about Chelsea Manning’s plight. During the G20, O’Reilly intentionally contravened a Prohibited Persons order by being present in a Declared Area.

Protesters are saying that the G20 laws were inappropriate because they restricted freedom of assembly and that their use represents adoption of what is likely to become a slippery slope towards ever increasing restrictions in the future.


Protesters speak to Briscan Legal Support.

Protesters speak to Briscan Legal Support. 


After their hearings, some of the arrestees spoke with the Briscan Activist Support Team, who are offering advice and assistance to people caught up in the G20 laws.

G20 Proxy Censorship

The G20 circus brings with it some expected impositions.  And despite the misgivings many people have about those impositions, most people just accept it as par for the course of hosting a large international meeting such as the G20.  Public transport disruptions, road closures, increased police powers in certain zones and so on.  But it’s all predicated on safety and security right?  After all the special act brought in to give police increased powers and to define special security zones is called the G20 Safety and Security Act 2013.  Some worrying powers come with this new one use Act.  Presumption against bail, enhanced stop and search powers, prohibited items and prohibited persons lists being just some of the provisions.  But surely it’s all about increased safety of citizens and G20 delegates. Isn’t it?  The fact that loud hailers, masks, and banners larger than one by two metres, all of which are standard fare at protests under the current Peaceful Assembly Act (which is suspended in the G20 security zones), are listed as prohibited items under the G20 Safety and Security Act, isn’t an ominous sign of the suppression of protester’s voices and their ability to have an impact.  It’s just that the police want a little extra control, to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Maybe.  But there have been some interesting developments around town that make one wonder if the Government, and it’s agent the Queensland Police Force, aren’t very interested in keeping anti-G20 sentiment to a very minimum.  In reports from protest groups, they have been told by Police Liaison Officers that despite protest group’s assemblies being registered and being lawful assemblies under the G20 Act, and despite the G20 Act specifying that carrying of prohibited items is acceptable if being used for a lawful purpose, carrying of loudhailers, masks and large banners are will not be tolerated.  So there seems to be a messaging disconnect there.  Yes we support your right to protest, but we are going to take away your most significant tools of protest.

Police Instructing Office Works Not to Print G20 Material

It’s not only within the G20 Act that this action by police to suppress the voice of protest has been observed.  Recently we heard a rumour that police had forbidden Office Works to print any material submitted by customers relating to G20.  I spoke to Kate, a manager at the CBD branch of Office Works yesterday to clarify what the situation was.  I expected to hear that this was only a rumour:

Max: I am following up rumours that office works have been instructed by police not to print any material related to g20.
Kate: Yes that’s right.
Max: Interesting.
Max: From what level of the police service did that instruction come?
Kate: I don’t know, it was a specific request. The other thing is we actually reserve any right refuse to print any material at all that may give offence to any person, we reserve the right to refuse to print any material that might be deemed offensive. We have been specifically instructed not to print any anti-g20 material, but other than that we can refuse to print any material we deem may be offensive.
Max: Okay, that’s fair enough I understand that.
Max: Have you specifically deemed any and all g20 material offensive or you’ve not been even given the opportunity to determine that because you can’t print any at all?
Kate: No, anything particularly relating to G20, we’re not printing.
Max: Can I ask have you ever received any other request from police about certain material that shouldn’t be printed?
Kate: That I am aware of no, but I have no doubt that it has happened in the past. It’s just because of the political nature of it I assume.  The police request was more to do with the fact that the thing was being used for vandal activity and it wasn’t okay. In each store we are not printing it because it could potentially cause offence to a person or persons but if there was a particular store which has been instructed not to print the material based on the fact it was being used for vandalism essentially.
Max: Was the police instruction that all G20 material was viewed as being related to vandalism or was it they didn’t want any of it printed just in case?
Kate: I’m not sure of the exact instruction, but we as a store are opting to not print any specific G20 material based on the fact that it will cause offence to a person or a persons.

It seems that what has happened is that police have issued an instruction about a particular incident, which may relate to the Cairns Grandmother Myra Gold who was refused service at an Office Works in Cairns.  That refusal followed an incident in which MS Gold was arrested for posting G20 stickers and charged with vandalism.  According to Office Works Cairns, police told the store not to print any more G20 stickers.  Police denied any instructions had been made to businesses.

Kate from Brisbane CBD Office Works seemed pretty clear that police had specifically instructed the store not to print G20 materials, whilst also affirming that the store itself wasn’t interested in printing any G20 material regardless of the police instruction.

Community group BrisCAN recently also had service refused at Office Works recently.  The material in this case was a Zine calling for alternatives to G20.  Read it for yourself and judge whether the material is offensive or could be construed as offensive: G20 Peoples’ Zine. Unlike stickers or a poster, a Zine is not used in acts of vandalism but is distributed more like a newspaper.

G20 Billboards

onmyagenda-rejected-billboardBrisbane Airport has recently rejected two billboards sought to be placed by WWF and Transparency International.  The G20 targeted billboards were deemed “too political”. The WWF billboard draws attention to the need for action on Climate Change, while the Transparency International billboard calls for the G20 to act on dirty money and corruption.   The Airport has ensured the public that they only rejected the billboards because they wish the airport to remain a partisan area, however this claim is weakened by the presence of the Reef facts billboard in the airport foyer.transparency-international-billboard-data  The Reef facts campaign uses a dubious reading of statistics to reassure the public that it’s Barrier Reef dredging operations are safe to the reef.  As pointed out in this Sydney Morning Herald article, the Reef Facts website is misleading.  The website explains that the primary cause of loss of coral cover 60km out to sea is natural weather events, but these figures don’t apply for loss of coral cover closer in to shore were dredging occurs.  Further, it is claimed that “No scientific study has blamed ports or shipping for coral loss” and while this is true, it is because there has been very little monitoring in that area.

Reef Facts Billboard

An example of the Reef Facts billboard, similar to that displayed at BAC

 The Reef Facts billboard clearly has a political agenda: to convince people that Abbott Point dredging is safe.  It’s a political campaign billboard. It seems clear that the Brisbane Airport Corporation is interested in currying favour with it’s landlord, the Australian Federal government.

So what Does it All Mean?

These examples (and there are more) singly don’t add up to a concerted effort at censorship, but collectively they do have that affect.  The government is driving a pro mining, pro economic growth agenda that sees any dissenters as troublemakers to be silenced.  With 60 year old Grandmothers such as Myra Gold being arrested for vandalism, corporations like BAC hosting government propaganda and not allowing right of reply, by enforcing unnecessary security provisions that prevent protesters from reaching visual or aural range of the people who they want to hear their message, and by intimidating businesses into not providing services to anyone who wants to share a message that is contrary to government opinion, there is a proxy censorship in place.

Community Responses

Fortunately in Brisbane the community rarely takes this lying down.  Until or if the government decides to practice outright censorship, it’s still possible to get a message across. Here are just two examples:

Melbourne Street approaching West End – Oxfam Billboard

Uniting Church West End – G20 People Before Profit – Photo Robin Taubenfeld


Not everyone is enamoured with the G20 process.  Activists in Brisbane, frustrated with the continual failure of the G20 leadership to focus on real solutions to issues such as Poverty, Employment, Climate and Environment, have taken it upon themselves to offer alternatives.   Not just protesting, but implementing a series of thought provoking and uplifting events that will reverberate long after G20 in the hearts and minds of those working towards change.


First Nations Decolonisation Before Profit Program:

This is the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy (BASE) response to the G20 summit.  BASE activists have worked to gather First Nations people from around Australia and the World to meet at Musgrave Park for a week of discussions and activities. An expected 3000 people will converge on Musgrave Park over the week.

More info: http://brisbaneblacks.com/g20


BrisCAN-G20 Peoples’ Summit:

BrisCAN is a loose network of activists and community groups from Brisbane who are presenting a three day alternative to the G20 Summit.  A Peoples’ Summit, bringing together speakers and experts in alternative economics, environment and labour from around Australia and the World to explore alternatives to the G20 ‘profit at all costs’ agenda.

More info: http://briscan.net.au/program


Along with these two showcase events, are many small events.  To keep abreast of what’s on, visit http://briscan.net.au/events





Brisbane Blacks & Aboriginal Embassy In less than a month 20 representatives from the biggest economies of the world will meet in Brisbane. The summit is set to bring Queensland and Australia into the world’s spotlight—at least it will if Tony Abbott makes good on his President Putin shirtfront declaration. However, we won’t see much of what is really happening in the meetings as they are not open to the public, despite most of the member countries claiming to be democracies

During the summit the city will be patrolled by 6,000 police officers, access to the city will be highly restricted, and the Friday has been named a public holiday to reduce the volume of people. In fact the security operation is set to be one of the biggest in Australian history. Much Brisbane city council is preparing cultural celebrations in the lead up to the summit, but not everyone in the city is happy with the G20 summit. In fact a lot of the security preparations are in anticipation of the large numbers of expected protesters who are also organising their own events.

BRISBANE BLACKSWe met up with some of the main groups organising the G20 protests to find out what they’re planning. We met BoeSpearim the organiser for the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy and Callum Clayton-Dixon the co-editor of Brisbane Blacks at Musgrave Park, an important site for Brisbane’s Aboriginal community and the centre of the events they are planning for the G20, and talked about world politics and environment.

The G20 have stated that their main focus is economic growth, one at odds with the protester’s and much of the publics concern over issues around the environment and human rights. “Economical growth is basically exploiting the land of Indigenous people.. It’s the clash of two worlds and it is the rise of the economic benefit of the few,” Boe says.

Boe and Callum are not overly concerned with catching world leader’s attention, but rather see the G20 week as an opportunity for Aboriginal people and the broader community to engage. The protests at the 1982 Commonwealth games in Brisbane made history as Aboriginal people came all together from all over the country for the abolition of the Aboriginal Protection Act and the Apartheid Legislation. The G20 protests have the same potential, there are buses coming from Cairns and Melbourne to support the protests, “the whole idea of putting up these events is to galvanize the movement, to put us into the next stage of the movement, to inspire and give motivation to our own people, to get as all active again,” Callum says.

BRISCANLater in the day, I met with BrisCAN-G20 spokesperson Robin Taubenfeld and a handful of individuals from activist groups the Occupy movement, Friends of the Earth, Socialist Alliance, and the West End community. They also believed the G20 representatives won’t be solving the world’s real problems, “We are in a time when corporations and decision makers are putting an agenda of growth which is in direct opposition with the planet and the climate and for human rights here in Australia and globally,” Robin says.

When asked if they felt suitably represented by Tony Abbott on the world stage they literally laughed. “We are not going to get our freedom from the people that have been oppressing us but from the people that feel the same way that we are feeling,” Boe said. While Robin and the BrisCAN-G20 crew said the Prime Minister had a “political agenda for intentional disregard for the community and the planet as a way of showing force.”

Abbott’s declaration that the G20 won’t focus on climate change has the community concerned, as has the current government’s decisions to support mining and fossil fuel industries despite the US committing to reduce their own carbon emissions.

Musgrave Park2The list of issues is understandably long, but all the protesters agree that the international attention can be a positive tool for change. For the Aboriginal community it would be an opportunity to speak about their history and connect with others around the world, “at the end of the day it’s not world leader we want to speak to, it is the other Indigenous and oppressed people around the world we want to open a dialogue with.” BrisCAN-G20 and the Aboriginal community are committed to broaden these communications with various talks, symposiums, concerts and workshops that can bring grass-root based solutions to the problems that are not being addressed by the G20’s decisions, that would affect not only Australia but the world’s non-privileged population.

Follow Laura on Twitter@laurarc91

International union leader calls on G20 to improve lives of working families.


Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of International Trade Union Confederation, will speak at the G20 rally on November 15. The ITUC represents 125 million workers across 125 countries.

Sharan Burrow, who will also participate in Labour 20, has called for a focus on jobs and wages at this November’s G20 leader’s summit.

“G20 leaders must prioritise jobs, wages and social protection to kick start the global economy and afford justice to working families.”

“The Labour 20 represents working people and calls on governments to take a courageous stand against the increasing American corporate model that is destroying the social balance in the global economy” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.

The rally will assemble at 11am November 15 2014 at Emma Miller Place (Roma St) and subsequently march past the G20 summit to Musgrave Park.

For further comment contact media spokesperson Adrian Skerritt on 0400 307 892, or email info@briscan.net.au

Photographer: Jonny White (G20 April 1st) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

London G20 2009


G20 Solutions tend to focus on financial growth and security, figuring that if banks are sound then business can be funded and everything keeps rolling along happily. So money is poured into the financial sector in the form of stimulus payments. The second solution G20 focus on is removing impediments to big business, in particular global companies. For this, trade agreements and other mechanisms are used to “level the playing field”.

The problem with these solutions is they are predicated on the idea that if you look after the big end of town, wealth will trickle down to the rest of us. The problem is, this “trickle down” effect does not occur. It seems that what happens is that wages, conditions, and goods and services all level out to the lowest common denominator while the “big end of town” continues to get bigger.

In June, Oxfam Australia’s chief executive Helen Szoke said ”The Australia figures are quite staggering if you think that nine individuals have a net worth that is equivalent to the total 4.5 million people, or the bottom 20 cent of income workers – that’s pretty stark.” Her source was a Forbes and Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook study.

One of the reasons for the increasing gap between the rich and the poor is regressive tax rates. In the US in 1970 the income tax rate over $100,000 dollars was 70%. Now it’s 39.6% for income over $225,000. Another is the holding down of incomes since the GFC, which have lost value in real terms while the profits of the multinationals and the bankers have gone up. Source, the federal reserves own 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances.

Indeed even when the G20 make sounds as if to recognise these issues, nothing happens.  In 2011, at the request of the G20 The Gates Foundation produced a report entitled G20 Report that recommended a financial transaction tax as a way to stem the flow of wealth from the poor to the rich.  The tax came to be known as the Robin Hood Tax.  The recommendation was not adopted.

It is not only personal income that contributes to the gap between the rich and poor.  Company profits are often able to escape taxation altogether, or be greatly minimised.  Again, the G20 recognised the need to address this issue, and called for the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting plan to address corruption and tax evasion.  The request was picked up and a plan developed by the OECD (see here: BEPS).  But as yet, G20 nations have failed to endorse the plan.  The Tax Justice Network have conducted ground breaking research into global tax evasion, revealing that 21 Trillion dollars (the entire GDP of the US is only $16 Trillion) is siphoned offshore before governments have a chance to tax it.   Many of the nations who host this offshore profit, have massive debts that cripple their ability to provide infrastructure and services to their people, yet their total debt is LESS than the offshore profits they are hosting.  But it’s not dodgy no name banks who are holding the profits on behalf of western corporations: it is the very international banks of the G20.  And these banks are paying off the corrupt leadership of these debt ridden nations, or paying the public purse a pittance and threatening to go elsewhere if the host nation dares to tax them.

Even the IMF has criticised the lack of action on tax havens, as shown by the Tax Justice Network in the report IMF: tax havens cause poverty, particularly in developing countries:

The IMF report takes a swing or two at the OECD’s BEPS process. For instance, in a section on tax treaties which allocate taxing rights among countries, the IMF notes that not only are the OECD models (that are generally the basis for these treaties) skewed in favour of richer countries, as we and other have often remarked, but it also adds:
“At issue here are deeper notions as to the ‘fair’ international allocation of tax revenue and powers across countries (which current initiatives do not address).”

Which makes it all the more perplexing that the G20 nations have failed to endorse BEPS.

The G20 have recognised that the shift of wealth upwards is a threat to global economic growth. In 2009, the G20 adopted the ‘G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable, and Balanced Growth’  in which it required it’s members to “promote balanced and sustainable economic development in order to narrow development imbalances and reduce poverty”.  Yet they seem so beholden to the business lobby that they have forgotten this framework.


If we turn to climate we find a similar scenario. At the 2010 G20 Summit in Soul the closing document expressed a commitment to “achieving a successful, balanced result that includes the core issues of mitigation,transparency, finance, technology, adaptation, and forest preservation”.  Yet the G20 have achieved almost nothing on these fronts.  The G20 have failed to provide effective leadership in developing effective world wide carbon reduction policy.  In energy production, the G20 have failed to implement removal of fossil fuel subsidies despite reiteration of the need to do so at many of the G20 summits.  In an age where governments are asking their people, through mechanisms such as the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, to accept removal of barriers to trade such as local environmental laws, animal cruelty laws, food safety laws etc, they are then asking their people to accept fuel subsidies that favour the big emitters.  $528 billion world wide goes towards fossil fuels while $88 billion goes towards renewable energy.  On a proportional basis, per unit of energy, more subsidies go towards renewable energies, which on the surface makes it appear that renewable energy producers are better off.  however if this figure was reversed the uptake of renewable energies would occur much quicker and there would be a brake on fossil fuel use.  The benefit in carbon reduction would be immediate.  Of course on the end of this is a consumer of fuel paying more to get from A to B.  But the solution is not to bring everything down to the lowest common denominator.  Nor is it to heat the world’s climate in the process, because doing so will only cost the average person on the street more in the long run, while, under current G20 economic models, the captains of industry will continue to do better and better.


In a very real way this highlights the flaw in the whole modus operandi of the G20 and their neoliberal theories.  That the G20 are not working effectively towards lifting up the world’s populace economically, so that they can afford to make a real choice between using fossil fuels or an equally priced (and heavily subsidised – at first) renewable energy alternative, is a basic failure of democracy.

The G20 leaders are not listening to the people.  After the G20 summit, with all it’s feel good statements about climate, the worlds poor and so on, they go back home to their economic rationalist advisors and their lobby money and fail to act.  The G20 is a Festival of Fakery.  The only real things that come out of the G20 are “back room” agreements that centre around access to resources.  “We’ll open this market if you open that market”.  The talk of caring for the environment, building alternative energy solutions, equality and eliminating poverty is all forgotten when the talk gets down to the nitty gritty.

Not only is the G20 failing on democracy for it’s member nations people: it doesn’t represent all the people of the world.  The G20 nations cover 70% of the world’s people, and 90% of it’s wealth. The last 30% with only 10% of the wealth are not represented in any meaningful way in the G20 discussions.  All South American nations excepting Brazil and Argentina, most of Africa and South East Asia are not represented.

First Nations

The people of the world’s first nations are particularly under represented by the G20, primarily because their nations have been decimated by colonialism.  Indeed they are more often not even recognised as having sovereignty and it is expected that representation is covered by the nation under which they have been colonised.  What is not understood is that until sovereignty is recognised, first nations people are without land and without purpose.  They are adrift within the imperialist’s world.

Where sovereignty is recognised through appropriate treaties, first nations people are able to rebuild their unique culture, laws and language. First nations people usually have very different economic models compared to the G20 member states.  They have closer affinity with the land and when it is destroyed by mining or environmental degradation the connection to their culture is in danger of being lost.

The economic and cultural needs of first nations people around the world are not covered by the G20.  At most you can expect token participation. Before first nations people can have true justice the world needs to divest itself of colonialism: it has to decolonise.  First Nation sovereignty needs to be recognised.  Anything less amounts to assimilation, and assimilation is genocide.

So Where To From Here?

It’s fairly clear that the G20 process is not going to lead to a fairer cleaner safer world.  Even alternatives such as BRICS (Brazil Russia India China and South Africa) really only seek to provide the same economic rationalist approach in a way that more closely suits that particular subset of G20 nations.  What is needed is for the world’s people to first become aware, and second, stand up to the G20 process and say “not in my name”.  Like the Indignado movement in Spain, the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and now the Hong Kong democracy movement, there needs to be mobilisation against the economic rationalism that is leading to the destruction of our planet and the economic slavery of billions.  We need to break down the current paradigm that says “growth is good” and establish a global community that seeks to represent all peoples, to put people before profit, and to work towards and for Sovereignty, Society and Sustainability.

The story of how this is done is will be written by history.  But it starts with YOU!









Media Release

“G20 is austerity summit” claims protest organiser


BrisCAN spokesperson, Adrian Skerritt said: “The G20 meeting will disrupt the lives of Brisbane residents from November 8 to November 16. But it won’t end there. G20 policies will continue to disrupt our lives long after the meeting is over.”

The G20 forum is committed to shifting wealth from the majority of citizens to the incredibly rich. They will do globally what Newman and Abbott are doing locally – sell public assets, outsource and cuts to social services.”

“The G20 is the Austerity Summit” claimed Mr Skerritt.

“What they can’t achieve through their budgets and trade deals they will attempt to resolve through war. Look at Obama and Abbott’s new war in Iraq and Putin’s use of military force in the Ukraine.”

The rally and march on November 15 will condemn G20 policies that create poverty and inequality. The march will also champion the values that should drive economic and political decisions – justice, sustainability, indigenous sovereignty and democracy.

“BrisCAN is demanding a world with an economy that works for people and the planet, a world safe from the ravages of climate change and war, a world with good jobs, clean air and water and healthy communities” said Mr Skerritt.

The rally will assemble at 11am November 15 2014 at Emma Miller Place (Roma St) and subsequently march past the G20 summit to Musgrave Park.

For detail about BrisCAN-G20 visit briscan.net.au or www.facebook.com/briscan.g20.
For further comment contact media spokesperson Adrian Skerritt on 0400 307 892.