Has Australia's protected and unaccountable Foreign Minister asked the UK to return Julian Assange's passport yet?
There can be no tyrants where there are no slaves.
- Jose Rizal
Peter Greste says Julie Bishop’s death stare helped get him out of prison [Buzzfeed - 26/3/15]
After the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) found in his favour, the UK government should cancel the arrest warrant on Julian Assange and return his Australian passport, Australian Greens Deputy Leader Senator Scott Ludlam said today.
"It's as simple as this; an Australian citizen has been unable to leave a small office building in London for over three years. It's time for the Foreign Minister to demand that the UK return Mr Assange's passport and allow him to leave the country." ... [Greens Media Release - 5/2/16]
UN Victory in Assange Case: Decision has big implications for refugees and whistleblowers [Center for Constitutional Rights - 5/2/16]
Texas officials want controversial family detention centers to be labeled as ‘child care’ centers [Think Progress - 8/2/16]:
... “It is simply unfathomable that the United States continues the fight to jail refugee children in deportation internment camps where they are subjected to neglect, abuse, and torture,” Matthew Kolken, an immigration lawyer based in Buffalo, New York, told ThinkProgress.
“State officials in Texas should send their own children to these ‘child care’ facilities for a week, and see how they fare.” ...
A Salvadoran woman who suffered seven seizures while in immigration custody has been released from a for-profit detention center in Texas after a public outcry.
Susana Arévalo was detained last month in one of the Obama administration’s raids targeting Central American families seeking asylum.
She told Democracy Now! officials had prevented her from attending her medical appointments for epilepsy. ... [Democracy Now - 8/2/16]
The Georgia #Not1More coalition today released a statement condemning the recent raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which targeted Central American women and children seeking asylum in this country.
“It is deeply troubling for ICE to target mothers and children seeking refuge from persecution, murder, and torture in their home countries in Central America for deportation back to those same conditions and worse,” read the statement signed by more than fifty elected officials, faith, community, and labor leaders. ... [#NOT1MORE - 8/2/16]
Lack of legal counsel leaves 100s of families set for deportation from US [Latin American Herald Tribune - 8/2/16]
Malaysia: End Anwar Ibrahim incarceration [Human Rights Watch – 8/2/16]:
On the first anniversary of Anwar Ibrahim’s incarceration on politically motivated charges, the Malaysian government should unconditionally release the former deputy prime minister and political opposition leader, Human Rights Watch said today.
The Malaysian government should also ensure that Anwar can access appropriate medical services while imprisoned and facilitate necessary overseas travel to treat the serious ailments he reportedly suffers from in prison.
“Malaysia’s conviction of Anwar Ibrahim was politically motivated, and he’s already suffered through a year in prison from this travesty of justice,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director.
“Every day that Anwar is behind bars, confidence in the Malaysian justice system further erodes. The government should release Anwar and repeal the country’s abusive and archaic sodomy laws.”
On February 10, 2015, Malaysia’s Federal Court upheld a Court of Appeal verdict that Anwar was guilty of sodomy under the Malaysian penal code. Anwar was taken into custody and immediately began serving a five-year prison term. A request for a pardon was turned down in March 2015. An appeal of that denial has yet to be decided.
In November 2015, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Anwar’s imprisonment violated prohibitions on torture, or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Specifically, the Working Group found that an “adequate remedy would be to release Mr. Ibrahim immediately, and ensure that his political rights that were removed based on his arbitrary detention be reinstated.”
Police arrested Anwar on July 16, 2008, based on a complaint from Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a political aide, that Anwar had consensual sex with him. The original trial was plagued with serious fair trial concerns, including the prosecutors’ unwillingness to provide defense lawyers with access to medical and other evidence against their client.
Nevertheless, the High Court acquitted Anwar on January 9, 2012, ruling that DNA samples that were central to the prosecution’s case had not been handled or maintained properly and thus were possibly contaminated. The High Court judge said the only other major evidence was the alleged victim’s statements, which were uncorroborated.
The government appealed and on March 7, 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal and sentenced Anwar to five years in prison. The appeal court hearing, originally scheduled for April, was hurriedly moved to March 6-7. The verdict and sentencing hearings were conducted on the same day despite defense counsel requests that they be given more time, including provision of medical evidence. The sentencing hearing was conducted after a one-hour recess on a day of proceedings that had lasted until 5 p.m.
Anwar’s conviction disqualified him from running for a state assembly seat in Selangor on March 23. Had he been permitted to run and won the seat, he would have been eligible to seek the position of chief minister of Selangor state, a development strongly opposed by the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
Anwar’s five-year sentence also carried a subsequent five-year ban on running for office after being released from prison under Malaysia’s elections law, which imposes a ban on anyone who is imprisoned for more than one year – effectively ending his elected political career. Soon after Anwar’s imprisonment, the multi-party Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance he had led fractured.
“Anwar’s conviction and imprisonment removed a major political threat to the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak,” Robertson said. “The conviction effectively removed a charismatic opposition leader, already in his late sixties, from politics for a minimum of ten years.”
According to his lawyers, Anwar suffers from serious health problems, including a major rotator cuff injury with torn muscles and tendons, which has not received proper treatment in prison.
The lawyers and Anwar’s family raised health concerns for Anwar if he were to have the condition treated in an operation in Malaysia, and have tried to persuade the government to let him travel overseas for treatment. They have also sought guarantees that if Anwar did depart the country, the government would permit him to return and not seek to permanently exile him.
The anniversary of Anwar’s imprisonment comes five days before United States President Barack Obama is set to host a major summit with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the US.
The invitation of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also embroiled in a major corruption scandal involving the deposit of hundreds of millions of dollars in his personal bank account, has provoked outrage within civil society in Malaysia.
“President Obama should not conduct business as usual at the US-ASEAN summit with Prime Minister Najib,” said Robertson.
“It would be a betrayal of the people of Malaysia if Obama does not publicly call for Anwar’s release, and the dismissal of politically motivated charges for sedition and other crimes that so many activists in Malaysia face today.”
The United States Government has asked the High Court in Auckland to speed up Kim Dotcom's appeal process.
In December, Mr Dotcom and his former colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato were ruled eligible for extradition to the US, but have appealed against the ruling.
The US has been trying to extradite the men since 2012, when they were arrested in a raid on Mr Dotcom's mansion.
They are charged with copyright infringement, money-laundering and racketeering related to their file-sharing website Megaupload.
Lawyers for the US were at the High Court in Auckland today, where they asked Justice Asher to give the appeal priority and set an early date for the hearing.
Justice Asher declined that request but set a date for August.
He said that would enable him to release a judgement before Christmas.
Lawyers for the Mr Dotcom have vowed to appeal the charges he is facing and predict the case will go all the way to the Supreme Court. [RNZI - 9/2/16]
Terror attacks continue across Syria and Iraq
… Wars and violence here happen every day
But I`m in another world a million miles away
It`s just like real life, true life, living in a dream
But everything is better then, or that`s the way it seems
It`s just a dream; It`s just a dream …
'Living in a Dream', Pseudo Echo 
US Department of Defense [8/2/16]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
A fighter aircraft conducted a strike near Hasakah, which suppressed an ISIL rocket position.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack and fighter aircraft conducted nine strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tunnel.
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, suppressing an ISIL rocket position and an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Ramadi, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL tactical vehicle, an ISIL vehicle bomb, and an ISIL anti-air artillery piece.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [9/2/16]:
Baghdad: Two dead bodies of unidentified men shot in their heads and chests have been found in Zo'furaniya area southeast of Baghdad .............................
Baghdad: A roadside bomb has exploded in Taji district north of Baghdad resulted in two deaths and 8 injuries.................
Baghdad: A roadside bomb exploded in Amin neighbourhood east of Baghdad today morning killing two persons and wounding 6...
Baghdad: A hand grenade attack targeted a checkpoint of awakening in Hor Rijab area in Doura south of Baghdad killing an element of awakening and wounding 5......................
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [8/2/16]:
Baghdad: News agencies: A roadside bomb exploded near shops in No'eiriya area today afternoon killing a person and wounding 7.....
Baghdad: News agencies:3 unidentified dead bodies have been found in Mada'in district south of Baghdad.......................................
Destroy Syria… Get Others to Pay, Finian Cunningham [ICH/RT - 8/2/16]
US judge again denies Texas request to bar Syrian refugees [Reuters - 8/2/16]
... The secretary’s NATO agenda will also include President Barack Obama’s decision to quadruple funding for the European Reassurance Initiative, which would enable the United States to strengthen its robust military presence in Europe, enhance partner capabilities, and improve U.S. ability to uphold Article 5 commitments to NATO members, Cook said. ... [US Department of Defense - 8/2/16]
Canada to stop bombing Iraq and Syria in two weeks [National Post - 8/2/16]:
Canada’s fighter jets will end their fight in Iraq and Syria within two weeks, and be replaced by what the Liberal government is calling an expanded mission focused on training local security forces and helping to rebuild the shattered region.
Canadian bombs will stop falling by Feb. 22, but the complement of military personnel in the region will climb to 830 — up from the current 650 — and will provide planning, targeting and intelligence expertise.
The size of Canada’s “train, advise and assist” mission will also triple, including additional medical personnel and equipment including small arms, ammunition and optics to assist in training Iraqi security forces.
The U.S. has publicly said it respects Canada’s decision to pull its fighter jets out of the air campaign. But the Americans chose not to invite Sajjan to two impromptu coalition meetings in Paris, which the newly minted defence minister shrugged off.
… Yes I want it all, so I get it all.
I wanna eat the whole cake.
I'm not sharing, I'm not sharing.
You should have learned bitches love cake! ...
'Decisions', Borgore 
... Mr Robb thanked members of the former Labor government for advancing negotiations on the TPP, including former trade ministers Simon Crean, Craig Emerson, Richard Marles, as well as shadow minister Penny Wong for her "constructive engagement." ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 9/2/16]
Documentary: TTIP: Might is Right (VPRO Backlight) :
The proposed free trade agreement between the US and Europe (TTIP) causes concern about the European right to self-determination.
The most controversial part of TTIP is ISDS: investor-state dispute settlement.
ISDS will make it possible for companies to sue governments that damage their investments.
But is this arbitrage system where a few investment lawyers decide over billions of taxpayers money a protection of our business interests, or a threat to our democracy?
Unprecedented food crisis looms over strife-torn South Sudan, UN agencies warn [Media Release - 8/2/16]
In Somalia, food security and malnutrition situation is 'alarming' – UN report [Media Release - 8/2/16]
Salvadoran police have arrested four former soldiers wanted in Spain for the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests during the Central American country's brutal civil war, officials said Saturday.
Five of the priests were Spanish and their killings sparked international outrage.
Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren later called on the military officers still fugitive in the case to turn themselves in to authorities. ... [AP - 6/2/16]
The Chicago police officer who fatally shot a college student and an unarmed grandmother in December has filed a lawsuit against the estate of the teenager he killed, saying he—the officer—suffered "extreme emotional trauma."
Officer Robert Rialmo claims Quintonio LeGrier swung at him with a baseball bat, causing him to open fire, killing both LeGrier and an unarmed bystander, 55-year-old Bettie Jones.
Recently released audio shows Quintonio LeGrier called 911 seeking help three times in the minutes before he was shot but was treated dismissively by dispatchers, one of whom hung up on him.
Police were finally dispatched after a fourth call from LeGrier’s father saying his son was wielding a bat. [Democracy Now - 8/2/16]
Controversial Queensland police officer wins legal pay bid
[Brisbane Times – 8/2/16]:
The Queensland Police Union is claiming a victory after its lawyers were able to secure the pay of controversial suspended officer Chris Hurley.
Senior Sergeant Hurley, who was acquitted almost a decade ago over a death in custody on Palm Island, was stood down from regular duties last May after a police pursuit on the Gold Coast in which a gun was fired.
He was then suspended on full pay in December after a separate incident relating to off-duty conduct.
Earlier this month Police Commissioner Ian Stewart decided to revise the pay condition but Mr Hurley's police union legal team applied to the Supreme Court to reinstate it.
They were successful in this bid on Monday, with the police commissioner's lawyers agreeing to an interim order to last until a hearing in early May.
"I am pleased that common sense has prevailed and Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley is back on full pay," QPU President Ian Leavers said.
Senior Sergeant Hurley was acquitted in 2007 of the death of Cameron Doomadgee on Palm Island.
Israeli forces detained at least 22 Palestinians in overnight raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem on Monday, Israeli and Palestinian sources told Ma’an.
Local sources told Ma'an that at least four Palestinian minors from East Jerusalem were detained by Israeli security forces.
They were identified as Mahdi Abu Assab,13, Abdullah Jolani,15, Muhammad Salaymah,15, and Omar Muna,17.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they had detained 18 people overnight, including three people in Tulkarem, and three in Huwwara south of Nablus.
Local sources identified on of the Tulkarem detainees as Wael Khalil Hali, and two of those detainees from Huwwara as Izz al-Din Shehadeh and Muhammad Odeh.
The Israeli army also said it had detained two Palestinians in Qabatiya south of Jenin -- identified by Ma’an as Muhammad Kamil and Muhammad Abu al-Rub -- and one near al-Jalama north of Jenin. ... [Maan - 8/2/16]
Knesset suspends 3 Palestinian MKs over visit to attackers' families [Maan - 8/2/16]
A young boy was reportedly stabbed in the town of Ramle in Israel on Monday, Israeli security sources told Ma’an.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said an 11-year-old boy of reportedly Ethiopian origin was taken to the hospital after he told his mother he had been stabbed in the back. ... [Maan - 8/2/16]
A Nablus court on Thursday extended the detention of a prominent Palestinian scholar and longtime dissident whose arrest earlier this week has led to accusations that he is being politically persecuted by the Palestinian Authority.
At around 11pm on Tuesday, Abdel Sattar Qassem, a 68-year-old professor of political science at Nablus’ An-Najah National University, and a father of four, was taken from his home, where he had been staying alone. ... [Electronic Intifada - 9/2/16]
French Canal+ documentary: Ukraine, The Masks of the Revolution [off Guardian – 7/2/16] feat Victoria "fuck the EU" Nuland.
Explosion rocks Kabul; no information on casualties [Pajwhok - 9/2/16]
Six people have lost lives and nine others sustained injuries in a suicide bomb blast in Paktika province.
The blast took place in front of a baker in the capital city of Yahyakhil District around 11:30 am this morning.
The apparent target of the suicide bomber was Musa Khan Kharotai, the district governor, who just drove through the area before the blast took place.
Kharotai said all of the victims of the blast are civilians.
No group has so far said it was behind the explosion but it came after a suicide bomber of Taliban targeted a mini-bus of Afghan National Army (ANA) in northern Balkh province this morning.
Three soldiers lost lives and 20 people, most of them soldiers, sustained injures in the attack. [Khaama - 8/2/16]
Taliban sustain heavy casualty toll in Baghlan [TOLO News - 8/2/16]
9 February 2016