How many people did the Australian Navy - with the support of the political, media and human rights establishment - stop from seeking asylum in 2015?



 en 5 minutes les benevoles ont distribue des chaussures seches et du the chaud


Image:  ‏@Adea_Guillot [9/1/16]





‏@Adea_Guillot [9/1/16]   #lesbos #refugeecrisis arrivee matinale a Lesbos




‏@moas_eu [9/1/16]:   Arif 8yrs, Amina 12yrs & Abdul 8yrs, all pulled from a sinking raft this morn #MOASAegean #OneMore #Agathonisi







@MSF_Sea [8/1/16]:  This is the @Greenpeace @MSF radio room/lookout in #Lesvos. It's windy but at least 14 boats have arrived today...



How 150,000 people were saved in the Mediterranean [IRIN – 7/1/16]




Whitewashing of South East Asian migrant and refugee genocide continues [Reuters - 8/1/16]:



... Hundreds of people who made the trip last year remain in immigration detention centers and shelters in southern Thailand and 11 Muslim Rohingya escaped from such a shelter on Friday, the head of the shelter told Reuters.





UN backlash against call to scale back Geneva convention on refugees [Guardian - 7/1/16]



Former foreign minister Gareth Evans says it's sensible for Australia to begin an international dialogue about revamping the United Nations Refugee Convention. ... [Nine MSN - 18/7/13]




Anthony Albanese says the government must modify its asylum seeker policies as the people smugglers adopt new strategies for bringing people to Australia. ... [SBS - 18/7/13]




... Parliamentary secretary Ed Husic said it was right to look at ways of updating the convention to meet current conditions.

"What it doesn't deal with is someone hopping on a plane from Tehran, going to Indonesia and then hopping on a vessel to come across and do the two-day trip (to Australia) and classing themselves as a refugee," he told Sky News. ... [Yahoo 7 - 18/7/13]




Calls for Australia to withdraw from UN Refugee Convention [AUDIO - 17/6/13]:


There's growing concern Australia's support for the United Nations Refugee Convention is attracting asylum seekers to Australia.

Former Labor Immigration minister Gerry Hand has suggested withdrawing from the convention, arguing it may lead to a drop in asylum seeker numbers.





MIGRATION AMENDMENT BILL 1992 - Second Reading - House of Representatives [5/5/92]:


Mr HAND (Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs)

... I now wish to foreshadow major Government amendments to the Bill which I will move during the committee stage. The Government is conscious of the extraordinary nature of the measures which will be implemented by the amendment aimed at boat people.

 I believe it is crucial that all persons who come to Australia without prior authorisation not be released into the community.

Their release would undermine the Government's strategy for determining their refugee status or entry claims.

Indeed, I believe it is vital to Australia that this be prevented as far as possible.

The Government is determined that a clear signal be sent that migration to Australia may not be achieved by simply arriving in this country and expecting to be allowed into the community. ...





"The Australian government's attempts to eject 37 Cambodian boat people applying for refugee status is racist, heartless and uncaring", says Rosanna Barbero, a member of the Action Committee for Refugees in Australia. ... [Green Left Weekly - 3/6/92]





Immigration minister Gerry Hand bluntly dismissed the hunger strike by 56 Chinese refugees detained at Port Hedland in an interview on Channel 10 on March 23.

"If I was to intervene now", said Hand, "I may as well get the rules, tear them up and throw them away and say, 'Well, if you just come here, that's sufficient for you to stay in Australia'". ... [Green Left Weekly 8/4/92]




What is Mandatory Detention? [The Asylum and Refugee Law Project - 8/7/13]




Australia's founding father of indefinite mandatory detention [ABC - 11/11/11]




The nation’s highest immigration court has delayed the deportations of four families out of hundreds of Central American migrant adults and children rounded up in raids over the New Year’s weekend as part of a nationwide effort to combat illegal immigration, according to the families’ lawyers. They expected to win a fifth stay Wednesday.

The Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision, made late Tuesday, is a small yet potentially significant breakthrough for lawyers fighting the raids, as it raises questions about Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s assurances to the public earlier this week that those being deported had exhausted all their legal options.

The families’ lawyers said the stays of deportation had been granted to allow time to appeal their cases to the Board of Immigration Appeals – a step none of them had yet taken. The families had been scheduled to be deported from the United States on Wednesday morning back to their home countries of El Salvador and Honduras.

“What does it mean when we get five out of six cases stayed? That means something is wrong here,” said one of the lawyers, Laura Lichter, general counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “If there was no case, nothing here, we wouldn’t have gotten the stay.”  … [McClatchy - 6/1/16]




Will US deport Kurdish activist Ibrahim Parlak back to Turkey where he was jailed and tortured? [Democracy Now - 6/1/16]




Mixed messages Merkel rejects limits on refugee intake at CSU meeting in Bavaria [Deutsche Welle - 6/1/16]








Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that Afghans heading to Germany in pursuit of better economic circumstances will be sent back to Afghanistan and people still there should move to safe zones within their country rather than migrating to Europe.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants, many fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, have streamed into Germany this year, and German authorities and communities are now buckling under the strain.

Afghans - widely viewed as unwanted economic migrants - formed the sixth largest group of asylum seekers in Europe's economic powerhouse in the first 10 months of this year. ... [Yahoo - 2/12/15]




UNHCR closes office in southeastern Afghanistan [Pajhwok/The Frontier Post - 31/12/15]




31 militants have been killed in fresh clashes between Taliban and Daesh groups in eastern Nangarhar province.

Spokesperson for the governor of Nangarhar said the clashes took place in Bati Kot and Achin districts.

Atuallah Khogyani added that the gun battle that erupted in Doyam Farm area of Bati Kot District on Wednesday morning left 18 members of Daesh group killed and four others wounded. ... [Khaama - 6/1/16]






2 Afghan soldiers, 4 rebels killed in Kunar, Laghman [Pajhwok - 6/1/16]







US soldier killed in Helmand military operation [TOLO News - 6/1/16]







Kabul city was rocked by yet another blast on Tuesday night, the third in two days.

The incident occurred at 9.15pm local time in the area of 11th Street, Wazir Akbar Kahn – in the diplomatic quarter of the city. No casualties were reported.

This comes after two suicide bombings occurred on Monday in the city. ... [TOLO News - 5/1/16]




A Cairo court renewed for 45 days on Wednesday the detention of high school student Mahmoud Mohamed Hussien, the first detention for Hussien in 2016 without being referred to trial. With the renewal, Hussien will continue to spend 757 days in pre-trial detention.

“Mahmoud is an example of how pre-trial detention is now the punishment, whereas many defendants in cases related to torture and corruption are being released pending trial,” Hussien’s brother Tarek told Ahram Online.

“Mahmoud will miss one more year of school due to his continued detention,” he continued.  

 Hussein was arrested at age 17 on 25 January 2014 -- the anniversary of the 2011 revolution -- as he was passing a northern Cairo security checkpoint on his way home after attending a protest against both "military rule and the Muslim Brotherhood."

Supporters of Hussein, who is accused of possessing ammunition and protesting illegally, say he was targeted by police for wearing a shirt with the words "nation without torture" written on it and a scarf with a 2011 uprising logo. ... [Ahram - 6/1/16]




Saudi warplanes hit Yemen’s Hajjah, four people killed [Press TV - 6/1/16]




The Conservative government has licenced £5.6bn in sales of arms, fighter jets and other military hardware to Saudi Arabia since David Cameron came to power, according to new figures.

New research by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) states that in the nearly six years since Mr Cameron’s election in May 2010, the UK has sold weapons to 24 of the 27 states included on its own list of “countries of humanitarian concern”.

The deals come alongside over £2bn in sales to other countries accused of abusing of human rights.  ... [Independent - 6/1/16]




Yemen: Civilian casualties top 8,100 as airstrikes and shelling continue, UN reports [Media Release - 6/1/15]




Dozens attend funeral of Palestinian teen shot dead day earlier [Maan - 6/1/16]




Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday announced that the PLO would officially make a decision next week regarding the upholding of contractual relations with Israel.

The president made the announcement during a speech delivered in the occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem during Orthodox Christmas celebrations.

Abbas reiterated past statements made by Palestinian political bodies supporting the end to agreements signed with Israel, notably the end of security coordination with Israel established through the Oslo Accords.

Despite threats made in September by the Palestinian president to renege from the agreements, moves have yet to be made to cut coordination with his Israeli counterparts. ... [Maan - 6/1/16]




Israeli forces demolish 5 Bedouin dwellings in E1 corridor [Maan - 6/1/16]








Israeli forces demolish mosque in Negev [Maan - 6/1/16]




Two Arab passengers were forced off a Tel Aviv-bound Greek airliner on Sunday after Israeli passengers on board demanded that the pair be taken off the flight, AFP reported on Wednesday. ... [Sputnik News - 6/1/16]



Co-operative Bank closes Friends of Al-Aqsa bank account [Media Release - 5/1/16]:


... FOA suspects that the move has been precipitated by the sale of the Co-op, which is no longer a cooperative bank, but now part of a shareholder company. “We consider this to be institutional bullying and racism, betraying the Co-op’s historic ethical foundations" said Ismail Patel, chair of FOA. ...




Faced with Israeli denial of access to Occupied Palestinian Territory, UN expert resigns [Media Release - 4/1/16]




France’s Orange dumps Israeli affiliate that backed Gaza war [Electronic Intifada - 4/1/16]




Australia and Israel destined to be best mates in high tech [Times of Israel - 9/11/15]




Michigan governor declares state of emergency over Flint water lead levels [Washington Post - 6/1/16]




A Texas trooper, who arrested a black motorist found hanged in jail three days later, was indicted by a grand jury on perjury charges on Wednesday.

The Houston Chronicle reported Trooper Brian Encinia who arrested Sandra Bland in July, was indicted by the grand jury in Waller County, outside of Houston.

Her case was one of many in recent months that have raised questions of racial bias in U.S. policing. ... [Reuters - 6/1/16]





A Maryland judge on Wednesday ordered a Baltimore police officer to testify against other officers charged in the death of detainee Freddie Gray.

A lawyer for the officer, William Porter, said he would seek an appeals court injunction to block Porter from testifying against Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. and Sergeant Alicia White.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams said Porter, whose own trial ended in a hung jury last month, could be compelled to take the stand since state prosecutors had offered him immunity in exchange for testifying. ... [Reuters - 6/1/16]





Illinois considers allowing recall attempts of Chicago Mayor [Chicago Tribune - 3/1/16]







Enrique Marquez, the man accused of purchasing the two assault rifles used in the San Bernardino shooting that left 14 people dead, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to terror-related charges.

Marquez, 24, was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in California of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, lying about the purchase of the two weapons used in the December 2 shooting, marriage fraud and lying on the visa application for the woman he married.

During his brief arraignment in federal court in Riverside on Wednesday, Marquez, who has been held without bond since his arrest last month, simply said "not guilty" when asked how he wished to plead. ... [Naharnet - 6/1/16]






The Islamic State has reportedly murdered a journalist who wrote about life in the ISIS-occupied Syrian city of Raqqa.

Ruqia Hassan was reportedly killed in September, but activists say ISIS hijacked her social media accounts and used them to claim she was alive.

A member of the activist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently said that before her death, Hassan said, "I’m in Raqqa and I received death threats, and when Isis [arrests] me and kills me it’s ok because ... I have dignity. Its better than [living] in humiliation with ISIS."

Hassan was 30 years old. [Democracy Now - 6/1/16]







New Hillary emails reveal propaganda, executions, coveting Libyan oil and gold [Antiwar - 6/1/16]






US transfers two Guantanamo detainees to Ghana [Al Jazeera - 6/1/16]






The U.S. military should rescind directives that authorize health professionals to participate in interrogations and force-feedings, some medical ethicists argue.

Responding to criticism from the medical community, the U.S. military recently cut back on use of psychologists to assist in interrogations or provide mental health care at facilities like the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Department of Defense (DoD) should go further and prohibit military health personnel from participating in interrogations or force-feeding hunger strikers, according to Leonard Rubenstein, a public health and ethics researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues, writing in the journal PLoS Medicine. ... [Reuters - 5/1/16]






Research conducted by Dr. Ivan Katchanovski on the Maidan “Snipers’ massacre” of February 2014 has shown that the killings of protesters were organized by far right paramilitary groups and allied political parties, not the former government’s Berkut riot police, as claimed by the current Kiev government and repeated by Western media. ... [Sputnik News - 3/1/16]





TransCanada sues US over Keystone XL rejection [Reuters - 6/1/16]








And an estimated 35,000 dairy cows have been found dead after a rare blizzard hit West Texas and eastern New Mexico late last month.

The storm left snow drifts up to 14 feet high, burying many cows alive, while others froze to death or starved.

An estimated 10 percent of the adult dairy herd in West Texas perished. [Democracy Now - 6/1/16]





The Fourth Estate [2015]:

Examining the people and practices of the media industries, The Fourth Estate illuminates not only specific incidences of corruption by press groups, but how the wider business as a whole, including the film and entertainment industries, has a huge amount to answer for in the state of the political economy of the west. There’s no business like show business…

Produced in the UK on a zero-budget, the filmmakers spent two years contacting and interviewing journalists, organisers and critics of the corrupt industrial practices highlighted by, but not limited to, the Leveson Inquiry in 2011.

While the phone hacking scandal illuminated the depth and breadth of the cavalier flouting of legality and integrity in British journalism, there are larger implications and connections to ideology, entertainment, and political economy at work in this crisis. The Fourth Estate is the result of an examination of these connections at work.

In the wake of the Leveson report the media’s focus has quickly diverted from a brief period of self-examination to business as usual. This opportunity for serious consideration of the true, entrenched causes and effects of the UK’s inadequate media must not go unexplored, and the recent press scandals must not be framed in terms of the “bad apple” soundbites we’re so often fed.

A film by Lee Salter and Elizabeth Mizon




... “The world is finally starting to understand what’s involved with political killing when they see the videos of ISIS,” [journalist Allan] Nairn said.

“… In Salvador, not only would they kill but they would cut off hands, they would cut off arms, and they would display their handiwork on the road. Passersby would see it. In the same period—I spent most of those years in Guatemala, which was even worse—they were killing more than 100,000, perhaps more than 200,000 by some estimates. One day in the library of the Polytechnica, the military academy of Guatemala, I found the Spanish translation of a U.S. military counterinsurgency document. It gave instructions on how to create terror; this was the way they put it. And they described methods used in the Philippines in the campaign against the Huks.”

“In the case of the Philippines they were talking about leaving the bodies by the rivers,” he said. “So you mutilate the bodies, you cut them, you amputate, and then you display the bodies on the riversides to stir terror in the population. And of course that’s exactly what ISIS is doing today.”

The same tactics were used in Indonesia against ethnic Chinese, labor organizers, artists, intellectuals, student leaders and members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) after the 1965 U.S.-backed anti-communist purge that eventually ousted the independence leader President Sukarno. Sukarno was replaced in a 1967 coup by Gen. Suharto, who brutally ran the country for 31 years. During the army and paramilitary killings as many as a million Indonesians were murdered. The bodies were often left floating in rivers or on roadsides. ...  The American Empire: Murder Inc., Chris Hedges [ICH/Truthdig - 4/1/16]



Terror attacks continue across Iraq and Syria




US Department of Defense [6/1/16]:

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

-- Near Raqqah, fighter aircraft conducted one strike on an ISIL headquarters building.

Strikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 19 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Huwayjah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

-- Near Haditha, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed four ISIL vehicles, an ISIL vehicle bomb, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position and wounded six ISIL fighters.

-- Near Kisik, five strikes destroyed two ISIL bunkers, nine ISIL fighting positions, 11 ISIL assembly areas, and suppressed a separate ISIL fighting position and an ISIL machine gun position.

-- Near Mosul, one strike destroyed an ISIL rocket cache.

-- Near Ramadi, eight strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL staging areas, three ISIL buildings, an ISIL front-end loader, six ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, an ISIL rocket propelled grenade system, an ISIL recoilless rifle, three ISIL vehicles, and four ISIL heavy machine guns. The strikes also damaged an ISIL tactical vehicle and denied ISIL access to terrain and wounded three ISIL fighters.

-- Near Sinjar, one strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Tal Afar, one strike destroyed four ISIL fighting positions and damaged an ISIL bunker.





@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [6/1/16]:   Baghdad: A roadside bomb exploded today morning near Rasheed grocery market in Doura south of Baghdad killing two persons and wounding 7...............




@IraqiSMCEn  - Iraqi Spring Media Center [5/1/16]:  Baghdad: News agencies :A roadside bomb has exploded near a traditional market in Yusfiya nahiya south of Baghdad resulted in killing a person and wounding 9................







Eight people were killed Wednesday in terrorist mortar attacks by the “Jaish al-Islam” terror organization which targeted a number of residential neighborhoods in Damascus city.

A source at Damascus Police Command told SANA that terrorists based in Eastern Ghouta fired mortar shells at residential neighborhoods in the city, which resulted in killing eight people, injuring 25, and causing material damage to properties.

Later, the source said 4 civilian were injured by a mortar round fired by terrorists positioned in Daraya town in Damascus Countryside which fell in the northern part of al-Moadamiya town. ... [SANA - 6/1/16]




Washington wants Assad to go but expects him to stay until March 2017 [Sputnik News - 6/1/16]




@WitnessTorture [5/1/16]:  We’re paying a visit to the National Portrait gallery in DC today. #CloseGITMO





Refugees: EU resettles just 0.17% of pledged target in four months [Guardian - 6/1/16]




Voices from the road [5/1/16]: 


Twelve-year-old Malaz is from Syria, but he behaves like a young child and needs constant, specialised care.

That is because he suffers from a disease called brain hypoxia, which is when the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, affecting his awareness, memory and movement. Malaz has now lived with his father in the Jungle in Calais for three months.

They fled Syria hoping to reach the UK, where Malaz has an uncle and where his former doctor, who treated him for years before he too had to flee, is now living as a refugee.

Malaz and his father first arrived in Europe four months ago. In a major act of defiance, especially for Malaz, they had crossed the Aegean Sea on an inflatable boat.

They crossed the Balkans and then several northern European countries until they reached France.

They ended up in the Jungle where they, like hundreds of others, are waiting to cross over to Britain.

When MSF met Malaz in the Jungle, he was being cared for by his father’s friends, because his father had been in hospital for a week, being treated for a severe respiratory tract infection caused by the poor weather in Calais.

Malaz says he loves football and cars, and that he hates war.




Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday chaired a meeting to assess his administration’s progress in responding to the migration crisis, with sources indicating that military facilities are among the venues being considered for accommodating thousands of migrants.

Greece agreed in October to host 50,000 migrants as part of the European Union’s response to the crisis.

It remains unclear how close Athens is to fulfilling this target but current efforts are focused on finding facilities to accommodate another 10,000 people, sources indicated. ... [Ekathimerini - 5/1/16]




@PROACTIVA_SERV [6/1/16]:  Noche de reyes en el Egeo con el eco de las muertes en nuestra cabeza. Mucho dolor, pero en pie y adelante.





@campsoscar [5/1/16]:   Para Europa es el cuerpo 34, para su tía Nour la sobrina preferida, para @PROACTIVA_SERV es impotencia y desolación





Child dies in Perth driveway accident [West Australian - 5/1/16]





Baby girl killed, three injured in stabbing in Parkinson, Brisbane [ABC - 6/1/16]:



A two-month-old baby girl has died and three relatives have been seriously injured in a stabbing incident at Parkinson on Brisbane's southside, police say.

 At 2:30pm, officers were called to two homes in Watheroo Place and Mapleton Circuit at Parkinson after reports of a loud domestic disturbance.

When officers arrived, they found the infant, her 20-year-old mother, grandmother and grandfather with serious injuries.

The baby girl was taken to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in a critical condition, while the adults were taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, also in critical conditions.

The baby later died of her injuries, police said.

Acting Police Inspector Sean Mackay said it appeared one of the women ran to a neighbour's house for help.

"One of the victims went to the secondary crime scene and that's where police were notified from there," he said.

Two crime scenes have been established, with both Watheroo Place and Mapleton Circuit closed.

Dozens of police are investigating the circumstances and door knocking homes in the area.

A neighbour told the ABC she was shocked to come home and find such an incident unfolding in the neighbourhood.

"We're quite surprised to come home and find something like this on our doorstep," she said.

"Lots of police cars, ambulance, and the road cordoned off, we were pretty upset to see that."

Police are not saying if anyone is considered a suspect, but they have confirmed they are not looking for anyone else.




Australian government spends US$ 93,632,287 with Texas company for planes to spy on the perimeters of empire for Uncle Sam [Aero Australia Magazine - 6/1/16]




The United Nations has condemned the alleged sexual attack on four women in Port Moresby by a group of men, saying it is an example of “inhumane aggression against women and children”. 


“We have to ask as a nation how males are brought up to behave in such a way. And the authorities need to really pursue these aggressors,” Buchanan [UN Women country representative Dr Jeffrey Buchanan] said.

He said PNG must ask the big question: “Why does this happen here in such a ritualistic and inhumane way? And what really is the cause because it’s an ongoing outrage that women are so constantly being abused by such violence. The women involved need immediate medical attention and psychological support. I trust our Prime Minister Peter O’Neill will act on this.” [The National - 6/1/16]



PNG police continue to investigate alleged gang rape of Manus Island woman by Australian refugee death camp workers [PNG Loop - 4/8/15]:


Police in Manus continue to investigate the alleged rape of a local woman by three expatriate men at the Regional Processing Centre in Lombrum.

Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Alex N’drasel says a request for the men’s return from Australia has been made however it is up to the government to ensure they come back to answer to a crime they are alleged to have committed.

N’drasel says according to their report the woman was drinking with the men at their accommodation area when she was given two pills shaped like capsules.

He says the woman claims she immediately fell asleep after taking the pills.

The three men are said to be employees of Wilson Security, the company providing security services at the asylum seeker centre.

N’drasel says the investigators will take two weeks to complete their work and a report of their findings will be sent to the Police Commissioner.   





A Papua New Guinean security guard at the Manus Island detention centre was allegedly murdered over the weekend and another had his hand chopped off in a machete attack. ... [SBS - 27/7/15]





National Cultural Commission says Christian fundamentalist "Burn the Witch" National Day of Repentance incites violence against PNG culture [PNG Loop - 25/8/15]





A two-page paid advertisement in print media on Repentance, or National Day of Prayer this Wednesday, August 26 has come under scrutiny by the Papua New Guinea Council of Churches.

The advert stated that during repentance day, an offering called the Aliyah will be collected and given officially to the Jewish people by the government of Papua New Guinea.

It also quotes bible verses showing support for idols, and why they should be brought forward to be burnt.

The Aliyah offering as defined in the advert is the return of Jews to Israel from whatever nation around the world they have been scattered. ... [EMTV - 24/8/15]




The Government has acquired its second television station - EMTV - for K20 million, according to Public Enterprise and State Investment Minister Ben Micah.

The Government, through Telikom PNG Limited, bought the television station off Media Niugini Limited, which at one stage early last year was negotiating a deal with Digicel (PNG) to buy it off. ... [The National - 6/1/16]




Japan will send a huge cache of plutonium—enough to produce 50 nuclear bombs—to the United States as part of a deal to return the material that was used for research, reports and officials said Tuesday.

The plutonium stockpile, provided by the U.S., Britain and France decades ago, has caused some disquiet given that Japan has said it has the ability to produce a nuclear weapon even if it chooses not to.

Some 331 kilograms of the highly fissionable material will be sent by ship to a nuclear facility in South Carolina by the end of March, Kyodo News reported Monday in a dispatch from Washington that cited unnamed Japanese government sources. ... [Japan Today - 6/1/16]




North Korea claims successful hydrogen bomb test [Channel News Asia - 6/1/16]




Sri Lanka:  Evidence removed from suspected torture cell in former military zone say locals [Tamil Guardian - 5/1/16]





A group representing Rohingya Muslims in Europe has blasted plans for a long-delayed economic zone in a troubled state of western Myanmar, saying Tuesday that it may cause lasting damage to Rohingya property and lives.

Mohamed Ibrahim, the general secretary of the European Rohingya Council, urged lawmakers to rethink plans to house the industrial park in Rakhine before addressing the rights of its Rohingya minority, along with opportunities and compensation for other local people.


Ambia Perveen, the council's secretary for advocacy, says that although the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- to which Myanmar belongs -- has made promises to help the Rohingya, little has actually been done to conquer the true problem -- the economic greed of the outgoing ruling party and its foreign allies. ...  [Anadolu Agency - 5/1/16]





Dead politics Australian style:  Greens slap Dutton with a wet lettuce leaf as their 1million+ voters despair [Sydney Morning Herald - 6/1/16]



... Greens national co-convenor Penny Allman-Payne, from Queensland, said there were clearly people who were upset about the reshuffle.

“I would only say that we work best as a national organisation and that this is an issue that is being worked through at the national council level,” she said. ... [Greens lurch to the right - The Saturday Paper - 26/9/15]




1/2 I can confirm that the offices of T.Plibersek/P. Wong/R. Marles/S Hanson-Young & the PM have all been contacted abt the #Abyan FOI docs



 2/2 I am also waiting on comments allegedly made by Minister Dutton's spokesperson in relation to #Abyan to be emailed to me. #auspol


"tweeted" by @KellieTranter [5/1/16]






How we were misled about Abyan’s case [Kellie Tranter - 30/12/15]




It's time for a Royal Commission into how the Australian government stops people from seeking asylum [Amnesty - 11/11/15]





Nauru: Child abuse and impunity of organisations enforcing Australia's anti refugee policy continues [Guardian - 6/1/16]






Australian government and Connect Settlement Services harass refugees on Nauru to accept exile/disappearance to Cambodia [Phnom Penh Post - 20/11/15]:


... A government contractor on Nauru, Connect Settlement Services, has reportedly been passing out leaflets in a camp reserved for single male asylum seekers, angering residents.

“In the last few days, Connect has started to put the Cambodian information sheet under the doors of every room in the single men’s camp,” said Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition Sydney.

“This has really angered the men, who see it as harassment and mental torture. They said [they] have already rejected Cambodia.”




... Cuba issued Otto Frank a visa on December 1, 1941, according to the documents, but it was canceled 10 days later when Germany declared war on the United States.

The following summer, as Jews were being sent from Amsterdam to Nazi camps, the Frank family went into hiding for two years before being discovered and sent to concentration camps.

Otto Frank survived the camp but died in 1980. ... Anne Frank's family sought US visa, letters show [Reuters - 14/2/07]




... The Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers and the Rwandan genocide did not start with the slayings.


It started with the dehumanization of a specific group of persons. ...



UN official welcomes proclamation of International Day to honour victims of genocide [Media Release - 14/9/15]




ABC and NGOs continue helping government exploit Syrians to whitewash human rights atrocities against refugees who try to reach Australia by boat [6/1/16]:


For many refugees, adjusting to a new country and getting used to the culture, language and customs of their new home can be a challenge.

Nearly 12,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in Australia over the coming months, and a new smartphone application has been developed to help the transition.

The New Roots app is the first of its kind in Australia and was developed by Settlement Services International (SSI) together with Beyond Blue, and funded by donations to the Movember Foundation. ...




Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in late 2014 [Guardian - 11/12/15]




The ABC are lying by omission --->  The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws. ... [Guardian - 19/8/14]




Citizenship discrimination for refugees who arrive by boat [Refugee Council of Australia - 19/10/15]




Evidently Australia's political, media and human rights establishment are comfortable with Peter Dutton having dictatorial, absolute power? [RNZI - 6/1/16]:

Allowing a New Zealand rugby league player to stay in Australia after being jailed for assault makes a mockery of the government's detention and deportation policy, campaigners say.

Late last year Australia's immigration minister Peter Dutton stepped in to confirm Russell Packer would not be deported, after he signed a two-year deal with the St George Illawarra Dragons in the NRL.

Packer was sentenced in 2014 to two years in jail for a drunken attack in Sydney in which he repeatedly punched and stomped on his New Zealand victim.

He was paroled after his sentence was cut to 12 months on appeal.

Erina Morunga-Anderson, of the campaign group Iwi n Aus, said his was the first case her group had heard of under Australia's new visa rules where a criminal had not been sent to a detention centre while a final decision was made about deportation.

"He's the first person we know of that didn't get his visa cancelled instantly the moment he finished his jail sentence and he was able to appeal it from the comfort of his own home," she said.

"And on top of that, Peter Dutton turned around and said 'Well, I think he's reformed, I think he's remorseful' and all that kind of stuff and therefore I'm going to give him a second chance'. That's the first time we've heard of anything like that."

She said Packer's crime was more serious and more recent than other detainees who had been deported or were awaiting a decision.

More than 3000 people signed a petition calling on the government to let Packer stay in Australia.

Vaelua Lagaaia, who is being detained at Villawood detention centre, said it was due to that popularity that Packer was allowed to stay and others were not.

"We don't understand what the difference is between our cases and his case which was a serious assault case, you know a lot of people that are in detention now don't even have serious crimes and yet they are in detention," he said.

"So it's very confusing for us here as New Zealanders where we think if you are a football player or popular the law doesn't account for someone like that."

The father-of-two, who has lived in Australia since 1993, was jailed for obtaining money by deception.

He said detainees spent Christmas locked up, knowing their files were lying untouched as case officers were all on holiday.

The latest figures showed 194 New Zealanders were being held in detention centres, down from a high of 213 in October, but still more than double the number in March.

Another advocate working to release detainees, Ema Williams, of IndigenousWise Incorporated, said she was happy for Packer but the lack of a judicial process was frightening.

"The inequality and maybe even the discrimination between the cases disturbs me," she said.

"We as Australian citizens, as New Zealand citizens, need to wake up to this and say 'what's happening'? We live in a democratic society.

"Why is it that in certain issues and certain situations we have decided to give power to give individuals and their entourages the right to dictate what liberty looks like?"


"We have been betrayed": Activist who refused to shake Obama's hand decries latest immigration raids [Democracy Now - 5/1/16]:



AMY GOODMAN: The Obama administration has begun conducting raids and detaining families across the United States as part of an effort to deport hundreds of Central Americans who have fled violence in their home countries. At least 11 families have reportedly been detained so far.

At one home in Georgia, a Honduran woman and her 9-year-old son were taken into custody after an early-morning raid. The woman, Ana Lizet Mejia, reportedly fled Honduras after her brother was murdered by gangs. Her aunt, Joanna Gutierrez, told the Los Angeles Times Mejia was already under surveillance by the court, wore an ankle monitor and attended all of her court dates.

Gutierrez said her children were shaking with fear after agents woke them and searched the house at 5:00 in the morning.

Meanwhile in Chicago, a prosecutor has asked the FBI to investigate the fatal shooting of an African-American college student and a grandmother last weekend. The student, Quintonio LeGrier, was fatally shot after his father called 911 to report his son was acting strangely and carrying a metal bat. Police acknowledged they shot 55-year-old Bettie Jones by mistake.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has released thousands of pages of emails revealing its year-long effort to contain the fallout from the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald last October. McDonald was shot 16 times by police. Police dash cam video, released only last month after court order, contradicts police accounts of the killing.

What do the immigration raids and police brutality have in common? Well, they’ve both sparked growing social movements demanding justice. It’s those linkages that are examined in a remarkable new book, When We Fight, We Win!: Twenty-First-Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World. The book looks at movements ranging from immigration to Black Lives Matter, to the Fight for 15, to LGBTQ rights.

We’re joined by the author, education activist Greg Jobin-Leeds, and two of the people featured in the book—Jitu Brown and Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez. We’re also joined by the book’s art director, Dey Hernández. One of the things that makes this book so unusual is the stunning artwork throughout.

But I want to start on those immigration raids. Isabel, if you can talk about the significance of this new year? 2016 dawns, and what do we learn? That well over a hundred people are being swept up in these immigration raids under the Obama administration. What do you know about them?

ISABEL SOUSA-RODRIGUEZ: Yeah. It’s very disappointing. It’s heartbreaking that we have been betrayed so severely by the Obama administration. It was part of the inspiration of the Trail of Dreams. There were record numbers of deportations that were entirely unprecedented. You know, minority groups across this country were given this illusion of hope and change that was coming. And really, I felt at the time, and I feel again now, that many of our families—I came to this country from Colombia with my family, fleeing the violence that was taking place there. And in the same way that we fled a country where people were disappearing in the middle of the night and being taken by members of the government, by armed individuals, and put into unmarked vans, the same things are happening today in this country, and it’s terrifying. And it’s the reason why we stand up and fight, because we refuse to be dehumanized any longer. We want our families to be treated with dignity and respect.


As ICE hunts families, Philadelphia breaks ties with agency [#Not1More - 4/1/16]:

“On his first day in office, newly elected Mayor Kenney reaffirmed that the City of Philadelphia is in fact the city of brotherly love. As ICE raids sew new levels of fear in our communities, Mayor Kenney is making sure local officials have nothing to do with it, ” explains Erika Almiron, director of Juntos.

Within hours of being sworn in, Kenney signed an executive order rescinding Philadelphia’s participation in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s PEP-Comm program, reversing the political move his predecessor, Nutter, had maneuvered shortly before leaving office and rebuking DHS Secretary Johnson’s statement regarding the city’s participation.

Similar to cities that rejected the DHS program Secure Communities, Philadelphia is thus far ensuring its residents’ safety by maintaining a bright line between local law enforcement and federal deportation efforts, something that advocates say is especially necessary as recent ICE raids spread unprecedented fear throughout immigrant communities.

Almiron continued, “The fear generated by ICE’s raids doesn’t stay contained to that agency. ICE makes people afraid of anyone in uniform. As the agency once again shows itself to have no regard for civil rights or family values, we need our elected leaders to stand up and denounce the harm of deportations.”

Referring to the debacle at Philadelphia’s New Year’s Day parade, Almiron concludes, “In his executive order today, Mayor Kenney places Nutter’s empty political maneuver where it belongs, alongside the Mummer’s brown face, in the dustbin of history.”




Homicides up 70 per cent in El Salvador, among deadliest nations [Yahoo - 4/1/16]:

Killings spiked by nearly 70 percent last year in this gang-plagued Central American nation, authorities said Monday, resulting in a homicide rate that could make it the world's most violent country.

National Police director Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde said El Salvador officially registered at least 6,657 homicides in 2015, up from 3,942 the previous year.

The overall yearly homicide rate was the country's highest ever at 104 per 100,000 inhabitants, putting it in a position to take over the dubious title of the world's murder capital from neighboring Honduras.

"It puts us at the head of the world's most violent nations," including Honduras and Venezuela, said Jeannette Aguilar, a researcher at Jose Simeon Canas Central America University.

Honduras has led the world in homicide rates in recent years. It hit 92 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2011, according to World Bank data, before declining somewhat since then. Security Ministry spokesman Leonel Sauceda said Monday that Honduras' homicide rate dropped from 68 per 100,000 people in 2014 to 61 per 100,000 last year.

Venezuela, meanwhile, has seen its homicide rate tick upward. The South American nation has not released official statistics since 2013, when authorities put it at 39 per 100,000 inhabitants. But last week a non-governmental group that tracks violence put Venezuela's 2015 homicide rate at around 90 per 100,000 people.

Authorities in El Salvador blame most of the killings here on gangs that are deeply involved in drug trafficking, extortion rackets and other criminal activity. The "maras," as they are known, have a heavy presence in poor neighborhoods across the country and have increasingly moved into rural areas as well.

Authorities say most of the homicide victims are gang members slain by rivals.

The wave of violence in El Salvador came after a truce between the country's two largest gangs fell apart, and despite police initiatives to crack down on organized crime.

"The homicide rate reflects the inability of the Salvadoran state and the Salvadoran society to guarantee the most fundamental right there can be in a society, which is life," Aguilar said.

The country's 2014 homicide total also was a significant rise from the previous year, when 1,429 killings were registered.



Father of missing Mexican student on how US drug war aid "being used to annihilate students" [Democracy Now - 10/4/15]:

As the Summit of the Americas commences, several U.S.-based groups and university officials have signed a letter to President Obama questioning his response to the 43 students missing from the Mexican state of Guerrero for over six months.

The letter asks why the Obama administration has placed sanctions on Venezuela, but maintained normal relations with Mexico, despite the students’ disappearance.

Mexican authorities have declared the 43 students dead, saying local police acting on the orders of the mayor of Iguala attacked them and turned them over to drug gang members, who killed and incinerated them.

But so far the remains of only one of the 43 have been identified, and reports have pointed to the involvement of federal authorities.

We are joined by two relatives of the missing students who live here in New York: Antonio Tizapa is the father of missing student Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño; and Amado Tlatempa is the cousin of another missing student, Jesús Jovany Rodríguez Tlatempa.

"What I would tell President Obama is to stop supporting Plan Mérida, because the weapons, the arms that are supposedly supporting the war against drugs, those arms are being used to annihilate our students," Tizapa says.




Bodies of 34 drowned migrants found on Turkish coast [Irish Times - 5/1/16]








@MSF_Sea [5/1/16]:   Let's be clear, the way to end deaths at sea is to provide a #safepassage, an alternative to a boat like this!




People are not numbers: Refugees need safe passage [MSF - 23/9/15]




6 January 2016