Senator ABETZ: Mr President, not knowing the full details of the situation of which the honourable senator speaks, let me just speculate that, if a person is in Nauru, chances are they engaged a criminal to advance their cause and we do not support— (Time expired)
Refugee kiddies locked up #Nauru while Abbott & Shorten scramble to out compassion each other
Image: @KayeBernard [8/9/15]
Syrian asylum seeker in Villawood should be granted permanent visa, say Greens [Guardian – 10/9/15]
Senate Hansard [10/9/15]:
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:15): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Abetz. Yesterday, the government announced an emergency intake of 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. I congratulate the government for listening to the Australian community on that one. I am told that there is a mother in Syria who has not been able to leave her home for the last year or let her daughters out of the house because she lives in an ISIS controlled village and fears what the militants might do if they leave. Are these the types of families that the government is hoping to help by bringing them to Australia so they can be safe?
Senator ABETZ (Tasmania—Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:16): The Australian government is determined to do whatever it can in the Syrian and Iraqi situation to have a balanced approach of military intervention to try to get rid of this death cult. It is nice to hear for once the Australian Greens acknowledging that ISIS is a death cult—I hope at least that that was acknowledged or implicit in the question. What we will do is work with the United Nations to determine which 12,000 people are most in need for resettlement.
Unfortunately, the circumstances of that particular mother in Syria are as heart rending as literally thousands of other individual cases in Syria and in camps in Jordan and in Turkey. And there are also those in Lebanon who are effectively in camps albeit not formally so. I say to the Australian Greens that this is an issue on which this government did not just run around and pluck a figure out of the air as some others have done. We sent Mr Dutton to Europe to seek information from the UNHCR and try to determine the best way to help. We have now come up with a well-rounded policy which I think most people will consider to be compassionate. As I said the other day, the genuine compassion includes kindness plus judgement. In this case we have tried to do the very best—which is the way Australia has dealt with these matters over many decades. (Time expired)
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:18): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. This family's case is tragic and they desperately need the Australian government's help. This woman's husband fled Syria trying to find refuge for his wife and his daughters. He came to Australia two years ago. He has been locked up in an Australian immigration detention centre and his family are not allowed to join him. Will you bring his family to Australia?
Senator ABETZ (Tasmania—Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:19): It has been the sorry experience of not only myself but also many senators in this place to be confronted with a situation put to us by Senator Hanson-Young which when submitted to closer examination does not necessarily match-up with what she has said. Therefore I am not willing to accept what she has said on this occasion at face value. It is one of these unfortunate circumstances for the senator yet again. Irrespective of how well motivated she actually might be, the fact that she engages in such behaviour on a serial basis means that she has lost her own credibility in relation to matters of this nature. We as a government will not be engaged on these individual matters. Suffice it to say that the stop the boats policy has saved drownings at sea and has allowed us to take in an orderly refugee intake. (Time expired)
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:20): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. I find it disgusting that we have just had the Leader of the Government in this place play politics with the lives of this family rather than listening to their plight and the need for compassion that this Australian community has asked for.
The PRESIDENT: Senator Hanson-Young, resume your seat. Senator Macdonald on a point of order.
Senator Ian Macdonald: Mr President, this is question time not time for senators to make statements when the TV is recording the issue. This particular session of the day is for senators to ask questions of ministers and get answers. Senator Hanson-Young so far has spent most of her time and all she has done is make a political statement. I ask you to insist that she ask a question or sit down.
The PRESIDENT: In relation to the point of order, generally senators are entitled to have a preamble to their question, to set-up the question and to give some background information for the question. However, I do acknowledge that in this case, Senator Hanson-Young, you may have deviated from setting up that question. So I would ask you to come to your question.
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (14:21): Could Senator Abetz explain to us why Syrian families that have been torn apart by the conflict being punished for trying to reach Australia for protection?
Senator Bernardi interjecting—
The PRESIDENT: Senator Di Natale on a point of order.
Senator Di Natale: Mr President, I ask you to get Senator Bernardi to reflect on his comments and perhaps withdraw his implication that the Greens support ISIS.
Senator Bernardi: Mr President, put simply, Senator Di Natale does not support a campaign against ISIS in Syria.
The PRESIDENT: I do not want a debate, Senator Bernardi. Senator Bernardi, if you said something that you feel as though you should withdraw, I would appreciate your withdrawal.
Senator Bernardi: I do not believe I should withdraw.
The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Bernardi.
Honourable senators interjecting—
The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Wong.
Senator Wong: Mr President, you have asked him to withdraw.
The PRESIDENT: I did not hear anything that was said, Senator Wong.
Senator Wong: I heard very clearly. He said, 'You support ISIS. Why do you support ISIS?' He ought withdraw that.
Honourable senators interjecting—
The PRESIDENT: Order! One at a time. Senator Wong has the call. There will be silence.
Senator Wong: Mr President, people in this place will have differences of views on national security. I do not share the views of the Greens on national security, but that accusation ought not be allowed to stand in this place.
Senator Bernardi: Mr President, I will make it easy for you, I will withdraw.
The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Bernardi. Senator Di Natale, a second point of order.
Senator Di Natale: A second point of order, Mr President.
Honourable senators interjecting—
The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Di Natale, is this a fresh point of order because I have ruled on the previous one?
Senator Di Natale: Yes.
The PRESIDENT: Senator Di Natale.
Senator Di Natale: I would also ask Senator Canavan to withdraw his assertion that the Greens also support ISIS.
The PRESIDENT: Senator Canavan.
Senator Canavan: I do not believe I have said anything unparliamentary and I have nothing to withdraw.
The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Canavan. Senator Macdonald on a point of order.
Senator Ian Macdonald: Mr President, I have a point of order too. The question suggested, or in fact said, that Senator Abetz personally punished some immigrant groups. I ask that the person who asked the question withdraw that part of the question and that accusation against Senator Abetz, which is clearly wrong.
The PRESIDENT: In relation to these points of order, Senator Bernardi had the good grace to withdraw. I will go back and reflect on whether that is unparliamentary. I think we are now getting to the stage where we are starting to rule out everything. I will not ask Senator Hanson-Young to withdraw. I invite the minister to answer the question. Minister.
Senator ABETZ (Tasmania—Leader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (14:24): Mr President, can I thank the honourable senator for her character assessment. It is something that she is well known for in handing out character assessments to everybody but herself. In relation to the heinous suggestion that I and/or the government are seeking to punish people, can I say that we absolutely repudiate that. It was as a result of Australian Labor-Green policies that we saw 1,200 people drown at sea. That is disgusting. That is horrific. That is what we on this side were able to stop. We are pleased and thankful that we were able to achieve that.
The PRESIDENT: Order! Minister. Pause the clock. Senator Canavan on a point of order.
Senator Canavan: I rise on a point of order, Mr President. Senator Whish-Wilson swore and I would ask him to withdraw that comment.
Honourable senators interjecting—
The PRESIDENT: Order! On both sides. In relation to these points of order there is another opportunity, if you feel as though you have been misrepresented or if you feel as though matters have not been said to your satisfaction, to raise them elsewhere.
Senator Wong interjecting—
Honourable senators interjecting—
The PRESIDENT: Order, Senator Wong! Order! On both sides. Points of order of this nature are not necessarily relevant to question time. Points of order should be about the actual conduct of question time. Could I ask all senators to respect each other in this place and to not use labels, names or innuendos. It would help everyone, and it is probably befitting of the position of being a senator. Senator Whish-Wilson, in the same spirit that I asked Senator Bernardi, if you feel as though you have said anything that is unparliamentary, I would ask you to withdraw. Order! Senator Heffernan, I am dealing with another matter at the moment.
Senator Whish-Wilson: I withdraw any profanity I may have said, Mr President.
The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Whish-Wilson. Senator Heffernan on a point of order.
Senator Heffernan: I withdraw.
The PRESIDENT: Let us now come back to the serious nature of question time. I call the minister. Minister.
Senator ABETZ: Mr President, not knowing the full details of the situation of which the honourable senator speaks, let me just speculate that, if a person is in Nauru, chances are they engaged a criminal to advance their cause and we do not support— (Time expired)
... MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Now of course, there are still many Syrians already here in the country, I think 30,000 or something and there are also some on Manus Island. What impact is this likely to have on them do you think and what would you like to see?
GILLIAN TRIGGS [President Australian Human Rights Commission]: Well, I think this is something that needs to be thought through - and I appreciate that in the need to work quickly, perhaps this hasn't been thought through.
But the reality is that we have over 30,000 asylum seekers in Australia whose claims to refugee status has yet to be assessed, although that process is just starting now. But we also have numbers - and I'm not sure of those numbers - but we certainly have numbers of Syrians being held in closed detention both in Australia and Manus Island and Nauru, and what we're doing of course, is creating a double system that they will not be eligible for permanent residency in Australia even if they are, as we think they will be, judged to be refugees.
So we will have those on temporary protection visas and others coming in from Syria who will have permanent residency and able to work.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: So you think this opportunity that we're affording the 12,000 who we're bringing in from elsewhere should be extended to those who are already here?
GILLIAN TRIGGS: I think so. I think we frankly have to be practical about this.
The reality is that once these people are assessed, 80-90 per cent of them will pass the legal test as refugees. I think we simply have to accept that they will be Australians in one form or another and it will be far more sensible to accept that they're here fleeing conflict.
They came, as the Australian Government says, as unauthorised maritime arrivals but I think we have to simply move away from that thinking and accept that they are refugees asking our protection and they should be treated equally.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: And that's the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs.
Amnesty International USA responds to former CIA officials’ defence of torture
Media Release [9/9/15]:
Today, former CIA officials purported to respond to last year’s Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture by releasing a book entitled “Rebuttal.”
Downplaying the criminal misconduct identified by the Senate Intelligence Committee last year in its landmark report, the officials defend the torture regime constructed and carried out by the U.S. government following the September 11 attacks.
In response to the publication of “Rebuttal,” Naureen Shah, Director of Amnesty International USA’s Security with Human Rights program, issued the following statement:
“This book could only exist within a culture of impunity for torture. Because of the U.S. government’s failure to conduct proper investigations or prosecutions, officials can speak freely about the use of torture without fear of consequences.
“Torture is unambiguously illegal, and the United States’ international legal obligations require accountability and redress. Yet an open discussion of torture is met with indifference from the Justice Department. That sends a clear message that torture is sometimes acceptable, and remains a viable policy option.
Amnesty International USA continues to call upon the U.S. Department of Justice to re-open investigations and pursue prosecutions as appropriate against U.S. officials responsible for torture.
Federal Circuit Court judge Alexander Street accused of bias after rejecting hundreds of migration cases
A Federal Circuit Court judge from one of Australia's most famous legal families has been accused of apprehended bias after he rejected more than 250 appeals in migration cases in six months.
Rulings of Judge Alexander "Sandy" Street have been subject to several appeals in two recent cases in the Full Federal Court, which has strongly criticised the newly appointed Federal Circuit Court judge.
In a highly unusual move, applicants have presented statistics to support their allegation that those seeking a judicial review of migration decisions had virtually no chance of succeeding in Judge Street's court between January and June this year.
In the latest application, filed last week in the Full Federal Court, the editor of the Federal Court Reports, Victor Kline, has sworn an affidavit which alleges Judge Street found in favour of the Immigration Minister in virtually every case he heard between January and June this year.
Of 254 rulings delivered, Judge Street rejected migration appeals in 252 cases.
According to the statistics, the judge dismissed a large number of cases at the first court date, which is usually set aside for laying down a timetable for gathering evidence and scheduling a hearing.
Monash University law professor Matthew Groves said such analysis of an individual judge's rulings was rarely seen in Australian courts.
"The very fact that they were collected is unusual, and the stats themselves are quite unusual because they show that for migration hearings, essentially you've got no prospect of succeeding in front of this particular judge," Professor Groves said.
The judge hails from the well-known Street legal family, which has produced three NSW chief justices.
Judge Street's father, Sir Laurence Street, served as NSW Chief Justice between 1974 and 1988.
Judge Street was appointed to the Federal Circuit Court in late December last year by Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis.
He was the subject of media attention in the year prior to his appointment when it was revealed he was carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and faced possible bankruptcy.
In his time on the Federal Circuit Court, Judge Street has heard an astonishing number of cases.
Between January and June this year, he delivered rulings in 286 cases. The other eight judges who sit on the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney delivered 357 cases combined.
Judge Street has been the subject of pointed criticism in two successful appeals of his decisions in the Full Federal Court in which the judge was found to have denied litigants procedural fairness.
In one case, an unrepresented Tamil asylum seeker told Judge Street that his younger brother, younger sister and her husband had been killed in Sri Lanka.
"The police will be targeting me as I was seen as being opposed to the police," the Tamil man told Judge Street.
"I plead to this court that I have come here to seek refuge and protection, and therefore, I urge this court to grant me protection and allow me to stay in this country."
When we're dealing with a case that involves the refugee issue, I think [procedural fairness] is even more important because often these people are unrepresented, they can't speak English, they don't understand any of the issues that are involved.
In response, the judge asked the Tamil man to identify why there was a jurisdictional error in his case.
In that case, lawyers for the Immigration Minister had cautioned against the summary dismissal of the Tamil man's case, stressing the duty of the Minister to put evidence before the court.
The man's immigration file had not yet been obtained. But the judge did not accept the Minister's counsel's entreaties, summarily dismissing the case with costs.
The Full Federal Court took a dim view of the judge's approach when it ruled the case should go back before a different judge to be re-heard in the Federal Circuit Court.
"Serious issues relating to the procedural fairness of proceedings must arise in circumstances such as the present, in which an unrepresented applicant whose primary language is not English ... is called on, without notice, to mount arguments resisting the summary dismissal of his application," judges Mansfield, Tracey and Mortimer said.
"These circumstances, or ones similar to them, should not occur again."
Former NSW Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy said the comments from the Full Federal Court were notable.
Mr Whealy said it was essential that courts offer procedural fairness, most particularly in migration cases.
"When we're dealing with a case that involves the refugee issue, I think it's even more important because often these people are unrepresented, they can't speak English, they don't understand any of the issues that are involved," Mr Whealy said.
"It's terribly important that they be allowed to prepare their case."
Robert Emmett, Sydney teacher and judges' son, avoids jail over child abuse material [ABC - 10/9/15]
... Van Ryn was sentenced to a minimum of seven years and a maximum of 13 for 14 offences of child abuse carried out on nine boys and girls from 2003 to 2014.
The one-time CEO of the successful cheese company regularly abused his victims while they were at a swimming pool, Sydney's District Court heard. ... [Nine MSN - 9/9/15]
A former Geelong Grammar School headmaster failed to report any allegations of staff sexually abusing students because he decided himself they had no chance of being prosecuted. ... [Nine MSN - 9/9/15]
Heavy rain causes floods; sends tainted water from Fukushima plant into sea
Japan Today [10/9/15]:
A city in Ibaraki Prefecture was flooded Thursday when a raging river burst its banks, destroying homes and cars as desperate residents waited for help, and as thousands of people were ordered to evacuate.
Dramatic television footage showed a wall of muddy water gushing from the swollen Kinugawa River in Joso city, which is home to around 65,000 people.
Several people are reportedly missing across the country as waist-high floods in some areas left rescuers scrambling to pluck residents to safety as a wide area was deluged in the wake of Typhoon Etau.
The torrential downpour has also exacerbated a contaminated water problem at the Fukushima nuclear plant as it overwhelmed the site’s drainage pumps, a spokesman for operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said.
Hundreds of tons of contaminated water have flowed into the ocean, he added.
TEPCO is storing huge volumes of water used to cool reactors that were sent into meltdown when a tsunami hit Japan in 2011.
“This is a scale of downpour that we have not experienced before,” forecaster Takuya Deshimaru told an emergency press conference.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was on high alert.
“The government will stand united and do its best to deal with the disaster… by putting its highest priority on people’s lives,” he told reporters.
In Joso, houses and vehicles were washed away along with some power lines, as Self-Defense Force personnel headed to the area to help with the rescue mission.
A Japanese nuclear power plant started commercial operations on Thursday for the first time after two years of shutdown triggered by the Fukushima crisis.
Utility Kyushu Electric Power said a reactor at Sendai, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) southwest of Tokyo, started "normal operation at 4 p.m. (0700 GMT) following final inspections" conducted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority on the day.
The plant reached full power generation at the end of last month and is now ready to supply the Kyushu region. ... [France 24 - 10/9/15]
It is "essential" the genetic modification of human embryos is allowed, a group of scientists, ethicists and policy experts says.
A Hinxton Group report said editing the genetic code of early stage embryos was of "tremendous value" to research.
It added although GM babies should not be allowed to be born at the moment, it may be "morally acceptable" under some circumstances in the future. ... [RNZI - 10/9/15]
Saudi-led coalition warplanes have mistakenly killed eight Yemeni civilians, including several beekeepers, during air strikes aimed at Iran-backed rebels, a local official said Thursday.
The pro-government coalition has intensified raids against rebel forces since a deadly missile attack on Friday killed 60 Gulf troops in Marib province east of the capital Sanaa.
As warplanes late on Wednesday pounded rebel positions in Bayhan, on the border between Shabwa and Marib provinces, they hit a honey farm and "six beekeepers and two other civilians were killed by mistake," a local government official in Bayhan said. ... [Naharnet - 10/9/15]
Afghanistan: Five civilians kidnapped on highway between Jawzjan and Sar-e-Pul by unidentified gunman [Khaama - 10/9/15]
Afghan Local Police (ALP) Commander for the Mohammad Agaha district of central Logar province has been shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Kabul, an official said on Thursday. ... [Pajhwok - 10/9/15]
Bomb explodes on UNICEF convoy in Nangarhar, no casualties [Khaama - 10/9/15]
2 Sudanese killed in attack on WHO vehicle in Darfur: UN [Daily Star - 10/9/15]
Egyptian police forcibly disperse high school student protest [Ahram - 9/9/15]
The United States wants to meet with Israel to discuss how the U.S. can ensure Israel's military advantage over its enemies, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday. U.S. officials said such a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu was already in the works. ... [Ahram - 10/9/15]
UN envoy urges constructive steps for Palestinian unity amid postponement of key gathering [Media Release - 9/9/15]
Israeli naval boats on Thursday morning fired gunshots at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian security officials said.
No injuries were reported in the incident, but fishermen, fearing escalation, had to sail back to the shore.
An Israeli army spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment. ... [Maan - 10/9/15]
Three police officers in Washington state who shot and killed a Mexican man earlier this year during a controversial encounter that was captured on cellphone video will not face criminal charges. ... [Guardian - 10/9/15]
Former tennis star James Blake was slammed to the ground, handcuffed and detained for about 15 minutes in New York City on Wednesday before police realized they had the wrong man in an identity theft ring, New York's Daily News reported.
The incident occurred as Blake, formerly the world's fourth-ranked player, was waiting for a car outside a Midtown Manhattan hotel to take him to the U.S. Open, he told the newspaper.
Blake said that after being shoved to the sidewalk, he was detained by five white plainclothes city police officers. But the New York native, who is black, stopped short of calling it racial profiling.
"I don't know if it's as simple as that," the 35-year-old Blake told the News. "To me it's as simple as unnecessary police force, no matter what my race is. ... [Reuters - 10/9/15]
Denmark reopens border to trains [Deutsche Welle - 10/9/15]
Polish PM says accepting refugees is Poland's duty [Yahoo - 10/9/15]
Secretary-General discusses refugee, migrant crisis with UK Prime Minister [Media Release - 9/9/15]
NATO’s top commanders meet in Istanbul to discuss Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan [Hurriyet Daily News - 10/9/15]
Ukraine: Minsk cease-fire signatories to meet on Oct. 2 [Anadolu Agency - 10/9/15]
Turkish jets continued to bombard Kurdish militant positions in northern Iraq on Wednesday and Thursday, achieving "very effective" results, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday. ... [Yahoo - 10/9/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Syria and Iraq - obliterating a football stadium in Ramadi
US Department of Defense [9/9/15]:
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.
Coalition airstrikes yesterday destroyed a large operating base and staging area located in a stadium near Ramadi, officials said.
The stadium was a key ISIL command and supply hub in the Ramadi region and was being used to store large amounts of homemade explosives, weapons and ammunition as well as vehicle bomb components, officials said. ISIL used the stadium as a base of operations to control fighters across the Ramadi region, and as a central node for lethal aid funneled down the Euphrates River Valley.
“Destroying this facility enables Iraqi security forces activities in and around Ramadi while degrading Daesh command and control capability throughout the area,” Army Col. Michael Indovina, the CJTF-OIR spokesman said.
Officials reported details of additional strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted three airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hawl, an airstrike destroyed three ISIL bunkers.
-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and an ISIL training camp, destroying five ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL motorcycle.
-- Near Mar’a, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL front-end loader.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
-- Near Huwayjah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Beiji, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle bomb.
-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.
-- Near Habbaniyah, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL homemade explosives cache and an ISIL rocket rail.
-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck two ISIL heavy machine gun firing positions and an ISIL mortar firing position.
-- Near Kisik, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL heavy machine gun firing position and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL operating base and an ISIL staging area, destroying five ISIL homemade explosives caches, two ISIL boats, an ISIL motorcycle and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL heavy machine guns.
-- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL mortar firing position, destroying an ISIL bunker, an ISIL excavator, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL trench and an ISIL weapons cache.
Iraqi Spring Media Center - @IraqiSMCEn [9/9/15]:
Baghdad: "A person was killed and 6 wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near marble factories in Ubeidi area east of Baghdad today morning........................
Baghdad: News agencies: A displaced person from Anbar was killed as a roadside bomb attached to his car exploded in Amiriya area west of Baghdad................
Baghdad: News agencies:6 persons were either killed or wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in Zufaraniya area southeast of Baghdad............
Baghdad: An element of anti-terrorism apparatus was killed in iraq when he was attacked by guns while passing through Qanat Street.....
Baghdad: "Two persons were killed and 5 wounded as a roadside bomb exploded near public cafe in Tobchi area today evening",security source said.......
Syrian refugee rescued by Greek holidaymakers mid-sea [Neos Kosmos - 10/9/15]
@MSF_Sea [9/9/15]: An extra ferry will be brought in to ease the situation on #Lesbos, described by #MSF as "a pressure cooker"
@MSF_Sea [9/9/15]: "We tried everything to come legally. We knew it was risky for our son, who can’t walk but nobody helped us"- Ama
... Wouldn’t it be great if, the next time
LÉ Niamh or LÉ Eithne pluck desperate refugees from the Mediterranean, they were
brought safely “home” to Ireland? It would be a much-needed rekindling of that
famous a céad míle fáilte for some of those
who so desperately need it. ... [Irish
Times - 9/9/15]
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has announced plans that he says will offer a "swift, determined and comprehensive" response to Europe's migrant crisis.
Under the proposals, 120,000 additional asylum seekers will be distributed among EU nations, with binding quotas.
It comes after a surge of thousands of mainly Syrian migrants pushed north through Europe in recent days. ... [BBC - 9/9/15]
... Swept up in your net,
I didn't forget
I never knew
I wasn't there,
Months turned to years,
And I turned to despair. ...
'Toorali', The Herd 
… Asked why Syrians currently in detention on Manus Island and Nauru did not deserve the opportunity of resettlement, the prime minister said: “We will never ever do anything that encourages the evil trade of people smuggling and all of those who have come to Australia by boat are here as a result of people smuggling.”
This is illegal. The 1951 Refugee Convention, to which Australia is not only a party (and therefore legally bound) but which Australia helped to draft, explicitly states that refugees must not be penalised or punished for their method of arrival in a country.
“States shall not impose penalties [on refugees] on account of their illegal entry or presence,” the convention says.
At a more human level, imposing a harsh, indefinite punishment on a person because of how they chose to flee persecution is viewed by the men on Manus as deeply unfair, and is certainly perceived as being unfair by those directly affected on Manus Island and Nauru.
On Thursday morning, the day after the government’s announcement on the 12,000 extra refugees, one man in detention on Manus Island told Guardian Australia: “Really, it is too [much] injustice. The Australian government will accept Syrian people from so far place but tortured a Syrian in the Australian detention. I cannot understand Australian system. I cannot understand.”
Vietnamese refugees create fundraising campaign to help save boat refugees in the Mediterranean with MOAS [Media Release - 9/9/15]:
... Duc Nguyen, one of millions of refugee who fled Vietnam across the South China Sea following the end of the war in 1975, says:
“In Vietnam we have a saying: “Ăn trái nhớ kẻ trồng cây.”
It means, when eating the fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.
Now as we are established in the land of freedom, it is important to give others the same chance at survival that we were granted and metaphorically plant a new tree of life.
For those of us that belong to the Vietnamese overseas community, we share a moral obligation and social responsibility to support this mission.” ...
Today in the Senate, the Attorney General announced that the Mission to the UN in Geneva has written to the Security Council invoking collective self defence as per Australia's bombing of Syria.
Read this before the media uses a drowned refugee boy to start another war, Dan Sanchez [ICH/ANTIMEDIA - 9/9/15]:
... Warmongers in government and the media are perversely but predictably trying to conscript Aylan’s corpse into their march to escalation. They are contending that Aylan died because the West has not intervened against Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad, and that it must do so now to spare other children the same fate.
Um, no, Aylan’s family were Kurdish refugees from Kobani who had to flee that city when it was besieged, not by Assad, but by Assad’s enemy: ISIS.
And ISIS is running rampant in that part of Syria only because the US-led West and its regional allies have given them cover by supporting and arming the jihadist-dominated uprising against Assad.
The West has been intervening in Syria heavily since at least 2012. Indeed, it is Western intervention that has exacerbated and prolonged the conflict, which has now claimed a quarter of a million lives.
But because much of the intervention has been covert and by proxy, it has received little media coverage and public attention. So the “blowback” that results from it, including Aylan’s death, can be conveniently blamed on alleged “non-intervention” and used to justify more overt and direct intervention.
In this way, governments have long exploited public obliviousness and gullibility to get their wars.
Moreover, if the hawks were to get their wish of seeing Assad finally overthrown and his forces dismantled, there would then be zero local resistance to ISIS, Syrian Al Qaeda, and the other jihadist groups completely overrunning Syria.
As bad as the refugee crisis is now, just imagine what it will be like as all of Syria’s many religious minorities desperately flee from these hyper-violent and hyper-sectarian Sunnis, armed to the teeth with Western weapons.
Far from preventing such tragedies as Aylan’s drowning, intervening further would only produce many more. ...
A response to the “Cruise Missile Left” [Counterpunch - 6/9/15]
War Is A Crime [4/3/07]:
This is an excerpt of Gen. Wesley Clark in a Democracy Now interview with Amy Goodman:
... GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I knew why, because I had been through the Pentagon right after 9/11. About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, "Sir, you've got to come in and talk to me a second." I said, "Well, you're too busy." He said, "No, no." He says, "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq." This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, "We're going to war with Iraq? Why?" He said, "I don't know." He said, "I guess they don't know what else to do." So I said, "Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?" He said, "No, no." He says, "There's nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq." He said, "I guess it's like we don't know what to do about terrorists, but we've got a good military and we can take down governments." And he said, "I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail."
So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it's worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" -- meaning the Secretary of Defense's office -- "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"
AMY GOODMAN: I'm sorry. What did you say his name was?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I'm not going to give you his name.
AMY GOODMAN: So, go through the countries again.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: Well, starting with Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon, then Libya, then Somalia and Sudan, and back to Iran. ...
How Neocons destabilised Europe, Robert Parry [Consortium News – 7/9/15]
Why is it that Refugee Action Collective Queensland ALWAYS organises rallies at different times to the rest of the country?
And why do they only direct their actions against LNP politicians?
It's not like they don't have members who agree with the message of this Saturday's protest.
Brisbane should be protesting on Saturday as well. Why isn't this happening? Who continually attempts to suffocate these opportunities to show solidarity with the rest of the country?
Refugee Rights Action Network WA:
Join us 12pm This Saturday (Murray St Mall).
Perth, Melbourne and Sydney will join in solidarity with actions across Europe and UK in an international day of action calling for an end to policies of deterrence which turn refugees away at the border.
In Australia this means:
- closing down Nauru & Manus Island detention centres,
- ending detention completely,
- ending the forced tow-back of boats at sea and
- reinstating permanent protection visas for refugees.
Increasing the allocation of resettlement numbers for Syrian refugees is welcome but it will not address the dangers facing people forced to flee persecution if fences, walls and deterrence policies remain intact at the borders.
LET THEM LAND; LET THEM STAY.
FREE THE REFUGEES TODAY!
Second reading of "License to Kill" bill slips from Senate debate for the third day [10/9/15]
More please: Australian's Immigration Minister visits Cambodia to congratulate Hun Sen for facilitating return of refugee to Myanmar
Australia's so called opposition, media and human rights establishment continue protecting Dutton from scrutiny. [Phnom Penh Post - 9/9/15]:
Cambodia is "ready to accept more refugees," a minister attached to Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday after a meeting between the premier and Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton in Phnom Penh.
The talks, confirmed to the Post by Sri Thamrong, came only days after it was revealed that a Rohingya refugee who moved to Cambodia under the agreement said he wanted to return to Myanmar and media reports circulated that the controversial refugee settlement deal was on shaky ground.
"We are ready to accept more refugees…We will send our officials, a team from Ministry of Interior, to interview them," Thamrong said. "Both [Hun Sen] and the guest [Mr. Dutton] want to have more refugees to come ... on a voluntary basis."
Dutton declined to comment on the meeting on Wednesday evening, saying only that he planned “to make a very positive statement in the morning.”
In exchange for $28 million in aid and an additional $10.8 million to cover resettlement costs, Cambodia agreed last September to host refugees held in the Australian-run detention camp on the tiny Pacific island of Nauru.
However, only four out of 677 refugees – three Iranians and the Rohingya – have so far agreed to the transfer.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak and Refugee Department director Kem Sarin could not be reached, but Sarin said on Monday that as the agreement in its current form is valid for four years, “if … there is any problem, each party can inform each other about changes or termination”.
Voyage of the Damned: Fate of Rohingya refugee exiled by Australia and IOM from Nauru to Cambodia now in hands of Myanmar government [Phnom Penh Post - 8/9/15]
Another pissweak response from an NGO rewarding Abbott and Dutton's PR stunt
This is just the first step needed, as world leaders, including Australia, look to address the worst refugee crisis since WWII.
“Thousands more people will now have the chance to live safe and happy lives and make positive contributions to the diverse Australian community,” said Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator, Amnesty International Australia.
“It is a positive demonstration of leadership which hopefully other developed countries will follow.” ...
[Amnesty Media Release - 9/9/15]
Refugee kiddies locked up #Nauru while Abbott & Shorten scramble to out compassion each other
Image: @KayeBernard [8/9/15]
Refugee Action Coalition Sydney [9/9/15]:
Transfield manages the Nauru detention centre with a track record of child sexual abuse, rape, torture and murder.
The company has just announced they have signed a deal to begin a facilities management and property services contract with the UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE.
This company should be closed down not awarded contracts with our higher education institution.
Let the University know how you feel about this. Write to the Vice Chancellor UON at firstname.lastname@example.org and remind her about the atrocities, that this contract with Transfield is unacceptable and it should be replaced immediately with an Ethical organisation.
Auschwitz ‘showers’ highlight challenge of Holocaust tourism [Times of Israel - 9/9/15]
… World Vision's Tim Costello questioned the treatment of Syrians who had already tried to flee to Australia.
He cited the case of a Syrian asylum seeker who reportedly volunteered to go back to Syria after being held on Manus Island.
"We should be asking the question how is it possible for a Syrian refugee, who was on Manus for two years, to be deported or so called voluntarily go back — I think it was in June of this year," Mr Costello said.
Independent Andrew Wilkie also called for a rethink about Syrians in Australian detention.
"If they can show or explain they were fleeing for their life — and I'm sure many were then — they should be treated exactly the same way as this 12,000," he said. …
Australian union movement uses sexual harassment case to reaffirm its support for incarcerating refugees in concentration camps [Guardian - 10/9/15]:
FUCKING CLUELESS GUMBIES WORK IN A CONCENTRATION CAMP AND WONDER WHY THEY HAVE NO RIGHTS ----> “The perpetrator has since been promoted. That’s the kind of culture we’re dealing with here. Bullying and sexual harassment are just rife, but there’s no one you can talk to and nowhere you can go to report it. The strain on workers is just huge.”
A United Voice coordinator, Damien Davie, said conditions for workers on Nauru and Manus were appalling and urged Transfield to cut ties with Wilson.
“The only way to improve conditions for workers and detainees at these facilities is to bring in another contractor,” Davie said.
“Staff are being mistreated all the time and are forced to endure horrendous conditions.
“There are significant issues with communication for these workers. The phone lines are often down, emails are strongly believed by staff to be monitored and workers are banned from using Facebook.
“The strain on workers’ families is huge and that leads to marriage breakdowns, which just escalates the situation for the workers out there. It’s a pressure cooker environment and that doesn’t do anyone any favours.”
Rose said she had been denied the opportunity to speak to her four-year-old son for weeks at a time. Other workers missed parents’ funerals “because Wilson wouldn’t provide leave or didn’t arrange flights out in time”.
... But over the past two years, the DIBP has not reported a single sexual incident affecting asylum seekers in Nauru to Comcare. This is a claim that the DIBP does not dispute. ... [ABC - 9/9/15]
... But it should not wait until bodies are washed up on foreign beaches before it is spurred to action.
And nor should Australia reserve its help for those fleeing conflict in distant wars. Its first duty should be to those who face death and persecution in its own region.
There are both practical and moral reasons for this. Practically, it is faster and more effective to provide sanctuary to those closer to home and to repatriate those who wish to return when it is safe to do so.
Morally, it is Australia’s neighbours to whom it owes its first duty of assistance. ... Catherine Renshaw [The Conversation – 9/9/15]
Vietnamese ‘Boat Person’ speaks out about refugee crisis [Here And Now - 9/9/15]:
Among those closely following the plight of Syrian refugees are those who know firsthand what it means to flee one’s homeland with no assurance of ever reaching a safe destination.
In his blog “Life in Commute” Sonny Le writes, “Just imagine… the many Vietnamese Americans and immigrants that you know or have met, the Vietnamese restaurants, the nail salons, doctors, mechanics, professors, gardeners, artists, engineers and nurses, and myself included, wouldn’t be where we are today if you had turned your back on us 30 years ago.”
Le is referring to the so-called Vietnamese Boat People – the Vietnamese refugees who fled their country between 1978 and 1980 to escape the brutalities of the Communist regime, several years after the fall of South Vietnam. It was during that crisis that Jimmy Carter famously walked out of the White House to talk to the protesters at his front gate, telling an organizer: “I will not let your people die.”
Sonny Le shares his story and his perspective on the current refugee crisis with Here & Now host Meghna Chakrabarti.
What happened the night you left Vietnam?
“Basically, we were on a tiny river boat with 304 other people and we were snaking along the coast in the inland waterway. And once we got over into the open-end of the ocean in the South China Sea, we made a break, trying to run away from the coast as fast as possible.”
What were conditions like on the boat? Did you have enough food and water?
“Looking back, I can smell it – I call it the stench of death. I mean it was fecal matter, it was urine, vomit combined, and the sweat baked in the sun, and it was overwhelming.”
“We thought we did, we thought we did. Of course we didn’t. Within the water tank, we had some catfish and we thought we could use that water with the fish and cook with the rice. And when the hull broke, I mean, we ran out of fresh water. Basically we were squeezing jicama for a few droplets here and there like people digging in the desert for those tubers in the Sahara in the Kalahari. Basically that is what we were doing. And there were like literally 300 people on the deck. Looking back, I can smell it – I call it the stench of death. I mean it was fecal matter, it was urine, vomit combined, and the sweat baked in the sun, and it was overwhelming. And in fact, people went insane. One man, he couldn’t take it. So he jumped into the water and disappeared – just like that.”
Do you think there’s a moral responsibility for the United States to do more?
“Yes, I think we do. I believe that NATO, and the U.S. particularly, should have a resettlement policy as part of the State Department and the Department of Defense. You know, we cannot go around the world engaging in regional conflicts behind the scenes or front without thinking that at some point people will be displaced, and what are we going to do about it? I mean, we can’t be a world policeman and peacekeeper without thinking the side effects of that. You know, looking back, what if the U.S. hadn’t been a part of the Vietnam War? I probably wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you. Though I appreciate being here, I keep asking myself in the back of my mind ‘what if? What if there was no Vietnam War?'”
Sonny Le, communications instructor at the San Francisco State University, College of Extended Learning. He tweets @sonnylebythebay.
Rohingya activist killed in police custody [Burma Times – 10/9/15]:
Police have killed a popular Rohingya activist from Khadir Bil, according to sources.
Master Ershad Ullah is believed to have been shot dead near the Maungdaw six mile checkpoint at point blank range on August 31.
Ershad was arrested on January 25 this year on the charges of murdering a government collaborator Md Zakir in Khadir Bil of Maungdaw South.
Under intense torture in custody in the four mile area, Ershad made a confessional statement though it is a well known fact he had nothing to do with the murder.
Local sources say Ershad was arrested for his commitment towards justice and his charitable work for the Rohingyas in Khadir Bil.
Following his arrest, locals and expatriates tried to secure his release by paying ransom money. Ershad was released for a short while but again arrested and inhumanely tortured.
His whereabouts have been a mystery for the last few days but now our sources have confirmed a prisoner was shot dead in the area.
They also confirmed the prisoner was being transferred to the Buthidaung jail after being sentenced to a 25 year prison term by a Maungdaw court. The prisoner was identified as Ershad.
Bangladesh shuts bank account of Arakan Army leader [Burma Times – 10/9/15]
The National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Khaplang (NSCN-K), a Myanmar-based rebel group has been recruiting school children here at gunpoint, an Assam Rifles official said today. ... [NDTV - 9/9/15]
Almost US$20 billion in dirty money left Myanmar in five decades – researchers [Channel News Asia – 10/9/15]
Myanmar sees increased offshore exploration work in Late 2015/Early 2016 [Rigzone - 21/7/15]:
Myanmar expects offshore exploration activities to increase in late 2015 and early 2016 as companies commence work on blocks awarded under Myanmar's Bidding Round - 2013.
Myanmar, one of the few frontier areas for petroleum exploration in Southeast Asia, expected to see a rise in exploratory activities by local and international oil and gas companies -- who have been granted onshore and offsore blocks earlier -- in late 2015 and early 2016, local media Eleven reported.
“The [Myanmar] government gave the green light for 16 onshore blocks and 20 offshore blocks during the last financial year. Oil and gas exploration will start in late 2015 and early 2016," Dr. Aung Kyaw Htoo, managing director of Dare Co Ltd., a local construction, engineering and services firm said, as quoted by Eleven.
The prospect of an increase in exploration activities in Myanmar over the next few years has been well received by local firms.
"Myanmar companies have many opportunities beyond 2015. It is heartening to see the involvement of big oil companies like Shell and Chevron in the projects. There will be many job opportunities in the country,” Aung added.
Australia-based oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum Ltd. revealed last week in its second quarterly report that it planning is ongoing to acquire extensive 2D and 3D seismic data over shallow-water Blocks A-4 and A-7 as well as deepwater Blocks AD-2 and AD-5.
These four blocks were awarded by the government to Woodside and its joint venture under Myanmar's Bidding Round - 2013 in late 2015 and early 2016.
Meanwhile, Woodside said preparations are underway for the drilling of the Saung-11 well in Block A-6 in late 2015 and the Tha Lim-11 well in Block AD-7 in first quarter 2016 offshore Myanmar.
Earlier, UK-based Ophir Energy, which partners Myanmar's Parami Energy, indicated July 6 that the firm has recently completed the acquisition of 4,170 square miles (10,800 square kilometers) of 3D seismic data at deepwater Block AD-3 in the Rakhine basin.
“Many foreign companies have won the tender for oil blocks under the current government ... companies like Shell and Chevron ... will start exploration in late 2015 and continue for three or four years,” Kyaw Kyaw Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar's Smart Group of Companies, said, as reported by Eleven.
Woodside's $8 Billion Oil Search bid targets lower costs in PNG [Rigzone – 9/9/15]
Horrible old fascist climate denier Rupert Murdoch continues buying up reputations and demolishing them [Boing Boing - 9/9/15]
Lock the Gate continue alienating support base with Alan Jones/Sky advertising campaign [Media Release - 7/9/15]
"RU OK?" Day Is Not OK
It is marketing.
Powerful interests need you to remain passive and accepting of things that are definitely not OK.
(And there are plenty of things that are not OK.)
So, GET ANGRY, and always remember ...
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Man and woman shot, Helensvale
A man has reportedly shot a woman, before turning the gun on himself at a McDonald’s restaurant in Helensvale this morning.
Emergency services rushed to the scene on Siganto Drive at Helensvale just after 9.15am following reports of a shooting.
On arrival, they found a male conscious and breathing, however early reports suggest paramedics are performing CPR on the woman at the scene.
It’s alleged the man shot the woman in the head, before shooting himself in the stomach.
The McDonald’s carpark has been closed off.
Motorists are urged to avoid the area.
Anyone experiencing difficulties should contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Woman shot, Gold Coast
QPS Media [10/9/15]:
Police are investigating the discharge of a firearm where a 27-year-old woman has sustained an injury to her buttocks overnight.
Around 9.55pm a taxi dropped the woman to the Gold Coast Hospital for treatment to her injury. At this time the woman has not given police a complete version of what has occurred.
Her injuries are not life threatening.
This is all the information available at this time. Investigations are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Update: Murder charge, Molendinar [QPS Media - 10/9/15]
SES joins search for missing Canberra woman [Canberra Times - 9/9/15]
Update: shooting, Victoria Point [QPS Media - 10/9/15]
Deliberate lighting of bush fires Mackay [QPS Media - 10/9/15]
Fatal crash, Plum Tree Creek (McKinlay) [QPS Media - 10/9/15]
A teen cyclist has been hit by a car on the Gold Coast this morning.
Emergency services rushed to the intersection of Hooker Boulevard and the Gold Coast highway in Broadbeach just before 8.45am following reports a cyclist had been struck. ... [MYGC - 10/9/15]
Pedestrian hit by car, Redcliffe via @tow_alerts [9/9/15]
Why are localities like Jacobs Well always singled out for "special treatment"? Do parents and children have a choice? [QPS Media - 9/9/15]
10 September 2015