In Baghdad, Iraqis refuse to be sucked into sectarian divide [The National - 9/7/16]:
Instead, they point the finger at the political elite that has been failing Iraqis since the Americans handed power to an interim government in 2004.
“Ordinary people don’t care about the Sunni-Shia stuff, but the political leaders make money and stay in power because of this conflict. The politicians don’t feel responsible for this country, they just care about themselves," says Rusul Al Obaidi, a 27-year-old Sunni who lives in a modest neighbourhood in south Baghdad. ...
United States continue bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 11/7/16]
NATO surveillance planes to help US-led coalition bomb Iraq and Syria [BBC - 9/7/16]
President Bashar al-Assad blamed some Western leaders for the terrorism and refugee problems facing Europe.
During a meeting on Sunday with the visiting delegation of the European Parliament headed by Vice-President of the Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Javier Couso, the President discussed the situation in Syria, the terrorist war waged on it and the growing destructive impacts of the spread of terror to world regions. ... [SANA - 10/7/16]
Russian Mi-25 helicopter crew killed in Syria [TASS – 9/7/16]
Volunteers leave Greek island after attacks on refugees [Al Jazeera - 10/7/16]:
... On Saturday, with the internal tensions in the camp sparking fear, a group of about 150 mostly Iraqi Yazidis decided to leave the camp and head to the island's main port Lakki.
"They were with their babies and all their bags," Catharina Kahane, a cofounder of the Echo100 Plus charity group, told Al Jazeera.
Once in the village, they were confronted and attacked by a group of Greek men, she recalled, adding that police only intervened to force the refugees to walk back to the camp.
While driving back to the camp, she then received a phone call and was told to leave the island.
Once near the camp's entrance, a group of about 50 locals with shovels and sticks blocked the road.
"They stopped our car and started hitting it," she said.
"They told us to get off the island. They said if we didn't get the first boat off the island something terrible would happen. It was scary. The only reason we left the island was because the police weren't moving at all to help."
"It was clear that the police were on [the attackers'] side," Kahane said, explaining that she and her team of nearly 15 volunteers have now relocated to another Greek island.
She added that only a handful of independent volunteers are still on Leros following the rise in tensions between the locals, on the one hand, and asylum seekers and volunteers, on the other.
Speaking to Al Jazeera on Sunday, Milena Zajovic Milka of the Are You Syrious? activist group said of Leros: "At the moment, the situation inside the camp seems to be calm. But [the refugees] are still very frightened, and many are injured." ...
@MSF_Sea [11/7/16]: ... The #Aquarius has just rescued 108 #people from a rubber boat in the waters north east of Tripoli.
@moas_eu [11/7/16]: ... 133 people rescued off #Libyan coast. @emergency_ong providing post-rescue care to all
They have no other way out. They want peace for their children. Not too much to ask. ... @Marodriguez1971 [11/7/16]
... Northrop Grumman's proven maritime unmanned aircraft systems can reach any part of the world within hours, offering cost-effective surveillance - whether it's helping Australia monitor and protect its vast coast and surrounding oceans, or responding to issues of border security and natural disasters. ... [Northrop Grumman advertisement - Australian Financial Review - 7/8/13]
NATO warships and, potentially, drones are to help the EU control migrant flows across the Mediterranean in what critics have called the “militarisation of a humanitarian crisis”.
NATO head Jens Stoltenberg unveiled the new project, to be called operation Sea Guardian, on the last day of a summit in Warsaw on Saturday.
The Western alliance, outside the summit venue in Warsaw, put on display one of the five Global Hawk drones that it bought from US firm Northrop Grumman and that are designed to start operations at the Sigonella air base in Italy in 2017.
He [Obama] added that the “huge influxes of the sort that we've seen in Europe - that's always going to be a shock to the system”.
“It's a strain on the budget. It's a strain on politics. It's a strain on culture. It's legitimate for them [EU leaders] to say: ‘Look, we’ve got to slow this thing down. We’ve got to manage it properly’,” he said. [EU Observer - 10/7/16]
US Coast Guard intercept and return Haitian boat refugees [Haiti Libre - 7/7/16]
Attempting to obscure the media blackout of the Australian government's ongoing human rights atrocities against refugees by publishing "history is over" lightweight yarns devoid of context, is engaging in disinformation. ---> Australian migrants denied citizenship on political grounds demand recognition [Guardian - 11/7/16]
As above ----> Ethnic groups have raised concerns that some migrants are missing out on important government information because of a lack of digital literacy. ... [SBS - 11/7/16]
Day 114 refugee protests, Nauru
WHAT IS JUSTICE?
HUMAN RIGHT. UN. RED CROSS. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU.
Image: @InsurrectNews [11/7/16]
Image: @KarmelSo [11/7/16]
How to welcome and help when the government is denying your right to do so?
Geraldton, April 2013
A ramshackle fishing boat carrying 66 suspected asylum seekers from Sri Lanka has arrived in Australia - carrying passengers holding a sign saying "We want to go to New Zealand".
The overcrowded wooden fishing vessel carrying men, women and children was spotted off the coast of Geraldton, about 400km north of Perth in Western Australia. ... [NZ Herald - 10/4/13]
Jason Smith, Everything Geraldton [9/4/13]:
"Quick, get down to the foreshore! There's an asylum seeker boat here."
I started to jog down from the centre of town after a friend dropped her sandwich in disbelief as to what she was seeing, then quickly rang whoever she knew might be near by.
The boat had gotten within a few metres of the shore, as though they were heading for a casual coffee from Skeetas, before a customs boat encircled them and guided them back out a little.
Still only a stones throw from the shore, we took some photos and I quickly uploaded them to Everything Geraldton, Facebook and Twitter.
Within moments the story went viral as of course it would. Comments were rather mixed. Some people were simply gob smacked, others upset that a boat could make it this close to the shore.
But for the most part, people were compassionate and understanding... that some people had travelled a long way under harsh conditions risking their lives.
They must have been leaving something not very pleasant to risk such a journey and the least we could do is treat them like fellow human beings.
People were asking how they could provide assistance, and who to talk to offer any help they could.
The desire of Geraldton locals to be hospitable to these people was touching. ...
Geraldton asylum seeker boat conservation sheds light on harrowing journey [ABC - 2/12/15]
Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas ---> A local businessman in Manus supports the closure of the refugee processing centre on the island, saying it has created a financial burden on local businesses.
Ken Kuso, the owner of Lukuni Lodge in Lorengau, said after the Australian and PNG governments had agreed to establish the centre, people were promised that there would be spin-off benefits from the project. Kuso said before the legality of the centre was determined, it was seen as an impact project for existing businesses providing accommodation.
“When we saw a floating hotel brought in from overseas and have it anchored at the Lombrum fisheries wharf, that alone proved a huge demand for more accommodation. So without hesitation I secured a large loan of more than a million kina from the National Development Bank,” Kuso said. ... [The National - 11/7/16]
British Tamil man tortured in Sri Lanka returns to UK [Tamil Guardian - 11/7/16]
US Assistant Secretary to visit Sri Lanka to examine progress of ongoing pacification of Tamil population and opportunities for economic exploitation [Tamil Guardian - 11/7/16]
Nationalists marched through the rain yesterday demanding the government reverse a decision to refer to self-identifying Rohingyas as “Muslims in Rakhine State”.
The protesters said “Bengali” – officially used by the previous government – must remain the condoned terminology.
The 300-strong crowd took to Kabaraye Pagoda Road flashing Rakhine State flags and bright red vinyl posters saying, “Government!!! Immediately cancel specifying Muslim Community in Rakhine State [sic],” and “Be careful Myanmar Ethnic, there is no place for illegal immigrant Bengalis”. ... [Myanmar Times - 11/7/16]
Detention, deportation, exile and death - the UNHCR's "durable solutions" in South East Asia - Burmese migrants killed in Malaysia [The Irrawaddy - 11/7/16]:
Three Burmese migrant workers were killed and one was wounded early this morning in Malaysia’s northern Penang state, according to local sources.
“They shouted for help when they saw robbers trying to burglarize a neighbor’s house, and then the robbers went into their house and killed them,” said Maung Zaw, a member of Penang’s funeral service organization.
He said that the three workers were killed at 6:30 a.m.
When the funeral service team went to see the bodies, police informed them they would be unable to hold a funeral while there was an ongoing investigation. Sources said the four victims, who were from Mandalay Division’s Pyawbwe Township, were stabbed in Penang’s industrial zone.
Hundreds of Burmese migrant workers live in Penang’s industrial zone, many of them migrants, asylum seekers and refugees who work dangerous jobs in factories and on construction sites.
Due to lack of proper documentation, they often face arrest, detentions and deportation by the Malaysian authorities.
An official from the Burmese Embassy in Malaysia who asked to remain anonymous told The Irrawaddy that the embassy would investigate the incident and issue a statement later this evening.
The official added that the killing was not
prompted by religious tension, after it had spread on social media that the
attack might have been related to strain between Burma’s Buddhist and Muslim
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition won a landslide victory on Sunday in an election for the Diet’s upper house, despite concerns about his economic policies and plans to revise the nation’s post-war pacifist constitution for the first time.
Abe said he would reshuffle his cabinet but did not say when or how. There has been speculation that Abe might replace Finance Minister Taro Aso, 75, among others.
His minister for Okinawa, Aiko Shimajiri, lost her seat, along with Justice Minister Mitsuhide Iwaki.
The loss in Okinawa is a slap at a U.S.-Japan plan to relocate a controversial U.S.-Marines airbase on the island, reluctant host to the bulk of America’s military forces in Japan. ... [Japan Today - 11/7/16]
Three Indonesians kidnapped in Malaysian waters, official confirms [Jakarta Post - 10/7/16]
We are alarmed by the assassinations of two land rights activists in South-East Asia in recent weeks which underline a worrying trend of increased violence against environmental defenders.
On 21 June 2016, Bill Kayong, the secretary of People's Justice Party's branch in Miri, Sarawak in Malaysia was killed in a drive-by shooting.
Kayong was known as a vocal advocate for the land rights of indigenous people in Sarawak and was a member of the indigenous NGO Persatuan Dayak Sarawak (PEDAS). We note that several suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of Kayong.
On 1 July 2016, Gloria Capitan, an anti-coal activist in the Philippines and the president of the community-based organisation Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Lucanin, was shot and killed . Her 8-year-old grandson was also hurt in the attack. Her organisation opposed a coal storage plant project near her home in Mariveles and she had received repeated threats in the past.
"Deadly attacks against environmental and land activists, particularly those concerned about large-scale development projects, are becoming more frequent. Governments and corporations in the region must take urgent measures to protect human rights defenders working on environmental issues, land rights and natural resources management," said Laurent Meillan, Acting Regional Representative of the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia.
At least four land rights defenders working for the Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand have been killed in Thailand since 2011.
In Cambodia, Chut Wutty, an environmental activist who was well known for exposing illegal logging and corruption was shot and killed in 2012.
In the Philippines, several environmental activists known for campaigning against large-scale mining projects have been killed in recent years, including Marcelo Monterona, Juvy Campion and Jimmy Liguyon.
The UN Human Rights Office for South East Asia has also documented several cases of disappearances of land rights activists in the region in recent years.
In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the prominent civil society leader and advocate against land grabbing Sombath Somphone disappeared on 15 December 2012.
In Thailand, Pholachi Rakcharoen (also known as “Billy”), who worked to promote the land rights of indigenous people, disappeared on 17 April 2014 and Den Kamlae, a land rights defender and member of the Esan Land Reform Network (ELRN) from Chaiyaphum province, disappeared on 11 May 2016. The fate and whereabouts of the three individuals are still not known.
"Perpetrators often go unpunished, fostering a culture of impunity. Concerned governments should urgently conduct thorough and independent investigations into these killings and disappearances, and bring the perpetrators to justice," said Meillan. [UN Human Rights Office South East Asia - 8/7/16]
New Zealand: Bayer insecticide approved despite beekeeper concerns [RNZI - 11/7/16]
Typhoon Nepartak lashes Taiwan, makes landfall in China – nearly 500,000 evacuated [The Online Citizen - 11/7/16]
Solar plane leaves Seville on penultimate leg of round-the-world flight [Reuters - 11/7/16]
Daniel Flitton and the Frank Lowy Institute keep pretending Kevin Rudd is not a human rights abuser
A tactical operations officer deployed during the Sydney siege has been challenged in the witness box after contradicting his own previous evidence which had pointed to police confusion over the triggers for storming the Lindt Cafe.
The Tactical Operations Unit veteran, identified as Delta Alpha, on Monday moved to change his account of a conversation he had with the siege deputy tactical commander about the automatic triggers for the so-called emergency action plan. ... [Nine MSN - 11/7/16]
Teenager hospitalised after hour-long police pursuit from Point Cook to Carlton [The Age - 11/7/16]
"A MAN WAS LYNCHED" @no_platform [10/7/16]
@no_platform [10/7/17]: LOUISIANA: Today's Dystopic Police State in #BatonRouge Brought To You By ...
... Louisiana media, citing Baton Rouge police, reported that at least 48 people were taken into custody after demonstrators clashed with police on Sunday evening following an earlier peaceful march to the state capitol. ... [Reuters - 11/7/16]
US exiles Yemeni Guantanamo inmate to Italy, 78 detainees left [Reuters - 11/7/16]
... The Yemeni man was arrested by Pakistani police and transferred to U.S. custody in December, 2001, meaning he had been in U.S. detention for more than 14 years, according to U.S. military documents posted online by the WikiLeaks website. ...
Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, Australian Human Rights Commission and others: Piss or get off the pot.
"WE ALL HAVE FAMILIES. SISTERS, BROTHERS, MUMS, DADS, WIVES AND CHILDREN." @racvictoria [10/7/16]: Day 59 of peaceful protests on #Manus we are human beings. Don't forget that. We all have family.#PoliticalPrisoners
@InsurrectNews [10/7/16]: Day 113 of protests by refugee families at the Australian govt's refugee detention center on #Nauru. ...
More results in from Nauru "elections" [RNZI – 11/7/16]
Former Opposition MP Roland Kun flees Nauru with NZ passport [RNZI - 11/7/16]
Before they raise one more cent, the UNHCR should be held to account for their role in the suicides on Nauru, and their lack of advocacy for the rights of refugees in our region. ----> Well HERE WE ARE AGAIN. It's that time of year where I feel unaccomplished so do something that my disproportionately short legs struggle intensely with. This year it's a half marathon, as misguided as that may be.
As well as running to justify regularly
eating my weight in Persian feta, I'm running for Australia For UNHCR - who
provide money and resources through the UN to refugees around the world. ...
New head of American Immigration Lawyers Association: Obama's immigration legacy much like Bush's [Philly.com - 10/7/16]:
... Q: How will history judge President Obama on immigration?
A: Unfortunately, Obama's immigration legacy is going to look much like George W. Bush's. Both tried to get comprehensive immigration reform; both were stymied.
Both made enforcement decisions that in hindsight were unreasonable and caused a lot of grief.
Whether it was Bush's targeting Muslim Americans for registration after 9/11, or Obama's detention of families and children in response to [waves of] asylum-seekers at our borders.
In both instances, that's a lot of human misery that could have been avoided. ... [Philadelphia lawyer William Stock]
Inmates on hunger strike at Japanese immigration detention centre [Reuters- 8/7/16]:
Fourteen inmates in a Japanese immigration detention centre are on hunger strike over what they call "inhumane conditions" including poor medical care, drawing fresh attention to the country's detention system.
The detainees launched their hunger strike at the centre in the city of Osaka on Monday over the rejection of their applications for provisional release, the Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau said.
The hunger strikers are also protesting against inadequate medical care and long-term detention, a detainee at the centre and Nobukazu Nagai, of the Provisional Release Association in Japan, told Reuters.
One inmate has not eaten for more than two weeks, they said.
A spokeswoman for the bureau, Mahomi Oiwa, said the facility was not aware of any complaints about medical care or length of detentions.
No health problems had occurred among the hunger strikers, and officials were continuously asking them to take food, she said.
A Reuters investigation this year into the death at a Tokyo facility of a Sri Lankan, revealed serious deficiencies in medical treatment and monitoring in the immigration detention system.
Guards with little training made critical decisions about detainees' health, and doctors visited some main detention centres as infrequently as once a week, the investigation found.
Since 2006, a dozen people have died while in detention, including four cases of suicide.
"We are being held in inhumane conditions," the hunger strikers said in a statement to the bureau seen by Reuters.
"Because of prolonged confinement with very inadequate medical care, we are suffering from illnesses both physical and mental."
Inmates at the Osaka facility are forced to wait days for medical checks, and are in all but the most serious cases refused access to doctors, said Nagai and the detainee, who spoke by telephone from the facility but was not among the hunger strikers.
In February, more than 40 detainees launched a hunger strike at the Osaka centre to protest against what they said was poor medical care.
Former guard launches hunger strike to protest private prison company [Mother Jones - 8/7/16]:
... Bartlett, a 33-year-old who served as an Army prison guard in Afghanistan and grew up near the San Diego facility, kicked off a hunger strike on Tuesday evening to protest what he sees as poor conditions at Ocean View.
He and a group of local activists have drawn up a list of demands, compiled with the input of current inmates.
Their top demand is that San Diego County end its contracts with CCA—and they want federal and state agencies to do the same.
Bartlett says he will not eat until the demands are met. ...
The boyfriend of a woman whose baby died in Gippsland has been charged with murder in the sixth suspicious baby death in the past year.
It is also the second death of an infant in the small coastal town of Paynesville. ... [The Age - 11/7/16]
Woman, 79, run over by husband, 87, in Brookvale has both ankles broken [Sydney Morning Herald - 11/7/16]:
... It is the second serious road accident involving a pedestrian in two months in Brookvale. ...
Brisbane man sentenced for biting off live rat's head [ABC - 11/7/16]
NSW police officer pulled gun on Canberra motorist charged with drink-driving [Sydney Morning Herald - 11/7/16]
... What we are observing is not simply the overt face of a militarized police culture, the lack of community policing, deeply entrenched anti-democratic tendencies, or the toxic consequences of a culture of violence that saturates every day life.
We are in a new historical era, one that is marked a culture of lawlessness, extreme violence, and disposability, fueled, in part, by a culture of fear, a war on terror, and a deeply overt racist culture that is unapologetic in its disciplinary and exclusionary practices.
This deep seated racism is reinforced by a culture of cruelty that is the modus operandi of neoliberal capitalism–a cage culture, a culture of combat, a hyper masculine culture that views killing those most vulnerable as sport, entertainment, and policy. ... [Counterpunch - 8/7/16]
Bahamas warns young black men to 'exercise extreme caution' when dealing with US police [Independent - 9/7/16]:
... The United Arab Emirates has also warned its citizens not to wear traditional Muslim dress when visiting the US following a spate of Islamophobic attacks.
Reverend Graylan Hagler, from the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington DC, which just held a meeting on police violence, said the Bahamian advisory reflected the “reality” in the US.
“Black parents have to advise their children differently than white parents,” he said. ...
United States continue bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 10/7/16]
John Prescott, who was deputy prime minister when Britain went to war with Iraq in 2003, says the invasion by UK and US forces was "illegal".
Writing in the Sunday Mirror, he said he would live with the "catastrophic decision" for the rest of his life.
Meanwhile Tory MP David Davis said he will submit a motion to hold the former PM in contempt of Parliament over Iraq. ... [BBC - 10/7/16]
11 July 2016