Khmer Rouge Tribunal: Witness tells court of Vietnamese purges at dam [Cambodia Daily - 12/8/15]
Unknown gunmen kidnapped 12 ethnic minority Hazaras from a car in east Afghanistan, days after suspected Taliban fighters kidnapped and killed four Hazaras in the same province, officials said on Wednesday. ... [Reuters - 12/8/15]
Australia tortures refugee on Manus Island then charges him with assault.
Refugee on hunger strike seriously ill.
Human rights groups suddenly fascinated by a rehashed media mockery about Freedom Muesli Bars.
Lawyers/medical profession silent.
Who will speak for these men?
The National [12/8/15]:
An asylum seeker on Manus is facing charges of assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, using insulting words and indecent exposure, following an incident in the processing camp last week.
Provincial police commander Alex N’Drasal told The National [just where does he get off revealing the full identity of this persecuted individual?], should be appearing in the Lorengau district court this week after his doctor advised police that he had “calmed down”.
He said police were called by immigration officers to the processing camp in Lorengau town on Tuesday night to attend to an assault complaint.
“Police apprehended [-------] at the camp following his (alleged) attack on his roommate between 9pm and 10pm last Tuesday,” he said.
He said Rohani was violent and aggressive and allegedly damaged properties in the camp, at the back of East Lorengau Primary School.
“It took three hours for the officers to calm him down before he was brought to the station,” he said. “A few of the officers had their uniforms torn and an officer on duty was assaulted.
“We could not arrest or charge him on that same night. So he was hand-cuffed and locked in the cell.
“While there, [----------] allegedly damaged eating utensils and started forcing other prisoners to fight with him.
“[-------] pulled down his pants and used insulting words on officers and the other prisoners.”
He said [----------’s] doctor had advised police that he was now normal and could attend court.
Nine MSN [11/8/15]:
A parliamentary committee chaired by veteran Liberal Philip Ruddock has raised concerns about laws cementing the government's offshore processing regime.
The legislation, which puts beyond doubt the government's legal authority on regional processing, passed parliament in June but the human rights committee only finished checking if it breached any rights in a report released on Tuesday.
The committee said the government has not demonstrated conditions on Nauru or Manus Island were compatible with international rights, and that offshore processing carried a major risk of being against human rights.
After being detained for over two years, “failed” refugees are to be imminently deported from Australia's death camp on Manus Island. [Guardian - 2/8/15]:
... Ian Rintoul, from the Refugee Action Coalition, said the advocacy group would seek injunctions against the removal of any asylum seekers from PNG until a constitutional challenge to Manus Island detention centre is heard by the supreme court.
The challenge argues asylum seekers have been systematically denied due process and the protection of their rights under PNG law, and demands enforcement of their rights under the constitution.
Rintoul said the injunction would be sought when the case is back before the court on 17 August. ...
Nine MSN [2/8/15]:
Asylum seekers whose refugee claims have been rejected and face the possibility of being stateless could be sent to Papua New Guinean jails.
And this place our forefathers made for man!
This is the process of our love and wisdom,
To each poor brother who offends against us -
Most innocent, perhaps -and what if guilty?
Is this the only cure? Merciful God!
Each pore and natural outlet shrivelled up
By Ignorance and parching Poverty,
His energies roll back upon his heart,
And stagnate and corrupt; till changed to poison,
They break out on him, like a loathsome plague-spot;
Then we call in our pampered mountebanks -
And this is their best cure! uncomforted
And friendless solitude, groaning and tears,
And savage faces, at the clanking hour,
Seen through the steam and vapours of his dungeon,
By the lamp's dismal twilgiht! So he lies
Circled with evil, till his very soul
Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deformed
By sights of ever more deformity!
With other ministrations thou, O Nature!
Healest thy wandering and distempered child:
Thou pourest on him thy soft influences,
Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets,
Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters,
Till he relent, and can no more endure
To be a jarring and a dissonant thing
Amid this general dance and minstrelsy;
But, bursting into tears, wins back his way,
His angry spirit healed and harmonized
By the benignant touch of Love and Beauty.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Presumably the recommendations of last year's Senate Inquiry are now beyond consideration for Australian Human Rights Groups and The Greens?
Why are they backpedalling? Why is shutting down these death camps and bringing the refugees to Australia now unmentionable?
Senate Hansard [12/8/15]:
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (19:25): 'After two years, Australia's experiment in offshore detention has been a disaster. Even the few people provided refugee status have been denied freedom of movement and the right to work. All should be allowed to move on with their lives in dignity and security.' That is a comment from Elaine Pearson. Elaine Pearson recently visited Manus Island in her capacity as the Australian director of Human Rights Watch. She visited Manus Island with Daniel Webb from the Human Rights Law Centre.
More than 850 asylum seekers and 87 refugees are detained indefinitely in poor conditions on Manus Island, two years after Australia announced it would process and resettle boat people—as the government continues to call them—in New Guinea. The PNG authorities granted Ms Pearson and Mr Webb access to the transit centre but not the detention centre, where most of the men are. The main concern that they identified was that the absence of a PNG resettlement policy means refugee men have not been able to move on with their lives. After almost two years on Manus they remain in limbo, they reported, unable to leave the island or work. Such a prolonged period in limbo is affecting their mental health and some men appear to suffer from depression and anxiety—clearly that is not surprising.
They also said that they were very concerned about the lengthy processing times because this means far too many refugees remain in detention. They have been determined that they are refugees but they are still in detention. Some vulnerable men, including some gay men, are in detention and they have faced abuses from other detainees without proper protection.
Detaining asylum seekers for any amount of time in criminal justice institutions is clearly inappropriate. It is 2015 and you would have hoped that we would have learnt from past mistakes. Yet what was found from this investigation was that in January this year up to 60 asylum seekers were held without charge in a single cell for several weeks. In this time, two of the people held in these appalling conditions attempted to commit suicide. PNG immigration officials allegedly beat one refugee. Those charged with the assault included the camp manager. However, he continued to work at the centre. Obviously this is very distressing for the refugees.
The Australian government should stop sending asylum seekers to PNG. Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Law Centre have both called for this to occur and for both the Australian on the PNG governments to treat asylum seekers in accordance with international standards and implement a refugee resettlement policy. Our two governments at the moment detain asylum seekers, all adult men, in the overcrowded conditions at a facility on Manus Island's Lombrum Naval Base. Humans rights organisations and media have no regular access to these facilities. Again, why the secrecy? Why the lack of transparency? It certainly adds to people's concern that the abuses continue.
Two asylum seekers sent to Manus Island have died, one after being allegedly beaten to death by contract staff at the detention centre and another from septicaemia after cutting his foot. Daniel Webb, the director of legal advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, who is one of the people who visited Manus, has said:
People found to be refugees deserve a real solution—not a transfer to a facility down the road where they remain in limbo.
Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Law Centre have summarised their concerns following their visit. These include pressure on asylum seekers to return to home countries, lengthy delays in refugee processing, mental health problems linked to prolonged and indefinite detention, arbitrary detention of asylum seekers and refugees in the police lockup and prison, restrictions on refugees' freedom of movement and work rights, assault of a refugee by alleged authorities in Lorengau town, and mistreatment of gay asylum seekers by other detainees. Yes, this is happening in PNG and the PNG government has some level of involvement, but the main responsibility rests with the Australian government. The fact that the Abbott government failed to, and has refused to, honour its treaty obligations and has forced these people onto PNG brings hardship, misery and suffering to those individuals as well as more pressure on PNG—a low-income country that we were the former coloniser of and continue to abuse.
These two organisations have made two significant recommendations: (1) that Australia should cease all further transfers to Manus Island and (2) that Australia should press PNG authorities to immediately adopt and implement a comprehensive local integration policy for refugees and to provide all recognised refugees in PNG with ordinary residency, freedom of movement, employment authorisation and other common identity documents. <----- PISSWEAK.
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Recommendations re "Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 February to 18 February 2014" [December 2014]:
8.26 The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure an adequate and effective investigation into the criminal assaults perpetrated against individuals detained at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre during the events of 16 to 18 February 2014, including by assisting the Papua New Guinea authorities in any ongoing investigations and facilitating the taking of witness testimony from individuals present at the incident who are now in Australian territory.
8.35 The committee recommends that the Australian Government acknowledge its responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of individuals detained at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre.
8.39 The committee recommends that, in accordance with the right to an effective remedy and right to health in international human rights law, the Australian Government:
• acknowledge and take responsibility for violations of human rights in relation to the incident at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre from 16 to 18 February 2014; and
• provide compensation to those who have suffered human rights violations, including to Mr Reza Barati's family and to asylum seekers who were injured during the incident.
8.40 The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure that all asylum seekers injured in the violence at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre from 16 to 18 February 2014 receive adequate professional assistance, including medical treatment, full rehabilitation and mental health services, as well as independent legal advice.
8.49 The committee recommends that, in the interests of transparency and accountability, the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea take measures to facilitate appropriate access to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, including:
• allowing United Nations representatives full access to the centre and transferees;
• permitting qualified lawyers, including lawyers certified to practice in Australia, access to the centre in order to meet with transferees and provide legal assistance;
• allowing the Australian Human Rights Commission to regularly inspect the centre and meet with centre staff and transferees; and
• permitting journalists to visit the centre and speak freely with centre staff and transferees.
8.52 The committee recommends that Transfield Services and the Australian Government ensure that service provider staff employed at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre be provided with sufficient workplace training to perform their roles, in line with the standards applicable to employees working in detention environments in Australia, and accounting for the particular difficulties associated with working in remote conditions.
1.8 On account of the committee's inability to make a site visit to the centre under its own powers, the committee sought the support and assistance of the Commonwealth Government to do so.
On 28 April 2014, the committee wrote to the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, as well as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, seeking the government's approval and assistance.
1.9 The committee did not receive any response.
4.70 In specific evidence about actual incidents of encouragement to return home, a former employee of Playfair suggested that staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were 'speaking to transferees, trying to convince them of the benefits of returning home'.
4.71 In contrast, government representatives re-confirmed their view that any returns from Manus Island RPC were strictly voluntary. For example Lieutenant General Campbell stated that '[i]t is really important to note these are voluntary returns'.
4.72 In terms of the number of returns from the Manus Island RPC, the department provided information that:
As at 1 August 2014, 203 transferees have been voluntarily returned from an Offshore Processing Centre (OPC) and 174 transferees from the Manus OPC since 18 February 2014 with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
6.57 Other evidence presented to the committee contested the claim that no individuals involved in assaults on asylum seekers were now employed at the centre.
Humanitarian Research Partners (HRP) contended that 'at least two of the alleged 17 February assailants are now back working in the centre and terrifying their victims by their mere presence'.
Mr Ben Pynt, Director of Human Rights Advocacy at HRP, told the committee that asylum seekers at the centre had reported to him on multiple occasions that perpetrators were still working at the centre.
Mr Pynt expanded:
[The transferees] do not feel that they are being adequately protected by the guards that are employed at the centre. In fact, they feel threatened by a number of the guards at the centre. I know of one story that chilled me to the bone. An asylum seeker contacted me shortly after he had been to medical. He was in Mike compound. From Mike compound you get in the back of a ute and they take you through to IHMS, because you are not meant to walk through. He got into the ute, screamed, and got out of the ute, because the person driving the ute was one of the people who attacked him. This is happening all the time. The mental harm that is created simply by having the attackers remain at the centre is unbelievable and unconscionable.
Miss Judge [who worked on Manus Island] continued:
The attacks on asylum seekers [in February 2014] were not unpredictable and unforeseen. The attacks were not due to asylum seekers insulting PNG nationals in February or asylum seekers feeling discontent with their processing time frames. The attacks were due to the entire system. The attacks were due to the lack of due care for asylum seekers' safety and wellbeing, the acceptance by staff that PNG was just a dangerous place and that there was nothing we could do to change that. With reports going unheard and incidents being covered up, with no-one really to report to and the threat of danger being from outside, I am unsure of how anyone can guarantee the asylum seekers' safety. Regardless of how high fences are built around the centre, how many CCTV cameras are installed or how many extra guards are employed, I do not believe anything can change the fact that the key threat to the asylum seekers safety is, in fact, simply being detained on Manus Island.
House of Representatives Hansard [12/8/15]:
Mr BANDT (Melbourne) (10:36): Australians do not often have a chance to see the reality behind the Abbott government's cruel policies against asylum seekers, but sometimes stories get out that let us see into the darkness of this government's secret on-water matters. In April this year a fishing boat carrying 46 Vietnamese asylum seekers was intercepted by Australian authorities. Rather than granting these asylum seekers the right to have their claims assessed, the government simply returned them to the very government they were fleeing.
Nobody chooses to get on a boat and leave behind their lives. Forty years after the end of the war in Vietnam, the Vietnamese community in Australia tells of the reality that many people still face: the capture, torture and incarceration of religious leaders, the bulldozing of land from the poor farmers and the lost opportunity to fish to earn a living, with the Vietnamese government giving away land and territorial waters. Despite this, in July this year, Minister Peter Dutton and the Abbott government returned to Vietnam another 50 asylum seekers on board the boat 96282. We have heard disturbing reports that some have since been detained. In fact, we know that at least one person on that boat, Hai Nguyen, remains in prison. Several others repeatedly faced hostile interrogation by the authorities.
Today I call on the government to come clean. Does the Minister for Immigration know for certain the fate of these asylum seekers that he forced back to the very country they were seeking protection from? If not, how can the government be sure Australia is living up to its most basic and serious obligation under the Refugee Convention and customary international law not to refoule refugees to their countries of origin? What assurance has the government received that these asylum seekers will be safe? What measures did the Australian government take to assess these asylum seekers' claims?
Sadly, on the very same weekend that our immigration minister was secretively sending asylum seekers back to the country they had fled, the ALP followed opposition leader Bill Shorten's lead and formalised its support for turning back asylum seekers. Boat turn-backs mean returning people to danger, to persecution, to face imprisonment or death somewhere else, out of sight, out of mind.
The Vietnamese community in Australia has been very clear: we must say no to refoulement. No person should ever be returned to danger anywhere in the world. This year, 2015, marks the 40th anniversary of the Vietnamese community here in Australia, and Australians have rightly celebrated the outstanding contribution that Vietnamese Australians have made over this time, not least to my electorate of Melbourne. But had we done 40 years ago what this government is doing now we would not have the Vietnamese community in Australia that we currently have.
It is vital that when we celebrate these achievements we also recognise that human rights everywhere, including in Vietnam, must still be defended and that Australia must remain a place where we welcome and support those who come here for safety. The Vietnamese community here in Australia shows us that Australia is a better place when we say 'welcome', and, no matter what your political persuasion, no Australian could be anything but deeply moved to see Vietnamese Australians and the way they are being treated.
The internet wins!
Are Australians tiring of fascist mind fuckers and their ugly, humiliating "reality" shows?
Sydney Morning Herald [12/8/15]:
Channel Seven is having the last laugh after nearly one million Australians tuned in to watch Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud on Tuesday night.
The network made headlines last week after it decided to dump fledgling cooking show Restaurant Revolution in favour of a program consisting of only funny YouTube cat videos.
Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud pulled 917,000 viewers in the capital cities, beating Nine's The Hotplate, which was watched by 839,000 people.
Cape York murder case delayed pending medical statements
A man accused of murdering a woman on Christmas Day has had his case delayed pending two medical statements.
Frederick Thomas Bramwell, 28, is accused of fatally assaulting the 28-year-old woman, whose body was found on Boxing Day at a home in remote Pormpuraaw, on the Cape York peninsula.
He will return to Cairns Magistrates Court on a number of charges, including murder, on September 16.
Sydney teen shot by police denied compensation, ordered to pay their legal fees [Pedestrian.tv – 11/8/15]
Armed man dies in front of police, south of Perth
West Australian [11/8/15]:
Major crime squad detectives are investigating after a 49-year-old man fatally injured himself in front of police officers south of Perth this morning.
It is understood police were searching for the man amid concerns he was armed with a gun.
They found him in bushes between The Cruising Yacht Club and a caravan park on Point Peron Road but he allegedly stabbed himself as several officers struggled to subdue him.
The officers gave him first aid and he was rushed to Rockingham Hospital but could not be saved.
A witness sitting on his boat about 100 metres off the coast had seen the man, who appeared agitated, wearing a high-vis shirt and trousers and running along the beach with two dogs about 10am.
Phil Parker said he saw the man go into scrub and then saw police officers head towards the same area of bush.
He did not see what happened but said that when he later came to shore he was told the man had died.
Family of eight escapes house fire, Edens Landing
A family of eight is in emergency accommodation after fleeing a fire that destroyed their Brisbane home.
Two cars were also gutted in the inferno that ripped through the house at Edens Landing, in Logan, on Tuesday night.
The family returned to their home on Wednesday morning but have been unable to search for belongings as the fire damaged the ceiling and caused part of the roof to collapse.
Logan House Fire Support Network founder Louie Naumovski helped the family find emergency accommodation and set up a donations page on Facebook.
Mr Naumovski witnessed the fire that ripped through the two-storey home.
"I think it was a bit more of a shock to see it in the daylight," he said.
"I think reality sunk in in the morning."
Mr Naumovski believes the family narrowly avoided a tragedy - their smoke alarm had dead batteries and failed to go off.
"It was lucky that the mum heard a noise. She thought it was someone on the roof of the house, but it turned out to be the timber cracking," he said.
"Everyone was asleep at the time; smoke could have filled the house quickly.
"The main thing is everyone got out."
Mr Naumovski said it was a timely reminder to people to check their smoke alarms.
Victorian woman's death being treated as suspicious after house fire
Nine MSN [11/8/15]:
Homicide squad detectives are on their way to Dandenong in Victoria after the discovery of a woman's body following a house fire.
Emergency services were called to a fire at a house on Sheales Street at around 7.20pm, and found the body of a woman in her 50s.
Police said the circumstances of the woman's death are yet to be established and her death is being treated as suspicious.
Detectives are en route to the scene at Dandenong, which is about 35km southeast of Melbourne's CBD.
Ormeau residents: Can you help local police?
QPS Media [12/8/15]:
On Thursday August 6 an arrow was found in the yard of a Peachy Rd, Ormeau address causing great distress to the occupant.
If anyone has any information regarding the person who is firing arrows into yards could they please contact police at the Norfolk Village Police Beat 5549 3099.
Serious traffic crash, Kallangur
QPS Media [12/8/15]:
Police are investigating a serious traffic crash that occurred this afternoon in Kallangur.
Around 1.10pm, a cyclist and a car collided on Andrew Street.
The rider, a 22-year-old woman, was taken to the Royal Brisbane Hospital with serious head injuries.
The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.
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.
Pedestrian hit by car on Erskine St in CBD
Sydney Morning Herald [12/8/15]:
A car has hit a pedestrian on Erskine Street in Sydney's CBD, affecting traffic on Kent Street.
Paramedics treated a woman believed to be aged about 30 at the scene after she was hit by a car travelling at low speed about 5pm on Wednesday.
Emergency services worked to clear the scene as quickly as possible. Traffic was heavy in the area but had cleared by 6pm.
The incident occurred one block from where another pedestrian, Christine Mulholland, was fatally hit by a bus in January 2014.
The veteran bus driver looked away to wave at a fellow bus driver as he drove through the intersection of Clarence and Erskine Streets.
The 14.5-metre bus collected Ms Mulholland, a 52-year-old publishing executive, as she crossed the road and dragged her for 25 metres until bystanders alerted the driver and he stopped the bus.
In April, City of Sydney Council released an ad campaign aimed at cutting the number of pedestrian injuries in the CBD.
The billboards featured maps pinpointing sites where pedestrians had been injured or killed in collisions.
Eleven pedestrians were killed in fatal collisions in the CBD in the decade to 2014, according to the council.
Five of these accidents involved buses, despite the fact they make up fewer than 10 per cent of vehicles in the city centre.
When the campaign launched, 131 people had been killed or injured within a 400-metre radius around Central station over the previous five years.
About 140 accidents had occurred in a 300-metre radius around Town Hall.
Update 2: Fatal traffic crash, Chermside
QPS Media [12/8/15]:
A 50-year-old woman seriously injured in a traffic crash at Chermside on July 23 has yesterday died in hospital.
The crash occurred around 5:30pm when a vehicle travelling east on Hamilton Road collided with a stationary vehicle on Webster Road at the approach to a roundabout. T
wo women in the stationary vehicle were injured and transported to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with serious injuries with one succumbing to her injuries yesterday.
On July 24 a 26-year-old Margate man was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing grievous bodily harm.
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.
Man charged over clandestine drug laboratory, Miriam Vale
QPS Media [12/8/15]:
Police are guarding a home in Miriam Vale whilst specialist officers from the Illicit Laboratory Investigation Team, based in Brisbane, travel to the address to help process and remove an alleged clandestine drug laboratory that was located earlier today.
Police will allege they located a backyard drug laboratory used in the manufacturing of methylamphetamines in the garage of a Roe Street home when they executed a search warrant around 7.15 this morning.
A 47-year-old Miriam Vale man has been charged with producing dangerous drugs and was due to appear in the Gladstone Magistrates Court this afternoon.
Police 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.
Why isn't this happening all over the state?: Charleville police launch Project WASTID in bid to prevent youth drug abuse [ABC – 12/8/15]
Armed robbery, Zillmere
QPS Media [12/8/15]:
Detectives are investigating the armed robbery of a Zillmere newsagency this morning.
Around 10am a man armed with a firearm entered the Handford Road business and ordered the female shop assistant to stand aside so he could take money from a cash register.
The man fled on foot with a sum of cash. He dropped some of the money at a nearby bus stop where a member of the public – a man who was unaware of the robbery – stopped to help him.
The good Samaritan was hit in the chest with the end of the firearm, before the man fled on foot again.
The member of the public, now realising what had occurred, followed the armed man before losing sight of him when he jumped into a red car in nearby Pioneer Street.
The man is described as Caucasian, about 190cm tall, proportionate build, aged between 45 and 50 years, and wearing a blue and orange work shirt, jeans, sunglasses and a wide brimmed straw hat.
No one was physically injured during the incident.
Anyone with information in relation to this is requested to please contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
Investigations are continuing.
Brown water spotted flowing out of Gold Coast Seaway
Tearing up dunes and seagrass for land reclamation works as part of GC2018 corporatised recreation development - Broadwater Parklands, Southport [28/4/15]
Brown water spotted flowing out of the Gold Coast Seaway will be investigated to figure out the cause.
The plume was photographed on Monday.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said it had not received any complaints or reports of an environmental incident impacting the Seaway.
Members of the public are encouraged to report pollution incidents to the department’s pollution hotline on 1300 130 372.
Gold Coast gun dealer charged with illegal possession after license expires
A Gold Coast man has been charged after allegedly possessing more than 100 illegal guns.
The weapons, including semi-automatic and high powered rifles, were seized during a raid on an Ashmore gun dealership last month.
The 30-year-old man was charged on Wednesday, with police saying he failed to register the guns and was operating with an expired licence.
Many of the guns were imported and not properly registered, police say.
"They were basically unaccounted for once they entered the country," Detective Inspector Scott Knowles said.
"They were legitimate when he had his licence, however once that expired, the weapons became illegitimate.
"Where they end up from there is unimaginable."
Police spoke of the risk of unregistered guns falling into the wrong hands, with some evidence the man sold unregistered weapons to other dealers.
It's alleged the man had 110 illegally imported guns, but police say they haven't been able to find 13 of them.
The raid, which involved the Organised Crime Squad, was part of a broader operation targeting gun dealers with expired licences.
The man will face the Southport Magistrates Court on August 26.
Port dispute shifts focus to courts
The focus of a lengthy stand-off between Hutchison Ports Australia and sacked wharfies will soon move from the ports to the courts.
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) filed Federal Court documents on Wednesday in preparation for a hearing to seek an injunction and damages for 97 workers who were sacked by text message and email last Thursday.
Dozens of workers have since maintained blockades at Hutchison docks in Brisbane and Sydney in an expression of disgust at the "outrageous conduct".
But after the Fair Work Commission ordered all Hutchison employees on Monday to cease industrial action, the unionists have claimed the blockades are merely community protests.
"They (Hutchison) think they can just come around and bust unions and walk all over the rights of working people in this country," MUA Queensland secretary Bob Carnegie said.
"That's what our battle's about." Organisers in Brisbane attempted to create a family-friendly atmosphere on Wednesday, hiring a jumping castle to coincide with the Ekka public holiday.
But almost a week after the blockades began, the cost to loved ones is showing.
Sacked worker Paul Wallington, 41, has attended the Sydney protest every day and said he broke down when picking up his three children from school, apologising for not seeing them in days.
"I've got to pay bills, school fees, a mortgage ... it's testing," he told AAP.
Mr Wallington suspected he was targeted because of his role on the company's safety committee.
"The whole safety department has gone," he said.
"It was a constant struggle for safety."
The workers are calling for consultation and have vowed to dig in their heels until Hutchison agrees to come to the table.
"They haven't contacted me. From the email and text, that was it," Mr Wallington said.
"I've got my belongings in a box. I couldn't even go back to the office."
At a court hearing in Sydney on Thursday, the MUA will allege Hutchison breached its enterprise agreement by not consulting staff about the redundancies and ignoring a dispute resolution clause.
The company says the job cuts are necessary because it is downsizing after incurring substantial financial losses.
It has not returned media calls for comment since last week.
Mount Kembla’s Dendrobium miners to launch week-long strike [Illawarra Mercury – 12/8/15]
Jason Garrels coronial inquest: Contractor referred to Queensland Police after workplace electrocution
An electrical contractor has been referred to police by a coroner for criminal charges after a young man was electrocuted at work in central Queensland.
Jason Garrels was just a few weeks shy of his 21st birthday when he died while building apartments at Clermont in February 2012.
A coronial inquest held in Mackay in March heard Mr Garrels was electrocuted when a switchboard he had been carrying came into contact with live wires after cable covering slipped off.
The situation was compounded by heavy weather. Paramedics were unable to drive directly to where Mr Garrels was lying because of the wet and muddy conditions.
His employer, Daytona Trading, had been warned about safety breaches at the site, including electrical faults, just a few days prior to the incident, but coroner David O'Connell found they had not been fixed.
Furthermore, Mr O'Connell found there was no safety switch on the site's main switchboard at the time of the electrocution.
He said sole electrical contractor Nathan Day was not competent of being in charge of such a large project.
"I find the decision not to proceed with the criminal prosecution of Nathan Day somewhat remarkable."
Mr O'Connell recommended Mr Day be referred to Queensland Police to investigate whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute him for his role in Mr Garrels' death.
He also asked that Mr Day be referred to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to investigate whether he could be charged with perjury over evidence given during the inquest.
It was also recommended that the State Government review the licensing qualifications required to be an electrical contractor.
"What has occurred in this case demonstrates a failure of electrical licensing system," Mr O'Connell said.
"I was amazing to find that a licensed electrician whose own admitted experience related to 'fixing fans and domestic white goods, and cold rooms', could simply apply for an electrical contractors licence, which allowed him to be the responsible electrician for the wiring of an 81-lot duplex subdivision.
"Clearly the situation can be improved, and no action being taken may be disappointing to some."
Jason's father Michael Garrels is relieved the matter is nearly at an end and that Mr Day had been referred to police and the DPP.
"Now they've got to do a very thorough job to get the right result," he said.
"It begs the question as to why these companies got off on such light fines and no convictions in the first place.
"When we were in the emergency room, I said to my wife at that time, 'people do not die doing what Jason was doing, someone's done something they should not have'.
"Our family will never have closure, not unless someone can put Jason at our table."
So much for corporate charity and their endless awareness raising and "cancer journey" positivity: State sanctioned bigotry and victimisation of the vulnerable pits workers and citizenry against each other
Illawarra Mercury [11/8/15]:
Wollongong mother of four Toula Spears has spent three months battling blood cancer but she didn't expect to face a fight when she fronted up to Unanderra motor registry to renew her driver's licence.
Mrs Spears was wearing a scarf to hide the hair loss caused by four rounds of chemotherapy, and said she was "humiliated" when a staff member repeatedly told her to take the head covering off for the photo.
It was only when her husband Kane stepped in - suggesting that a headscarf would be allowed on religious grounds, so why not medical - that the staff member and her supervisor reluctantly allowed her to keep the scarf, and her self-esteem, intact.
However, Mrs Spears said she was shaken by the experience last Tuesday, particularly as she had phoned Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) before the visit and had been assured she could cover her head.
"I don't want to make a fuss but I also don't want other people who are sick to have to go through what I went through," she said.
"I was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma - a blood cancer - in May. The cancer's in my bone marrow, my liver and spleen; there's nine tumours in my diaphragm, three in my chest and one on my windpipe.
"Some days, my four kids deal with it, others, they don't; my husband's a bit of a mess but I'm trying to stay strong.
"But it's draining and some days it's really tough, and I just didn't need to deal with this too."
Mrs Spears said though she knew cancer treatment would cause her to lose her hair, it still came as a shock and it's something she feels self-conscious about.
"You never think it would affect you that much but when my hair started falling out, then I lost my eyebrows, it just took a real emotional toll," she said.
"Because I'd talked to someone at the RMS who said it would be fine to wear a scarf for the licence photo as long as my face was uncovered, then I thought there would be no problem.
"But when the staff member kept telling me I had to take it off even after I'd told her the reasons why I was wearing it, it became embarrassing as there were so many people in the room.
"If I'd been there on my own, I would have felt bullied into taking it off, but my husband wouldn't have it."
Rattled after the incident, Mrs Spears rang the RMS to complain and she was then contacted by a Unanderra motor registry representative who offered an apology.
A spokesman for the motor registry network told the Mercury the incident had been looked into, and staff "reminded" about the regulations about headwear in photos.
"We apologise to the customer and would be happy for her to have the photo retaken if she wishes," the spokesman said.
"There is discretion to allow a customer to be photographed in headwear if it is for medical reasons as long as they still meet identification criteria.
"The Unanderra motor registry acting manager has already spoken to the customer following her visit and has apologised.
"In this case, the headwear did not impede the face and the photo was taken with the scarf on.
"Staff at the motor registry will be reminded of the policy and will continue to strive to treat all customers with respect."
Suharto family ordered to pay back $324m in embezzled funds
Jakarta Globe [11/8/15]
Jakarta. The Supreme Court has ordered the family of former president Suharto to pay back to the state Rp. 4.4 trillion ($324 million) in funds misappropriated during the late strongman’s lengthy reign.
The court ruled in favor of the prosecution in a civil case against the now-defunct Supersemar Foundation, controlled by the Suharto family.
The ruling, made on July 8 but not announced on the court’s website until Monday, revised an earlier ruling in 2010 which ordered the family to pay just a tiny fraction of the losses to the state.
The court repealed a 1976 government regulation issued by the former president ordering all state-owned banks to set aside 2.5 percent of their profits for the foundation.
The court ruled that the funds accumulated since the foundation was established — a total sum of $420 million and Rp 185 billion — were largely embezzled and never used for their stated purpose: education.
The court has now ordered the foundation to pay 75 percent of the funds it had amassed over the years, while the 2010 ruling had ordered the Suharto family to pay $315,000 and Rp 185 million — a small sum for the once-powerful family — instead of the $315 million and Rp 185 billion the Attorney General’s Office had sought. The court claimed this was due to a typo.
The AGO only filed for a case review in 2013, around the same time the Suharto family filed a separate motion looking to reverse the order.
The court “granted the case review filed by the state [the AGO] and rejected the case review filed by the Supersemar Foundation,” the latest ruling states.
Hearing the case were Supreme Court judges Suwardi, Soltony Mohdally and Mahdi Soroinda Nasution.
Attorney General M. Prasetyo said on Monday that his office would follow up on the ruling.
“I haven’t read the ruling. I will read it first and then we will know what to do next,” he said, as quoted by Gatra magazine.
An Israeli who was only granted a visa at the 11th hour to compete in the world badminton championships in Muslim-majority Indonesia blamed the immigration saga for his early departure from the tournament on Tuesday. ... [Jakarta Post - 11/8/15]
WikiLeaks is raising €100,000 reward for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership 'TTIP' [VIDEO - 11/8/15]
New Zealand: TPP protesters descend on Parliament
About 300 people descended on Parliament this afternoon to protest against New Zealand joining the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP is a set of trade and investment negotiations among 12 Asia-Pacific countries to cut tariffs and improve access to markets.
It has caused major controversy, with supporters arguing it would offer huge economic benefits, and critics insisting it is heavily weighted in favour of US corporations and will undermine New Zealand sovereignty.
Four days of talks to finalise the deal stalled earlier this month after countries failed to reach agreement, but Prime Minister John Key said this week he it to be signed by the end of this year.
One of the groups protesting at Parliament today, ActionStation, said the TPP would favour foreign trans-national corporations over New Zealand businesses.
Yesterday, a protest group calling itself Show Us Ya Text stormed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Auckland headquarters to demand the full text of the TPP deal.
The group said it was conducting a nationwide search for the full text of the TPP trade deal, and started with the ministry's Auckland headquarters.
Several members of the group went into the offices, equipped with giant magnifying glasses, to demand the Government release the full TPP text by the end of the month.
Labour activists: US-led Pacific trade deal puts profit over people [Jakarta Globe – 11/8/15]
Greece: Creditors reach Deal: 27 austerity measures and structural "reforms" [Keep Talking Greece - 11/8/15]
Navajo Nation says it feels brunt of Colorado mine leak [AP – 12/8/15]
Amnesty International turns its back on women
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) statement on Amnesty International's resolution to decriminalize pimps, brothel owners and buyers of sex [11/8/15]:
Today, at the conclusion of its 32nd International Council Meeting (ICM) and amidst much contention and debate, Amnesty International voted for a resolution that urges governments worldwide to adopt laws and policies that endorse the full decriminalization of the sex industry, including pimps, brothel owners and buyers of sexual acts.
Amnesty's Press Release announcing their vote seems innocuous to the naked eye with language about gender equality, women's rights, human rights standards and child sexual exploitation.
Don't be fooled. Amnesty's call on governments to decriminalize the sex industry underlines a willful and callous rejection of women's rights and equality.
The human rights organization opted to side with the multi-billion dollar international sex trade and to exclude prostituted individuals - who are overwhelmingly women and girls from disenfranchised racial, ethnic and economic groups - from the rights granted to all people in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Throughout the deliberation and "research" process that Amnesty claims led them to its resolution, they deliberately excluded the voices and expertise of survivor-leaders and women's rights organizations working to end violence and discrimination at the local, regional and international levels.
Additionally, Amnesty ignored growing evidence of the catastrophic effects of the decriminalization of the sex industry, especially that it leads to an increase in sex trafficking in legal brothels and gives state-sanctioned license to purchase individuals for sexual acts that include acts of torture, such as is the case in Germany.
Instead, Amnesty has maintained its resolve to widen the door for human rights abuses against prostituted individuals on a global scale.
By failing to uphold its own mission of protecting the rights of all human beings to live a life free of violence and with dignity, guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Amnesty has severely damaged its reputation, credibility and legitimacy.
Even worse, it has condemned the most marginalized human beings to exploitation in the sex trade.
For instance, currently an estimated 2-3 million women and girls are exploited in India's sex industry.
Should the Indian government take Amnesty's advice to decriminalize brothel owners and pimps, there would be an exponential growth of untold profits from commercial sexual exploitation and a vast increase in the number of women and girls suffering in the sex trade.
We hope that Amnesty will one day recognize that its decision to decriminalize the sex industry is in gross violation of long established human rights principles and international conventions, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
We will continue to urge Amnesty International to advocate for governments to adopt laws that solely decriminalize those engaged in selling sex and to hold accountable those who profit from such exploitation.
In the meantime, we join our colleagues around the world who are calling upon the country sections that rejected the resolution and Amnesty's membership to choose respect for human rights instead of the "right" to pimp, exploit and purchase sexual acts.
Finally, we send our most profound thanks to the over 600 prominent individuals and organizations worldwide that signed our Open Letter and expressed a unified voice on behalf of all women.
Heartfelt thanks and
solidarity go to the survivors of the commercial sex trade whose experiences
continue to inform us about the inherent and pervasive harms of the sex industry
and guide us toward the best solutions to uphold the human rights of the most
vulnerable among us. We stand with you, always.
UK announces doubling of military training for Ukrainian army – now for 2,000 soldiers
The British Army will be investing more into training the Ukrainian army by increasing the number of soldiers in the program to 2,000, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has announced.
He has described the conflict in eastern Ukraine as “red hot.
Fallon made the pledge during a visit to Kiev on Tuesday, saying that the UK will “double the amount of [Ukrainian] troops” trained from over 1,000 to 2,000 by the end of the year.
He told Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk that his visit was intended to “reaffirm” UK’s support for Ukraine.
“Seven thousand people have already died in the Ukraine, right on the doorstep of Europe … This is not a frozen conflict, it’s still red hot,” Fallon said, adding: “We are not going to turn our back on Ukraine.”
Currently, there are 75 British military trainers in Ukraine, divided into 13 teams in six locations. They organize 10-day courses in intelligence, infantry, medical and logistical skills. The new training will also include ground threat awareness, ways to organize defensive positions in urban environments, operational planning and engineering lessons, Fallon said.
Western powers have been increasing their funding and training for the Ukrainian army in the past few months. Ukrainian troops have also been receiving military training from the US and Canada.
At the end of July, NATO launched its biggest drill in Ukraine to date, bringing together 1,800 troops from 18 countries. “It is safe to say that this is the largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine to date,” said Don Wrenn, a spokesman for US Army Europe.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned that NATO drills in western Ukraine threaten the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the east of the country.
NATO’s actions are fueling “revanchist moods among the ‘war party’ in Kiev, which jeopardize the outlined progress in the peaceful settlement of a deep internal crisis in Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.
Moscow has called the Ukraine drills “a clear manifestation of NATO’s course of unconditional support for the current policy of the Kiev authorities in the southeast of Ukraine, which leads to civilians dying on a daily basis in the region.”
Following NATO’s drills, the US military announced its intentions to expand their mission in Ukraine beyond the National Guard to boost the army’s “defense capabilities,” the US State Department said in late July.
The expanded Western training comes after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that the number of government forces deployed in the conflict is over 60,000 and called for the authorities to work hard to ensure that the military gets new equipment, financial support, and proper Western training for soldiers.
Kiev is also pushing for Washington to provide lethal military aid to Ukraine, which the US has so far been reluctant to do.
“We expect to get additional support from the United States,” PM Yatsenyuk told AP earlier this month. “We do understand that some NATO allies are a little bit reluctant in the decision to supply defensive weapons to Ukraine. But this is not just about Ukraine. This is about the security of the world.”
Kiev launched a military operation in Donbass in the southeast of Ukraine last April after locals rejected the new coup-imposed authorities in the capital and demanded more autonomy. At least 6,400 people have been killed in the conflict, according to UN estimates.
MH17 investigators to RT: No proof east Ukraine fragments from ‘Russian’ Buk missile [RT – 11/8/15]
Egypt's lawyers union to appeal 25 year terms for members in 'insulting judiciary' case [Ahram – 11/8/15]
Australian media ignores forced deportation of Afghan asylum seeker, hails arbitrary decision to overturn deportation of British criminal [Yahoo - 12/8/15]
Taliban condemns IS execution video [Khaama - 12/8/15]
Afghans queue for passports to flee country [TOLO News - 11/8/15]
At least seven people, including two women and a child, have been killed in the latest Saudi attacks on the Yemeni province of Sa’ada.
Local media outlets reported on Wednesday that Saudi warplanes bombarded the district of Razih in Sa’ada, a northwestern province, at least four times, killing a man and a woman and three others and injuring at least two other civilians.
At least one child was also killed in a separate Saudi bombing blitz on the district of Kitaf wa Al Boqe’e in the same province.
Saudi fighter jets also bombarded other districts, including Dhaher, in the province and conducted airstrikes in other Yemeni provinces, including al-Jawf and Ma’rib. ... [Press TV - 12/8/15]
Yemen: amid food crisis, UN expert warns of deliberate starvation of civilians [Media Release - 11/8/15]
A U.S. military helicopter crashed in waters off the Japanese southern island of Okinawa, Japanese media reports said on Wednesday, adding there was no immediate information on possible casualties. ... [Reuters - 12/8/15]
A U.S. F-16 fighter jet crashed in a forest in southern Germany during a training flight on Tuesday but the pilot managed to eject safely, police and U.S. Air Force officials said. ... [Yahoo - 11/8/15]
At least one person was killed in a barrage of rebel rocket fire on the Syrian capital Damascus on Wednesday, state media reported.
"A number of citizens, including a woman, were killed and others were injured... by terrorist shelling of residential neighborhoods in Damascus," state television said in a breaking news alert. ... [Naharnet - 12/8/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [11/8/15]:
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.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Bomber, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 10 airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, five airstrikes struck four ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL bunker, an ISIL structure and an ISIL armored vehicle.
-- Near Aleppo, an airstrike destroyed three ISIL bunkers.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL crude oil collection point.
-- Near Kobani, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL mortar system supply point.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the Iraqi government:
-- Near Beiji, three airstrikes struck one large and one small ISIL tactical unit and destroyed eight ISIL tractor trailers, four ISIL structures, two ISIL armored vehicles, two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL fuel trucks, two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL observation point.
-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike struck an ISIL river obstruction.
-- Near Haditha, two airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL structure and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Makhmur, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed 10 ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and two ISIL mortar firing positions and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL excavator and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Ramadi, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL structures, an ISIL mortar system, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Tal Afar, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL armored vehicle, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL tunnel system.
-- Near Tuz, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
The U.S. maintained Tuesday that it does not view efforts to clear Daesh from the northern Syrian border as a bid to create a "safe zone." ... [Anadolu Agency - 12/8/15]
Turkish fighter jets continue bombing PKK [Anadolu Agency – 11/8/15]
A blast in northeastern Nigeria's Borno State has killed at least 47 people and injured another 52, according to a military source and a civilian joint task force member.
The explosion, in a region where hundreds of people have been killed in attacks by suspected members of Boko Haram in the last few weeks, struck the town of Sabon Gari at around 1:30pm local time on Tuesday, the sources said. ... [Al Jazeera - 12/8/15]
Israeli naval forces open fire on Gaza fishermen, no injuries reported [Maan - 12/8/15]
The Obama administration has intervened in a lawsuit over Palestinian terror attacks that have killed or wounded Americans, advising a judge that requiring a hefty bond payment in the case could financially destabilize the Palestinian government. ... [Times of Israel - 12/8/15]
Police officer who fatally shot Texas football player fired [USA Today -11/8/15]
Turkish coastguard rescue 300 Syrian refugees
Daily Sabah [11/8/15]:
The Turkish coastguard on Tuesday rescued 330 Syrians adrift in the Aegean Sea after failing to reach Greece, as the number of migrants attempting the treacherous passage to Europe surges.
Members of the group said they had been traveling on eight small boats. They included dozens of children, at least five of them newborn, and women, some of who were visibly pregnant.
"We are told Europe will welcome us, but the door is closed in our face," said Abdul, 23, from Damascus. "We will try again every day to reach Greece."
Several of the refugees said their boat had been stopped by armed Greek coastguard officers, who ordered them to dump fuel, stranding them at sea.
A spokesman for the Greek coastguard, Nikolaos Lagadianos, said it "categorically denied" the allegations, saying an incident had taken place off the Turkish town of Bodrum, further south, but that the Greek authorities had not been involved. Crisis-hit Greece has seen a dramatic rise in the number of people seeking refuge.
The United Nations refugee agency said 124,000 had arrived this year by sea and most are traveling to the Greek islands in the Aegean from the nearby Turkish mainland.
Turkey is home to more than 1.8 million Syrian refugees escaping the four-year civil war. One Turkish coastguard officer in the seaside resort town of Çesme in the province of İzmir said his crew had rescued 700 people in the past week, which he said was a record.
"There has been a calamitous increase, and we do not have the resources to meet their needs," the officer said, declining to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media. Most are refugees from war-torn Syria, but others fleeing hardship and violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran are also filling up the inflatable boats run by Turkish smugglers.
... “The Kos authorities have clearly stated that they have no intention of improving the situation for these people as they believe that this would constitute a ‘pull factor’," added Brice.
“But the truth is that people fleeing war will keep on coming whether or not the authorities are trying to stop them from doing so.” ... Greece: Authorities’ inaction equal to abuse of refugees in Kos [Media Release - 11/8/15]
@MSF_Sea [11/8/15]: FACT: The # of so-called #migrants who have arrived in the #EU this year make up just 0.027% of Europe's population
We’re not being ‘overwhelmed’ by a ‘tidal wave’ of migrants. How can anyone justify this callous, misleading language? ... David Shariatmadari [Guardian - 10/8/15]
By reporting on "fights" between asylum seekers on Greek Islands while simultaneously censoring what is happening on Manus Island and Nauru, the Australian media are helping the government and the opposition maintain their demented "incarceration and torture of refugees is a deterrent" lie.
Evidently the Australian media can report that the UNHCR said conditions for refugees on the Greek Islands are "shameful", but not what the UNHCR says about this ----> ... The committee said the government has not demonstrated conditions on Nauru or Manus Island were compatible with international rights, and that offshore processing carried a major risk of being against human rights.
Have they even bothered to ask them for a response?
Senator Claire Moore 2009: Australia takes action against torture
Senator Claire Moore 2015: Nope. Nope. Nope.
... You'll all be safe with us to protect you
And keep you out of harm's way
You'll thank creation and your liberation
From the dark into a new day ...
'After We Torture Our Prisoners' David Rovics 
What's the difference between a military regime that disappears and tortures 1,000s of political dissidents, and a so called democracy that disappears and tortures 1,000s of refugees, blackfellas, juvenile "delinquents", the mentally ill, disabled, the homeless and the elderly?
@PeterDutton_MP PLS know that many people of good conscience prepared to #StandUpAgainstDeportations
We won't give up
Image: @rranwa [11/8/15]
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [12/8/15]:
Over the past week, thick rivers of blood have filled the streets of Kabul.
A wave of devastating blasts, has killed and injured hundreds of innocent men, women and children.
On Monday a car bomb exploded outside the Kabul airport; this killed 5 people and injured at least 16.
Yesterday a young, 21 year old man, of the Tajik ethnic minority, was forcibly deported to this blood soaked warzone.
His father has been 'disappeared' as has his Uncle; he and his family were threatened, which prompted him to flee. Since arriving in Australia, his two little brothers were killed in a Taliban ambush in 2013. A few days ago on the road to the province that he is from, a bomb explosion by the Taliban killed 6 people.
Since having his refugee claim assessed, new information both personal and related to country of origin have come to light, however none of these factors have been considered. His pre-removal clearance was done in November last year, since that point in time security has declined rapidly in Kabul. None of this has been considered. None of this could be considered due to the limited and flawed legal mechanisms that have been put in place.
If anything happens to our young friend when he arrives back in Afghanistan it will be at the hands of the Australian DIBP. This is refoulement. This is sending people back when we know they will be in danger.
We NEED a new MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Afghanistan that will prevent people from being forcibly deported back to danger.
In a statement, the Afghan Embassy in Australia said it was against forced returns in general.
"Given the last days' attacks in Kabul, we think it is not appropriate to return anyone under such circumstances," the statement said.
We need to push this.
Australian politicians facilitate genocide by continuing to pretend Rohingya don't exist
The Australian Embassy in Myanmar have "synergies" with the national broadcaster yet they still cannot show the Australian people what this "aid" constitutes and where (and to whom) is going.
House of Representatives Hansard [11/8/15]:
Mr SUKKAR (Deakin) (21:16): Mr Speaker, it is wonderful to see you in the chair. I rise this evening to draw attention to a humanitarian disaster that is unfolding in our region and continuing to cause untold damage to an already impoverished and slowly-developing part of the world. Since June of this year, nearly one million people have been affected by widespread flooding and landslides in Myanmar, following Cyclone Komen. Tragically, up to 100 people have lost their lives and more than 1.2 million acres of rice fields have been destroyed, absolutely devastating local communities. As I said, this is a country with a developing economy that has been throttled for many years, in many cases due to poor government policy. So a natural disaster of this scale is ultimately the last thing the people of this long-suffering nation need.
I have said many times in this House that I am very proud of my very diverse electorate of Deakin and its various ethnic and cultural groups. One of the most active and engaged of these groups—and one with which I probably have one of the best relationships—is my local Chin community, an ethnic subgroup within Myanmar. Recently, in response to the devastation in that country, I attended an urgent meeting convened by leaders of local Chin community groups, which allowed me to get an appreciation of the on-the-ground situation in Myanmar based on the reports that they have received from family and friends. Frankly, the message was quite grim. They did, though, express gratitude, on behalf of those friends and families in Myanmar, for the assistance that has been announced by the Australian government. Indeed, when word of the disaster came out, I received SMSs, emails and Facebook messages at about 11.30 at night.
I want to pay tribute to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I got on the phone with her within about 15 minutes of SMSing her to see if she could speak at such an unsociable time. She was able to do so, and we were, therefore, able to expedite additional aid to assist with the relief efforts. The foreign minister announced that Australia would immediately provide $2 million to the relief effort to help rebuild the devastated country. Additionally, we have since announced that we will work with the Myanmar government, NGOs on the ground and the United Nations to provide family kits comprising kitchen sets, bedding, clothing, mosquito nets, hygiene kits and school supplies to those affected. The feedback that I received from my Chin community leaders assisted us in identifying what it was that was needed on the ground. We have also announced that we will work with Save the Children, CARE Australia and UN partners to provide 300,000 people with temporary shelter, safe drinking water and health care. These additional contributions bring the total level of assistance provided generously by Australia to $3 million, as requested by the government of Myanmar.
As I said earlier, I have a very close relationship with the Chin community in my electorate. I appreciate how active they are within my community and what wonderful Australian citizens they have become. I appreciate all of their advocacy to me. I want to thank the foreign minister for acting so quickly and for being so responsive to their calls. I want to name each of the groups that have been speaking to me, meeting with me and giving me a very good understanding of what is happening on the ground. They are the Chin Community Victoria, the Melbourne Mizo Association, the Australian Zo Organization, the Apostolic Pentecostal Church in the area, the Emmanuel Christian Church, the Falam Chin Christian Church, the Chin Evangelical Church and the Myanmar Christian Brethren Assembly. They have all done an outstanding job in advocating for the interests of their friends, families and loved ones who are suffering in Myanmar. I can assure them and I can assure the Australian public that this government will continue to do everything it can to help them on the ground in Myanmar.
Bangladesh and IOM plan "census" for 1,000s of Rohingya who have fled genocide in Myanmar [South China Morning Post - 12/8/15]
A relief party comprising of pro government Rohingyas from Yangon arrived in Santouli of Akyab on Monday.
They are distributing clothes and relief products to the besieged neighbourhood but only to those Rohingyas who are ready to accept the green card as Bengali citizens.
Those accepting the much needed relief goods have to sign a declaration stating they are Bengalis and ready to accept the green card and become naturalised citizens of Myanmar.
The members of the relief group are handling the situation diplomatically and sweet talking the local Rohingyas rather than bullying them.
The Rohingyas from Yangon are saying that they have tried a long hard struggle to keep the ethnic identity of Rohingya alive but they have to accept the reality.
“In the next generation, there will not be any Rohingya,” said Md Rafique, a member of the group.
He said the Muslim world could not hear them and there was no use awaiting for their help anymore.
Rather a more benevolent government has come to the country and this was their best chance to come to terms and counter the influence of Buddhist nationalist groups that wanted them dead.
The pro government Rohingyas said it was important for Muslims to take the opportunity given by president Thein Sein to counter the influence of Buddhist nationalists.
Although Rohingyas are some of the worst victims of the recent floods, relief to this ethnic community has been deliberately ignored.
Highlands food gardens destroyed by extreme weather [PNG Loop - 12/8/15]
Children on Manam Island in Papua New Guinea are falling sick from contaminated water amid a delay in relief following a volcanic eruption. ... [RNZI - 11/8/15]
Australian tourists evacuated after another attack on Vanuatu lodge
A lodge owner and 21 Australian tourists have been evacuated to the Vanuatu capital Port Vila after more attacks on a resort on Tanna.
At least one of the tourists is reported to have been injured after stones were thrown.
The Daily Post reports a fire started in the early hours of Tuesday morning when vehicles were set alight by what appeared to be petrol bombs.
The New Zealander who owns the resort, Hugh Lowe, told the paper staff fought the fire until 5.30am and managed to save some of the buildings.
The first six houses were burnt last month and were reported to be in retaliation for the alleged murder of a young Tannese boy.
Vanuatu's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Moana Carcasses, says he won't tolerate people taking the law into their own hands.
He says Australia is Vanuatu's biggest tourist market and the Government won't stand by while Australian tourists are harassed.
He says he may send members of the Vanuatu Mobile Force to Tanna to arrest the perpetrators.
The Island's Nikoletan Council of Chiefs are reported to be holding urgent meetings to find a way out of the issue.
We asked Senators Lazarus, Lambie, Muir, Leyonhjelm and Xenophon - via Twitter - if they were given the opportunity (denied to them by ALP Senator Claire Moore) whether they would have supported Senator Penny Wright's motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT
Why continue protecting politicians who do not stand for human rights and continually obstruct efforts to address these issues in parliament?
Ratifying OPCAT and preventing ill-treatment in detention [Human Rights Law Centre - 5/10/12]
Through our consultations at the medical centre, Professor Isaacs diagnosed a baby with typhoid.
We were in the consultation room with the baby and the mother, and the dad was waiting down the end of the corridor, so I went to get him. I said, ‘You can come with me now. We’ll go and see your baby, he’s OK.’
The female security guard pushed the dad full flight in the back and he went flying.
The dad just looked absolutely hopeless.
He just took the abuse and looked at me with these dead, sad eyes.
He can’t fight back because that will impede on his asylum application. ...
“When you silence doctors and nurses you’re getting into dangerous territory” Alanna Maycock [Marie Claire - 6/8/15]
US Department of Justice opposes Judge's ruling to release children from immigration detention [Democracy Now - 11/8/15]:
The Justice Department has filed documents opposing a federal judge’s ruling that women and children being held at family detention centers be released.
In late July, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee condemned the mass detention as "deplorable" and ruled it was in violation of previous court decisions.
The ruling gave the Obama administration 90 days to either release the more than 2,000 women and children being held in two Texas facilities or to show just cause to continue holding them.
The Justice Department filed documents Thursday saying that changes have been made at the facilities that Gee’s ruling applies to practices no longer in place.
Meanwhile, five mothers and their children have filed a $10 million complaint against the Department of Homeland Security, arguing they suffered abuse, neglect and trauma in family detention centers.
The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to reconsider her ruling that called for the release of tens of thousands of immigrant mothers and children who tried to cross the southern border illegally.
In a 60-page response filed late Thursday, Justice Department lawyers argued that family detention facilities run by the Department of Homeland Security are a necessary tool to help deter illegal migration to the United States. ... [Politico - 7/8/15]
Federal Court blocks Government from detaining asylum seekers as tactic to deter others from coming to US [ACLU Media Release - 20/2/15]:
... The Department of Homeland Security has been denying release of these families as part of an "aggressive deterrence strategy." In rejecting the U.S. government's argument that detention of the women and children was necessary to prevent a mass influx that would threaten national security, the court wrote that the “incantation of the magic words 'national security' without further substantiation is simply not enough to justify significant deprivations of liberty."
"The court held that it was illegal to detain families based on deterrence. It made clear that the government cannot deprive individuals of their liberty merely to send a message to others," said Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.
"This ruling means that the government cannot continue to lock up families without an individualized determination that they pose a danger or flight risk that requires their detention." ...
THE ALP WOULDN'T EVEN LET A MOTION EXPEDITING THE RATIFICATION OF OPCAT COME INTO EXISTENCE, AND THE AUSTRALIAN GREENS ARE WETTING THEIR PANTS ABOUT ABBOTT'S PREDICTABLE ACTION RE EQUAL MARRIAGE?
What is the point of equal marriage if your government says torture is OK? TORTURE. In prisons, psychiatric institutions, care facilities - not just immigration detention.
Chile jails 14 officers for death of Pinochet henchman [Yahoo - 11/8/15]:
... The case delved into the murky death of secret police agent Eugenio Berrios, a chemist who oversaw the production of sarin gas and other chemical weapons for the Pinochet regime (1973-1990) to use against its opponents.
After Pinochet stepped down, Berrios fled to Uruguay, where he was found dead on a beach with bullet wounds to the head in 1995.
The court found the convicted officers collaborated on a plan to eliminate Berrios, whom they apparently feared would testify on some of the darkest secrets of a dictatorship that killed or "disappeared" more than 3,000 people and tortured some 38,000.
His killing is believed to be one of the last missions carried out under Operation Condor, a joint program launched in the 1970s by the right-wing dictatorships of South America to assassinate their opponents and stamp out dissent.
12 August 2015