Defence has revealed three soldiers were charged over the deaths of six Afghan civilians because they threw a grenade into a room where they knew there were women and children.
A Defence ministerial submission, released under Freedom of Information, says the soldiers believed they were under insurgent fire but evidence indicated it was an Afghan national defending his home and family from attack in the middle of the night in February, 2009.
Charges of manslaughter against three special forces personnel were dismissed by Chief Judge Advocate, Brigadier Ian Westwood, in 2012 on the grounds that soldiers had no legal duty of care to civilians during combat.
Then Defence Minister Stephen Smith subsequently sought an explanation from the Director of Military Prosecutions, Brigadier Lyn McDade, as to why the men were charged in the first place. ... [SBS - 13/5/16]
A shadowy new unit run by Afghanistan's main intelligence agency has begun operations in southern Helmand province with a mission to exploit divisions within the Taliban insurgency, government officials and a militant spokesman said. ... [Reuters - 12/5/16]
US Army Chaplain submits resignation over drone warfare [Military.com - 12/5/16]
12 killed in two US drone strikes in Somalia [Mddle East Online - 13/5/16]
A suicide bombing and battle Thursday killed at least 15 Yemeni soldiers and injured dozens more at a naval base near the port city of Al Mukalla, military sources said.
Officials said a car filled with explosives struck the gate of the base, followed by two more explosions at the city's military headquarters.
Clashes between government and rebel forces followed. ... [UPI.com - 12/5/16]
Yemen’s food situation on verge of humanitarian disaster [UN Media Release - 12/5/16]
US churches call for economic pressure on Israel [Electronic Intifada - 12/5/16]
Israeli forces open fire at Palestinians in southern Gaza Strip [Maan - 12/5/16]
Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers in lands near the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip early on Thursday morning.
Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli forces deployed in military towers at the border fence in Khuzaa, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at farmers who were harvesting their wheat.
Meanwhile, Israeli navy forces opened fire at fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, Gaza City and the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. ... [Maan - 12/5/16]
Israeli court hands prison sentence to Palestinian astrophysicist over Facebook posts [Maan - 11/5/16]
US establishes two military outposts in Libya [Antiwar - 12/6/16]
How many refugees did Australia push back, sink or abandon in the past 24 hours? ----> Italian coastguard rescues over 800 refugees, many from Syria [Reuters -12/5/16]
@guardiacostiera [12/5/16]: Nave Peluso CP905 #GuardiaCostiera soccorre barcone a S/E di Capo Passero. Salvati 342 migranti, maggioranza siriani
UNHCR says they will give information and assistance to the recently rescued persons, as their role in Australia's anti-refugee activities remains unscrutinised [13/5/16]
Armed groups surrounding the predominantly Kurdish Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo city have repeatedly carried out indiscriminate attacks - possibly including with chemical weapons - that have struck civilian homes, markets and mosques, killing and injuring civilians, and have displayed a shameful disregard for human life, said Amnesty International today.
Two of the armed groups conducting attacks on Sheikh Maqsoud - Ahrar al Sham and Army of Islam - have sent representatives to the UN-brokered negotiations on Syria in Geneva, while the others have approved delegates to represent them at the talks. ... [Amnesty International - 13/5/16] Rebels may have used chemical weapons in Aleppo [Al Jazeera - 12/5/16]
Belgium will extend its F-16 air strikes against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq into Syria, the government said Friday, as it grapples with the aftermath of deadly IS-claimed bomb attacks in Brussels in March. ... [Yahoo - 13/5/16]
Iraqis hold protest after deadly Daesh bomb attacks in Baghdad [Press TV - 13/5/16]
French government survives no-confidence vote but Socialist split widens [rfi - 13/5/16]
Almost 90,000 gallons of crude oil gushed from a Shell oil facility into the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast on Thursday, leaving a 13- by 2-mile sheen of oil on the waves, federal authorities said. ... [NBC - 12/5/16]
Day 55, refugee protests on Nauru
Image: @Mums4Refugees [13/5/16]
"AUSTRALIA. WHAT IS JUSTICE?" @Mums4Refugees [13/5/16]
"Trafficked illegally here. Close Manus prison now".
Image: @shanebazzi [13/5/16]
Behrouz Boochani [13/5/16]:
Just now a protest has started in Delta prison.
Some people make a banner that says: "Trafficked illegally here. Close Manus prison now".
Yesterday people in Mike and Fox prisons put the same banners on the prisons walls.
People are tired and are asking to leave Manus forever.
PNG Supreme court ordered the government that this prison is illegal and they must take us from Manus.
People are angry because Australia does not want to accept the court decision.
... Despite statements from the PNG Immigration officials saying that the Manus detention centre is open, neither asylum seekers nor refugees can walk out of the centre which is on a naval base.
The arrangements have not changed at the centre in the past week or so.
People are required to register and then take an official bus to the settlement at Lorengau.
Although, up to 100 asylum seekers from Mike and Fox have taken the ride to Lorengau, over the past few days, yesterday only two from Foxtrot went outside.
Very few refugees.have gone outside at all.
A communities meeting inside the detention centre expressed its concern at the bus trips and today, most people declined to take the bus.
“The refugees do not want to be seen to cooperate in any way with the PNG regime that has been put in place by the Australian government,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Every day the Australian government stalls on bringing everyone from Manus to Australia is another day they breach the Supreme Court orders and the human rights of the prisoners on Manus. ... [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 13/5/16]
A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. Mark Twain [AUDIO - ABC - 13/5/16]:
A PNG lawyer representing hundreds of men at the Manus Island detention centre says his clients' rights are still being restricted despite the opening of the centre's gates.
Lawyer Ben Lomai is representing more than 600 men at the centre in another case before the Supreme Court.
His clients have told him that those who have been found not to be genuine refugees are still being detained.
Lawyers acting for 900 people held in Papua New Guinea on behalf of Australia asked a court on Friday to hasten compensation claims for their illegal detention, kicking off the first stage of legal action that could see the refugees return to Australia.
Lawyers for 898 Manus Island detainees have asked the Supreme Court of the tiny Pacific Ocean nation for compensation of 1,500 kina ($462.75) for every day they were held illegally.
"When you consider that some of the men have been held in detention for 1,000 days, the total compensation package will be worth A$1 billion," said Ben Lomai, a lawyer for most of the detainees.
The figure is equivalent to about $728 million.
It was not immediately clear if the Supreme Court decision could apply retrospectively.
Lomai said once the matter of compensation had been resolved, the refugees' lawyers would file motions for their immediate return to Australia.
Should the detainees be successful, they could arrive in Australia in the middle of one of the longest poll campaigns in its history, putting the spotlight on the tough immigration policy.
Papua New Guinea says it has ended detention of the asylum seekers by relaxing restrictions to allow them to leave the detention center during the day.
But few detainees benefit, refugee advocates have said, as other restrictions make their exit prohibitively difficult.
For instance, a detainee wishing to leave must sign up for one of three bus services to a nearby town and return to the camp in the evening.
A 22-year-old Somali mother and her newborn baby were transferred to Australia from a detention center on Nauru after the woman gave birth prematurely, Australia's Department of Immigration confirmed. ... <--- Medical atrocities against refugees on Nauru and Manus are NOT "negligence". It is torture, and it is deliberate.
... A 22-year-old Somali refugee and her newborn baby have been medically evacuated from Nauru after she underwent a caesarean section a month prematurely.
The immigration department confirmed the woman and her baby had been transferred to Australia where they were receiving “appropriate medical treatment”, but declined to comment further.
According to Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition, both mother and baby were in critical condition when they were flown off the island.
The baby was unable to breathe without aid, Guardian Australia understands.
It is understood the young mother had been vomiting and had seizures while on Nauru. She was in hospital on Sunday night but it is unclear whether she remained there until she and the baby were evacuated.
Questions have been raised about the timeliness of medical evacuations from the offshore immigration centre, and the duty of care for people self-harming, and showing other signs of mental illness. <--- By whom? This is beyond the issue of duty of care, this is a war of attrition being waged by the Australian government - who is torturing people to stop them from seeking asylum.
On Wednesday a 26-year-old Bangladeshi man died of suspected heart failure in the Nauru hospital before he could be evacuated to Australia.
He had checked himself into the hospital two days earlier after – according to reports from Nauru – he ingested a large number of pills including Panadol.
A statement written by the young man to support his refugee claim said he fled Bangladesh after locals threatened to kill him and his boyfriend for having a homosexual relationship.
“The locals forced us to go to the local mosque, a five-minute walk away, and started to beat us in public in front of the mosque,” he said.
“[My boyfriend] and I were pleading with everyone to forgive us but they would not stop beating us. They said words to the effect of ‘if you rectify your actions we will not kill you. However if we catch you again we will kill you’.”
The couple were treated for injuries, but attacked several times again, he claimed.
He was threatened with dismemberment and blinding, and his parents disowned him. He and his partner fled separately and never made contact again, he said. ... [Guardian - 13/5/16]
Nauru's ruling class send another abandon all hope message to imprisoned refugees [Media Release - 13/5/16]:
The Government of the Republic of Nauru conducted its first citizenship ceremony with 35 new citizens pledging their allegiance to Nauru this morning.
New Nauruan citizen Richard Lewis gave a brief thank you speech on behalf of his fellow citizens.
Minister for Justice and Border Control Hon David Adeang delivered the closing speech in his native Nauruan congratulating the newest citizens adding that they have today been given something momentous and something difficult to achieve given that the Nauruan family is a very small one and inclusion into that small family is difficult.
Minister Adeang added that citizenship is something well-guarded and treasured by the current government, by former governments and by governments yet to come. ...
Another refugee appeared in court today for attempting self immolation [VIDEO - Autonomous Action Radio - 12/5/16]
People are dying while true believers like Dr Jim Macken and New Matilda wring their hands and campaign for the ALP. [13/5/16]
... I was a Staff Sergeant in the South African Police during and after the Apartheid era and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have never witnessed the injustice and ill-treatment of human beings that I witnessed at Bravo Camp, RPC Nauru. ...
Nauru Senate Inquiry, Submission 98
Not a single Australian journalist went to Nauru to report on the 2013 riot trials.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.
The most secret corner of Guantánamo Bay could be opened up to the UN torture watchdog for the first time, if an audacious legal gambit succeeds.
Attorneys for Ammar al-Baluchi, one of the accused 9/11 co-conspirators facing a military tribunal at Guantánamo Bay, will request on Thursday that the judge in the case order access to Guantánamo’s Camp 7 – where he and other detainees formerly in brutal CIA custody reside practically incommunicado – for Juan Mendez, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture. ... [Guardian - 13/5/16]
9/11 judge and prosecutors should step down over destroyed evidence, defense demands [Guardian - 12/5/16]
Judge criticises Pentagon suppression of hundreds of Bush-era torture photos [Guardian - 12/5/16]
... Ejaili worked as a cameraman in Iraq for Al Jazeera Arabic channel in November 2003.
He was gathering information about an attack against American forces in Diyala.
While at the scene, a US soldier asked him what he was doing and who he worked for.
When he answered truthfully, Ejaili was arrested.
He would spend the next four months imprisoned in the notorious facility.
The Americans sang to him as he hung immobilised: "Happy birthday Al Jazeera." ... [Al Jazeera - 12/5/16]
The Legacy of Guantánamo, Lizzy Ratner [The Nation - 14/7/13]:
... But the INS [Immigration and Naturalization Service] ignored these warnings and refused to close the camp or to airlift the sickest refugees, like Joel Saintil, to hospitals in the United States.
When asked by reporters why it ignored the refugees’ medical plight, an INS spokesman, Duane “Duke” Austin, responded with unrepentant candor:
“They’re going to die anyway, aren’t they?” ...
... In hindsight, we can see that we were wrong to allow our trust in Clinton and his election promise to dictate legal strategy.
Clinton sorely disappointed us, and our belief in him caused our clients to spend more time in the inhuman camp conditions.
But for our belief in Clinton, we could have tried the case four of five months earlier and ended the horror of the camp that much sooner.
If there ever is a next time and I am faced with a similar situation and must choose a legal strategy, I will disregard the promises of politicians.
Clinton's promises and our reliance on them seriously jeopardized our relationships with our clients.
We wrongly believed and persuaded our clients to believe that Clinton would change their circumstances.
Regaining the trust of our clients was not easy. ... How We Closed the Guantanamo HIV Camp: The Intersection of Politics and Litigation, Michael Ratner
An American Concentration Camp - National Dialogue and Travelling Exhibit [October 2012]:
Concentration camp: A camp where persons (as prisoners of war, political prisoners, or refugees) are detained or confined; Internment center by a government to confine political prisoners or members of national or minority groups for reasons of state security, exploitation or punishment.
Concentration camps in the Western world, I thought, were sites of human rights violations that were abandoned in the early 20th century––rendered extent with the demise of dictators like Stalin and Hitler.
Many would be surprised,as I was, to learn that there exists a contemporary site that has been used and reused by the United States to detain people without legal protections. ...
U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson granted an injunction Monday saying that Haitian refugees found to have valid claims for political asylum cannot be repatriated to Haiti without first having access to a lawyer.
While the ruling affects those Haitians being held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who have been found to have credible fears of persecution if they are returned home, it does not affect Haitians 'screened out,' or found not to have valid claims for political asylum. ... [UPI.com - 6/4/92]
People in refugee concentration camps are under attack from the Australian government and are dying. And still the human rights and medical establishment say nothing.
Critical refugee mother and baby medivacced from Nauru [Refugee Action Coalition - 13/5/16]:
A 22 year-old Somali refugee mother, Naima, and her premature baby boy, have been airlifted, in separate planes, from Nauru in emergency circumstances last night.
Both were considered to be in critical condition when they left Nauru.
Naima underwent a caesarian operation on Nauru, yesterday afternoon, and the baby was born one month premature.
Naima and her baby were airlifted in separate planes.
The air ambulance carrying Naima has already landed at Brisbane.
The plane carrying the baby left Nauru three hours after his mother was airlifted and was expected to land in Brisbane mid-morning. ...
Will they even mention Behrouz Boochani's solid fight for justice and freedom (which resumes in the PNG Supreme Court today)
Stifling democracy: global and local attacks on press freedom and protest rights: Maina Kiai in conversation with Peter Greste - Brisbane, 31 May 2016 [Human Rights Law Centre]
Peter Greste says Julie Bishop’s death stare helped get him out of prison [Buzzfeed - 26/3/15]
Australia and its Colonial Operations
Autonomous Action Radio [12/5/16]:
by Behrouz Boochani
Yesterday evening an Iranian man wanted to kill himself by cutting his neck. I posted some words about his action but people did not pay serious attention to him.
I reported what was happening to him to media and other organisations.
This man claims that an Australian officer beat him and punched him. He wrote a complaint to the PNG police. He was very angry because after a few days he was still not able to access police and put his complaint to them.
Yesterday, the officer who punched him was about to leave Manus and his complaint had not been given to the PNG police as he had asked.
This system and these companies, Broadspectrum and Wilson Security do not allow people access to the PNG police, they do not pass on our complaints either.
Any staff member who commits a crime is assisted by these organisations and, I believe, the Australian government to leave Manus without going to court.
Remember the officers who raped a local Manusian woman. They were flown out of Manus and were never questioned or charged, or taken to the PNG court.
Remember those staff members who helped Joshua to kill Reza Baratti? They were also flown off Manus and never returned to face court.
I, myself, had a suspicious accident when a basketball board fell on my head. I wrote several requests asking to access the PNG police so they could investigate.
Again they did not pass on my request or allow me access to the PNG police.
I want to say that all of these happenings are because of colonial thinkings. Australia is exercising colonial power in and against PNG. We can see this too in Australia’s reaction after the PNG Supreme Court hearing.
Australia does not want to accept the Supreme Court order.
Only in a colonial system can you commit a crime and not go to court.
Australia continues its colonial system against Aboriginal people in Australia and now also in PNG.
I believe that yesterday was a very important
day because we understood clearly how the Australian government is ruling its
prisons in Manus and Nauru under a colonial system.
US plans new wave of immigrant deportation raids [Reuters - 12/5/16]:
... Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has now told field offices nationwide to launch a 30-day "surge" of arrests focused on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States, the document seen by Reuters said.
The operation would also cover minors who have entered the country without a guardian and since turned 18 years of age, the document said.
Two sources confirmed the details of the plan. ...
Know your rights: What to do if immigration agents (ICE) are at your door [ACLU]
Turkish air strikes in the southeastern province of Hakkari and in northern Iraq killed 11 Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters on Tuesday, the armed forces said in a statement on Wednesday.
It also said security operations in southeast Turkey killed three PKK fighters in Nusaybin and four in Sirnak on Tuesday, bringing the militant death toll in the two towns to around 700 during the operations of recent months. [Reuters - 11/5/16]
Turkey: Border guards kill and injure asylum seekers [Human Rights Watch - 10/5/16]
US activates Romanian missile defense site [Reuters - 12/5/16]
Australian mercenary shot dead in Iraq Green Zone [Foreign Minister Media Release - 13/5/16]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [12/5/16]:
Baghdad: News agencies/The international coalition forces : 13 air strikes have been conducted during the last 24 hours in 10 cities including Mosul......
Anbar: News agencies: 4 mortars have fallen on Khalidiya east of Ramadi...................
Baghdad: A roadside bomb exploded near shops in Ubeidi area east of Baghdad today evening killing two persons and wounding 7.....
Baghdad: News agencies: New Zealand government announced sending 100 troops to camp Taji north of Baghdad to support the government forces and international coalition .......
... It is notable how 'celebrities' with potentially wide public outreach very often stay silent. ... Anatomy of a propaganda blitz - Part 1 [Medialens - 12/5/16]
Guam is within China’s military strike reach with new missiles and bomber aircraft capabilities that demonstrate China’s continued efforts to neutralize America’s ability to come to the aid of its allies and friends in the region, according to a May 10 report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC). ... [Defense News - 12/5/16]
@wikileaks [12/5/16]: Brasil's #Dilma ousted in parliamentary coup; new pres is US embassy informant Michel Temer ...
... Today, war, torture, disappearances, murder surround us like plagues. Most in this country go on their way oblivious. Some don’t want to know and are like ostriches. Some want to justify it all. Some want to make compromises. But be warned: We are at a tipping point, a tipping point into lawlessness and medievalism. We have our work to do. For each of us, the time for talking is long, long over. This is no time for compromise, no time for political calculation.
As Howard Zinn admonishes us, it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners. ...
Remembering Michael Ratner, pioneering lawyer who fought for justice from Attica to Guantánamo [Democracy Now - 12/5/16]
13 May 2016