Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work today welcomed Australian Defense Secretary Dennis Richardson to the Pentagon, where the two leaders discussed global security issues and opportunities to further bilateral defense cooperation, Work’s spokesperson, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson, said in a statement. ... [US Department of Defense - 14/12/16]
US continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 14/12/16]
Refugee families abandoned by the UNHCR/IOM spend night outside their office in Athens @ares_masip [14/12/16]
Migrants in Libya are suffering consistent and widespread abuse, including arbitrary detention, forced labour, rape and torture, a United Nations report said on Tuesday. ... [Reuters - 13/12/16]
Netherlands funds IOM to coerce stranded migrants in Libya to fuck off and die [Media Release - 6/12/16]
Thirteen suspected migrants were rescued from a refrigerated lorry on the M25 after they got trapped inside and called police for help.
Traffic officers from Surrey Police said 10 adults and three children were removed from the HGV’s trailer in Chertsey at around 3.10pm on Tuesday. ... [Evening Standard - 14/12/16]
Tunisian man guilty over 700 Mediterranean deaths [BBC - 15/12/16]:
A Tunisian man has been found guilty by a court in Sicily of causing the sinking of a boat in which 700 migrants died in April 2015.
Mohammed Ali Malek, who had denied being the boat's captain, was given 18 years in jail.
He was also convicted of manslaughter and human trafficking.
A Syrian was handed a five-year sentence.
The heavily overcrowded boat sank off Libya after colliding with a merchant vessel that had come to its rescue.
Only 28 people survived the disaster.
Many of those who died had been crammed into the hold of the fishing boat and locked inside.
Most of the victims on the 27m-long (90ft) boat were from countries including Mali, Gambia, Senegal and Ethiopia.
Among the survivors were two young Bangladeshis who took part in the case as civil plaintiffs. ...
Amidst deteriorating weather conditions, a total of 48 migrants and refugees arrived at the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos Tuesday, authorities said.
No arrivals were recorded on the other islands, authorities said.
The number of migrants and refugees stranded on Greece's islands was Tuesday estimated at 11,299.
On Wednesday, Finland said it would push the European Union to step up efforts to curb illegal migration by negotiating agreements with Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
European leaders are due at a summit on Thursday to discuss results from their recent migration compacts with five African countries - Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal and Ethiopia. [Ekathimerini - 14/12/16]
No journalism. No opposition. Australia's political prisoners are still imprisoned. ---> More "US refugee deal" smoke and mirrors [Nine MSN - 14/12/16]
It's only 14 December Madeleine Gleeson - why aren't you and your UNHCR mates CHALLENGING the policy? Asylum seekers will welcome another New Year still in limbo [The Age - 13/12/16]:
... No other country in the world has sought to do what Australia has done in transferring people to Nauru and Manus Island. ... <---- Why do Australian "experts" and "advocates" continue peddling this BS?
... Bill Clinton continued the Bush policy of keeping refugees at Guantanamo indefinitely.
But Clinton introduced a new policy as well: testing the Haitians for HIV, and segregating those who tested positive. In doing so, he created “the world’s first HIV detention camp.”
Conditions in the HIV camp were horrific. The facility was a “leaky barracks with poor sanitation, surrounded by razor wire and guard towers,” and numerous detainees were housed in tents.
Many of the refugees were gravely ill with AIDS, and the crowded facility was characterized by fear, squalor, and uncertainty.
After being held for more than a year, some of the refugees began a hunger strike. (The military retaliated by putting the leader of the hunger strike in solitary confinement.)
Communications home had to be smuggled out. As one refugee wrote in a letter to her family, “I have lost in the struggle for life . . . There is nothing left for me. Take care of my children, so they have strength to continue my struggle . . . I have lost hope. I am alone in my distress.” ... [Jacobin - 22/10/16]
Region continues pushing Rohingya refugees back to Aung San Suu Kyi's US-greenlighted, gas-fuelled genocide [bdnews24.com - 14/12/16]
@JonahFisherBBC [14/12/16]: Myanmar state paper takes unusual step of publishing @wfp aid schedule. None of sites are in northern Rakhine.
@JonahFisherBBC [14/12/16]: Interesting... but since Oct 9 not seen much evidence the armed attackers are "well-organized and apparently well-funded group"
Research uncovers regime’s kill methods, Khmer Rouge Tribunal hears [Cambodia Daily - 14/12/16]:
... Mr. Vuthy, whose involvement in researching Cambodian history stretches back to 1990, said his interest in studying and preserving the decaying remains of victims for the observation of future generations had been spurred by the death of his father, a teacher who was killed in 1976.
“In my family, we lost six members,” he said. ...
Sri Lanka's military approached senior TNA MP Maavai Senathirajah to gather "information" on Sunday night, according to sources in the North-East. ... [Tamil Guardian - 13/12/16]
Rejecting the UN Committee Against Torture's call on Sri Lanka to investigate the former intelligence chief, Sirisa Mendis, the state minister of defence, Ruwan Wijewardene told The Sunday Leader MR Mendis would not be investigated. ... [Tamil Guardian - 12/12/16]
About a dozen West Papuan activists were arrested and released twice within two days in the capital of Indonesia's Papua province.
Also on Saturday the KNPB organised a huge demonstration in the Highlands town of Wamena.
At least 6,000 people were reported to have attended the demonstration, protesting against human rights abuses in Papua and calling for a legitimate self-determination referendum.
There were no reported arrests. [RNZI - 12/12/16]
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim loses final bid for freedom [The Straits Times - 14/12/16]:
... Crowds of demonstrators gathered outside the court ahead of the verdict, to show support for the 69-year-old Anwar, backed up by the presence of his wife, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, his daughters and grandchildren.
Dr Wan Azizah was seen leaving the courtroom shortly after the verdict, looking sombre.
His daughter, Ms Nurul Izzah, told reporters that they would continue to seek all avenues, including appealing for a pardon on grounds of "miscarriage of justice".
Anwar's lawyer N. Surendran said that Anwar's legal team would now study the judgement in detail before deciding how to proceed.
"He does not accept the decision, his family does not accept the decision. We are taking a copy of the judgement shortly and we will study the judgement and we will announce our next course of action as soon as possible," Surendren told reporters outside the courtroom. ...
7,000 affected across three provinces by Solomons quakes [RNZI – 13/12/16]
China has agreed to spend nearly $US4 billion to build a giant industrial park in Papua New Guinea.
PNG's Treasurer Patrick Pruaitch said investors from Shenzhen had signed a memorandum of understanding to build a series of processing and manufacturing plants at two industrial parks in West Sepik province. ... [RNZI - 14/12/16]
US ready to confront Beijing on South China Sea: Admiral [Reuters - 14/12/16]:
... Asked about Harris's remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the situation in the South China Sea was currently stable, thanks to the hard work of China and others in the region.
"We hope the United States can abide by its promises on not taking sides on the sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea, respect the efforts of countries in the region to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea region and do more to promote peace and stability there," he told a daily news briefing. ...
US military grounds all Osprey aircraft after crash off Okinawa [Japan Today - 14/12/16]
Buni Yani, a suspect for allegedly spreading hate after he uploaded a video of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama on social media said Tuesday that his life and family’s life had been terrorized by unidentified people.
Buni, a lecturer at a private university, said threats came not just through social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but also via phone calls and “strangers” physically watched him and his family. ... [Jakarta Post - 14/12/16]
The memorandum of exception or objection read out by non-active Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) in court on the first day of the blasphemy trial was an expression of his deepest feelings, experts believe.
"The presented exception was an expression of his feelings. It is impossible for him to insult Islam and clerics, as it is the religion of his adoptive family, who he respects and loves," political observer of Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Prof. Ikrar Nusa Bhakti remarked in a written statement received by ANTARA here on Tuesday. ... [ANTARA - 14/12/16]
The wife of the Bali police officer allegedly killed by Sara Connor and her British boyfriend has rejected the offer of a ‘donation’ by the Australian, saying she won’t accept ‘even a cent from her’. ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 14/12/16]
Six chickens were killed and a pig injured in an early morning attack at the permaculture centre, Djanbung Gardens, at Nimbin.
Founder Robyn Francis said staff were devastated this morning to discover the dead and injured animals. ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 14/12/16]
Lawyer explains to NT Royal Commission how hate rhetoric of politicians and media greenlights state violence [SBS - 14/12/16]:
A lawyer from Alice Springs has told the Northern Territory Royal Commission children are being given unmanageable bail conditions, which set them up for a life behind bars.
Russell Goldflam, the principal lawyer for NT Legal Aid, noted there’s a lack of bail supported accommodation in the Northern Territory, and said current conditions aren’t practical.
“We’ve got this pattern of children being given bail on conditions which are really unlikely to be successfully complied with and, sure enough, after a few breaches the judge says well I’ve got no choice now, we have run out of options,” Mr Goldflam told the inquiry.
In his statement, Mr Goldflam said the principle of detention being the last resort had to have a practical effect, and recommended supported bail accommodation be considered.
"In many cases, attempts are made to bail a child to a family member with various conditions, but it's a bit of a tenuous arrangement built on hope perhaps more than real expectation," Mr Goldflam said.
“And sure enough, the aunty on the town camp isn't able to make sure the child's home by 7pm and the child's found in town at 8pm and that happens a few times and they aren't given bail again."
He went on to criticise the previous Northern Territory government for creating a community that allowed for violence against vulnerable children, by using inflammatory rhetoric to demonise young offenders.
He pointed to the language used by former Corrections Minister John Elferink, when he said “we will crack down on them and we will control them", and a Facebook post from the previous Chief Minister Adam Giles, proposing to change the bail act to deny bail for young people arrested on repeat property offence charges.
"The way in which this inflammatory rhetoric was being pumped out into the community, in my view, had this toxic corrupting effect on the administration of our youth detention and youth justice systems because it empowered, it permitted people perhaps, not to read as closely the protocols which were to restrain their behaviour,” he said.
"It gives permission to people who have the authority legally to use force against youths... effectively to use that force to punish.”
He said it reminded him of a time in the late 1990’s when previous leaders in the NT used similar language, and passed mandatory sentencing laws specifically aimed at youths for property offending.
"A couple of years ago, here we go again, the same vitriol and hatred being promulgated not just by shocks jocks but by the people we've elected to run our territory," Mr Goldflam said.
The 1990’s period of rhetorical extravagance ended when a 15-year-old boy hanged himself in Don Dale.
Mr Goldflam told the commission he feared another youth death in custody could occur if this attitude persists.
"This background of inflammatory rhetoric in my view was extremely dangerous, was extremely damaging, and it infuriates me we haven't learned from the same events that took place in the 1990s with catastrophic consequences."
Mr Goldflam also explained the justice system could not be separated from the protection system, and pointed to the case of teenage detainee Dylan Voller who was first imprisioned when he was 11-years-old, just one year after being placed into government care.
“When he was in care and living in a residential home, he was living with older children who introduced him to criminal activity. And certainly that’s not an isolated phenomenon,” Mr Goldflam said. ...
Twitter account run by Ms. Dhu's family suspended days before inquest results [Mashable - 13/12/16]:
... A Twitter spokesperson told Mashable it worked with "safety partners" in Australia like Project Rockit and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation — advocacy groups for children dealing with violence and bullying. ...
"Justice For Julieka Dhu Twitter Appeal"
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop presents Daw Aung San Suu Kyi with a photograph of their meeting in 1995. 28 November 2013
Manager of Australia's refugee concentration camps gives a speech to the Frank Lowy Institute about human rights [Foreign Minister - 12/12/16]:
...We were the first Western country to advocate for rescinding the human rights resolution condemning Myanmar – an important step, as that country began its transformation.
So we take a practical approach. We have also provided practical support on human rights challenges to Myanmar as it undertakes momentous political change.
Australia is engaging directly with the Myanmar Government in relation to our concerns about the security situation in northern Rakhine State, the obstacles to humanitarian access and the reports of alleged human rights abuses.
As well as providing generous levels of humanitarian support, Australia is working with the Myanmar Government to build a long-term solution to the complex situation, including through funding for education, income diversification and skills development. ...
Why was the IOM involved in this aid operation to Myanmar during the 2015 flood?
What is a "family kit"? What are "emergency reproductive health services"? Oughtn't the focus during a natural disaster be clean water, food, emergency shelter and general medical care FOR EVERYONE, rather than urgent migration and birth control?[Australian Embassy in Myanmar - 10/8/15]:
Australia supports the Myanmar humanitarian relief response to the floods.
On 10 August, a Royal Australian Air Force C12 Globemaster delivered $1 million worth of family kits to Myanmar, for distribution by World Vision and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The Australian Embassy would like to thank all who helped out with the effort, including representatives of the Government of Myanmar and Yangon International Airport staff.
Several women raped and elderly men severely beaten in Zee Pin Chaung [Rohingya Blogger - 13/12/16]
The Rohingya genocide has begun in earnest [Newsweek - 13/12/16]:
... We are still at the stage where the ultra-nationalist elements within Myanmar are mostly trying to intimidate the Rohingya to flee the country.
Yet even when some of the Rohingya succeed, they often face being sent back, as per the official stance of Bangladesh, the closest neighbor to Arakhan/Rakhine state, where most of the Rohingya refugees go first.
But amid the increasingly hostile attitude toward the refugee flow in almost all the neighboring destination countries, the simple fact is that most of those still within Myanmar simply cannot leave or they would have done so a long time ago.
It is only a matter of time before the aggressors move to the next logical step. ...
Myanmar’s Rohingya genocide is aided by friends in high places [Mint Press News - 28/1/16]
No journalism. No opposition. Australia's political prisoners are still imprisoned, and now the media is blaming them for not believing the "US deal" LIE ---> Canberra Times ramps ups its anti-refugee torture, exile and turnback propaganda [14/12/16]
Your fears are not credible: A mother and child trapped in Obama's brutal family deportation system [The Intercept - 14/12/16]
Haitian migrants at the US border [AZ Central - 12/12/16]
Guantanamo Board approves release of another Yemeni 'forever prisoner' [Military.com – 12/12/16]
Before they raise one more cent the UNHCR should be held to account for their role in the suicides on Nauru, and their lack of advocacy for the rights of refugees in our region.
Note no Rohingya or Tamil boat refugees feature in the UNHCR's latest, glossy PR stunt.
Those who advocate turning back refugee boats have no credibility on human rights. Go to hell Tim Costello!
Turkey to receive 80,000 refugees from Aleppo — deputy prime minister [TASS – 14/12/16]
Russian archeologists plan to produce some time in 2017 a virtual tour of the antique compound of monuments in Palmyra before destruction of the latter by units of the Islamic State terrorists in 2015, Dr. Natalya Solovyova, the Deputy Director of the St Petersburg-based Institute for the History of Material Culture told reporters on Tuesday. ... [TASS - 14/12/16]
Syrian Army repels second ISIS assault on key airport near Palmyra [AMN - 14/12/16]
Assad on Aleppo to RT: ‘West is telling Russia we went too far in defeating terrorists [14/12/16]
‘Quietest night in months’: RT at Aleppo battlefront as Syrian government forces regain control [14/12/16]
The Syrian-Sarin ‘false flag’ lesson [Antiwar.com - 13/12/16]
The United States supports Sunni Muslim fighters operating under the auspices of Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq, President Barack Obama’s special envoy for the anti-Islamic State coalition, Brett McGurk, said Tuesday. ... [Sputnik News - 14/12/16]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [13/12/16]:
Ta'meem: Two sons of Qutan mayor were killed as a militant attack targeted them in Dibis district northwest of Kirkuk.
Nineveh: News agencies: The Islamic state announced controlling on Tal Aska' Village west of Tala'far in the west of Mosul.
Nineveh: Press sources:The US Exxon Mobil Company agreeing with Kudistan Region started working in Al-Qush Oil Field in Nineveh today without informing the provincial council and the central government.
Dublin backpackers share experience from front line of northern Iraq [Dublin Live - 13/12/16]
NO. Not in my name you horrible little fascist. STICK YOUR CHRISTMAS TURKEY UP YOUR ARSE! ---> ... Mr Shorten said Australians should be proud of the work being done by the Australian Defence Force in the Middle East.
"As we all prepare to spend time with loved ones over the Christmas break, it is also important we acknowledge the families of our defence personnel who will sit down to lunch with a seat left empty. They give as much to our nation as their loved ones in uniform," Mr Shorten said. [Nine MSN - 13/12/16]
One hundred thousand people have been displaced from their homes since the start offensive to evict ISIS from Mosul on Oct. 17, Iraq’s migration minister said. ... [RUDAW - 13/12/16]
London-based monitoring group Airwars has issued a new report on the US and coalition airstrikes against ISIS, faulting the US for its lack of transparency in the strikes, and in particularly the “opaque, ad hoc, and significantly biased” handling of reports of civilian casualties. ... [Antiwar.com - 12/12/16]
14 December 2016