Bombs continue raining down upon Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [14/2/16]:
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.
Strikes in Syria
Fighter aircraft conducted two strikes in Syria:
-- Near Hawl, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tunnel.
-- Near Hasakah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted [today’s number] strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL improvised explosive device cache and six ISIL rocket rails.
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Kisik, a strike destroyed two ISIL rocket positions.
-- Near Mosul, 12 strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, an ISIL headquarters, two ISIL financial storage centers and two ISIL financial distribution centers, destroying 12 ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle-borne IED.
-- Near Ramadi, six strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL staging areas, three ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL assembly areas.
-- Near Sinjar, a strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Fallujah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.
@LotteLeicht1 [14/2/16]: In #Berlin @aiww turns life vests into memorial for #refugees who drowned & a wake-up call to our common humanity.
@PROACTIVA_SERV [14/2/16]: Seguimos atentos al horizonte, vigilantes siempre. Cruzar el Egeo es demasiado peligroso. #safepassage
@guardiacostiera [13/2/16]: #Grecia, Comandante Generale incontra equipaggi #GuardiaCostiera italiana impegnati in soccorso #migranti
@Marodriguez1971 [13/2/16]: #SanValentin refugiado #Lesbos
‘We know what it means to be a refugee,’ say Lesvos grandmothers [Ekathimerini - 11/2/16]
Police and 'militias' attacking refugees at Calais, says charity [Guardian - 13/2/16]
The mass influx of refugees and other migrants into Europe spells a "near existential threat" to Europe, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.
"The United States understands the near existential nature of this threat to the politics and fabric of life in Europe," he told the Munich Security Conference.
"We are not saying 'this is your problem, not ours'," he added.
"This is our problem... And that is why we are joining now and enforcing a NATO mission to close off a key access route and we will join you in other ways to stem this tide." [NDTV - 13/2/16]
Immigrants arrested in US raids say were misled on right to counsel [Reuters - 12/2/16]
CLOSE THE CAMPS.
... And I am SICK of writing letters to cold men who do not listen...
Solidarity with Lady Cilento staff rally - poem by Jonathan Sri
Kate heard tooting from the river and came up to Lady Cilento hospital to join us. ...
Image: @mandymcn [14/2/16]
@bird_hf [14/2/16]: ... hundreds gather in show of solidarity with doctors in Brisbane refusing to d/c baby Asha to detention.
@CiaronOReilly [14/2/16]: ... Solidarity with doctors at Lady Cilento Hospital Brisbane resisting govt shanghaing baby Asha to Nauru
@NatashaSquarey [14/2/16]: The "Baby Asha" protest enters third day at #Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital ...
Doctors don't have to listen to you Lawrence Springborg - they're just doing their job.
In response to his tweet of support for Lady Cilento health professionals, we asked the Vice President of the AMA Stephen Parnis if the AMA had an official statement.
He directed us to this revised 2011 position statement [23/12/15]:
... 17. Doctors have a duty to speak out when health care services or the environment within an immigration detention centre is inadequate or poses a threat to health.
18. Prolonged, indeterminate detention of asylum seekers in immigration detention centres violates basic human rights and contributes adversely to their health. The longer a person is in detention, the higher their risk of mental illness. Detention in immigration detention centres should be used only as a last resort, and for the shortest practicable time. Solutions to prolonged, indeterminate detention must be sought as a matter of urgency.
19. In order that asylum seekers do not spend a prolonged, indeterminate period of time in detention, the Government must set in law an absolute maximum duration that an asylum seeker can spend in detention. After such time, the asylum seeker should be allowed to live in the community while their visa application continues to be assessed.
Australia's bipartisan, fascist refugee policy gets an editorial in The Lancet [13/2/16]
ALP Fuckwits ought to FIX THEIR OWN PARTY and stop hijacking #LetThemStay
The ALP's red,
The LNP's blue.
Let's not forget,
Who re-opened Nauru.
@MarkDiStef [8/2/16]: There was not a single Labor MP who spoke out against the deporting of 267 asylum seekers in federal caucus meeting today.
@emmaiyloy [14/2/16]: Here's the #alpconf16 #LetThemStay (conference called it that) motion.:
Moved: Monica Wheeler
Seconded: Matt Thistlethwhaite
Conference notes that following the recent decision by the High Court, a group of 267 asylum seekers who were brought to Australia from Nauru face the prospect of being forcibly returned to detention on Nauru.
Conference acknowledges that of this group, there are infants who were born in Australia. To send them to Nauru is to eject them from their country of birth.
Numerous humanitarian organisations and medical professionals have explained that sending them back to Nauru would subject them to a life of physical and emotional trauma.
A sense of compassion is in the best interests of these families and our status as a fair and decent nation. We have obligation to care for these asylum seekers and to provide them a safe, secure and welcoming environment.
NSW Labor congratulates Labor Leaders Luke Foley, Premiers Dan Andrews, Annastascia Palaszczuk and Jay Weatherill for offering to take responsibility for these asylum seekers and allow them to stay in their respective states.
NSW Labor calls on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to work with our State leaders to show compassion and offer care and certainty to these families. <---- What right does the ALP have to call on the Leader of the opposing party to change an ALP policy, when they won't even demand their own party changes it?
The Age [4/5/15]:
... "I have no disagreement with some of the reports, which are shocking, about the way people are being treated at Manus and being treated at Nauru," he [Shorten] said.
"But I cannot also lie to myself, and I will not live in an intellectually dishonest world where I say that if we have policies which drag people here to hop on unsafe boats and drown at sea, well I'm not going to be party to that either." [Torture is the policy. The ALP support torture.]
"How do I ask people to fish people out of the sea, and not be prepared to deal with the policy consequences of it?"
Labor immigration spokesman Richard Marles is leading the formulation of the party platform at present, in concert with Labor MPs including Gai Brodtmann, Matt Thistlethwaite, Lisa Singh and Lisa Chesters.
One Right faction MP, who asked not to be named, said there was "no way we can dismantle the policies that have stopped the boats" and vowed to resist any push from the Left to wind back sections of the party's platform at national conference, such as the provision which was inserted in 2011 that allows turn-backs. ...
ALP and LNP vote against Greens Senate motion to save Rohingya [Senate Hansard - 24/6/15]:
Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (15:39): I move:
That the Senate—
(a) expresses concern at the disturbing reports aired on the Four Corners television program on 22 June 2015;
(i) that only 412 Rohingyans have been resettled in Australia through Australia's humanitarian program since 2008, and
(ii) the Government's recent refusal to provide assistance or resettlement for Rohingyans currently in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and stranded at sea off these three countries; and
(c) urges the Government to:
(i) contribute to the search and rescue mission for thousands of migrants, including Rohingyans, currently stranded at sea,
(ii) resettle some of the Rohingyan migrants rescued by Indonesia and Malaysia, and
(iii) resettle an increased number of Rohingyans in the 2015 humanitarian program, increasing the number of the program if necessary.
The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion be agreed to.
The Senate divided [15:39]
(The President—Senator Parry)
Ayes ...................... 13
Noes ...................... 33
Majority ................. 20
Di Natale, R
Siewert, R (teller)
McEwen, A (teller)
Australians are fed up with their protests and activism being disciplined, monopolised and derailed by ALP blowins and interlopers whose only goal appears to be maintaining the status quo - if not making things worse.
@brynnobrien [14/2/16]: Brisbane! Both Sunrise and Today are coming down here to do live TV crosses at 6am tomorrow. Come down before work to say #LetThemStay
@GetUp [14/2/16]: TOMORROW: 7 News are doing a live cross outside Brisbane's Lady Cilento Hospital. Get down there at 6AM to show your support. #LetThemStay
Australia's pro-fossil fuel, anti-environment "opposition" leader shows appreciation to anti-Abbott theatre group at Brisbane G20.
yes, @mackaysuzie - there ARE photos of @billshortenmp lending solidarity to the climate angels. #G20 ...
Sydney Morning Herald [15/11/14]:
... The angelic Climate Guardians travelled from Melbourne to take part in the protest, their white clad members and expansive wings designed for maximum visual impact.
Spokeswoman Liz Conor said the groups formed a year ago to highlight the desperate need for climate change action.
"We formed the Climate Angels out of desperation because we felt the government was not taking sufficient action for the climate crisis and our children were being led into a volatile future," she said.
"My girls, who are teenagers, will be 40 when the shit hits the fan basically.
"It's urgent, we need action, and if they are not going to listen to science, maybe they will listen to the angels."
Those "angels" flanked Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters as she addressed the crowd.
"Across the river, we've got the leaders of the world's biggest nations and they're talking about business as usual, of course," she said.
"They're talking about a 2 per cent growth target, like that is the most important thing to be talking about.
"They're talking about growth on a finite planet, which, frankly, is the definition of madness.
"Out here, it's a really hot day, isn't it? Lucky climate change is crap or we'd all be in a spot of bother." ... <---- When Senator Waters was being interviewed by Channel 7 journalist Max Futcher, they were interrupted by a young, first nations protestor who made it clear Waters "doesn't speak for us".
Brisbane vigil continues.
CLOSE THE CAMPS.
Let Asha stay. Solar Citizens in solidarity for refugee justice at Lady Cilento Hospital. ...
Image: @davidahood43 [13/2/16]
Nine MSN [14/2/16]:
Protesters have spent a second night outside a Brisbane hospital supporting doctors who are refusing to discharge a baby to prevent her from being sent back to immigration detention in Nauru.
The 12-month-old girl, known as Baby Asha, was brought to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital after suffering burns when boiling water was accidentally spilled on her while she was on Nauru.
She has since recovered but medical staff at Lady Cilento say they will keep her at the hospital until "a suitable home environment is identified".
Some of the hundreds of people that rallied in front of the hospital on Saturday remained overnight, while a second rally is expected to be held about midday on Sunday.
@ellen_roberts [14/2/16]: Morning! Sun rises on 20 people maintaining a peaceful presence at #ladycilento ...
Doctors don't need your "support" Cameron Dick - they're just doing their job.
Your party's refugee policy is fascist.
... It is not that we should not fight for the 267 people whose lives are held in the balance of racist rushes to the bottom.
But we should be alive to just what is being said implicitly when a state premier takes young asylum seekers to the zoo while continuing de facto to uphold mandatory, indefinite detention for other asylum seekers just like them as a principle of ‘sovereignty’. ... This is what race does, Alana Lentin [8/2/16]
ABC continues deliberately obscuring the fact that since October 2014 Australia has refused to accept refugees [ABC - 14/2/16]
Canberra Times [3/2/15]:
Federal Coalition MP Luke Simpkins illegally crossed the Thai border into Myanmar to attend a military parade and "revolution day" ceremony with rebel fighters.
The former Australian army officer, who has spoken out often about human rights abuses in the country, also known as Burma, presented a large Australian flag to Karen soldiers who have been fighting the Myanmar army.
He spent a night at a base of the Karen National Defence Organisation, which has several thousand fighters, before re-entering Thailand near the border town of Mae Sot, 491 kilometres north of Bangkok.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment on Mr Simpkins' crossing of the border.
Australian Federal Police are investigating the whereabouts of Northern Territory Labor Party chief Matthew Gardiner, also a former Australian army officer, who has reportedly joined Kurdish guerrillas in Syria fighting against the so-called Islamic State.
Report examines status of Rohingyas (and also includes analysis of the regional impact of Australia's anti refugee policies) [The Hindu - 11/2/16]:
The Rohingya refugee crisis has become a “regional issue involving countries of South and Southeast Asia,” a recent report on the community said, putting the number of Rohingyas living in India at 40,000-50,000.
The report, ‘Rohingyas: The Emergence of a Stateless Community,’ prepared by Calcutta Research Group, an independent research organisation, says that the number of families settled in different Indian States is 10,565.
... That Australia does not allow refugees and asylum seekers to come to their shore, instead detaining them at offshore facilities and thereby weakening the international regime of refugee rights and the fundamental tenet of non-refoulement and directly affecting the boat people, particularly Rohingyas taking to the seas, in the region. ...
Spin and secrecy surrounds Australia's bipartisan anti refugee policies [The Age - 13/2/16]:
... The usually unchallenged assumption underpinning this argument is that this is the only way to stop asylum seeker deaths at sea; to make life at the end of the journey so appalling that no-one will try to escape by sea. It is a policy which many are now arguing has suffering as an underpinning principle. That's the nature of deterrence.
But, as our politicians must know, this policy is not the only way to prevent drownings. There is, of course, another option; one that has in large measure been successfully tried before. A policy very similar to this operated to help resettle refugees from South-east Asia in the 1960s and '70s.
It is an option that would prevent people being locked up indefinitely in detention; save lives lost at sea; allow Australia to meet its international human rights obligations and cost less than the extraordinary $400,000 per year per single asylum seeker on Manus Island or Nauru.
This alternative policy proposes that there should be no mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Instead, that working with the UNHCR, Australia should help with speedy processing in transit countries so that successful applicants for refugee status can be flown to Australia for resettlement.
The government and opposition-supported secrecy has given the government the controlling hand in the release of information about asylum seekers. The blatant spin put on the information released has made it even harder for journalists and others to glean just what is happening to asylum seekers on our watch.
It is only when people such as doctors are prepared to risk jail by speaking out as they have done recently or when events such as the recent High Court challenge has put faces rather than epithets to some asylum seekers that a fuller picture can emerge.
It be rather ironic if they didn't livestream and/or record this "public forum" for the benefit of all Australians ---> Spin & Secrecy: Refugees and the Media:
Presenter: Dr Michelle Dunne Breen
Location: Manning Clarke Lecture Theatre, ANU
Time: 6.30pm [16 February 2016]
This free public forum aims to shed light on how the culture of spin and secrecy surrounding Australia's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers has impacted on the ability of journalists to provide accurate and impartial information.
The forum is organised by the Refugee Action Committee and is co-hosted by The News & Media Research Centre. ...
Sydney Morning Herald [14/3/12]:
The Immigration Department developed its new, highly restrictive policy on media visits to detention centres with reference to US military arrangements governing media access to the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention centre.
Documents released under freedom of information show the ''deed of agreement'' that Immigration insists journalists and media organisations visiting detention centres must sign was ''informed by … the current US Department of Defence media access policy for its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay''.
The department also justified extremely tight media control and censorship to the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, as ''the right balance'' in circumstances that included ''the current climate associated with media ethics, media 'phone hacking' [in Britain]''.
Asylum seeker filmed weeping tells her story [Guardian - 13/1/14]
Asylum seeker advocates have condemned the Australian government for releasing pictures of a group of Iranians apparently distraught at being told they will never be allowed to settle in Australia under new immigration rules.
The photographs and videos – which are blurred to preserve individuals' identities – show some of the 81 Iranian people whose boat was intercepted by Australian customs north of Christmas Island on Saturday morning, the minister for home affairs, Jason Clare, told Guardian Australia.
They include a photograph of a woman crying, with head in hands, captioned: "A female asylum seeker comes to terms with the fact she won't be settled in Australia."
Immigration minister Tony Burke said he made "no apologies" for the photographs on Monday evening, adding he was "determined to get the message out as quickly and as forcefully as possible that anyone who comes by boat now without a visa will not be settled in Australia.
"Getting this message out is critical to stopping people from drowning at sea and I make no apology for maximising that opportunity to get the message out," he said.
Pamela Curr, campaigns co-ordinator for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, was disgusted by the news release.
"It seems that the government and the [immigration] department are reading that the Australian people want them to act in a cruel and abusive way towards asylum seekers, and that they'll be greeted with acclaim for doing so," she told Guardian Australia.
After undergoing health checks at Christmas Island, the 81 passengers will now be transferred to Papua New Guinea under the new regional agreement announced by Kevin Rudd on Friday afternoon. They were apparently told of the new arrangement at Christmas Island's North West Point immigration detention centre.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship told Guardian Australia the department routinely put up photographs of asylum seeker arrivals, and the decision to release these pictures was not because they were the first group to be processed under the new government policy. The department confirmed the captions were accurate.
The news release was headlined: "81 Iranians get the new message: you will not settle in Australia."
In an accompanying video, DIAC's acting regional manager, Steven Karras, said the message given to the asylum seekers that they would never be settled in Australia under the new arrangement was "quite clear" and had "probably sunk in a bit". "I think in fact over the coming days … they will start to contemplate very seriously whether in fact returning home is a better option," he said.
DIAC confirmed under the new arrangement no assessments have been made of the asylum seekers' claims, so it is not known what situation they would be returning to.
Tony Burke said on Monday said under the new rules failed asylum seekers will face the choice of staying in indefinite detention in PNG or travelling back to a country where they have right of residence.
The new arrangement, signed by Rudd and PNG prime minister Peter O'Neill, stipulates that no asylum seekers who arrive by boat will have a chance of being settled in Australia. Instead they will be processed on Manus Island, and if found to be refugees, settled in PNG.
Tweeted by @SandiHLogan - National Communications Manager, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Canberra [19/7/13]
A Serco guard at a Melbourne immigration centre has been sacked following allegations he made inappropriate sexual advances towards a female detainee and sexually harassed female guards while on duty.
The male guard was initially stood down in mid-December after a female Iranian detainee made allegations he had ushered her into an office, encouraged her to sit on his lap and then kissed her on the cheek at the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) centre in Melbourne's north.
On a separate occasion the guard is alleged to have sat on the woman's bed and rubbed her thigh.
The woman detailed the alleged harassment in a statement to Victoria Police. ... [ABC - 12/2/16]
14 February 2016