Whose interests are Australian politicians, media, professional organisations, NGOs and human rights groups serving by their ongoing silence?
... Australia’s refugee policy doesn’t just affect refugees. The public has much to fear from politicians who are ready to countenance the barbarism to other human beings we have been witnessing. ...
Nick Riemer [The Guardian - 19/1/15]
The key witness in the Reza Barati murder trial has renewed calls to be transferred to a different compound saying he is being stalked by guards and fears he will be killed at the Manus Island detention centre.
Benham Satah’s repeated requests to be moved to a safer compound in the centre have been rejected, but now, a public petition to bring him to Australia has attracted more than 15,000 signatures.
Calls to PNG Immigration about Satah’s case have not been returned. Guardian Australia has submitted questions to detention centre manager Broadspectrum. The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has declined to comment.
Satah, a Kurdish Iranian asylum seeker who has been held in the Manus Island detention centre for more than two years, told Guardian Australia he was most fearful at night: “Every single moment I think that someone might kill me.”
In October he was taken to court against his will, where he initially refused to testify, citing threats he would be killed. Taken a second time, and after being promised by Justice Nicholas Kirriwom and Manus Island detention centre operators he would be offered additional protection, Satah gave evidence against two local men accused of killing Reza Barati.
Barati, an Iranian asylum seeker, was beaten to death during a night of violence on 17 February 2014. He was hit with a nail-studded piece of wood and had a large rock dropped on his head.
More than 60 asylum seekers were injured in three days of rioting in the centre [violent attacks on the centre over two nights,] including one man who was shot in the buttocks, one who lost an eye and one who had his throat slit. [Calling the brutal attack in February 2014 a "riot" is a deliberate lie.]
Satah saw Barati die and provided a statement to police – matched by his evidence in court – saying he had seen more than a dozen people, including PNG nationals and expatriate guards, attack Barati as he lay prone at the top of a staircase.
Since being forced to testify publicly in court, Satah says he has been targeted by guards, and fears he will be killed for giving evidence in the trial of his friend’s alleged killers.
He says he suffers from “excruciating” chest pain, and his left arm and leg have been weakened, so he has trouble walking. He says doctors have told him it is caused by stress.
“I can never leave my room, it is not safe,” Sateh said. “I only go out for meals and to bathroom. At night time I can go to the mess because there is a [security] camera there.”
After being returned from court, Satah was returned to the SAA compound within the Manus Island detention centre, used for housing people suffering mental health issues, and where he was quarantined from local guards.
But after two weeks, Satah says, eight local guards came into the compound, “including one man who was involved in killing Reza Barati”.
“It was not an accident, they came to intimidate me, to show they can get to me wherever I am.”
Satah has since been moved to Foxtrot compound, but formal requests to be returned to Mike compound, where Satah says he feels safest, were rejected in December.
“After careful consideration and extensive discussion ... your request to move compounds has been denied,” his first rejection read, without further explanation.
He says guards sit at the back of his accommodation block, watching him throughout the day.
“When I walk somewhere they humiliate me and say this is the consequences of your actions, you should not have testified,” he said.
“At night, I cannot sleep in here. Every single moment I think that someone might kill me. Every time I hear someone pass, I hear footsteps, I am alert, I think someone is coming to do something to me.”
In Australia, supporters and friends of Satah have begun a petition through change.org calling for him to be moved to Australia.
“Since [Satah’s] testimony he has been subject to death threats from the Manus Island guards. Additionally, every day guards spend several hours each morning watching him through the window of his room in an attempt to intimidate him. He has genuine fears for his safety and, in spite of promises from the PNG court, is not being protected,” the petition says.
“We ask that Benham Satah be brought immediately to Australia and settled in the community. We believe that justice can only exist where witnesses are protected and that Behnam cannot be protected in PNG.”
The petition has attracted more than 13,000 signatures. It is Australian government policy that no asylum seeker who comes to Australia by boat will ever be settled in Australia, though almost half of the people who arrived on the same boat as Satah are currently living in Australia.
Submission 67 Nauru Senate Inquiry:
... We were expected to "manufacture" Individual Management Plans as this was what the Department of Immigration wanted.
After the murder of Reza Barati, we were told to lie to our clients and tell them it was a "riot" to deter them from protesting. ...
This was a brutal attack, not a “riot” [Refugee Action Collective – Manus Island Fact Sheet - 2/3/14]
Guardian Australia helps fascist, anti refugee ALP rehabilitate its PR problem
Image: @prehumax [29/6/15]
There are a number of legal challenges to Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island underway in PNG
Belden Namah application re constitutional challenge to Australia's refugee death camp on Manus adjourned again [PNG Loop - 15/1/16]:
An application filed by Vanimo Green MP Belden Namah will return to the National Court for hearing on Monday after it was adjourned today (Jan 15).
The application was filed on Dec 17, 2015 seeking interlocutory injunction orders as well as the referral of certain constitutional questions to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
The motion was moved in court on Dec 29, 2015 however acting Judge Danjo Koeget could not hear the application as it was served to the respondents the day before the matter came to court.
It also seeks a stay of the Leadership Tribunal inquiry against Namah from proceeding after the 2016 legal year commences in February.
Namah’s application is related to the process in which the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia appointed the tribunal when he was involved in one of the allegations the leader is facing.
This was the incident in 2011 where the leader allegedly stormed into a court sitting presided over by the Chief Justice.
Members of the Leadership Tribunal as well as the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia are the respondents.
Meanwhile, Namah’s Leadership Tribunal sitting was adjourned from November 25, 2015 to February 9.
Above is a file picture of Namah and his lawyers from Young and Williams Lawyers.
Greg Sheppard became the Managing Partner of Maladinas Lawyers in 1994, and continued in that role after the merger of Maladinas with Young & Williams Lawyers in 2004. He was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia in 1990. He is also admitted to the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Queensland. He was admitted to practice in Papua New Guinea in 1990. ... [Young & Williams Lawyers]
... Greg Sheppard is the father of three members of the popular Brisbane band Sheppard, and owns the business behind it.
He was until recently a director of Wilson Protective Services, a subsidiary of Wilson Security, which is the company that runs the Australian detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
His resume also says he’s a former Queensland Crown Prosecutor and his website says he was awarded an OBE and the Companion of the Star of Melanesia for his distinguished service to PNG.
He’s lived and worked in PNG for more than 25 years. ... [SBS - 23/6/15]
Steering corrupt cash into Australia from PNG: a how-to guide [The Age - 23/6/15]
... Namah on Aug 1, 2013 began the proceedings challenging the constitutionality of arrangements made between the PNG and Australian governments on the transfer of asylum seekers from Australia to Manus for processing.
Namah argues that the arrangements between the governments were unconstitutional as they have resulted in asylum seekers being detained for long periods at the facility on Manus.
He argues that the asylum seekers have been detained without authority of a court contrary to their rights under Section 42 of the PNG Constitution. .
Ben Lomai explains PNG challenge to detention on Manus [VIDEO - Refugee Action Coalition Sydney - 1/12/15]
Almost a third of the asylum seekers at the Australian-run immigration centre on Manus Island are challenging their detention, after 277 of them were added to an ongoing case in Papua New Guinea.
The case will argue the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island has breached at least 8 parts of PNG's constitution, including the right to liberty, freedom of movement, information about detention and access to a lawyer. Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia approved a move to join 277 new applicants to the original 25 asylum seekers who started the case.
"I will be travelling to Manus [Island] and will spend 21 days to collate the 277 signed affidavits for filing by the first week of August," Ben Lomai, the lawyer representing the asylum seekers, said.
The legal action began when 25 asylum seekers were jailed without charge during unrest in January and were able to make contact with a lawyer while in a provincial prison.
The case has been filed against PNG's chief migration officer, immigration minister and the state. Australia's role in the case remains unclear.
"We are aware of the case being run by Mr Lomai in PNG on behalf of a number of detainees in Manus ... [but] the Commonwealth has not been served documents in relation to this case," a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said.
However, Mr Lomai said he has served documents on the Commonwealth of Australia via diplomatic channels that were suggested by the Australian High Commission.
"If the court finds in favour of the applicants there are serious implications for the Commonwealth of Australia, because I will be asking for [the asylum seekers] to be released to the first port of entry, which is Australia," he said.
The case is one of numerous legal challenges to the Australian-funded processing of asylum seekers on PNG's remote Manus Island. Former PNG opposition leader Belden Namah launched a Supreme Court challenge last year, which has since become bogged down in the court system. Australia has funded PNG's legal challenge against Mr Namah's case.
The only way to end a bipartisan policy of cruelty is through NON partisan opposition to it
Nauru refugee children comments [VIDEO - OPC Voice - 15/1/16]
Imaginary Save The Children response to the Doogan Review
We welcome the findings of the Department of Immigration's investigation into circumstances surrounding the removal of our staff on Nauru.
We regret having involved Save the Children in the sadistic enterprise of stopping people from seeking asylum in the first place.
It was a mistake which has helped legitimise Australia's ongoing incarceration and torture of some of the world's most vulnerable people.
We call on the Australian government to immediately release refugees and asylum seekers being held on Nauru, PNG and Christmas Island.
We also renounce previous statements regarding support for towing back refugee boats.
Australia must once again adhere to the spirit of the UN Refugee Convention.
... Christmas Island shire president Gordon Thomson said locals spotted the fishing boat early on Friday morning about 100 to 200 metres from Smith Point, the entry to the island's harbour.
By the time he arrived to join onlookers at Smith Point before 7am, the boat was being towed by an Australian navy patrol boat and was about 3 to 5km out to sea.
"I saw the navy patrol boat towing the Indonesian fishing boat out to sea away from Christmas Island," he told AAP.
"It's a wicked thing to do."
Save the Children Australia [13/1/16]:
Imagine this. You're a young child and you've been traveling for more than 20 days non-stop. You and your parents are exhausted. The crowded trains and hours of waiting are mind numbing. But it is nothing compared to the treacherous route by which your family has already escaped and the horror of the war that has destroyed your home. On the boat, the waves are huge, you're freezing and terrified of drowning. As you approach the shore, you see debris, bodies, belongings strewn... everywhere. Back home, you had a decent house, went to school, your father had a job, you played with your friends and family. Then the war started and your world was turned upside down. Now, you have a backpack with a few belongings and your family have been separated - you don't know where they are or if they are alive. ...
All aboard the bipartisan ship [Overland - 11/8/15]:
... Welcome to Australia director Brad Chilcott has publicly supported a policy of turn-backs in breach of the principle of non-refoulement.
In advance of the ALP conference, which he attended as a delegate for the increasingly inappropriately named left faction of the party, Chilcott called for the ALP to ‘neutralise’ a divisive debate by ‘closing the ocean route to Australia’.
This, from the leader of an organisation that takes its motto from the national anthem: ‘For those who’ve come across the seas.’
Writing in The Australian, Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds makes a more reluctant argument for the same conclusion: that organisations supporting refugees should embrace the opportunity for bipartisan consensus by abandoning active support for the principle of non-refoulement:
Although we may not like turnbacks, it is clear the policy is here to stay. Now we and other advocates for the rights of asylum-seekers must look beyond this aspect of the policy and concentrate our efforts on implementing a genuine regional framework, which we have long called for.
As NGOs have taken on major government contracts for refugee and asylum-seeker services, such as the $19m contract Save the Children currently holds with the detention facilities on Nauru, these organisations have become structurally invested in maintaining government control over asylum seekers.
But liberal humanitarians are more deeply invested in government control over asylum seekers than can be explained by any direct financial benefit.
They may disagree with right-wing conservatives on how many refugees should be accepted, or the details of how those who are turned away should be treated, but they share the premise stated by John Howard during the Tampa crisis: ‘We will decide who comes here and the manner in which they come.’ ...
Friday news dump ---> Report finds fascist Australian government terrified of refugee protests in Nauru concentration camp [Guardian - 15/1/16]
Australian politician subject to racial profiling at LAX, her "new and improved" party - and other stooge politicians - say nothing [Guardian - 15/1/16]
A Melbourne Airport security guard has been fired and at least three other workers have been suspended after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was purposefully selected for a random security check before she boarded a flight, contrary to random security measures. ... [Nine MSN - 18/12/15]
Austria says to turn away migrants aiming to pass through Germany [Reuters - 15/1/16]
Rob Lawrie: Ex-soldier who smuggled Afghan girl out of Calais refugee camp spared jail [Independent - 15/1/16]
Some 5,500 refugees and migrants crossed into Norway from Russia by bike last year, sidestepping border agreements that make it illegal either to cross the border on foot or to give someone without papers a lift.
Now all of those refugees, primarily Syrians, who came via the Storskog border station -- just two hours drive from the Arctic City of Murmansk in Russia's far north -- will be sent back to Russia.
That journey, too, will be made on two wheels.
The National Police Directorate Norway ( Politidirektoratet) has asked police districts to reclaim and refurbish the bicycles that were abandoned at Storskog. ... [The Local - 13/1/16]
@moas_eu [15/1/16]: ... Last night #MOAS conducted a rescue for 26 people shipwrecked off #Agathonisi. Among them 6 children. Sadly, 3 were recovered dead.
@moas_eu [15/1/16]: Leith (2 yrs) & his sister Laura (4 yrs) - rescued from an overturned boat. They are the lucky ones. ...
Aún no había amanecido en Lesbos cuando una embarcación con más de 150 refugiados a bordo llegaba a la costa, una de esas que las mafias llaman "yate". Atravesar el Egeo en un barco así en plena noche es arriesgar mucho. Cuando atrás solo queda destrucción, jugarse la vida no es un obstáculo. [VIDEO - Proactiva Open Arms - 15/1/16]
@welcomelesbos [15/1/16]: Hoy ya han llegado 7 botes, muchos refugiados afganos. @PROACTIVA_SERV instruye y ayuda para que todo salga bien
Fifteen Yemeni civilians killed in Saudi-led air strike — residents [The Jordan Times - 14/1/16]
The United Nations has documented cases of Burundi's security forces gang-raping women during searches of opposition supporters' houses and heard witness testimony of mass graves, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said Friday.
Violence has worsened in Burundi since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term - a move opponents say was illegal - and won a disputed election in July.
At least 439 people have been killed and 200,000 have fled. ... [Daily Star - 15/1/16]
Afghan Air Force to receive 4 light attack aircraft from US today [Khaama - 15/1/16]
Taliban-Daesh clashes leave eight militants killed in Nangarhar [Khaama - 15/1/16]
Gunmen attack the residence of Afghan consulate official in Peshawar [Khaama - 15/1/16]
Four children were killed as a result of a mortar shell explosion in the eastern province of Kunar, an official said on Friday.
The mortar shell exploded on Thursday evening when the children who found it, were playing on the shell in the Shangar area of Asmar district, the provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Abdul Habib Syedkhel told Pajhwok Afghan News.
The eight years old to 14 years old three brothers and a cousin were killed in the detonation, he said. [Pajhwok - 15/1/16]
US drone strike kills 11 in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan [The Express Tribune -15/1/16]
Australia’s Intervention (Against What, Exactly?), Review of Rosie Scott and Anita Heiss (eds.), 2015, The Intervention, ‘concerned Australians’, Julie Wark [Counterpunch - 15/1/16]:
... There’s so much to be said about the Intervention and the Australia’s officially sanctioned racism. In their arrogant ignorance, governments (Liberal and Labour) probably thought they could get away with a frightening military-style attack on remote communities, deliberately evoking the terrible times not so long ago when the Stolen Generations of children were forcibly removed from their families.
But they don’t understand the first thing about the strength of Indigenous identity. Or about real values, for that matter.
As Patrick Dodson, a Yawuru man, reminded the former soldier Mal Brough, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and mastermind of the brutality of the intervention, “Minister, it is not fundamentally about policy. It is about how you value Aboriginal people as human beings” (p. 117). ...
... Over and over again
All these never-ending visions,
Over and over again
Like a prize that's changing hands,
The time has come,
The clock is such a drag,
All you who change your stripes,
Can wrap me in the flag.
The legendary wooden gate,
That first established real-estate,
It's lost to time like other crimes,
That won this pleasant land. …
'Hudson', Vampire Weekend 
Deputy Secretary reaffirms US commitment during visit to Israel [US Department of Defense - 14/1/16]
A Palestinian was shot and killed on Thursday after a stabbing attack at an Israeli military checkpoint north of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, Israel’s army and media said.
An Israeli army spokesperson said that an assailant attacked a military vehicle before stabbing and injuring an officer when the forces exited the vehicle.
Israeli forces then opened fire on the assailant in response, killing him on site, according to Israeli media, which reported that a soldier was “very lightly injured."
The attack took place at a flying checkpoint set up by Israeli forces nearby the Palestinian village of Asira ash-Shamaliya, hometown of the alleged attacker who was identified by locals as Haitham Mahmoud Abd al-Jalil, 31.
Al-Jalil's body was reportedly transferred from Israeli authorities to Palestinian Civil Affairs officials in Nablus shortly after the incident.
Hours before, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian near the Beit Einun junction northeast of Hebron after an alleged stab attempt.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a Palestinian attempted to stab Israeli soldiers stationed near the junction, who responded by opening fire on the alleged assailant.
Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli military forces prevented Palestinian Red Crescent medics from accessing the shot Palestinian for medical treatment.
The man was identified as Muayyad Awni Jabbarin, 20, by his father, who arrived to the scene following his death. ... [Maan - 14/1/16]
Hunger-striking journalist refuses vitamins as protest enters 51st day [Maan - 14/1/16]
The UN was warned that its database of potential aid recipients in Gaza could provide Israel with targets for future attacks, a document obtained by The Electronic Intifada reveals.
Diplomats and UN officials were also warned that plans for rebuilding Gaza after it was attacked by Israel in 2014 violated international law.
The UN-backed Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) is illegal and violates the very “right to life” of the Palestinian people, according to a confidential legal opinion by a law professor who analyzed the mechanism for a major aid agency that works closely with the UN.
The Electronic Intifada is publishing the full text of the GRM for the first time, along with the legal opinion. Both documents are below. ... [Electronic Intifada - 13/1/16]
Major oil pipeline hit by blast south of Libya's Ras Lanuf, National Oil Corporation says [Reuters - 14/1/16]
... Emails reveal that Secretary Clinton was explicitly told that Libyan rebel forces were carrying out racially based massacres of black Africans.
During one documented atrocity, the rebels forced 30,000 residents of Tawergha, who were descendants of black slaves, to flee the town.
Those captured were subjected to abuse, including beatings, rape, and torture leading to death, according to a 2011 report from Human Rights Watch.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton led the charge for a war in Libya, based on the claim of a potential massacre in Benghazi.
As for the ethnic cleansing and massacres that occurred when NATO and the US empowered Libyan rebels to overthrow Gaddafi, she categorically denied the accusations. [Sputnik News - 15/1/16]
Fighters from Somali militant group al Shabaab rammed a suicide car bomb into the gates of an African Union base in Somalia and fought their way inside early on Friday, the group and the Somali army said, and fighting was still going on.
There were no immediate reports about casualties from the attack in Ceel Cado, in the south of the country, about 550 km west of Mogadishu, near the Kenyan border. ... [Pulse.ng - 15/1/16]
Airstrikes against the Islamic State group have cost U.S. taxpayers a whopping US$5.5 billion, around US$11.2 million per day, a US$2 million increase since June, according to the latest Defense Department data.
The latest figures also revealed an escalation of airstrikes on the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
In November and December alone, the U.S. Air Force dropped more than 3,100 bombs on alleged Islamic State group targets. ... [teleSUR - 13/1/16]
Terror attacks continue across Syria and Iraq
US Department of Defense [14/1/16]:
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
Bomber and remotely piloted aircraft conducted three strikes in Syria:
-- Near Manbij, a strike destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Mar’a, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Hit, two strikes struck two ISIL bomb-making facilities.
-- Near Kisik, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL vehicle, seven ISIL fighting positions, four ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL-used culvert and disabled an ISIL front end loader and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 14 ISIL fighting positions, destroyed two ISIL recoilless rifles, 12 ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL sniper positions and an ISIL tactical vehicle.
-- Near Sinjar, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL assembly area.
-- Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL weapons cache and five ISIL assembly areas.
-- Near Beiji, one strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL weapons caches.
-- Near Habbaniyah, one strike destroyed three ISIL fuel tankers and an ISIL command-and-control node.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [14/1/16]:
Baghdad: A roadside bomb has exploded near a traditional market in Taji district north of Baghdad resulted in two deaths and 5 injuries....
Salah-il-deen: Two vehicle bombs have targeted Gasiba hill east of Tikrit resulted in 7 deaths of the government forces elements including policeman colonel and 4 injuries including chief of Alam nahiya police.................................
Baghdad: A militant attack has targted a home in Al-Nasr Was Salam nahiya in abu Ghreib district west of Baghdad resulted in 5 deaths including 4 women from the same family ....
Anbar: Artillery shelling has targeted Fallujah neighbourhoods....
Elite Iraqi Counter-Terror Service (CTS) forces are still bogged down in street-fighting to clear the city of Ramadi, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told a Pentagon teleconference. ... [Sputnik News - 15/1/16]
Turkey destroys PKK camps in northern Iraq airstrikes [Anadolu Agency - 13/1/16]
A car bomb blast near a police building in a Kurdish-majority province in southeastern Turkey has killed six people and injured at least 39 others, officials said.
The bomb attack, blamed by officials on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), caused heavy damage to outer walls of the police headquarters in the town of Cinar in the province of Diyarbakir, Al Jazeera's Kadir Konuksever, reporting from Diyarbakir, said.
The fighters followed up the bombing with rocket attacks and gunfire, he said, adding that adjacent housing for families of police officers and a private house with civilians inside were also hit.
Three police relatives and three civilians, including two children, who were in the house near the blast, were killed in the incident, he said. ... [Al Jazeera - 14/1/16]
Turkish prosecutors to investigate academics over Erdoğan petition [Guardian - 15/1/16]
Bangladesh police shoot dead two suspected militants [Naharnet – 14/1/16]
Prominent China human rights lawyer arrested for political subversion [Jurist - 14/1/16]
... in Argentina, renowned radio host Víctor Hugo Morales has been ousted from his long-running morning program on Radio Continental amid a crackdown on press freedom under the new right-wing president, Mauricio Macri.
Executives ordered Morales off the air Monday, saying his contract had been terminated.
Speaking on a colleagues’ program minutes later, Morales said: "This takes place amid a suffocating, terrible situation for democracy and for freedom of expression in Argentina."
Morales’ firing comes amid massive protests against President Macri’s proposed media "reforms", which include repealing a law outlawing monopolies by media companies.
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Buenos Aires Tuesday in opposition to Macri’s reforms and in defense of radio host Morales. [Democracy Now - 14/1/16]
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has revealed negotiations are well underway with key crossbenchers on the government's media reform package, saying he expects them to be introduced into parliament in the first part of the year.
He has also said he wants to ensure the way the laws are introduced protect local content in the wake of an expected flurry of mergers. ... [Australian Financial Review - 13/1/16]
Al Jazeera America terminates all TV and digital operations [The Intercept - 14/1/16]
Ten detainees transferred to Oman, leaving fewer than 100 prisoners at Guantánamo [The Intercept - 15/1/16]:
... Recent reports have suggested that the Pentagon has intentionally stymied progress on Guantánamo (something Pentagon officials deny). Advocates see that foot-dragging at work behind the slow-moving review boards as well.
The Obama administration also still has to present a plan to Congress for how it intends to actually close the prison and deal with any remaining detainees who cannot be transferred to other countries.
“Time is running out, and Obama has made Gitmo central to his legacy,” said Hafetz. [law professor at Seton Hall University who represents Mohamedou Slahi, a prisoner since 2002]
“And while Congress is to blame for much of the current situation, Obama will bear considerable responsibility as well. There’s a disconnect with what the president eloquently says in speeches and what actually goes on, on the ground, in the world of Guantánamo.”
As early as tomorrow, January 15th, 2016, the Supreme Court is expected to decide whether or not it will hear the deferred action injunction case.
It’s an important step in the battle to see the relief the President announced in November, 2014 for undocumented parents of US citizens and some of the childhood arrivals who were over the age of 32 when DACA was announced.
But the Supreme Court is not the only place for action on immigration. President Obama has options for immediate steps he can take to reduce the suffering caused by current immigration policy and to take a more humane approach. But this year, he’s so far done the opposite. ... [#NOT1MORE - 14/1/16]
UN calls for urgent regional coordination to aid refugees fleeing Central American violence [Media Release - 14/1/16]:
... UNHCR has issued two reports showing that people fleeing violence in the three Central American countries who reached the U.S. border have bona fide needs for international protection.
While it is the prerogative of States to manage the security of their borders, the return of persons deemed not to be in need of international protection should take place only after their claims have been considered through due process, the agency stressed.
Moreover, any such returns must be carried out in a manner that is orderly, safe and respectful of the dignity of the individuals and families concerned.
In particular, returns of unaccompanied or separated children must be based on a determination of what is in the best interests of the child.
The Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday condemned a Cairo court's sentencing of three journalists and one press freedom advocate to three years in prison each on charges of "publishing false news" and belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood group. ... [StarAfrica.com - 13/1/16]
Boochani remembers that during that time of ‘so many rules and torture’ that a guard pointed to him and said to another guard: ‘He is in here because he is a journalist’.
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [15/1/16]:
"Manus hell prison....Living constantly under the petrifying sledge hammer, having a destroyed past and imagining a dark future give a person a sense of being crushed… This sense ruins him, and gets whatever he has. The heavy feeling of being innocent also should be added to the rest of those painful feeling.
The other point is these people who have been subjected to such mental pressure here, they probably had experienced torture in their own countries and had felt death in the nearest possible way in the ocean. When a criminal is alone, he usually confesses in the deepest recesses of his mind and heart to the crime he committed before. He would accept that he deserves to be imprisoned.
However, when it comes to a refugee who has not committed any crime or sin, it is very suffering to imagine himself to be punished. It is impossible for him to admit that he is a prisoner and he has to be in prison for indefinite time.
There is certainly a meaningful and important difference between a guilty prisoner and an innocent prisoner. This difference is a clear evidence of the mental torture. The level of pressure for a guilty prisoner who is convicted in an unfair court is also totally different with an innocent detainees like Manus prisoners. In the first scenario, at least the case is taken to the court; but for us, no trial has been held.
This is the most critical point in understanding the nature of torture here on Manus. If you talk with any of the asylum seekers, the first thing they will ask is why and for what reason they are kept in prison..
These questions cause a great deal of agony in the soul and mind of every human being.
For me for instance, if a court was held and I was convicted to illegal entry to Australia, I would have the better mental condition, and I would have felt more calmer."
- Behrouz Bouchani, Kurdish journalist and human rights defender interned on #Manus island
Is there any nation on earth that doesn't have one of their political dissidents caged in Australia's gulag archipelago? [Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites - 20/10/15]:
Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites, Reporters Without Borders, Humanitarian Research Partners Inc, PEN Sydney, and PEN Melbourne have come together to support and build on the PEN International campaign focusing on the incarceration in Australia’s Pacific Black Site - the detention camp on Manus Island - of Kurdish journalist, writer and human rights defender, Behrouz Boochani.
Over many years it has become evident that those who report human rights abuses, negotiate rights within the camps on behalf of other’s detained there, speak to Australian and international media, or write and communicate with people outside of the camps, are harassed, threatened, labelled as trouble makers, put under intense surveillance and for some, beaten, raped and imprisoned.
Mark Isaacs points to the targeting of writers: ‘the Nauruan police took Dev away from the camp in handcuffs they said to him, ‘Goodbye Mr Journalist’, an implication that this was revenge for him having contact with Australian media’. (Mark Isaacs, 2014).
Boochani also recalls something similar. After being released from the East Lorengau Prison where he and many others were taken and held without charge in February this year, he was returned to the detention camp and held in the area known as Charlie - an area used for ‘behaviour modification’.
Boochani remembers that during that time of ‘so many rules and torture’ that a guard pointed to him and said to another guard: ‘He is in here because he is a journalist’.
My Boochani continues to write articles, stories and poetry. He continues to sing the words and sounds of his Kurdish lands. He continues too to mourn the genocide he attempts to halt.
‘I have cried many times for beautiful words’, he says to me. ‘Many times I have cried for beautiful words’
Write of Asylum calls for an end to the persecution of writers, journalists and human rights defenders.
We call on journalists, writers, academics and human rights defenders in Australia to join with us and build a movement demanding freedom for all those interred in our Pacific Black Sites.
Becoming MEG45, Behrouz Boochani [Mascara Literary Review - 20/10/15]
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT (AND OPPOSITION) HAVE SUBJECTED THIS WOMAN TO - IN ORDER TO STOP REFUGEES COMING TO AUSTRALIA - IS BEYOND HORRIFIC.
IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO SAY "DUTTON MUST GO".
CLOSE THE CAMPS.
BRING THE REFUGEES TO AUSTRALIA.
BEGIN A ROYAL COMMISSION INTO OPERATION SOVEREIGN BORDERS.
Dutton doesn't believe he has to "comment" because the torture of refugees is bipartisan, and the Greens have abandoned the issue ----> @7NewsQueensland [VIDEO - 15/1/16]: 7 News can reveal a pregnant refugee who was raped in Nauru had to fight to keep her baby. ...
DUTTON LIED. AND NOT ONE AUSTRALIAN POLITICIAN, HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATION OR PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION HAS SAID ANYTHING. ----> 1/2 I can confirm that the offices of T.Plibersek/P. Wong/R. Marles/S Hanson-Young & the PM have all been contacted abt the #Abyan FOI docs
2/2 I am also waiting on comments allegedly made by Minister Dutton's spokesperson in relation to #Abyan to be emailed to me. #auspol "tweeted" by @KellieTranter [5/1/16]
How we were misled about Abyan’s case [Kellie Tranter - 30/12/15]
The highly litigious adventures of Biff Bootface Free Speech Champion! Today's Episode: The mysterious case of the "rape refugee" on Guano Island [Guardian - 27/10/15]
Protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister cannot confirm if protected and unaccountable anti refugee propagandist - and former Turnbull staffer - was assisted with Nauru visa [ABC - 29/10/15]
Nauru Senate Inquiry - Supplementary Submission [Mr Jon Nicholls No. 95.1]:
... Despite what one may find on the internet, at no time has Mr Nichols suggested waterboarding etc was part of some organised intelligence gathering for whomever - he says it occurred in a modern day 'Lord of of the Flies' - 'Stanford Experiment' type situation - the guilty parties did it for mere enjoyment and human nature is what it is.
There is no protection on Nauru from this behaviour because there is no Rule of Law, just arbitrary, crude and evil behaviour. ...
... Mr Burke said Australia would not resile from sending unaccompanied children to detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, and said asylum seekers would be sent to Nauru soon. ...
[Sydney Morning Herald - 15/8/13]
Minister Tony Burke listens to asylum seekers during his tour of facilities in Nauru. [Department of Immigration - 26/7/13]
Tweeted by @SandiHLogan - National Communications Manager, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Canberra [19/7/13]
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.
[noun] Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view ...
A new lawsuit against the social website platform Twitter alleges that the online service “knowingly permitted” terrorists to operate as many as 70,000 accounts to raise money and attract recruits.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, the location of Twitter headquarters.
In it, the family of Lloyd “Carl” Fields Jr., a defense contractor who was killed in Jordan last year while training security forces, claims that the “company has knowingly allowed terrorist groups such as ISIS to use its social network to spread extremist propaganda,” KNTV-TV reported.
The family alleges that Twitter is partly to blame for Fields’ death because it allows the terrorist organization to spread extremist propaganda through Twitter accounts. ... [The Blaze - 14/1/16]
Videos of Chicago police shooting of Cedrick Chatman released [Chicago Tribune – 14/1/16]:
... After court, Brian Coffman, who represents Chatman's family, said the family was suspicious of the timing of the city's about-face. He said Green's unusual "speech" in court showed how the city was "really trying to control the message."
"The city of Chicago has had not only the last month and a half they've had over the last 21/2 years to be transparent in this case," Coffman said.
Coffman noted Emanuel's attorneys had continued to argue strenuously against the video's release in a court filing just a few weeks ago.
"The mayor's only play at this point is to concede," said Coffman, citing mounting pressure from activists and community leaders, some of whom threatened to boycott Emanuel's annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast Friday if he refused to release the video.
ACT's domestic violence crisis service experiences holiday jump in demand [Canberra Times - 14/1/16]
The homicide squad is now involved in the search for a missing woman in northern Victoria, after her burnt-out car was found at Myrtleford, police say. ... [ABC - 15/1/16]
Child abuse survivor wins compensation after speaking out against Catholic Church [ABC - 15/1/16]
15 January 2016