Breaking-23 yr old Iranian girl out on day release frm #Nauru camp found by roadside naked & assaulted-taken to police station given blanket
"tweeted" by @pamelacurr - Refugee Rights Detention Rights Advocate Asylum Seeker Resource Centre [16/5/15]
Beyond Orwellian ---> Cambodia takes its place in US genocide museum [Phnom Penh Post -16/5/15]
Washington Post [7/5/15]:
The official American institution memorializing the Holocaust sounded the alarm this week on the threat of a genocide facing the beleaguered Rohingya of Burma, one of the world's most neglected communities. A report published by the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, a wing of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, charted the persecution, violence and systematic discrimination endured by this Muslim minority, and warned that it was a "population at grave risk for additional mass atrocities and even genocide." ...
... She added: 'Because I was there, I speak for those who can't. The great evil that pervaded so many minds in a civilized country destroyed more than fifty members of my family.
'It is a lesson for all time: will later generations stand up for the rights of others, or remain the silent majority? My hope is for a unified protest against all evil, which diminishes not only the victim, but humanity as a whole.'
Susan Pollock [Daily Mail - 14/5/15]
Australia should be a regional leader.
Stand up to Uncle Sam. Rescue and give sanctuary to the Rohingya refugees.
Are we not a signatory to the UN refugee convention?
Hundreds of migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar have been rescued from a boat that was sinking off the Indonesian coast.
Reports suggests another boat was turned away from Indonesia by the navy.
Indonesia's Vice-President Jusuf Kalla spoke to the BBC's Peter Dobbie.
He defended his country's handling of migrants stranded at sea, and said that they did not want to go to Indonesia, but wanted to travel to countries such as Australia or Malaysia.
Imagine if the Australian media cared as much for humans in similar conditions? [The Age - 24/9/03]:
... "It's a terrible ordeal for the animals at the best of times. They have a nightmare voyage, and then they get treated brutally after they land, as if they were just sacks of wheat rather than living, feeling animals. Every year or two, there is another major scandal . . . The federal minister says that he will implement reforms, but then . . . the same thing, or something worse, happens again." ...
The Cormo Express disaster — 10 years later [Ban Live Export - October 2013]:
... How the Cormo crisis unfolded
•August 5, 2003: The MV Cormo Express departs Fremantle with almost 58,000 sheep on board.
•August 20: Importing country, Saudi Arabia, rejects the shipment of sheep on alleged disease grounds (scabby mouth) and refuses to unload them. The live trade to Saudi Arabia is suspended in light of the rejection.
•Late August: The Australian government purchases the sheep from the Saudi Arabian importer and scrambles to find a country to accept the sheep — to no avail.
•October 6: A mechanical breakdown and fire occur on the ship while it is restocking fodder in Kuwait, causing further delay.
•October 24: After more than 30 countries declined to import the sheep, they are finally unloaded (some 79 days after leaving Australia) in a hastily renovated feedlot in Eritrea, along with a payment of $1 million in aid from our government and 3,000 tonnes of feed. By this point, nearly 6,000 sheep have died onboard.
•November 1: The Australian government orders a review into live animal export (conducted by Dr John Keniry).
'We're not statistics': murdered woman's sister urges action on domestic violence
Canberra Times [16/5/15]:
When Erin Regan heard reports a 29-year-old woman had gone up in flames inside her Queanbeyan home she instinctively knew it was her sister.
"That's Leanne," she said to her father. "You've got to phone Leanne."
Leanne Regan's husband doused her in petrol as she watched television and set her alight in their lounge room on October 1, 1992.
Her screams could be heard in the background of his call to triple zero.
She suffered horrific burns to 90 per cent of her body and died in hospital nine days later.
Ms Regan was 11 when the actions of one man took her big sister away, but she has carried the shock, pain and trauma of that loss ever since.
Her parents and brother were also propelled into survival mode as they navigated the fog of grief and months of difficult court proceedings.
A jury found her sister's husband guilty of murder and he was jailed for 18 years in 1995.
More than 20 years after the killing, Ms Regan's done with hiding her family's past and has chosen to speak publicly for the first time.
She wants Canberrans to know domestic violence is real, it happens to all kinds of families, and meaningful action is needed to halt it now.
"The more that we're aware of what's going on behind closed doors, it might help one person," she said.
"You see numbers and it doesn't really drive in.
"You see people and you see names and you see families, and that's where the impact is. We're real.
Her sister's murder caused Ms Regan to shut down and she admits she "went off the rails".
As a teenager she dabbled in drugs to dull the pain, ran away from home and was herself in a violent relationship for a few years.
Thoughts of the gruesome way her sister died haunted her. Her family's reality, she said, was most people's worst nightmare.
She experienced bouts of depression and still suffers post-traumatic stress disorder.
Now 33, Ms Regan, who has three sons, is studying social work and wants to help people who battle mental illness and domestic abuse.
She has called on the ACT government to bolster funds to frontline support services, particularly specialised programs for children and families shattered by domestic homicide.
"At the end of the day we just want to be treated normally. Our reality is that something horrible has happened to us. But that doesn't change who we are in many ways. The stigma is really, really horrible.
"We need to start telling people our stories. We're not statistics. That was my sister, just like Tara Costigan was someone's mother, someone's daughter.
"These people had a life, they had friends, they had family. By brushing it under the carpet and not talking about it, they are forgotten."
A reporter is the subject of 25 investigations for allegedly insulting the president in his tweets.
Were the journalist to be found guilty over each of his Twitter messages, he would be facing a combined prison sentence of up to 130 years.
Kamil Maman, one of the many journalists facing one or more investigations on charges of insulting the president, is probably the journalist for whom the most investigations were launched for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. ... [Todays Zaman - 15/5/15]
UAE Releases Sisters Held over Tweets
Three sisters detained for the past three months in the United Arab Emirates after campaigning on Twitter on behalf of their jailed brother were released on Friday, Amnesty International said.
Asma Khalifa al-Suwaidi, Mariam Khalifa al-Suwaidi and Alyaziyah Khalifa al-Suwaidi "were reunited with their family today after spending three months in secret detention", the rights watchdog said.
The sisters were detained "after posting comments on Twitter on behalf of their brother, a prisoner of conscience in the Gulf state," it said, and subjected to "enforced disappearance".
Amnesty quoted human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor as saying that the sisters had been dropped off at the family home at midday.
"They had not been heard from since they were summoned for questioning at an Abu Dhabi police station on February 15 and then taken into the custody of the UAE's state security apparatus," it said.
"It is not yet known what pressure the al-Suwaidi sisters were under while in detention, if they were charged with any offense, or if their release carries any conditions," said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
He said it was not clear "what pressure" the Suwaidi sisters endured while in detention, or if they were charged.
"What is clear, however, is that these three women should never have been detained in the first place," Boumedouha said.
Amnesty said prisoners held by the UAE's state security service are "extremely vulnerable and are at particularly high risk of torture or other ill-treatment".
The sisters had "peacefully" campaigned on Twitter for the release of their brother who was among 69 Islamists jailed by Abu Dhabi's state security court for between seven and 15 years on charges of having formed a "secret organization" to seize power and for contacts with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Amnesty said UAE authorities were "showing utter disregard for free speech and for those activists who peacefully stand up for their rights and those of their loved ones".
"The treatment of these women is starkly at odds with the progressive image that the authorities seek to project abroad regarding women's rights."
A US federal appeals court has ordered the immediate release of three anti-nuclear activists, including an elderly Catholic nun, the group's lawyer says.
Attorney Bill Quigley says he hopes they will be released within days.
Last week, sabotage convictions against Sister Megan Rice, 85, Michael Walli, 66, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 59, for breaking into a Tennessee nuclear facility in 2012 were overturned.
But it upheld guilty verdicts for damaging government property. ... [BBC - 16/5/15]
Where is the EVIDENCE this kid is a terrorist?
Nine MSN [16/5/15]:
The government is proposing a new anti-terrorism law which would see hate preachers deported amid reports a Queensland teenager has joined an al Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria.
Oliver Bridgeman, 18, is feared to be fighting with al Nusra, which aims to overthrow the Assad regime in favour of a Sunni Islamic state.
Bridgeman's online profiles reveal his apparent double life, with friends and family saying he had seemed a normal, happy teenager.
Even after his conversion to Islam, he denounced extremism on social media as recently as December.
However, the AFP believe the aspiring rugby league player may have been targeted online by extremists and radicalised.
Federal police are working with the Bridgeman family to try to bring the teenager home.
His family yesterday released a statement, pleading for his safe return home.
"We had no indication that he was making plans to travel to the Middle East," he statement from the Bridgeman family read.
"We do not believe he is participating in fighting of any kind, nor do we believe he is supporting or participating in terrorist acts.
"We love our son very much and will continue to contribute to all efforts being undertaken to see our son return home safely."
The government is also proposing a strict new terror law that would see "hate preachers" deported to their country of origin or even another country.
However, existing treaties to which Australia is a party would make it difficult to render anybody complete "stateless" which is essentially what the government is proposing.
Police officer in court over fatal crash
A police officer has faced court charged with causing a crash outside Roma that left a 59-year-old woman dead and 61-year-old man maimed.
Roma police officer Fabio Armando Mazza appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday charged with dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm.
Police allege on May 5, 2014, Constable Mazza, 29, was driving a marked police car on the Warrego Hwy near Wallumbilla, outside Roma.
Two people, a 61-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman, were on a motorcycle behind him.
Police allege Const Mazza attempted to perform a u-turn to intercept a speeding car heading in the other direction.
When he allegedly attempted the manoeuvre the bike hit his car.
The woman passenger on the bike was killed at the scene and the man riding it had to be airlifted to Princess Alexandra Hospital with serious injuries.
The bike is not alleged to have been speeding. Const Mazza was not injured in the crash.
Speaking to the media outside the court, Police Union defence lawyer Calvin Grech said Mazza was yet to see the police brief of evidence and did not indicate how he intended to plead.
Police did not oppose Const Mazza's application for bail.
He will return to court on July 20 in Brisbane.
After he was charged earlier this year, Const Mazza was stood down from official duty on the Roma Road Policing Unit.
If found guilty, Const Mazza faces up to 10 years jail.
The Police Ethical Standard Command and Forensic Crash Unit investigated the crash.
Queensland prison guards stood down over incident
Six guards have been suspended and police are investigating following allegations of mistreatment of a male prisoner at a Queensland jail.
Queensland Corrective Services on Friday stood down the six prison officers after being made aware of an incident that allegedly occurred at the high-security Wolston Correctional Centre, in the western outskirts of Brisbane, last month.
"The matter has been referred to the Queensland Police Service for investigation," the QCS said in a statement.
"QCS takes any alleged breach of its officer code of conduct most seriously."
A Baltimore police officer who could be seen in a surveillance video beating an unarmed black suspect during an arrest last year pleaded guilty to assault on Friday and was sentenced to six months in jail, the Baltimore Sun newspaper reported. ... [Reuters - 16/5/15]
Hit and run traffic crash, Miami
QPS Media [16/5/15]:
A three vehicle crash at Miami late last night saw one driver flee the scene and two teenagers hospitalised with serious injuries.
Gold Coast police are investigating the crash which occurred when a white sedan and silver sedan collided at the intersection of the Gold Coast Highway and Pacific Avenue around 11.50pm.
The white sedan came to a stop and the driver fled the scene on foot.
The silver sedan collided with a traffic light and a fence before coming to rest. Due to extensive damage to the vehicle the two teenage occupants were forced to climb out of the windows of the car.
A 19-year-old Upper Coomera woman, a passenger in the car, was standing nearby when she was struck by another white car travelling along the highway a short time later.
Both teens, the 19-year-old Upper Coomera woman, and the driver of the silver sedan, an 18-year-old Paradise Point woman, were transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
Police will alleged that a 24-year-old Surfers Paradise man, the driver of the third vehicle (second white sedan), returned a positive roadside breath specimen and was charged with driving under the influence of liquor with an alleged blood alcohol concentration of 0.161 per cent. He is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on May 28.
Investigations by Gold Coast police to identify and locate the driver of the first white sedan continue.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Armed robbery, Redbank Plains [QPS Media – 16/5/16]
Robbery, Goodna [QPS Media- 15/5/15]
Police officer stood down in Central Region
QPS Media [166/5/15]:
A Senior Constable from the Central Region has been stood down from official duty with the Queensland Police Service.
The officer, a 36-year-old man, is the subject of an investigation relating to serious discipline matters and criminal offences.
In keeping with our commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, we have an undertaking to inform the public when an officer faces disciplinary processes involving stand down or suspension.
This does not mean that any allegation against the officer has been substantiated.
Boy, 12, caught with cannabis at Gold Coast school
The Age [15/5/15]:
A senior Gold Coast police officer is "extremely concerned" that a child had access to cannabis and was caught with the drugs at a school.
Nerang police seized drug utensils and a small amount of cannabis from the 12-year-old boy who was referred to drug diversion.
"The child was eligible for drug diversion, which police believed to have been the most appropriate resolution strategy in this particular instance which gives eligible offenders the opportunity to take part in a Drug Diversion Assessment Program with an approved Queensland Health service provider," police said in a statement issued late Friday.
Senior Sergeant Peter Gordon said it was extremely concerning that the young boy has access to these items.
Police inquiries were ongoing and additional support had been offered to the child's father for him and his son.
Four people treated for smoke inhalation following Surfers Paradise balcony blaze
Fire crews have been called to a Surfers Paradise apartment building after a blaze broke out on the balcony.
Crews were called to the Avalon Apartments at Wahroonga Place around 7am to reports of smoke coming from the 8th level.
The building sprinkler system activated straight away and fire fighters extinguished the fire within 15 minutes.
It’s understood the fire destroyed some furniture on the balcony but no structural damage has been reported.
Four people in the unit at the time are being treated on scene for smoke inhalation by Queensland Ambulance.
Two were taken to the Gold Univeristy Hospital and the others to Robina Hospital as a precaution, all were in a stable condition.
Lota home suffers second fire in a month
West Australian [16/5/15]:
Police are investigating the second suspicious house fire in a month at the same Brisbane address.
Firefighters were called to the house in Lota, in Brisbane's east, late on Friday night.
After extinguishing the fire, they discovered minor structural damage to the garage and a front room, but police say no one was injured.
Man killed at metal refinery in north Queensland
A man has been killed in a workplace accident at a metal refinery in north Queensland.
Emergency services were called to the Sun Metals refinery in Zinc Avenue, Stuart, just south of Townsville about 8:30am on Saturday.
A 36-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.
It is believed he was crushed by a piece of machinery.
Workplace Health and Safety and the Forensic Crash Unit are investigating.
Sun Metals has been approached for comment.
Contractor dies at Newcrest's Telfer gold mine, second WA mining fatality in one week
A 28-year-old contractor has died at a remote gold mine in Western Australia's north, the second mining fatality in the state this week.
The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) said the incident happened at Newcrest's Telfer mine about 3:30am on Friday.
Newcrest said the man was working in an underground mine when he was fatally injured.
The mine site is located in the Great Sandy Desert, in the Pilbara region.
In a statement, Newcrest offered its condolences and support to the man's family, friends and the Telfer workforce.
The company has temporarily stopped all operations on the site.
Newcrest said an investigation was underway and it would provide assistance to relevant authorities.
DMP mines safety director Andrew Chaplyn said department inspectors travelled to the site today.
A worker was killed at Aditya Birla Minerals' Nifty copper mine on Monday.
The company said the contractor was operating a bogger at the time of the incident.
WA recorded its first 2015 mining fatality in January, when a man was killed at the Woodie Woodie manganese mine.
All three mine sites are in the state's resource-rich Pilbara region.
In wake of deadly shoe factory fire in Manila, UN urges global action to make workplaces safe [UN Media Release – 15/5/15]:
... “We can make workplaces safe by improving working conditions in factories, including carrying out regular inspections to ensure that factories comply with structural, fire and electrical safety; and by ensuring workers' rights, especially freedom of association and collective bargaining,” the statement said. ...
Canberra man who bashed partner until she cried blood loses sentence appeal
Canberra Times [15/5/15]:
David Anthony O'Brien beat his partner so savagely that she cried blood.
He threatened to bury her in the forest, dragged her into their bedroom by her hair, punched her until she lost consciousness, and made her a prisoner in her Canberra home for 24 hours.
On Friday, O'Brien, 52 of Deakin, attempted to convince three judges that a 12 year and 11 month jail sentence was manifestly excessive for his crimes.
But the ACT Court of Appeal dismissed the bid almost immediately, leaving in place a sentence that means O'Brien will remain behind bars until at least December 2020.
O'Brien's attack on his partner began after they returned home from a party in Woden in August 2012.
The pair were sitting in the car in their driveway, when O'Brien turned and punched her in the face.
She got out and O'Brien followed her inside, subjecting her to a "sustained" violent attack that took place while their young son was home.
He physically restrained her for the next 24 hours, despite her pleading for medical assistance.
O'Brien forced her to take prescription sedatives, and she lapsed in and out of consciousness throughout the ordeal.
Eventually, he gave in to her requests for treatment and took her to hospital. The victim was instructed to tell staff she was randomly assaulted in the toilets of the Hellenic Club.
A nurse reported seeing the victim crying blood while at hospital.
The victim told hospital staff about the truth of what had happened, and police were called.
Forensic officers would later find blood splattered on the ceiling of their home.
Police later found out that O'Brien had been accessing his neighbour's storage area without permission.
They searched the area and found a significant amount of cocaine that would have netted up to $325,000 on Canberra's streets.
Justice John Burns described the crimes as "shocking" and found O'Brien had little remorse.
He sentenced him to 12 years and 11 months in June last year, for the assaults, drug trafficking, and for perjury.
O'Brien's barrister James Lawton on Friday argued the sentence was manifestly excessive.
He conceded the individual sentences for the crimes were appropriate, but the totality of the sentence was excessive.
A full bench of the Court of Appeal quickly dismissed the proceedings and will publish their reasons at a later date.
Australia's protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister continues begging Iran to accept the forced return of refugees
Met with the Iranian Ambassador today. Happy to accept his invitation to visit to Tehran to continue discussions on returns. [Peter Dutton MP - 15/5/15]
Jakarta Globe [16/5/15]:
Indonesia will prevent boats carrying migrants from entering its maritime territory to avert a flood of others following behind causing “social issues,” the military chief said on Friday.
General Moeldoko said the military was carrying out patrols at its maritime borders and would provide humanitarian assistance if boats with migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh were in trouble in Southeast Asian waters.
“We will try to prevent them from entering our territory. Otherwise, it will create social issues,” Moeldoko told reporters after meeting President Joko Widodo in the capital Jakarta. “If we open up access, there will be an exodus here.”
About 1,400 migrants have landed on Indonesia’s western tip of Aceh this week, but thousands more remain stranded at sea with little food or water.
Governments in the region have shied away from
rescuing the migrants despite a UN appeal for countries to keep their ports and
Doorstop interview, Bangkok, Thailand [Foreign Minister of Australia – 9/5/15]:
… JOURNALIST: Tim Shaw, Seven News. Foreign Minister, asking Burma to be more tolerant of the Rohingya and giving them citizenship would solve one of the region’s biggest problems. Is Australia going to seek that solution? They are the most vulnerable in this community and in the region.
JULIE BISHOP: I have visited Myanmar on a number of occasions since becoming Foreign Minister and it's an issue that I have raised at a government level in Myanmar with the relevant Ministers. And the protection of minorities, the support for minorities and ethnic groups is one of the issues that I raise in countries where it is a challenge, so of course it's a matter that Australia will continue to raise. We want to see a prosperous, stable, secure region, and we want all citizens to reach their potential, and Australia is very keen to raise these issues. We don't hector other countries, we don't lecture them, but we talk about our experience, our perspective and seek to work cooperatively with them in areas including human rights and the support for minorities.
16th day of Nauru Facebook shutdown
Why is a tiny island nation facing an internet shutdown? [Access Now – 14/5/15]:
... Because refugees are stateless, they are especially vulnerable to human rights abuses.
This fact, combined with the imposition of a new criminal code and internet restrictions, means that we could have a dangerous powder keg for human rights abuses in Nauru.
Earlier this month, UN and global human rights experts issued an historic declaration that internet kill switches can never be justified under international law. In 2015, we have already seen internet shutdowns in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Togo.
These shutdowns must stop.
We are tracking the situation in Nauru and exploring ways for you to take action.
Pregnant asylum seekers on Nauru have been forced to create makeshift toilets and have decreased their water intake to avoid walking long distances, Save the Children has told a Senate inquiry.
A Senate inquiry is currently underway into allegations of sexual assault and conditions on Nauru. It was launched following the release of a review by former integrity commissioner Philip Moss, which substantiated some allegations of sexual abuse at Australia’s detention centre on the island.
A number of submissions made publicly available detail serious concerns about the care of vulnerable people on the island.
Clean Water $20.00 [Save The Children Australia]
Recent Allegations relating to Conditions and Circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru [Senate Inquiry]
# As a matter of international law, the physical transfer of asylum-seekers from Australia to Nauru does not extinguish Australia’s legal responsibility for the protection of asylum-seekers, refugees or stateless persons affected by the transfer arrangements.
# Each of Australia and Nauru has responsibility to ensure that the treatment of all transferred asylum-seekers, refugees or stateless persons to Nauru is fully compatible with their respective obligations under the 1951 Convention and other applicable international instruments.
# Australia has a duty of care to all asylum-seekers, refugees and stateless persons transferred to Nauru, which requires that appropriate legal and procedural safeguards are in place to ensure that each individual is protected from harm.
# The transfer arrangement, viewed as a whole, raises serious concerns about Australia’s fulfilment of its obligations under international refugee law, human rights law and the terms of the MOU.
Interviews from Quito [VIDEO - teleSUR - 15/5/15]:
In today's program, teleSUR's Gregory Wilpert interviews Norwegian author and investigative journalist Eirik Vold.
The author of a biography of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez that will be available in English in a few months, Vold has been investigating the WikiLeaks cables, particularly as regards destabilization efforts by Washington directed against progressive governments in Latin America, particularly Venezuela and Ecuador.
Vold discusses what he has uncovered in these secret government documents, in the very words of the U.S. diplomats involved. In thousands upon thousands of secret cables, these U.S. government officials honesty and candidly describe their attempts to topple democratically elected governments in the region.
Far from the official rhetoric publicly employed by Washington, these cables show how U.S. diplomats really assessed the situation in Latin America, the role and importance of Hugo Chavez, and the part played by the local mass media and NGOs.
Time to celebrate real heroes, like the one just lost [John Pilger – 15/5/15]:
If you want to meet the best Australians, meet Indigenous men and women who understand this extraordinary country and have fought for the rights of the world's oldest culture.
Theirs is a struggle more selfless, heroic and enduring than any historical adventure non-Indigenous Australians are required incessantly to celebrate.
I know this to be true, because I have been reporting from and filming in Indigenous communities for most of my life. In 1984, I met one of the best Australians, Kwementyaye Randall.
Four Corners' Fishbowl Journalism Does More Damage To Aboriginal People [New Matilda - 12/5/15]
Peru Reopens Case of Mass Sterilization of Indigenous Women [teleSUR – 14/5/15]
United States, “allies” continue bombing Iraq and Syria
Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq between 8 a.m., May 14, and 8 a.m., May 15, local time.
In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 12 airstrikes using attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft. Separately in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted 12 airstrikes approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense using attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
“Daesh targets were again struck near Al Hasakah, Syria,” said Col. Wayne Marotto, CJTF-OIR chief of public affairs. “These strikes continue to take their toll against Daesh terrorists there.”
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
- Near Al Hasakah, six airstrikes struck one large and four small ISIL tactical units, destroying five ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL vehicles.
- Near Aleppo, one airstrike struck multiple fighting positons.
- Near Ar Raqqah, one airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
- Near Kobani, four airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL tank.
- Near Al Asad, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and multiple ISIL structures, destroying two ISIL fighting positions.
- Near Bayji, four airstrikes struck four ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL building and an ISIL structure.
- Near Fallujah, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
- Near Ramadi, one airstrike struck an ISIL headquarters.
- Near Sinjar, one airstrike destroyed three ISIL buildings and three ISIL fighting positions.
- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL heavy machine gun firing position, destroying an ISIL mortar system.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi on Friday about the attacks by Islamic State militants on the city of Ramadi, and pledged the United States would expedite U.S. aid to Iraqi forces.
"This will include delivery of heavy weaponry, including AT-4 shoulder-held rockets to counter vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, additional ammunition, and supplies for Iraqi forces," the White House said in a statement.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [15/5/15]:
Baghdad: Agencies: 6 persons have been either killed or wounded as a roadside bomb has exploded in Ma'amil area in east of Baghdad...
Baghdad: Agencies: 7 persons have been either killed or wounded as a raodside bomb has exploded in Mada'in district in south of Baghdad..................
Baghdad: Forces of division 17 have arrested dozens of civilians for sectarian reasons in Madhahiriya and Khuteima in Rasheed nahiya in south of Baghdad and besiged the areas then closed all roads leading to the two areas...............
Anbar: ISIL has controlled Awasim ,35 Kilo at the high way in Ramadi and seized all weapons and war materials for the government's forces................
Mustafa was jolted awake by the sound of two large explosions.
As the ground shook beneath him, he could hear a young woman screaming in the distance.
Bolting out of his front door, he found several hundred men running through the dark towards an olive farm on the outskirts of the village of Fadhiliya, 10 miles north of Mosul. The farm, home to a family of seven, had been hit by an air strike some time after midnight, the local imam said.
Outside the ruins of the two-storey farm house – now a tangled mess of iron rods and concrete slabs – the men found 16-year-old Lina Laith Hazem in hysterics.
They sifted through the rubble for hours, looking for other survivors amid the surrounding chaos.
They found only one, Shahd Hazem Abdulla, Lina’s 25-year-old aunt.
“We used our bare hands to pull the bodies out,” said Mustafa, a farmer in his late 40s.
By 9am on 4 April, five corpses had been pulled from the wreckage, including a pregnant woman and an eight-year-old child.
All five were members of the same family: Hazem Abdulla Shahin, 69; his wife Nadya Nouri Dawoud, 60; their son Laith Hazem Abdulla, 43; his pregnant bride Hana Ali Abdulla, 43, and their eight-year-old daughter Danya Laith Hazem.
“We wrapped the dead in blankets and buried them the same day,” said Rahim, a relative of the family who helped uncover the bodies.
CIA admits orchestrating Syrian Coup of March 1949 [VIDEO]:
CIA agent Miles Copeland Jr in an interview with the BBC in 1967 admits that the CIA orchestrated and staged the 1949 Syrian Coup against President Shukri al-Kuwatli.
The CIA orchestrated coup against Syria took place on the 29th March ending democratic rule in the country.
The CIA chose Husni al-Za'im, Cheif of Staff of the Army as their man to overthrow President Shukri al-Kuwatli of Syria.
The CIA backed coup destroyed Syria and plunged it into years of political instability and chaos.
This coup was subsequently followed by more coup's that eventually led to a series of events which culminated in the rise of Hafez al-Assad to power in 1971.
Libya: UN mission urges end to abduction of civilians, warns of criminal liability for such acts [Media Release – 15/5/15]
Israeli forces open fire on Nakba Day protests
Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, rubber and live bullets at Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday, wounding at least 21 people, medics and security sources said.
Clashes took place near Ramallah and farther north in Nablus, after a new Israeli cabinet took office and as Palestinians marked 67 years since the Nakba, or "catastrophe," that befell them when Israel was established in 1948.
At a demonstration outside Ofer military prison near the West Bank administrative center of Ramallah, dozens of protesters stoned soldiers who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, an AFP correspondent said.
Medics said seven Palestinians were wounded.
In separate clashes in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, rubber bullets and live fire by soldiers wounded at least 10 Palestinians, security sources and witnesses said.
The Israeli army confirmed the clashes, but denied that live rounds were fired.
More than 1,000 settlers from nearby Jewish settlements were bused into the city to visit Joseph's Tomb early in the day, and soldiers blocked off roads leading to the pilgrimage site, Palestinian witnesses and security sources said.
Palestinians protested, some throwing stones, before clashes with the army erupted.
A spokeswoman for the military said soldiers had "escorted" up to 3,000 Jewish visitors to the tomb since Wednesday evening, and that a crowd of some 200 Palestinians had approached the area throwing stones and burning tires.
Soldiers used "riot dispersal" means, she said.
In Gaza, which is still recovering nine months after last summer's devastating war between Israel and de facto rulers Hamas, Israeli troops on the border fired live rounds at Nakba Day protesters, wounding four, the enclave's interior ministry medical spokesperson said.
Three demonstrators were hit at a demonstration staged by dozens of people near the border fence east of Gaza City, and a fourth was shot at a similar protest near Khan Younis in the south, Ashraf al-Qudra said.
The Israeli army said it had fired at the "lower extremities" of five people who approached the border fence, after warning them not to come any closer.
Under Israel's blockade of the coastal territory, Gaza residents are not allowed within 100 meters (yards) of the border fence on foot, or 300 meters in a vehicle.
Israeli soldiers often fire at Palestinians who come closer.
The protests were significantly smaller than the main demonstration in Gaza City, which was attended by 2,000 people, an AFP correspondent said.
At the rally, a Hamas speaker called for "continuing the resistance against the enemy Israel, until we liberate Palestine."
Israel and Hamas fought a 50-day war in July and August last year that killed about 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.
After Israel's establishment in 1948, more than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number around 5.5 million with their descendants -- were violently expelled from their homes, with the catastrophe marked every May 15.
For the Palestinians, the right to return to homes they fled or were forced out of is a prerequisite for any peace agreement with Israel, but it is a demand that Israel has rejected out of hand.
Israel on Thursday formed a new rightwing government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Palestinian officials have said the new lineup pushes the prospects of peace farther away than ever.
Ban deplores Israel's advancement of settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territories [UN Media Release – 15/5/15]
The Israeli government will pay $3,500 grants to African refugees to encourage them to leave the country, it has said.
The country’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the move was designed to “protect the Jewish and democratic character” of the Middle Eastern state.
The country’s coalition cabinet voted unanimously last weekend to approve the plan, drawn up by the country’s new Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar and supported by Mr Netanyahu.
Other measures approved as part of a £73m package include the establishment of a migrant detention centre in the Negev desert. ... [The Independent - 15/5/15]
Former European leaders call for change in EU policy on Israel [Guardian – 13/5/15]
At least 55 killed in raids on 2 Nigerian villages: residents
Daily Star [15/5/15]:
At least 55 people were killed in two Boko Haram raids this week near Maiduguri, capital of restive northeastern Nigeria Borno state, a vigilante and two residents said on Friday.
"Boko Haram fighters raided Bale and Kayamla villages where they killed at least 55 people and burnt several homes after looting them before proceeding to the outskirts of Maiduguri where they were crushed by troops," a vigilante official, Abacha Zinnari, said.
"They killed 30 people in Kayamla and another 25 in Bale," he said.
A resident of Bale, Husseini Ari, said the village on Thursday buried 25 people killed in the previous day's raid while several others who were injured were taken to hospital.
The land of the free, and the home of the brave ...
... Perez is now the 13th person the Guardian has interviewed since February who has described being taken by police to a warehouse on Chicago’s west side; kept without a record of his whereabouts available to the public; and shackled for hours or even days without access to a lawyer.
Most of them have been poor and black or Hispanic.
Some allege physical abuse; all allege that they were in an inherently coercive environment.
Few were charged with a crime, and police took those who were to actual police stations for booking after detention at Homan.
Police and local media have dismissed their stories, focusing instead on the atmospherics of how secretive the facility is or the rhetoric used to describe it.
The abuse Perez alleges is reminiscent of an earlier era of police torture in Chicago, when Darrell Cannon had a shotgun barrel jammed into his mouth.
Decades after Cannon’s abuse, Chicago established last week a reparations fund for police torture survivors.
Perez is still seeking justice. ...
Democracy Now [15/5/15]:
Earlier this month, the Chicago City Council approved a $5.5 million reparations fund for victims of police torture.
More than 200 people, most of them African-American, were tortured under the reign of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge from 1972 to 1991.
Tactics included electric shocks and suffocation.
The reparations package will provide free city college tuition for victims and relatives, counseling services, a memorial to victims, inclusion of Burge’s actions in the school curriculum, and a formal apology.
We are joined by two guests: Flint Taylor, a founding partner at the People’s Law Office who has represented survivors of police torture for more than 25 years, and Darrell Cannon, a former prisoner who spent more than 20 years behind bars after being tortured into confessing to a crime he didn’t commit.
Prosecutors dismissed Cannon’s case in 2004, and he was released three years later.
He has since focused on the roughly 20 men tortured during the Burge era who remain behind bars. ...
Boston Marathon bomber Tsarnaev sentenced to death for 2013 attack [Reuters – 15/5/15]
US jails ex-Bin Laden aide to life for embassy attacks [Al Jazeera -15/5/15]
West Papuan leader denied entry by US
The group, Free West Papua Campaign, says the United States office of Homeland Security stopped West Papuan independence activist Benny Wenda from boarding a flight from London to Los Angeles.
The group says check-in staff found an alert on Mr Wenda's passport and he was then questioned by a US official at Heathrow airport.
It says Mr Wenda told the official he's a Human Rights campaigner from West Papua who was exiled, and is now campaigning for West Papua.
After making phone calls the US official told Mr Wenda that his US visa had been revoked, but declined to say why. He told Mr Wenda to contact the US embassy.
Benny Wenda was issued a ten year US business visa in October 2014, and has already made one visit to US Congress staff on Capitol Hill in Washington.
He was set to embark on a speaker tour of California and Hawai'i at the invitation of US groups supporting the Free West Papua Campaign.
Mr Wenda says concern is growing from people, politicians and UN officials in the US about the ongoing violence in West Papua.
He says hopes US officials respond to his situation soon so he can join the tour.
The Free West Papua Campaign says it's not the first time Mr Wenda has been prevented from travelling to the US, in 2005 and 2013 he had visa applications refused and then went on to successfully apply for his current ten year business visa.
It says its keen to know why Mr Wenda's legitimate right to free speech in the US has been quashed and is working to try and get his visa reinstated.
@ItalianNavy [15/5/15]: #SAR Nave Espero #MarinaMilitare sbarcherà 617 #migranti a #ReggioCalabria Al link foto e video dei soccorsi di ieri ...
@ItalianNavy [15/5/15]: #SAR Nave Fasan #MarinaMilitare soccorre gommone in difficoltà nello Stretto di #Sicilia recuperando 98 #migranti tra cui 1 disabile-3 donne
@moas_eu [15/5/15]: This was the largest ever rescue by #MOAS: 561 people on an 18 meter wooden boat. #SavingLives #migrationEU
... In the absence of a robust European rescue mission, a group of activists has banded together to launch an effort to prevent mass drownings in the Mediterranean. Known as the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, the group cruises off the Libyan coast in a 40-meter yacht, the Phoenix, equipped with drones and rescue vessels to pick up endangered migrants. On one such recent mission, the group’s photographer documented conditions aboard a vessel carrying mostly Eritreans seeking to make their way north from Libya. These images document the rescue of 561 people packed onto an 18-meter boat. ... [Foreign Policy - 15/5/15]
Crisis at sea in South East Asia, Nicholas Kristof
[Seattle Times - 15/5/15]:
One of the world’s most beautiful regions, the seas of Southeast Asia — home to sparkling white beaches and $7,000-a-night beach villas — is becoming a scene of a mass atrocity.
Thousands of refugees from the persecuted Rohingya minority in Myanmar, fleeing modern concentration camps at home, have fled to sea in boats, and many have drowned.
Fearing a crackdown, smugglers have abandoned some of those boats at sea, and neighboring countries are pushing the boats back to sea when they try to land.
The Obama administration, which has regarded Myanmar as one of its diplomatic successes, is largely unhelpful as this calamity unfolds.
“The Andaman Sea is about to become a floating mass grave, and it’s because of the failure of governments, including our own, to do what is necessary,” says Tom Andrews, a former member of Congress who is president of United to End Genocide.
“Not only is there not a search-and-rescue operation going on right now — with thousands out to sea — but governments are towing these people out from their shores back to open sea, which is tantamount to mass murder.”
One appalling chapter of World War II came when the SS St. Louis left Germany in 1939 full of Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis.
Cuba and the United States barred them from disembarking, and — after passing so close to Miami that passengers could see the lights on shore — the ship returned to Europe, where many died in the Holocaust.
Now refugees fleeing concentration camps are again denied landfall.
“We’re talking about a flotilla of St. Louises, and people are going to die,” Andrews told me.
Rohingyas are a Muslim minority reviled by the majority Buddhist population in Myanmar. The government has confined some 150,000 of them to 21st-century concentration camps: I visited these camps last year and wrote about starving children and camp inmates dying for lack of medical care.
On Wednesday, there were unconfirmed reports of 20 Rohingya-owned shops being burned down in Maungdaw in western Myanmar near the border with Bangladesh.
The United Nations says more than 130,000 Rohingyas have fled by sea since 2012. Many fall prey to human smugglers who torture, rape and starve them in Thai camps until relatives pay ransom.
The discovery of a mass grave this month from one such camp embarrassed Thai authorities into cracking down on human smugglers, leading the crews to abandon the ships, with their human cargo adrift at sea.
Chris Lewa of The Arakan Project, a human rights group, said she has been in cellphone contact with two ships full of refugees, and she suspects there are more farther from land and thus out of cellphone range.
One is drifting without engines or adequate food, and she, as a private citizen, has been frantically trying to organize a search-and-rescue effort to save the passengers — so far, unsuccessfully.
Come on! If a suspected terrorist were on board, intelligence agencies would use that cellphone number to locate that boat. But 350 desperate refugees adrift at sea, and we’re going to shrug and let them drown?
Governments are probably uninterested in rescuing refugees for fear they would then have to take them in. Thailand has long had a policy of sending refugee boats on their way, and Indonesia this week pushed two ships carrying hundreds of Rohingya back to sea. As for Malaysia, “we won’t let any foreign boats come in,” an admiral said.
Europe also has a refugee crisis, but at least European countries are mounting search-and-rescue operations to try to save lives. What Southeast Asian governments are doing is the opposite.
As a first step, President Obama should call the leaders of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, urging them to rescue and shelter refugees. The United States can also use military and intelligence assets to locate drifting refugee ships and assist with search and rescue.
Obama must also make clear Myanmar cannot have a normal relationship with the United States as long as it engages in crimes against humanity.
Just this month, the administration welcomed to the White House a senior official of the Myanmar government, Thura Shwe Mann, who has allied himself with extremist anti-Rohingya positions. In its statement afterward, the White House’s press office even avoided using the word “Rohingya,” apparently so as not to offend Myanmar.
That’s craven, but what’s worse is the way American and Asian officials alike seem determined to avert their eyes from atrocities in one of the world’s most beautiful regions.
“People are dying at sea,” said Matthew Smith of Fortify Rights, a human rights group that has done excellent work monitoring the Rohingya.
“We know that, right now. And it could worsen considerably in the coming weeks.”
South East Asia’s migrant boat crisis is a global responsibility, Kirsten McConnachie - Research Fellow in Refugee Studies at University of Oxford [The Conversation – 16/5/15]:
... Myanmar’s Rohingya fear for their survival. Those who have fled to Bangladesh have fared little better, with little or no access to education and health services and very restricted access to the UN and other international agencies. These conditions have forced migration to other countries: to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia but also to India, Nepal and even Saudi Arabia.
To stop the immediate humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the Andaman Sea and Malacca Strait, and to develop a lasting regional solution, member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) need to step in.
Until now, ASEAN’s policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of a member state has prevented regional discussion of Rohingya statelessness and discrimination.
The current crisis clearly shows that this is not a matter of Myanmar’s internal affairs but is affecting many other countries in the region.
ASEAN members have a stake in resolving this situation and must cooperate in doing so.
A meeting has been arranged in Bangkok for May 29 2015, but those at sea will certainly die if no action is taken before then.
There is an urgent need to stop boat pushbacks and begin emergency rescue of those stranded. ...
"Boat People" in South East Asia: 1979 and 2015 [Huffington Post - 15/5/15]
UN rights chief urges South East Asia States to protect migrants stranded at sea
South East Asia
UN Media Release [15/5/15]:
The United Nations human rights chief today urged governments in Southeast Asia to take swift action to protect the lives of migrants stranded in precarious maritime conditions and warned against the policy of pushing boats back out to sea.
“I am appalled at reports that Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have been pushing boats full of vulnerable migrants back out to sea, which will inevitably lead to many avoidable deaths,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a statement released today.
“The focus should be on saving lives, not further endangering them.”
While Mr. Zeid praised Indonesia for disembarking 582 migrants on 10 May, and Malaysia for disembarking 1,018 the following day, he said the “incomprehensible and inhumane” policy of “pushbacks” was endangering lives. He also spoke against countries’ plans to criminalize vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers who have crossed borders irregularly.
“Governments in South-East Asia need to respond to this crisis from the premise that migrants, regardless of their legal status, how they arrive at borders, or where they come from, are people with rights that must be upheld,” he said. “Criminalizing such vulnerable people, including children, and placing them in detention is not the solution.”
Around 6,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants are believed to remain stranded at sea in precarious conditions in the region and the High Commissioner said the individual circumstances of all migrants and asylum seekers at international borders should be assessed, and appropriate protection provided according to international human rights and refugee law, including ensuring that the principle of non-refoulement is upheld.
He called for further action against traffickers and abusive smugglers and welcomed the announcement that Thailand would host a regional meeting on irregular migration in the Indian Ocean on 29 May. In discussions on comprehensive responses, the regional meeting would seek to address root causes, one of which, he said, was the importance of addressing the serious human rights situation in Rakhine state, in Myanmar.
“Until the Myanmar Government addresses the institutional discrimination against the Rohingya population, including equal access to citizenship, this precarious migration will continue,” he said. “Whether fleeing persecution, discrimination, poverty or other human rights violations, or moving in search of decent work and a life with dignity, all migrants who take to the seas in such perilous circumstances are in need of protection.”
A coherent, human rights-based regional response was urgently needed and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) could play a leadership role in that regard.
Myanmar extended a state of emergency in a conflict wracked northern region near China Friday, with the defense minister arguing that continued military control of the area was necessary to ensure "peaceful relations" across the border.
Fighting between government troops and ethnic Chinese rebel fighters has raged in the Kokang region of Shan state since early February, raising fears over the country's peace process and causing tens of thousands of people to flee, many into China.
Myanmar air strikes have also drifted into Chinese territory, killing several civilians and prompting a rebuke from Beijing which scrambled its fighter jets.
A state of emergency giving the military sweeping powers has been in place in Kokang since February and Myanmar's parliament on Friday approved an extension, following an application from defense minister Lieutenant general Wai Lwin.
He told the legislature that the move was needed to ensure "stability" in the region, particularly as the country prepares for crucial elections later this year as it emerges from decades of military rule. ... [Naharnet - 15/5/15]
China says artillery shells from Myanmar injure 5 people [Daily Star - 15/5/15]
16 May 2015