United States continue bombing everyone
US Department of Defense [17/4/16]:
U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack, ground-attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine strikes in Syria:
-- Near Hawl, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Raqqah, a strike destroyed an ISIL pump jack and an ISIL oil separator.
-- Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Manbij, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Mara, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL tactical vehicle.
Strikes in Iraq
Rocket artillery and ground-attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Fallujah, a strike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL recoilless rifle.
-- Near Haditha, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and a vehicle-borne bomb.
-- Near Hit, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL excavator and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Irbil, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Kisik, a strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Mosul, six strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, four ISIL assembly areas and three ISIL vehicles.
-- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed an ISIL rocket rail.
-- Near Sinjar, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar system.
... The United States is fighting ISIL in all domains, including in the cyber realm and in the battle of ideas, Carter said, and the U.S. government and its allies must innovate to defeat this foe.
The secretary said he expects more and has encouraged Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, the commander of U.S. Central Command, and Army Lt. Gen. Sean McFarland, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, and all other commanders to think outside the box for new ways to speed ISIL’s defeat. ... [US Department of Defense - 16/4/16]
Protesters have taken to the streets in Baghdad to demand a new government, after the Iraqi parliament cancelled its third session in a week to discuss political reforms. ... [Al Jazeera - 17/4/16]
Iraq near collapse; Kurdistan entitled to referendum [RUDAW - 17/4/16]
Syria's ruling al-Baath Party and an allied group have won a majority of the parliament's seats in the recent elections, according to a list of names published by state news agency SANA on Sunday.
All of the candidates who were on the al-Baath party list and that of the National Unity Coalition won, securing 200 out of 250 seats of the parliament. On Saturday evening, Syria's Higher Electoral Committee announced the results of the elections, which were held on April 13. ... [Xinhua - 17/4/16]
Seven civilians were killed in terrorist attacks with gunfire and rocket shells on residential neighborhoods in Aleppo on Saturday. ... [SANA - 17/4/16]
116 migrants rescued from Mediterranean, 3 with bullet wounds [Yahoo – 17/4/16]:
A total of 116 migrants were plucked to safety from the Mediterranean on Saturday, three of whom had week-old bullet wounds, rescuers said.
Rescuers found 20 women and a child amongst the men and teenage boys on board, three of whom "presented with gun wounds dating from around a week ago," humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee said.
The migrants were picked up by the Aquarius, a former North Atlantic fisheries protection ship now used by SOS Mediterranee, following a distress signal alert from the Rome-based Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre.
Two of the injured were said to be teenagers aged 15 and 17.
The Aquarius ship, which has doctors and nurses on board, has picked up some 700 people in distress so far this month as migrants from Syria and elsewhere seek to reach Western Europe and start new lives.
Meanwhile 50 migrants attempted in vain to force their way across the Italian border with France in the early hours of Saturday, a local French official said.
"All the migrants who managed to get past the border crossing, as well as those who travelled along the rail line from Italy , were detained and not allowed into France," an official from France's Alpes-Maritimes region said. ...
In Syria I was a clothing designer I ran away from the war with my injured husband. We survived three bombings. @Hibai_ [17/4/16]
I don't want my son to pass another year without his father. ... @Hibai_ [17/4/16]
@ArisMessinis [16/4/16]: ... A child wants to say something to Pope during his visit at Moria detention center.#Lesbos
@ItalianNavy [16/4/16]: #SAR ultimate operazioni di trasbordo di 401Uomini, 39Donne 24Minori totale 464 #migranti su Nave Orione #MarinaMilitare dirige a #Augusta
@ArisMessinis [VIDEO - 10/4/16]: #ijf16 A few words about the reality of the refugees and migrants.
[VIDEO]: Day 29 of protests by #refugees at the Australian govt's refugee camp on #Nauru. ... via @InsurrectNews [17/4/16]
Australians think they could never be refugees of the empire of chaos?
As part of its role in the ongoing rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, the Defense Department is making new investments in the region and linking its bilateral relationships there to bilateral and trilateral arrangements, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today. ... [US Department of Defense - 15/4/16]
Yesterday was 28th day of protest for freedom by people on #Nauru seeking asylum: four weeks in a row #CloseTheCamps
Image: @rac_sydney [17/4/16]
... “The Rohingyas are sort of trapped in Rakhine nowadays” ... Detained, deported and disappeared: How the flow on impact of Australia's anti-refugee policy fuels genocide [IRIN - 15/4/16]:
... For months, the government prevented UNHCR, and humanitarian groups, from accessing the Belantik detention centre.
By August, when UN staff were finally admitted, many refugees had fallen ill with tuberculosis, said Richard Towle, the UNHCR representative in Malaysia.
“All of that group is still in detention,” Towle told IRIN.
“Some have suffered enormously during their journeys to Malaysia and many of them were in poor shape before they left Rakhine State [in Myanmar]. Now superimpose nearly one year of detention — these detention facilities in Malaysia are a tough place.”
TB infections have prolonged the already slow and complicated process of refugee status determinations, and then resettlement applications. Towle explained that resettlement countries won’t accept a refugee until six months after they complete treatment for the infectious disease. Where can they go?
The United States has promised to resettle an unspecified number of the refugees, while Australia has declined to accept any. [The United States has made token gestures, while at the same time imprisoning and deporting refugees from South-East Asia.]
“Australia is not accepting any Rohingya refugees, full stop,” Towle said.
“The caseload doesn’t fit within current policy criteria for resettlement, so we have to look further afield for resettlement options.” ...
... Anne Richard, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for population, migration and refugees, said resettling all Rohingya refugees in the United States would entice others to leave their homeland.
We are sometimes asked why we send donations, including food, to Nauru. The following pictures taken in Nauru’s Eigugu Supermarket by Australian electrician George Goring in May 2015 illustrate one of the big problems for refugees on Nauru. ... [WE CARE NAURU - 17/4/16]
Airfreight parcel brings joy to kids [WE CARE NAURU - 13/2/16]
Seeking Justice in Nauru [Go Fund Me]:
... To date, two international lawyers prepared to fight for the defendants have been denied visas to enable them to attend court – and that was before they formally applied! This is despite one of the senior barristers having earlier been admitted to the Supreme Court of Nauru.
The defendants have now engaged a team of five Australian barristers, headed by a highly respected Sydney QC in what is developing into an expensive – but highly winnable – legal exercise. Costs at this time are estimated at around $80,000.
Financial support through Crowd Funding is therefore sought from every fair-minded person or organisation who shares the disadvantaged Nauruans’ determination to remedy the gross injustices thrust upon them by a dictatorial government that is determined to suppress and unjustly punish any form of discontent or disagreement with their corrupt practices. ...
You think that your silence on certain topics, perhaps in the face of injustice, or unkindness, or mean-spiritedness, causes others to reserve judgement of you. Far otherwise; your silence utters very loud: you have no oracle to speak, no wisdom to offer, and your fellow men have learned that you cannot help them. Doth not wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice? We would be well to do likewise.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
... A new two-year initiative, to be launched by the state government, will now enable community legal centres Refugee Legal and Justice Connect to assist thousands of asylum seekers living in Victoria prepare visa applications and express their claims in writing.
Funded by Victoria Legal Aid, it will also bankroll specialist immigration lawyers and a co-ordinator to finalise pro-bono or low-cost legal assistance.
Cases that involve court proceedings will be referred to Legal Aid migration lawyers. ...
... In the early hours of the morning of 27 October 2015, an Iranian asylum seeker, Reza Alizadeh, hanged himself in a public stairwell at Brisbane airport.
He had lived on a succession of bridging visas since 2013.
In the same month an Afghan, Khodayar Amini, set himself on fire while on a video call with two refugee advocates.
He said he feared being detained again.
In June, Raza, another Afghan, jumped in front of a Perth train.
He was living on a bridging visa and had been interviewed by police a day earlier.
In October 2014, a 29-year-old Tamil, Leo Seemanpillai, set himself on fire outside his house. He suffered burns to 90% of his body and died in hospital.
And in February of that year, Rezene Mebrahta Engeda drowned himself in the Maribyrnong river, reportedly out of concern he was about to be deported back to Eritrea.
But those violent tragedies are the visible exceptions to the invisible rule.
Tens of thousands of others on bridging visas are trapped in a dispiriting cycle of hardscrabble survival.
Haleema told the Guardian her children suffered because of the financial strictures of life on a bridging visa.
“Most of my money go to rent. I have only $100 left [each week] and it’s not enough,” she says.
“I sometimes can’t buy milk and bread for the house. I can’t buy fruit. I just buy second-hand fruit, the rotten ones [that] no one buy. If I buy rice, I can’t buy bread.
“Most of the time I give potato to my children. I can’t buy anything else. I can’t buy shoes and uniforms for my children going to school.”
A Tamil asylum seeker says, on condition of anonymity, that he has been consistently re-interviewed – asked the same questions over and over again – about his claim for protection.
“Every time we go to a meeting we get asked the same questions about why we came. They are trying to make us trip up and make a mistake. Every time we go they ask, ‘Why did you come?’
“It sounds to us like they are saying, ‘You should not have come.’ They are accusing us of the wrong thing. But we had to come, we had no choice, our lives were in danger. We had to flee. They know that but still they ask us.” ...
... I am aware that the Americans and their allies think the Peace Committee is a front, and that we are merely creating a safe space for the Pakistan Taliban.
To this I say: you are wrong. You have never been to Waziristan, so how would you know? ...
I am on the Kill List. This is what it feels like to be hunted by US drones [Independent - 12/4/16]
AQAP identifies two Australian fighters killed in drone strike [Long War Journal - 16/4/16]
... Harvard’s stepfather said in June 2014 his stepson arrived in Yemen in 2011 to teach English and had his passport cancelled, “so he had to stay”. ... [Guardian - 17/4/16]
An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and published in the Independent has established that since 2010 the Home Secretary Theresa May has revoked the passports of 16 individuals many of whom are alleged to have had links to militant or terrorist groups.
Critics of the programme warn that it also allows ministers to ‘wash their hands’ of British nationals suspected of terrorism who could be subject to torture and illegal detention abroad.
They add that it also allows those stripped of their citizenship to be killed or ‘rendered’ without any onus on the British government to intervene.
At least five of those deprived of their UK nationality by the Coalition government were born in Britain, and one man had lived in the country for almost 50 years.
Those affected have their passports cancelled, and lose their right to enter the UK – making it very difficult to appeal the Home Secretary’s decision.
Last night the Liberal Democrat’s deputy leader Simon Hughes said he was writing to the Home Secretary to call for an urgent review into how the law was being implemented.
The leading human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce said the present situation ‘smacked of medieval exile, just as cruel and just as arbitrary’.
Ian Macdonald QC, president of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, described the citizenship orders as ‘sinister’.
‘They’re using executive powers and I think they’re using them quite wrongly,’ he said.
‘It’s not open government, it’s closed, and it needs to be exposed because in my view it’s a real overriding of open government and the rule of law.’
Laws were passed in 2002 enabling the Home Secretary to remove the citizenship of any dual nationals who had done something ‘seriously prejudicial’ to the UK, but the power had rarely been used before the current government.
The Bureau’s investigations have established the identities of all but four of the 21 British passport holders who have lost their citizenship, and their subsequent fates.
Only two have successfully appealed – one of whom has since been extradited to the US. ...
... Dharawal woman Glenda Chalker is a descendant of a survivor of the massacre and was pleased with the turnout on Sunday.
The manoeuvre to attack the camp near Appin was part of a broader picture of attack and counter-attack between settlers and Aboriginal people along the Nepean River, in the early days of the colony.
"They murdered those people, there's no doubt about it," she said.
"The orders were to strike terror into the survivors by hanging anyone killed in the trees."
Gavin Andrews, a descendant of the Indigenous people in the area at the time, said the attack was part of a "a government-ordered military campaign against a local population".
"I would argue that Appin itself, in Australian history, represents a declaration of war.
"The message sent to the colony at that time was that if you needed the land and the blacks were in the way, it was ok to kill them.
"If you went out and shot blacks...you were immune from any prosecution." ...
Police have launched a homicide investigation into the overnight death of a young woman who was found severely injured in a Brisbane unit last Wednesday afternoon.
They said 28-year-old Melanie Floyd was found with severe head injuries in her unit in the northern suburb of Windsor. ... [ABC - 17/4/16]
Family killed in horrific crash between station wagon and truck on SA's Highway One [ABC - 17/4/16]
An award-winning Iranian filmmaker has been denied a visitor's visa by immigration authorities, who say she is a risk of becoming an overstayer.
Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami was invited as a guest speaker and to show her film at the Documentary Edge Festival next month.
She has been travelling to festivals around the world to show her award-winning film Sonita, about an Afghan girl refugee-turned-rapper.
Speaking from San Francisco, she said she had been in Europe and Mexico and was travelling in the United States before planning to go to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
However, when she applied to come to New Zealand, she was rejected. ... [RNZI - 17/4/16]
Let Acclaimed Iranian Director Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami into NZ [PETITION]:
... The decision by Washington DC-based Immigration NZ immigration officer Theresia Tong states Ghaemmaghami was refused entry "because we are not satisfied that you are a bona fide temporary entry applicant, genuinely intending a temporary stay in New Zealand. ...
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev classmates screen short film ‘Jahar’ at Tribeca [Boston Globe - 16/4/16]
David Cameron must go and cinematic attack on neoliberalism [VIDEO - RT - 16/4/16]:
As thousands take to the streets of London today demanding David Cameron's resignation, Afshin Rattansi goes underground with the People's Assembly.
And, director of The Cook, The Thief, His wife and Her Lover, Peter Greenway, explains why he rejects neoliberalism. ...
Film Review: Eisenstein in Guanajuato [CineVue - 13/4/16]
Ian Christie, Professor of Film and Media History at Birkbeck College, University of London, examines the ideological use of the space programme during the Cold War and the influence of cinema on the space project. [VIDEO - teleSUR - 15/4/16]
#DemocracyAwakening Day 1! [VIDEO - Act Out - 16/4/16]
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis on Saturday addressed opponents of the French government's workplace reforms at a protest in Paris, telling them the planned changes would "devalue labour".
"He (French President Francois Hollande) wants to devalue French labour... it can't work," Varoufakis told protesters as he paid a visit to the latest "Nuit Debout" (Up All Night) gathering at the city's vast Place de la Republique.
"Devaluing French labour can only deepen the crisis... I'm bringing to you solidarity from Athens," he told the crowd. ... [Expatica - 16/4/16]
Anti-austerity protest brings 150,000 to the streets of London to demand David Cameron's resignation [Independent - 16/4/16]
@OccupyLondon [16/4/16]: Outstanding speech by a patient on behalf of #juniordoctors at the #nightassembly #resigncameron #nuitdeboutpartout
@OccupyLondon [16/4/16]: A McDonald's worker speaks about success in fighting zero hours contracts #nightassembly #resigncameron #nuitdebout
No Bernie or Jeremy down under.
Just a big, faux-lefty, right-wing blob sitting upon civil society - and an unconfronted past.
Image: @GedKACTU - President, Australian Council of Trade Unions [15/11/14]
Bill Shorten's AWU 'sold out' workers for $300,000 [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/10/15]
A gentle reminder: unions are part of the detention industry [xBorder - 22/7/15]
Bob Hawke was approached for an interview for this story and he declined. "There was no CIA interference in Australia's trade unions" ---> Former spy Christopher Boyce speaks out in an explosive new Dateline interview. [VIDEO - SBS - February 2014]
US sends nine Yemeni Guantanamo inmates to Saudi Arabia [Al Jazeera – 16/4/16]:
... The most prominent of the transfers was Tariq Ba Odah, a 37-year-old Yemeni whom the military had been force-feeding daily since he went on a hunger strike in 2007.
His legal team said he was down to 34kg, losing about half of his body weight.
Ba Odah's lawyer, Omar Farah, said the US government had "played Russian roulette" with his client's life and that his transfer "ends one of the most appalling chapters in Guantanamo's sordid history". ...
Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon.
The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation. ... [New York Times - 15/4/16]
Concerns mount that US rules are impeding western investment in Iran [Fortune – 14/4/16]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [16/4/16]:
Baghdad: News agencies:A roadside bomb exploded near shops in Suleikh area north of Baghdad today evening killing a person and wounding 5.............................................
Fallujah: Reports referred that dozens of children died due to the besiege and war against Fallujah..................
Three children die of starvation in Fallujah [Albawaba - 7/4/16]:
... Other sources said that the besiegement imposed by Iraqi army forces over Fallujah, as to keep Daesh militants from escaping the area, is ravaging the humanitarian state-of-affairs there and shredding out the lives of civilians, who each day are a starving step closer to death or are taken down by random bombardment, a cruel reality of being caught between two fires.
17 April 2016