United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [Reuters - 18/5/16]
During a raid in the eastern countryside of Daraa, the Syrian Armed Forces seized 2 American supplied TOW-missiles, 32 Israeli manufactured mines and other improvised weaponry from a truck driver who was arrested during the confiscation. ... [Al-Masdar News - 18/5/16]
Syria: Four civilians killed by US-led coalition airstrikes on Al-Bukamal [Baladi - 16/5/16]
“The Damask Rose Harvest Day” Festival kicked off with wide official and popular participation in al-Marah village in al-Nabek area in Damascus countryside.
The Damask rose, or Rosa damascena, named after Damascus, has earned fame for its gorgeous color and its fine fragrance, not to mention its economic, nutritional, aesthetic, and medical importance.
In statements to SANA, some of al-Marah village locals said that all the residents participate in the harvesting season which lasts for 20 days where buds are sorted and then sold to merchants to produce rose water. ... [SANA - 16/5/16]
US Senate unanimously passes bill allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia [Antiwar.com - 17/5/16]
... We are, beginning today, publishing in installments the NSA’s internal SIDtoday newsletters, which span more than a decade beginning after 9/11.
We are starting with the oldest SIDtoday articles, from 2003, and working our way through the most recent in our archive, from 2012.
Our first release today contains 166 documents, all from 2003, and we will periodically release batches until we have made public the entire set. ... [The Intercept - 17/5/16]
Turkish fighter jets have bombarded the southeastern areas of Turkey and the northern parts of neighboring Iraq, killing at least 10 people, Turkish security sources say.
According to the sources, the victims of the Wednesday airstrikes in the Turkish province of Hakkari and in northern Iraq were members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group. ... [Press TV - 18/5/16]
Three bombings in Baghdad have killed at least 70 people and wounded more than 100, police and medical sources say, as a wave of violence continues unabated in the Iraqi capital.
A suicide bombing on Tuesday in a marketplace in the northern, mainly Shia district of al-Shaab killed 38 people and wounded over 70, while a car bomb in the nearby Sadr City neighbourhood left at least 19 more dead and 17 wounded. ... [Al Jazeera - 18/5/16]
Former commando Sun McKay bound for Australia as investigation into embassy shooting death continues [Sydney Morning Herald - 18/5/16]
An Australian working for a land mine clearance charity was killed in northern Iraq Tuesday while trying to defuse a bomb planted by ISIS militants, three of his colleagues said.
The man was working under the non-profit Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) in the Daquq area, around 200 km north of Baghdad. ISIS were driven out of Daquq last year but left behind hundreds of improvised explosive devices. ... [Daily Star - 17/5/16]
40 refugees begin hunger strike in Chios. @AlbaFerrs [18/5/16]
The first Syrians to be returned by plane under the EU-Turkey deal have been detained in a remote camp for the past three weeks with no access to lawyers, casting further doubts over EU claims that they are being sent back to a safe third country.
Turkey has said they will be released soon. But a group of 12 Syrians returned by plane on 27 April who were contacted by telephone said they had simply been detained without clear legal recourse since they arrived in a remote detention centre in southern Turkey called Düziçi.
The fate of two other Syrians deported along with hundreds of non-Syrians earlier in April is unknown. ...
“It’s all just talk,” said Abu Hassan, a grocer detained with his wife and children, who asked to be known under a pseudonym.
“They are just pressuring us to go back to Syria and die there.” ... [Guardian - 17/5/16]
The leader of the British opposition Jeremy Corbyn expressed his solidarity with the Tamil people and reiterated calls for justice and self determination, in a message released to mark the 7th year anniversary since the massacres at Mullivaikkal. ... [Tamil Guardian - 18/5/16]
How many refugee boats did Australia push back, sink or abandon in the past 24 hours? ---> @guardiacostiera [18/5/16]: #CanalediSicilia #SAR: Nave Peluso #GuardiaCostiera soccorre barcone con 200 migranti tra cui 45 donne e 11 minori
What a surprise, Australia's Border Force is corrupt [Sydney Morning Herald - 18/5/16]
Despite obstacles, a majority of child migrants appear in Immigration Court [American Immigration Council - 17/5/16]
The Sri Lankan Red Cross has said around 200 families are feared buried by rain-triggered mudslides in three villages.
Thirty-five people are confirmed to have died after two landslides, which have forced 196,000 to flee their homes near the town of Aranayaka, 100km northeast of the capital, Colombo.
Rescue searches are continuing, after more than 350 people were brought to safety early this morning.
The Red Cross has set up a welfare camp for survivors. [ITV - 18/5/16]
Death toll in North Sumatra flash floods rises to 18 [Jakarta Globe - 17/5/16]
Nigeria unions pressing ahead with strike despite court ruling [BBC - 18/5/16]
Protests in Hong Kong as top China official visits [Channel News Asia - 18/5/16]
Less than 2% of Australians are members of a political party. This means we are being ruled by a tiny cabal of LNP, ALP and Greens fascists ---> Senate occasional lecture - Professor Simon Tormey - The end of representative politics? [VIDEO - Parliament House - 13/5/16]
The mainstream media and its discontents [Counterpunch - 17/5/16]
Anatomy of a propaganda blitz – Part 2: ‘Hitlergate’ [Medialens - 17/5/16]:
… The fact that completely false, or highly questionable, claims are repeatedly being affirmed by an instant, outraged 'consensus' across the media 'spectrum' is powerful evidence for the existence of a propaganda system undermining democracy.
Journalists may plead ignorance, but elites have openly advocated the 'manufacture of consent' in exactly this way for decades.
In 1932, highly influential US foreign policy adviser Reinhold Niebuhr wrote of the need for 'emotionally potent oversimplifications' and 'necessary illusion' to overcome the threat to elite control posed by 'the stupidity of the average man'. ...
Australia sends goons to Norfolk to give islanders an authentic taste of life in a refugee concentration camp [RNZI - 18/5/16]
The University of Papua New Guinea students will be presenting their petition tomorrow at the UPNG Forum Square.
Student leader Christopher Kipalan said this afternoon during their forum that apart from the delegates, they are also expecting outsiders, concerned citizens, to attend the event.
“Because this country not only belongs to the 5000 students of UPNG but also the 8 million people of Papua New Guinea.
“The entire field is reserved for the general public while students will sit at the Forum Square, dressed in black.” ... [PNG Loop - 18/5/16]
Chile asks US to extradite suspects in 1976 murder of diplomat [Reuters - 17/5/16]
Who will speak for the rights of the men, women and children imprisoned on Nauru and Manus, as the media and human rights establishment devotes itself to invisibilising them, and protecting Dutton's ongoing war of attrition with their confected, frenzied outrage?
Men, women and children are calling for GENUINE resettlement after 3 years of punishment.
UNHCR's call for "Immediate movement" = imminent exile and disappearance.
... 60th day consecutive peaceful protest on Nauru ...
Image: @Mums4Refugees [18/5/16]
Has a single one of the lawyers, human rights organisations, politicians and media outlets CC'd in this letter even ACKNOWLEDGED receiving it as they rail against Peter "protected and unaccountable" Dutton? ---> Letter from men illegally incarcerated by the LNP and ALP on Manus Island to PNG's Chief Justice [via Lynne Murphy - 18/5/16]:
... Now, your government and Australian government are trying to encourage us to go to East Lorengau for visit or for living.
We don't want both of them.
We took refuge in Australia.
Australian government with cooperation of your government, brought us in here by force.
They brought us to PNG like criminals.
You can investigate how they brought us in here.
As Supreme Court of PNG announced, here was and is completely illegal and unconstitutional.
As you know, there are 28 countries that participate in UNHCR Resettlement Programme.
Australia is one of them. PNG is not one of them.
We don't want to resettle in PNG.
We also don't want to impose ourselves to Australia meanwhile Australian government are not happy.
Any of 27 remaining UNHCR Resettlement Programme countries are good for us. ...
Australia’s indefinite detention of refugees on secret security grounds is arbitrary and illegal, the UN has ruled, in the latest of 51 cases – the most of any country – before the human rights committee.
The government should offer compensation to those it incarcerated without charge for up to six years, the UN’s human rights committee said in its latest rebuke, which could harm Australia’s ambitions to secure a seat on the powerful UN human rights council.
Australia’s Attorney General’s Department declined to comment on the breach of the international covenant on civil and political rights, citing the caretaker conventions in place during the election campaign.
The latest adjudication by the UN human rights committee relates to five refugees – one Iranian, three Sri Lankan Tamils and one Afghan Hazara – who were illegally detained between 2009 and 2015 because the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation had made an “adverse security assessment” against each of them.
They were recognised as refugees by Australia – “for whom return to their countries of origin was unsafe” the committee said – but were refused visas on security grounds. ...
Three weeks since the PNG decision and still not free: Australia's political prisoners on Manus Island write to PNG Chief Justice
Asylum seekers and refugees held on Papua New Guinea's Manus island have written to the country's chief justice and told him they are still being held against their will on the island.
The letter comes three weeks after the PNG Supreme Court ruled the detention on Manus of about 900 asylum seekers who were refused entry to Australia was illegal.
PNG's government announced last week the detention of those on the island had ended and the asylum seekers and refugees were free to come and go from the processing centre.
One of the refugees, the Kurdish Iranian journalist, Behrouz Bouchani, said the PNG and Australian governments were misleading the media by claiming they were complying with the court ruling.
"This prison is not open. They are making propaganda, saying this prison is open. And they say that we are accepting the PNG high court decision but this is a big lie and they are liars," said Mr Bouchani.
Mr Bouchani said the conditions on Manus remain terrible for him and his fellow detainees, who were taken by Australia to Manus against their will.
The letter from him and hundreds of others held on Manus said they have never wanted to settle in PNG and the reason why they sought refuge in Australia was because they had no other choice at the time.
... This article was originally published on Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites. ... [AIMN - 17/5/16] <--- This article was NOT originally published on "Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites", it was published on Facebook. Please stop using these men, women and children to impliedly endorse the pro-torture, pro-detention, pro-pacific black sites ALP.
This week Europe celebrated unity and peace on Europe Day.
But in 2016 we fear its leaders, like Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, are united in turning their backs on those seeking our protection.
In March, Europe’s leaders passed a deal with Turkey that allows Greece to send people back to Turkey in exchange for, among other things, a multi-billion Euro financial aid package.
Sound familiar? ... [MSF Australia - 16/5/16]
Doctors, Nurses associations and health sector unions plan to support UPNG students [PNG Loop – 17/5/16]
Engaging with (and amplifying) Dutton's lies, allows Australia's war of attrition against refugees to continue with impunity.
Women and children, including unaccompanied minors, will be among those sent to Nauru and Manus Island for processing under a hardline approach aimed at sending a message to people smugglers that there will be no exemptions.
With the first batch of about 40 asylum seekers to be flown this week to Nauru, where a temporary tent city has been erected, the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, said he would not be issuing any blanket exemptions to people sent offshore because these would be exploited by the people smugglers. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 12/9/12]
Image: @prehumax [29/6/15]
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.’
... Mr Dias [Lakshan Dias, lawyer for forcibly returned asylum seekers] told PM that Australian politicians were foolish to say they had broken the people smugglers' business model, saying they misunderstood how people made the journey from Sri Lanka.
"Australia's Government is talking rubbish. They have no clue of how and what and the type of boat journeys," Mr Dias said.
"[In] most of the cases, people collectively go on these boat journeys.
"These kind of people get a boat from a boat owner and they collectively get money for food and fuel and everything and go on a boat journey to Australia," he said.
"That cannot be looked at as a people smuggling business." ...
[ABC - 18/5/16]: ... LOUISE YAXLEY: And the Greens Spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young condemns Mr Dutton's remarks.
SARAH HANSON-YOUNG: These are vile and nasty and what it does is it exposes the Liberal Party's current thinking on people who come to our country seeking protection. Peter Dutton says people are either going to steal Australians jobs or be waiting in the dole queue, I mean which one is it? He says we shouldn't be welcoming more refugees because some of them might be illiterate. This is nasty and it is steeped purely in xenophobia. <--- PISSWEAK.
Human Rights Australia™
A big, expensive, suffocating charade that stands for nothing.
March 2015: Australian politicians, media and human rights groups continue to ignore refugees on Nauru - as well as the actual findings of the UN report on torture - preferring to play partisan political games.
[Nauru refugee women celebrate International Women’s Day with protest - Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney – 10/3/15]
Inspiring change in human rights
On June 1, President Gillian Triggs will speak at the second annual Australian of the Year event at Town Hall in Sydney.
Following the success of the inaugural event with Rosie Batty in 2015, the Commission is again combining with the Australian of the Year Awards and the ABC to host the hour long discussion.
The panel discussion will be hosted by Julia Baird from the ABC’s ‘The Drum’ program and will be broadcast on the ABC and ABC News 24. ...
... They tried to encourage refugees to utilise the one and only option (Cambodia) to go and live there but on the other side, refugees did not want to be misused again as laboratory rats ...
Cambodia's offer from Australian immigration to Nauru refugees have proved that Nauru does no have abilities for local integration.
The purpose of NO ADVANTAGE and PACIFIC SOLUTION policies for refugees [who are] described as queue jumpers to be punished in underdeveloped countries and be processed as long as it will take for refugees who applied for UNHCR resettlement process from Indonesia that attest take 3 to 4 years to get an answer.
The difference between us and refugees who are in Indonesia is that we have been processed in DETENTION CENTRE under mouldy tents. ...
We can witness a processing case from a refugee that applied UNHCR in July 2013 in Indonesia who has been accepted and will be resettled in Australia next week, but Nauru refugees still located in Nauru and they are just eligible enough to tolerate the discrimination from UNHCR processing system.
This strategy has proved to all Nauru refugee that the time of the torture is over and all refugees deserve to be transferred as soon as possible to the 28 UNHCR countries so they can start their new life if they are still mentally and physically healthy.
In conclusion, we are asking from UNHCR to arrange a resettlement in the 27 UNHCR countries except Australia.
But it is obvious that regarding to UNHCR, absence of visiting Guantanamo, government of Australia have used the opportunity to cover some of the problems and disasters therefore it is fair for us to doubt on your visitation of Nauru after all these years for another political games.
We are going to publish this news so at least you can answer media and reporters' questions. ...
18 May 2016