Japan: Ruling bloc on verge of enacting security laws [Japan Times - 18/9/15]:
... Five opposition parties including Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party) and the Japanese Communist Party, jointly submitted a no-confidence motion in the Lower House on Thursday afternoon.
Under Diet rules, when this happens all procedures are suspended in both chambers because a vote on the motion takes precedence over all other business.
The ruling bloc, which holds a majority in both chambers, voted down the no-confidence motion.
But the voting process gave opposition leaders an opportunity to deliver a speech to the nation condemning the bills and Abe’s Cabinet as the session was televised live. ...
US drone strike kills 7 in Pakistan [The Hindu - 18/9/15]
Fighters belonging to the Pakistani Taliban have stormed an air force station near Peshawar in Pakistan's northwest, resulting in a firefight with security forces and the deaths of at least 43 people, sources say.
ISPR, the Pakistan military's media wing, said at least 21 security officers and five civilians working at the Badaber Air Force base died and 14 fighters were killed in Friday morning's gun battle. ... [Al Jazeera - 18/9/15]
Israeli forces shoot, critically injure Palestinian near Nablus [Maan - 18/9/15]
Dozens of Palestinians were injured on Friday as Israeli forces suppressed protests across the West Bank in support of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid ongoing entry restrictions.
Three Palestinians were injured at the Qalandiya military checkpoint after being shot by rubber-coated steel bullets as protesters marched from Qalandiya refugee camp following Friday prayers.
Dozens more suffered tear gas inhalation. ... [Maan - 18/9/15]
Boko Haram violence displaces 1.4 million children in Nigeria and beyond – UNICEF [Media Release - 17/9/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [17/9/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Remotely piloted aircraft conducted one airstrike in Syria:
-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 21 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
-- Near Huwayjah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Bayji, four airstrikes struck one large and one small ISIL tactical units, an ISIL backhoe, an ISIL tunnel and destroyed 14 ISIL vehicles, three ISIL support positions, and an ISIL armored bulldozer.
-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL rocket rail.
-- Near Kirkuk, two airstrikes struck two ISIL mortar firing positions.
-- Near Kisik, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, eight airstrikes struck five ISIL tactical units and destroyed 35 ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL armored vehicle.
-- Near Ramadi, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL VBIED and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Sinjar, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and struck two ISIL mortar firing positions and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
At least 14 pro-government troops were killed when a Saudi-led coalition air raid targeted their position "by mistake", tribal and military sources said Friday.
"The air force bombed a gathering of fighters in the region of Harib believing them to be Houthi rebels," a military source said.
A tribal chief confirmed the overnight strike, saying that those killed appeared to be local tribesmen fighting on the side of the forces loyal to exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. ... [Daily Star - 18/9/15]
At least nine civilians killed in Saudi-led strikes on Yemen: medics [Reuters - 17/9/15]
Over 100 people are feared dead after a fuel tanker exploded in Sudan’s Western Equatoria state county of Maridi Thursday, authorities said. ... [Sudan Tribune - 17/9/15]
@MSF_Sea [18/9/15]: ... Today #DignityI completed 3 separate rescues. The MSF medical team is now providing care to 379 people
Hurriyet Daily News [18/9/15]:
A four-year-old Syrian girl's body washed up on a beach in western Turkey on Sept.18, state media said, just weeks after images of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi shook the world.
The yet-to-be identified girl was found lifeless on a beach in the Aegean town of Çeşme in İzmir province after a boat carrying 15 Syrians to the Greek island of Chios sank, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.
It said the Turkish coast guard rescued the remaining 14 Syrians, including eight children, from the inflatable boat. The girl appeared to be the only casualty.
Harrowing pictures of three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, whose body was found washed up on a Turkish beach after the boat carrying his family to the Greek island of Chios sank, caused an outpouring of emotion around the world, pressuring European leaders to step up their response to the refugee crisis.
But two weeks later EU members are still at odds over how to accommodate the tens of thousands of new arrivals.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Sept.18 that the Turkish coast guard had rescued over 53,000 migrants from stricken boats since the beginning of the year.
He said around 274 migrants have lost their lives in Turkish waters this year seeking to leave the country by sea for Greece.
In the latest tragedy, 22 people who had left Turkey drowned on Sept.15 when their wooden boat sank off Kos.
Migrants have in recent days turned to Turkey's land borders with Greece and Bulgaria to avoid the sea voyage that has cost over 2,600 people their lives in the Mediterranean this year.
Several hundred refugees spent a third day camped in and around the Turkish border city of Edirne, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) from the Greek border and is being promoted on social media as a safer route out of Turkey than sea journey in overcrowded dinghies.
Under an "open-door" policy championed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has taken in 2.2 million Syrian refugees since the conflict in Syria erupted in 2011.
Kurtulmuş said Turkey has so far spent almost $7 billion (6 billion euros) to provide for Syrian refugees.
Time running out to resolve refugee emergency in Europe [Media Release - 18/9/15]:
... UNHCR itself this week proposed a number of measures towards the wider goal of helping Europe to collectively resolve this situation, namely:
- immediate creation of facilities in Greece to receive, assist, register and screen people arriving
- immediate start of a process, from Greece and from existing centres in Italy, for the relocation of 40,000 refugees agreed to by the Council to participating EU countries. This should be expanded by additional voluntary pledges by EU states against the new proposals of the European Commission
- an emergency package from the EU to Serbia to establish a similar capacity to properly assist, register and relocate people to other European countries
- in parallel, UNHCR urges that there be a substantial increase in opportunities for Syrian refugees hosted in neighbouring countries to Syria to access legal channels to the EU including enhanced resettlement and humanitarian admission, family reunification and humanitarian and student visas.
UN rights chief ‘appalled’ at recent treatment of refugees, migrants by Hungarian authorities [Media Release - 17/9/15]
Yarmouk pianist's perilous journey to Greece [BBC – 17/9/15]
Marshall Islanders have been deported from the United States at greater rate over recent years.
Government data indicates that over the past 15 years, there's a rate of sixteen deportations of Marshall Islanders per year. While there's been a slight decline in the deportation rate this year, overall the numbers have increased dramatically from 2011.
It coincides with ongoing heavy Marshallese out-migration to the US, with an average of over 1,000 islanders leaving to the US annually since the late 1990s.
More than 30,000 Marshall Islanders are estimated to be living in the US.
Among the driving factors behind the Marshallese exodus are the enduring negative health impacts from American nuclear bomb tests in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as the upheavals created by rising sea levels due to climate change have been leaving their home islands. ... [RNZI - 18/9/15]
This is what Australia does to refugees ----> Ashraff Mohammad hasn't seen his wife and children for 14 YEARS.
The Record [18/9/15]:
It is difficult to hear the personal account of Mr Ashraff Mohammad, a former refugee from Afghanistan who belongs to the Hazara ethnic minority, without being shaken to the core and feeling like more needs to be done for those seeking asylum in Australia.
Mr Mohammad recently told his story at the Conversations About People Seeking Asylum in Australia breakfast, held on Tuesday, 15 September at the UWA University Club, Crawley.
Sponsored by MercyCare, the Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS), The Red Cross, the Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University, Murdoch University, The Humanitarian Group and the Coalition of Asylum Seekers Refugees and Detainees (CARAD), the event aimed to raise awareness surrounding the plight of people seeking asylum in Australia who have arrived by boat.
“Hazaras are one of the religious and ethnic minorities that have lived in Afghanistan for over 4,000 years. Throughout history, they’ve been subject to mass killings, torture and discrimination,” began Mr Mohammad, immediately silencing the attendance of some 80 people.
“Often, their lands have been taken from them. In the 1880s, 63 per cent of my people were massacred. Out of one million, 630,000 were killed; the remainder fled or sought shelter in the mountainous part of Afghanistan.
“The only reason why some survived is that the mountainous region is very isolated, remote and difficult to get into,” he added.
When the Taliban came to power throughout the latter part of the 1990s and Hazaras were given the option of converting to the Sunni denomination of Islam (the majority of Hazaras are Shiite Muslims), leave the country, or be killed, Mr Mohammad fled to Pakistan with his family.
At the age of seven, he found himself in Quetta, a city in Pakistan, selling plastic bags to help his family financially.
When, in 2001, a systematic killing of Hazaras began in Quetta and he lost relatives, including his seven-year-old niece, he made arrangements to flee to Australia.
“I went through Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to catch a boat to Australia. Each time a wave hit us, we would close our eyes and think ‘this is the end’ as many of us could not swim. This went on for almost seven days until the Australian Navy rescued us.”
Mr Mohammad’s distress at having left his wife and two children behind due to financial reasons was only matched by the 18 months he spent inside the Curtin Detention Centre in the Kimberley region.
He described his time within the centre as a ‘psychological shock’ experienced by many who flee war-torn countries only to be faced with the misery and isolation of detention centres.
As he lives under refugee status and awaits his citizenship, Mr Mohammad is worried he is giving his family back home false expectations of reaching Australia.
“After 20 years, I still feel like I do not have the right to live like everyone else. I only find peace in thinking that my sacrifices and my journey may ensure that my children will have the basic right to live like everyone else,” he concluded.
Mr Mohammad’s account was complemented by presentations on the legal challenges and common misconceptions faced by asylum seekers from CEO of The Humanitarian Group, Helen Pearce, and Associate Professor of Psychology at Murdoch University, Dr Anne Pedersen.
While Ms Pearce explained the legal framework around seeking protection in Australia and some of the particular challenges faced by refugees who arrive in Australia by boat, Dr Pedersen challenged a number of myths with her qualitative and quantitative research-based evidence.
She asserted that challenging myths is important given that people who are more negative about asylum seekers are also more likely to accept these myths as being true.
Some of these myths were:
“Asylum seekers are illegals” – no asylum seeker breaks any Australian law by arriving on a boat and seeking asylum.
“They pose a security threat” – the majority of asylum seekers who have reached Australia have been found to be refugees.
“Australia is being swamped by refugees” – Australia receives a very small number of asylum applications compared with other refugee-hosting countries.
“If they can afford to pay a people smuggler, they are not ‘genuine’ refugees” – It makes no difference whether a refugee is rich or poor – the point is that they are at risk of persecution.
“Refugees don’t contribute to Australian society” – Research has shown that refugees, once they establish themselves, make important economic and civil contributions to Australia.
MercyCare Executive Director of Mission and Culture, Sheryl Carmody, and ASeTTS CEO, Michael Jones, also addressed those invited before the floor was opened up for a Q and A panel.
While Conversations About People Seeking Asylum in Australia opened highly relevant areas of discussion, Mr Mohammad’s story continues to repeat itself across the world and reflects the ongoing plight of hundreds of thousands of individuals.
It is hoped more discussions like these take place and continue to make an impact on Australia’s decision-making process in regards to those desperately in need of being welcomed.
Dr. Marco Ceccarelli completed his Ph.D. research in History and European Studies at The University of Western Australia with a focus on Catholic intellectual responses to 21st century Islamic terrorism. He started working for the Archdiocese of Perth, as a journalist and photographer, in October, 2014.
Witness to murder of Reza Barati at Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island is 'too scared' to testify [Sydney Morning Herald - 18/9/15]
Former immigration minister Scott Morrison instructed his department to set up a process guaranteed to fail for handling a major data breach that disclosed the personal details of almost 10,000 asylum seekers, a landmark federal court decision has found.
The ruling found the immigration department responded to a data breach disclosing the personal details of thousands of asylum seekers in a way that was “unfair to a significant degree” and had not provided procedural fairness to asylum seekers affected.
The extraordinary comments by three federal court judges – in a unanimous decision – are highly critical of the immigration department and the instruction given by the minister.
The case may have a profound impact on the future processing of thousands of asylum seekers affected by the data breach. ... [Guardian - 18/9/15]
Bring the refugees to Australia.
Open letter to Turnbull and Shorten from the women of Australia.
Image: @LaydeeAidee [12/9/15]
ABC gives Jane Prentice MP a forum to promote the Australian government's cruel PR stunt re 12,000 handpicked, non-muslim Syrian refugees - who don't come by boat [18/9/15]
Still no word from the UNHCR about this PR stunt which deliberately dehumanises and invisibilises refugees and asylum seekers detained on Manus, Nauru and onshore.
@xBorderOps [18/9/15]: These unions have a financial interest in Transfield. This is not a protest against detention but for better PR
@racvictoria [18/9/15]: ... RAC members will certainly be demanding the closure of offshore detention centres.
Are divestment campaigns calls for nicer cages, ethical carnage and cleaner coal? [New Matilda - 10/9/15]
A gentle reminder: unions are part of the detention industry [xBorderOps - 22/7/15]
An Iranian asylum seeker detained on Nauru has made a report about his alleged mistreatment by Nauruan police to the United Nations human rights agency.
The man claims he was detained for more than 30 hours in a bare police cell that was wet with the urine of his guards.
The man has told the ABC and staff from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that he was arrested and detained without charge after trying to see his sister.
She had just tried for the second time to kill herself after being allegedly raped on the island in May.
Since then, he has told his story to staff from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who were visiting Nauru.
The man asked the agency to investigate and said it agreed to do so.
He said he did not commit a crime and no charges had been laid.
"I just asked to see my sister because she tried to suicide. Because we are family. Because I'm her brother," he said. ... [ABC - 18/9/15]
The Age [9/9/15]:
... Nazanin's lawyer, Maurice Blackburn principal Dimi Ioannou, who visited Nazanin on Tuesday at the hospital , also called on the government to allow the 23-year-old's family to be by her side in Australia.
Ms Ioannou said the asylum seeker was still traumatised.
"She feels very isolated and alone and is guarded by two guards 24-hours a day," Ms Ioannou said.
"The one thing that would improve her wellbeing is to have her mother and brother with her. That is her number one request.
"Having the support of loved ones is crucial to anyone who is sick and in hospital and we would urge the federal government to allow her family to be with her."
Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites [14/9/15]:
Statement issued by Reclaim the Night Castlemaine organising group:
On behalf of the community of 400 women who are members of Reclaim the Night Castlemaine online group.
We implore the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to intervene and make special provisions for the family of Nazanin Bagheri to be brought from the immigration detention centre on Nauru, to Australia in order to support Nazanin while she receives specialist medical attention in an Australian hospital.
As your office will be aware Nazanin Bagheri was the victim of a brutal sexual assault and rape, on Nauru, by a group of up to three men, in May 2015. She was brought to Australia for specialist medical attention in August 2015.
Nazanin has suffered profound psychological, as well as physical trauma from this attack, and has reportedly attempted suicide twice in the months since it occurred.
Nazanin has been separated from her family for six weeks, since immediately after her second suicide attempt. Nazanin has never been away from her family before, they are a close loving and supportive family. This removal of immediate physical contact with her family has significantly compounded her already profound psychological trauma.
As Nazanin Bagheri is being detained by the Australian Department of Immigration, she is legally in the care of the Australian Government. The Australian Government have a duty of care to ensure that Nazanin is receiving the psychological and physical health care she requires, this includes the immediate love and support of her family.
Reclaim the Night is a worldwide movement which advocates against men’s violence toward women, including sexual assault and rape. Australian women have a 1 in 6 chance of experiencing sexual assault in their lifetime. These women, as citizens of Australia have access to best practice health care including high quality targeted treatment for the physical as well as psychological trauma which impacts victims of sexual assault and rape.
As women, and as Australian citizens, we are demanding that Nazanin Bagheri be reunited with her family in Australia, so that they may support her recovery after this traumatic sexual assault.
The membership of Reclaim The Night Castlemaine
De facto detention must stop, says UN torture prevention body
[AUDIO – 7/5/1/5]:
Asylum-seekers trying to get into Australia are being held in "de facto" detention on a Pacific island which has failed to respect key human rights obligations, UN experts said Wednesday.
The warning comes from UN investigators who have just visited the island of Nauru, which has an agreement with the Australian government to process migrants' refugee claims.
Daniel Johnson has more.
After their first visit to the tiny island that lies hundreds of kilometres off the Australian coast, the UN investigators said they had visited "all places of deprivation of liberty".
This includes Nauru's police station, prison and a larger processing centre for asylum-seekers who've come from Iran, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Between 500 and 600 migrants have been given refugee status on Nauru and a similar number are still waiting for their claims to be processed.
Men, women and families with children are being detained, the UN human rights office says.
And many have been waiting up to 16 months to be told if they can have official refugee status, according to Professor Malcolm Evans.
He's chairman of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture.
"The primary concern of course is that so many are being held in what amounts to a form of de facto detention as asylum-seekers when this is not how asylum-seekers should be held when they are awaiting for their applications to be processed, so the very fact they are is a problem."
Nauru is in the spotlight because it is supposed to have set up a monitoring body to protect the interests of the asylum-seekers.
Professor Evans said he'd received "clear assurances" from the island's authorities that this would happen.
Man - obviously not a rich white man - disappeared into immigration detention labyrinth after sailing to Australia in his yacht [West Australian - 18/9/15]:
Border protection officials are scrambling to discover how a foreign national managed to sail a yacht to WA’s far north coast without being detected.
The West Australian understands Australian Border Force have taken a man into custody who arrived by himself aboard a boat at Lombadina on the Dampier Peninsula, about 300km from Broome.
It is understood the man is from Hong Kong and he is not thought to be an asylum seeker at this stage.
The man was held at the police station at Broome but was taken away by federal authorities for questioning.
Greenpeace calls for overhaul of Pacific fishing practices
PNG Loop [18/9/15]:
Greenpeace Australia Pacific has called for a region-wide ban on the transshipment of fish catches following Nauru’s announcement today that it would no longer allow the practice in its waters.
The Government of the Nauru issued the ban on transshipping in its waters outside its port, and is calling on other Pacific Island Nations to do the same.
A regular industry practice that is largely unmonitored, transshipping involves fishing vessels - longliners - transferring their catch to ‘motherships’ to be taken and sold in far-away markets. This means that boats can stay out at sea for years, evading checks on their fishing practices and licenses, and the treatment of their crew.
“Today’s announcement by Nauru is a shining example of the action that needs to be taken urgently to protect our Pacific Islands,” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific oceans campaigner Lagi Toribau from aboard the Rainbow Warrior.
“The longline industry is chronically unregulated and poorly monitored, and the high seas are currently acting as loopholes for pirate fishing boats.
“Out here, overfishing is the norm. Many tuna stocks are already in trouble, and illegal fishing is only adding to that pressure,” he said.
Nauru is the third Pacific country to ban the practice of transshipping, and their announcement is in response to last week’s bust by the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior of a Taiwanese longline boat fishing illegally in the high seas that border Nauru’s national waters.
Greenpeace is calling for a complete overhaul of longline fisheries, including a ban on transshipping catch, to bring them under better control and proper management. There are more than 3,500 longline vessels currently authorised to fish by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.
“If fishing vessels had to go to land to transfer their catch, it would solve many of the problems out here in the Pacific. It would make it easier to properly account for and manage these catches, and also boost the economies of Pacific Island countries where the catches come from.
“If the fishing industry is above board, they should have no problem with this solution. We need to put a stop to hiding dirty fishing practices out at sea.
“Although more than 70 percent of the world’s tuna comes from the Pacific, only 20 percent of that is actually caught by Pacific Island fleets. Industrial fishing has a huge impact on the Pacific Island countries that have relied on tuna for generations,” said Toribau.
In Fiji, local fishing vessels are mothballed and workers have been laid off. Local fisheries in Samoa, Tonga and other Pacific Island nations are also suffering.
Control order on Melbourne teenager despite terrorism charges being dropped
An interim control order has been placed on a Melbourne teenager who was accused of planning a bombing on Anzac Day, but later had all terrorism charges against him dropped.
Causevic is not permitted to use mobile phones, computers, or web messaging services such as WhatsApp without prior consent.
It is only the second control order to be published since the controversial measures were introduced ten years ago. On Friday Guardian Australia revealed the existence of the other order which, like this one, restricts the mosques and places of worship the subject can attend.
Causevic has been prohibited from going “inside, or on the grounds of, any masjid/mosque, or any other place of observance” other than the one specified in the order.
Federal court judge Norah Hartnett granted the order last week, and set down a hearing on 2 December to determine whether it would be confirmed.
Causevic was charged with terrorism offences in April after high-profile raids, but the charges were dropped in August. His lawyer, Rob Starry, said the case would erode confidence in law enforcement agencies, and his client had been charged “without any real evidence” against him.
Control orders are controversial anti-terrorism powers that allow police to restrict the movements and associations of a person.
Causevic is also expressly prohibited from contacting six other young men, and cannot attend certain locations including airports with international flights. Causevic is also not permitted to leave the state of Victoria.
The order also requires him to “participate in counselling or education relating to your spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing for a period of at least 60 minutes every week”.
The AFP has sought four interim control orders since December 2014.
At last week’s hearing, the first one open to the public, the court heard a constitutional challenge could be launched in relation to the restrictions on which mosques the person could attend.
Lawyers for Causevic declined to comment.
Police desperate for men involved in Broadbeach Tapas Bar Table Tipover incident to be jailed for something ... anything [Yahoo – 17/9/15]
NSW civil libertarians question police cameras [Nine MSN – 17/9/15]
What a crock of shit ---> Airlie Beach CCTV camera shortage leaves police feeling hamstrung to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence [ABC – 17/9/15]
Queensland Police pilots iPad traffic infringement notices app [IT News – 17/9/15]
Gold Coast man on child porn charges [Yahoo – 17/9/15]
Former Perth policeman jailed over sex with WA teen [WA Today – 17/9/15]
Armed robbery, Chermside [QPS Media - 17/9/15]
Armed robbery, Indooroopilly [QPS Media - 17/9/15]
The grandmother of a seven-month-old girl who died in hospital yesterday, two days after suffering severe head injuries allegedly inflicted by her father, has described her as a “gorgeous, smiley baby”.
Paul James Cosgrove, 23, has denied hurting his only child Lily, claiming she fell off a change table at their Ellenbrook home on Monday and hit her head.
Mr Cosgrove appeared in a Perth court yesterday charged with causing aggravated grievous bodily harm as his daughter lost her fight for life in Princess Margaret Hospital.
An autopsy will be performed to determine if Mr Cosgrove should face a murder charge over her death. ... [West Australian - 17/9/15]
Man's body found in
Nine MSN [17/9/15]:
Police investigating the death of a man found in the dry bed of the Todd River in Alice Springs say they have managed to identify several possible witnesses.
The man, who was found about 6.30am on Thursday, is still to be formally identified.
Officers remain at the scene and expect an autopsy to be completed on Friday.
Four detectives from the Darwin-based major crime unit will join the local investigation team later on Thursday.
Police are also hoping CCTV from nearby businesses will help further identify the movements of people in the area.
The crime scene is likely to remain in place overnight, with residents warned to avoid the area between Barrett Drive and South Terrace.
investigation after plumber dies, Sunnybank
Workplace safety authorities are investigating the death of a plumber who fell through the roof of a Brisbane home.
The tradesman was hospitalised with head injuries after he fell through the fibreglass roof of a Sunnybank property on Tuesday.
The 53-year-old died later that day and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland have launched an investigation into the fatal accident.
Man trapped between two trucks, Geelong
West Australian [17/9/15]:
A man has been seriously injured in a car workshop accident in Geelong.
The 36-year-old man became trapped between two trucks on Thursday morning.
He was freed and taken to hospital, and police
say Worksafe will investigate the incident.
Fatal crash at Birdsville
North West Star [17/9/15]:
Police are investigating after a single vehicle traffic crash claimed a man’s life near Birdsville on Wednesday afternoon.
Initial investigations indicate the crash occurred around 4.30pm on the Eyre Developmental Road approximately 20 kilometres north of Birdsville.
The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, a 67-year-old Bedourie man, died at the scene.
Investigations are continuing.
Fire destroys truck in rollover
West Australian [17/9/15]:
A triple road train rolled and burst into flames overnight about on the Great Northern Highway overnight.
Two fuel tankers containing crude oil caught fire in the crash, about 100km east of Derby and 150km west of Fitzroy Crossing.
The highway is blocked.
B-double catches fire in Adelaide's north east
Nine MSN [17/9/15]:
A truck blaze has forced authorities to close a road in Adelaide’s north east this morning.
The b-double caught fire near the intersection of Hampstead Road and Taunton Road at Manningham just after 6.30am.
The truck driver escaped unharmed.
Taunton Road is closed in both directions and motorists are advised to avoid the area.
A 19-year-old woman is in a critical condition in Royal Perth Hospital after a hit-and-run in Subiaco on Wednesday night.
The woman was struck by a black Mercedes-Benz on Thomas Street shortly after 9pm.
The vehicle did not stop and a 27-year-old man later handed himself into police.
Police say the driver has been interviewed and the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone who saw the pedestrian or the vehicle prior to the crash is asked to contact Crime Stoppers. [WA Today - 17/9/15]
Hervey Bay residents evacuated as shed fire rages
Residents have been evacuated from their homes as 11 firefighting crews battle a blaze at an industrial shed filled with chemicals in Queensland's Wide Bay region.
The fire, generating a thick plume of black smoke, started shortly after 11.30am at a property on Lower Mountain Road in Hervey Bay.
A Queensland Fire Service spokeswoman could not confirm how many people have been evacuated but said a 500 metre exclusion zone is in place.
Gladstone Ports Corporation has concluded Port Services Agreements (PSAs) with our LNG exporters, paving the way for a ramp up of LNG shipments from Curtis Island off Central Queensland.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said PSAs had been negotiated with Queensland Curtis LNG, Australian Pacific LNG and Gladstone LNG. ... [Media Release - 17/9/15]
Two injured, one horse dead as hail sweeps through Grafton races [Yahoo – 17/9/15]
No trust in a health system that puts profit before patient care and ethics
Blood pressure research by scientist Anna Ahimastos retracted over faked data [Sydney Morning Herald – 17/9/15]
Canberra workers be warned: your days of going to the doctor for a sick note are numbered.
Hundreds of GPs around the capital will soon begin taking a new approach to time off work when they begin using the "fit note" instead of the sick note.
Seven of the city's GP practices have been experimenting for months with a certificate for sick or injured workers that tells bosses what their employees can do, instead of what they can't. ... [Canberra Times - 16/9/15]
The Whanganui District Health Board is being accused of intimidation after organising a meeting with a senior doctor who protested the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Dr Chris Cresswell was one of around 20 people taking part in the protest in Whanganui last week where he took off his shoes and sat on top of local National MP Chester Burrows' car being used to ferry Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.
He was pulled from the car and given a verbal warning from police.
Dr Cresswell spoke to the Whanganui Chronicle at the time of the protest and his comments were reported in a subsequent story.
He is now set to have a meeting with the DHB tomorrow about his actions which the union representing medical specialists says is an attempt at silencing those in the industry. ... [3 News - 17/9/15]
Otago University scientists tied pigs down, shot them in head [RNZI – 17/9/15]
A local government expert is sounding a warning on e-voting as Wellington City Council opts to back a trial on an online voting system.
In a split vote at a meeting yesterday, councillors agreed to join the pilot programme for next year's election.
Senior lecturer at Massey University, Andy Asquith, says it is a loss for democracy.
He says that voter turnout has been dropping because people don't know what they're voting for and why, and that enabling online voting isn't going to help that. ... [3 News - 17/9/15]
Hacking Democracy :
Hacking Democracy filmed over 3 years, first shown on HBO (a unit of Time Warner) in 2006 and released on DVD in 2007. The film reveals many strange facts about paperless (or e-voting) systems that established during elections in the U.S.A. in the last years. It focuses on the story of Bev Harris, director of nonprofit election watchdog group called Black Box Voting, and her investigations of potential security flaws inherent in electronic voting.
Microsoft discriminated against women in pay, promotions: US lawsuit [Reuters – 16/9/15]
GM to settle US criminal case over ignition switches: source [Reuters – 16/9/15]
A “heinous” attack against a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yola, north-eastern Nigeria, where some 32,000 people have found refuge, was strongly condemned today by an independent United Nations human rights expert.
“IDPs are amongst the most vulnerable persons and according to international human rights and humanitarian law they must be protected against any direct and indiscriminate attacks or other acts of violence against them or their camps or settlements,” Chaloka Beyani, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, said in a news release.
On 11 September, at least seven people were killed and 14 others injured, including four officials from the National Emergency Management Agency, after the Malkohi IDP camp in Yola, in Adamawa state, was the target of a suicide bombing.
According to the news release, no party has so far claimed responsibility for the bombing, the first attack of its kind since the escalation of the crisis in northern Nigeria. ... [Media Release - 16/9/15]
Senate Hansard [17/9/15]:
Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (15:46): I present additional information received by the Select Committee on the Recent Allegations relating to Conditions and Circumstances at the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru and move:
That the Senate take note of the document.
I want to take a few moments to address the additional information. It basically relates to an answer to a written question on notice. The Commission of Audit report 2014 outlined the illegal maritime arrival costs, comparing the cost of onshore, offshore, community detention and bridging visas. The source given is the Department of Finance, although the data does not appear to have been made publicly available.
My question on notice to the department was to provide an update of the various costs that had been modelled by the Commission of Audit, and the source is the immigration detention network model population forecast and modelling assumption as at January 2014. From this answer, senators who read this information will see that onshore detention was $238,690, offshore detention was $433,956, community detention was $89,040 and a bridging visa was $30,907. That is in the answer in 1(a), and 1(b) is the updated graph for 2014. We see that for 12 months onshore detention is $311,027 per illegal maritime arrival; offshore detention is $402,923 per illegal maritime arrival; community detention is $91,443; and a bridging visa is $32,017.
So work has been done through the Commission of Audit, through the department, to model these figures. But I suppose more germane to the inquiry into Nauru is that the figures that we got from the department for a period of 10 months per asylum seeker was $613,000 plus—a vast difference to what has been modelled. In all respects, the unrestrained, unscrutinised expenditure on Nauru is, in my view, a very, very significant misuse of public money. When you have modelling done by the Commission of Audit, which this government places great store in, and further modelling on those figures sourced after a question on notice, and that modelling and the actual cost given in evidence by the department is $200,000 out then I think a fair bit more scrutiny needs to be given to this area.
Question agreed to.
Europe continues being inspired by the US and Australia's treatment of refugees and migrants
200+ inc women & kids detained 2 days by Hungary @ dismal Szeged camp, sleeping on concrete, beatings, kids sick.
Image: @bouckap - 16/9/15]
Image: @SBSNews [21/3/14]
Delta compound was the worst. Like a slum. Men crammed into rusting shipping containers. Even the view to the ocean was covered with mesh.
"tweeted" by @liamfoxpng - ABC journalist [21/3/14]
"We were surrounded by very desperate men ... some in there since last July ... some almost crying."
"They were saying 'help me, help me' and 'give us freedom'" ABC journalist Liam Fox describing his visit to Manus Island with PNG Judge Cannings' Inquiry on Radio Australia 'Pacific Beat' [21/3/14]
Guardian [VIDEO - 23/1/15]:
... Video footage obtained by Guardian Australia shows dozens of asylum seekers and refugees held in a single, windowless prison cell.
There is no furniture in the cell. Almost all the men lie close together and motionless in tight lines on the floor.
A man speaking on the video – whose voice has been altered to avoid identification – alleged the men were beaten by security guards employed by Wilson and by police while in custody.
“They have beaten everyone in this camp. We are totalling 58 people, they beat the shit out of all of us,” he said.
The video shows marks on some of the men’s bodies.
It ends abruptly when a noise is heard, apparently outside the cell.
... While we understand that the comparison we are making would seem shocking to many, based on our long-standing research in this area we see no option but to identify practices in Australia’s own Pacific gulags as tantamount to torture. ... Professors Suvendrini Perera and Joseph Pugliese [The Conversation - 26/8/15]
Exposing US immigration detention injustices with Detention Watch Network [AUDIO - WORT - 11/9/15]
This is child abuse: Social Worker breaks silence over conditions inside US immigrant detention centre [Democracy Now - 29/7/15]:
... OLIVIA LÓPEZ: Well, I was hired as the lead licensed social worker there to do social work with the women and supervise two other employees that would also assist in that effort. And so, what I discovered in my experiences there were that social work in that setting at Karnes City was much different than the social work that I know as—in employing and as I know as a social work professor. And that is to say, the basic functions of advocacy, empowerment and then just engagement were really not part of the interpretation of social work at Karnes City residential center.
And so, you know, they would take the kids and the mothers back to the rooms to draw blood. And the kids, really, were just so frightened and terrified, and they cried and they screamed. And we all heard it—I did—for the week or so that it happened. And then, just one day, I just came out of my office during the time when they were taking the blood draws, and I witnessed a small child, less than two, try to escape the medical department. He was so afraid about the blood draws. And all the kids really were, but he was the one that tried to escape. And that’s what I spoke about yesterday.
AMY GOODMAN: You talk about the women being put in isolation?
OLIVIA LÓPEZ: Yes.
Northern Territory Supreme Court cannot prevent Iranian child being sent back to Nauru, judge says [ABC - 17/9/15]:
The Northern Territory Supreme Court says it does not have jurisdiction to stop a five-year-old asylum seeker being sent back to Nauru.
Lawyers for the Iranian girl launched a Supreme Court case in May, which alleged the Immigration Minister and the Federal Government had failed in their duty of care towards the girl.
The lawyers sought compensation for negligence and an injunction preventing her return to Nauru.
Earlier this year, the girl's Darwin lawyer told the ABC the girl was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and had been prescribed anti-depressants amid fears she may be sent back to Nauru.
The girl drew an image of a stick-figure person with its lips sewn shut and displayed inappropriate sexual behaviour because of what she has seen or experienced while in detention in Nauru, lawyer John Lawrence said.
She was being held at Wickham Point detention centre in Darwin while her father received medical treatment, but she has been moved with her family to community detention in Brisbane.
Justice Graham Hiley decided the Supreme Court could not grant an injunction preventing the girl being sent back to Nauru because it would be a migration-related decision.
"The granting of the injunctive relief sought by the plaintiff in the present matter would have the same effect as a migration decision," Justice Hiley said in his judgment.
"It would be an exercise of jurisdiction in relation to a migration decision."
"Even if this court does not have jurisdiction to grant such relief, it can be sought elsewhere, in the High Court and possibly the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court."
Dutton and his LNP colleague continue sadistically playing God ----> Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will personally consider the plight of a Brisbane woman in detention in Darwin following pressure from the community and a government MP. [again] ... [SBS - 17/9/15]
... Mr Dutton told the media on Friday that he would look at the case after meeting with Gosford Anglican priest Rod Bower, and receiving a letter from Mr Jafari and teachers at Yeronga High School where Ms Shamsalipoor was about to sit for the Higher School Certificate.
Father Bower said he pleaded with Mr Dutton to take on the case ‘‘personally and urgently’’ because deportation under the circumstances Ms Shamsalipoor faced represented a human rights abuse.
‘‘Here’s an intelligent young woman, married to a wonderful young man who’s keen to contribute to society, and we tear them apart and put her in detention,’’ Father Bower said.
‘‘It’s a human rights abuse. I hope the minister will take that on. He indicated that he was willing to have a look at it.’’
Mr Dutton spoke at an invitation-only community forum in Gosford organised by Liberal Robertson MP Lucy Wicks, and had only brief contact with a group of asylum seeker supporters who walked from Gosford Anglican Church to the Central Coast Leagues Club where the community forum was held.
Father Bower spoke to a rally outside the church where asylum seeker supporters had planted a sea of hearts.
Ms Smith was refused entry to the community forum and said her repeated attempts to raise the case of Ms Shamsalipoor with Mr Dutton’s office had been unsuccessful.
As the UNHCR stays mute, and Ruddock frets over migrant ghettos, another Queensland MP calls for handpicked, non-muslim Syrian refugees - who don't come by boat - to be utilised as an exploitable resource in regional areas. [ABC - 17/9/15]
The healthcare providers for asylum seekers in Australian detention [IHMS] have been referred to the federal police over allegations it misled the immigration department about the quality of care. ... [Guardian - 30/7/15]
Solidarity and indefinite detention forever ---> Airport delays expected as immigration, border protection strike over pay and conditions [ABC - 17/9/15]
CPSU Media Release [30/6/15]:
… *Customs officers can receive allowances for a range of workplace situations including being at sea, using firearms, meeting high fitness standards, working long hours, unusual shifts and performing dirty and/or dangerous work. Some of the allowances at risk in the new agreement include:
•Use of Force Allowance: for officers required to maintain specified fitness level so they can carry firearms
•Marine and Marine Accommodation Allowances: for officers deployed at sea for up to 36 days at a time
•Detector Dog Unit Allowance: for officers who work with dogs detecting controlled substances
•Removals Allowance: for officers required to escort deportees anywhere in the world, including high risk environments
•Extended Commitment Allowance; for immigration officers working for long periods in isolated locations (e.g. Christmas Island)
A customs officer at Sydney international airport confiscated a mobile phone from a passenger during a baggage search and then secretly used it to send and receive messages without the passenger's knowledge.
The man told Fairfax Media he was stopped when leaving Australia for a holiday in Turkey and Cyprus visiting his parents.
He was taken to a room where Customs and AFP officers were present. They took his phone and computer and demanded the access codes and then took his phone into another room where he could not see what was happening.
During the time he was detained and searched, the man said he was asked weird questions including how many times a day he prayed? Was his family religious? And did they have a lot of money? ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 2/8/15]
Bulgaria deploying up to 1,000 troops at Turkish border [Naharnet – 17/9/15]
France dismantles two Paris migrant camps [France 24 -17/9/15]
Remember these 10 reasons why you should never vote for Jeremy Corbyn [Stop The War Coalition UK - 16/9/15]
Japanese lawmakers scuffled on Thursday during a heated debate over a security bill that could see the military fight abroad for the first time in decades, after thousands rallied to voice their anger.
In scenes uncommon for Japan’s normally sedate parliament, members of the opposition and the ruling coalition pushed and shoved each other as a committee chairman was surrounded.
Tensions were running high after the committee vote was repeatedly delayed through Wednesday night, as opposition lawmakers blocked doorways and packed the corridors of parliament in protest.
A total of 13 people were also reportedly arrested during the evening for “interfering with officers” during a rally that saw an estimated 13,000 people gather outside parliament in Tokyo.
… [Japan Today - 17/9/15]
A Yemeni cameraman has lost his life in a Saudi airstrike against Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, as Riyadh pushes ahead with its military campaign against its crisis-stricken southern neighbor.
Bilal Mohammad Abdullah Sharafuddin, a cameraman for the Arabic-language al-Masirah satellite television network, was killed in a Saudi aerial attack early on Thursday as he was covering the aftermath of an earlier Saudi attack against the eastern al-Jaraf district of Sana’a.
Saudi fighter jets also carried out a number of air raids against a residential area in the Beit al-Miad district of Sana’a, though there were no immediate reports of casualties and no word on the extent of damage inflicted.
Separately, at least ten people were killed and many more wounded when Saudi warplanes bombarded a residential neighborhood in Sana’a. ... [Press TV - 17/9/15]
Lawyer: Palestinian detainee Muhammad Allan restarts hunger strike [Maan - 16/9/15]
The remains of another of 43 missing student teachers has been identified by forensic experts at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, Mexico's attorney general has said.
Arely Gomez said the student is Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz of the town of Omeapa, in the southern state of Guerrero, where the students disappeared nearly a year ago.
He is the second to be identified after Alexander Mora Venancio was identified last December. ... [Al Jazeera - 17/9/15]
The Massachusetts National Guard has been selected as the U.S. partner for the Republic of Kenya as part of the Defense Department’s State Partnership Program. ... [US Department of Defense - 16/9/15]
Kenyatta says new ‘business-friendly laws will transform Kenya’ [out-law – 16/9/15]:
... Kenya Private Sector Alliance chairman Dennis Awori said the new laws “will provide clarity for investors and improve Kenya’s attraction as a preferred investment destination”
The Special Economic Zones Act “will herald a new beginning for Kenya’s industrialisation”, Awori said. “Many countries, especially those in the Far East, industrialised on the back of special economic zones.”
... We also have a military training partnership with Kenya.
For example, in November every year we run a military training programme for about 30 to 40 students in Nairobi.
A number of Kenyan military officers regularly train in Australia as part of a partnership that seeks to boost safety and security. ... [Australia places trade at the centre of ties with Kenya - Business Daily Africa - 6/8/15]
Afghanistan: About 30 Taliban "insurgents" killed in Helmand clashes [TOLO News - 16/9/15]
At least four people including the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief for Paghman district in Kabul were killed and 41 others wounded in a suicide car bombing incident on Wednesday, said Kabul police.
Kabul Police Chief, Abdul Rahman Rahmani confirmed the incident and said two of the dead were civilians including a woman. ... [TOLO News - 16/9/15]
Soldiers detain Burkina Faso interim leaders [Al Jazeera - 16/9/15]
Blast in Somalia's Kismayu port city kills three soldiers: police [Daily Star - 17/9/15]
Welcome to Queensland! ... You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave ... ---> School kid in Stockton, California stopped for jaywalking refuses to comply with police orders so then things escalate [Liveleak - 16/9/15]
Oklahoma delays Richard Glossip execution amid evidence concerns [CNN - 16/9/15]:
… It's not just the facts of Glossip's particular case that activists have focused on. It's how he might be put to death.
He had been scheduled to be the first inmate to be executed in Oklahoma since a bitterly divided Supreme Court allowed the use of the drug midazolam in June.
The drug was used in the highly publicized execution of Clayton Lockett last year. Lockett's execution was one of the longest in U.S. history; he moaned and writhed on the gurney for 43 minutes before dying of a heart attack.
A state investigation linked the problem to the IV lines not being inserted correctly.
But the state did not deem it necessary to change its controversial three-drug formula. Of particular concern is the use of the sedative midazolam, also used in two other executions that went awry: Dennis McGuire agonized for 26 minutes in Ohio, and Joseph Wood gasped more than 600 times and took two hours to die in Arizona.
Oklahoma has since upped its dosage of midazolam to 500 milligrams, compared with the 100 milligrams Lockett got.
Australian arts and culture highlighted in Turkey [Foreign Minister Media Release - 17/9/15]
The Red Line and the Rat Line - Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdogan and the Syrian rebels [London Review of Books - 6/4/14]:
... In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others.
The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up.
A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line.
By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria.
A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities.
Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping.
The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.) ...
Seymour Hersh reveals potential Turkish role in Syria chemical strike that almost sparked US bombing [Democracy Now - VIDEO - 7/4/14]
US training helped mold top Islamic State military commander [McClatchy - 15/9/15]
Iraqi officials say two suicide attacks have targeted police checkpoints in commercial areas in central Baghdad, killing at least 14 people.
Police say both attacks on Thursday morning were carried out by bombers on foot, wearing explosives-laden vests. ... [Ahram - 17/9/15]
British air strikes in Iraq have killed around 330 Islamic State (IS) group fighters since they began in September 2014, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said in a statement on Thursday. ... [Naharnet - 17/9/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [16/9/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted three airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Mar’a, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Abu Kamal, two airstrikes struck two ISIL oil field wellheads.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 11 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
-- Near Baghdadi, an airstrike destroyed three ISIL rocket rails.
-- Near Beiji, two airstrikes struck one large and one small ISIL tactical units, and destroyed three ISIL vehicles.
-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL rockets.
-- Near Hit, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and 12 ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL motor tube and three ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
‘West crying for refugees with one eye, aiming gun with the other’ – Assad [RT - 16/9/15]
Bristol Herald Courier [16/9/15:
Hundreds of migrants have demonstrated near Turkey's western border with Greece, demanding that authorities allow them to cross the frontier.
Many refuse the food being handed out by a Turkish relief organization and pledge to start a hunger strike until their demands are met.
The migrants, most of them refugees from Syria, have been gathering at the border since the beginning of the week, hoping they will be allowed to cross into Greece overland instead of risking their lives at sea.
Authorities have given the estimated 1,700 people there three days to leave the area, according to an official in the provincial governor's office who provided the information on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
The AP saw several people leaving in vans back to Istanbul, but many more appeared ready to stay at the border for as long as it took.
"We are not going back," Ahmed El Latif told the AP.
"Either we all die here or we will go to Greece." ...
UNHCR reiterates its deep conviction that only a united European emergency response can address the present refugee and migration crisis. Individual measures by individual countries will not solve the problem but will make an already chaotic situation worse, further the suffering of people and increase tension amongst states at a time when Europe needs more solidarity and trust.
UNHCR is particularly concerned about a series of restrictive measures recently introduced by Hungary and the way they are being implemented, resulting in extremely limited access for refugees at the border. New legislation includes deterrence measures, some contrary to international law and European jurisprudence when applied to asylum-seekers and refugees. ... [Media Release - 16/9/15]
Refugees cross Croatia border in search of new route [Al Jazeera - 16/9/15]
@MSF_Sea [16/9/15]: After disembarking 229 people in Sicily, #DignityI is now steaming south again to assist #refugees & #migrants at sea
Spanish soccer school takes in family of Syrian refugee tripped by journalist [Mashable – 16/9/15]
Media who physically trip refugees are no different to media who invisibilise and dehumanise their plight [CNN - 16/9/15]:
... Mohsen said he understands that every country has the right to keep its land and citizens safe, but is at a loss at what he calls a lack of humanity.
"The world is witnessing a war. Killing and destruction that have never been in history before, no one can deny this reality," Mohsen said.
"But it is the right of every human to live a decent life. ... Not a lavish life, just a life free of fear and violation of humanity."
His son, he said, was injured in the fall after the camerawoman tripped him. To make matters worse, the boy got sick with a fever and was throwing up for days.
Mohsen said he plans to sue Laszlo and her former employer.
Myanmar’s military chief of staff makes official visit to Israel [Haaretz - 17/9/15]:
... During his four-day visit, Hlaing visited a number of military industries, like Israel Aerospace Industries, Elbit and Elta.
He also visited the Israel Air Force base at Palmahim, the Ashdod naval base and the Gaza Division base.
The Myanmar military is apparently purchasing Super Dvora patrol boats; in a post on his Facebook page, Hlaing reports that he and the delegation “rode and examined” a Super Dvora 3 patrol boat during a visit to the Ashdod naval base, “which is the same type of speed coastguard vessel Myanmar Navy has ordered.” ...
India denies troops entered Myanmar to act against NSCN-K [Zee News - 16/9/15]
Military personal from Kiang Dong in Rathedaung came to the village of Cerang Hara in Rathedaung and told Rohingyas to expect an attack by Rakhine mobs any time soon.
The military entered the village tract on Tuesday evening and met with the community leaders.
Here they said the Rakhines in the surrounding areas were disturbed by the free movement of the ‘Bengali Muslims’ and felt threatened by their activities.
As an act of self defence, the Rakhines were planning to attack Muslim settlements throughout the area. If that happened, the military will not be able to guarantee the safety of the Muslims, they said. ... [Burma Times - 17/9/15]
Myanmar human rights activist visits University of Kentucky
[University of Kentucky News - 11/9/15]:
On Thursday, Sept. 17, Burmese human rights activist Wai Wai Nu will speak to the University of Kentucky campus community about Myanmar’s growing political crisis with a particular focus on Buddhist nationalism and ethic violence in that country.
Wai Wai Nu was arrested as a teenager because of her father’s political activism and comes from the persecuted Muslim Rohingya community. She has dedicated herself to working for human and women’s rights.
In 2012, after seven years of imprisonment on political charges Nu was released and quickly formed the Women’s Peace Network Arakan where she now works as director.
She is 28 years old; one quarter of that time spent behind bars. In 2014, she was selected as a "100 Top Woman" by the BBC.
In June, President Obama invited her to attend a Ramadan iftar (the evening meal during the period of fasting) at the White House. She was seated at the President’s table, underscoring U.S. interest in this issue.
There are approximately one million Rohingya living in Myanmar’s Rakhine state (also known as Arakan).
Most are denied citizenship, with the government implying that they are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
They face significant restrictions on travel, education and employment.
A recent UNHCR report declared the population “stateless” and “virtually friendless amongst Myanmar’s other ethnic, linguistic and religious communities.”
Nu will speak from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, in the west end room on the 18th floor of the Patterson Office Tower. The event is free and open to the public.
Nu’s appearance on campus is sponsored by UK’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and the University of Louisville’s Center for Asian Democracy.
As Australia continues incarcerating and torturing refugees with impunity, Human Rights Watch calls on the Thai government to release 64 asylum seekers [Media Release - 16/9/15]:
Thai authorities should release 64 asylum seekers detained in a recent raid who are being held in immigration detention, Human Rights Watch said today.
The asylum seekers – including 7 children – are from Pakistan and Somalia, and possess “person of concern” documents issued by the United Nations refugee agency.
“People who are seeking refugee protection should not be detained,” said Bill Frelick, refugee program director. “Once Thai authorities became aware the people apprehended were asylum seekers, they should have found alternatives to detention for them and their children.”
On September 10, 2015, Thai officials and police raided an apartment complex in the Pracha Uthit area of Bangkok and arrested scores of Pakistani and Somali asylum seekers. Sixty-four were quickly tried for overstaying their visas, fined, and sent to the Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Center in Bangkok.
Thailand is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has never enacted refugee law and procedures. Asylum seekers in Thailand thus seek recognition of their refugee status from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has a mandate to recognize refugees but limited capacity to process large numbers of refugee claims.
Nevertheless, customary international law bars Thailand from returning asylum seekers to a place where their lives or freedom is at risk. Given its own lack of asylum procedures, Thailand should respect UNHCR-issued persons-of-concern documents and refrain from detaining or otherwise punishing people who have pending claims for international protection. Alternatives to detention for asylum seekers could include meeting reporting requirements, and providing a community group guarantor.
Among those detained are 7 children, the youngest age 14. Detention of migrant children is particularly damaging to their health and well-being. Thailand’s obligations as a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child prevent it from detaining children except as a measure of last resort for the shortest period of time.
In its 2014 report “Two Years with No Moon,” Human Rights Watch documented the dirty, cramped, and dangerous conditions faced by children in Thailand’s immigration detention centers, and found that such detention placed them at risk of permanent harm. The Thai government has continued to detain children in these centers.
“The Thai government needs to recognize that they are seriously harming children by sticking them in awful conditions in immigration detention centers,” Frelick said. “These children should be released along with the family members who care for them.”
Those detained in the September 10 raid have fled from countries with poor human rights records. In Pakistan, members of religious minorities may face discrimination, criminal charges of blasphemy, and other forms of persecution, including violent attacks. In Somalia, ongoing fighting in the south and central parts of the country has caused considerable harm to civilians, which may make Somali asylum seekers eligible for international protection under UNHCR’s Refugee Convention mandate or under its broader mandate to assist in providing protection in situations of forced displacement resulting from indiscriminate violence or public disorder.
The recent arrests in Bangkok appear part of a renewed campaign against irregular foreign migrants in urban areas. In March, authorities arrested and detained 200 refugees, again mostly Pakistani and Somali, in a series of raids authorized by a July 2014 order from the Thai military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order.
“Thailand should not be arresting asylum seekers with documents from the UN refugee office,” Frelick said. “Punishing people who are fleeing ghastly conditions at home won’t keep them away, it will just add to their misery.
One security staff member cut his mustache to look like Adolf Hitlers and kept it that way for several days.
Submission 93, Nauru Senate Inquiry:
... Over 150 asylum seekers were arrested and taken to the prison the night of the [July 2013] riot.
Many asylum seekers spent two or three weeks in the prison, before being released without charge, until around only 65 men with charges were left.
Eventually all men were released on bail to the newly formed ‘Bravo’ compound.
Those that were in prison reported horrific abuse, including those who were released without charge.
Men reported overcrowded cells and only having access to toilets once roughly every 24 hours. They reported that most men began urinating and defecating in the cells due to this. Others reported not consuming food and liquid so that they wouldn’t need to urinate or defecate on the floor of such a confined space.
Men also reported being deprived of water. Men reported prison guards refusing to give them water and pouring full bottles of water out onto the floor in front of their cell to taunt them.
Accounts such as these are documented in Case Notes on The Salvation Army’s SAMIS system, though much of this information may have gone undocumented even if verbally reported, as The Salvation Army were severely understaffed following the riot.
One man stated to me that what he went through in the Nauruan prison was much worse than anything he had ever faced in Iraq, even though the situation in Iraq forced him to flee as a refugee.
Submission 79 Nauru Senate Inquiry: ... I observed a direct correlation between DIBP messaging and self-harming and protest by asylum seekers. ...
… Twenty-three per cent of offshore asylum seekers rated moderate or severe distress on the K10 scale, nearly twice the rate in the Australian community, which reported 12% of people rating in the two highest-distress categories.
“This is a significant percentage of the total population,” IHMS said of the offshore detention K-10 figure, “and ... likely to be due to a combination of factors including the relative time in detention, morbidities in the transferee population which make them predisposed to heightened distress when faced with hopelessness, and apprehension about their future.”
But serious mental distress among those held offshore is likely to be under-reported, IHMS warned.
“It should be noted that their participation in K10 screening is voluntary and that those with higher levels of distress are probably less likely to participate in screening, meaning that this percentage is likely an underestimate.”
Asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable around significant anniversaries, the report noted.
“There may be a relation between the higher incidence of depression noted in the male population and the Bravo cohort on Nauru, who in September/October reached the 24 month milestone on island. This would be consistent with previous findings.” ... [Guardian - 17/9/15]
‘Guards brag openly about waterboarding at Nauru’ – Former immigration centre guard [RT - 21/8/15]
Nauru Senate Inquiry Public Hearing [20/8/15]:
... Senator HANSON-YOUNG: In relation to the issue of zipping, can you explain to the committee how you know about that? You have described it in quite a bit of detail. Did you see that occur yourself?
Mr Nichols: I did not actually see the action occur but I have had numerous conversations with people known to me with regard to it: that members of the ERT had secured asylum seekers to their beds with zip ties, cable ties, and thrown them into the air. This occurred after the riots. Personally, I believe it to be retribution.
Senator JOHNSTON: My last question, Mr Nichols—and I do thank you for your cooperation seriously; it is obviously not easy revisiting these things. What was the building where you saw the person wet and coughing up water?
Mr Nichols: This is a tent in Bravo compound.
Senator JOHNSTON: A tent—
Mr Nichols: Yes.
Senator JOHNSTON: in Bravo compound. Whereabouts in Bravo compound?
Mr Nichols: The actual compound is comprised solely of tents.
Senator JOHNSTON: Does this tent have an identification?
Mr Nichols: It would be tent 11.
Senator JOHNSTON: Tent 11. So you saw someone wet and coughing up water coming out of tent 11?
Mr Nichols: That is correct. …
Supplementary Submission [Mr Jon Nicholls No. 95.1]:
... Despite what one may find on the internet, at no time has Mr Nichols suggested waterboarding etc was part of some organised intelligence gathering for whomever - he says it occurred in a modern day 'Lord of of the Flies' - 'Stanford Experiment' type situation - the guilty parties did it for mere enjoyment and human nature is what it is.
There is no protection on Nauru from this behaviour because there is no Rule of Law, just arbitrary, crude and evil behaviour. ...
Each time an asylum seeker complains about their human rights or about the conditions in the centre, they are offered an appointment with IOM to discuss voluntary return.
Submission 94, Nauru Senate Inquiry
Greens and ALP Senate motion on Manus and Nauru stinks of further delay.
CLOSE THE CAMPS.
ALP and Greens Senate motion calls for reporting of value for money and transparency of refugee concentration camps by December 2016 [Senate Notice Paper - 17/9/15]:
Notice given 16 September 2015
*1 Senators Hanson-Young and Gallacher: To move—That, noting the sovereignty of the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, and within the limits of Australia‘s sovereignty, the following matters be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by 31 December 2016:
(a) conditions and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees at the regional processing centres in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea;
(b) transparency and accountability mechanisms that apply to the regional processing centres in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea;
(c) implementation of recommendations of the Moss Review in relation to the regional processing centre in the Republic of Nauru;
(d) the extent to which the Australian-funded regional processing centres in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea are operating in compliance with Australian and international legal obligations;
(e) the extent to which contracts associated with the operation of offshore processing centres are:
(i) delivering value for money consistent with the definition contained in the Commonwealth procurement rules,
(ii) meeting the terms of their contracts, and
(iii) delivering services which meet Australian standards; and
(f) any other related matter.
By not simultaneously calling to close the concentration camps on Nauru and Manus, the Greens are officially solidifying Australia's tripartisan anti-refugee policy.
As the UNHCR maintains its silence, Australia's political and media establishment announce that the majority of handpicked, non-muslim Syrian refugees - who don't come by boat - will live in Sydney and Melbourne [ABC - 17/9/15]:
... Today's meeting of the Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council will focus on arranging the complex logistical exercise, chaired by refugee advocate Paris Aristotle. ...
Syrian refugee family waits 18 months For Australian visa [Huffington Post – 11/9/15]
The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws. ... [Guardian - 19/8/14]
The United Nations Special Rapportuer on Torture has found that various aspects of Australia’s asylum seeker policies violate the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. ... [Human Rights Law Centre Media Release - 9/3/15]
Immigration head launches legal bid to keep boat turnback document secret [Guardian - 2/9/15]
... It is an extraordinary thing to think that there will be 12,000 people whose lives will be literally saved from a miserable set of circumstances that are not of their making and they'll be brought to a country like Australia where they'll be able to be embraced and looked after and fashion a new, hopeful bright future for themselves and their families. ...
Paris Aristotle - Head of the Abbott government's new Resettlement Advisory Council, CEO Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture and member of the Gillard government's Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers [ABC 11/9/15]
If you close your eyes you don't see anyone drowning. And if you cover your ears you can't hear them scream ----- > .... PARIS ARISTOTLE: I- The government has stopped the boats and I for one am glad that we haven't seen anybody drown in the last 18 months as a consequence of those boat journeys, but, we also have to examine the way in which we've done that and whether that is sustainable over the longer term. ... [ABC - 29/5/15]
... We are living in a camp in the jungle. This is where they ‘re-settled’ us. This is no place to live. If we are refugees why are we not living in community? We have no neighbours here. Our ‘neighbours’, our ‘relatives’ are mosquitoes and flies and dogs. Please listen to our issues. We want to tell you that we are here like animals. ...
Refugees protest on Nauru, 26 September 2014
[Statement and Questions from the more then fifty refugees - given ‘temporary protection visas’ to ‘re-settle’ on Nauru - 4/8/14]:
... We want to tell you that we are here like animals. In a zoo there is different animals from different countries and people go to look at them. Nauru is a zoo.
We are just different animals from different countries. People come to visit here and then asks some questions then they note it down. But we know from experience that they are doing just paper work and nothing will happen.
They just come to look at us.
Recently one man called Paris Aristotle came to our accommodation and he said he was from a NGO in Victoria. He said he is here to help us and to listen to us.
On that first day we asked him to take our problems to the media and he said that he cannot because he has good relationship with the minister!
We are confused. Is this man here for us or immigration?
The second day when he came, he came with Mark who is the deputy chief secretary of immigration and, as he told us, he is in charge of all detention centres of Australia.
When we were talking Paris was supporting Mark, not us. When we tell them some things they laughed at us. We are confused, is this man, Paris, here for us or for the DIAC? ...
Chilling footage has emerged of “war zone”-like scenes during last week’s unrest at the Manus Island detention centre, showing dozens of asylum seekers – most unconscious or semiconscious and many with serious injuries – receiving treatment from frantic staff tending to them by torchlight.
“It was like a war zone,” a witness to the filmed events told Guardian Australia. “People were covered in blood – so many people came in half an hour.”
The footage was filmed between 12.41am and 1.06am on Tuesday. Almost immediately afterwards, witnesses say, all staff on the floating accommodation block, Hotel Bibby, were asked to help, whether or not they had medical training. At this point the number of casualties increased. “The medics were short of staff.
It was chaotic,” a witness said.
The wounded asylum seekers were separated into three areas: an assessment area, a critical area and a non-critical area, according to the witness.
At 12:58am one asylum seeker, a tall, muscular, young man can be seen being brought in for assessment and then moved instantly off for further treatment. His body is limp, hanging off the end of the stretcher.
Guardian Australia has contacted a family member of Reza Barati, who said they could not identify the young man in the image.
“People were moaning, ‘Papu, Papu’ – meaning local people,” said the witness to the filmed events.
Frantic staff can be heard during the continual arrivals. One shouts to a group seemingly running with a body, “walking guys, walking”. Pools of liquid can be seen on the concrete. Blood and bruising is visible on many of the patients. A line of unused chairs rests in the assessment area, but all patients are treated on camp beds or blue mattresses.
On 18 February, the day after the unrest began, Guardian Australia reported witness accounts of the scenes at the staff accommodation block. One contractor told Guardian Australia: “They were just makeshift beds.
Transferees were carried in on sheets. Blood everywhere, crying. There were 30 or 40 clients down there. We had gunshot wounds, some with head injuries.”
The contractor took notes on what patients told her. One Iranian said: “I did nothing, I wasn’t involved in the protests, I was in my room, being good, trying to sleep. They came in my room they dragged me out of my bed and beat me. They had huge rocks in their hands and they hit my head and my body with them.”
An interpreter working for the Immigration Department, Azita Bokan, also said she saw asylum seekers with “massive head injuries” at the makeshift hospital and said she saw one patient with a slashed throat.
The Australian media are obscuring the voices of reason: [ABC - 10/9/15]:
... MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Now of course, there are still many Syrians already here in the country, I think 30,000 or something and there are also some on Manus Island. What impact is this likely to have on them do you think and what would you like to see?
GILLIAN TRIGGS [President Australian Human Rights Commission]: Well, I think this is something that needs to be thought through - and I appreciate that in the need to work quickly, perhaps this hasn't been thought through.
But the reality is that we have over 30,000 asylum seekers in Australia whose claims to refugee status has yet to be assessed, although that process is just starting now. But we also have numbers - and I'm not sure of those numbers - but we certainly have numbers of Syrians being held in closed detention both in Australia and Manus Island and Nauru, and what we're doing of course, is creating a double system that they will not be eligible for permanent residency in Australia even if they are, as we think they will be, judged to be refugees.
So we will have those on temporary protection visas and others coming in from Syria who will have permanent residency and able to work.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: So you think this opportunity that we're affording the 12,000 who we're bringing in from elsewhere should be extended to those who are already here?
GILLIAN TRIGGS: I think so. I think we frankly have to be practical about this.
The reality is that once these people are assessed, 80-90 per cent of them will pass the legal test as refugees. I think we simply have to accept that they will be Australians in one form or another and it will be far more sensible to accept that they're here fleeing conflict.
They came, as the Australian Government says, as unauthorised maritime arrivals but I think we have to simply move away from that thinking and accept that they are refugees asking our protection and they should be treated equally.
MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: And that's the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs.
Family desperate to stay in New Zealand as climate change refugees, held in police cells and could be deported at any time
Ioane Teitiota was picked up by immigration officers early on Tuesday morning - the culmination of a case that began in 2011 when he overstayed his visa.
Mr Teitiota has been fighting deportation since then, arguing that he, his wife, and their three New Zealand-born children will face rising sea levels, extreme weather and crop destruction as a result of global warming if they are forced back to Kiribati.
Mr Teitiota's wife, Angua Erika, said he was followed by three immigration officers while on his way to work on Tuesday.
"They stop at the Fresh Choice, at the supermarket." she said. "So they locked the car and they take the car, and they take Ioane to the police station."
Her voice trembled as she described how officers then visited her at home, where she was with her three children, aged seven and under.
"When the immigration came and they just discuss about what happen to Ioane, and my daughter went to the room and write the note, 'I miss you Dad, I love you so much'. She wanted me to give to one of the ladies, the immigration ladies."
Ms Erika said she did not know what would happen next, or when, but judging by a call from her husband, they could be on the move soon.
He asked her whether she had his passport. "And I said 'is this the last decision for you?' and he say, 'oh yes'."
The family argue that due to man-made climate change, it would a serious threat to their lives in the long term to go to Kiribati.
Despite taking the case through the courts, in July, the Supreme Court ruled that while they would face challenges, they would not face serious harm.
The family has been supported by a local church, and Reverend Alee Talava, who said the family was "destroyed" emotionally.
"They really don't know what to do. It's pretty hard. This is an incident which will leave quite a lot of damage to the children as well."
Mr Teitiota's lawyer Michael Kidd was today applying for bail and was also about to file an application to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for help in the family's bid to be deemed climate change refugees.
"Their right to life is going to be significantly impacted by going back to such a hostile environment," he said.
"There's a lack of fresh water, there's rising sea levels, a lack of ability to grow crops, danger from storms that are coming through, and frequent flooding."
A man has set off a number of explosive devices outside his former de facto's NSW south coast home. ... [Canberra Times - 16/9/15]
... But perhaps the worst of all harms is how endless war degrades the culture and populace of the country that perpetrates it. You can’t have a government that has spent decades waging various forms of war against predominantly Muslim countries — bombing seven of them in the last six years alone — and then act surprised when a Muslim 14-year-old triggers vindictive fear and persecution because he makes a clock for school. That’s no more surprising than watching carrots sprout after you plant carrot seeds in fertile ground and then carefully water them. It’s natural and inevitable, not surprising or at all difficult to understand. Arrest of 14-year-old dtudent for making a vlock: The fruits of sustained fearmongering and anti-muslim animus, Glenn Greenwald [The Intercept 16/9/15]
As James Blake calls for James Frascatore’s NYPD badge, hear firsthand account of police officer’s violent past [Democracy Now - 16/9/15]:
... WARREN DIGGS: Well, when I get to the police station, I’m all—my face is still burning because of all of the mace. I’m covered in mud. And they—the officers behind the desk, they are laughing, looking at me. And they’re like, "Look at this. We got the predator here." And at the time, I had dreadlocks, and my hair was all over the place. They had even pulled some of my locks out. They were laying in the driveway; when I got back home, I seen them. They’re telling me that I look like I was playing in the jungle. And I’m like, "What are you—what are you talking about?" That’s the only thing I was able to say. But they’re laughing. These are the officers behind the desk. They wasn’t even there. They don’t know what happened. They’re just cracking jokes, and Frascatore’s laughing, and the other guy that was with him, they’re all laughing.
And there was an EMS worker there, and she was trying to ask them if they would release me to her custody so she can take me to get checked up. And they were giving her a difficult time, telling her that she didn’t have any jurisdiction or anything like that. And they’re still saying stuff, laughing and all of that. So she’s going back and forth with them. And they decide to, you know, let her take me to the back to wash the mace out of my face.
So, when they bring me back to the desk, I see my girlfriend handcuffed to the chair in her nightclothes. And I’m saying, "What are you"—I’m asking, "What are you doing here?" Because all of the stuff that happened with her that’s on the tape, that happened after they took me away from the door. I was in the car and off to the precinct when all of that stuff started, so I didn’t even know that she had a problem with them. So she’s handcuffed to the chair, and they’re talking about her, too. One of the cops is like, "Which officer’s back did she jump on to get here?" And I’m like, "What are you—why is she here? Why is my wife here?" ...
South Australian man shot dead by STAR [Special Task and Rescue] police during five-hour siege [ABC - 17/9/15]
Refugee who set himself on fire dies [West Australian - 17/9/15]
17 September 2015