PNG: Constitutional challenge to Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island still progressing


PNG Loop [30/12/15]:

The National Court will hear a motion filed by Vanimo Green MP Belden Namah seeking referral of certain constitutional questions to the Supreme Court.

The motion will be heard next January 15.

Namah and his lawyer appeared before Acting Judge Danjo Koeget today after he filed an urgent application before the Human Rights track on December 17.

The motion seeks injunction orders as well as for the National Court Human Rights track to refer constitutional questions to the Supreme Court for interpretation.





PINA  [5/10/15]:

... Namah on Aug 1, 2013 began the proceedings challenging the constitutionality of arrangements made between the PNG and Australian governments on the transfer of asylum seekers from Australia to Manus for processing.

Namah argues that the arrangements between the governments were unconstitutional as they have resulted in asylum seekers being detained for long periods at the facility on Manus.

He argues that the asylum seekers have been detained without authority of a court contrary to their rights under Section 42 of the PNG Constitution. .




Manus refugee death camp – is it legal? [Workers Bush Telegraph - 29/10/15]




The Flotilla Of Hope




The Flotilla of Hope was a voyage by yacht carried out in 2004 by protesters critical of the Australian government's asylum policy. The boats sailed to Nauru, a Pacific island nation which is host to Australia's offshore immigrant detention centre.

They intended to deliver goods to those interned (most detainees are families who fled conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq), but were not allowed to land by the Nauruan government.

Under an agreement put into effect earlier that year, Australia had taken responsibility for the island's finances and civilian police force.

Following the action, asylum was granted to over half the refugees on Nauru and Aladdin Salanin who was in solitary confinement on Manus Island, New Guinea was released.

Along the way to Nauru, the Flotillas docked at Santa Cruz, a far flung island of the Solomon Islands Where they were met by the local indigenous people.

The Flotillas carried their cargo through the 12 mile No Go Zone and got to within 500 metres of Nauru coast until they were chased out by 6 Nauruan boats. ...




Flotillas of Hope sets sail for Nauru [Green Left Weekly - 2/6/04]




How many refugee boats did the Australian Navy tow back over the festive season? ---->  ‏@guardiacostiera [29/12/15]:   La motovedetta CP286 #GuardiaCostiera torna da #Lampedusa a #Livorno: 520 #migranti salvati in 2 mesi di missione




A fishing agency that oversees multi-million dollar deals with the United States says the US has jeopardised an important treaty for the region.

US fleets have reneged on a deal to purchase over 6,000 fishing days for 2016, worth over $68 million US dollars.

Despite demanding more fishing days back in August, some US operators want to give back around 2,000 days, throwing Pacific nations' budgets into disarray. ... [RNZI - 31/12/15]




Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!:  Queensland government renews contract for monopoly, outsourced rail freight provider, immediately following Julia Creek derailment [Media Release - 31/12/15]




The derailment of a fertiliser train travelling to the Port of Townsville caused the Townsville railway line to be closed for three days.

Rail, Train and Bus Union Northern District organiser Les Moffitt said the loaded Aurizon train and six wagons derailed near Warrigal about 6.15am on August 10.

“It appears that an axle broke on one of the wagons, which caused the derailment, resulting in a considerable amount of fertiliser product spilling onto the ground,” Mr Moffitt said.

Mr Moffitt said the derailment could have been due to a “rollingstock failure”.

A Queensland Rail restructure had caused hundreds of job losses along the 1032-kilometre track between Townsville to Mount Isa.

Aurizon’s Rollingstock servicing depot in Hughenden and the South Yard Workshops in Townsville have also been closed. Cloncurry Rollingstock servicing depot trade staff has also been reduced. ... [North West Star - 17/8/14]




Profit is Aurizon's "key priority" [Brisbane Times - 18/8/14]



Let 2016 be the year Australians elect politicians who stand up for strong regulation and environmental protection



Fears sulphuric acid has contaminated creek near Julia Creek train derailment [The Age - 30/12/15]





Police have revealed it could take a month to clear the wreckage of a freight train and its toxic cargo from a flood-zone in north-west Queensland. ... [Yahoo - 29/12/15]


CSG miner threatens family near Chinchilla with legal action [Lock The Gate - 23/12/15]:

Lock the Gate Alliance have slammed the decision by CSG mining company QGC (BG Group) to threaten legal action against a family of 11, just 7 days before Christmas, in order force access to their property for gas operations.

The owner of the property, and mum of 11, Narelle Nothdurft said:

“What should have been a festive season for us has been turned into a season of distress after we received a letter from QGC on Friday threatening us with legal action.

“Over the last year and half we have submitted a letter of grievance identifying 63 points about the QGC operations on and near our property and 16 formal complaints to the government and have received no support from the Queensland Government.

“We have made complaints about health issues, noise impacts and failure to undertake proper weed management, but we’ve had no proper response from anyone.

“We don’t believe Australian families should have to put up with this, and we fear for the future of our children who are experiencing daily nosebleeds and severe headaches.

“We are surrounded by 27 gas wells within a 2.5km radius of our house, and massive gas compression stations between 3 and 5 kilometres away. We’ve been forced to live in an industrial zone with no way out.

“We’ve begged the Qld Government to intervene, but they’ve done nothing, and now we find ourselves alone, at Christmas, having to respond to legal threats and intimidation by QGC” she said.

National President of Lock the Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton said “This family has been forced into an unliveable situation by QGC and the Queensland Government.

“About two months ago they locked their gates to QGC, until such time as they received real action on their concerns.

“Instead of action, they have copped the very worst of the heavy-handed legal tactics and bullying which has characterised the actions of the CSG industry dealing with landholders throughout Qld.

“In October, we put forward an urgent CSG Crisis Plan to the Qld Government to try to prevent more tragedies in the gasfields, but nothing has changed.

“We’re calling for the Qld Government to intervene urgently and to prevent QGC driving this family beyond despair.

“The Nothdurfts are seeking to have their grievances fully addressed in a manner that respects their position and concerns.

“We are calling for them to be bought out urgently so that they can rebuild their lives somewhere else, away from the destructive tactics and damaging impacts of the CSG industry” he said.




Look closely in the doorway.


Let 2016 be the year Australia elects politicians who care about human beings.



Tenterfield [28/12/15]


Signposts on a landscape ...


 Intersection Bruxner Highway, Clarence Way - between Tenterfield and Casino






... "Him no more got goodfellow dress. Missus," she said, almost crying, when I told her she must keep her clothes for herself.

I didn't know what to do; it seemed wrong to teach her to be greedy and selfish, so I had to say that I would make the lubras a new dress each. ...



'The little black princess; a true tale of life in the Never-Never land', Jeannie Gunn [1905]



Hawke, Whitlam, Fraser, Packer, Murdoch, Fairfax love-in with US: December 1975


Yanks heartily appreciate Rupert Murdoch's pro war, pro US editorial [AUSTRALIAN REACTION TO PRESIDENT FORD'S TULANE SPEECH - 24 April 1975]
































Other than issues of conscription and the Vietnam war, Australian youth are a largely passive, apolitical bunch. It's in the interests of the United States to keep it that way. [YOUTH PARA - 27 April 1973]



“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.”


Yevgeny Yevtushenko


Censored 2014


Chapter 7 Censorship That Dares Not Speak its Name: The Strange Silencing of Liberal America, John Pilger :


... The Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, believes in free speech. The Foundation’s website ( says it is “dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity.” Authors, filmmakers, and poets make their way to a sanctum of liberalism bankrolled by the billionaire Patrick Lannan in the tradition of Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford. Lannan also awards “grants” to America’s liberal media, such as Free Speech TV, the Foundation for National Progress (which publishes Mother Jones magazine), the Nation Institute, and the TV and radio program Democracy Now! In Britain, until 2011, Lannan was a supporter of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.

The Lannan Foundation was set up in 1960 by J. Patrick Lannan, who amassed a fortune, much of it in art, while he was majority shareholder of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT). Founded in the 1920s, ITT had extensive interests in Europe. In the 1930s, ITT’s companies in Germany expanded; an ITT subsidiary owned 25 percent of the aircraft company Focke-Wulf, which supplied the Luftwaffe; at the height of the Second World War, this was a majority holding.

During the American invasion of Vietnam in the 1960s, ITT produced navigation systems for laser-guided bombs and developed surveillance systems for what the Pentagon calls the “automated battlefield.”

In 1971, President Salvador Allende nationalized ITT’s 70 percent interest in the Chilean Telephone Company. As declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) files show, ITT’s response was an eighteen-point covert action plan” to overthrow Allende. According to The CIA’s Greatest Hits by Mark Zepezauer, the CIA “sponsored demonstrations and strikes, funded by ITT and other US corporations with Chilean holdings,” prior to General Augusto Pinochet’s September 1973 military coup. ITT funded El Mercurio, the Chilean daily that opposed Allende and backed Pinochet. ...




Australia's sledgehammer, Peter Mares [APO - 25/2/04]:


...  There were many Cambodians aboard the Pender Bay boat and subsequent vessels and their arrival came at a sensitive time for the Labor government of Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Hawke’s high-profile foreign minister Gareth Evans was deeply involved in crafting a peace process for Cambodia, which involved the repatriation of 300,000 Cambodian refugees from camps along the Thai border.

The federal government feared that confidence in the plan could be undermined if Cambodians in Australia were found to be refugees or if their personal stories were allowed to become public.

Hawke was quick to declare categorically that the Cambodians were not ‘political’ but ‘economic’ refugees. He said he would not allow Cambodian asylum seekers to ‘jump the queue’ of Australia’s orderly migration program.

The label ‘queue jumper’ has been used to denigrate asylum seekers arriving by boat ever since. ...



Force-feeding of refugees at a Miami immigration concentration camp sets off protests [Fusion - 30/12/15]





Nothing but prattling rubbish on the ABC over the past few days as the country burns, floods and -->   A leading Australian newspaper, The Age, has published an editorial calling for an end to Canberra's current refugee policies. ... [RNZI - 28/12/15]




It is time for Australia to set the refugees free [The Age - 28/12/15]:


... The Age believes strongly, and we will say this until the policy ends, that the strategy of turning back boats carrying asylum seekers is ignoble. It demonstrates a paucity of imagination. It has been ruthlessly executed, without proper regard for the asylum claims of those people intercepted. And it has brought this nation into disrepute around the world.

The asylum seekers who arrive here have not broken the law. We will say it again: they are not "illegals". They have used the avenues allowed to anyone under international law – under the United Nations covenants to which Australia subscribes – to seek refuge from all forms of persecution.

It is time to call an amnesty, to end the imprisonment of people who came here seeking help and a better life. It is time to recognise that jailing people in detention facilities for years on end, denying them hope or any alternative, and treating them without compassion, is the most inhumane thing that we could do – short of shipping them back to the situation that they fear in their own countries.

No good can possibly be served by detaining people a day longer in camps in Third World nations. No good is served by denying refugees who are living in Australia the right to work. No good comes from demonising refugees, by ostracising them from the mainstream community. ...




An Angel visits Malcolm Turnbull

... Tonight the box of photos and a message of goodwill towards all boat arrivals was reluctantly accepted by Federal Police who opted for a silent night. Carol singing was discouraged outside the Prime Minister’s mansion. It is unclear whether the Turnbull family was with-inn but it is known that there are rooms to spare. ...



via Julian Burnside [25/12/15]




... “It is to be hoped that Australia’s Prime Minister is no Herod and reveals his compassionate nature early in 2016, rolling back the turnback policies and allowing flights to alternative countries (such as Canada or New Zealand, still offering to take detainees) or community support for asylum seekers on the Australian mainland,” said Ms Smith.


 “These people are enterprising, have deep insight and far more to give than most wealthy immigrants we welcome. It is hard to feel Christmassy while our country causes detainees further harm”, she concluded.





How many refugee boats did the Australian Navy push back and/or sink - or do who knows what to - today? ----->  ‏@ItalianNavy [25/12/15]:   #SAR nave Zeffiro #MarinaMilitare ha ultimato soccorso di 113 #migranti 78 Uomini, 10 Donne e 15 Minori anche a #natale2015



US:  On Christmas Day faith leaders offer their churches as sanctuary to those hunted in raids [#NotOneMore - 24/12/15]:

Sanctuary Movement leaders who have offered their congregations as spaces of refuge for immigrants facing deportation are outraged by the news that Immigration Customs and Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security plans to conduct raids targeting families who have fled violence and persecution in Central America.

Faith leaders from many traditions remind our decision makers that the story of Christmas the birth of Jesus, a child born in a stable, whose refugee family then fled the political violence that could have killed him as a baby.

In defiance of a court order to stop detaining children, the Obama administration has increased the detention of families by 173% over the last several months according to the Migration Policy Institute. And now the administration has announced it will search for and deport asylum-seeking families to the danger they are seeking to escape.

In the spirit of Christmas, faith leaders are declaring they are ready to once again open their doors to provide refuge for immigrants facing deportation and unjust targeting from ICE.

“As pastors we know that each and every family is a holy family and the individuals and families who have fled violence don’t just need our prayers, they need sanctuary,” explains Rev. Alison Harrington of Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson Arizona. “We open our doors to today’s josephs and Mary’s despite ICE’s plans to deport them.

When we heard that the Obama administration is beginning plans to round up Central American families and deport them back to the violence they have been fleeing, we couldn’t help but imagine what would it have been like if the president was pharaoh in Egypt at the time of Jesus’ birth when he and his family had to run from the death squads of Herod. What if he had ordered the deportation of the Holy Family?”

Rev. Adan Mairena of West Kensington Ministry, Philadelphia, PA added, “Our elected officials cannot say ‘God bless America’ and at the same time deport, exclude, dehumanize, and criminalize those who come seeking refuge, in this case God’s children from Central America. They are those whom Jesus called ‘the least of these.’ If we continue to go down this road of moral decay the consequences will be grave.

As a Christian I stand on the side of divine law and cannot remain silent as our elected leaders give into the darkness that are works to divide God’s family as opposed to uniting it. I, and others like me, will continue to put our faith into action no matter what.”

Rev. Jim Wiltbank of St. Francis in the Foothills in Tucson, Arizona concluded, “On a day in which we celebrate angels calling out messages of hope and peace ‘for all people,’ I find it disheartening that many here in the country that I love have chosen to turn their backs on the refugee families that need to hear that Christmas message most of all.

As a Sanctuary Movement church, Saint Francis in the Foothills lovingly and eagerly invites all to discover that God will never send them away and encourages the American people to challenge their government to do that same. As Mary and Joseph were accepted into the Bethlehem family, our arms are open to those who today need to find Sanctuary far from home.”




Where's the money going UNHCR Australia



UNHCR in Jordan excitedly promotes expensive, militarised ‏border control techonology as it creeps into mainstream ---->  ‏@And_Harper [8/11/15]:  Rest of world is now waking up 2 what we are doing in #jordan w @IrisGuard @CairoAmmanBank @Refugees #innovation



UNHCR's new biometrics system helps "verify" 110,000 Myanmar refugees in Thailand [Media Release - 30/6/15]





And who will help the refugees Australia pushes away and tortures? ---->  600 refugees in Australian detention centre write open letter demanding assisted suicide [Independent - 2/12/15]






A mass attempt to scale the border fence on the Spanish island of Ceuta and reach European shores has left at least two people dead and 12 others injured, reports say.

News agencies, quoting the Red Cross, said 185 African migrants and refugees swam all the way from Morocco and made it across the border fence on Friday, and were being treated for injuries.

The incident occurred around 4am local time near Benzu, in the north of Ceuta.

Twelve others were taken hospital with cuts, fractured bones, hypothermia or symptoms of drowning, the Red Cross said. ... [Al Jazeera - 25/12/15]






United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 25/12/15]






A Palestinian was killed on Friday after she allegedly attempted to run over Israeli Border Police officers near the village of Silwad in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli police said in a statement that a woman in a vehicle approached border guards in an area where clashes were taking place.

The forces opened fire when they saw the vehicle quickly approaching, immediately killing the driver.

 Local sources identified the driver as Mahdia Mohammad Ibrahim Hammad.

Locals in the area at the time told Ma'an that Hammad was 30 meters away from the Israeli military post when forces opened heavy fire towards her.

The sources said that the woman wasn't speeding but driving at a normal pace when she was shot.

Israeli forces did not provide Hammad with medical treatment and she was left to bleed before soldiers took her body, locals added. ... [Maan - 25/12/15]





Israeli forces kill Palestinian in Gaza demo for 3rd Friday in a row [Maan - 25/12/15]




Palestinians in Syria desperately need Yarmouk truce [Al Jazeera - 25/12/15]




... This millennia-old bond between Palestine and Christianity has been put at risk in a number of ways. First and foremost, Israeli policy has fostered a climate that has created separation and segregation between communities. It has created a climate where millennial-settler Jews making an exclusive claim to the ancient sites are emboldened.

The head of the extremist Jewish group Lehave, Benzi Gopstein, called this week for a ban on Christmas in the Holy Land. “Christmas has no place in the Holy Land,” he wrote.

“Let us remove the vampires [Christians] before they once again drink our blood.” ...  The politics behind the flight of Christians from the Holy Land [Middle East Monitor - 25/12/15]





What are crimes against humanity?



“Crimes against humanity” include any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:


deportation or forcible transfer of population;
rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds;
enforced disappearance of persons;
the crime of apartheid;
other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.




Refugees and people smuggling:  What the Australian media refuse to challenge [Independent Australia - 26/10/14]:


... In November 2000, the UN drafted and approved a Smuggling of Migrants protocol, which excluded the movement of refugees from the criminal elements of crossing borders without papers and stating clearly that people must not be punished simply for being smuggled.

[See the legal opinion by Professor Ben Saul, an international law expert, here.]

There have been two Senate inquiries into the stories of people smugglers, after children as young as 13 were found to be gaoled in adult prisons in Western Australia.

Not one expert agreed with the Government position that seeking asylum had anything to do with people smuggling, because it is legal to cross borders without papers for the purposes of seeking asylum, even under Australian law.

Even after those two investigations, children being gaoled in adult prisons, other children being kidnapped by Australia and their families in Indonesia forced to think they had died at sea, we continue to have a media that refuses to ever concede it is not people smuggling to seek asylum in any other country but here. ...




Democracies do not stop people from seeking asylum by locking them in gulags or pushing away refugee boats.



Democracies do not have an obsequious media who do everything but tell the truth and expose cover ups.



Democracies do not have apologist, wishy washy NGOs, human rights groups and spineless professional associations who never challenge the demented, lying ideology of  "deterrence".



Democracies are not two party duopolies.




ALP helps Abbott lock in offshore detention [ABC - 24/6/15]




Nauru Senate Inquiry - August 2015 - 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.  ...




... It is his fourth birthday in one of our detention camps.

It is the first birthday he will spend separated from his beloved sister Nazanin.

 Omid and his mother remain imprisoned in our detention camp on Nauru.

Nazanin remains imprisoned in a detention camp in Australia. ... via Janet Galbraith [25/12/15]




Sydney Morning Herald [25/5/15]:

...The 23-year-old asylum seeker has told Fairfax Media that she was leaving the detention centre on a day release last Saturday when she claims that someone jumped out from behind her, put his hand on her mouth and forcefully pulled down her top.

She said she was then forced to give violent oral sex for over an hour as her assailant bit her breasts and shoulders.

After her attacker fled, the naked, distressed and disorientated woman managed to find a local police unit who put her in the back of their truck.

"They didn't take me back to the police station, they decided to take me with them to watch the fireworks for Nauru's constitution day," she said in a statement.

"It was not until hours later that the police asked for an interpreter".

She claims that she was asked to repeat the story of her assault three times without receiving medical attention.

Last week Nauruan police said that there was no suggestion that anyone had assaulted her.

In a statement they said the woman was found walking in a nearby street naked after failing to return to the the detention centre on Saturday night.

"There is no injury to her or any sign of other physical force or trauma," the Nauru Police Force said.

In an about face last week, the police force have since launched an investigation and promised to "find the person who did this".





Nauru: mother of alleged gang-rape victim attempts suicide [Guardian – 7/10/15]:


... Workers on the island have told Guardian Australia camp managers resisted moving Nazanin to Australia even as she went into organ failure, but came under sustained pressure from doctors who warned she would die if she was not moved. ...




End the torture of Nauru rape victim Nazanin's mother - bring her to her daughter's side [PETITION]




Brother of alleged rape victim claims he was urinated on by guards in Nauru [The Age – 9/9/15]



PNG police stabbed me then urinated in my mouth – Victim’s aunt [PNG Loop – 29/11/15]




... The children told their lawyer Masalhah that the IDF soldier did not give them water and food, and when they asked for water, the IDF urinated over their faces and ordered them to open their mouths to drink. They then forced them to drink the water in the toilet seat and took some pictures. ... [Occupied Palestine - 10/12/10]




How many refugee boats did the Australian Navy push back and/or sink today? --->   @digwithit [25/12/15]:  Dawn breaks Dawn breaks, Christmas, #Lesvos. Spare a thought today, for those on the 'unarmed road of flight'. #refugeeswelcome




... Morally, it is Australia’s neighbours to whom it owes its first duty of assistance. ...  Catherine Renshaw  [The Conversation – 9/9/15]



Australian media continue helping the government exploit Syrians to whitewash human rights atrocities against refugees who try to reach Australia by boat [SBS - 25/12/15]




Guardian [11/12/15]:

Secret federal government documents cast doubt over whether Australia told Indonesia and the United Nations about a retrospective ban on taking refugees from official channels.

In November last year Australia announced it would no longer accept refugees who applied for resettlement through the UN’S refugee agency in Indonesia.

The ban applied to anyone who registered with the UNHCR from 1 July 2014.

An undated draft talking point document, released by the department of immigration under freedom of information, suggests Jakarta and the UNHCR were not consulted before the changes were made public.

“It has always been our intention to discuss these measures with the government of Indonesia and the UNHCR before any announcement was made,” the talking points say.

It was regretted information about the measures had “entered the public domain before these discussions could take place”.

But another document said the Australian embassy in Jakarta briefed Indonesian officials in September and November last year before an official ministerial announcement on 18 November.

The department insists the first document was a draft and was not used.

According to the UNHCR, there were 11,186 refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia in December 2014.

The documents show the federal government cut the refugee intake – for those who were registered with the UNHCR before the deadline – to 450 in the 2014-15 financial year.

The figure was 150 fewer than the previous two years.

The documents blamed an increase in places allocated to Syrians and Iraqis from the Middle East for the cut in refugees in Indonesia.

“This measure is designed to reduce the movement of asylum seekers to Indonesia and encourage them to seek resettlement in countries of first asylum,” they say.

Australia accepted more refugees from Indonesia than any other resettlement nation. In 2013 New Zealand resettled 78 refugees, Sweden seven and the US five. More than 186 refugees were resettled by other countries last year.




A functioning media would ask Plibersek - and the other ALP and LNP fascists - "why?":  Plibersek: People coming to Australia by boat should not expect to be accepted into our refugee & humanitarian intake ...   "tweeted" by ‏@ABCNews24 [30/9/15]




Former boat refugee now a leading orthopaedic surgeon [Tweed Shire Echo - 3/11/15]



Yahoo [21/9/15]:


... Sydney-based orthopaedic surgeon Munjed Al Muderis, who fled Iraq in 1999, said he still met people who judged him because he arrived in Australia by boat.

At a recent high-profile event, a "senior member of Australian society" had asked how the 43-year-old -- who has met Britain's Prince Harry because of his pioneering work with amputees -- came to be invited after he revealed he was a boat refugee, Al Muderis told AFP.

The man changed his tone after his wife revealed she had read about Al Muderis' life story in the media.

"He realised I'm a human being, I'm normal, I can speak English and I can articulate and... I'm the guest of honour, not him."



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.



... The Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers and the Rwandan genocide did not start with the slayings.


It started with the dehumanization of a specific group of persons. ...


UN official welcomes proclamation of International Day to honour victims of genocide [Media Release - 14/9/15]




Vietnamese Boat People Monument, Brisbane


In memory

Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese boat people perished at sea on their journeys seeking freedom from 1975 - 1995.

In Gratitude

In the hour of our greatest need - you were there

We thank you Australia



... “We chose [to come to] Australia because they knew about human rights,” she said.


“We didn’t know that they really don’t care about humans.” ...




Guardian [13/1/14]:

... She was on the first asylum seeker boat to arrive in Australia after Kevin Rudd announced mandatory offshore processing last August.

The boat arrived just hours after the announcement, and had left Indonesia when settlement in Australia was still possible.

Her story starts from the moment she got off the boat and, on the day Guardian Australia releases the letter signed by 15 doctors on Christmas Island that forensically documents shocking allegations of medical malpractice in immigration detention, continues with the revelation of devastating flaws in the medical provision she and Soroush were offered in detention.

 “Nobody asked for our permission,” Nazanin said when asked if she knew she was being photographed during that moment.

She says she was moved to a hall where all those on her boat were told they would not be allowed to remain in Australia. And then the cameras rolled.

“Three days after that,” she says, “I just saw my photos in the internet. But nobody [at the time] talk to me about my photos and videos and all that things.”

For Nazanin their publication has exacerbated the suffering. She says they revealed her identity to those she was trying to flee in Iran.

“Unfortunately I saw my picture in every site and again unfortunately in my country every media is showing my picture, and my family, and my relatives and my friends all of them saw my picture and it was really bad for me because of our political issues.

“The intelligence service in our country went to our houses and threatened our family,” she said.

 For Soroush [husband], Nazanin says, the news of his family being threatened was a hard blow.

Soroush has epilepsy but, according to Nazanin, had not suffered a seizure for three years before arriving in Australia.

After a month in detention and after hearing of the threats, his seizures began again.





Important  lecture about seeking asylum - and how Australia is trashing the UN Refugee Convention ----> Professor Alison Mountz, of Harvard University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, responds to and challenges the crisis narratives unfolding in the media as she discusses political struggles over the erosion of asylum taking place globally. This talk explores shifting geographies of migration and border enforcement in major transit sites where migrants and asylum seekers seek entry and protection. The talk dwells in islands and enforcement archipelagos, offshore sites where struggles over entry and exclusion transpire and where the infrastructure of border enforcement and detention are growing. ... [VIDEO - Centre for International Governance Innovation - 12/11/15]




Is that too much to ask?  ----->  ... At this time of year I would you all to think about the pain of fathers, mothers, and children who are seeking peace and security.   We ask just for a little bit of sympathy from you.  ... Abdullah Kurdi  [Independent - 23/12/15]




As LNP and ALP fascists toast another year of trashing the UN Refugee Convention ----->  Save Mohammad Albederee [24/12/15]:



 Mohammad returned to Manus Island Detention Centre last Thursday 17th December and has received no medical treatment since that time.

He has not had fluid for 6 days or antibiotics for his infected stomach, intestines or liver.

This is because IHMS refuse to give him life sustaining treatment in his room and have told him he has to go to the clinic which he doesn't want to do.

He does not want to be socially isolated in the clinic again like he was in hospital and motel in Port Moresby.

Minister Dutton was advised of this situation yesterday but as of this morning IHMS have still not administered treatment in his room.

He has attempted to drink sweet tea but as always has vomited for hours and caused himself intense pain.

Minister Duttons office are in an extended meeting today and not receiving calls or allowing messages to be left




Julian Burnside [24/12/15]:


The Manus detention centre is supposed to hold only adult men. It is far too harsh for women or children: even the Immigration Department understand that.

A Rohingyan boy has been held there for 18 months and he is still only 17. This will be his second Christmas on Manus.

A colleague sent me a message about him. It includes the following:



“… He is currently 17 years of age, by his own account, and has been detained on Manus for over 25 months, since he was 15 years old. He no longer remembers his date of birth, but knows he was born in 1999. He is Rohingya, from Myanmar. He left Myanmar following a riot, in 2012.

The reason Immigration officials have recorded his age as older than this, leading to his detention, is that he has falsified papers, a “Family List”, required to obtain a White Card which allowed him to travel within Myanmar. His parents recorded his age as several years older, to facilitate the family moving.

[xxx] says he told Immigration, “100 times”, that his age was recorded incorrectly, and the reason for it, but they would not listen. He does not look older than 17 currently, and I am sure would have looked much younger over two years ago. …”

Leave aside the misery and degradation in Manus; leave aside the fact that we are holding innocent people there and treating them with conspicuous cruelty, on the logic of hanging a dead fox on the fence. The fact is that he is a child. If we have to lock up children, it should not be on Manus.

But we should not be locking up people who have committed no offence anyway. We need to be conscious of the harm we are inflicting, especially at Christmas time.




... When I was in the Foxtrot camp, groans and cries of miserable, homeless human beings broke the dark silence of the island.

Once I climbed up a big tree to attempt to see why the people were crying.

Looking down I saw a very distressing scene. A thin boy who suffers from psychological problems had fallen into the ooze and slime near the fence.

 I could not tell if he was conscious.

His beaten face was clear under the weak lamp light.

He lay like a foetus in the uterus. His clothes were ragged and scruffy.

Four ERT guards were sitting on chairs just beyond where he lay watching his bloody body.

One of them caressed the prisoner’s body with a thin piece of wood in his hands. ...  Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish journalist and an honorary member of PEN International, writes from Manus Island, where he has been interned for 29 months [AIM - 10/12/15]:




How many refugee boats will the Australia Navy - with the approval of the political, media, human rights establishment and NGOs -  push away today?  --->  ‏@ItalianNavy [24/12/15]:   #SAR ieri nave Fenice #MarinaMilitare ha soccorso 104 #migranti Guarda i #VIDEO



Merry Christmas Y'all:  Psychopaths consider ramping up bombing campaign across Syria and Iraq [CNN - 24/12/15]



United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 24/12/15]



US bombs Helmand Province in Afghanistan [Reuters - 23/12/15]



Chicago 'Black Christmas' protesters march against police violence [Reuters - 24/12/15]



... a #Christmas card to share with MPs and Senators this season ...


Image: @Mel_Newby [24/12/15]





Arbitrary "code of conduct" ruling re-imprisons asylum seeker who arrived by boat in 2011 - and is now on hunger strike, Christmas Island [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 24/12/15]:

Refugee advocates are growing increasingly concerned for the welfare of an Iranian asylum seeker, Ali Sadaat, detained on Christmas Island.

The 21-year-old man has been on hunger strike for 11 days, and his condition is deteriorating.

Ali was just 17 years old when he arrived by boat in Australia on 1 November 2011. Although his claim for asylum was initially rejected, Ali was released into community detention.

He converted to Christianity in December 2012. He had been attending school and living in the community in Sydney.

But Ali is a victim of the draconian ‘code of conduct’ rules which have been used to re-detain scores of asylum seekers for breaching the code even when charges have been dropped or dismissed by the police or the courts.

This Ministerial power allows a form of “double jeopardy” under which asylum seekers may be effectively imprisoned by the Minister even when they are of no interest to the police or the judicial system.

Ali was re-detained in Sydney in late 2013, after police found him on a train with alcohol. He was later fined $700 and given a nine months good behaviour bond.

But for that misdemeanour, the Immigration Department has used its ‘code of conduct’ rules to imprison him for over two years. It is a punishment out of all proportion to any offence he may have committed on the train.

Ali was initially re-detained in Villawood; he was then sent to Darwin in 2014 and was sent to the Christmas Island, around 10 weeks ago.

Despite requests for Ministerial intervention, supported by many Australian citizens and church congregations, Ali has been left in detention.

Ali has been now been waiting months for the results of a departmental review of his case.

Despite being involved in on-going legal matters (including one case about his Christian beliefs) which are not due to come before the courts until the middle of 2016 at the earliest, the Immigration Department has refused to issue Ali with a bridging visa that would allow him to live in the community.

“The injustice of Ali’s detention is obvious. There is every reason for Ali to be released. The Minister has the power to intervene in Ali’s case and do the right and sensible thing,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Being re-detained has not only robbed Ali of more than two years of his life; it has robbed him of hope and his mental health. His hunger strike is a desperate plea for justice. The Minister should urgently intervene.”





... Rintoul said asylum seekers on Nauru believe at least another five incidents have occurred.

"You have got officially sanctioned sexual harassment here. There has been a complete lack of response, there have been two formal complaints but no indication so far the search procedures have been altered," he told HuffPost Australia.

"They have allowed for far more intrusive search which the women are finding distressing."

Another refugee advocate, South Australian-based Jeanie Marie Walker, is in touch with many detainees on Nauru and told HuffPost Australia she had heard similar claims of male guards strip-searching female detainees.

 "This stuff is happening all the time. The amount of stuff we hear, nothing is surprising," she said.

"There was a lot of that in the investigation into Nauru. You do hear of that stuff going on. It’s disgusting, but it is going on all the time." [Huffington Post - 24/12/15]



United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria

US Department of Defense [23/12/15]:

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.

Strikes in Syria

Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight strikes in Syria:

-- Near Hawl, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL building, an ISIL vehicle, four ISIL fighting positions, and an ISIL rocket system.

-- Near Hasakah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Manbij, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Mar’a, two strikes destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns and two ISIL mortar systems.

-- Near Raqqah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

Strikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 24 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Huwayjah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Habbaniyah, five strikes struck four ISIL staging areas and an ISIL headquarters.

-- Near Mosul, eight strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL building, an ISIL crane, an ISIL bulldozer, two ISIL excavators, two ISIL vehicles, five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL light machine gun and an ISIL checkpoint and wounded an ISIL fighter.

-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL bunker, 19 ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL sniper positions, an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, four ISIL rocket-propelled grenade positions, two ISIL recoilless rifles, two ISIL grenade launcher positions, two ISIL heavy machine gun positions, three ISIL command-and-control nodes, two ISIL bed-down locations, an ISIL staging area, cratered an ISIL-used road and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Fallujah, one strike destroyed an ISIL bunker.

-- Near Kisik, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Tal Afar, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.








The UN “cannot independently confirm” information presented in Amnesty International’s report on alleged civilian casualties of Russian airstrikes in Syria. The Russian defense ministry dismissed the paper’s findings as “cliches” lacking hard evidence 

The human rights watchdog’s latest report exposing “Russia’s shameful failure to acknowledge civilian killings” is focused on six attacks in Homs, Idlib and Aleppo provinces, which the NGO pinned on “suspected Russian airstrikes.”

Amnesty researched the attacks “remotely”, going as far as to accuse Russia of war crimes by causing “massive destruction” of residential areas through the alleged use of internationally prohibited cluster munitions.

The information presented in the Amnesty International report was alarming, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, noting, however, that the UN cannot verify the NGO’s sources and findings.

“The Secretary General notes with concern Amnesty International report on alleged violations of international humanitarian law resulting of the Russian airstrikes in Syria. The UN cannot independently confirm the cases presented in the report,” Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq said.

Based on witness accounts gathered via phone interviews, information from local human rights defenders and after reviewing videos and pictures posted online, Amnesty came to the conclusion that at least 200 civilians had been killed in at least 25 Russian airstrikes since the air campaign began. ... [RT - 24/12/15]





Beijing and Damascus agree on 3 principles for peace process in Syria [TASS - 24/12/15]




50 Taliban insurgents killed in Afghan Special Forces operation in Helmand [Khaama - 24/12/15]




A 15-year veteran of the New York Police Department (NYPD) was among the victims killed in a suicide bombing near Bagram air base outside Kabul earlier this week.

The detective, Joseph Lemm, was on his third voluntary deployment to Afghanistan when he and five other Americans were killed in the attack while out on patrol. ... [TOLO News - 23/12/15]




... in Yemen, tribal sources say a U.S. drone strike killed four people in the central Nata district Tuesday.

This comes as Somali government officials say a suspected U.S. drone strike hit al-Shabab training camps in the Lower Shabelle region overnight Tuesday.

The number of casualties has not been reported. [Democracy Now - 23/12/15]




Fire at Saudi hospital kills 25, injures 107 [Reuters - 24/12/15]



@MSF_Sea [23/12/15]:   ... The #Argos with 511 rescued #people including 95 women and 5 kids on board is now headed for #Augusta.




Greek authorities say a small plastic boat carrying migrants from Turkey to Europe has sunk off an eastern Greek islet and at least 13 people, mostly children, have drowned.

The coastguard said another 15 people had been rescued, while a search was under way to locate one missing person.

The dead were identified as seven children, four men and two women. ... [Guardian - 23/12/15]




@MSF_Sea [22/12/15]:   In #Lesvos the silent protests continue at #Moria camp where #Moroccans & #Algerians are not allowed to register...




One million refugees and migrants have fled to Europe in 2015 [Oxfam - 23/12/15]:



As the number of people fleeing to Europe passes one million, Oxfam is calling on the international community to address what is a global crisis.

 The uncomfortable truth is that the conflicts and brutality fuelling refugee migration have grown in recent years to unprecedented levels. 

 Natalia Alonso, Head of Oxfam's European Union office, said: "The real issue here is a global migration crisis that is not being adequately addressed. The international community's response must address both root causes and the needs of people caught up in the resulting migration - we need to support people in both the long and the short term. The countries most affected by this increase in refugees are outside Europe. The impact on Europe constitutes only a fraction of the crisis that has arisen from conflicts that have grown and spread across the Near and Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa.

"The European Union needs to guarantee the safety of those who have fled conflict and political instability to seek refuge in Europe. Everyone has the right to protection and safety, and under international law we are also committed to providing that safety to refugees feeling conflict and political turmoil. Providing them with the chance to rebuild their lives is our way of making a huge difference."




Rohingya invisibilised, abandoned as IOM AND UNHCR both take credit for "resettling" 22 Myanmar Karen refugees from Thailand to South Korea [UNHCR Media Release - 23/12/15]:



... "For the resettled families, today marks an important change in their lives as refugees after their terrible experiences back home and long years of exile in Thailand," said Dirk Hebecker, UNHCR's representative in South Korea.

"Now a difficult road lies ahead for them to achieve full integration, which will depend largely on the hospitality of the receiving communities in South Korea."

The four families will start their lives in South Korea at the Immigration Reception Centre located in Incheon, where they will stay for six to 12 months taking basic courses in the Korean language, culture and occupational skills.

The Justice Ministry said that they are likely to live around Gyeonggi Province, adjacent to the capital Seoul, as there is already an existing Myanmar community in the area.




Immigration detention centres in S Korea in violation of law regulations [The Hankyoreh - 9/2/10]:


... The report also revealed that overpopulation at the detention centers occurred frequently among centers located in the capital region.

The Seoul Detention Center confined 18,153 individuals last year (an average of 49 individuals housed per day).

The Incheon Detention Center confined 84.5 individuals per day.

The Justice Ministry recommends 45 and 73 respectively as a proper number of individuals to be detained at those facilities. ...




Stay where you are and accept your fate, or go back to Myanmar:  US Ambassador stomps around Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and issues weaselly worded statement about "durable solutions" [BNI - 24/12/15]




Myanmar authorities have tightened security at a town in western Rakhine state after the boat people remaining at a camp in Maungtaw Township fled last week, according to officials Monday.

An official from Rakhine’s immigration department who wished to remain unnamed as he was not authorized to speak to media told Anadolu Agency that 28 people, who authorities say are from neighboring Bangladesh, escaped the temporary camp.

“All 28 boat people including women and children fled the camp last week. We informed Bangladesh authorities about it,” he said by phone.

He added that authorities do not know whether the escapees were still in Myanmar or had crossed the border. 

“They frequently asked us to send them back to their country as they don’t want to be here anymore, but the Bangladesh authority is working slowly,” he said. ... [Anadolu Agency - 22/12/15]




The Rohingyas’ Plight [International Policy Digest - 23/12/15]:


... The Burmese government and their multinational corporate partners are interested in tapping Rakhine’s massive oil and gas reserves.

Rakhine’s strategic location by the Bay of Bengal also creates a demand for Burmese commercial access to the area. State-owned China National Petroleum Corporation is funding $2.5 billion on the Kyaukpyu (a Rakhine port city) Shwe Gas Pipeline, which will shuttle oil in between China and the Bay of Bengal.

Locals have staged protests against it, complaining that all the proceeds from the endeavor will go to either Chinese businessmen or Burmese politicians.

Thus, the recent opening-up of Burma’s economy to the outside world must be viewed with a critical eye, rather than just with blind praise. ...




Rwanda to appeal British refusal to extradite genocide suspects [Yahoo - 24/12/15]




Video shows Israelis celebrating wedding by stabbing photo of Dawabsheh baby [Forward - 23/12/15]: 


... In the video, party-goers stab a photo of the Dawabshe family and wave knives, rifles, pistols and Molotov cocktails.

The crowd chants the words to a song that includes a verse from Judges 16:28, in which Samson says, “Let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

However, the crowd substitutes “Palestinians” for Philistines. ...




13 shot by Israeli forces, Hebron school tear gassed [Maan - 23/12/15]







Two Palestinians from Qalandiya were shot and killed after carrying out a stabbing attack at the Jaffa Gate of East Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli police said.

The attack left one Israeli killed and another injured, while Israeli media reported that a third Israeli was accidentally shot at the scene and later succumbed to their wounds.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said that the Israeli that was shot at the scene was likely hit by live fire when border guards opened fire on the attackers. ... [Maan - 23/12/15]




The movement of residents in Ras Al-Wad southwest of Bethlehem has been cut off for weeks by Israeli military forces, locals said Wednesday.

A resident told Ma’an that the forces closed off the main entrance to the small village with large mounds of dirt around three weeks ago, and the road has remained closed since. ... [Maan - 23/12/15]





Israel gives settlement products to US as Christmas gifts [Middle East Eye - 23/12/15]




It's not a bank, nor an insurance company, central bank, finance ministry or sovereign wealth fund. But it advises or owns such institutions. It operates virtually unregulated, often in the background, yet there is scarcely a company, country or region of the planet that this, the world's largest asset management firm, does not touch or influence.

At a mere 27 years of age, BlackRock manages $4.5 trillion in assets, making it the single largest investor on Earth. It manages more wealth than Japan and Germany have in GDP. In fact, only China and the United States have a larger GDP than BlackRock has assets under management. Yet when one includes assets that the company not only manages, but advises upon, the number soars to around $15 trillion, roughly equal to US GDP. ... [Truthout - 23/12/15]




Financial core of the Transnational Corporate Class [Project Censored - 9/9/13]





Obama plans large-scale raids to deport refugee families who fled Central American violence [Washington Post - 23/12/15]



"Free the Children" and "Kids Out" is not "a start". 


It is a deliberately cruel and cynical effort to confuse and sideline the growing - AND EXPLICIT - call for Australia to start complying with our international obligations.





















Guardian [11/12/15]:

Secret federal government documents cast doubt over whether Australia told Indonesia and the United Nations about a retrospective ban on taking refugees from official channels.

In November last year Australia announced it would no longer accept refugees who applied for resettlement through the UN’S refugee agency in Indonesia.

The ban applied to anyone who registered with the UNHCR from 1 July 2014.

An undated draft talking point document, released by the department of immigration under freedom of information, suggests Jakarta and the UNHCR were not consulted before the changes were made public.

“It has always been our intention to discuss these measures with the government of Indonesia and the UNHCR before any announcement was made,” the talking points say.

It was regretted information about the measures had “entered the public domain before these discussions could take place”.

But another document said the Australian embassy in Jakarta briefed Indonesian officials in September and November last year before an official ministerial announcement on 18 November.

The department insists the first document was a draft and was not used.

According to the UNHCR, there were 11,186 refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia in December 2014.

The documents show the federal government cut the refugee intake – for those who were registered with the UNHCR before the deadline – to 450 in the 2014-15 financial year.

The figure was 150 fewer than the previous two years.

The documents blamed an increase in places allocated to Syrians and Iraqis from the Middle East for the cut in refugees in Indonesia.

“This measure is designed to reduce the movement of asylum seekers to Indonesia and encourage them to seek resettlement in countries of first asylum,” they say.

Australia accepted more refugees from Indonesia than any other resettlement nation. In 2013 New Zealand resettled 78 refugees, Sweden seven and the US five. More than 186 refugees were resettled by other countries last year.




@NaqshMurtaza [23/10/15]:   Refugees in Indonesian Detention Camp of Pontianak asking @UNHCR & @IOM_Indonesia to hear their voices.




Sydney Morning Herald [16/10/15]:


A group of 120 refugees stuck in Pekanbaru, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, have gone on a hunger strike to protest their frustration over delays to their resettlement in a third country.

Ahmad Zaki, a Hazara refugee from Pakistan, said the refugees wanted the UN refugee agency to come to Pekanbaru to discuss their resettlement cases and open an office in the Sumatran city.

"We are waiting for our resettlement process from more than one year," Mr Zaki said. "I want to go to Australia or any other country."

The men, who are from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Myanmar, have been found to be genuine refugees by the UNHCR. Their accommodation, medical care and a living stipend is paid for by the International Organisation of Migration.

"We tried to contact UNHCR many times. They make excuses every time. They reached other cities every two to three months regularly," Mr Zaki said.

About 13,000 asylum seekers and refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Indonesia.

Many found to be genuine refugees remain stranded in the archipelago while the UNHCR tries to find a third country in which to resettle them.

In an interview with Fairfax Media last week, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Indonesia was not a destination country for refugees.

"So we hope that countries like Australia could take more. But of course I understand the domestic situation," she said. "Shared responsibility, shared burden is very important. I leave it to the UNCHR to have a discussion with destination countries that belong to the Convention [relating to the Status of Refugees]."




How many refugee boats did the Australian navy push away today?


 #UltimOra #SAR nave Cigala Fulgosi #MarinaMilitare soccorre un secondo gommone recuperando oltre 100 #migranti e 1 salma


"tweeted" by ‏@ItalianNavy [22/12/15]




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.’

Writing in The Australian, Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds makes a more reluctant argument for the same conclusion: that organisations supporting refugees should embrace the opportunity for bipartisan consensus by abandoning active support for the principle of non-refoulement:


Although we may not like turnbacks, it is clear the policy is here to stay. Now we and other advocates for the rights of asylum-seekers must look beyond this aspect of the policy and concentrate our efforts on implementing a genuine regional framework, which we have long called for.


As NGOs have taken on major government contracts for refugee and asylum-seeker services, such as the $19m contract Save the Children currently holds with the detention facilities on Nauru, these organisations have become structurally invested in maintaining government control over asylum seekers.

But liberal humanitarians are more deeply invested in government control over asylum seekers than can be explained by any direct financial benefit.

They may disagree with right-wing conservatives on how many refugees should be accepted, or the details of how those who are turned away should be treated, but they share the premise stated by John Howard during the Tampa crisis: ‘We will decide who comes here and the manner in which they come.’  ...




Get Up petition calls on Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Attorney General to ratify OPCAT [Guardian - 24/12/15]




In August, a Senate motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT [Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment] didn't even get to a vote because Queensland ALP Senator Claire Moore objected




Senate Hansard [11/8/15]:

Senator WRIGHT (South Australia) (15:54): I ask that general business notice of motion No. 782 standing in my name for today, relating to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, be taken as a formal motion.

The PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to this motion being taken as formal?

Senator Moore: Yes.

The PRESIDENT: There is an objection.

Senator WRIGHT: I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator WRIGHT: I am greatly concerned that the government has chosen to deny me a chance to put this important motion to expedite the ratification of OPCAT, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. This OPCAT was voluntarily signed up to by an Australian government in 2009, and since then both Labor and coalition governments have inexplicably dragged their feet in its ratification. OPCAT would ensure independent monitoring and reporting on places of detention in Australia, all those places where some of the most overlooked marginalised and powerless people are kept detained: prisoners in jails and police lockups, patients in psychiatric facilities, young people in juvenile detention, and asylum seekers. With very recent examples of deaths in custody and cruel and inhumane treatment of people detained, it is very disappointing that I have been prevented from putting this motion today. It is crucial to fully ratify the protocol and set clear time frames to implement. Australia's own good standing is at stake.

Senator FIFIELD (Victoria—Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (15:55): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator FIFIELD: Just for the sake of accuracy, while the government does not support Senator Wright's motion, it was the opposition that denied formality on this occasion.

Senator MOORE (Queensland) (15:56): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator MOORE: Yes, Senator Wright, we did deny formality to this important motion, because it is our longstanding practice. Where we have an issue such as this which is complex and creates a number of complex situations and also determines significant discussions across all states and territories, we believe it is not appropriate to use the notice of motion process for that, and that is our standard practice.




No matter your view on asylum seekers and offshore detention, a prohibition on torture is something we can all support, writes Greens Senator Penny Wright, who will present a motion to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture to Parliament today. ... [Lawyers Weekly - 11/8/15]




Aboriginal man found dead in custody four hours after routine court appearance [Guardian - 22/12/15]




An investigation into the brutal bashing of an Indigenous inmate soon after he arrived at Canberra's jail has ended and no criminal charges will be laid, ACT Policing says.

Steven Freeman, 24, was bashed unconscious and needed urgent surgery after he was attacked in the Alexander Maconochie Centre several hours after he was remanded in custody in late April. ... [Canberra Times - 23/12/15]




Torture, rape and humiliation of women. It's bipartisan, and supported by the Australian media ---->  ... They were allocated housing by Nauru and Australian governments.

Then Connect – a consortium of the Multicultural Development Association (MDA) in Queensland and Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) in Victoria – was contracted to provide caseworkers to oversee any difficulties.

The young single women were placed in isolated housing without security.

Late at night drunken locals knock down their doors with flimsy locks and invade their rooms.

The women barricade themselves in the bathrooms and ring Connect for help:

“I miscall her – I had no credit. She rang and said that she will ring me tomorrow. It was 3am. No help.” ... [Guardian - 10/10/15]  





Another Nauru MP is asking why the Commonwealth Secretariat's observer mission didn't seek out opposition voices.

Squire Jeremiah was charged alongside three other MPs for being involved in a protest in June.

They were protesting their suspension from parliament, brought on by the government in response to the MPs talking to international media. Judges, magistrates and other workers have been deported from the island nation and New Zealand has cut its aid funding.

Squire Jeremiah says the two-man team - the Commonwealth Secretariat's Pacific representative Albert Mariner and the foreign affairs minister of Solomon Islands, Milner Tozaka - were unprofessional.

"Disappointing and ridiculous I would say, because he thought his visit may be as popular as he may think but no one [was] aware that they were visiting. And I thought it would be important for him to speak to the opposition, other than the government themselves."  [RNZI - 24/12/15]




Warrumbungle Shire offers to participate in the ongoing invisibilisation of human rights atrocities against refugees who try to reach Australia by boat [ABC - 24/12/15]




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]



Who's worse? Turnbull, Dutton, Bishop, Shorten, Marles, Plibersek?




Or media, human rights groups and professional opinionators who are helping coverup a regional scandal?



New Zealand government refers refugees to Australia [RNZI - 13/6/15]:


The Government has told 65 asylum seekers wanting to live in New Zealand to contact United Nations officials in Australia.

The people, from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, say they were heading for New Zealand when they were shipwrecked on an Indonesian reef earlier this month.

In a letter seen by Radio New Zealand, the group made a plea to the Government for asylum, saying it is unsafe for them to return home.

A written reply from the office of the Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, said while New Zealand accepted 750 refugees annually, it could not pick and choose.

It said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra was responsible for inquires dealing with New Zealand and suggested the group approach that office. [The UNHCR Canberra have said nothing - as is their usual response to regional refugee  issues - and the media have not asked them about the refugees' predicament.]

A UN representative in Indonesia said they met with the group, 52 of whom were registered as refugees. [As far as we know, these refugees are still detained in Kupang.]



Sydney Morning Herald [2/6/15]:


... Fishermen spotted two boats floating near Landuti island in the West Rote district, 500 kilometres north-east of the Australian coast, on Sunday. 

"They looked exhausted," Rote police chief Hidayat said.

"One female passenger is pregnant – we took her immediately to the hospital but she is ok now."

Mr Hidayat said the migrants told him they had been caught by Australian customs on May 26, who sunk their boat.

They were put in two blue and white boats, and sent back into Indonesian waters. ...





IOM helps Australia exile and disappear Myanmar refugees in Cambodia, but is "resettling" 22 of them from Thailand to South Korea [Media Release - 22/12/15]:



For the first time in its history, the Republic of Korea will tomorrow (23/12) welcome its first group of 22 refugees from Myanmar for resettlement.

The four families, who have been living in a Thai refugee camp, will arrive in Incheon as part of a pilot refugee resettlement project that starts this year and will run through 2017.

IOM Seoul has been supporting the South Korean Ministry of Justice since last April by providing policy recommendations and sharing IOM’s expertise based on its resettlement experience spanning the past 64 years.

Before the families departed Thailand, IOM Thailand provided health assessments, pre-departure cultural orientation, and made all the necessary travel arrangements.

The decision to launch the pilot follows South Korea’s July 2013 enactment of the first refugee law in Asia. It will become the world’s 29th refugee resettlement country. ...








Bullshit IOM "resettlement" charades compound the suffering of refugees entitled to protection. [Deutsche Welle - 4/11/14]:



... While there is very little evidence in public opinion polls to suggest that asylum seekers face racism or xenophobia, experts argue that they do face discrimination and difficulties integrating into the larger community.

As applicants are usually not allowed to work, they typically seek assistance from already stretched government offices or NGOs. When this does not suffice, they end up illegally undertaking manual labor which, in turn, reinforces the negative perception, for example in South Korea, that refugees are really illegal migrant workers, said Moon.

Other common problems faced by these groups include arbitrary detention, no access to healthcare or education, and limited livelihood options.

Moon also emphasized the increased risk of sex and gender-based violence and vulnerability to human trafficking, due in part to a lack of effective protection of applicants.

In South Korea, psychological counseling provided to refugees revealed that discrimination and lack of social assistance are more serious causes of psychological vulnerability than the experience of persecutions in the country of origin.

"Groups are largely isolated from Korean society and associated with the migrant worker class. But the migrant workers have their own issues and problems and they have separate legal standing and labor policies that govern their stay," said Moon. ...





Cambodian police arrested dozens of garment workers Monday, breaking up a pay protest with water cannon at a factory site near the Vietnamese border, unions and a local governor said.

Labour disputes beset the country's multi-billion dollar garment industry, which supplies big global brands including Gap, Nike and H&M, often resulting in strikes and heavy-handed crackdowns by authorities.

Hundreds of police and military police were deployed at the Special Economic Zone in the town of Bavet in Svay Rieng province, after around 8,000 workers protested against a low pay rise.

They had been promised a salary rise of US$20 a month but were awarded only US$10, according to Chea Udom of the Collective Union Movement of Workers. Security forces moved in after workers hurled rocks, using water cannon mounted on fire trucks to disperse the protest, he added.

Chea Udom said "more than 30 people" were arrested by police who "put them on the trucks and drove off quickly", adding that women were among those detained.

The governor of Bavet, who led the crackdown, said the situation had to be brought under control after days of snowballing protests.  ... [Channel News Asia - 21/12/15]




Kim Dotcom's fight to stay in New Zealand is not over yet, with his lawyers predicting the case will go all the way to the Supreme Court. [RNZI - 24/12/15]




‏@Snowden [23/12/15]:   US surveillance policy has become so intrusive that China now adopting it. Not a joke.  ...


 China's controversial anti-terrorism law could be passed as soon as the end of this month, state news agency Xinhua said on Monday, legislation that has drawn concern in Western capitals for its cyber provisions.

The draft law, which could require technology firms to install "backdoors" in products or to hand over sensitive information such as encryption keys to the government, has also been criticised by some Western business groups. ... [Reuters - 21/12/15]





No simplicity of mind, no obscurity of station, can escape the universal duty of questioning all that we believe.


 William Kingdon Clifford,  'The Ethics Of Belief' [1877]





Refugees caged on Manus Island beg the Australian government to kill them.





"Get children out of detention centres" says Australian Medical Association.





UN finds Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers violates the Convention Against Torture [Human Rights Law Centre - 9/3/15]




Guardian [11/3/15]:


... On Monday this week the UN Special Rapporteur on torture tabled his annual report at the Human Rights Council.

In his observations on communications Méndez discussed our urgent appeal regarding A and B, and found that Australia has violated their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

To paraphrase, the UN agreed the men were tortured.

The special rapporteur’s findings came too late for the men.

When the hunger strikes erupted in January this year, A decided the risk of further torture was too high and opted to return home to Iran, where he was certain he would face execution.

He has disappeared.

B felt he could not return home, and stayed on at Manus. He was accused of being a “ringleader” and was again tortured in Chauka compound.

He has sent me photos and videos to prove this.

His feet were beaten so hard that the skin split open from his heel to his ankle bone, and he is not the only one.





Response to @RACVictoria’s “Open Letter to the Refugee Movement” by @xBorderOps [2/10/15]:


RAC-Vic recently posted an Open Letter on the renewed push by the Greens and GetUp’s ‘No Business In Abuse’ to remove children from detention.

We share RAC-Vic’s concerns at the reductive call for the removal of only children from detention.

The call for “children out” is a backward step in the campaign to close the detention industry down.

We do not see it as pragmatic but as a recurrent attempt, over the span of more than two decades, by pro-detention groups to obscure their own practical support for and links to the detention industry, and as a means to limit the movements for freedom and against the camps.

Implicit in the call to remove only children from detention is an assumption that children are “innocent” and therefore that adults (without children) deserve to be detained.

There is nothing pragmatic about supporting these racist arguments for detention.

There is nothing “tactical” about peddling racist assumptions while imagining that this might serve to lessen or be a challenge to that racism.

GetUp’s various positions are therefore inexplicable as part of a strategy to close the detention industry down.

If this were indeed the aim, the approach is tactically incompetent, conveys no information about the financial and corporate arrangements in the detention industry, and is so contradictory, ambiguous and without legal significance that any detention industry contractor could, for instance, agree to sign GetUp’s ‘pledge’.

Given the successes of the boycott and divestment campaign, we are particularly concerned with GetUp’s attempts to derail that momentum by aligning it with the reductive call for ‘children out’ and a ‘corporate code of conduct.’

This is merely their latest effort at astro-turfing.

Here are the previous and ongoing boycott and divestment campaigns:

To be clear, GetUp’s NBIA are in no position to assure companies that divestment and boycott campaigns will cease if those companies engage in the window-dressing that NBIA have offered them.

xBorder has never supported detention – every reason for detention is ultimately an argument for institutionalised racism.





... It’s unusual that they [Connect Consortium - who run "settlement" services for refugees exiled on Nauru] haven’t encountered any allegations of rape or sexual assault, because there are many. Such as the story of Beth, a young Ethiopian refugee who was released into the Nauruan community in May. Allegedly Beth, whose name I have changed, was sitting on the beach with some other Ethiopian women when local men gave her a drink. Beth began to feel woozy, before being dragged into bushes by two or three men and raped. They then poured fuel on her and set her alight. I have seen photographs of her after the assault. Her left breast is so badly burnt that the skin has blackened and lifted from the flesh. 

As a result of the rape, Beth became pregnant. A solemn Christian, the thought of abortion appalled her but she decided to go through with it. Beth was flown to Brisbane for the termination where, not long after, she attempted to hang herself with a bed sheet. She is now back on Nauru. 


These are not isolated incidents. I have another letter, also written by a Somali woman, who recounts a similar story. Sarah, whose name I have also changed, was offered a lift by a man at the supermarket’s bus stop. “In car, man said I have to get something from my home first. When we got there dogs came out barking. Man said get out of car, dogs won’t hurt you. Dogs came close to attacking me. I asked him to call dogs away. He said get inside the house – they don’t know you – if you go inside they think you are part of family.

“I went inside. Dogs came in too. Man took off all his clothes and showed me his private parts. I wet my pants and soiled my pants. This is reason I left Somalia – this fear of rape – I see it happen to many. Then he said I don’t care and hit my face very hard. He said dogs will kill you if you don’t suck my private part. Then I have no choice.”   ... [The Saturday Paper - 22/8/15]





This act of arbitrary mercy had NOTHING to do with pointless Richard "I'd be worse" Marles or the pointless fucking Greens, it was public pressure ------> Melbourne City Mission [23/12/15]:



Hassan's mother and brother have had their visitor visas granted and preparations are underway to get the family on a plane to Australia as soon as possible.

Hassan says, ‘‘I want to thank the government of Australia and all the people of Australia and Melbourne City Mission for supporting me with my case and allowing me to be with my Mum and my brother. Thank you so much’’.





So this is what we've become? ----->   A terminally ill student who wanted to see his family one last time has had his request rejected by Australia's immigration department.

Hassan Asif, 25, moved to Melbourne from Pakistan in 2014 on a student visa before being diagnosed with advanced skin cancer in April, according to the ABC.

His end-of-life carers told the university undergraduate in November that he had entered the terminal phase of his cancer and had just weeks to live. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 22/12/15]





More young men with foreign sounding names arrested in Sydney for thought crimes after ongoing surveillance and harassment, as protected and unaccountable Attorney-General and Minister for Refugee Concentration Camps confirm deportation of suspected French Muslim for carrying self protective spray and a book.





Meanwhile .... man infiltrates AFP HQ allegedly armed with knives in security breach [Sydney Morning Herald - 11/12/15]





... The 26-year-old then disembarked the train at Footscray station ahead of her destination.

Thankfully another commuter accompanied her, as they soon discovered the abuser had followed them. ... Caucasian man tells Australian-born Greek to ‘get out of Australia’ [Neos Kosmos - 4/12/15]






Police in California waited more than two weeks before arresting a man who posted an image of a homemade bomb on Facebook amid messages professing support for Donald Trump and opposition to Muslims, the Guardian can reveal.

William Celli, 55, was arrested on Sunday in Richmond, California, after police raided his house and discovered a suspected homemade bomb. He has been charged with two counts of suspicion of making criminal threats and possession of an explosive device. ... [Guardian - 22/12/15]





A judge ruled Tuesday that several local Black Lives Matter organizers cannot demonstrate at the Mall of America on the busy shopping day before Christmas Eve, but she said she couldn't stop others from attending the protest. ... [NBC - 22/12/15]




A nation that imprisons people in concentration camps just because they are seeking asylum is not a democracy.




With OSB Commander MAJGEN Andrew Bottrell at Manus RPC yesterday ...


Image: @PeterDutton_MP [31/3/15]





7 detainees from the #freedomgiving hunger strikes are still continuing on Day 21 of their hunger strike at Krome Detention Center in Miami, Florida.

Yesterday they were summoned to court, where they appeared in wheelchairs and the judge issued forced feeding orders for all of them despite their protestations.

The hunger strikers also raised complaint about the prison and ICE officials having limited their phone access to the outside world of their family, friends, media, and even attorneys.

The judge instructed that the detainees be allowed regular phone access. The judge also reminded that detainees should be allowed access and phone calls to the media.

“We came here to escape violence and danger in our country. But it seems like this place is like Guantanamo. ICE would rather force feed hunger strikers than listen to our basic demands for freedom,” said Mahmudul Hasan.  ... [#Not1More - 22/12/15]





New concentration camp in Texas for refugee children that US authorities (and obsequious media) call "illegal" [Reuters - 22/12/15]:



...  Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, extended the deployment of state guard troops along the border with Mexico, saying it would help block the crossing of unaccompanied children into the United States.





‏@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [22/12/15]:  



Anbar: Air shelling has targeted the civilians in Jazeerat Al-Khalidiya northeast of Ramadi resulted in 8 deaths of the civilians and 12 injuries most of them women and children........



Nineveh: News agencies :The air force of coalition has shelled the civilians in Mosul resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians and injuries of 50...



Nineveh: Sources:The coalition forces have shelled 17 Tamouz medical compound in Mosul resulted in the deaths of 10 persons ,but 50 are still under debris.....



Anbar: "Medical sources:3412 persons including 493 children and 314 women have been killed and 5620 including 844 children and 716 women wounded in Fallujah since December 2013 till now",news agencies reported......




Nauru health minister charged with dangerous driving and manslaughter [RNZI – 22/12/15]





Fierce battles were underway Tuesday between Afghan forces and the Taliban in southern Helmand province where the insurgents have almost completely captured a strategic district as Britain deployed military advisers to the restive area.

The development came a day after a Taliban suicide bomber killed six U.S. troops near a Kabul base — the deadliest attack on Americans in the country since August.

A British Ministry of Defense statement late Monday said that "a small number of U.K. personnel" have been deployed to Helmand "in an advisory role."

The U.K. has 450 troops in Afghanistan as part of NATO's training mission. ... [US News - 22/1/215]




A lawmaker on Tuesday claimed two foreign helicopters recently dropped off Islamic State fighters in Surkhrod district of eastern Nangarhar province, but the ground forces commander said he could not confirm or deny the claim. ... [Pajhwok - 22/12/15]




Two separate bomb attacks killed three people and wounded two others, including a senior Pakistani army officer, in a restive tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said Tuesday. ... [Daily Star - 22/12/15]




Palestinian home targeted in suspected revenge attack by settlers [Maan - 22/12/15]




Israeli naval forces early Tuesday detained 14 Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip near Beit Lahiya and seized their boats, local officials said. ... [Maan - 22/12/15]




Israeli forces raid Duheisha refugee camp, tear gas residents [Maan - 21/12/15]



Palestinian facing extradition takes refuge in Bulgaria embassy [Electronic Intifada – 21/12/15]




Opposition says 19 dead in Djibouti violence, government says only nine wounded [Reuters - 22/12/15]




At least seven people have been killed and 12 others wounded in an airstrike carried out by Saudi Arabia in Yemen’s western region despite a fragile truce.

Yemen’s al-Masirah television reported on Monday that the Saudi airstrike targeted the Haya al-Shuhada district of the city of al-Hudaydah. ... [Press TV - 21/12/15]




Yemen: UN envoy adjourns peace talks till January pending enforcement of a proper ceasefire [Media Release - 20/12/15]








A Texas grand jury decided on Monday not to issue indictments relating to the death of an African-American woman who died by hanging in an apparent suicide in her jail cell, a special prosecutor said. ... [Reuters - 22/12/15]





On July 10, 28-year-old Sandra Bland was arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant. She was taken to the Waller County Jail; three days later, she was found in her cell dead from what officials called suicide. Both the FBI and the Texas Rangers launched investigations trying to find out what happened.

Dashboard camera footage from Bland’s traffic stop was released on Tuesday. (Note: The video was uploaded to YouTube Tuesday evening; it has since been taken down, after people pointed out errors and inconsistencies in the video, which led many to believe it had been edited. A DPS spokesman denied editing the video, and said this morning they would re-upload the footage without errors or omissions.)

Questions, in the wake of the video: What are the rules? Not policies or politeness – specifically, what are your rights when you’re pulled over by police? … 10 things about the Sandra Blad traffic stop every Texan should know [Texas Standard - 22/7/15]





Nine girl-students were killed and 15 injured on Tuesday in ISIS terrorists’ rocket shells in Deir Ezzor.

A source at the Interior Ministry told SANA that ISIS terrorists fired rocket shells which fall in a school at Harabesh neighborhood in the city, claiming the lives of nine girl-students and injuring 15 others. ... [SANA - 22/12/15]




Syrian journalist’s murder denounced by UNESCO chief [Media Release - 21/12/15]


United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria



 US Department of Defense [21/12/15]:




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.

Strikes in Syria

Ground-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted three strikes in Syria:

-- Near Mar’a, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL staging area and an ISIL mortar system.

-- Near Ayn Isa, one strike destroyed an ISIL road obstacle and an ISIL bomb.

Additionally, there was an additional strike in Syria from Dec. 19 that was not included on the Dec. 20 strike release:

-- Near Raqqah, one strike struck five ISIL gas and oil separation points and two ISIL crude oil collection points.

Strikes in Iraq

Attack, fighter, bomber, ground-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 12 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Beiji, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL rocket-propelled grenade, an ISIL heavy machine gun, seven ISIL vehicles, two ISIL caches, and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, an ISIL weapons storage facility, and an ISIL weapons cache and destroyed two ISIL heavy machine guns, an ISIL mortar tube, three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL checkpoint, two ISIL vehicles, and suppressed an ISIL light machine gun.

-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed eight ISIL buildings, eight ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL staging area, an ISIL command-and-control node, an ISIL tactical vehicle, three ISIL heavy machine guns, and denied ISIL access to terrain.



New Zealand Labour says may support sending SAS troops to Iraq after leader Andrew Little meets Pentagon officicials in Washington [RNZI – 22/12/15]









Military to Military: Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war [London Review of Books - 21/12/15]:



Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn’t adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington’s anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped. ...









A former Lebanese prisoner of Israel freed in a 2008 prisoner swap with Hezbollah has been killed in an Israeli airstrike in Syria, media reports said early Sunday.

The brother of Samir Kuntar, Bassam, appeared to confirm the reports on social media, writing that his family was "was honored to join families of martyrs."

The statement, posted to his Twitter and Facebook pages, did not specify how he died.

But RT's Arabic version said Kuntar was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Jaramana, on the southeastern outskirts of Damascus.

Footage posted online appeared to show a building that had been completely destroyed in the town where Kuntar was reportedly staying. He is believed to have been a Hezbollah commander.

Israel has carried out multiple strikes in Syria targeting Hezbollah and Syrian army positions over the last two years. Most of the strikes have hit what were reported to be weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon. ... [Daily Star - 20/12/15]









Turkey says will continue to move troops from northern Iraqi province [Daily Star - 19/12/15]







Syrian refugee Ameer Mehtr swims for 7 hours to reach Greece from Turkey [Independent - 21/12/15]








Canada’s Minister of Immigration and Citizenship says the country’s resettlement program for Syrian refugees could double its intake by the end of next year to 50,000. ... [The Globe And Mail - 21/12/15]






‏@MSF_Sea [21/12/15]:   Its 4 degrees in #Lesvos tonight. 100s of #refugees, from newborns to the elderly, wait for the ferry in the cold.








@MSF_Sea [21/12/15]:  Humane reception conditions do NOT encourage #people to flee.Nobody risks their life because @MSF has put up a tent!







The Ikea Foundation on Saturday insisted that its refugee shelters are safe, a day after the Swiss city of Zurich said it no longer would use the units after discovering they posed a fire hazard.

Zurich announced Friday that a fire safety test had revealed the Ikea ready-to-assemble refugee shelters were "easily combustible."

The city made its announcement just hours after unveiling the 62 units it had purchased, lamenting that it now needs to find an alternative for housing 250 asylum seekers by early January.

The northern Swiss canton of Aargau followed suit, saying it no longer planned to house 300 asylum seekers in the shelters over the next few months.

Maerta Terne, a spokeswoman for the Better Shelter project, born out of a collaboration between the Ikea Foundation and the UN refugee agency, told AFP she could not comment on the Swiss safety test before seeing a "translation of the report on the results and the method used." ... [Ahram - 19/12/15]







@daphnetoli [21/12/15]:   3.991 refugees & migrants arrived in Piraeus this morning from the islands of #Lesbos & #Chios. ...









Two migrants drown, 108 rescued off Libya: Coastguard [Yahoo - 21/12/15]







@ReginaCatrambon [20/12/15]:  #Responder e l'equipaggio di @moas_eu sono arrivati a #Lesvos. Pronti a salvare #rifugiati nei prossimi giorni








How many refugee boats did the Australian navy push away in the last 24 hours? ---->   ‏@ItalianNavy [20/12/15]:   #SAR Nave Borsini #Marina Militare ha ultimato le operazioni di soccorso di 128 migranti







@PROACTIVA_SERV [21/12/15]:   No Christmas time here.Over 100 people rescued from boat last night.How  many more victims are needed?







@PROACTIVA_SERV [21/12/15]:  Tragedy prevented a while ago.Please share it,so all can see what's on #Lesvos .No excuses accepted for politicians








@guardiacostiera [19/12/15]:   #Pantelleria CP302 della #GuardiaCostiera salva 15 migranti su un'imbarcazione a circa 15 miglia dall'isola








@MSF_Sea [21/12/15]:   #Greece, making borders more miserable won't stop #people seeking safety in #Europe. It will just make them sick!








... 'I have been in Idomeni for 12 days, it is cold here and I am very hungry. We only have perhaps 1 or 2 sandwiches per day. In Yemen I studied engineering, so I want to continue my studies in Germany. I decided to leave Yemen after a plane bombed my house killing five of my cousins, I thank God that I was not also killed. Sport is my favourite thing. In Yemen I played football, I support Arsenal and my favourite player is Mesut Ozil'  [20-year-old Adnan]  Caught in Limbo On the Greek / Macedonian Border [MSF - 21/12/15]




@mibakas [21/12/15]:  Thousands of #refugees at the longest night of the year #Moria North Africa #refugeesGr stuck@ #Lesvos Whats next?





Latin American implications for immigrant detention in Europe: comparing Celaj and Vélez Loor, Dr Andrea Romano, Research assistant, “Sapienza” University of Rome [EU Law Analysis - 20/12/15]






Police have intensified a blockade against Rohingyas residing in the Ang Raing IDP camp in Pauktaw.

On Friday, police told Rohingyas they are not allowed to go the nearby river for fishing.

Fishing is the sole livelihood option for the vast majority of Rohingyas in the IDP camp and as a result, there is no means of income.

As most Rohingyas are dependent on a daily income, many families have been going without a single proper meal for the last few days. ... [Burma Times - 22/12/15]







Rohingya human rights activists in Japan visited the US Embassy in Tokyo on 16th December to appeal their plight to US Government.

The Rohingya delegation was received by the Ms. Katie Bennett , First Secretary of Political Section, Ms.Katie Caparula, Second Secretary of Political Section, Ms. Jennifer Harhigh, Deputy Director, Political Affairs and Ms.Shinobu Kikuchi, Political Assistant. ... [Rohingya Blogger - 21/12/15]








Rohingyas escaping to Assam detained in camps [The North East Today - 19/12/15]









"As an artist I’m still dealing with being a refugee" - Interview with M.I.A. [Tamil Guardian - 21/12/15]








Sri Lanka’s embassy in the United States spent Foreign Ministry funds on steaks, cognac and pornography stated Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, in a startling revelation to parliament on Friday.

Mr Samaraweera stated that staff at the embassy had "adult films, $200 shots of cognac and $288 steaks” under the previous government.

“Millions of rupees were wasted, mainly through the Foreign Minister’s vote on extravagances,” he added.

The foreign minister went on to state over 330,000 US dollars went missing in one property transaction, undertaken by the embassy.

Speaking during the budget allocation in parliament on Friday, Mr Samaraweera also criticised the spending of over Rs. 339 million were spent on five lobbying firms between 2009 and 2014 as having produced no positive results for Sri Lanka in international diplomacy.

Foreign Policy reported earlier this year that Sri Lanka paid an estimated US $6.5 million to a major fundraiser to the Obama campaign in order to lobby US officials and is yet to finish making payments. [Tamil Guardian - 19/12/15]


More protected and unaccountable pudding head action



Operation Soverign Borders personnel told asylum seekers:  Fuck your mothers ... fuck your family ...


ABC, Law Report [AUDIO - 22/7/14]




Jakarta-based terrorism analyst Sidney Jones told a forum last month there could be a shift towards attacking foreigners in Indonesia because of the publicity the Paris attacks received and the increased emphasis of IS on external attacks.

Ms Jones also said the increasing numbers of Indonesians getting killed in Coalition airstrikes raised the possibility of revenge attacks in Indonesia.

In a presentation to ambassadors at Jakarta Police headquarters on November 18, Ms Jones also warned that anti-western propaganda seemed to be increasing, with lots of tweets and discussions on closed chats on cloud-based instant messaging service Telegram.  AFP helps stem threat of terrorism in Indonesia as nine arrested following raids [Canberra Times - 21/12/15]




From left to right, Australia's Attorney-General George Brandis talks with Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut Panjaitan during a news conference after their meeting at the Political, Legal, and Security Ministry office in Jakarta, December 21, 2015. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)  [Jakarta Globe]




Trial of boat crew paid by Australian officials to return refugees continues in Indonesia [Guardian - 22/12/15]





New Zealand government refers refugees to Australia [RNZI - 13/6/15]:


The Government has told 65 asylum seekers wanting to live in New Zealand to contact United Nations officials in Australia.

The people, from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, say they were heading for New Zealand when they were shipwrecked on an Indonesian reef earlier this month.

In a letter seen by Radio New Zealand, the group made a plea to the Government for asylum, saying it is unsafe for them to return home.

A written reply from the office of the Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, said while New Zealand accepted 750 refugees annually, it could not pick and choose.

It said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra was responsible for inquiries dealing with New Zealand and suggested the group approach that office. [The UNHCR Canberra have said nothing - as is their usual response to regional refugee  issues - and the media have not asked them about the refugees' predicament.]

A UN representative in Indonesia said they met with the group, 52 of whom were registered as refugees.





... Nazmul Hassan, who identifies himself as one of the 65 in a Kupang detention centre, said they just wanted a peaceful life.

"We leave our country because of some problems and political violence and [too many problems]."

"We are really in trouble now, and under pressure now."

 Mr Hassan said they were all confined to one room at the centre in West Timor.

He said the group was mentally and physically exhausted.  ... [RNZI - 7/6/15]



Two Indonesian men are on trial in West Timor, Indonesia, for trying to help 25 people reach Australia by boat, only to be "turned back" by Border Force [SBS - 15/12/15]:

An Indonesian man on trial for people smuggling over a boat that was turned back in July says Australian Border Force personnel didn't give him cash, only a satellite phone and fuel.

Mohammad Jabar and Dahrani, both 25, are accused of agreeing to a payment of 35 million rupiah ($3440) for agreeing to take 25 people to Australia.

Their wooden boat was intercepted on July 25 and, according to Amnesty International research, all were detained on a Border Force ship for seven days before being sent back on a different boat.

But unlike the case of a boat turned back towards Rote in May, it attracted little attention, and it seems no money was involved.

Amnesty International, which produced a report after interviewing some of the passengers, raised questions about a new bag given to the Indonesian fishermen crewing the boat back.

Jabar says they were handed a new bag, but "it wasn't money".

"It was only navigation tools and a satellite phone," he said outside his trial near Kupang, West Timor, on Tuesday.

In court, some of the passengers - who are from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar - told of how they joined the voyage.

Through a translator, Bangladeshi man Malmun Alwez said he paid 25 million rupiah to get from Bangladesh to Malaysia and was then asked to pay 50 million rupiah to reach Australia.

Prosecutor Jhon Franky says Jabar, a fisherman, only received 5 million rupiah of the promised payment from his recruiter, Bobi, from the same town of Sinjai, Sulawesi.

"Bobi is still on the run and already on the police wanted list," he said.

According to Amnesty International, the one passenger from Myanmar is a Rohingya woman.

The trial continues, along with the trial on nearby Rote island of six Indonesian men who claim they pocketed more than $US30,000 ($A41,400) from an Australian official before turning back with their boat of asylum seekers in May.




Image:   ‏@KJBar [20/11/15]



Sydney Morning Herald [27/11/15]:

Sixteen asylum seekers whose boat was pushed back to sea by the Australian Navy last week were found stranded near West Kupang in Indonesia on Thursday night.

The whereabouts of the boat had been a mystery after it was towed out to sea when it came within 200 metres of Christmas Island last Friday.

Indonesian news agency Antara reported a boat named Farah was found stranded at Skala Village in West Kupang by a local from Tablolong called Daniel Lani.

The boat, which Mr Lani said had run out of fuel, carried 13 people from India, two from Nepal and one from Bangladesh.

"They were yelling for help then we guided them to land, then we contacted the local police," he told Antara.

An Indonesian police officer has confirmed to Fairfax Media that 16 asylum seekers and the Indonesian captain were detained in Tablolong on Thursday.

The asylum seekers were taken to the Nusa Tenggara Timur police, who are investigating.

Nusa Tenggara Timur police spokesman Jules Abraham Abast said the asylum seekers were mostly from India.

"Seventeen people were detained yesterday in Tablolong including one Indonesian crew, he was the boat captain," he said.

Muhammad Anwar, 22, from Bangladesh, told Antara he and his 15 friends sailed for about 10 days.

"We were heading to Christmas Island in Australia. When we arrived, we were detained for four days, the boat we used from Jakarta was destroyed by Australian security," he told journalists.

He said after they were detained for four days, the Australian Navy ordered them to go back to Indonesia, supplying them with a new boat and fuel.

Mr Anwar reportedly said the navy officers said Australia did not accept illegal immigrants from any countries.

The Indonesian government has reiterated that Australia's boat pushback policy puts lives at risk after the vessel was found on Thursday.

"Indonesia's stance remains that boat push-backs are endangering," Arrmanatha Nasir, a spokesman from the office of Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, told Fairfax Media.

He said the Indonesian government would seek an explanation from an Australian official on the sidelines of an asylum seeker summit attended by 13 countries, the UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration, in Jakarta on Friday.

Australia's ambassador on people smuggling issues, Andrew Goledzinowski has been invited to the Jakarta talks.

"If there is a representative from Australia we will seek explanation informally. I don't think we will raise that in the meeting because it is not on the agenda," Mr Nasir said.

"The irregular migrant issue must be addressed comprehensively, it cannot be solved by only one party such as the destination country or source country. It should be handled comprehensively. And it should prioritise the human aspect."

Mr Nasir said the Bali process was the mechanism in the region to discuss asylum seekers.

"So if we want to have a sustainable solution we have to go beyond our own self interest," he said.

Last week Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull both refused to comment on the boat, citing "operational matters".

Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the Turnbull government has "serious questions" to answer if the boat was allowed to run out of fuel before washing up in Indonesia.

"Going to these extreme, dangerous lengths just to deny people their right to seek asylum in Australia is appalling," Senator Hanson-Young said.

"Australia should be processing people's claims for asylum in Indonesia and Malaysia, not waiting for them to get on boats and then towing them back to danger." <----- SO WHY AREN'T THE GREENS PURSUING CALLS FOR A ROYAL COMMISSION INTO OPERATION SOVEREIGN BORDERS?





Important lecture about seeking asylum - and how Australia is trashing the UN Refugee Convention ----> Professor Alison Mountz, of Harvard University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, responds to and challenges the crisis narratives unfolding in the media as she discusses political struggles over the erosion of asylum taking place globally. This talk explores shifting geographies of migration and border enforcement in major transit sites where migrants and asylum seekers seek entry and protection. The talk dwells in islands and enforcement archipelagos, offshore sites where struggles over entry and exclusion transpire and where the infrastructure of border enforcement and detention are growing. ... [VIDEO - Centre for International Governance Innovation - 12/11/15]





People are not numbers: Refugees need safe passage [MSF - 23/9/15]





Is Australia pressuring NZ immigration officials, bikie asks [RNZI – 22/12/15]:

An Australian bikie denied entry to New Zealand is questioning whether Australia is putting pressure on New Zealand immigration officials.

John Millar belongs to the Rebels Motorcycle Club, which Australian authorities have cracked down on, and some New Zealand members are currently fighting Australian deportation orders.

The 34-year-old said he had travelled to New Zealand three times before without any problem but it was a different story when he arrived on 2 December.

On arrival, he said a big red "F" was written on his incoming card and comments were made about his neck tattoos before customs pulled him aside for a search.

"They went through my stuff and found my club colours and club shirts and laid them all out," he said.

"They asked me a few questions and I had nothing to hide so I told them I was there for a motorcycle ride... I had my helmet with me, I was wearing actual motorcycle pants. I was travelling very light because I was basically there for a few days to ride around the South Island."

Mr Millar said after waiting an hour or so, he was read section 16 of the Immigration Act 2009 and told he would not be allowed into the country because he was allegedly part of a criminal organisation.

Section 16 states that entry permission may not be granted if there is reason to believe the person is likely to commit an offence in New Zealand that is punishable by imprisonment, or if that person is deemed a threat to public interest.

Mr Miller said he was taken to Christchurch Central Police Station and told he would be able to have a shower and call his family to tell them he was alright.

"I was put in a cell, they turned the light off and that was it basically... until the next morning when I finally got someone's attention to ask what was going on.

"They came and got me about three o'clock. But no shower, they didn't even worry about putting toilet paper in there for me."

He was then put on a plane back to Brisbane.

"I have no criminal history and then they say that I'm part of a criminal club and more likely to commit a crime. But I'm 34 years old. Is that not long enough to prove that I haven't committed a crime and I'm not going to commit a crime."

"I didn't expect it. I expect it from our government because they're just out of control over here [in Australia]. Whether it's our government making you guys do it too... I'm not sure what the go is. It could be a little bit of payback and if it is payback then I'm grateful I didn't get locked up for longer."

Despite everything, Mr Millar said he would love to come back to New Zealand and would be happy to apply for what's called a "special direction" waiver to do so.

Immigration New Zealand assistant general manager Peter Devoy told Morning Report Mr Millar's deportation was part of a concerted effort to hold the line against gang members, even when they had committed no crime.

Organised motorcycle gangs, although not outlawed, were generally not in the public interest.

"It's a position that is being taken across government that gangs are criminal organisations and it's not desirable that people who are gang members and members of criminal organisations will be welcome into New Zealand."

But Council for Civil Liberties secretary Kevin McCormack said Mr Millar appeared to have been treated without basic humanity, and it was a denial of human rights for such a blanket assessment to be made.

It was a poor decision given Mr Millar has been to New Zealand before without any incident, Mr McCormack said.

Last month it was revealed former Lance Corporal Ko Haapu's visa had been cancelled by the Australian government on character grounds - as set out in Section 501 of the Australian Migration Act - because he was also a member of the Rebels Motorcycle Club.

He is currently being held in a Perth prison, despite having no criminal convictions in Australia or New Zealand.

And a former Rebels bikie boss jailed for trafficking methamphetamine is fighting deportation to New Zealand.

Colin David Picard, 69, faces being deported once he has served his 18-month prison sentence.




On behalf of my people I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year. ... Benny Wenda, West Papuan Independence Leader [19/12/15]





The District Court at Bomana today refused an application to dismiss the case against the six soldiers facing murder charge in relation to the death of Port Moresby Student Jeremiah Yinu. ... [PNG Loop - 21/2/15]




PNG Defence still waiting on police over shooting [PNG Loop – 20/12/15]





Abbot Point: Federal Government approves huge coal port expansion near Great Barrier Reef [ABC - 22/12/15]





Shell New Zealand is selling the Maui gas pipeline to an Australian company [RNZI - 22/12/15]












"I hear you now officially control the ABC in Australia, congratulations ol' chap":   Fascists have Christmas drinks [Guardian - 22/12/15]:

He once admitted to using Downing Street’s back door to celebrate the prime minister’s electoral victory, but on Monday night Rupert Murdoch was expected to welcome David Cameron through the front door of his home to a Christmas soiree for just a “few dozen” friends. ...






Police have interviewed about 2,700 people in the hunt for the killer of Nairn banker Alistair Wilson.

The 30-year-old was shot on the doorstep of his home in November 2004.

A Freedom of Information request by the Press and Journal also reveals that officers have spent almost £15,000 on overtime, hotels, travel and food since April last year.

However, Police Scotland has refused to disclose the number of officers who have been involved in the inquiry. ... [BBC - 19/12/15]





22 December 2015