Appeal for Faysal’s family [Refugee Action Committee, Canberra]:

 

A fundraising account has been set up for the family of Sudanese refugee Faysal Ahmed, who passed away on Christmas Eve.

The men of Manus Island detention centre have already raised some funds to assist Faysal’s wife and son through the difficult mourning period, and any contribution you could make would be deeply appreciated.

...

A vigil for Faysal will be held on Tuesday 3 January at 1pm, outside the DIBP office at 3 Lonsdale Street, Braddon.

 

 

... You've been hanging with the nicest people ...

 

'Hammerhead', James Reyne, Simon Hussey [1987]

 

 

Surfers Paradise Beach [31/12/16]

 

 

Kosovo's Supreme Court ordered a retrial of doctors and officials convicted of involvement in an organ trafficking ring that performed dozens of illegal kidney transplants between 2006 and 2008, in a ruling published on Friday.

...

Kidney donors from Turkey and poor parts of the former Soviet Union were promised 10,000-12,000 euros, while recipients, mainly Israelis, paid 80,000-100,000 euros for the organs, an earlier hearing heard. ... [Reuters - 30/12/16]

 

 

French doctor faces trial, accused of raping 37 patients, including minors [RT – 30/12/16]

 

 

Three convicted criminals on death row for about two decades have been secretly executed in the first hangings in Nigeria since 2013, human rights lawyers and a fellow inmate said Thursday.

The executions breach a seven-year moratorium on the death penalty in this West African country.

The hangings went ahead despite outstanding appeals, making them "unlawful killings," Chino Obiagwu of the Legal Defense and Assistance Project told The Associated Press. ... [Yahoo - 30/12/16]

 

 

The United States embassy in Guatemala closed early on Friday after it received threats, a representative said, without giving further details. ... [Reuters - 30/12/16]

 

 

Brazil says Greek ambassador murdered by wife's policeman lover [Reuters – 30/12/16]

 

 

Man wrongly arrested for Berlin attack says he's fearful for his life [EURO News - 30/12/16]:

 

... In the initial chaos following the ISIL-inspired attack, Baloch’s name and photo was widely circulated.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said at the time Baloch was the police’s prime suspect.

Except Baloch hadn’t driven the truck and police soon had reasons to they had arrested the wrong man.

Nevertheless, and speaking exclusively to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, Baloch said he was released after two days and one night of interrogation.

He said German police had blindfolded him, undressed him, photographed him, slapped him and taken numerous blood samples.

By this time, German police were already searching for Anis Amri, a Tunisian man whose ID was found inside the cab of the lorry. ...

 

 

Man denied bail over Sydney New Year's Eve threats [Yahoo - 30/12/16]:

 

... O'Neil allegedly posted a blog threatening to kill or injure members of the public around Christmas.

He was charged over documents containing threats contrary to the Crimes Act concerning online blogs.

O'Neil did not apply for bail when he appeared in Parramatta Local Court today and it was formally refused.

He is due to appear in court again on January 10.

His father told 7 News O'Neil has mental health issues.

Officers said O'Neil had no links to terror groups and therefore his arrest should not change anyone's New Years plans. ...

 

 

... Acting Deputy Commissioner Mennilli said the man did not have links to any cultural groups.

"He has been charged with a Crimes Act offence, not a terrorist offence," he said. ... [ABC - 30/12/16]

 

 

Off-duty Victorian police officer allegedly blows .224 while driving [Nine MSN - 31/12/16]

 

 

Fourth man appears in court over alleged Melbourne Christmas Day plot [Nine MSN - 24/12/16]:

 

A fourth man has faced court charged with allegedly planning a terror attack in Melbourne's CBD on Christmas Day.

Ibrahim Abbas, 22, was charged at an out-of-sessions hearing last night with one count of preparing for or planning a terrorist attack. 

Mr Abbas appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court today with a black eye and flanked by two guards in the dock.

His lawyer requested her client see a doctor to treat possible head injuries sustained in his arrest. 

"Sometimes clients get injuries during the arrest, so I've mentioned in court that he will need to be seen by a doctor because of the head injuries and eye injuries," lawyer Therese Wattis told 9NEWS.

Mr Abbas, who requested a prayer mat and a Koran during the hearing, was remanded in custody until his next court appearance in April.

Mr Abbas' court appearance comes after Abdullah Chaarani, 26, Hamza Abbas, 21 and Ahmed Mohamed, 24, were all charged with one count of preparing for or planning a terrorist attack yesterday.

The men made no application for bail in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court yesterday and were remanded in custody until their next appearance on April 28, 2017.

Jessie Smith, the lawyer acting for Hamza Abbas, told Magistrate Timothy Burke her client sustained injuries to his face, back, hip and left shoulder during the raids. 

Ms Smith asked that the 21-year-old be seen by a doctor and that the court note he is vulnerable due to his age and the nature of the charge.

"He does have soft tissue injuries from the arrest," Ms Smith said, adding he had a pre-existing back injury that requires treatment. Four women were in court to support Mr Abbas and Mr Mohamed.

One of them began to cry as Mr Mohamed was brought into the dock. The men were arrested as part of a series of raids conducted by Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police on Thursday night and yesterday morning.

A 21-year-old Gladstone Park man was released without charge.

A 20-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man, both from Meadow Heights, were also released without charge. ...

 

 

Miserable fascists attempt to extract reflected credibility from another stage managed "terror raid" [ABC - 23/12/16]

 

 

Andrew Landeryou and two other factional allies of Mr Shorten will appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 15 on five charges of theft and five of criminal damage.

Mr Landeryou, an ex-bankrupt and notorious former blogger, is the son of a former state Labor MP and is married to new Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching.

Both Senator Kitching and Mr Landeryou are close friends and political allies of Mr Shorten.

The Opposition Leader in October controversially backed Ms Kitching in her successful bid to replace Stephen Conroy in the Senate. ... [The Age - 29/12/16]

 

 

A Turkish court remanded journalist Ahmet Sik in custody pending trial on Friday after he was accused of spreading the propaganda of various groups, an opposition lawmaker and a lawyer said.

Sik works for Cumhuriyet, one of the few newspapers still critical of the government after Turkey purged tens of thousands of people, largely from the state apparatus, in the wake of a coup attempt last July. ... [Reuters - 30/12/16]

 

 

If Donald Trump targets journalists, thank Obama, James Risen [New York Times - 30/12/16]

 

 

Syria, Russia and American desperation [ICH - 30/12/16]:

 

... Donald Trump will be president of the United States in just four weeks. That is a short period of time in which to pull off a soft coup.

He will be inaugurated, but team Obama want to make sure he cannot upend the status quo they work so hard to uphold.

While the Democratic Party rank-and-file are anxious about racism, immigration, Islamophobia, judicial appointees and voter suppression, their leaders only care about maintaining imperialism.

Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party are unworthy of the loyalty they engender.

On January 20, thousands of people will head to Washington to protest Trump.

Meanwhile, the Democrats will be making last-ditch efforts to help jihadists destroy Syria.

Some of the protesters ought to target their ire at Obama and the Democrats, and not just because of their electoral failure.

They ought to pledge an end to support for warmongering Democrats altogether.

If it is true that Trump is a fascist, he won’t be the first one in the White House.

His predecessor fits that description just as well. ...

 

 

‏@wikileaks [29/12/16]:  Guardian retracts false claims linking Assange to Russia. #FakeNews ...

 

 

‏@wikileaks [29/12/16]:  Today's Obama "hacking report" has a disclaimer. It also doesn't mention @WikiLeaks anywhere.  

 

 

‘Not freedom fighters’: Ben Swann calls out US funding of terrorists in Syria [Mint Press News - 30/12/16]

 

 

During the final days of rebel control over the eastern areas of Aleppo, the Western media depended almost entirely on a handful of English-speaking, self-described activists to relay news of the situation to a captivated public.

These figures served a dual purpose, acting as spokespeople for the beleaguered Syrian opposition while deflecting attention from armed insurgents dominated by extreme Islamists.

Nestled among them was an American, Bilal Abdul Kareem, who may be one of the most remarkable characters of the Syrian civil war.

The uncritical promotion and reflexive praise this character has received from a variety of U.S. media outlets raises serious questions about the coverage of a conflict that is often presented as a one-sided slaughter at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army and its allies. ... [AlterNet - 29/12/16]

 

 

UN Security Council to vote on draft resolution on Syria on Saturday ― Russian diplomatic mission [TASS - 31/12/16]

 

 

Egypt will send peacekeeping forces to Syria in the coming days, as they attempt to administer the nationwide ceasefire among their Russian, Iranian, and Turkish diplomatic partners. ... [AMN - 30/12/16]

 

 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke at a press conference on Friday, saying that if the YPG lays down its weapons and backs Syrian territorial unity, it can be a part of the solution.

...

"The coalition attacked Daesh in Al-Bab yesterday. Russia did the same. Operations on land will progress even faster now that airstrikes have resumed. There is no turning back," said Çavuşoğlu. [Yeni Şafak - 30/12/16]

 

 

Syrian Army General Command declares a comprehensive cessation of hostilities across the country [SANA - 30/12/16]

 

 

ISIS terrorists cut off water for Aleppo from its main source which is the treatment centers on the Euphrates River. ... [SANA - 30/12/16]

 

 

Iraqi forces face Islamic State car bombs, fierce resistance in south Mosul [IraqiNews.com - 30/12/16]:

 

... The second phase of the operation will see U.S. troops deployed closer to the front line inside the city.

On Friday, a Reuters reporter saw a handful of Americans in their MRAP vehicles, that tower over Iraqi tanks, accompanying top commanders to meetings in a village just north of Mosul.

...

[Major General Najm] Jubbouri said the U.S.-led coalition backing Iraqi forces had killed 70 militants since late on Thursday and were using Apache helicopters, HIMARS rocket launchers and fighter jets. ...

 

 

‏@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [30/12/16]:

 

Nineveh: A video clip broadcasted today proves controlling of the Islamic State on Salam neighborhood east of Mosul which government forces said earlier that they had controlled it. ...

 

Nineveh: Press sources: 11 persons were killed and 80 wounded as US-led coalition targeted Khalid Ibn Al-waleed Masjid in Wadi Hajar area and Dour Al-sukar area at the right side of Mosul.

 

Nineveh: Press sources/ a doctor in a medical center near Mosul said that we have recieved more than 200 civilians during the last hours injured due to the bombing and mortars shelling.

 

Baghdad: News agencies: Two persons were killed and 7 wounded as an IED exploded in Mishahda area north of Baghdad.

 

Baghdad: News agencies: 8 persons were either killed or wounded as an IED exploded in Mada'in district southeast of Baghdad.

 

 

Former AWB head did not know of $223m kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, judge rules [Guardian - 15/12/16]

 

 

Saddam Hussein’s CIA interrogator: He should have been left in power [TIME - 16/12/16]:

 

... Clinton also sealed Saddam’s death warrant when he signed the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which made regime change in Iraq the policy of the U.S. government.

What might have happened if Clinton would have stuck to his initial instinct and tried to forge a new relationship with Iraq?

What might we have avoided in terms of lives, treasure, and prestige wasted in our fruitless effort to re-order the region? ...

 

 

When our "friend" Saddam was gassing the Kurds [Le Monde - March 1998]:

 

... At that time the regime was not worried about international reaction. In the recording of the meeting of 26 May 1987, Proconsul Al Majid declares: “I will kill them all with chemical weapons. Who is going to say anything? The international community? Fuck them!”

His language may be coarse, but the cynicism of the butcher of Kurdistan, later promoted governor of Kuwait and subsequently minister of defence, was fully justified.

Iraq was then seen as a secular bulwark against the Islamic regime in Teheran. It had the support of East and West and of the whole Arab world except Syria.

All the Western countries were supplying it with arms and funds.

 France was particularly zealous in this respect.

Not content with selling Mirages and helicopters to Iraq, it even lent the regime Super Etendard aircraft in the middle of its war with Iran.

Germany supplied Baghdad with a large part of the technology required for the production of chemical weapons.

And in an unusual display of East-West military cooperation, German engineers enhanced the performance of the Scud aircraft which Iraq had obtained from the Soviet Union, increasing their range so that they could strike at Teheran and other distant Iranian cities. ...

 

 

Three new police officers were fired for making comments on a group chat about using Miami's primarily black neighborhoods for target practice, a newspaper reported Friday. ... [ABC News - 30/12/16]

 

 

Judge: Texas must give number of heat-related prison deaths [Statesman – 29/12/16]:

 

... But Austin lawyer Jeff Edwards, representing prisoners on whose behalf the lawsuit was filed, said conditions in the prisons have “turned fraud into a death sentence, drunk driving into a death sentence.”

If the number of people escaping from prison were as high as the number of people suffering heat-related deaths, Edwards said, “heads would roll and things would change.” ...

 

 

Police’s secret cellphone-surveillance tool can also block calls by the innocent [McClatchy – 21/12/16]:

 

... Cell-site simulators were developed for battlefield use, allowing roving infantry teams or airborne units to track the cellphone signatures of enemy combatants and kill them.

Their civilian use has soared, however. In addition to the FBI’s 194 devices, the report found them sprinkled among federal agencies: the U.S. Marshals Service has 70, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has 59 and even the Internal Revenue Service maintains two of the electronic tools in its investigative arsenal.

The House report provided only limited details about the spread of the devices to state and local agencies.

But the American Civil Liberties Union tallies 68 agencies in 23 states and the District of Columbia that have StingRay tracking devices. States with broad usage include North Carolina, Florida, Texas and California.

Even small city police departments can obtain StingRays. The police department in Sunrise, Florida, a municipality of 90,000 people northwest of Fort Lauderdale, has two, the House report said.

Much of the federal government won’t talk about use of the StingRays.

“The FBI does not comment on specific tools or techniques,” spokesman Raushaunah Muhammad said.

Harris Corp., headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, was equally reticent: “We are unable to comment for your story,” spokesman Jim Burke said.

“Right now, it’s the Wild West for the use of these devices,” said Mike Katz-Lacabe, director of research at the Center for Human Rights and Privacy, a nonprofit group he founded in San Leandro, California.

“We don’t know how often they are used, what they are used for and whether we’d consider such a use acceptable.”

Federal authorities have approved cell-site simulators from two companies. In addition to models of the StingRay by Harris Corp., a second branded device is commonly called a Dirtbox and is made by a Boeing Corp. subsidiary, Digital Receiver Technology Inc. of Germantown, Maryland. The House report said the devices cost between $41,500 and $500,000, depending on their capabilities.

The StingRay typically is mounted in a van and used with a directional antenna. Sometimes police chase the signal of a suspect’s known cellular phone number or go to the suspect’s location and sweep up all unknown signals. All cellphones with power in the area begin communicating with the cell-site simulator, as if it were a legitimate tower.

That is one of the concerns of civil liberties groups, that cellphones unconnected with a law enforcement investigation are also captured by the device.

While some cell-site simulators allow 911 emergency calls to pass through to legitimate towers, other calls routinely fail. Should an emergency unfold, cell users in the vicinity probably would find their calls dropped or signals jammed. ...

 

 

United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 30/12/16]

 

 

Desperate child refugees return to Calais, UK still deny entry [teleSUR - 29/12/16]

 

 

Thoroughly discredited UNHCR expresses faux interest in Serbia refugee bottleneck [Reuters - 30/12/16]:

 

Serbia's centres for housing migrants are completely full, the U.N. refugee agency said, leaving more than a thousand facing a winter sleeping rough in the Balkan country that has become a bottleneck as the European Union sealed its borders.

At least 7,000 migrants mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria are trapped in Serbia, many spending months in a country culturally and financially ill-equipped to care for them and where few of them want to stay.

Despite the official closure of the so-called Balkan route, which has eased pressure on rich nations like Germany, aid agencies estimate more than 100 new migrants are entering Serbia every day, while only around 20 are allowed to enter Hungary - Serbia's only neighbour in Europe's Schengen visa-free area.

About half of those are children, and every 10th child is classified as unaccompanied, a spokeswoman for Save the Children told Reuters at an overcrowded Belgrade centre where the international NGO encourages children to take part in activities to help them come to terms with their trauma.

Serbia has pledged to make 6,000 beds available and has reached almost that total but has appealed for more help from the European Union to help it ease the crisis.

"All the reception centres are full, full," a UNHCR spokeswoman said, adding that it was unclear whether Serbia would make any more capacity available.

The Serbian government agency for refugees and migration, the SRC, was not immediately reachable for comment.

A warehouse in central Belgrade without basic facilities has become the home of more than 1,000 men - women and children are given priority in official camps - many of whom are reluctant to enter the system for fear their onward journey will be hindered. It is one of the largest camps of its kind in a European capital.

The site it occupies is due to become part of the Belgrade Waterfront project, a new luxury development being built by Emirati developer Eagle Hills.

"Serbia is becoming a buffer zone, some kind of purgatory," said Rados Djurovic, executive director of the Asylum Protection Centre, a Serbian non-profit organisation that provides legal and psychological support to displaced persons.

Many migrants are turning to people-traffickers to smuggle them into Hungary or Croatia, with the short Croatian border effectively sealed and a months-long waiting list at the barbed-wire Hungarian border. 

Serbian authorities found 77 migrants hidden in two cargo vehicles on Monday.

On Thursday, three Afghan migrants including a child died in a traffic accident in southern Serbia.

The driver, a suspected people-smuggler, fled the scene.

 

 

Region continues pushing back Rohingya refugees to Aung San Suu Kyi's genocide - UNHCR says nothing [bdnews24.com - 30/12/16]:

 

Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) has pushed back three boats and at least 106 Rohingya people from different border points of Cox’s Bazar.

The drives continued for around 24 hours since Thursday morning in which the Rohingyas were intercepted at Naf River, Ukhia Upazila of Cox’s Bazar and Naikkhongchharhi Upazila of Bandarban.

Taknaf-based BGB 2 Battalion’s Major Md Abu Russel Siddiqui said three boats, each carrying at least 10 Rohingyas, tried entering Bangladesh’s territorial water via Jombongkhali point.

“BGB patrol teams turned them back into Myanmar,” he told bdnews24.com.

Cox’s Bazar-based BGB 34 Battalion’s Commander Lt Col Imran Ullah Sarker said 76 Rohingyas were pushed back from Ukhia’s Balukhali, Anjuman Parha and Ghumdhum point of Naikkhongchharhi.

“They kept trying to sneak in from 7am Thursday until 7am Friday. There were 13 men, 24 women, and 39 children in the group,” said the BGB commander. ...

 

 

A diverse group of Rohingya activists across Europe met at the third European Rohingya Conference held in Esbjerg, Denmark for days 28-29 December 2016.

They discussed the ongoing genocidal persecution of fellow Rohingya people in their own ancestral border region of present-day Burma and Bangladesh.

Also discussed are the plight of Rohingya refugees who have risked their lives fleeing sexual violence, summary execution, and other atrocity crimes committed by the Myanmar Government.

Conference participants commonly expressed their grave concerns about the situation of the Rohingya in Northern Arakan (or Rakhine), the situation that has gone from bad to worse since the Aung San Suu Kyi government assumed office 8 months ago. ... [Rohingya Blogger - 30/12/16]

 

 

Turnbull, Dutton, Shorten, Neumann, McKim, media collaborators, phony NGOs, professional associations and human right groups are still hiding from the direct and predictable consequences of Australia's anti-refugee torture, exile and murder policy, and complicity. ----> “They’re trying to kill me, if they kill me take care of my son.”

These were the last words of Faysal Ishak Ahmad before his death on Christmas Eve.

The Sudanese refugee uttered these words during his last visit to his friend Walid Sandal.

This is not a scene from a tragic film or novel.

This is the reality of the prison on Manus Island, hundreds of kilometres from Australia and in the middle of a silent ocean. ... [Guardian - 30/12/16]

 

 

‘Even the birds and animals are free’:  One man’s journey through the US immigrant detention behemoth [Texas Observer - 29/12/16]

 

 

Time passed slowly inside the detention center.

It was the afternoon of June 3, 2015, and the oppressive heat of South Texas reminded Lilian Oliva Bardales, a 19-year-old mother from Honduras, of home.

For 239 days, she and her 4-year-old son, Cristhian, had been held inside the Karnes County Residential Center, a family immigration detention facility an hour southeast of San Antonio.

Inside that day were 604 women, some of them pregnant, and their children, some of them still nursing, virtually all of whom were asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, the violence-plagued region of Central America known as the Northern Triangle.

Two hours west, a detention center in the small oil town of Dilley held another 1,459 mothers and children.

Lilian had been informed the previous day that she and her son would soon be deported. ... [The Nation - 26/12/16]

 

 

Federal judge preserves CIA ‘Torture Report’ after Guantánamo war court wouldn’t do it [McClatchy – 29/12/16]

 

 

More teenagers could be sent to Barwon Prison after Victorian government reclassifies unit as youth justice and remand centre [ABC - 30/12/16]

 

 

The family of an Aboriginal man who was gave evidence in court that he was bashed at a northern New South Wales police station have called for more Indigenous people on juries, and more security camera’s to be installed at police stations following the acquittal of the police officers who were charged with assaulting him.

 ...

Corey Barker found himself in custody after witnessing an altercation between police and a young woman on the streets of Ballina.

Mr Barker got his phone out to start filming the incident, but before he could start recording he said he was tackled to the ground from behind by another officer, punched, and taken to the police station.

Each officer's statement, read to the court, said Mr Barker had been yelling abuse and threats, and punching and kicking the walls of the perspex dock where he was initially held.

His family remember this as the start of a six year battle, and a terrible night in custody for Corey.

“He was in a bad way, he had lumps on his head, and he had grazes on one of his hips, and marks on his body, his shoulder of course he couldn't move his shoulder very well because it was ripped off the chest wall and he had to have a whole heap of scans and things and work very hard on that to get it back to where it is now,” Corey’s mum remembered.

“It’s affected us all mentally.”

During the court hearing Angelique said supporters of the officers involved were calling Corey "scum" and mumbling other derogatory comments under their breath.

"I actually had to go out and ask for them to be spoken to and told to stop," she said. 

"I would never have said anything like that about the officers."  ... [SBS - 30/12/16]

 

 

Tjuma Pulka 96.3 FM [28/12/16]:

 

KALGOORLIE: 6 year old girl has been hit by a speeding car in a 50km zone according to witness Michael Smith.

The car did not stop.

Father of the child Hank West and his brother Elvis McLean tried to stop the car and was dragged approx a further 70 metres.

It has been reported that the driver then drove to the Police Station.

The child and Mr West have been taken to the Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital.

 

 

Julie Bishop: Australia would not have backed UN resolution on Israel [Guardian - 30/12/16]:

 

Australia would not have supported a UN resolution condemning Israel’s settlements program in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Julie Bishop has indicated.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said in a statement Australia did not support “one-sided resolutions targeting Israel”, the ABC reported.

The resolution was co-sponsored by New Zealand, which the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said was tantamount to a “declaration of war”.

“If you continue to promote this resolution, from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences,” Netanyahu reportedly told New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister, Murray McCully.

But McCully, insisted: “This resolution conforms to our policy and we will move it forward.”

The US, which has a veto in the UN security council, abstained from the vote, drawing stinging criticism from the Netanyahu government, which accused Barack Obama of orchestrating the vote, a claim the US government strongly denies.

Australia is not currently a member of the UN security council and so was not eligible to vote on the resolution but Bishop indicated the federal government would not have taken the same line as its New Zealand counterpart.

“In voting at the UN, the Coalition government has consistently not supported one-sided resolutions targeting Israel,” the statement read.

Bishop said the Australian government remained “firmly committed to a two-state solution, where Israel and a Palestinian state exist side by side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders”.

“Australia urges both sides to refrain from steps that damage the prospect for peace and to resume direct negotiations for a two-state solution as soon as possible,” the statement said.

Netanyahu has been invited to visit Australia in the new year and would become the first Israeli prime minister to do so.

Issuing the invitation in September, when she was in Israel, Bishop said the Australian public would “warmly embrace you, welcome you”.

The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, has been in Israel in the past week, where he described Netanyahu as “a good friend of Australia”. ...

 

 

Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian woman at Qalandiya checkpoint [Maan - 30/12/16]

 

 

An Israeli soldier stationed at the border between Israel and Lebanon committed suicide by shooting himself Wednesday, according to Israeli media reports on Thursday. ... [Maan - 29/12/16]

 

 

Two Palestinian students at Bir Zeit University were seized by Israeli occupation forces in recent days. ... [Samidoun - 29/12/16]

 

 

Ahead of Kerry speech: Israel approves settlement units in East Jerusalem [PNN - 29/12/16]

 

 

... On Wednesday, Kerry gave a speech at the State Department to defend Washington's abstention at the UN Security Council, speaking with a clarity and harshness almost never heard from US diplomats when discussing one of their closest allies.

“This is all taking place within few weeks of Obama leaving office,” Lendman [US journalist] said during an interview with Press TV on Thursday.

“Why did they wait all this time to do what they’re doing now?”

“It was a worthless effort; words without action are hollow and that’s what America’s abstention last Friday and Kerry’s speech was all about; lip service alone, symbolic, meaningless, nothing was advanced to help the cause of the Palestinian people,” Lendman said.

“They remain occupied, they remain persecuted, they remain victims of anytime Israel intends to wage another war and for certain America will support it; so in other words, nothing was accomplished,” he added. ... [Press TV - 29/12/16]

 

 

This is part 2 of 2 of the newest Standing Rock Water Protectors action for peaceful prayer and protest against the DAPL enforcement on the Bridge. [Travis Robinson - 29/12/16]

 

 

Retrial date set for March in police shooting of black man in South Carolina [Reuters - 29/12/16]

 

 

The lawyer for a Texan who was paralyzed when he was shot by an off-duty Forth Worth police officer in July has released a dashboard camera video which appears to contradict portions of the initial account provided by authorities.

Despite what the Fort Worth Police Department has charged, David Collie in the video does not appear to be clearly pointing a box cutter at a deputy who was with the officer who fired the shots.

Instead, Collie appears to be pointing his right hand away from the officers. ... [NBC - 29/12/16]

 

 

US drone strike kills "local Qaeda chief and his guard" in Yemen [Al Arabiya - 29/12/16]

 

 

US-Saudi warplanes continue raids across Yemen [SABA - 29/12/16]

 

 

‏@I4Yemen [29/12/16]:  Today #Saudi aggression committed another war crime against civilians in #Yemen Bombing on Water digger in Hamadan area 1was killed2 wounded

 

 

‏@crimesofbrits [23/1/16]:  Britain terrorising the Yemeni people in the 1960s. Now they have Saudi Arabia doing it with British weaponry.  

 

 

The Emirates Red Crescent has rushed emergency relief aid to a number of families who were displaced from Brom Mayfa, a district in the Yemeni south-eastern province of Hadramaut, to the border village of Rabab, where they suffered a lack of shelter, food and basic services. ... [Emirates News Agency - 28/12/16]

 

 

The UN Security Council will gather for a closed meeting in the coming hours to discuss the situation in Syria following the announcement of a nationwide ceasefire, a diplomatic source told TASS.

"Russia requested this meeting. It is expected to focus on the ceasefire announced in Syria," the source said.

Another UN source said Russia may suggest adopting a resolution in support of the truce. ... [TASS - 30/12/16]

 

 

Ceasefire in Syria comes into force at midnight December 30 [TASS - 29/12/16]:

 

... The militant groups joining the ceasefire agreement in Syria consist of over 60,000 insurgents, Shoigu said:

"In accordance with your order, the defense ministry has been holding talks though Turkey with the Syrian opposition leaders. These armed groups control most of central and northern Syria, the total number of their members exceeds 60,000".

"The most influential commanders of the armed opposition groups have been taking part in the talks," he added.

The defense minister also said that favorable conditions for dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition, interested in preserving the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, have been created. ...

 

 

Mine lands inside Russian embassy compound in Damascus [TASS - 29/12/16]

 

 

The jihadist rebels disrupted the gas flow to millions of civilians in Damascus on Thursday in protest of the Syrian government's demand that they surrender the Wadi Barada area. ... [AMN - 29/12/16]

 

 

President al-Assad’s statement to Italian (TG5) channel [SANA - 29/12/16]

 

 

2 citizens killed, 19 injured in terrorist rocket attacks in Damascus and Aleppo [SANA - 29/12/16]

 

 

A former Syrian opposition fighter has been charged with breaching international law over the execution in 2012 of seven soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, the Swedish prosecutor's office said on Thursday.

The 46-year-old man, who was arrested in March, appears in a video showing the killings, the prosecutor's office said.

The man, who was not named, denies any crime. ... [Reuters - 29/12/16]

 

 

Putin discusses Syria with leaders of Greece, Egypt [Reuters – 29/12/16]

 

 

‏@IraqiSMCEn -  Iraqi Spring Media Center [29/12/16]:

 

Nineveh: News agencies: 41 persons were killed and 134 wounded as US shelling targeted some areas in Mosul today.

 

Nineveh: Photos show deaths ,injuries and destruction due to the US bombing on Ibn Al-Atheer Hospital in Nineveh.

 

Nineveh: The US-led coalition aircraft has targeted Ibn Al-Atheer Hospital for children at the left side of Mosul ... 

 

 

Today, during coalition operations to liberate Mosul, Iraq, a coalition airstrike struck a van carrying Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters observed firing an SPG-9 recoilless rifle before loading the weapon in the van and driving off, according to a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve news release.

The van was struck in what was later determined to be a hospital compound parking lot resulting in possible civilian casualties, the release said. ... [US Department of Defense - 29/12/16]

 

 

Iraqi forces resume Mosul offensive [US Department of Defense - 29/12/16]

 

 

United States continue bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 29/12/16]

 

 

Figures published on Thursday by the Greek Asylum Service showed that the number of applications for protection spiked by 593 percent in November compared with the monthly average for 2015. ... [Ekathimerini - 29/12/16]

 

 

"... When they came on board, I could see the relief in their eyes ..." Saving migrants at sea [Reuters - 29/12/16]

 

 

The bodies of 11 migrants who died trying to make the perilous journey to Europe have washed up on beaches around Libya’s capital Tripoli, the Red Crescent said Wednesday. ... [Daily Trust - 29/12/16]

 

 

... After five days at sea, their boat reached Australian waters, but the engine failed as they struggled to make their way closer to Christmas Island.

The Rohingya desperately waved to the crew of a passing Australian Navy vessel, which Mr Abdul said did not respond.  ...  [The Straits Times - 1/2/16]

 

 

US Envoy on Refugees, Migration Policy in Southeast Asia [Anne Richard] press conference with UNHCR and IOM downplays concerns about Myanmar atrocities against Rohingya and regional refugee bottleneck - encourages turnbacks as an acceptable course of action [3/6/15]

 

 

... Drive in silence slowly home
Now horror's more than skin and bone ...

 

'400 Miles From Darwin', The Whitlams [2002]

 

 

Indonesian President expects Rohingya to be peaceful and grateful for his pissweak humanitarian aid as Aung San Suu Kyi's genocide continues with impunity [ANTARA - 29/12/16]

 

 

Your backyard Australia ---> Some 50,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar, the foreign ministry in Dhaka said Thursday, seeking shelter from a bloody crackdown by the army.

Bangladesh has stepped up patrols to try to stem the tide of refugees crossing the border since an eruption of unrest in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine in early October.

The foreign ministry summoned Myanmar's ambassador to express "deep concern at the continued influx" of tens of thousands of members of the stateless ethnic minority into its territory.

"(We) mentioned that around 50,000 Myanmar citizens took shelter into Bangladesh since 09 October 2016," the ministry said in a statement.

Dhaka also demanded early repatriation of all Burmese citizens who have been living in the Muslim-majority nation for years, including some 300,000 Rohingya -- most of them illegally.

A spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told AFP that at least 43,000 Rohingya have taken shelter in Bangladesh since October.

The vast majority of those who arrived took refuge in makeshift settlements, official refugee camps and villages in Bangladesh's resort district of Cox's Bazar.

Many of those interviewed by AFP told horrific stories of gang-rape, torture and murder at the hands of Myanmar security forces.

Myanmar has denied allegations of abuse but has banned foreign journalists and independent investigators from accessing the area.

Bangladesh's government has been under pressure to open its border to the fleeing refugees, in a crisis which has been described as a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.

But it has reinforced its border posts and deployed coastguard ships to prevent fresh arrivals.

In the past three months, its border guards have prevented hundreds of boats packed with thousands of Rohingya women and children from entering the country. [GMA - 29/12/16]

 

 

 

End violence in Myanmar, Nobel laureates urge UN Security Council [Reuters - 29/12/16]:

 

... In an open letter to the Security Council, Tutu and 22 others including fellow Nobel Peace laureates José Ramos-Horta and Muhammad Yunus said a "human tragedy amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity is unfolding in Myanmar".

"If we fail to take action, people may starve to death if they are not killed with bullets," the letter said.

The violence had the hallmarks of Rwanda's 1994 genocide as well as ethnic cleansing in Sudan's western Darfur region, Bosnia and Kosovo, it said.

The signatories to the letter said even if a group of Rohingyas was behind the Oct. 9 attacks, the army's response had been "grossly disproportionate".

"It would be one thing to round up suspects, interrogate them and put them on trial," the letter said.

"It is quite another to unleash helicopter gunships on thousands of ordinary civilians and to rape women and throw babies into a fire." ...

 

 

16 Rohingya - including teenagers - arbitrarily arrested in Kyikanpyin following UNHCR and WFP visit [RVision TV - 30/12/16]

 

 

Myanmar military continue raids and arrests throughout northern Maungdaw [The Stateless - 29/12/16]

 

 

Myanmar Army and Border Guard Police "clearance" operations from 9 October to 29 December [Mir Ahmed Siddiquee - 29/12/16]

 

 

Houses demolished by Myanmar Border Guard Police in Alaythankyaw [Arakan Times - 29/12/16]

 

@Aungaungsittwe [29/12/16]:  Whole #Rohingya familiy w locked inside&burnt down in MyawTaung(SaliFarang) by #Myanmar army on 24.12.16 ...

 

 

I am a journalist, I am a writer, I am a prisoner. The history of this prison is written in my hand …

 

What's news Behrouz?:  Reporting from inside Australia's death camp on Manus Island [Inter Press Service - 29/12/16]:

 

... One of the greatest challenges facing Boochani is what he calls “the refugee concept”, the willingness of Australian and international media to use his insight and words but to cast him as a “broken man” or a refugee.

“This is a big form of censorship,” he says.

“I know that I am a refugee but I’m a journalist and writer too. I have been denied my identity as a journalist because of this refugee concept and most of the media don’t care about that. When I have found a subject for a story and provided information and documents to other journalists sometimes they have ignored me, or other times they published a story on the basis of my information but denied my identity by referring to me only as a refugee. I’m doing the same job as other journalists in Australia or anywhere else, but I am always called a refugee.”

Overcoming the international concept of Australia as a peaceful, law-abiding nation with a relaxed attitude to life also presents a difficulty to Boochani as a journalist.

 “We are being tortured by a western country and the media and human rights organisations find it hard to believe that a country like Australia is implementing policies that are the same in many ways as Iran or Saudi Arabia,” he says.

“I am a prisoner like the others here. It’s hard to work in this situation. I have to endure prison and torture and at the same time work as a journalist or human rights defender.” ...

 

 

Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen [PROTECT] explores migration semantics with Clarke and Dawe [ABC - 1/11/12]

 

 

I'm not racist, but ... [The Late Show - 1992]

 

 

The policy of mandatory detention in Australia (that is the legal requirement to detain all non-citizens without a valid visa) was introduced by the Keating (Labor) Government in 1992 in response to a wave of Indochinese boat arrivals. ... Immigration detention in Australia [Parliament of Australia - March 2013]

 

 

 

30 December 2016

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