OTT police response as young Australians protest on prison roof and fascist union calls for nicer cages and better wages

 

 

... Drifting through a world that's torn and tattered

Every thought I have don't mean a thing ...

 

 

'Don't Stop The Dance', Bryan Ferry [1985]

 

 

 

Nine MSN [31/10/15]:

 

Six inmates holding tennis racquets have climbed onto a roof at a Melbourne youth centre, prompting a large police response.

Footage from the 9NEWS helicopter shows the group brandishing the racquets while sitting on the roof of the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre at Parkville about 4.30pm.

A shirtless inmate has since climbed down from the roof and is walking around the centre grounds.

Footage also shows officials standing near the building.

A large number of police vehicles are also at the scene.

The Park Street centre is about three kilometres north of the Melbourne CBD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia's Prime Minister to give Rupert Murdoch even more media control before Christmas

 

 

 

Sydney Morning Herald [30/10/15]:

 

 

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has instructed his department to draft options for an overhaul of media ownership laws he can present to cabinet before Christmas, signalling the government will move quickly to deregulate the sector.

Scrapping existing cross-media ownership laws would likely spark a new round of mergers between the country's biggest media companies and set off a new debate about media diversity.

Momentum for change is growing within the government, with Nationals leader Warren Truss throwing his support behind reform. But Nationals MPs are pushing back by demanding any relaxation of ownership laws is accompanied by greater requirements for broadcasters to air local content.

"We are not so concerned about who owns the stations as we are that they retain their local identity including providing genuine local content especially news services," Mr Truss said.

Fairfax Media understands bureaucrats in the Department of Communications have been working on a series of options for Senator Fifield, including scrapping the so-called "reach" and "two out of three" rules as well as reducing broadcasting licensing fees.

The "reach" rule restricts television networks from broadcasting to more than 75 per cent of the population while the "two out of three" rule outlaws media companies from owning a television station, radio station and newspaper in the same market.

The issue is expected to come to cabinet for discussion within weeks, paving the way for a decision by the end of the year.

"There's been a recognition, because it's hard to deny, that our media laws do not reflect the world that we live in," Senator Fifield said on Friday.

"That they were crafted in a pre-digital age, for a pre-digital age. Regional TV operators in particular want to have the freedom to configure their businesses in the way that can make them most viable."

Prime chairman John Hartigan said: "Our position is the sooner these laws go the better and I get the impression that's where the minister is heading."

The Nine Network this week announced it would stream all its programs online from next year, legally circumventing the 75 per cent reach rule. Those in favour of change say it demonstrates how outdated the current rules are.

Moving quickly on reform would allow the government to avoid a potential stoush with powerful media moguls during an election year.

Malcolm Turnbull completed extensive work on the various policy options during his time as Communications Minister. But he was blocked by former prime minister Tony Abbott, who had been lobbied heavily against change by Kerry Stokes' Seven West Media.

Senator Fifield is weighing up whether to proceed only with scrapping the "reach" rule - a relatively modest change - or pushing ahead with a more ambitious plan to also remove the "two out of three" rule.

Abolishing the "two out of three rule" would allow the Nine Network to merge with Fairfax Media, for example.

News Corporation, which co-owns Foxtel, has been pushing for changes to the anti-siphoning list for sporting broadcasts to be part of the mix.

Nationals MP Andrew Broad said he supports scrapping the reach and "two out of three" rules but this was conditional on new protections for local content.

"With opportunity comes obligation," Mr Broad said. "The owners are not coming to this with pure motives. If they want to be given the opportunity to be more competitive and viable they should have to protect local content."

Mr Broad said he was concerned about protecting the future of local news coverage as well as ensuring small businesses can advertise to their local markets.

 

 


Seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care [Documentary - 1993]:

 

 

Against the backdrop of the first Gulf war, there was another war fought on the Northern Beaches of Sydney - between the Manly Daily newspaper and the upstart competitor, the Weekender.

And will Joe, photographer for the Manly Daily follow his heart to Kuwait to cover the war, or will he remain shooting local pics?

 

 

 

 

Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!  --->  What domestic violence crisis?  Watch Palaszczuk government retain VLAD laws and use critical report to expand draconian legislation [Sunshine Coast Daily - 31/10/15]

 

 

 


The White House will not allow the immediate release of emails exchanged between President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from when she was secretary of state, a senior administration official said on Friday.

The emails may be withheld until after Obama leaves office under the Presidential Records Act, according to the White House, a law that governs public access to the president's records. ... [Reuters - 30/10/15]

 

 



Largest US banks face $120 billion shortfall under new rule [Reuters – 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

‏@NewbyNewbys [31/10/15]:  No turning back the boats at #WalkTogether2015 in Perth with @rranwa #endmandatorydetention #CloseTheCamps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@MSF_Sea [31/10/15]:  Everyday without #safepassage is a day of impending tragedy on the #Mediterranean and #Aegean.

 

 

 

 

 

The runaway military surveillance blimp that came loose from an Army base in Maryland on Wednesday dragged its torn tether through power lines in two Pennsylvania counties before crashing into the woods.

But at least no one died.

The same can’t be said of a recent accident involving a U.S. military blimp in Kabul that constantly hovers over the Afghan capital. ... [The Intercept - 31/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Journalists killed during the last decade in Mexico are being honored at Day of the Dead celebrations. An altar placed at the Museum of Memory and Tolerance in Mexico City is supported by the journalism advocacy group Article 19. Members seek to create awareness of the risks faced by journalists as they go about their work. As many as 32 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992, when the Committee to Protect Journalists was founded. The country ranks seven among countries with the most murdered journalists. [VIDEO - teleSUR -30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Will the US navy be able to visit New Zealand? [RNZI - 31/10/15]

 

 


China's naval commander told his U.S. counterpart that a minor incident could spark war in the South China Sea if the United States did not stop its "provocative acts" in the disputed waterway, the Chinese navy said on Friday. ... [Reuters - 30/10/15]


 



Two Russian anti-submarine planes flew close to a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Pacific, alarming the U.S. Navy who immediately deployed four F-18 combat jets to escort them away, a U.S. Navy official said Thursday, according to RT.

The fighter jets took off from the USS Ronald Reagan on Tuesday after two Russian anti-submarine TU-142 aircraft flew past the aircraft carrier at a distance of about a nautical mile, the official told Reuters on Thursday.

The incident took place in the international waters east of the Korean peninsula, according to the U.S. Navy, who said both sides responded with a high level of professionalism, as the Russian aircraft flew away from the U.S. carrier, the Navy official said, RT added.  ... [teleSUR - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

A small water vessel passes by the USS Ronald Reagan while it is docked at the Port of Brisbane on January 26, 2006 in Brisbane, Australia. ...

 

 

 


Carter to visit Asia-Pacific region, with pants on head [US Department of Defense - 29/10/15]:

 

 Defense Secretary Ash Carter begins an eight-day trip to the Asia-Pacific region tomorrow, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today.

During his third visit to the Asia-Pacific in eight months, the secretary will meet with leaders from more than a dozen nations across East Asia and South Asia to help advance the next phase of the U.S. military’s rebalance in the region by modernizing longtime alliances and building new partnerships, DoD officials said.

Among numerous meetings, Carter will attend the 47th annual U.S-Republic of Korea Security Consultative Meeting in Seoul, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defense Ministers Plus meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Davis said.

The secretary also will deliver the keynote address at the 3rd annual Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, before returning to Washington.

The forum brings together leaders and key stakeholders in the defense community, including members of Congress and civilian and military leaders from the Defense Department and industry to address national defense health and encourage discussions that promote policies to strengthen the U.S. military, according to the forum’s web site.

Watch for updates during the secretary’s trip in a special report at http://www.defense.gov.

 

 

 

Why are the Australian Greens - and human rights groups - not supporting Amnesty's call for a Royal Commission into Operation Sovereign Borders?

 

Establishment media, "opposition" help government avoid responding to Amnesty's Report that Australia is violating international conventions with Kyrgyzstan fabrication and distraction.

 

 

This media messaging is deliberate psychological torture, and the best response we have is a "zinger" from Di Natale? :   ... “What next? Are we going to send people to Mars?” he said. ... [Guardian - 31/10/15]

 

 

2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile - Central Asia:

 

 

In Central Asia, UNHCR's work focuses on developing national asylum systems, seeking solutions for refugees and stateless people and supporting the implementation of emergency preparedness measures. National refugee legislation in the subregion is inconsistent with international standards. States are preoccupied with cross-border/transnational threats and national security, which impacts asylum policy and the protection of refugees. Progress in political reforms and developments are prerequisites for a favourable protection environment and sustainable solutions for those of concern to UNHCR.

...

 

 

 

 

 

 

KYRGYZ REFUGEE REGIME REMAINS ON EDGE [16/10/06]:

 

 

On October 12 and 13, visiting PRM Officer and Poloff met with Kyrgyz Government officials, international organization representatives, and NGOs in Bishkek and Osh to discuss the refugee situation in Kyrgyzstan. Following recent extraditions and reported abductions (refs a and b), Embassy contacts have charged that Kyrgyzstan's once exemplary refugee regime is eroding. Although UNHCR has been able to work cooperatively with its Kyrgyz counterparts to resettle numerous Uzbek asylum seekers to third countries, the safety of those currently residing in Kyrgyzstan has not been assured. And if in the future there is another flow of asylum seekers from Uzbekistan, governmental and nongovernmental actors alike do not believe that Kyrgyzstan is prepared to handle them effectively. Without policies in place to ensure the safety of the approximately eighty asylum seekers registered in Kyrgyzstan, or the will to grant refugee status to Uzbek nationals, the refugee situation in Kyrgyzstan, according to experts in the field, will continue to deteriorate. ...

 

 

 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Austria, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan from October 28 to November 3.

While in Vienna, Secretary Kerry will hold bilateral and multilateral meetings with foreign counterparts to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria. ... [Kabar - 28/10/15]

 

 

 

That Save the Children Australia accept refoulement, and STILL won't call for the refugee concentration camps to be closed is BIZARRE.

 

 Canberra Times [30/10/15]:

 

 

Charities working in immigration detention centres were asked to pay multimillion-dollar bonds that could be forfeited if they spoke out against government policy, as the Coalition sought to maintain secrecy over border protection.

In what critics say is the latest evidence of the government's determination to control information about its immigration detention program, aid agencies including Save the Children and the Australian Red Cross were asked to offer "performance security" – in one case, of $2 million – during negotiations over contracts relating to work caring for asylum seekers and refugees.

It came as the non-profit organisations were also being asked to agree to clauses that would prevent them speaking to the media without government approval.

Interpreting it as a gag clause, Save the Children refused, and reached a compromise last year that did not include a bond, and allowed hundreds of staff to continue working on the island.

...

 

 

 

Evidently this Save The Children is not the same as the one in Australia? [Independent - 8/10/15]:

 

… Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said the charity was “extremely concerned” by the withdrawal of HMC Protector and HMC Seeker, the UK’s last two boats involved in proactive search and rescue missions.

He said it would reduce capacity Europe to save lives “at a time when rescue missions are most needed”.

“Usually we see a reduction of crossings and casualties as the weather turns colder but that is not happening this year,” Mr Forsyth added.

“Seven thousand people arrived on the Greek islands (on Sunday) alone, the same day as the appalling discovery of the dead bodies of another baby and toddler washed up on the island of Kos.”

...

 

 

 

All aboard the bipartisan ship [Overland - 11/8/15]:

 

... 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.’  ...

 

 

 

The International Committee of the Red Cross has released World War II documents showing the organization knew about the persecution of Jews in Nazi death camps but felt powerless to speak out.  ... [J Weekly - 3/1/1997]

 

 

 

Refugees on Nauru are NOT free, yet the Australian media keeps stating that they are.

 

... We are living in a camp in the jungle. This is where they ‘re-settled’ us. This is no place to live. If we are refugees why are we not living in community? We have no neighbours here. Our ‘neighbours’, our ‘relatives’ are mosquitoes and flies and dogs. Please listen to our issues. We want to tell you that we are here like animals. ...

 

 

Refugees protest on Nauru, 26 September 2014

 

 

 

[Statement and Questions from the more then fifty refugees - given ‘temporary protection visas’ to ‘re-settle’ on Nauru - 4/8/14]:

 

... We want to tell you that we are here like animals. In a zoo there is different animals from different countries and people go to look at them. Nauru is a zoo.

We are just different animals from different countries. People come to visit here and then asks some questions then they note it down. But we know from experience that they are doing just paper work and nothing will happen.

They just come to look at us.

Recently one man called Paris Aristotle came to our accommodation and he said he was from a NGO in Victoria. He said he is here to help us and to listen to us.

On that first day we asked him to take our problems to the media and he said that he cannot because he has good relationship with the minister!

We are confused. Is this man here for us or immigration?

The second day when he came, he came with Mark who is the deputy chief secretary of immigration and, as he told us, he is in charge of all detention centres of Australia.

When we were talking Paris was supporting Mark, not us. When we tell them some things they laughed at us. We are confused, is this man, Paris, here for us or for the DIAC?  ...

 

 

 

 

If you close your eyes you don't see anyone drowining.  And if you cover your ears you can't hear them scream ----- >  .... PARIS ARISTOTLE: I- The government has stopped the boats and I for one am glad that we haven't seen anybody drown in the last 18 months as a consequence of those boat journeys, but, we also have to examine the way in which we've done that and whether that is sustainable over the longer term. ... [ABC - 29/5/15]

 

 

 

 

.. one Greek internet user proposed that instead of “Greek-Turkish joint patrols” – a plan promoted by Germany -, the Europeans would do better to charter ferries between Greece and Turkey and provide refugees and migrants with safe passage. [Keep Talking Greece - 30/10/15

 

 

 

 

‏@vicentmontagud [30/10/15]:   Es un río de personas exhaustas. Caen y se levantan. Especialistas en sobrevivir. Eslovenia.

 

 

 

‏@LluisCaelles [30/10/15]:   -> 57 morts a mercat Douma #Síria -> Els sirians fugen -> Alguns moren a l'Egeu -> A #Europa es troben tanques

 

 

 

@maydeuO [30/10/15]:   Un día "normal" para @PROACTIVA_SERV. Hoy Lesbos #Lesvos (fotos @AFP) #refugeecrisis

 

 

 

‏@camconbrio [30/10/15]:   Volunteers help a partially-flooded boat of 150 refugees to shore. #LifeStyleTV #AdventistHelp #Greece #Lesbos

 

 

 

 

@MSF_Sea [30/10/15]:   People are dying everyday in the #Aegean Sea. How many more have to die before there is the political will to provide #safepassage?

 

 

 

 

 

@CharESilver [30/10/15]:  Israel installed a checkpoint right in front of a hospital, causing long delays for staff and patients.

 

 

 

 

 

@CharESilver [30/10/15]:   IDF runs over protesters than prevents medical crew from helping him by pepper spraying them directly in their eyes

 

 

 

 

@farouri [30/10/15]:  Israeli soldiers attacking Journalists during clashes near Beit Eil Settlement Today ...

 

 

 

 

8-month-old baby dies from tear gas inhalation near Bethlehem [Maan - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Israeli soldiers tell Palestinians: ‘We will gas you until you die' [Maan - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas will meet Friday with the prosecutor of the world's only permanent war crimes court, Palestinian officials said amid a surge of fresh violence with Israel.

It will be Abbas's first meeting with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court since the Palestinian Authority sparked controversy by joining the tribunal in January, an official with the Palestinian mission in The Hague told AFP. ... [Naharnet - 30/10/15]

 

 



Israel legalises hundreds of West Bank settler homes [Naharnet – 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, in Texas, a white police officer who is accused of fatally shooting an unarmed African-American man has persuaded a judge to throw out the case after arguing he is immune from state charges because he was working for a federal task force at the time of the shooting. Officer Charles Kleinert was employed as an Austin police officer in 2013 when he says he accidentally shot and killed Larry Jackson Jr. The officer began chasing Jackson after the man allegedly attempted to enter a locked bank and then fled. When Officer Kleinert caught up with Jackson, he says he meant to hit the man in the neck with his pistol. Instead, the officer fired his gun, killing Jackson. On Thursday, a Texas judge ruled the state court has no jurisdiction over Officer Kleinert in this case, because he had been investigating an unrelated bank robbery for his federal task force when he began the chase. [Democracy Now - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Palestinian shot, killed after alleged attack at Nablus checkpoint [Maan - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palestinian shot, injured after stab attack in Jerusalem [Maan - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

A Palestinian youth was run over and detained and several journalists assaulted during clashes in el-Bireh on Friday.

Video footage of the incident from Al-Aqsa TV shows an Israeli military jeep speeding at a group of Palestinian youths, hitting one person.

Medics who attempt to reach the youth are pushed back and assaulted by Israeli soldiers.

Israeli soldiers then assaulted several journalists in the area as they attempted to film clashes with Palestinian youths.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and live fire during the clashes, which started following Friday prayers. ... [Maan - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

Afghanistan:  US drone strike kills 3, Kunar province [TOLO News - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan:  Casualties feared as car bomb goes off in Helmand [Pajhwok - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Saudi jets mistakenly hit allied militants in Yemen [Press TV - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

... Alone in the night as the daylight brings

 

A cool empty silence  ...

 

 

'Vienna', Ultravox [1981]

 

 

 

 

United States puts underpants on head and walks around room telling everyone how important they are [Daily Star - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Refugee deaths spur criticism of Europe's ineptness [Al Jazeera - 30/10/15]:

 

 

... Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, voiced sorrow at the new deaths, and decried Europe's "inability to defend its values" by providing a safe alternative to the dangerous sea journeys in frail boats provided by smuggling gangs.

"The waves of the Aegean are not just washing up dead refugees, dead children, but [also] the very civilization of Europe," he told parliament.

Tsipras placed blame for the tragedy on Western countries, whose military interventions in the Middle East "were not to introduce democracy ... but to serve financial interests".

"And now, those who sowed winds are reaping whirlwinds, but these mainly afflict reception countries," he said.

"I feel ashamed of Europe's inability to effectively address this human drama, and of the level of debate ... where everyone tries to shift the blame onto someone else," Tsipras said.

...

 

 

 

 

... There is now an urgent need for strengthening of the search and rescue capacity in the area, said Ms. Morelli.

A meeting of States affected by the current refugee and migrant flow through Greece and the Western Balkans on Sunday called for boosting the Poseidon Sea Joint Operation in the eastern Aegean and specifically the presence of Frontex, the European Union’s agency for external borders.

UNHCR has consistently urged governments to increase legal pathways for refugees to reach Europe, said Ms. Morelli, as well as to include more resettlement; expanded family reunification programs; private sponsorship schemes; and more flexible visa policies for students and workers. ... [UN Media Release - 29/10/15]

 




Roman Polanski: Polish court rejects US extradition [BBC - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

The son of France's foreign minister faces criminal charges in the United States over allegations that he passed bad cheques to casinos in Las Vegas, according to a report in French weekly Le Point.

Thomas Fabius, eldest son of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, is now a wanted man in the US, Le Point reported. ... [France 24 - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Abby Martin interviews world-renowned philosopher and linguist Professor Noam Chomsky. Prof. Chomsky comments on the presidential primary "extravaganza," the movement for Bernie Sanders, the US-Iran nuclear deal, the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, modern-day libertarianism and the reality of "democracy" under capitalism. [VIDEO - teleSUR/Truthout - 27/10/15]

 

 



Shaker Aamer released from Guantanamo Bay



A Reprieve report, published earlier this year, detailed the horrific torture he claims US interrogators meted out in an attempt to make him sign a false confession. Mr Aamer later said he would have told interrogators “he was Bin Laden” to make the torture stop.



Independent [30/10/15]:

 

Shaker Aamer, the last British resident detained in Guantanamo, has been reportedly released and is flying back to his wife and four children in London.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed to Sky News Mr Aamer had been released. His plane is believed to be due to land in the UK at around midday today.

Co-director of the We Stand With Shaker campaign Andy Worthington also said he had confirmation from Mr Aamer's lawyer he is due to return.

"We're delighted to hear that his long and unacceptable ordeal has come to an end," he told Press Association.

"We hope he won't be detained by the British authorities on his return and gets the psychological and medical care that he needs to be able to resume his life with his family in London."

Cori Crider, Mr Aamer's US lawyer and strategic director of Reprieve, said in a statement the release was "long, long past time."

"Shaker now needs to see a doctor, and then get to spend time alone with his family as soon as possible.”

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen cautioned: “After so many twists and turns in this appalling case, we won’t really believe that Shaker Aamer is actually being returned to the UK until his plane touches down on British soil."

...

 

 

 

 

Source:  Western countries will insist on Assad’s resignation at Vienna talks [TASS - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

US cites ‘press reports’ and secret ‘operational data’ as proof of Russia striking Syrian hospitals [RT - 30/10/15]

 

 


United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq - Syria gets a reprieve

 


US Department of Defense [30/10/15]:

 

 

U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

-- Near Huwayjah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL weapons and staging areas.

-- Near Mosul, one strike destroyed an ISIL artillery piece.

-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL recoilless rifle, two ISIL rocket rails, eight ISIL boats, two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun, suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, three strikes destroyed 33 ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Tal Afar, three strikes suppressed two ISIL mortar positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun position.

...

 



More than 20 dead after missile attack on Iranian exiles camp in Baghdad [Guardian - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

UNHCR statement on today's attack on vicinity of Baghdad International Airport, including Camp Liberty, in Iraq [30/10/15]

 


 

 

 

 

 

@MSF_Sea [30/10/15]:   UPDATE: A smaller boat has also capsized near #Rhodes with 3 people missing, feared dead

 

 

 

 

 

 

@MSF_Sea [30/10/15]:   ... 18 dead as yet another boat, this one near #Kalymnos and carrying 155 people, capsizes off the Greek Islands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

... “Europe has the resources to mount rescues at sea and minimize suffering,” Mr. Bouckaert said.

“You are left with the impression that quite a few European politicians don’t mind imposing this suffering on these people to discourage others.”  As more children drown, volunteers on Greek Island say rescues are left largely to them [New York Times – 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than 20 women detained in Texas immigration facility begin hunger strike [Guardian - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Brisbane residents have staged a protest at Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office to condemn the assault of women in offshore detention and demand an end to the government’s violent policy of deterrence.

Residents are calling for an end to mandatory detention, offshore processing and the extremely damaging ‘stop the boats’ rhetoric which has not only misled the Australian public, but endangered the lives of innocent men, women and children seeking asylum.  ... [Workers Bush Telegraph - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Phillip Ruddock does a Melissa Parke while Turnbull, Dutton and Bishop remain protected and unaccountable, and the death, torture, incarceration, refoulement and exile of refugees and asylum seekers continues.

 

 

Refugee activists deliver roses to Senator Cash's electoral office in Perth via Pema Monaghan [22/10/15]

 


Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru [30/10/15]:


After thousands of women called on Prime Minister Turnbull to allow Abyan the dignity of choice in her traumatised life, she has now been bought back to Australia.

Abyan has only ever asked for two things: a counselor to support her as she negotiates this difficult path and time to think and physically recover her health. She had been denied both by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton when he spent over $100,000 to fly her back to Nauru last Friday because she wasn’t moving quickly enough for his liking.

Fortunately the women of Australia heard her cry for help and thousands of men and women demanded her return and took action to protect her right to choose.

To all of those who took up the fight on her behalf Abyan has said “thank you.”

Abyan told a friend in Australia to let people know she is very grateful, as are the other Somali women on Nauru. They know that they have friends here.

Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru will continue to seek the truth about the situation for women, children and men on Nauru. We are continuing to apply for visa, book flights and accommodation for Wendy Bacon, Carmen Lawrence and Claire O’Connor S.C.

We do so because while Nauru is a very small and struggling island nation, we believe the people of Nauru wish to live with the same dignity and same principles of freedom of expression, as does nearly every other nation. And one of the most enduring and fundamental principles of civil society and good governance is an open and transparent society.

The government of Nauru has suggested that wanting to investigate the situation for refugees on the island is somehow racist. We reject that. We believe that far from being racist everyone, regardless of race or wealth, has the right to live free from violence in every form.

Just as Australians want to end violence against women, we believe Nauruan’s would want the same outcome.

In fact to turn away and say there is no need for investigation, suggest some human beings are of less value than others - in other words less deserving of investigation. That could well be seen as racist.



 

 

"Opposition" refugee concentration camp spokesman Richard Marles regurgitates Nauru government talking points, forgets ALP's Guantanamo inspired media policy [Sydney Morning Herald - 14/3/12]

 

 

 

 

US Ambassador Cefkin with the Republic of Nauru media team [17/8/15]

 

 

 

US Ambassador talks to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation while the Australian media pretends she doesn't exist.  [US Embassy Suva - 30/10/15]:

 

 

U.S. Ambassador Judith Cefkin was delighted to talk with Edwin Nand host of Fiji Broadcasting Corporation's talkback show, 4 the Record today.

The Ambassador spoke on a number of important topics regarding U.S.- Fiji relations.

Tune in to FBC at 6:30pm on Sunday, November 1 to watch the live interview.

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji urged to finalise joining up to key UN anti-torture treaty [RNZI - 30/10/15]:

 

 

Parliament unanimously agreed to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture in March but the government said it would be ratified with reservations.

At the time the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told Parliament ratification sends a strong message to the rest of the world that torture would not be tolerated in Fiji.

But Mr Waqavonovono said seven months on, the convention remains unratified.

"Fiji has gone out into the international community. We're proclaiming that we have signed a United Nations convention against torture but I have discovered through the UNCAT's website that we are not a signatory as yet. We haven't actually stated reservations, if there are any, and I think government needs to be more proactive."

Mr Waqavonovono says to bring real justice to torture victims in Fiji, the treaty should be ratified without reservations and local laws changed to fit.

 

 

 

 Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Media Release [16/10/15]:

 

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) joins over a dozen other peak healthcare bodies today in calling for the Australian Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

This international human rights treaty aims to minimise the risk of ill-treatment or abuse by opening up places of detention to independent oversight by international and domestic monitoring bodies.

“As emergency physicians we want to give our patients the best care we can, regardless of where they are located,” said Associate Professor Anthony Lawler, ACEM President-Elect, “This includes refugees in Australian detention centres, who have often been through some terrible things, and frequently have complex healthcare needs.”

Associate Professor Lawler noted that many refugees suffer the ‘double whammy’ of harm, fleeing persecution in their home country and then enduring appalling conditions in detention including disease, infection, the threat of violence and sexual abuse, and ongoing mental health problems.

“Over the last few years we have seen a climate of secrecy and intimidation built up around Australian detention centres that has harmed the healthcare outcomes of hundreds of refugees,” said Associate Professor Anthony Lawler, “This situation needs to be urgently addressed by bringing transparency and accountability into the process.”

“The ratification of OPCAT will aid greatly in achieving this.”

 

 

Asylum seekers and refugees are being abused on our watch. It's time to put detention under surveillance, John-Paul Sanggaran [Guardian – 12/9/15]:

 

... I have spent this year working to gather the concern that exists in the healthcare sector about the lack of transparency in detention. This has centred on the endorsement of a joint statement calling for the government to uphold a bipartisan commitment to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).

The joint standing committee on treaties in 2009 signed Australia up to the OPCAT, which parliament has since failed to ratify.

The OPCAT is a United Nations treaty that would allow for monitoring of detention centres by national and international bodies. Its effect is broader than immigration detention, giving protection to prisons, police lockups, juvenile detention centres, locked psychiatric facilities, and secure disability and aged care facilities.

It is a lot harder to abuse people when you are being watched.

There is no argument of any substance against the OPCAT. It is a mechanism put in place by 78 other countries including the UK and New Zealand. At its heart is transparency.

The OPCAT is a robust way to ensure that the human rights of people in detention are respected in Australia. ...

 

 

 

A recent motion in the Australian Senate to expedite the ratification of OPCAT didn't even get to a vote because Queensland ALP Senator Claire Moore objected.  It was the fastest objection ever! 

 

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]

 

 

 

Feel safe Australia?

 

 

 

West Australian [30/10/15]:


Facebook pictures and images from State driver’s licences and passports could be collected in a Federal database to help police and spies find their targets.

Privacy advocates have rung the alarm bell over the plan, warning it smacks of a nightmarish science fiction plot that could ultimately lead to Australians being monitored wherever they go.

During a recent Senate hearing, officials from the Attorney-General’s Department gave an update on the system National Facial Biometric Matching Capability.

The department hopes to gather all passport photos in government databases as well as State driver’s licence pictures for a gargantuan repository of images of Australians.

The photographs could then be run through facial recognition programs to find subjects of interest.

Under questioning, bureaucrats admitted that social media images could be “scraped” from the web and sucked into the database.

“It is possible that still images out of those kinds of environments which you talk about could be put into the system,” Attorney-General’s department official Andrew Rice told the hearing.

“That will be a choice for the users of the system, and their making that choice will be on the basis of their existing legal permissions.”

Department experts were unable to say how serious a crime would need to be to allow police or agencies to use the database to search for a suspect.

“Will you be able to chase down a litterer, for example,” Greens WA senator Scott Ludlam asked officials.

Attorney-General George Brandis told the hearing the Government needed no legislation to create the system.

Senator Ludlam questioned what safeguards would be in place to ensure the system was not abused.

“The National Facial Recognition Database — referred to internally by the ominous title “the capability” apparently without any sense of irony — is the next step in our self-proclaimed freedom-loving Government’s project to make a dystopian sci-fi surveillance state a reality in Australia,” he said.

The hearing was told the only other country that had attempted to compile so many images of citizens from different sources was Brazil.

Officials said the program they were building was more “complex” than those administered even by giant US agencies such as the FBI.


 

 

Dotcom's bid to stop extradition hearing rejected [RNZI - 29/10/15]



  

In defeat for Beijing, Hague court to hear South China Sea dispute [Reuters – 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Japan resumed construction work needed to relocate a U.S. air base from one area of Okinawa’s main island to another on Thursday, overriding vigorous protests by local residents.

The land reclamation work on Henoko Bay came as police dragged away opponents of the plan who were seeking to block access to the area. Protesters also heckled workers from canoes offshore. ... [Japan Today - 29/10/15]

 

 



Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol has hired a Swiss firm to carry out a damage assessment and agreed to compensate the hundreds of families its now-defunct plantations in Oddar Meanchey province have robbed of their land, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand announced Wednesday.

...

Mitr Phol, one of Coca Cola’s main suppliers, leased three plantations—covering a combined 20,000 hectares—in 2008.

Rights groups accuse the firm of forcing some 2,000 families off their farms and out of their homes in the process, often with the help of local authorities who burned down their houses and threw many in jail for trying to resist. ...  [Cambodia Daily - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

A cool and collected Prime Minister Hun Sen appeared on state television last night to call for calm in the wake of Monday’s savage beating of two CNRP lawmakers, which both the opposition party and civil society groups have accused Mr. Hun Sen of orchestrating. ... [Cambodia Daily - 29/10/15]

 

  

 

 

 

A motion of no confidence submitted against the Papua New Guinea government has been rejected. ... [RNZI - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

PNG Police accused of burning homes [The National - 29/10/15]:

 

 

Police allegedly burnt down 10 houses in a remote village in East Sepik after a drunk youth harassed a woman.

The woman complained to a passing police patrol. The policemen set fire to two bush huts built by youths to meet and drink homebrew.

Due to the dry weather and strong winds, the flames spread to the other houses, provincial police commander Chief Inspector Peter Philip said yesterday.

He went to the village early yesterday morning to inspect the scene and to gather information but the villagers declined to cooperate.

“They also disturbed the crime scene by building new houses on the sites where the burnt houses were,” he said.

“I have ordered the police officers involved to provide me their statements.”

Philip said posting photos on social media would not help police investigations.

“Yes, their postings can go viral on the social media. But I need reports for me to order an investigation,” he said.

 

 

 

 

But what's not clear is whether the US are using this "anti sorcery violence" campaign to further marginalise traditional culture - rather than hold fundamentalist christian perpetrators to account.  ---->  ... The United States has come out clearly against sorcery related violence. ... [PNG Loop - 29/10/15]

 

 



ASEAN ministers express concern over unprecendented severity of haze [Channel News Asia - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is scrapping a massive steam-driven oil sands project, blaming the collapse in oil prices and a lack of pipelines to move crude from Alberta to global markets.

The Anglo-Dutch major late on Tuesday said it would halt construction of the 80,000 barrel-per-day Carmon Creek project located in the province’s northwest, becoming the latest company to walk away from a major growth project as the rout in U.S. and global oil prices shows few signs of easing.

Shell said the move will result in a $2-billion US charge on its third-quarter results. ... [BNN - 28/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Toowoomba drive-by shooting under investigation [Brisbane Times - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

41yo man to front court accused stabbing woman in Townsville [ABC - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

... A Supreme Court bail hearing was told of evidence the 26-year-old threatened to shoot then-girlfriend Joanna Alexander in the head before taking his own life the day he went on a gun rampage. ... [Yahoo - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

An arrest warrant has been issued for a Melbourne man after a driver allegedly tried to run down a man and a woman and made death threats.

Dylan Wolfe, 22, is wanted for questioning by Victoria Police.

He is driving a silver Hyundai Getz with expired registration plates SLW154. ... [Nine MSN - 29/10/15]

 



Former grammar student was suffering ‘psychosis’ when he fatally stabbed homeless Melbourne man: defence [Nine MSN – 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Coroner cries over 83yo's tragic death [Nine MSN - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

A truck driver has died after his vehicle crashed down an embankment in Brisbane.

The man's truck hit a guardrail and plunged down the embankment on the Port of Brisbane Motorway at Murarrie about 2am on Friday.

He died at the scene.

Police later said the driver was aged 66.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating. [Yahoo - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

No one was injured in a molasses truck rollover on the Peak Downs Highway on the Eton Range about 4.16pm.  

A QAS spokeswoman said the driver was out of the vehicle and did not require transport to hospital.   ... [Daily Mercury - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Unlawful use of a motor vehicle charges following police pursuit, North Brisbane [QPS Media - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Fatal traffic crash, Springbrook [QPS Media - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workers in Brisbane's north have been evacuated after reports of a chemical spill.

Paramedics were treating 10 workers at an address at Depot Street, Banyo, for minor headaches after reports came in just after 9.20am. ... [Brisbane Times - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!  North Stradbroke mining: Labor yet to bring in repeal bill for 2019 end date [Brisbane Times - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

No charges will be laid against far north Queensland independent MP Billy Gordon over sexting allegations, police say. ... [ABC - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Ms Ronalds said Islanders had been victims of systemic racism that was "so entrenched that it is apparently invisible to those who did it and those who manage and supervise it".

 

 

 

[Palm Island raids were overreaction to riots, lawyer - SBS - 21/9/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brisbane Lord Mayor announces new Daphne Mayo river fountain [Brisbane Times - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

From Jeff Waters' [2008] 'Gone For A Song: A Death In Custody On Palm Island':

 

Any observant person, resident or visitor, can find a very telling example of Queensland's record on race relations simply by walking into Brisbane's civic focal point for most of its history: King George Square.

There, high above the main entrance to the distinctive City Hall, is a massive stone monument to what would these days be called attempted genocide. And most of the population is oblivious to it.

When Brisbane City Hall was opened back in 1930 it was the second most expensive structure in the country; only the Sydney Harbour Bridge cost more. As it was built in the classical style, a huge relief sculpture was commissioned for the tympanum above its entrance. Daphne Mayo, a Brisbane artist who was the first woman to be awarded a gold medal for sculpture at London's Royal Academy, was asked to create it. She was given a brief to depict white settlement and that, perhaps inevitably, included the submission of the Aborigines.

The resulting 'Progress of Civilisation in the State of Queensland' depicts a central female figure, representing the state, sending forth settlers and their stock to apparently subdue the natives. To the viewer's right is a series of proud-looking explorers and other Europeans marching purposefully forward. To the left is an Aboriginal man with spear and shield in a defensive pose. Further along to the left is what appears to be a dead indigenous man. He has been lying there - a murdered human - above Brisbane's main square for more than seventy-five years.

In preparing a film on this sculpture for the ABC's Stateline program, I encountered some scepticism. Some of those I discussed the matter with asserted that the man could have been asleep. But, with the assistance of a kind archivist, a description of the sculpture was uncovered in the official program for the opening of the Brisbane City Hall: 'On the left hand side [of the tympanum] the native life is represented dying out before the approach of the white man.'

A curator from the Queensland Museum, Dr Judith McKay, knew Daphne Mayo, and has written a book about her work. In an interview for the Stateline program, she said that Ms Mayo had always held indigenous people in high regard. Dr McKay felt the City Hall sculpture should be considered a product of its time.

'That would not be a theme we would build an artwork around today', she said, 'But that was the theme chosen by the city fathers and the theme that Daphne Mayo carried out to the best of her ability.'

The sculpture may be passed, high and unnoticed, every day by tens of thousands of white people, but it has not gone unnoticed by the state's indigenous community, some of whom regard it as a daily symbol of oppression.

The FAIRA Aboriginal Corporation's Les Malezer was keen to comment for the Stateline story, calling the work a racist sculpture, representing a racist culture:

This really typifies not just the past, but also the present. This is the way Aboriginal people are treated - this is the way Aboriginal people are regarded. We've seen examples in the media recently, you know the Ku Klux Klan and the army photo [in which Australian soldiers took a photo of themselves in Klan garb] and things like that, there's constantly a message there.
Griffith University educationalist Professor Bonnie Robertson said: 'I can understand why people want to have it removed because it's too painful and it's a very distinct reminder of what our ancestors and our grandparents and sometimes our parents and older siblings went through.'

But, she added:

If we did remove it I would be sad about that because I think that should be a very distinct reminder, as hurtful as it might be, as tragic as it might be for our people to see it.

At a point when we're really trying to come to terms with what it is that we are as a country in terms of race relations and where we are as a group of people, I think it's really, really important that we acknowledge, openly and honestly, our cruel history, this country's cruel history.

And what of the state of Queensland's 'cruel history'? Could a look at the history between black and white Queenslanders shed some light on the present? Could it explain how so many non-indigenous Queenslanders could have accepted the abysmal treatment of Mulrunji and Palm Islanders by the police force? ...

 

 

 

 

 

Another dangerous, resource wasting class and race based police pursuit, Gympie [Yahoo - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police are preparing a report for the Coroner following the discovery of a man’s body in Mount Isa on Wednesday night.

Around 6.30pm two people were walking along a footpath off West Street towards Alma Street Crossing when one walked into some bush where he made the discovery.

The deceased is believed to be a 35-year-old Mount Isa man. It is also believed he may have died up to two weeks ago.

At this time the death is not believed to be suspicious. ... [North West Star - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Uncle Jack Charles refused cab after being named Victorian senior of the year [Sydney Morning Herald - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

Judge dismisses Confederate flag lawsuit against City of Danville [WDBJ7 - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

The University of Mississippi has removed the state flag from campus, according to a university statement issued Monday.

The move comes after student senators voted 33-15 with one abstention last week to ask the school administration to furl the banner, which includes the Confederate battle emblem in its upper left corner. ... [CNN - 26/10/15]

 

 

 

 

So I think there are real choices to be made. There was choices being made. We're still being terribly distracted by this increasing rise of populism, by the loss of real language. I think--believe it or not, one of the most important things we have to do--and I guess it's what you and I try to do, which is we have to put on the table real language attached to real memory which people could use, which makes sense to people.

 

 

In this episode of teleSUR's Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges and author John Ralston Saul discuss neoliberalism as an ideology, the breakdown of that ideology, and what comes next. [27/10/15]:

 

 

HEDGES: … Let me just end by asking you--so we are in this interregnum. People have lost faith in a system that clearly benefits a tiny, rapacious, corrupt--you call them a mafia--oligarchic elite. But where are we going? And we may not be going anywhere good. I mean, we may be going to a more authoritarian, more--you know, you talk about this false populism. In the '30s it was called fascism. What worries you?

SAUL: Well, I said in The Unconscious Civilization--so that would have been '95--that our society resembled increasingly a Mussolinian society. And that was corporatism as he understood it, which was not just private corporations, but the idea that your loyalty is to a group and you're basically driven by self-interest. And there are enormous signs that we're already in that, even though we still have on the surface a democratic form, and right at the bottom, of course, belief among citizens that they are in a democracy. But in the middle is this gigantic and growing really Mussolinian--. You have to forget about the uniforms and the goosestepping and all that stuff. What Mussolini actually stood for was the corporatism which dominates in the West today.

So how do you evacuate the middle and put together the form which still remains and the belief which I think is there in the citizenship? Because the citizens do have a long memory. That's the optimist in me. We do have a long memory. We know where we've come from. We just can't figure out how to make it work.

So I think there are real choices to be made. There was choices being made. We're still being terribly distracted by this increasing rise of populism, by the loss of real language. I think--believe it or not, one of the most important things we have to do--and I guess it's what you and I try to do, which is we have to put on the table real language attached to real memory which people could use, which makes sense to people. And I'm absolutely thrilled when I hear not just you quoting me but when I hear somebody who is not a writer using the ideas that one has put out--you can think about it this way, think about what's happening this way. Suddenly that's power. You give people language, and they have power, and then they do something with that language.

What we've been living through has been a desperate desire of the technocracy--and out of that the populists and the financial corporations, the corporatism as financial business--to control language. So it's advertising, it's--.

HEDGES: Well, and even as you point out, not only to control language, but to supplant language with image and spectacle, which is the form of communication that any tyranny or totalitarian society uses to speak. And they have been quite successful, coupled with the rise of the security and surveillance state, the evisceration of civil liberties, the militarization of police. And I think that what you call for at its core with the recovery of language is key, but we live in a society that is reducing public chatter to idiocy.

...

 

 

 

Dutton says:  BLURT BLURT BLURT AMNESTY BLURT is not journalism, it's stenography.

 

Politicians and human rights groups should be pushing for a Royal Commission into Operation Sovereign Borders, not echoing Dutton.

 

 

Asylum seekers incarcerated by the Australian government on Manus Island struck by food poisoning [Guardian - 30/10/15]:

 

Food poisoning has struck Australia’s detention centre on Manus Island, with up to 100 asylum seekers and refugees in detention struck by diarrhoea and vomiting.

The outbreak appears confined to Delta compound.

“The medical centre was full of Delta guys,” one refugee told Guardian Australia.

“They sent them in five groups there, they gave them medication and sent them back because there’s not enough space down in the clinic.”

Food has been an ongoing issue for the men in detention, with some complaining it is “inedible”.

They allege when visitors arrive at the centre – department officials, ministers, human rights groups – the food temporarily improves, before reverting.

Men in detention also regularly post photos of out-of-date food they say they’ve been served, or question its provenance.

One man posted a photo of his meal on 6 October: “Today’s lunch. If someone finds out what kind of animal’s meat it is please let me know.”

In August, the ABC revealed the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection ordered centre manager Transfield not to distribute $30,000 worth of muesli bars inside the detention centre because they were branded with the logo of the company that made them: Freedom Foods.

Guardian Australia has approached Transfield for comment.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea has reserved judgment in a case brought before it contesting the constitutionality of the Australian-run detention centre on Manus.

The case challenges the memorandum of understanding between Australia and PNG that re-established offshore processing in PNG in 2012, arguing the detention of asylum seekers violates section 42 of the PNG constitution which protects personal liberty as a “right of all persons”.

Lawyer representing the detained asylum seekers Ben Lomai said the men could not be detained because they had not broken any laws in PNG, nor had they entered the country illegally.

“The court noted ... that all the asylum seekers were forcibly transferred against their will from Christmas Island to Manus Island,” he said outside court. “The court further noted that the asylum seekers have never committed criminal offences to warrant their detention.”

Lawyers for the PNG immigration department said administrative arrangements between Australia and PNG over refugees were ongoing.

The court retired on Thursday to consider its decision.

 

 

 

 

Update from Ben Lomai on the court hearing on Thursday 29 October 2015 [Workers Bush Telegraph]

 

 

 

 

PNG:  IOM opens "disaster response office" in Enga Province with US support [US Embassy Port Moresby - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

US Embassy in Port Moresby awards two new grants totalling US$1 million to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) [PNG Loop - 15/12/14]:

 

The US Embassy in Port Moresby has awarded two new grants totalling US$1 million (about K3.5 million) to its partner, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), to combat the global threat of human trafficking in PNG and Solomon Islands.

“These two grants will empower the people of the South Pacific by providing populations at risk of being trafficked with access to information and justice,” says US Ambassador to PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Walter North.

The first grant awards $500,000 to IOM for a two-year project which will provide technical assistance to strengthen legislation, prosecution efforts, and protection measures to combat trafficking in persons in PNG.

Ambassador North said the grant is to award Papua New Guinea’s observance of ‘Stop Human Trafficking Day’, as part of the 20 days of Human Rights Activism campaign, and building on the PNG Criminal Code Amendment Act of 2013 to combat the global threat of human trafficking.

“There is perhaps no greater threat to human dignity, and no greater attack on basic freedom, than the evil of human trafficking,” said Ambassador North.

The second project provides $500,000 to IOM for a two-year project that will focus on strengthening coordinated efforts to combat trafficking in person in the Solomon Islands.

The project will also support Solomon Islands law enforcement to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of trafficking in persons.

Ambassador Walter said more than 20 million people estimated to be victimized around the world by the 150 billion US dollar criminal industry that traffics in human beings, making the struggle against modern slavery can seem daunting.

...

 

 

 

Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Recommendations re "Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 February to 18 February 2014" [December 2014]:

...

4.70 In specific evidence about actual incidents of encouragement to return home, a former employee of Playfair suggested that staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were 'speaking to transferees, trying to convince them of the benefits of returning home'.

4.71 In contrast, government representatives re-confirmed their view that any returns from Manus Island RPC were strictly voluntary. For example Lieutenant General Campbell stated that '[i]t is really important to note these are voluntary returns'.

 4.72 In terms of the number of returns from the Manus Island RPC, the department provided information that:

As at 1 August 2014, 203 transferees have been voluntarily returned from an Offshore Processing Centre (OPC) and 174 transferees from the Manus OPC since 18 February 2014 with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

...

 

 

 

 

Scanlon Foundation 2015 National Cohesion Report finds majority of Australians favour permanent or temporary residence for refugees who come by boat [SBS - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

Australians are accepting of cultural diversity and immigration, but concerned about changes impacting on social justice, according to new social cohesion research released by the Scanlon Foundation today.  ... [Media Release - 29/10/15]

 

 

 

 

The use of force by guards against detainees in Australia’s onshore immigration detention centres has soared in the past two years after a “streamlined” approval process was introduced.

Incident logs obtained by Guardian Australia that list every reported “use of force” at all mainland detention centres and Christmas Island reveal that the rate of reported incidents per 1,000 detainees rose from 2.6 in January 2013 to 70.3 in March 2015. ... [Guardian - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

National broadcaster uses Toowoomba community in its ongoing promotion of the Australian government's handpicked, non Muslim Syrian refugees who don't come by boat stunt [ABC - 30/10/15]

 

 

 

 

30 October 2015

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