When the sunset on #Manus
... You're soaring on a thermal wind
You're learning how to shed your skin ...
'Oceanea', Thomas Dolby 
Image: @manusFad22 [20/5/16]
Day 62, refugee protests on Nauru
"LET'S STOP TORTURE! FREEDOM FOREVER!" via @InsurrectNews [20/5/16]
Image: @SuchNigel [20/5/16]
The police arrested 3 people from OPC2 and we don't what happened all of them asylum seekers
The number has increased to 7 detainees in the police station of #Nauru
They were arrested 3 & later 2 more it has started at IHMS the nurse refused to give medicine to one asylum seeker and he argued with nurse
then the security called police and when police came started with very unprofessional skills
One got injured and police took him to hospital according to police officer because police pushed him and he fall down
WHY ON EARTH WOULD A HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATION ATTACK FERROVIAL AND NOT ALSO SPEAK FOR THE RIGHTS OF THOSE ILLEGALLY DETAINED AND REPRESENT THEIR CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND GENUINE RESETTLEMENT? [Sydney Morning Herald - 20/5/16]:
Rachel Ball is director of advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre and a member of the No Business in Abuse campaign team.
... Earlier this month the United Nations' refugee agency, which undertakes regular visits to Manus Island and Nauru, described the current policy as "immensely harmful" and called for the centres to be emptied. ... <--- The UNHCR have NOT called for the "centres to be emptied", and according to refugees on Nauru, the UNHCR do NOT undertake regular visits.
... But it is obvious that regarding to UNHCR, absence of visiting Guantanamo, government of Australia have used the opportunity to cover some of the problems and disasters therefore it is fair for us to doubt on your visitation of Nauru after all these years for another political games. ... Open letter to UNHCR from Nauru refugees questions motive of their April visit, calls for GENUINE resettlement after three years of punishment and torture [OP Voice - 2/5/16]
Regional representative Thomas Albrecht should explain why the UNHCR does not want the refugees on Nauru and Manus freed and resettled.
After being pressed by the media what they were up to, they said their mission was to "monitor" conditions of the camps, and the mental health of the refugees.
During the UNHCR visit to Nauru, refugees were told to expect to remain on the island for "another ten years". [Arman has never been given a right of reply to the UNHCR's denial of these claims.]
Immediately after they conveyed this message to the refugees, Omid Masoumali covered himself in flammable liquid and set himself alight shouting at the delegation "We're sick and exhausted! You've destroyed our lives! Did you come just to gape at our misery? We lead miserable lives! You've been torturing us for three years!"
After more than 24 hours without adequate medical attention he was airlifted by private contractor to Brisbane, where he died on 29 April 2016 from his burns.
Up until the time Omid died, the UNHCR Australia branch deflected any queries about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in South East Asia to the "Bangkok office".
Their only recent publicised activity in the region has been to assist the Australian government in its subversion of the right to seek asylum by "welcoming" its lies about the "release" of refugees on Nauru in October 2015.
Their fundraising and highlighting the plight of refugees and asylum seekers anywhere but in our region - especially those imprisoned in Australia, and on Nauru, Manus and Christmas Island - has never been scrutinised.
That the UNHCR are only calling for the "immediate movement" of refugees, rather than urging Australia to immediately close offshore camps and resume meeting its international obligations under the refugee convention, is telling.
Albrecht should explain why the UNHCR does not want the refugees on Nauru and Manus freed and resettled.
Words matter: Dumping refugees on Nauru, Manus and Cambodia is NOT "resettlement". The Australia/PNG arrangement is not "resettlement". It is indefinite detention, followed by forced exile and disappearance. The distinction is important. [Guardian - 20/5/16]
I was told to lie: Manus Island staffer [SBS - 25/2/14]:
... Ms Thompson is the first staff member to publicly resign from Manus Island following a recent outbreak of violence [attack on the refugees] which left one dead.
She was originally bought in to conduct refugee-assessment interviews and claims she was told to tell inmates their only option was resettlement in Papua New Guinea.
Ms Thompson said she knew their only option was indefinite detention, and so did they.
"I would not go back because there is no process, nothing for me to do, no process to assist people with - it's fake," she said.
"It's not designed as a processing facility, it's designed as an experiment in the active creation of horror to deter people from trying in the first place."
Ms Thompson told Dateline she was given a script to follow while conducting refugee assessments.
"We were informed that we were not to discuss resettlement, we were not to discuss third country options," she said.
"It was made very clear to us every day, sometimes even twice a day, under the threat of being removed from the island, we were not to talk about a third country, we were not to suggest there were any resettlement options, we were not to suggest they would be able to get off PNG," she said.
“We knew that this was ridiculous, but we were lying to people and we were told to keep that message going to keep it clear."
"What's not happening is any clarification on where they are going to end up."
“There is no process, the process doesn’t lead anywhere except indefinite detention." ...
THIS is resettlement ---> A New Beginning in a Third Country [UNHCR]
Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and the Government of Australia, relating to the transfer to, and assessment and settlement in, Papua New Guinea of certain persons, and related issues [6/8/13]
"The `blood' can easily be cleaned off by water but the damage done to refugees in the aftermath can last a lifetime."
Brisbane Times [20/5/16]:
Protesters have painted outside Brisbane's Department of Immigration office with fake blood to highlight conditions faced by women in Australia's offshore detention centres.
The small group held a silent vigil outside the city building on Friday morning, bringing attention to allegations of sexual violence against asylum seekers on Nauru.
They painted on a footpath the name Nazanin, an Iranian asylum seeker reportedly raped last year.
"The `blood' can easily be cleaned off by water but the damage done to refugees in the aftermath can last a lifetime," protester Mandy McNulty said.
"The flow of information from the government is so intermittent and we feel the public has a right to know more about what is happening in Australia's name," Ms McNulty said.
Beijing demanded an end to U.S. surveillance near China on Thursday after two of its fighter jets carried out what the Pentagon said was an "unsafe" intercept of a U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea. ... [Channel News Asia - 20/5/16]
President Obama could lift restrictions on arms sales when he makes his first visit to Vietnam next week. ... [Military Times - 19/5/16]
Bangladesh: Homeopath hacked to death in Kushtia, another injured [BDNews24 - 20/5/16]
Japanese police have arrested an American working on a U.S. military base in Okinawa on suspicion of abandoning the body of a woman who had been missing since last month. ... [CBS - 19/5/16]
US Senate moves to approve fertility care for wounded veterans [Military Times - 19/5/16]
Students at the University of PNG continue their boycott of today as they await a response to their petition which was received by the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill yesterday. ... [PNG Loop - 20/5/16]
Amnesty International is pressing Indonesia to release a West Papuan political prisoner detained six weeks ago.
Steven Itlay has been charged with rebellion, or makar, after participating in a prayer event in Mimika, Papua province, in support of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
Mr Itlay is a member of the West Papua National Committee, which is a part of the Liberation Movement.
Indonesian officials have vowed to 'wipe out' what they describe as separatist elements in Papua.
However Amnesty International is concerned that the activist could face life imprisonment, and has called on Jakarta to urge local authorities in Papua to release Mr Itlay immediately and unconditionally.
Police in Indonesia's Papua have been urged to investigate the disappearance of Aristoteles Masoka, who was the driver of late leader, Theys Eluay.
Mr Eluay was killed by members of Indonesia's special forces in November 2001, and four men were jailed for it.
Aristoteles' father Yonas Masoka said his son went missing at the age of 21 while working as a driver to help fund his studies.
The Human Rights Commission says 12 human rights violations need to be investigated.
American TV crew completes filming on Taveuni [Fiji Times - 20/5/16]
I am sick of the sexist, racist, war mongering, red baiting political and media establishment telling me what I want.
Image: @clayton_dixon [14/12/14]
Constitutional Recognition Survey [Conducted by IndigenousX]
'Recognising' the artful con that is the constitutional reform debate, Amy McQuire [New Matilda - 12/12/14]:
The great academic Noam Chomsky once wrote: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum”.
This quote perfectly encapsulates the current debate around constitutional reform – where there is a bipartisanship backed by reams of PR spin as a “positive”, while in reality it demonstrates one of the most insidious developments in black policy today – a dangerous “Canberra consensus”, as described by Indigenous policy expert Jon Altman.
How can two white leaders agreeing on the best way to shortchange blackfellas, at the expense of Aboriginal opinion, be a good thing?
The debate around ‘Recognise’ is made worse by the fact even the Greens are snuggly in the fold, leaving the opposition to a growing chorus of disenchanted and disenfranchised Aboriginal people, who are vilified for their justifiable and commendable cynicism. ...
AIJAC congratulates Mark Leibler on his appointment as Co-Chair of the Referendum Council [Media Release - 9/12/15]
Australians should be proud of the
fact that our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have consistently
supported a genuine, negotiated two-state resolution to the
This is why Australia wisely voted against the admission of Palestine to UNESCO and why Australia should vote against Palestinian ''statehood'' if and when it comes to the United Nations General Assembly. ... Mark Leibler [Sydney Morning Herald - 17/11/11]
Too little too late for ACOSS and "civil society" friends to speak for the seething mass of unrepresented Australians who the media has been insulting, bullying and misinforming for nearly twenty years.
Call for a BOYCOTT or FUCK OFF!
Civil society statement of concern – the media and Mr Duncan Storrar [ACOSS – 20/5/16]:
... Since asking that question Mr Storrar has been subject to an onslaught of personal investigations, attacks, intrusion into his privacy, family and ridicule in a range of publications, including The Australian and The Herald Sun newspapers.
The patent disregard of the impact of this reporting on an individual is an abuse of power.
The reporting has also been a further example of the willingness of parts of the media to vilify and demonise people on low incomes or from marginalised backgrounds.
We believe it’s time to ask why a member of the community is being targeted in an extreme way for simply asking a question about the fairness of a tax cut on a national broadcaster during an election campaign.
The issues involved go beyond one individual and represent a turning point for the open debate, discussion, criticism and dissent which underpin our free society. ...
Burger giant McDonald's is underpaying its Australian workers tens of millions of dollars a year under a cosy deal struck with Labor's largest union affiliate that excludes weekend penalty rates.
McDonald's employees are being underpaid tens of millions of dollars per year thanks to an agreement struck between the fast food giant and the food workers' union.
A Fairfax Media investigation has found the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) negotiated a 2013 agreement under which some McDonald's employees are paid nearly one-third less than the award – the minimum pay and conditions safety net. ... [Canberra Times - 19/5/16]
Canberra rallies against Australia's bipartisan refugee concentration camps
Image: @yaamaventures [20/5/16]
@HMFrost [20/5/16]: Refugee activists protest outside the office of Sen. Katy Gallagher ...
Canberra Times [20/5/16]:
Refugee advocates have mobbed Senator Katy Gallagher's London Circuit office in a snap demonstration against offshore detention.
The offices of ACT federal parliamentarians Senator Zed Seselja and Andrew Leigh were also targeted by Canberra's Refugee Action Committee on Friday afternoon, following the death of 26-year-old Bangladeshi asylum seeker on Nauru earlier this month.
His death was the second at the immigration detention centre in as many weeks and in a rallying cry on social media, the committee called on Canberra politicians to "represent the will" of their community and demand the closure of Nauru and Manus Island.
Dr John Minns from the Refugee Action Committee said up to 200 protesters rallied outside Senator Seselja's office.
He said the protests would continue until the ACT's federal politicians took a stand against offshore processing of asylum seekers.
"The system [both parties] have set up has produced a stream of tragedies with no signs of easing up," Dr Minns said.
"Sadly these kind of events where the Canberra community conducts a vigil or protest are becoming more and more frequent and yet not a word has been said by our federal parliamentarians." <---- Which is why I will #VOTEINFORMAL
And still only the Financial Times calls on Australia to close its illegal concentration camps on Manus Island and Nauru, and respect the UN Refugee Convention.
"WHERE IS FREEDOM? WHERE IS JUSTICE?" Day 61 refugee protests, Nauru via @rranwa [19/5/16]
And where is the Australian politician who will stand up for these concepts?
Day 3 of partisan attacks on expendable cog Dutton as refugees' voices ignored: Do "advocates" realise that impliedly endorsing the ALP and Marles will perpetuate detention and torture?
Labor's immigration spokesman Richard Marles has called offshore processing "the single most important policy that any Australian government has made".
Australia's refugee detention centres are concentration camps and must be closed, Stephen Charles, QC, former judge of the Victorian Court of Appeal [The Age - 4/5/16]
Image: @MiriamVPerkins [16/2/16]
House of Representatives Hansard [22/2/16]:
... I am not going to preside over a situation where we have people self-harming to come to hospitals in this country because they believe that is the route out into the Australian community for Australian citizenship. ... [Dutton]
I have looked very closely at the motion and spoke with the minister, briefly, to get his recollection—and I, obviously, have my own recollection of what was said in here.
The motion suggests the minister said something he did not.
There is a principle in all of this that matters: that we get the facts right as we seek to debate this issue, that we be absolutely and forensically and passionately and zealously accurate about it, because we as a country are not going to resolve this issue so long as we make spin a part of how we go about this.
In circumstances where what the minister has said is a matter that is plainly on the record, we are not going to be voting for something that suggests something different. ... [Marles]
Hunger strikes and suicide attempts by asylum seekers on Nauru will not get them ''anywhere'', Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Monday. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 26/2/13]
Is it acceptable to Australian politicians, media and human rights organisations that the US State Department is prowling around Nauru? ... Jesse Roberts is creative director of Rise Up International. He is making a film with Mosley Wotta about Nauru, called Nd009 - Voices from Nauru. [The Saturday Paper - 14/5/16]
Rise Up International is funded by the US State Department:
... Our Art Ambassador program promotes goodwill and peace through international art empowerment workshops and educational programs for overlooked populations.
We have conducted projects in over twenty countries around the globe in a variety of cultural diplomacy, arts, and educational projects.
This program is funded in part by the U.S. Department Of State – Cultural Affairs Diplomacy initiatives.
Our Art Ambassador projects have focused on conflict areas throughout the MENA region (Middle East, North Africa) and beyond. ...
In Obama's backyard, father of 5 US-born kids seeks sanctuary in Chicago church to avoid deportation [Democracy Now - 19/5/16]
... Churches, along with schools and hospitals, are among the "sensitive locations" where ICE policy states its officers do not carry out arrests, searches and other immigration enforcement actions. ... [Chicago Tribune - 18/4/16]
American Immigration Council [19/5/16]:
Residents along the U.S.-Mexico border in Western Texas and New Mexico face repeated abuse from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers at ports of entry, including excessive use of force, verbal abuse, unwarranted searches and intimidation.
These allegations of misconduct are all according to a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights (RCBR), the ACLU Foundation of Texas (ACLU-TX), and the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) on behalf of 13 border residents.
According to one complaint:
“In September and October 2015, CBP officers mocked Amanda Rodríguez Varela’s work for gender equality and falsely accused her of providing ‘favors’ in the United States, calling her a ‘whore.’
After roughly ten hours of intimidation and humiliating searches, CBP officers coerced Ms. Rodríguez into signing forms she didn’t understand and that included a falsified interrogation to justify the revocation of her visa and a five year bar to entering the United States.” ...
The owners of a Colorado movie theater where a gunman killed 12 people during the screening of a Batman film in 2012 are not liable for the mass shooting, a jury ruled on Thursday, in the first civil lawsuit stemming from the incident.
Jurors ruled in favor of Cinemark USA Inc in the lawsuit filed by more than two dozen surviving victims of the shooting and relatives of the dead, court spokesman Rob McCallum said on Twitter.
Gunman James Holmes, who pleaded innocent by reason of insanity at his murder trial, was found guilty last summer of killing 12 people and wounding 70 when he opened fire during a midnight screening of the "The Dark Knight Rises."
He was sentenced to life in prison. ... [Reuters - 19/5/16]
@wikileaks [19/5/16]: Whistleblower Chelsea Manning military appeal filed: Here is the full brief ...
United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 19/5/16]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [19/5/16]:
Baghdad: News agencies: A roadside bomb exploded near shops in Mahmoudiya south of Baghdad today evening killing two persons and wounding 8.................
Anbar: Press sources: Two car bombs have exploded in Rutba City west of Anbar resulted in 7 deaths and 12 injuries of the government forces and hahsd militia elements.........................
Baghdad: News agencies: A roadside bomb attached to a car exploded in A'dhamiya area today evening killing an employee at the ministry of electricity and wounding his brother................
Salah-il-deen: The dead body of the chief of Dijla nahiya police station -the colonel Salam Khalaf Al-Esawi- has been found in his office north of Samarra..................
Baghdad: A roadside bomb has exploded in Basatin neighbourhood in Sha'b area northeast of Baghdad resulted in death and 6 injuries.... 0 retweets 0 likes
Baghdad: A rodaside bomb has exploded in Taji district north of Baghdad resulted in two deaths and 5 injuries....................
Pentagon warns Iraq not to redeploy troops to protect Baghdad [Antiwar.com - 18/5/16]
... Years into the war, Congress has never voted on it. In 2014, the deadline for voting was ignored by Congressmen seeking to avoid a debate ahead of the mid-term elections.
As the war continued to grow, there have been a handful of half-hearted efforts to “authorize” it, with President Obama offering an AUMF the White House publicly bragged was so “deliberately vague” they could use it to justify anything, and fighting fiercely against other authorizations that had actual limits on the conflict. House rejects Bill that would lead to debate on Iraq, Syria war authorization [Antiwar.com - 18/5/16]
Palmyra in Syria opened for the first time its doors to archaeologists and journalists.
A Greek journalist from MEGA channel, Thanasis Avgerinos, was there for the first time, right after the mines were removed, in order to cover the concert that took place in the ruins of the ancient city, directed by the internationally known conductor Valery Gergiev. ... [Greek Reporter - 18/5/16]
US increasingly open about special forces in Libya [Antiwar.com - 18/5/16]
Afghanistan: 5 killed in US drone strike as War on Terror Mark II intensifies [Khaama - 18/5/16]:
... Meanwhile, the Afghan and US forces have stepped up counter-terrorism operations against the terrorist groups in Afghanistan, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.
According to reports, the US Air Force dropped 251 bombs and missiles targeting mainly the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Afghanistan during the months of January and February.
On the other hand, the Afghan forces are routinely targeting the terrorist groups in Afghanistan with increased capabilities, specifically with the addition of more combat helicopters and fixed wing light attack planes.
20 May 2016