Syrian man returned from Manus Island gulag by Australian government injured - and his father killed - during shelling
A Syrian man who was repatriated from Manus Island by the Federal Government has been injured and his father killed during shelling on his village.
Earlier this month, Lateline tracked down Eyad, who had been presumed dead after contact was lost with him when he landed back in the Syrian capital Damascus in August.
The 29-year-old said he had been picked up by government intelligence officers who jailed and tortured him for 20 days.
After Eyad was released, he made it home to his village of Al-Hara in Daraa province, where he was reunited with his family, including his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Daraa province is considered one of the most dangerous parts of Syria and Eyad's village is caught in the middle of ongoing battles between rebel forces and the Syrian government army.
"Some days there is no shelling at all. Other days anytime. Daytime, night time, anytime," he said.
"They decide whenever they want to shell. They do it without any warning."
Late last month Eyad and his 54-year-old father, Mohamed, were outside when the shelling started.
"We were in the street just outside the house. We were walking in peace," he told Lateline.
"A shell dropped about four metres from us. The shrapnel killed my father at the spot and I was injured."
Eyad was hit in the head by a piece of shrapnel.
Mohamed's death drives home the reality that Eyad has returned to life in a warzone.
"My father was very, very happy when he saw me coming back to Syria," he said.
"He told me that 'you was done injustice. You were in jail for two years. Thank God that you are now free and in good health'."
Eyad had arrived on Christmas Island by boat on August 4, 2013 and was later transferred to Manus Island.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show the Federal Government actively encourages Syrians in detention centres to return home.
Eyad said he was made to sign a waiver before he was flown from Manus Island back to Syria.
"The papers say that I have left with my own will and I am responsible for myself if anything happens to me there. It's my own responsibility, not the Australian Government," he said.
"I was obliged to sign these papers. I have no other choice. Either to stay in prison on Manus Island or go back to my country."
He said despite the danger he and his family now live with, he is still glad he returned to Syria.
The lengths to which the Australian immigration department has gone to facilitate the repatriation of traumatised Syrian asylum seekers detained in offshore detention centres has been extensively revealed in departmental emails obtained under freedom of information laws.
The emails support reports from Guardian Australia in March, showing that Syrians detained offshore told Australian immigration department officials they would be killed if they returned to Syria, but the department facilitated plans for their repatriation nonetheless.
This included sharing asylum-seeker identity documents with the Syrian consulate in Australia, booking flights via Jordan, and endeavouring to issue an “ultimatum” to force them into a decision on repatriation, despite a number of them being severely mentally ill.
At no point in any of the disclosed emails is conflict in Syria, which has seen more than 100,000 people die and 2.56 million refugees flee the civil war, discussed. And at no point are concerns about the asylum seekers’ safety back in Syria articulated. ... [Guardian - 14/8/14]
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).
... One day soon
I'm gonna tell the moon
About the cryin' game
And if he knows
Maybe he'll explain ...
Family of Maryland transgender woman believes her murder was a hate
Crime [The Root – 20/10/15]:
Authorities believe that 20-year-old Rico LeBlond killed Zella Ziona, 21, after she flirted with him in front of his friends.
Authorities have not ruled the shooting of a 21-year-old Maryland transgender woman a hate crime, but they haven't ruled out the possibility as yet either.
"We are not ruling out the possibility that this could be hate-based," Montgomery County police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks told NBC Washington.
However, the family of Zella Ziona believes that is exactly what it is.
"I do believe in my heart that this was a hate crime," Ziona's aunt, Kalany Thomas, told WUSA9.
Officers have arrested 20-year-old Rico LeBlond in Ziona's shooting death, charging him with first-degree murder on Friday.
Charging documents show that LeBlond may have become angry and embarrased after his relationship with Ziona became public. Witnesses reportedly said that Ziona "began acting flamboyantly towards LeBlond and greatly embarrassed LeBlond in front of his peers."
Ziona sustained gunshot wounds to the head and groin. She was on her way to lay flowers on her grandmother's grave, according to family members, when she was killed. LeBlond reportedly has a criminal history that WUSAA9 reports includes theft and attempted murder.
According to the Huffington Post, Ziona is one of at least 21 transgender women who have been killed this year in the U.S. Most of the victims, like Ziona, were trans women of color.
"She was just amazing," Barbie Johnson, a friend of Ziona, told NBC.
"When Zella's around, there's not a single frown in the room."
Arson fires have been set at half a dozen St. Louis-area churches in recent days.
Authorities want to know who did it and why.
In each case, the fires were set at an exterior door and when no one was at the facility, according to a joint statement from the St. Louis Police and Fire Departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. ... [CNN - 20/10/15]
Rhode Island police pepper-spray high-schoolers protesting siblings’ violent arrest [Raw Story - 16/10/15]
Support Gazan Art Exhibition
Netanyahu — Palestinian state will continue conflict [Times of Israel - 20/10/15
Palestinian shot dead in Hebron after alleged stabbing attempt [Maan - 20/10/15]
Palestinian woman dies after tear gas inhalation as settlers seize homes [Electronic Intifada - 20/10/15]:
... On Monday, hundreds of Palestinians attended the funeral of 65-year-old Huda Muhammad Darwish, who died after she was delayed on her way to a hospital due to Israeli movement restrictions in East Jerusalem.
Darwish fled her home early Monday morning after it was filled with tear gas fired by Israeli forces in the village of Issawiyeh, family members said.
Relatives tried to take Darwish to a hospital, but their car was held up by Israeli forces. ...
Israeli forces on Tuesday detained a Hamas-affiliated lawmaker from his home in Beitunia west of Ramallah during a predawn raid.
Palestinian security forces said that dozens of Israeli soldiers descended on the home of 60-year-old Hassan Youssef in a "swift" detention raid, and had taken him to the nearby Ofer detention center.
Youssef, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Palestine's parliament, was released from Israeli custody in June after spending a year in administrative detention without trial or charge. ... [Maan - 20/10/15]
“Die, son of a whore!” “Give him one in the head.” This is what it sounds like when Israeli security kills Palestinian kids [Salon - 19/10/15]
ACLU files new appeal in drone lawsuit [The Intercept - 20/10/15]
Saudi fighter jets have conducted a fresh round of attacks against several areas across Yemen.
On Tuesday morning, Saudi fighter jets struck a commercial neighborhood of al-Rahidah district in Yemen’s southwestern province of Ta’izz, though no reports of casualties were available.
Saudi warplanes also launched two aerial attacks on the Selo district of the same province, Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah satellite television network reported.
Scores of civilians were also killed and injured as Saudi aircraft bombed the police department at the provincial capital city of Ta’izz, situated 260 kilometers (166 miles) south of the capital, Sana’a. ... [Press TV - 20/10/15]
US reconnaissance drone crashes in Yemen: Locals [Ahram - 20/10/15]
Saudi Arabia on Monday jailed a civil rights activist for 10 years using a counter-terrorism law designed to stifle free speech, Amnesty International said.
Abdulkareem al-Khoder is one of 11 founding members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) who are already behind bars or on trial for calling for political and human rights reforms, the London-based watchdog said. ... [Ahram - 19/10/15]
Afghan, US forces kill "20 insurgents" in Logar [Pajhwok - 20/10/15]
Afghan official: 18 police missing after Taliban attack in Faryab province [Daily Star - 20/10/15]
At least five people were killed in a roadside mine blast in northern Faryab province early Monday, local official said. In addition, 25 other people were injured. ... [TOLO News - 19/10/15]
An American F-16 took fire over Afghanistan last Tuesday, forcing the pilot to make an unscheduled landing. The Pentagon did not disclose the incident until media reports emerged. ... [CNN - 19/10/15]
Tell US President Obama to consent to independent investigation of Kunduz Hospital bombing [Médecins Sans Frontières Petition]
An explosion occurred on a bus terminal located on Quetta's Saryab road, killing at least 11 people and wounding many more, said rescue officials.
The explosion occurred inside a local city bus at the Dukani Baba Chowk area on Saryab road, which had up to 40 passengers on board at the time of the bombing.
The registration number of the bus was confirmed as BSA-348. Rescue personnel confirmed that two children were among the dead. ... [DAWN - 19/10/15]
Warplanes bomb ISIS-controlled camps in Libyan city of Sirte: witness [Daily Star - 20/10/15]
Central African Republic: UN police ambushed, illegally detained by armed group [Media Release - 19/10/15]
Ukrainian forces plan to start withdrawing weapons in the Donetsk region in the Debaltsevo direction on Tuesday, the press service of the military operation in eastern Ukraine has said. ... [TASS - 20/10/15]
Russia ready to hold consultations with Ukraine on air corridors [Sputnik News - 20/10/15]
British journalist Jacky Sutton, 50, travelled from London Heathrow to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Saturday night, October 17, but failed to make it onto her next plane to Erbil in Kurdistan, Iraq.
According to local media, she was told by airport personnel that she would have to buy a new ticket. She was later found in the washroom by three Russian passengers, again, according to MailOnLine who quotes its source as “local media”.
Who is the “local media” who spun this story?
Ms Sutton was the acting Iraq director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).
I state unequivocally that I do not believe Ms. Sutton hanged herself. ... [The Kurdistan Tribune - 19/10/15]
Top US military officer arrives for talks in Iraq [Ahram - 20/10/15]:
... Dunford's flight into Iraq was suddenly delayed when Iraqis on the ground in Irbil refused to allow his C-17 aircraft to land because it's a cargo plane. ...
US "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [19/10/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrike in Syria
Fighter aircraft conducted an airstrike near Manbij, which destroyed three ISIL tactical vehicles.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Baghdadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an ISIL bunker and wounded an ISIL fighter.
-- Near Beiji, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Fallujah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL weapons cache, an ISIL building, and an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Kisik, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an ISIL vehicle and wounded an ISIL fighter.
-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units; destroyed four ISIL fighting positions, four ISIL buildings, four ISIL heavy machine guns, and two ISIL vehicles; and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 17 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL assembly area, and two ISIL command-and-control nodes.
-- Near Tal Afar, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an ISIL vehicle and four ISIL fighting positions, and wounded an ISIL fighter.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [20/10/15]:
Ta'ameem: "A government's warplane has conducted a raid targeting Haweeja market southwest of Kirkuk resulted in 15 dead and 14 injured", sources reported..............................
Baghdad: "11 persons were either killed or wounded as a car bomb exploded in Yusfiya area south of Baghdad",sources said........
Baghdad: "Two persons were killed and 8 wounded as a roadside bomb exploded in Ghazaliya area today evening", a security source said......................
Baghdad: "A person was killed and 6 wounded as a roadside bomb exploded in Amil neighbourhood today evening", a security source said......................
Syrian ambassador to Russia, Riyad Haddad, said there was “heavy fighting” ahead, as Syrian troops braced for a “decisive battle” to retake the country’s second largest city of Aleppo from jihadist terrorists. ... [Sputnik News - 20/10/15]
Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled their homes south of the second city Aleppo since a government offensive there began last week, a U.N. agency said on Tuesday.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said around 35,000 people had been displaced by the fighting. ... [Naharnet - 20/10/15]
@MSF_Sea [20/10/15]: The #Argos has just rescued this rubber boat. The majority on board are from #Nigeria.
Slovenia says it has allowed into the country most of the 5,000 people who were stranded in wet and muddy conditions on its border with Croatia on Monday.
It had previously vowed to take in only 2,500 migrants per day.
Croatia has also opened its border with Serbia, where thousands more migrants are trying to reach northern Europe. ... [BBC - 20/10/15]
Pro-refugee candidate elected Cologne Mayor after knife attack [Yahoo - 18/10/15]
While the recent ceasefire agreement between the Government of Myanmar and representatives of eight ethnic armed groups marks an historic step for children in Myanmar who have suffered from some of the longest running civil conflicts in the world, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) remains concerned for an estimated 1.8 million children who are not covered by the accord.
In a statement, UNICEF welcomed the signed agreement that gives high priority to the protection of children in armed conflict, noting that the agreement is “opening the door for a favourable environment in which children can grow and develop, and benefit from the same opportunities as other children in Myanmar.”
According to UNICEF, it particularly calls on parties to stop grave violations against children, including their use and recruitment in the armed forces, attacks on schools and rights to receive humanitarian assistance. ... [UN Media Release - 19/10/15]
Burma Times [20/10/15]:
... But locals say the 20 men and 10 women chosen for this dialogue are labourers for an Akyab based construction company and have no experience in politics.
They have been literally forced by the government to pretend they are community leaders.
Also they are identifying themselves as Bengalis, much to the ire of the Akyab Rohingyas.
Many in Myanmar, including the government has long argued there is no race called the Rohingya, the term being coined by Bengali settlers in Arakan. ...
More than 2,000 military personnel from New Zealand and eight other countries will take part in a month-long international exercise hosted by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) starting this week in the South Island.
Exercise Southern Katipo 15 (SK15) aims to test and evaluate the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) ability to plan and conduct joint operations involving a range of naval, land, and air assets.
It also involves military personnel from Australia, Canada, Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The exercise scenario sees New Zealand deploying a military contingent to lead a multinational Combined Joint Task Force that will help restore law and order in a fictional South Pacific country called Becara.
The multinational task force will conduct stability, support and humanitarian operations, including the evacuation of internally displaced people. ... [Yahoo - 20/10/15]
ASEAN parliamentarians warn of looming regional crisis resulting from systematic discrimination in Myanmar’s Rakhine State [ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights - 15/10/15]:
... The region’s failure to respond in any meaningful way to the impending catastrophe has been unfortunately predictable, but governments will be forced to stand up and take note soon when sailing season begins again, APHR cautioned.
Unless ASEAN addresses the situation in Rakhine State directly, more Rohingya will continue to try and leave the country by any means necessary.
“The Myanmar government is driving these individuals out through a set of deliberate policies that constitute systematic persecution,” Santiago [APHR Chairperson and Malaysian MP Charles Santiago] said.
“Rohingya have their movement restricted, their livelihoods destroyed, and their ethnic identity flatly denied by government officials.”
APHR also called on ASEAN and member state governments to put in place measures to protect vulnerable Rohingya fleeing Rakhine State by sea.
“With sailing season set to begin in the coming days and weeks, regional leaders must act. We need a regional refugee framework that ensures safe and legal means for seeking asylum,” Santiago said.
Echoing previous statements, APHR argued that the persecution of Rohingya represents a grave problem, not only for Myanmar, but for the region as a whole.
Sri Lankan president praises Air Force for ‘directly attacking enemy’ [Tamil Guardian - 20/10/15]:
... A United Nations report found that in the final stages of the armed conflict several hospitals were hit directly by Sri Lankan government attacks, including aerial bombardment. ...
Sri Lanka hires two new hangmen [Tamil Guardian - 18/10/15]
The father of the late Jeremiah Yinu, the student killed allegedly by soldiers, says that the fight to get justice for his son is far from over.
Thomas Yinu says he is waiting to go back to court later this month.
However for this week, he says that he will lay his son to rest and focus on regrouping for the fight ahead to seek justice on the soldiers who bashed and killed his son. ... [PNG Loop - 20/10/15]
Eastern Highlanders suffering from El Nino: growers leader [PNG Loop - 19/10/15]
A Wellington businessman hopes that the arrival of a waka full of cocoa beans from Bougainville will kickstart a sail-powered shipping network throughout the Pacific ... [RNZI - 20/10/15]
The Wellington Chocolate Voyage.
Hundreds of Indonesian Military personnel have been dispatched to extinguish spot fires across southern Papua that have caused thick smoke and disrupted flights at Mosez Kilangin Airport over the last two weeks. ... [Jakarta Post - 20/10/15]
Forest fire kills 6 hikers in Indonesia [Jakarta Post - 19/10/15]
El Paso asylum seekers on hunger strike
Migrants seeking asylum remain on a hunger strike at an El Paso U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement processing center.
On Wednesday, 54 migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh refused to eat or drink water.
Since then 11 detainees have been released, six are in critical medical condition and one organizer has been released from solitary confinement said Desis Rising Up & Moving, DRUM, an immigrant advocacy group based in New York.
MD Nasir Uddin, a migrant from Bangladesh, was released from the processing center on Saturday.
“We are seeking asylum, we are refugees. We are not criminals and they don't have any proof of criminals,” Uddin said.
Uddin tells CBS4 he arrived in El Paso in December after traveling from South America to Juarez, Mexico.
“I didn't know I'd spent one year in jail,” he said.
At the facility, he said he was not provided an interpreter and he said he had no access to legal documents or judgements against him.
According to DRUM, other migrants have not received medical care.
“They call it a processing center and it's not true. This is actually a prison,” said Roxana Bendezu, a member of the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee.
ICE released the following statement:
“ICE takes the health, safety, and welfare of those in our care very seriously and we continue to monitor the situation. ICE’s El Paso Processing Center is staffed with medical and mental health care providers who monitor, diagnose and treat residents at the facility. ICE also uses outside, private medical/mental health care service providers as needed.”
“Individuals have access to meals served three times daily at the cafeteria, snacks provided by the facility, or food purchased from the EPC commissary.”
On Monday, 14 detainees at Lasalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana, began a hunger strike, protesting similar conditions.
A federal judge has ruled that Texas may continue to deny birth certificates to children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants who are unable to present the specific documentation that is now required by the state. ... [MSNBC - 19/10/15]
I don't have a[n] option ... I can't stay in detention centre, I can't stay in other country.
I come here in the water and now kill my life.
The water is give me chance, the Australian government does not give me chance ...
Khodayar Amini [via RRANWA]
Border Force confirms asylum seeker dead after self immolating [Guardian - 20/10/15]:
... On Monday afternoon, Guardian Australia asked both departments whether there had been plans to return Amini to detention before his death, or to send him back to Afghanistan, where most of his family had been killed by the Taliban.
Amini has no known family members in Australia and was believed to have been living out of his car in Victorian bushland when he died. ...
Forced pregnancy is a crime against humanity ---> ... The woman had been brought from Nauru to Brisbane two months earlier and had been found not fit to fly. The immigration department raised concerns she was delaying making a decision to avoid returning to Nauru, and believed she had never intended to have the procedure. As the pregnancy grew later without the woman making a decision, the minister then raised concerns about late-term procedures. ... [Guardian - 20/10/15]
Why are Australian physicians calling for the release of children ONLY? [Guardian - 20/10/15]:
... Staff at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane have followed the lead of colleagues in Melbourne, calling for the immediate release of children being held in immigration detention centres. ...
Eugenic ideology and racial fitness in Queensland, 1900-1950 [PhD Thesis E J Wilson BA Hons, 2003]:
... Various books and monographs were also examined in conducting research for this study. These included international works on eugenics, which provided contextual information about the international expression of eugenic ideas.
These works aided a discussion of parallels between ideas expressed by avowed eugenicists internationally, and ideas expressed in Queensland public and government discourse between 1900 and 1950.
Published books by certain key figures in Queensland society at this time were essential in preparing this thesis, as they illustrate further the views on racial fitness expressed by these people. These works include those by Randolph Bedford, Bleakley, Phyllis Cilento, Raphael Cilento, C. Elkington and Douglas Price.
The 1934 work by John Bostock and L. Jarvis Nye, Whither away: a study of race psychology and the factors leading to Australia's decline, was also used.
This work has been examined in previous studies, but it was relevant to this thesis due to the background of the two authors, both influential Brisbane physicians.
Research conducted for this study has followed the argument that the expression of language in written form allows meanings to be controlled more effectively, and that language has an important role to play in the legitimisation of power.
It also follows the assumption made in interpreting documents that belief, idea and intention are important to action and practice.
Thus, although ideas about eugenics did not receive widespread support in Queensland at this time, and were not translated into legislation, it is the position of this thesis that the fact that these ideas were expressed by certain people in public and government discourse in Queensland at this time provides significant information about both Queensland as a society and also contributes to a broader understanding of the eugenics movement as an international phenomenon. ...
'The Marriage Wars', Geoffrey Luck, Quadrant [December 2013]:
... In wartime 1944, one of the first public inquiries in Australia into sexual offences was held in Brisbane. Although most of Mr Justice Neal Macrossan's time and subsequent report was devoted to offences against children and means of "curing" offenders, homosexuality got an airing. Professor J.V. Duhig, the feisty leading pathologist who founded the Queensland Red Cross Blood Bank, gave evidence as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Trades and Labour Council.
He told the inquiry that homosexuality was a disease and the homosexual was incurable. Punishment would not cure them; they should be segregated. The Macrossan Report summed up: "When the [sexual] offender is homosexual, it creates a suspicion that the offender is a pervert, either mental or moral."
Ten years later, Lady Phyllis Cilento, wife of renowned public health specialist Sir Raphael Cilento, and herself a doctor, entered the debate with an article in Brisbane's Courier-Mail in her regular series of "Medical Mother": "the awakening of a strong and well-informed body of opinion against homosexuality will be the most effective means of preventing its spread, and of assisting the police in their efforts to control its practice". But in a prescient comment, she went on:
the danger now is that after the first revulsion of feeling against homosexuality in all its forms, people will become used to the idea, and come to take it for granted as "just one of those things" about which little can be done, and which therefore must be accepted. They will look around in their community and in history, and find homosexuals among men they formerly admired for their intellectual and artistic achievements, or like for their friendly and gentle manner; and they will feel that really this cannot be so heinous a crime as it is painted. Moreover, those who are addicted to this way of life, are quick to take advantage of every argument in favour of it as a normal outlet for the affections.
Queensland’s newest children’s hospital has been named the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in honour of a much-loved pioneering Queensland physician, at a ceremony in Brisbane today. ... [JOINT STATEMENT Premier and Minister for Health Media Release - 15/12/13]
If Melissa Parke were serious she would call a press conference to announce her resignation from the ALP.
Nine MSN [20/10/15]:
The Labor caucus has put off a vote on a motion calling for an end to immigration detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.
The motion was to be moved by West Australian Labor MP Melissa Parke at Tuesday's meeting but was deferred until November 10 because senators were not available for the debate.
Ms Parke says conditions at the two offshore centres have deteriorated over the past 16 months and if human rights standards and oversight can't be improved, they should be shut down.
ABC, AM [16/9/14]:
... CHRIS UHLMANN: Now some of the same people in the left are concerned about your border protection policies. Is there any likelihood you'll abandon your commitment to offshore processing?
BILL SHORTEN: No.
CHRIS UHLMANN: That's a firm rolled gold commitment; you're not going to abandon it?
BILL SHORTEN: No.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Will it be changed in any way?
BILL SHORTEN: No, we support regional resettlement. And we support the offshore processing.
The Saturday Paper [27/9/14]:
... [Melissa] Parke plays a different role, as Labor navigates an awkward environment in which its options for criticising the government are circumscribed by its desire to be part of Team Australia.
She provides an alibi for Labor to avoid a loss of votes to the Greens as it joins the government in backing tougher terror laws and military action in the Middle East and continues to offer bipartisan support for offshore processing of asylum seekers. Some Coalition MPs argue Bernardi plays a similar role in placating those Liberal supporters who were disappointed that Abbott abandoned the 18C changes.
As Labor leader Bill Shorten stresses that he is “working very well together” with Abbott on national security, it doesn’t hurt to have at least one opposition MP putting an alternative view. It’s a fine line, though, as left-wing Labor senator Sue Lines discovered late last month when Shorten rebuked her for accusing the government of using the threat of terrorism to deflect attention from the budget.
Back in May when Parke and Burke first raised their intention to pursue a caucus motion on ending offshore detention, there was frustration among Labor MPs at the timing, distracting as it did from the backlash to the budget. The motion was destined to fail.
Some also feared that, by reopening the debate, Parke was risking exposing Labor to attack over whether it was strong enough to manage the electorally sensitive issue.
But Parke is not a loose cannon and her recent statements have been carefully worded. Even dissent in modern Labor is often tightly scripted.
Although Dastyari’s remarks on refugee policy earlier this year were reported as pitting him against Shorten, his speech had in fact been vetted by the party’s leadership.
Is there any nation on earth that doesn't have one of their political dissidents caged in Australia's gulag archipelago?
Boochani remembers that during that time of ‘so many rules and torture’ that a guard pointed to him and said to another guard: ‘He is in here because he is a journalist’.
Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites [20/10/15]:
Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites, Reporters Without Borders, Humanitarian Research Partners Inc, PEN Sydney, and PEN Melbourne have come together to support and build on the PEN International campaign focusing on the incarceration in Australia’s Pacific Black Site - the detention camp on Manus Island - of Kurdish journalist, writer and human rights defender, Behrouz Boochani.
Over many years it has become evident that those who report human rights abuses, negotiate rights within the camps on behalf of other’s detained there, speak to Australian and international media, or write and communicate with people outside of the camps, are harassed, threatened, labelled as trouble makers, put under intense surveillance and for some, beaten, raped and imprisoned.
Mark Isaacs points to the targeting of writers: ‘the Nauruan police took Dev away from the camp in handcuffs they said to him, ‘Goodbye Mr Journalist’, an implication that this was revenge for him having contact with Australian media’. (Mark Isaacs, 2014).
Boochani also recalls something similar. After being released from the East Lorengau Prison where he and many others were taken and held without charge in February this year, he was returned to the detention camp and held in the area known as Charlie - an area used for ‘behaviour modification’.
Boochani remembers that during that time of ‘so many rules and torture’ that a guard pointed to him and said to another guard: ‘He is in here because he is a journalist’.
My Boochani continues to write articles, stories and poetry. He continues to sing the words and sounds of his Kurdish lands. He continues too to mourn the genocide he attempts to halt.
‘I have cried many times for beautiful words’, he says to me. ‘Many times I have cried for beautiful words’
Write of Asylum calls for an end to the persecution of writers, journalists and human rights defenders.
We call on journalists, writers, academics and human rights defenders in Australia to join with us and build a movement demanding freedom for all those interred in our Pacific Black Sites.
Becoming MEG45, Behrouz Boochani [Mascara Literary Review - 20/10/15]
Anything reported from Nauru cannot be believed until JOURNALISTS are allowed on the island to verify. Murdoch propaganda doesn't count. [New Matilda - 20/10/15]:
An Australian working at a major media outlet appears to have been allowed access to Nauru for possibly the first time since the country effectively banned foreign journalists in early 2014, with The Australian newspaper today running a front page story on the refugee returned to the island after requesting an abortion in Australia, known by the pseudonym Abyan.
The Murdoch Press are also reporting today that Transfield's concentration camp contracts have been extended. Boycott both and DIVEST.
Today I will get ball rolling on going to #Nauru. On spot reporting needed so here's hoping ...
"tweeted" by @Wendy_Bacon [13/10/15]
This week's update on Nauru from the Australian Women in Support of Women on Nauru [12/10/15]:
... “No one should have to endure what this young woman has had to endure,” said Pamela Curr.
“She had lost everything; her health, her safety, her family and her own home and now the Nauruan government has taken the last thing she had, her privacy.”
"This is further evidence that the Nauru detention centre should never have been reopened but while this situation exists it is imperative that it should be exposed to scrutiny by journalists who have freedom to report sensitively and reveal the truth in the public interest,” said Professor Wendy Bacon.
"This episode only raises more questions about the treatment of refugee women on Nauru but also the safety and health services available to all women on Nauru"
Witness to Reza Barati's murder says he's been tortured, fears for his life on Manus Island [AUDIO - ABC - 20/10/15]
Australia has questions to answer over failure to protect witness, UN official says [ABC - 20/10/15]:
... UN special rapporteur Juan Mendez detailed the torture of Mr Satah and another Iranian man in a report tabled at the UN's Human Rights Council earlier this year.
The two men were allegedly tortured by local PNG guards inside the Chauka compound on Manus Island and threatened with rape unless they retracted sworn statements that detailed events on the night of Barati's murder.
Mr Mendez told the ABC that more than six months since the report was tabled, he was not satisfied with the Australian Government's response to the torture allegations.
He also said Australia had not done enough to protect key witnesses to the Barati murder.
"I think it's never too late for Australia to do what it should have done some time ago," Mr Mendez said from Washington.
"Providing witness protection is something that should have been done on a timely basis, but it can still be done and I'm hoping that the Australian Government will decide to do so."
"These people were tortured because they were witnesses to the murder of another asylum seeker.
"Australia in this case has a responsibility because none of this would have happened but for the policy of creating a detention camp in Manus Island and letting it be run by PNG."
The second man allegedly tortured in Chauka compound, Witness B, was so afraid for his safety that he returned voluntarily to Iran.
"The fact that he returned voluntarily says something about how dangerous it is for people to be in Manus Island," Mr Mendez said.
No prosecutions for 14 cases of sexual assault reported in past 18 months on Manus Island [ABC - 20/10/15]:
... Senate estimates also heard figures on self-harm by asylum seekers and refugees.
From January to August 2015, there were 74 reported incidents of self-harm on Nauru and 34 on Manus Island.
There were also 23 and two threats of self-harm respectively.
Figures were also provided for the onshore detention network for the three months to September 2015, totalling 140 incidents and 189 threats.
The only politician who has recently made a genuine effort to inspect conditions within the Christmas Island concentration camp - and speak to detainees - is New Zealand politician Kelvin Davis.
"tweeted" by @JodiIhaka
A Northlander who has spent seven months in an Australian immigration detention centre after finishing his jail term will arrive in New Zealand tomorrow with $250, eight nights accommodation and nothing else.
Trent Kaaka, 26, served two years in prison for armed robbery and possession of drugs and found out only four days before his release he would be sent to the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre to await deportation to New Zealand, where he left seven years ago. ... [NZ Herald - 20/10/15]
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [19/10/15]:
The current rhetoric that 'Stopping the boats saves lives at sea' is completely unfounded and to see this, you do not have to go further than the story of the SIEVX.
On this date 14 years ago, the SIEVX sank with 146 children, 142 women and 65 men on board.
This incident pushed the language of 'stopping the boats' to the forefront of Australian consciousness.
We know that the boats have not stopped; all that has stopped is our information about the boats.
In 2001, Mohammad Hashim Al Ghazzi was in Australia on a temporary protection visa which did not allow his family to travel to Australia to join him. Desperate, his wife and three young children and ten other family members boarded the ill-fated SIEVX. All drowned. Fourteen years later, now preferring to be known as Mohammad Hashim Abo Roma, these are his thoughts. ... [SIEVX - 19/10/15]
Julian Assange lawyers may launch new appeal
against extradition in light of CPS emails
Lawyers for Julian Assange say they are considering launching a fresh appeal against his Swedish arrest warrant, following the publication of correspondence between prosecutors in Britain and Sweden.
The Wikileaks founder’s legal team say the documents show Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service and Marianne Ny, the prosecutor in Sweden seeking Assange’s extradition, were “more interested in winning the case [against him] than finding the truth” following Assange’s arrest in 2010.
The correspondence was among a number of documents obtained by the Italian newspaper L’Espresso following freedom of information requests in Sweden.
In one email, dated 25 January 2011, a CPS lawyer called Paul Close writes to Ny’s office repeating his advice that “in my view it would not be prudent” for Swedish prosecutors to question Assange in the UK over the accusations, rather than insisting on his extradition to Sweden.
Pistorius freed on parole after year behind bars for killing Reeva Steenkamp [Reuters - 19/10/15]
A couple thought to be in their 60s are in hospital and their son is in custody after the pair was bashed with a baseball bat in their Thornlie home early this morning. ... [West Australian - 20/10/15]
NSW man charged with murdering his mother
Nine MSN [19/10/15]:
A 19-year-old man has been charged with the stabbing murder of his mother after police found him at the scene of a car crash in northern NSW.
Officers were called to the single-vehicle crash on Copeton Dam Road Monday afternoon and acting on information given at the scene police went to a home at Inverell where they found the body of a 51-year-old woman with stab wounds.
Her son has been charged with the murder of his mother and been refused bail to appear in Moree Local Court on Tuesday.
Police to search for blood in Ashmore home of missing mother [MYGC – 19/10/15]
Forensics officers will search bush in Mirrabooka this morning as a result of an investigation carried out by the local Somali community into the disappearance of a young man in May.
About 100 Somali community members gathered outside Herb Graham Recreation Centre last night as police established a search area in bush between the recreation centre and Reid Highway.
Distraught friends and family said they decided to start their own investigation into Abdullahi Egal’s whereabouts after months of police inaction.
Their inquiries uncovered a potential link to a former friend of Mr Egal’s who had fled to Somalia the night of his disappearance. ... [West Australian - 19/10/15]
More cases of suspected child abuse not passed from Queensland principals to police, investigation finds [ABC - 19/10/15]
Armed robbery, Rosewood [QPS Media - 18/10/15]
Commonwealth Bank to repay agribusiness customers $7.6 million for failing to waive fees and charges for AgriAdvantage Plus clients [ABC - 19/10/15]
Paspaley Pearling Company fined $60,000 over death of Jarrod Hampton [WA Today - 19/10/15]
Australia's wheat exporter allegedly colluded with Iraq to extract $US8 million from the UN's Oil For Food program to pay off Iraqi debt.
The Victorian Supreme Court was told on Monday AWB did not appear concerned the cash would be drawn down from a UN scheme set up to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. ... [Nine MSN - 19/10/15]
Royal Commission hears cleaners not told of union deal
Nine MSN [19/10/15]:
Cleaners working in low-paid jobs were not told of an agreement between a union and their employer that inflated the union's membership numbers but cut their wages, the trade unions royal commission has heard.
The Australian Workers' Union (AWU) struck a deal with major cleaning contractor Cleanevent in 2010 to keep casual cleaners on lower rates of pay and save the company $1.5 million in salary costs, the commission heard on Monday.
In return, Cleanevent would pay the AWU $25,000 a year as membership fees for casual cleaners.
The Cleanevent senior executive who gave final sign-off on the agreement, Julianne Page, at first told the commission she could not explain why an email from the company's head of HR said the union would not agree to having a trade-off for lower wages listed in the same document as a payment for membership.
In a May, 2010 email to Ms Page, HR executive Michael Robinson wrote: "It would be crazy for the union to put that down on a page and to be honest I wouldn't feel happy with it being on the same document either."
Ms Page told the court she supposed it "would look bad for the union".
"It would look like it was some sort of payoff," she said.
Counsel assisting the commission, Jeremy Stoljar SC, asked if it also looked bad for the company.
"You received a trade-off for lower wages with a payment for membership of casuals," he said.
Ms Page replied: "Correct."
Cleanevent employees were not told of the arrangement, the court heard, and it was not explained in a 2010 Memorandum of Understanding that bound workers to the lower rates of pay of a 2006 agreement.
They were also not told they had been signed up as union members, the court heard.
The court was shown an October, 2010 letter from Mr Robinson to the-then AWU Victorian state secretary Cesar Melhem, which listed the $25,000 agreement separately to the memorandum.
Mr Melhem succeeded federal Labor leader Bill Shorten as Victorian AWU secretary and held the role until he entered the Victorian parliament in 2013.
Internal Cleanevent emails tendered to the commission also show Mr Robinson discussing structuring pay rises to "make the AWU look fantastic to their members".
"If we agree to a 0% increase for these casuals and then give them a hit in year 2 and 3 the union can claim that because of their membership they went into bat for them and got them an increase, which will make the AWU look fantastic to their members and won't hurt your bottom line," Mr Robinson wrote to colleagues including Ms Page during discussion of the agreement.
The commission has heard previously that increased membership is an indicator of a successful union and can give it greater influence within the Australian Labor Party.
The hearing continues on Tuesday.
... Jason Davies said his son Devon, 12, was out riding his BMX pushbike last Tuesday with his mum and brother when he was knocked off his bike after coming into contact with a thin piece of rope tied up between two trees.
Devon was examined by doctors and had his neck put into a precautionary brace. He was soon released, with a laceration around his neck. ... [The Courier - 19/10/15]
Three teenagers accused of shooting two barramundi with a spear gun in a Cairns hotel have had their matters mentioned in court.
Casey Smales, Jacob Butler and Corey Sterrett, all 18, were charged with trespass and unlawfully killing an animal after they allegedly speared the metre-long fish at the Hilton Double Tree Resort in August. ... [Yahoo - 19/10/15]
Police couldn't have stopped a man taking his own life during a Boxing Day siege at a Brisbane home, a coroner has found.
Queensland Coroner Terry Ryan has backed the way officers handled the 2013 siege in which a Banyo mother and daughter were held hostage before gunman, 45-year-old Brent Rivett, turned his weapon on himself. ... [Yahoo - 19/10/15]
Uzi, drugs seized in Brisbane raid [Yahoo – 19/10/15]
A woman is fighting for life after the car she was in became airborne and landed in the Tweed River.
Police say, just before 10pm on Sunday a Mazda coupe was being driven in an easterly direction along the Tweed Valley Way at Tumbulgum when the driver lost control. ... [MYGC - 19/10/15]
Teenagers steal stationery, punch cashier, Burleigh Heads
QPS Media [19/10/15]:
Detectives from the Gold Coast Child Protection and Investigation Unit are investigating a robbery of a convenience store at Burleigh Heads on October 16.
Two juvenile offenders have entered the store at about 11:50pm, stolen a small quantity of stationery and proceeded to walk from the store before being stopped by the console operator.
Both juveniles, aged approximately 14 to 16 years old, have then punched the console operator a number of times to his head causing small lacerations to his face and neck.
The offenders then ran outside and threw a bin at the store window causing minor damage before running from the scene.
The console operator did not require any medical treatment.
Detectives are reviewing CCTV images of the incident and are appealing to any person who may have seen this incident to contact police.
Juveniles charged on Gold Coast for wilful damage by fire
QPS Media [19/10/15]:
Three juvenile females have been arrested by Detectives from the Gold Coast Child Protection and Investigation Unit for causing wilful damage by fire in a children’s playground.
The 15-year-old girls are alleged to have set a plastic slide on fire in Gidgee Crt, Molendinar on October 17 causing it to be completely destroyed.
Police attended and commenced an investigation. Two of the juvenile females were located on the same day with the third female located yesterday.
They were each dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justices Act. There were no children in the playground at the time of this incident.
Man held over West End hotel brawl in Brisbane released on bail
A 24-year-old man accused of punching a police officer during a brawl in Brisbane has been granted bail.
Douglas Menefata Asiata, from Springfield, faced charges including assault causing bodily harm and affray.
He is one of 12 men allegedly involved in a disturbance outside a West End hotel in the early hours of Monday morning.
Asiata allegedly king hit and injured a male officer, who was taken to hospital.
The officer identified Asiata as the person who hit him.
Four others have also been charged in relation to the incident.
A 23-year-old man from Wavell Heights and a 19-year-old man from Crestmead have been charged with one count each of affray and assault and obstructing police.
An 18-year-old man from Marsden has been charged with two counts of assault and obstructing police, and one count of affray.
A 22-year-old man from Heritage park has been issued with a Notice to Appear for public nuisance.
All of the accused are due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on November 9.
Cape York rioter released on parole
A man involved in a riot outside a remote Cape York police station has been released on parole.
Kurt Wolmby, 26, was one of 15 people charged after rocks were thrown at the Aurukun police station and vehicles in September 2013.
The unrest started after a man was tasered at a shop and taken into custody.
It prompted extra police to be flown into the town, which had erupted into a another riot involving hundreds of residents six months before.
Mr Wolmby - who pleaded guilty to one rioting charge - was on Monday given a nine-month jail sentence with immediate parole.
David Jones flooded with abuse after Adam Goodes announced as ambassador [Sydney Morning Herald - 19/10/15]
Australia's peak security agency and the NSW Crime Commission have been granted virtually unfettered access to hundreds of thousands of photographs of NSW citizens to bolster their ability to investigate planned and actual terrorism acts.
The NSW government has authorised the release of photographs taken of people who are granted an extensive range of licences and permits to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the state crime commission without a warrant or court order. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 19/10/15]
Hostilities have flared in the Liberal Party’s Moore division, with the Padbury branch president — the son of maverick Hillarys MLA Rob Johnson — accusing an evangelical Christian church of muscling in on the party. ... [West Australian - 19/10/15]
20 October 2015