Turkey emulates Australia's treatment of refugees ----> Hundreds of refugees fear they are to be deported back to Syria after their boat was intercepted by the Turkish coastguard.
Some 22 people are believed to have drowned as the boat sank on Tuesday, while hundreds more were ferried to Turkey, where they claim to have been threatened with deportation.
The Turkish government denies the claim. Attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos, the wooden boat of around 250 Syrians and Iraqis was intercepted a few miles from the coast of Turkey by Turkish coastguards, who circled it and fired warning shots.
The boat subsequently sank after water started seeping into the hold, and the 211 survivors were taken to a detention centre in Düziçi, southern Turkey. ... [Guardian - 20/9/15]
The Australian political, media, human rights and civil society establishment adore Scott Morrison because he used the "stop the boats" lie to torture refugees - often to death.
… Reza I don’t know if you know what they have done to us in this year that you weren’t here. It’s been really hard. Reza, they shed the blood of those like you and Hamid Khazaei in the name of human rights and they did not even care.
Do you know what Scott Morrison said after your death? He said “the way to stop these deaths is to stop the boats”. It is shameful.
Reza, they are more ruthless that the dictators of our own countries. They kill people at once there but here, they kill slowly and by torture.
Letter to Reza Barati from his friends detained in Australia’s Manus Island death camp [RISE Media Release - 17/2/15]
Protected, unaccountable Christian fascist ascends to Australian treasury [Reuters - 20/9/15]:
Australia's new treasurer is a ruthless "Mr Fix-it" with a record of being parachuted into troubled portfolios.
Scott Morrison, who was tapped on Sunday to replace the ousted Joe Hockey, spearheaded Australia's controversial asylum seeker policy before shepherding unpopular pension reforms through the Senate.
The 47-year-old has shifted to the right along with his Liberal Party since entering politics as a moderate eight years ago, when he used his maiden speech in parliament to call for aid for Africa, quoting Bono, Desmond Tutu and William Wilberforce.
His appointment as part of a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle is likely go some way to appeasing party critics of the more moderate new prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
It may also please a business community frustrated with a lack of policy direction as it struggles with the end of a once-in-a-century mining boom and a slowdown in top trading partner China.
Political analysts expect Morrison to translate his penchant for defined and measurable goals to the public purse at a time the budget deficit is forecast to blow out to A$35 billion ($25.2 billion) in 2015/16, double the initial estimate.
"There are two important things to say about Morrison. First, he does the work. He knows his brief. Second, you get the feeling that he is listening," said David Crosbie, the chief executive of the Community Council of Australia.
"He's not necessarily committing, but he is listening."
Morrison came to prominence when, as opposition immigration spokesman in 2011, he criticized the government's decision to pay for relatives of the victims of the sinking of an asylum seeker boat to fly to Sydney for the funerals.
Political opponents and some within his own party condemned the comments, but he won support among right-wing shock jocks and a sizeable chunk of the Australian public amid rising concern about the numbers of asylum seekers.
When the Liberal Party rode that concern into office in a coalition with the smaller Nationals party last year, Morrison was given the high-profile immigration portfolio.
As the chief enforcer of the government's "Operation Sovereign Borders", Morrison intensified his hardline approach in the face of opposition from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and human rights organizations.
He drew a veil of secrecy over the policy of intercepting and turning back asylum-seeker boats on the high seas, action that critics said breached international laws protecting refugees.
Some analysts have pointed out apparent contradictions between Morrison's job and his personal beliefs. The new Treasurer is a devout Christian Pentecostal, who worships with his family at a large church in Sydney.
Unlike the more progressive new prime minister who supports same-sex marriage, Morrison sided with the conservative Abbott on such issues.
Morrison himself says the bible shouldn't drive policy.
"I don't see what my faith has got to do with it," Morrison said in an abrasive radio interview this week. "You get to judge my policies but you don't get to judge my faith."
As immigration minister, he is famed for introducing new terminology into the Australian lexicon as he stonewalled questions about reports of asylum seeker boats being intercepted, citing confidential "on water" matters.
That terse way with words is likely to save him from gaffes made by his loquacious predecessor Hockey.
When Morrison became social services minister this year, the move was dubbed a shift in remit from "stop the boats" to "stop the bludgers", slang for people collecting state benefits rather than working.
All signs are that his next task will be "stop the deficit".
Scott Morrison - liar and enemy to journalism - rewarded with another puff piece by the Australian media establishment. ---> [Pension increase shows government cares about pensioners - ABC, AM - 16/2/15]
Asylum seeker’s ‘brain death’ shows failure of care and of democracy [The Conversation - 4/9/14]
Asylum seeker on life support was given 'outstanding' care, says Scott Morrison [Guardian - 5/9/14]:
... “When someone becomes ill they receive outstanding care from the people who work as part of our mainland detention network, and in the offshore processing centres that are under the management of the governments of Papua New Guinea and Nauru,” Morrison said in response to a question about the standard of Kehazaei’s care.
Morrison said those criticising the standard of care were using the situation to “make political points”.
“I think that’s unfortunate,” he added.
“I’ll base my assessment of the facts on that [review] assessment – not Facebook,” the minister said.
At least five people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on Sunday in the northern Cameroon town of Mora, military sources said, in what appeared to be the latest cross-border attack by Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamist militant group.
The dead included a police officer, two civilians and the two female suicide bombers, who detonated themselves at around 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) in the Galdi neighborhood near the entrance to the town. ... [Daily Star - 20/9/15]
High-ranking policeman assassinated in Egypt's North Sinai [Ahram - 20/9/15]
Six months of strikes kill over 6,000 in Yemen, NGO says [Press TV - 20/9/15]
The Omani ambassador's home in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa has come under fire during continued bombardment of the country, according to the country's foreign ministry.
The Omani foreign ministry, in a statement released on Saturday, did not offer any details of the incident on the previous day, but condemned the attack and described it as a clear violation of international law. ... [Al Jazeera - 19/9/15]
Syrian monitor: 75 US-trained Syrian rebels enter Syria from Turkey [Reuters - 20/9/15]
Syria's state news agency says at least 14 civilians, including seven children, were killed when rebels shelled a government-controlled neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo.
The state news agency said the shelling Sunday took place in Al-Midan neighborhood, once a center for the city's thriving Armenian community. ... [Daily Star - 20/9/15]
Hundreds of mostly Syrian migrants who had been blocked for days by police in the northwestern Turkish city of Edirne while trying to reach the nearby Greek border have agreed to abandon their roadside protest.
A group of around 500 people, who had been engaged in a standoff with riot police on the road leading into the city since Tuesday, lifted their makeshift camp Saturday night and left the area in buses provided by local authorities, an Agence France Presse photographer witnessed.
Some joined a larger group of around 1,500 migrants still waiting inside the city for the chance to continue their journey over land to Greece, a mere 10 kilometres (six miles) away, or Bulgaria, which is about twice that distance.
Others took buses back to Istanbul, about 250 kilometres to the east. ... [Naharnet - 20/9/15]
The coast guard said a Lithuanian helicopter from the European border patrol agency Frontex spotted people in the sea off the south-eastern coast of Lesbos early today.
Two coast guard vessels headed to the area and have rescued 20 people. The survivors said there were a total of 46 people on board.
On Saturday, the Greek coast guard said a five-year-old girl found in the sea off the island of Lesbos died after her boat sank. Fourteen others are still missing. ... [Belfast Telegraph - 20/9/15]
"Some people will ask - you have only a small bag?"
"And you bring your dog?"
"I love my dog!"
Many animal lovers will relate to this 17-year-old boy from Damascus, Syria.
And we've seen many like him carrying their animals with them on the long journey from Syria, across the Mediterranean Sea and through Europe.
When forced to flee home because of war, many people would never dream of leaving their pets behind.
Syrian Refugees flee the war together with their pets [Keep Talking Greece - 11/9/15]
UN warns European unity at risk as borders close to refugees [Guardian – 20/9/15]
@ItalianNavy [19/9/15]: #SAR nave Vega #MarinaMilitare soccore un gommone con 71 uomini 25 donne e 3 minori
Nearly 4,700 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya on Saturday as they tried to reach Europe but one woman was found dead, Italy's coastguard said.
The coastguard said in a statement it had coordinated 20 rescue operations involving numerous vessels which picked up 4,343 migrants from rubber boats and barges.
In one of the inflatable boats a woman's body was found, the coastguard said, without specifying the possible cause of death.
Another 335 people were picked up as part of a rescue mission coordinated by Greece and were being directed to a port in Italy to disembark.
The rescues were carried out by vessels from the Italian coastguard and navy, humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders, the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station, a merchant boat, a Croatian vessel under the European Union's Triton rescue mission and naval ships from Germany and Britain under the EU's EUNAVFOR Med mission.
... [Reuters - 19/9/15]
It's a pretty simple request ---> If you haven’t decided to resettle us in Australia because of any reason, we please expect to resettle us in countries that participate in the UNHCR resettlement program and UNHCR confirm them.
... Some people live with the fear of a touch
And the anger of having been a fool
They will not listen to anyone
So nobody tells them a lie ....
'An Innocent Man', Billy Joel 
Pleas from #ManusProtest ...
Image: @rranwa [16/1/15]
Refugees incarcerated on Manus Island plead with the Australian government to be handed to the UN [via Jeanie Walker]:
Letter from Asylum Seekers on Manus Island to Prime Minister Turnbull
The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
High Court of Australia
Parliament of Australia
Opposition Leader – The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens – Senator Richard Di Natale
Australian Greens Senator for South Australia – Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
Parliamentary Leader of the Palmer United Party – The Hon Clive Palmer MP
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory – The Hon Andrew Barr MLA
Premier of New South Wales – The Hon Mike Baird MP
Chief Minister of the Northern Territory – The Hon Adam Giles MLA
Premier of Queensland – The Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk
Premier of South Australia – The Hon Jay Weatherill MP
Premier of Tasmania – The Hon Will Hodgman MP
Premier of Victoria – The Hon Daniel Andrews MP
Premier of Western Australia – The Hon Colin Barnett MP
Thursday 17th September 2015
To the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm
We, asylum seekers of Manus Island, offer our congratulations to you and wish you the best success for your Government.
In this period that unfortunately people of Syria have to leave their home country. International organisations, countries and kind people of the world are embracing them warmly, especially the Government and people of Australia.
We are happy for them as they are welcomed, because we know the pain of them and understand them more than others.
This was a hard decision to leave our families and loved ones, we also believe that seeking refuge by boat is dangerous, but we didn’t have any choice at that time. Breaking borders and the privacy of Australia wasn’t what we wanted and in this regard, we apologies to you and the Australian people.
We also support saving lives at sea, because we saw death with our own eyes at sea, but the moment we are experiencing gradual death at detention for more than two years, that affects our mental health daily.
We see men cutting themselves as they are suffering.
Our request from you, who are as a father to your children, is to look at us fatherly and bring back the taste of freedom and living to us.
If you haven’t decided to resettle us in Australia because of any reason, we please expect to resettle us in countries that participate in the UNHCR resettlement program and UNHCR confirm them.
We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Asylum seekers of Manus Island Detention Centre
... "TO AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. STOP TORTURING US. IF YOU THINK WE DON'T DESERVE AUS. THEN HAND OVER ALL OF US TO THE UN. WE DON'T WANT YOUR HELP!" ... [CNN - 21/1/15]
Manus Island protest escalates, up to 700 detainees on hunger strike [The Age - 18/1/15]:
... "They want the United Nations to intervene."
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]:
... Recommendation 5
8.49 The committee recommends that, in the interests of transparency and accountability, the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea take measures to facilitate appropriate access to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, including:
• allowing United Nations representatives full access to the centre and transferees;
• permitting qualified lawyers, including lawyers certified to practice in Australia, access to the centre in order to meet with transferees and provide legal assistance;
• allowing the Australian Human Rights Commission to regularly inspect the centre and meet with centre staff and transferees; and
• permitting journalists to visit the centre and speak freely with centre staff and transferees.
Australian Government paid PNG’s legal bills to halt human rights inquiry into Manus [Human Rights Law Centre Media Release - 27/5/14]
On the Couch with Jay Williams [Justinian - 11/4/14]:
... What did your work on Manus Island involve?
I sought leave and was granted orders to represent the "Group of 75 Detainees" before the National Court Inquiry PNG into the Alleged Violation of Human Rights presided by Justice Cannings.
I was also acting as an Australian lawyer seeking instructions for Australian actions.
What will happen to the evidence you collected on behalf of Justice Cannings' human rights investigation?
On April 15, 2014, the Second National Court Inquiry PNG by Justice Cannings will hear applications for contempt of court charges against the PNG Minister of Immigration for allegedly ejecting the public solicitor and myself from the camp and from PNG in breach of court orders.
If that succeeds, I hope to be granted leave to appear and present the evidence to the Inquiry.
If the First and Second Inquiries are stayed, the "Group of 75 Detainees" have commenced action off their own motion, which will rely on that evidence.
In Australia formal complaints to the AHRC and the UNHCR and the Senate Inquiry are underway.
Hopefully the evidence will find its way before a court or inquiry.
What did you discover about the plight of asylum seekers on Manus Island, and will their claims be properly processed?
The Barristers Rules prevent me from commenting in terms of my own personal views.
However, in the writ of summons filed in PNG, it is alleged by the group of 75 detainees that the PNG and Australia governments have committed high international crimes - in particular:
1. The plaintiffs claim they were forcibly deported in violation of Article 7 – Crimes Against Humanity - of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
2. The plaintiffs claim they are arbitrarily and indefinitely detained.
3. The plaintiffs claim they are detained in torturous, inhuman and degrading conditions.
4. The plaintiffs claim they are detained without access to legal representation, judicial review or a fair hearing.
5. The plaintiffs claim they have suffered serious and profound harm as a result of the alleged malfeasance by the Australian and PNG governments.
Australian government uses all its resources to eternally jail another man without due process
The Age [20/9/15]
The Australian Border Force has been ordered to release a suspected criminal from immigration detention on Christmas Island and fly him back to Melbourne after a magistrate learned the agency secretly transported the man to the offshore facility before the court could decide whether he should stand trial.
The former Shiite Iraqi refugee was taken into custody by the new paramilitary immigration organisation when the Australian Federal Police failed in a bid to convince the magistrate to revoke his bail.
He is currently facing charges over his alleged involvement in a $6 million drug smuggling operation.
The 31-year-old, who has a lengthy criminal record in Australia, was sent on September 1 to the island camp in the Indian Ocean on a specially chartered Airbus A319 in an operation that is likely to cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The Sunday Age understands Immigration Minister Peter Dutton cancelled his visa and ordered his incarceration in the facility at the request of a senior federal police officer involved in the criminal case.
But the immigration agency's interference in a pending court matter was rejected by Magistrate Suzanne Cameron, who refused to conduct the man's scheduled committal hearing via video link and ordered his return to Melbourne.
Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs and other legal experts have previously flagged concerns that the right to a fair trial could be impeded for detainees because they were unlikely to receive proper access to legal services on the isolated island.
The man will now be returned to Melbourne several days before his committal hearing begins in late October, but sources say Border Force is considering whether it will send him back to Christmas Island if he is again granted bail by a magistrate.
"He has to be the first offender who doesn't want to get bail," a source said. "Being remanded in custody in a Melbourne prison is infinitely better than being held in that shithole on Christmas Island."
Solicitor Theo Magazis said his client was facing an "outrageous" choice. "He has to choose to have his bail revoked and be placed in custody in order to (be) actually given the opportunity to face the charges against him."
The married father-of-two, who arrived in the country at age of 14 as a refugee, never became a citizen and can therefore have his visa cancelled at the direction of the Minister.
The Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police have declined to comment on the case.
The Sunday Age understands it is the first time sweeping new immigration powers granted by the former Abbott government have been used to detain a non-citizen on Christmas Island while they were still awaiting trial.
The detention camp, which is a three-and-a-half hour flight northwest of Perth near Indonesia, is believed to hold about 120 detainees who have had their visas revoked on character grounds or for past criminal convictions.
Of the hundreds of people who have had their visas cancelled since December, it is believed there have been few cases of an individual's country of origin accepting their return. A growing number are being sent to Christmas Island to be housed for indefinite detention.
In the case of the Iraqi refugee, the Border Force used a specially chartered Airbus A319 to transport him from Melbourne to Christmas Island. He was accompanied on the otherwise empty passenger jet by a large contingent of private security guards and Border Force officials.
The operation began when he reported to Victoria Police as part of his bail conditions, but was instead taken into custody and then handed over to immigration officials at an airplane hangar in Tullamarine Airport.
His family and solicitor were unaware of his location for nearly a full day as Border Force officials refused to allow him to contact anyone for "operational reasons".
Sources say authorities investigated the possibility of detaining the man at Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre, but it was near capacity and was deemed ill-resourced to cope with a detainee classified as "high risk".
It is not known how much the special charter flight cost, but the Department of Immigration issued a $99 million contract to a private airline nearly three years ago for transporting detainees among its various mainland and offshore camps. The contract is now reportedly valued at $24 million.
Solidarity and indefinite detention forever! ----> International travellers are facing more delays as the union representing immigration and Border Force staff flags 10 days of industrial action at eight of the country's major airports.
Workers will walk off the job for two-hour blocks twice a day during peak travel hours at international airports in Sydney, Melbourne Tullamarine, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Coolangatta and Cairns.
The strikes follow similar action this week in Cairns, Perth and Darwin.
Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood said staff were facing cuts to take-home pay under a new Federal Government bargaining policy, which she said would impact allowances compensating staff for work conditions. ... [ABC - 18/9/15]
Greens employment spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today supported airport public sector workers taking industrial action and called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to drop his hardline bargaining policy. ... [Greens Media Release - 3/8/15]
CPSU Media Release [30/6/15]:
… *Customs officers can receive allowances for a range of workplace situations including being at sea, using firearms, meeting high fitness standards, working long hours, unusual shifts and performing dirty and/or dangerous work. Some of the allowances at risk in the new agreement include:
•Use of Force Allowance: for officers required to maintain specified fitness level so they can carry firearms
•Marine and Marine Accommodation Allowances: for officers deployed at sea for up to 36 days at a time
•Detector Dog Unit Allowance: for officers who work with dogs detecting controlled substances
•Removals Allowance: for officers required to escort deportees anywhere in the world, including high risk environments
•Extended Commitment Allowance; for immigration officers working for long periods in isolated locations (e.g. Christmas Island)
Federal Circuit Court judge Alexander Street accused of bias after rejecting
hundreds of migration cases [ABC - 10/9/15]
Torturing refugees and pushing away their boats does not save lives.
There's no such thing as a nice concentration camp.
Great to meet my old friend Rimbink Pato, PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs & Immigration in Port Moresby yesterday.
It's essential Australia & PNG work together to make Manus a facility that is safe & humane and that saves lives at sea.
Image: @RichardMarlesMP - "Opposition" Immigration Spokesperson [12/3/14]
"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake.
We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.
Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.
What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites.
The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal.
We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.
Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.
The object of persecution is persecution.
The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."
'Nineteen Eighty-Four', George Orwell 
20 September 2015