DIRECT: Rassemblement en hommage aux victimes du naufrage de centaines de migrants avec @amnestyfrance. Message fort.
Protégez les migrants avant de protéger les frontières!
Image: @voltageofficiel [20/4/15]
Image: @voltageofficiel: Dès 6H dans nos rdv infos, retour sur le rassemblement en soutien aux migrants après un naufrage majeur. #Paris
Vietnamese refugees refouled by Australia remain disappeared, Minister for Immigration says Nauru refugees next to be dealt with
Canberra Times [21/4/15]:
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has indicated that a "bilateral" deal in which Vietnam is believed to have accepted the return of 50 asylum seekers intercepted by the Australian Navy last week includes the government not talking about the swap.
Mr Dutton said he could not comment on reports that Australian Navy ship HMAS Choules last week travelled to a port city south of Ho Chi Minh City to hand over the group of Vietnamese.
Their boat is believed to have made it to somewhere north of Australia before being stopped.
When pressed, Mr Dutton raised the relationship with Vietnam for his inability to comment.
Mr Dutton also insisted on Tuesday that a delayed flight carrying refugees from Nauru to Cambodia for resettlement would go ahead and asylum seeker advocates should not try to influence those on Nauru not to accept relocation because they will never make to it Australia.
Australia has not "stopped the boats". Australia tortures and murders refugees. [VIDEO - Guardian - 20/4/15]:
Refugees and guards on Nauru gather on a beach to look for a boy who entered the ocean. The young male refugee, who returned safely, has said he wants to get to Australia and went into the water in an act of desperation. This week a flight was due to leave Nauru for Cambodia, where it is intended some refugees will resettle [be exiled]. ...
And we can't absorb a few thousand more refugees?
Five million visas into Australia this year likely to set new records [Sydney Morning Herald - 21/4/15]
Racist rant on Sydney train victim asks police to press charges
A Brisbane Muslim couple who were racially abused on a Sydney train last week say they intend to press charges against the abuser.
New South Wales Police are investigating after footage of the incident posted online went viral.
The short video uploaded by 23-year-old Stacey Eden, who defended the couple, shows an elderly woman racially abusing Hafeez Bhatti Ahmed and his wife Khalida, who were travelling on a Airport line train last Wednesday.
Mr Bhatti, originally from Pakistan, confirmed he has spoken to Queensland Police and is preparing an official statement for them.
He said he will ask police to charge the woman who abused his wife.
"Because of that incident, she touched my wife's head, that is one issue that I will raise," he said.
"Then she was verbally abusing my wife.
"That's what I will ask, police to charge her once she will be identified."
He said he and his wife are still shaken by the incident and are very alert when they leave their home.
"We take very special care, especially when we have to go out," he said.
"I always look around that if somebody is noticing us.
"I should be very careful that no-one comes close to us or tries to hit us.
Mr Bhatti said he has received positive messages after the incident but also received several threats online, with one Facebook profile called "Christian Soldiers" threatening to kill him.
"One guy swore at me and he wrote that I'm an Islamic propaganda terrorist," he said.
"I cannot engage myself in that conversation.
"I will show this snapshot to the police."
Mr Bhatti said he has also faced a backlash of people calling him a coward for not speaking up.
"People are saying I'm not a brave man for not standing up for my wife," he said.
"In my local language, people are calling me a coward person.
"I came to Australia but I don't know how to speak English, if I could have speak up."
Mr Bhatti said he remained calm and did not want to misrepresent his religion.
"That was my respect for that old lady that I wasn't engaging aggressively and with bad language," he said.
"I tried to educate her and at the same time I was calm."
An Australian cartoon will hang on the walls of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo, in acknowledgement of the 12 staff murdered in a terrorist attack earlier this year.
Ms Bishop says Charlie Hebdo's work builds on a strong tradition of satire in France that goes back centuries.
"Coming from Australia, we see satire as an integral part of French society. It's as French as croissants," she said.
She described the magazine as a counter balance against power that "offends almost everyone" and where "nothing is sacred".
"If you don't like what you see or read in this magazine, do not buy it." [ABC - 21/4/15]
Not this cartoon.
Botox makes unnerving journey into our nervous system
UQ News [16/4/15]:
New research might bring a frown to even the most heavily botoxed faces, with scientists finding how some of the potent toxin used for cosmetic surgery escapes into the central nervous system.
Researchers at The University of Queensland have shown how Botox – also known as Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A – is transported via our nerves back to the central nervous system.
Botox – best known for its ability to smooth wrinkles – has been extremely useful for the treatment of over-active muscles and spasticity as it promotes local and long-term paralysis.
UQ Queensland Brain Institute laboratory leader Professor Frederic Meunier said people had used the deadliest known neurotoxin, Botox, for decades to treat various conditions and for cosmetic purposes.
“The discovery that some of the injected toxin can travel through our nerves is worrying, considering the extreme potency of the toxin,” Professor Meunier said.
“However, to this day no unwanted effect attributed to such transport has been reported, suggesting that Botox is safe to use,” he said.
“While no side-effects of using Botox medically have been found yet, finding out how this highly active toxin travels to the central nervous system is vital because this pathway is also hijacked by other pathogens such as West Nile or Rabies viruses.
“A detailed understanding of this pathway is likely to lead to new treatments for some of these diseases.”
Dr Tong Wang, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Professor Meunier’s laboratory, discovered that most of the toxin is transported to a cellular dump where it is meant to be degraded upon reaching the central nervous system.
“For the first time, we’ve been able to visualise single molecules of Botulinum toxin travelling at high speed through our nerves,” Dr Wang said.
“We found that some of the active toxins manage to escape this route and intoxicate neighbouring cells, so we need to investigate this further and find out how.”
Botox is derived from naturally-occurring sources in the environment.
The study was a collaboration between scientists at the Queensland Brain Institute, UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the UQ School of Chemical Engineering, the CSIRO and teams from the United States of America, France and the United Kingdom.
The discovery was made possible through cutting-edge microscopy equipment introduced to Queensland by Professor Meunier through a Queensland International Fellowship award and a Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities grant from the Australian Research Council.
Findings of the research are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Teenagers charged with terrorism offences remain in jail
One of two men charged with terrorism-related offences had a phone conversation with a 14-year-old arrested in the United Kingdom on suspicion of planning an attack, a Melbourne court has heard.
Sevdet Besim, 18, of Hallam, was charged following a major police raid in Melbourne on Saturday with conspiring to commit a terrorist act over an alleged plot to attack Anzac Day preparations
Earlier this week, Greater Manchester Police in north-west England said they had "uncovered communication between an individual in the North West and a man in Australia to what we believe is a credible terrorist threat".
Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said the boy was arrested on Saturday "on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and remains in police custody for questioning".
"Following the examination of a number of electronic devices, the North West Counter Terrorism Unit and officers from Lancashire Constabulary executed a warrant at an address in Blackburn, Lancashire," the statement read.
Police stressed that they had not uncovered any evidence of an imminent attack being planned in Britain.
At a hearing to formally lift a Preventative Detention Order (PDO) against a third man, Harun Causevic, charged over the alleged plot, the Melbourne Supreme Court heard it was Besim who spoke to the 14-year-old in Britain.
Besim has previously appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, where he was remanded in custody to reappear on Friday.
Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police said Causevic, 18, who had been held on a PDO without charge, was released last night but promptly re-arrested.
Causevic, from Hampton Park, was charged with planning a terrorist act, police said.
During an appearance in the Melbourne Magistrate's Court today, he smiled in the dock, as he looked across at his father, Vehid Causevic, who was crying in the public gallery.
In lifting the PDO, Supreme Court Justice Peter Riordan said he was inclined to release the order and the reasons for Causevic's detention.
"The basis on which extreme orders [PDOs] are made are matters which the public is entitled to be interested in," he said.
"The court has been asked to make extreme orders and there should be good reason why the public shouldn't be told about the basis on which the order has been made."
Later, Causevic's lawyer Rob Stary told the Magistrates Court it was inappropriate for his client, who had no criminal history, to be in a maximum security prison.
Causevic was remanded in custody and scheduled to reappear in court in August.
Police have now charged three of the five men arrested in the weekend raids, while two have been released without charge.
An 18-year-old man from Narre Warren was charged on summons with weapons offences and is due to appear in court at a later date.
The two other Narre Warren men, aged 18 and 19, were released pending further inquiries, police said.
We spend the hour with an explosive new film that shines a bright light on the FBI’s shadowy use of informants in its counterterrorism sting operations.
These undercover operatives are meant to root out would-be terrorists before they attack. Since 9/11, they have been used to prosecute at least 158 people.
But critics argue they often target the wrong people, "including those with intellectual and mental disabilities, and the indigent."
"(T)ERROR" goes inside the world of a particular informant who has played a key role in several major terrorism cases. ... [Democracy Now - 20/4/15]
Extended interview with Khalifah al-Akili from Federal Prison; Says FBI Tried to Entrap Him [Democracy - 20/4/15]
Police officer stood down, Road Policing Command
QPS Media [21/4/15]:
A Constable from the Road Policing Command has today been stood down from official duty with the Queensland Police Service.
The officer, a 29 year-old man has been served with a Notice to Appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 15, 2015 in relation to charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and one charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing grievous bodily harm.
The charges relate to a fatal traffic crash which occurred in Southern Region in May, 2014.
In keeping with our commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, we have an undertaking to inform the public when an officer faces disciplinary processes involving stand down or suspension.
This does not mean that the allegations against the officer have been substantiated.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Thornlands man issued with Notice to Appear following Taskforce Maxima raid [QPS Media - 21/4/15]
Motorcyclist pulled from Surfers Paradise canal following police pursuit
A motorcyclist has been pulled from a Gold Coast canal after he was hurled in to the water while trying to get away from police.
According to initial reports, officers tried to intercept the man at Surfers Paradise on Monday night but the rider took off.
It’s understood police did not initiate a chase, instead waiting for him to emerge from a cul-de-sac on Sunrise Boulevard.
However, the when the man did not emerge from the dead-end street they began a search to find the man.
It’s understood they then found he had crashed his bike and had been flung in to the canal, suffering head and chest injuries.
Officers dragged the man from the water and administered first aid at the scene.
He was taken in a serious condition to Gold Coast University Hospital but is now said to be stable.
Murder charge over fatal McDowall crash
A Queensland man has been charged with murder over a fatal car crash that killed one man and injured five others.
The 24-year-old from Eatons Hill was in a car that hit another vehicle on Old Northern Road at McDowall, in Brisbane's north, on April 8.
A 66-year-old Thai national was killed at the scene.
Both male drivers, aged 33 and 24, were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries along with three other female passengers.
The 24-year-old has been charged with one count each of murder, manslaughter, wilful damage, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and four counts of acts intending grievous bodily harm.
He will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on August 6.
A Queensland doctor who issued a medical certificate declaring an epileptic man fit to drive before he was involved in a crash that killed a pedestrian has been fined $10,000 for professional misconduct. ... [Yahoo - 21/4/15]
LOCATED – Missing woman, Kallangur
QPS Media [21/4/15]:
A woman reported missing from Kallangur last week has been located safe and well.
The media and public are thanked for their assistance during this incident.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Child abuse inquiry: former MP 'sensationalised' abuse allegations at Neerkol orphanage near Rockhampton, Sister Berneice Loch says
A senior nun has criticised a former Queensland MP for "sensationalising" allegations of abuse at the Neerkol orphanage near Rockhampton in State Parliament during the 1990s.
Sister Berneice Loch has testified today at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in the central Queensland city.
Sister Loch was a senior member of the Sisters of Mercy when allegations of abuse at the orphanage first came to light in the 1990s.
In September 1996, then-Queensland minister for family, youth and community care, Kevin Lingard, told State Parliament that six calls had been made to the child sexual abuse hotline about former residents of the orphanage.
Mr Lingard planned to refer the matter to the then children's commissioner.
Sister Loch told the hearing today the damaging allegations should not have been heard in public before they were substantiated.
She said she had been "astounded" and "dismayed" by Mr Lingard's statement to Parliament at the time.
Counsel assisting the inquiry, Sophie David SC, asked Sister Loch today why it would have been sensational for Mr Lingard to make those allegations public in Parliament.
"I only say that it seemed sensational to me at the time," Sister Loch said.
"There had been no allegation that I had heard of sexual abuse by a sister and that was certainly sensationalised."
She said she refused to accept it was fair for the claims to be raised in State Parliament, following the Catholic Church's slow response to respond to the allegations.
She said the claims should have been substantiated before they were made public and that Mr Lingard had sensationalised the issue.
"This was a very public statement in the eyes of the public - this was a statement that these things had all happened, because that's what came through in the [newspapers]," Sister Loch said.
Under cross-examination today, Sister Loch also testified she had not contacted several abuse victims after hearing of their ordeals.
Sister Loch said yesterday she first became aware of abuse allegations when she saw an article in a Rockhampton newspaper in the early 1990s.
The article quoted a former resident who suffered a miscarriage after she was raped when she was 11 years old.
Sister Loch admitted to the inquiry she failed to show compassion when the initial abuse allegations were brought forward.
In September 1997, the Sisters of Mercy apologised to the former residents of the orphanage.
The inquiry was also shown today a draft press release written by the Sisters of Mercy responding to the abuse that read: "It is only natural that a legacy of parental deprivation would leave some former residents bitter and resentful."
Sister Loch told the inquiry that had not been not an accusation, but admitted it was her opinion at the time.
She admitted amending the press statement several times, but said it had never been released publicly.
In 1993, a book written by former resident, identified at the inquiry as 'AYC', had been the subject of media attention at the time.
In the penultimate paragraph, the media release had said "that controversy and media sensationalism are part of the promotional activities of the author".
Inquiry solicitor Aaron Kernaghan asked Sister Loch today whether that press release "was preparing to throw dirt at the [book] author?"
Sister Loch replied: "I don't accept that - we didn't use [the press release]."
The commission, which began hearings last Tuesday in Rockhampton, was told that for more than three decades, children at the orphanage were raped, molested and beaten.
The Sisters of Mercy ran the Neerkol orphanage for half a century before it closed in the late 1970s.
Taxi drivers' decision not to pick up Aboriginal singers unlawful, NT Anti-Discrimination Commissioner says [ABC - 21/4/15]
First Nations forum: ‘The system destroys us’
Green Left Weekly [20/4/15]:
More than 200 people attended a public forum called "Resistance Rising: A Panel of First Nations Leaders" at the Brunswick Town Hall in Melbourne on April 18.
The forum was jointly sponsored by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance and the Indigenous Social Justice Association.
Co-founder of Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance Meriki Onus told the audience: "The system is constantly knocking at our door. The system destroys us or takes our children."
The keynote speaker was Lex Wotton, who was arrested for protesting against the death in custody of Aboriginal man Cameron Doomadgee on Palm Island in 2004.
No police officer has been charged over the death.
The events around this are documented in the film The Tall Man. [And Jeff Waters' book Gone For A Song]
Wotton told the forum: "If I see something wrong, I say something. One day it might be your child in prison. We have to stand up. This is not just about a death in custody. The government has neglected us and this has been going on for years."
In discussion, Wotton also pointed out that the only shop on Palm Island is run by a government department and as a result prices are extremely high, in part due to the fly in, fly out workforce.
Wotton said there is a campaign to get the shop to be run by the community.
He has launched a class action against the Queensland government along with two others, Agnes and Cecilia Wotton.
It alleges institutionalised racism by the Queensland Police Force in the way it treated the Indigenous residents of Palm Island and asserts that, had this happened elsewhere in Australia other than an Indigenous community, the whole process would have been different.
Māori Party letter to the Australian Prime Minister via Sovereign Union [20/4/15]
There was a forced vaccination campaign in 1970-1 in the Northern Territory where forced vaccinations had a 50% fatality rate.
This was reported by Dr Archie Kalokerinos, who was there during that time. He later wrote a book on it, called 'Every Second Child'.
The writer's 3 children and 4 grandchildren have been immunised, and I am not an anti-vaccine campaigner.
I am a 'vaccine, only with adequate checks and balances', advocate.
Seasonal flu vaccination of Australian children is not compulsory. As parent/carer, you get to decide if this is right for the child. Your doctor has the best interests of your family at heart, and should have no objection to examining your child thoroughly prior to administering his/her flu vaccination.
We all need reassurance that our child has a clean bill of health, before we vaccinate, and only a qualified doctor can accept responsibility for providing that.
Though others (health care workers, nurse practitioners or pharmacists etc. ) may be authorised give a flu shot, they may miss some vital sign that only your doctor has the experience and qualifications to accurately diagnose. [Treaty Republic - April 2015]
Nobody knows how many people read the December 1964 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, but apparently only one, Dr. Irwin Schatz, was so appalled by one of its articles, about a syphilis experiment using uneducated black men in Tuskegee, Ala., that he wrote the study’s author to protest. ... [New York Times - 18/4/15]
83 Died in U.S.-Guatemala Syphilis Experiments: “We’re talking about intentional deception.” [Fire Dog Lake - 29/8/11]
Brisbane Times [17/7/14]:
New research that has calculated an Aboriginal death toll of more than 65,000 in Queensland alone during the so-called frontier wars has renewed calls for formal recognition at the Australian War Memorial.
But the AWM in Canberra has dismissed the idea, saying recognition should instead be in the National Museum.
The research, presented to the Australian Historical Association’s Conflict in History conference last week at the University of Queensland, estimated 66,680 deaths between 1788 and 1930.
Of those deaths, 65,180 were indigenous, which is about three times what was previously thought.
The report’s co-author, historian Professor Raymond Evans, said the calculations were based on official records, anecdotal reports and the number of patrols undertaken by the colonial Queensland government’s Native Police.
Bahrain deports head of Iraqi soccer team [IraqiNews.com – 20/4/15]
The official inquiry into the 2003 Iraq War may not publish its long-awaited report this year, the BBC has learned. ... [BBC - 21/4/15]
Not in my name.
Monday 20 April: 13 killed
Iraq Body Count
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have officially farewelled about 300 troops at Brisbane's Enoggera Defence base ahead of their deployment to Iraq.
The troops from Brisbane's 7th Brigade are being deployed on a six-month rotation to help the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militant group as part of Task Group Taji.
Hundreds gathered at Gallipoli Barracks for the official farewell ceremony, which was also attended by Defence Minister Kevin Andrews.
Security was increased, with Defence asking the media not to identify the troops being deployed or their family members.
Colonel Matthew Galton said it was a safety precaution.
"The enemy we are facing has shown they are quite sophisticated," he said.
"They have been able to exploit things like social media so we are just taking prudent precautions for the safety of the troops, but more so for the safety of their families back home."
The 7th Brigade lost 10 serving members out of the 41 Australian Defence personnel killed during Operation Slipper in Afghanistan.
In his address to the troops today, Mr Abbott said he knew they would do an outstanding job.
"You are going to train and not to fight, but you are a strong, a well-equipped, a highly professional and a committed force and I know that you will give a very good account of yourself," he said.
"I know that you are more than capable of looking after yourselves in every way that might be necessary.
"It's also fitting on the eve of the centenary of Anzac that this yet again is a partnership between Australia and New Zealand.
"Good luck, may God bless you, and we look forward to welcoming you back after your mission is accomplished."
Mr Shorten told the troops they were beginning "a new chapter in our Anzac story".
"One hundred years on, Australian and New Zealand troops again go in harm's way to a country drawn from three provinces of that former Ottoman empire," he said.
"You know that this will be a complex, difficult mission.
"It's been said that Gallipoli defined the attributes Australians expect of ourselves in war - courage, mateship, ingenuity, discipline, initiative and a strong sense of humour.
"We're honoured to be here today, witness to these same qualities. We are not a war-like people but we do produce remarkable warriors.
"You bring new honour to a century-old tradition."
The operation was signed off by Federal Cabinet last month.
NZ troops depart ahead of Iraq deployment [RNZI – 21/4/15]
Real Australians say Welcome!
(even when it's a bumfreezer!)
Image: @GreenMyHouz [21/4/15]
Rupert Murdoch's Katie Hopkins and Sun editor reported to police for incitement to racial hatred [Independent - 20/4/15]:
... The recent comments by the Sun journalist Katie Hopkins, authorised for publication by her Editor and senior staff, are sadly some of the most offensive, xenophobic and racist comments I have read in a British newspaper for some years. These comments comparing the African migrants fleeing Libya to “cockroaches” , almost certainly all “trafficked” persons facing intimidation, violence and extortion at the point of departure represent some of the most vulnerable people in international law at the present time. Many will have legitimate claims for asylum under the 1951 Geneva Convention.
The use of this term employs a word used with devastating results to describe the Tutsi minority and Hutu moderates during the 1994 Rwanda genocide when they were referred to by those responsible for the genocide as “cockroaches”. This fact is well known to journalists and is a matter of historical record proved by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in several judgments.
The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) therefore requests that this matter is investigated as a matter of urgency under the Public Order Act 1986. I am aware that this section requires some intention but given the scale of the tragedy currently unfolding, the likelihood some some of these migrants may already be in the UK having fled during previous months or likely to land here in due course these comments can amount to incitement to racial hatred.
We are in the process of writing formally to the International Criminal Court to petition for an investigation into these comments under the provisions of incitement to commit crimes against humanity.
How PNG benefits from hosting Australia's refugee death camp: Somare Highway in Manus in need of urgent maintenance [EMTV - 21/4/15]
Australia's Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, or ASRC, says a Bill which would allow force to be used in immigration detention would encourage a greater culture of abuse and mistreatment. ... [RNZI - 21/4/15]
A Papua New Guinean man who died after falling from the fifth floor of a Sydney hospital had tried to harm himself in Villawood Detention Centre, an inquest has heard.
Coroner Carmel Forbes is investigating the death of the 33-year-old man at Liverpool Hospital in April, 2013.
An inquest heard the man, who cannot be named, had been transferred from Villawood Detention Centre where he was waiting to be deported.
He died from multiple injuries after falling from the fifth floor. The inquest heard he had been taken to hospital for treatment after harming himself with razor blades.
He was guarded by six detention centre staff, but after smashing a hole in a hospital window with a metal chair managed to get onto a window ledge.
Glebe Coroners Court heard the man had been living in Australia from the age of six, but was about to be deported after serving jail time for assaulting his partner and also for assaulting a detention centre guard. ... [ABC - 21/4/15]
Auschwitz bookkeeper goes on trial in Germany
A 93-year-old former bookkeeper at Auschwitz went on trial in Germany on Tuesday, accused by prosecutors of being an accessory in the murder of 300,000 people, though he was not involved in any actual killing at the notorious Nazi death camp.
The trial of Oskar Groening, who was 21 and by his own admission an enthusiastic Nazi when he was sent to work at Auschwitz in 1942, is significant because it may be one of the last big Holocaust trials. Seventy years after the end of World War Two very few suspected Nazi criminals are still alive.
The case is also unusual because Groening, unlike many of the other SS men and women who worked at concentration camps, has spoken openly about his time at Auschwitz in interviews, in part, he says, to counter Holocaust denial.
He has talked in detail about the horrible crimes he witnessed at the camp, but because he never killed anyone, he sees himself as legally innocent.
Groening's job at Auschwitz was to collect the belongings of deportees after they had arrived at the camp by train and already been put through a selection process that resulted in many being sent directly to the gas chambers.
He inspected their luggage, removing and counting any bank notes that were inside, and sending them on to SS offices in Berlin, where they helped to fund the Nazi war effort.
Thomas Walter, a lawyer for survivors who are plaintiffs in the case, told reporters before the start of the trial that the aim was to "give back some dignity which they lost forever in the gas chambers of Auschwitz."
Groening's lawyer Hans Holtermann says his client's actions did not go far enough to make him an accessory to murder and until recently the German justice system agreed with him.
In 1985, prosecutors in Frankfurt decided not to pursue the case against Groening and dozens of other concentration camp workers, saying there was no causal link between their actions and the killings that occurred around them. Only two years ago, they declined a new request to take up the case.
Prosecutors in Hanover disagreed, emboldened by the case of Ivan Demjanjuk, who in 2011 was convicted of being an accessory to mass murder despite there being no evidence of him having committed a specific crime during his time as a guard at the Sobibor extermination camp.
The charges against Groening relate to the period between May and July 1944 when 137 trains carrying roughly 425,000 Jews from Hungary arrived in Auschwitz.
At least 300,000 of them were sent straight to the gas chambers, the indictment says. Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
In an extensive interview with German magazine Der Spiegel in 2005, Groening said he felt "nothing" when he saw Jews being taken to the gas chamber.
"If you are convinced that the destruction of Judaism is necessary, then it no longer matters how the killing takes place," he said, describing his feelings as a young SS officer.
"At some point you are there and the only thing left is the feeling: I am part of this necessary thing. A horrible thing - but necessary," he told the magazine.
Hedy Bohm, an Auschwitz survivor from New York who is attending the trial, said she wanted to see Groening declared guilty but saw no need for him to go to jail at the age of 93.
"Those who commit crimes today must know they will be held responsible in the future," she said.
"And never again will they be able to just plead 'I'm a cog in the machinery, I didn't kill'.".
We do not want to be complicit in mass murder.
Al Flash Mob questa sera a Reggio Emilia per ricordare anche la nostra responsabilità porteremo le barchette di carta
Image: @ramcampa [20/4/15]
@ramcampa [20/4/15]: Reggio Emilia basta stragi
700 boats placed outside the European Parliament, Brussels [VIDEO - EU News – 20/4/15]
Australia’s turn-back policy adds to drowning risk in Europe [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 21/4/15]:
“Australia’s turn back policy may be directly contributing to deaths at sea in Europe,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“The Coalition’s ‘stop the boats’ slogan was just an ultimatum to asylum seekers to ‘die somewhere else’ backed up by the military – and ‘dying somewhere else’ may be exactly what’s happening.
“There are many asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa languishing in Australian detention centres and on Nauru and Manus Island.
“The Coalition has not stopped the boats; the boats have only been intercepted or displaced. At least 17 boats have attempted to get to Australia since Operation Sovereign Borders began. The navy ship that is returning Vietnamese asylum seekers could just as easily have brought them safely to Australia.
“By denying safe passage for people to come to Indonesia and then to Australia, African and Middle Eastern asylum seekers may have no alternative but to try to get to Europe to find safety.
“Abbott thinks he can grandstand and lecture Europe about ‘stopping the boats’. But, the Australian government’s policy is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Talk of implementing an Australian turn back policy in Europe is folly and would only increase the dangers for asylum seekers.
“Nor is retired Major-General Molan in any position to be lecturing European leaders about saving lives. The tragedy in the Mediterranean is not a people-smuggling disaster; it is a humanitarian disaster.
“The increase in deaths at sea in the Mediterranean is directly attributable to European governments ending the funding for Italy’s ‘Mare Nostrum’ rescue operation, last year. Until it was wound back, ‘Mare Nostrum’ had rescued around 130,000 people in 2014 alone.
“Europe needs to urgently re-instate funding for rescue operations in the Mediterranean, and allow safe passage for asylum seekers. If the Australian government was seriously interested in saving lives, it would end Operation Sovereign Borders, fund an effective search and rescue program, and guarantee that refugees in Indonesia would be quickly resettled in Australia.”
... It's possible that 20 years from now, courts or historians will be addressing this dark chapter. When that happens, it won't just be politicians in Brussels, Berlin and Paris who come under pressure. We the people will also have to answer uncomfortable questions about what we did to try to stop this barbarism that was committed in all our names. ... Europe Should Protect People, Not Borders, Maximilian Popp [Spiegel - 20/4/15]
Cue "opposition": We agree with Abbott 100% The illogical torture, indefinite mandatory detention, refoulement and exile of refugees - along with the entrapment and imprisonment of Indonesian fishermen - must continue.
... "We must resolve to stop this terrible problem and the only way you can stop the deaths is to stop the people-smuggling trade," Abbott said.
"That's why it is so urgent that the countries of Europe adopt very strong policies that will end the people-smuggling trade across the Mediterranean." ...
Israel sees Mediterranean tragedy as validating policy of keeping refugees away [Times of Malta – 20/4/15]:
Israel said today the drowning of hundreds of Africans off Libya's coast was tragic but validated its own policy of having buffered its land barriers with Africa to keep migrants away.
Yisrael Katz, transport minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's outgoing cabinet, called the deaths in the Mediterranean a "tragedy that shocks all humanity" which also showcases Europe's difficulties in handling the migrant flow.
"Look at how correct the (Israeli) government's policy was to build a fence along the border with Egypt to block the way to labour migrants from Africa from reaching Israel," Katz, added in a post written on his Facebook page.
Israel reinforced a border fence with Egypt, its land bridge with Africa, in 2012, largely curtailing a flow of migrants that had been stealing into its midst for much of the past decade.
Since 2013 it has jailed hundreds of more than 40,000 African migrants, many of them having fled from troubled Eritrea and Sudan.
Human rights groups charge this policy coerces many people eligible for refugee protection to seek repatriation at personal risk.
In addition to those held in a desert detention centre, thousands have received temporary visas and live in crowded impovershed parts of Israel and its business hub of Tel Aviv.
Israeli law grants automatic citizenship to Jews.
The authorities have denied most Africans residency, shunning them as "infiltrators" seeking jobs rather than refuge.
Ecatombe migranti, un altro naufragio [VIDEO - TG1 - 20/4/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria and Iraq between 8 a.m., April 19, and 8 a.m., April 20, local time.
In Syria, Coalition military forces conducted 10 airstrike using attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft. Separately in Iraq, Coalition military forces conducted 26 airstrikes approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense using fighter, attack and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
“We have seen a lot of Coalition strike support over the reporting period,” said CJTF-OIR Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley.
“In just about every case, offensive ground activities in both Iraq and Syria, force Daesh to present themselves where they can be targeted. Layered Coalition support, including aviation fires, reconnaissance, intelligence, and advise and assist elements, remains the key enabler to Iraqi and Kurdish operations to dismantle and defeat Daesh.”
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
Near Al Hasakah, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL mortar position and destroying an ISIL fighting position.
Near Kobani, seven airstrikes struck seven ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL mortar tube and an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery weapon.
Near Al Asad, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL vehicle.
Near Ar Rutbah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
Near Bayji, eight airstrikes struck four ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL VBIEDS, an ISIL machine gun, an ISIL artillery piece, an ISIL ammo storage facility and an ISIL vehicle.
Near Fallujah, five airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, an ISIL staging area, destroying an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery weapon and an ISIL vehicle.
Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL staging area, destroying four ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL armored vehicle and an ISIL excavator.
Near Ramadi, five airstrikes struck an ISIL large and two ISIL small tactical units, destroying an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL armored vehicle.
Near Sinjar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL buildings and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
US, Qatari security forces train together [Centcom - 20/4/15]
Iraqis must make sacrifices and recognise there will be casualties as the US and its "allies" pulverise their country - again.
[Wearing his civilian clothes - though some might say he is in the nude - General John Allen discusses with Al Jazeera the complexities of killing people - 20/4/15]
... Sitting on the fence both ears to the ground
The fat cats still push the thin cats around ...
'When The Generals Talk', Midnight Oil 
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [20/4/15]:
Anbar: Fallujah Hospital received two dead bodies of civilians including a woman and 19 wounded persons including two women injured in the random bombing of government's forces and Hashid militias.............................
8 persons have been killed and wounded as a stadium has been shelled by mortars in Qara Tappa nahiya in northern east of Diyala........................
Civilian homes bombed and looted, Tikrit [VIDEO - 20/4/15]
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest-ranking official from Saddam Hussein's regime and a leader of Iraq's Sunni insurgency, was killed in a security operation in a mountainous region in northern Iraq, state-run television has reported.
Al-Douri was the highest-ranking member of Hussein's regime to evade capture referred to as the "King of Clubs" by American troops to identify the most-wanted regime officials. ... [Kansas City Post - 18/4/15]
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), escorted by the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), transited the Strait of Hormuz from its station in the Arabian Gulf to the Arabian Sea Sunday. ... [Centcom - 20/4/15]
Al Jazeera [20/4/15]:
At least 46 people have been killed in the Yemeni capital after Saudi-led air strikes targeted a suspected weapons base held by Houthi fighters.
Health officials told Al Jazeera on Monday that more than 300 people were wounded when warplanes reportedly struck a Scud missile base in Faj Attan, a district in western Sanaa, that sparked a series of explosions.
Thick black smoke billowed into the sky as scores of nearby houses and vehicles were destroyed leaving the streets littered with debris.
"This was by far the strongest explosion witnessed in Sanaa so far. Hundreds, if not thousands of homes have been damaged, sending thousands of people to flee the area," Hakim al-Masmari, the editor-in-chief of the Yemen Post, told Al Jazeera.
Residents said the explosions sent shockwaves across the city with civilians fleeing from their homes in the aftermath.
"It was like the doors of hell opened,'' resident Mohammed Sarhan told the Associated Press news agency.
"I felt the house lift up and fall," he said.
Iran's Foreign Ministry said it was summoning Saudi Arabia's envoy to Tehran after windows at its embassy were shattered by the blast.
Eager Lion exercise scheduled for May in Jordan [Centcom – 20/4/15]:
U.S. forces will join Jordan and other international partner forces in Exercise Eager Lion, one of U.S. Central Command's premiere exercises, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from May 5-19.
Eager Lion 2015 will consist of a series of simulated scenarios to facilitate a coordinated, partnered military response to conventional and unconventional threats. The scenarios developed will include border security, command and control, cyber defense and battlespace management.
During late April and early May there is an academics phase so participants can familiarize themselves with operational planning processes and policies in a classroom setting.
About 10,000 military personnel are participating in the exercise. Of those, about 5,000 are from the U.S., representing USCENTCOM headquarters and its air, land, maritime and special operations components.
In addition to being hosted by Jordan, other participating nations include: Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Additionally, NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps is scheduled to participate in the exercise.
Afghanistan: Seven people wounded in Kundoz explosion
Seven people have sustained injuries in a bomb explosion in the provincial capital of southern Kundoz province.
Abdul Wasi, spokesman for the governor house said that the bomb was attached to a police vehicle which exploded this afternoon leaving seven people wounded.
Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, spokesman for the police headquarters of Kundoz province said that the explosion took place in Bandar-i-Kabul area of the city and that two women are among the seven wounded.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Khemenei says US, regional countries against Afghanistan-Iran friendship [Khaama – 20/4/15]:
... IRNA the official news agency of Iran states that both leaders in the meeting held Sunday afternoon stressed that issues between the two countries including Water, transit and refugees can be resolved. ...
A botched suspected Boko Haram suicide attack targeting a group of Shiite Muslims injured three people in northeast Nigeria on Monday, witnesses told AFP.
The would-be bomber detonated his explosives a few meters (yards) from an open-air mosque in the Dogo Tebo area of Potiskum shortly after afternoon prayers. … [Naharnet – 19/4/15]
Anti-government protesters clash with police in Guinea [Al Jazeera – 20/4/15]
Red Cross: New Zealand must take in more refugees
A deadly global humanitarian crisis has renewed calls for New Zealand to boost its number of refugees beyond its current quota.
Some 50 million people - half of whom are children - are being displaced from their homes, mostly in North and West Africa, as they desperately flee conflict and violence.
Likening the crisis to World War Two, the Red Cross says it is time New Zealand stepped up its game and widened its girth.
"We think the scale of the crisis means every country needs to dig deep on this, including New Zealand," NZ Red Cross Secretary General Tony Paine told TV ONE's Breakfast programme this morning.
Mr Paine's comments come after a boat travelling from Libya to Europe capsized in the Mediterranean sea, killing an estimated 700 migrants.
Last year, approximately 200,000 refugees fled their homes and were rescued by Italian coast guards as they desperately tried to make their way to Europe. Of those, 3,500 died.
While New Zealand has a solid reputation in its effort to welcome refugees, Mr Paine says the magnitude of the current situation means we must extend our quota from the current 750 a year.
"We think every country in the world needs to increase their efforts to support these people who are in very, very desperate situations," he told Breakfast.
Labour leader Andrew Little concedes that in such a time of crisis, New Zealand could relax its numbers.
"Europe has absorbed a lot of refugees, I think we could do better," he told Breakfast.
"I certainly have no qualms in raising it to 1000, this is a reason to respond and be a good global citizen and take on more than our usual quota. which in the big scheme of things is pretty small," Mr Little said.
'Refugee Status, Arbitrary Deprivation of Nationality, and Statelessness' [Melbourne Law School – 23 April 2015]
Brave Australian soldiers were massacred in foreign wars so child refugees could be subjected to torture and sexual abuse in island gulags
She writes her name, it is CAV 020 ... the boat number which she comes into the country with.
A five-year-old asylum seeker in a Darwin detention centre is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has been prescribed anti-depressants amid fears she may be sent back to Nauru, a Darwin lawyer says.
The Iranian girl drew an image of a stick-figure person with its lips sewn shut and displayed inappropriate sexual behaviour because of what she has seen or experienced while in detention in Nauru, lawyer John Lawrence said.
Mr Lawrence is taking legal action to prevent the girl and her family being sent back to Nauru.
He said she has been with her parents at Darwin's Wickham Point Detention Centre since October, after they were transferred from Nauru to Australia because her father needed urgent medical treatment.
The family had been on Nauru for more than a year and were told they would be returned there once the treatment was completed, Mr Lawrence said.
The ABC has seen a medical report, completed in Darwin, assessing the girl.
It records her fear of returning to Nauru, as well as a diagnosis of PTSD and anxiety.
"This child should not be sent back to Nauru as she continues with a significant PTSD syndrome to the exposure to traumatic events during her previous stay, with ongoing severe anxiety symptoms, and risk of self-harm," it said.
The report also records the prescribing of anti-depressant medication to the girl.
It said she was "still talking of hurting herself as per previous threats, parents are worried about when she is on her own at school, that she could hurt herself".
Mr Lawrence said he was also concerned about the possibility of abuse at Nauru.
"I have medical material relating to this five-year-old girl, which informs me that she is displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour, as a consequence of experiences that she has either seen or experienced directly or indirectly, on Nauru," he said.
… Asking the panel a question via video link, Ethan Egart shared the story of his friend, Tyrone, who came to Australia from the Philippines.
“On 27 April our government is going to deport a 10-year-old boy who is perfectly normal in every way,” Ethan said.
“He can read and ride a bike, but he has autism. I went to after-school care with this boy and he can’t speak, but he can use sign language to communicate with us.
“If he can get along with us and we can get along with him, why does he have to leave?”
... [Guardian - 21/4/15]
Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network [DASSAN] call for a moratorium on offshore transfers
In news this week the pressure and desperation in detention centres continues to grow.
People are in terror of being returned to Nauru and Manus island.
Join us in calling for a moratorium on transfers – let the government know that they cannot send people, including newborn babies, to a place where they know there is physical and sexual abuse.
Protest outside Immigration Department [Refugee Action Committee, Canberra]:
No transfers to Cambodia!
No transfers to Iran!
No immunity for detention centre guards!
Please join us on Benjamin Way, outside the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, this coming Tuesday to protest the further ramping up of Operation Sovereign Borders, and to show your support for asylum-seekers suffering in detention.
‘Callous’ EU politics on migrants costing lives, UN rights chief warns [Media Release - 20/4/15]:
… “We have repeatedly underscored that no one who has food to eat, who is safe from torture, and rape, and from falling bombs, who has healthcare for his family, education for her children, decent and productive work would readily embark on these perilous journeys,” he added.
Europe is “turning its back” on some of the most vulnerable migrants in the world, and risks turning the Mediterranean into a “vast cemetery” rather than acknowledge that European economies and societies need the low-skilled labour that migrants are desperate to contribute, and that refugees have a right to seek asylum, Mr. Zeid said.
Lack of regular channels, coupled with harsh controls at external borders, has led migrants to turn to the increasingly organised smuggling industry along Europe’s southern borders, he said.
“It is time for politicians to show courageous leadership on this issue, instead of joining the mindless clamour for ever harsher deterrence policies. Not only do such policies not work, they operate at an unacceptable cost in terms of human lives,” the High Commissioner said. ...
@BObservatory - The Border Crossing Observatory [21/4/15]: Up to 900 Med deaths reported. Euro leaders won't prevent such tragedies if they continue to define the problem in terms of ppl smuggling.
Ten point action plan on Mediterranean refugees
European Commission, Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council Press Release [20/4/15]:
At a joint meeting of Foreign and Interior Ministers, chaired by High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini and held in Luxembourg, Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Avramopoulous presented a 10 point plan of the immediate actions to be taken in response to the crisis situation in the Mediterranean. The plan received the full backing of Foreign and Interior Ministers.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos jointly stated: "We need to show that same collective European sense of urgency we have consistently shown in reacting in times of crisis. The dire situation in the Mediterranean is not a new nor a passing reality. That is why the Commission will come forward with a comprehensive European Agenda on Migration in May to address the structural problems. The 10 actions we have agreed upon today are the direct, substantial measures we will take to make an immediate difference. All of these actions require our common effort, the European institutions and the 28 Member States. We will convey these proposals to the European Council which will meet on Thursday in an extraordinary session to address the situation in the Mediterranean. This is what Europe taking responsibility is - all of us working together."
Reinforce the Joint Operations in the Mediterranean, namely Triton and Poseidon, by increasing the financial resources and the number of assets. We will also extend their operational area, allowing us to intervene further, within the mandate of Frontex;
A systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers. The positive results obtained with the Atalanta operation should inspire us to similar operations against smugglers in the Mediterranean;
EUROPOL, FRONTEX, EASO and EUROJUST will meet regularly and work closely to gather information on smugglers modus operandi, to trace their funds and to assist in their investigation;
EASO to deploy teams in Italy and Greece for joint processing of asylum applications;
Member States to ensure fingerprinting of all migrants;
Consider options for an emergency relocation mechanism;
A EU wide voluntary pilot project on resettlement, offering a number of places to persons in need of protection;
Establish a new return programme for rapid return of irregular migrants coordinated by Frontex from frontline Member States;
Engagement with countries surrounding Libya through a joined effort between the Commission and the EEAS; initiatives in Niger have to be stepped up.
Deploy Immigration Liaison Officers (ILO) in key third countries, to gather intelligence on migratory flows and strengthen the role of the EU Delegations.
Asylum seekers returned to Vietnam by Australian Navy had claims assessed at
sea, UNHCR says [ABC - 21/4/15]:
The United Nations refugee agency has revealed a group of Vietnamese asylum seekers had their claims assessed at sea before being returned home by the Australian Navy.
The group of 46 asylum seekers were returned by the Navy to Vietnam, and the UNHCR said they were subject to a screening process at sea.
The agency said it was seeking details from the Government about the procedures used but has expressed its concern.
UNHCR spokeswoman Vivian Tan said the agency considers that individuals who seek asylum must be properly and individually screened for protection in an environment where they can explain their needs, or they could be at risk of grave danger.
"We're concerned that people may not have had access to proper procedures," she said.
"We are concerned that the group wasn't screened and assessed in a way that's fair and affective, that somehow their lives may be at risk."
Human Rights Watch deputy director Phil Robertson said he was "very suspect" about the way the operation was conducted.
"I think that probably these people had no access to counsel or [were] able to prepare their case. And certainly they had no access to appeal," he said.
"So it's a shoddy process determined to send people back and that's what's happening to these group of Vietnamese."
Mr Robertson said there remains legitimate reason for Vietnamese nationals to seek asylum.
"Vietnam is still a dictatorial one-party state and there are many people in Vietnam who have run afoul of the Vietnam government for inserting freedom of religion, for blogging, for trying to defend their land against encroachment by the state," he said.
"It goes on and on. There's over 200 political prisoners in Vietnam."
The ABC confirmed HMAS Choules had completed its mission to transfer the group back to Vietnam.
Another source told the ABC the 46 asylum seekers were offloaded in the port city of Vung Tau on Friday.
The asylum seekers were believed to have left Vietnam in March and were detected by the Navy earlier this month before they could reach Australia.
The Opposition has accused the Federal Government of a "new low" over secrecy surrounding the group of asylum seekers.
The Government has said it will not comment on operation matters.
The Australian Psychological Society refers to the Zimbardo experiment in its submission to the Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015:
This Bill does not address the core problem which is the policy of indefinite mandatory detention, both offshore and onshore.
UNICEF and Amnesty International recommend the bill not be passed.
21 April 2015