... Oceania was at war with Eurasia now, but just four years ago, these two had formed an alliance against Eastasia. Winston remembered this clearly, but it made no difference what he or any other individual remembered, for the Party said that Eurasia had always been the Enemy and what the Party said was the Truth. This, thought Winston, was the most frightening aspect of the party regime-that it could obliterate memory, turn lies into Truth and alter the Past. The Party slogan was “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” ...

 

 

George Orwell

 

 

 

 

Our Brand Is Crisis

 

 

 

 

Our Brand Is Crisis is a satire oddly toothless about politics [NPR - 30/10/15]:

 

 

...Boynton's documentary raised some troubling questions about the cynical business of winning campaigns and the dangers of exporting American ideas abroad.

But only traces of those ideas survive in the new Our Brand is Crisis, a bizarre and misbegotten satire that detours sharply from the documentary—and, in turn, from the basic reality of what happened in 2002 Bolivia.

Director David Gordon Green and his screenwriter, Peter Straughan, seem to be operating under the assumption that Boynton's film was forgotten or, at a minimum, that they have unlimited dramatic license.

But even allowing them the latitude to keep or discard whatever they like, the changes they've made to the story are revealing—and every bit as dubious as any market-friendly "progressivism" that won Goni the presidency. ...

 

 

 

 

 

Our Brand Is Crisis is a Koch Lorber Films documentary on U.S. political consultants operating around the world.

The film debuted March 2005 at SXSW and screened at New Directors/New Films later that month.

'This film is a cautionary tale which comes at a very timely moment,' said Koch Lorber president Richard Lorber in a statement.

'The parallels to the current US administration's approach to selling the war in Iraq are staggering.' ... [Sourcewatch]

 

 



Australian trio arrested in Bolivia accused of trying to board flight to Brazil with 'explosives' [Sydney Morning Herald - 21/11/15]:

 

Three young Australians apparently on the holiday of a lifetime have been arrested at a Bolivian international airport after explosives were found in one of the men's backpack.

Australians Julian Giovanni Vicenzo Musumeci, 24, Justin Maurice Kwong Wei Sun, 25, and Liam Mark Eales, 25, were reported by Bolivian and Brazilian news outlets as being held in custody in Bolivia awaiting a judge's orders after their arrest last week.

It is understood two of the men have now been released but remain in Bolivia, while the remaining man awaits trial, according to Liam Eales' father, Geoff.

The trio were stopped on November 12 at Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz de La Sierra, while waiting to board flight G3 7601 to South America's busiest airport, Guarulhos, in Sao Paulo.

Brazilian authorities are on high alert before the 2016 Olympics.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra confirmed DFAT was providing consular assistance to three Australians arrested in Bolivia and said "due to privacy reasons we will not be making further comment".

Santa Cruz de Sierra newspaper El Deber quoted Warnes police commander Freddy Meneses as saying the trio was searched in a pre-boarding area after having passed through security. Bolivian anti-narcotics special forces found the alleged explosives in a backpack.

El Deber later reported a backpack alleged to belong to Musumeci contained "a dynamite canister, a detonator and a bag of pink granules yet to be identified" which police said could be used as a homemade explosive device.

Reached at work in Townsville, Mr Eales' father said his son had not been charged and was free to leave Bolivia – but had been asked to stay by the lawyer for the charged man.

"It's just been a lot of crap quite frankly, a lot of bullshit about nothing, from Liam's point of view," Geoff Eales said. "He's done absolutely nothing wrong, he's got nothing to answer for."

Mr Eales said his son had got on the plane without incident but when one of his companions had been detained he "went back" for him.

"He's been asked to wait around until his friend goes through his court case. That will be happening shortly. His friend is out of jail as well. That's all I know."

Bolivian media reported the Australians as saying they had been travelling since October 23, having visited La Paz, Sucre, Uyuni and Potosi, a mining tourist region, where the items had been obtained.

The carrying of explosives at Bolivian airports carries a jail sentence of three to five years.

In a statement published by G1, a news website belonging to Brazil's media conglomerate Globo, Gol confirmed one of the passengers had "prohibited items in his hand luggage".

After their arrest the aircraft and all remaining passengers were searched and the flight was allowed to proceed with an hour-and-a-half's delay, the airline said.

According to Mr Musameci's social media posts he was a student at James Cook University in Queensland. The university refused to confirm this, citing privacy laws.

In a statement it said "JCU is aware that three Australian men have been arrested in Bolivia and they are receiving consular assistance".

 

 

 

 

Bolivia to build South America's largest nuclear research centre [teleSUR - 20/11/15]

 

 

 


Bolivia said on Monday it will pay Spanish utility Iberdrola $34 million for the 2012 nationalization of its local electricity distribution subsidiaries, part of President Evo Morales' push to put energy resources under state control. ... [Reuters - 16/11/15]

 

 



Leaked diplomatic cable shows Argentine Presidential candidate Mauricio Macri asked US government for help against Kirchners [CEPR - 19/11/15]

 

 

 

 

 

A television reporter from Sydney has been accused of being "hungry for sensationalism" and making fiction out of the tragedy in the wake of the Paris attacks.

A French journalist, who acted as a "fixer" for the reporter made the accusations in an online post for French magazine L'Express.

The journalist says they were paid €300 ($441) a day to translate interviews, make phone calls and guide the reporter around Paris.

The Sydney reporter is referred to only by the pseudonym James, and the show he works for is described as one with a big budget, is prepared to pay for interviews and has "joyful excitement" at the prospect of survivors crying for the cameras. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Israeli forces close 2nd Hebron radio station this month [Maan - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

A prisoners' rights group said Friday that nearly 400 Palestinian children between the ages of 11 and 17 are currently being held in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Society said in a statement that 11 of those detained were being held without charge or trial under administration detention orders. ... [Maan - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

At least 156 Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli forces during clashes in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday, the Palestinian ministry of health said.

The ministry of health said 69 Palestinians were injured with live fire in the West Bank, with 29 shot in the Ramallah area, two in Bethlehem, and three in Qalqiliya.

The Red Crescent told Ma’an earlier in the day that 12 Palestinians were shot with live fire in their lower extremities in Hebron, and that 210 were treated for tear gas inhalation. ... [Maan - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afghanistan:  Unidentified gunmen kidnap 20 civilians in Zabul [Khaama - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 28 Taliban, including six foreigners, have been killed during clashes in some villages of the Yamgan district of northeastern Badakhshan province, an official said on Saturday. ... [Pajhwok - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

It was like the end of the world, Anayatullah Nazari said. "It was like they were determined to kill us all and that nobody would survive. It was like doomsday, nothing I could ever imagine."

More than six weeks after a U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship repeatedly struck a well-marked Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 30 people in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, official U.S., NATO and Afghan government reviews have yet to be released.

But a dozen survivors interviewed by The Associated Press are convinced that the assault on the hospital — which treated wounded Taliban and government fighters alike — was no accident.

They say it was sustained and focused on destroying the main hospital building, which the aid agency says "correlates exactly" with GPS coordinates it had given to all parties in the conflict.

A NATO general blamed human and technical errors for the attack. The Pentagon insists that the Americans involved in ordering the strike didn't realize it was a hospital.

If they did, it would be a war crime. ... [AP - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Drone crashes in Iran near Iraqi border - agencies [Reuters - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Yemen's Houthis say to travel to Oman for preliminary peace consultations [Daily Star - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Saudi airstrikes damaged, destroyed 23 historical sites in Yemen [Press TV - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

 

More than 20 Yemeni fishermen were killed in the latest round of Saudi air raids on the impoverished county’s al-Hudaydah province. ... [Tasnim - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Brussels on highest terror alert [BBC - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Burundi's government has accused its former colonial ruler Belgium of instigating an attempted coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza in May - a charge Belgium called absurd. ... [Al Jazeera - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

In Mali and rest of Africa, the US military fights a hidden War [The Intercept - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Around 27 people were reported dead on Friday after Malian commandos stormed a hotel seized by Islamist gunmen to rescue 170 people, many of them foreigners, trapped in the building. ... [Reuters - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

 

United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria

 

 

 

US Department of Defense [20/11/15]:

 

 

 

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

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

Strikes in Iraq

Bomber, attack, ground-attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Beiji, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Fallujah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL anti-air artillery pieces, two ISIL heavy machine guns, and two ISIL buildings.

-- Near Kisik, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL light machine guns, four ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, two ISIL supply caches, and an ISIL bunker.

-- Near Mosul, one strike struck an ISIL weapons vehicle borne improvised explosive device manufacturing facility.

-- Near Qayyarah, three strikes struck two ISIL gas and oil separation plants and an ISIL petroleum refinement facility.

-- Near Ramadi, five strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL boat, an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, two ISIL staging areas, damaged an ISIL headquarters building, suppressed an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.

-- Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building and an ISIL light machine gun.

...

 

 

 

 

Ten ships of the Russian Navy are involved in the anti-terrorism operation in Syria, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

"The naval group comprises ten ships, six of them are in the Mediterranean," the minister said.

Shoigu said the Caspian Flotilla warships on Friday launched 18 cruise missiles at terrorist positions in Syria hitting seven targets. ... [TASS - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Army spokesman: Syrian Air Force destroys 447 terrorist targets in 5 days [SANA - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

... It called on Member States to intensify efforts to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters to Iraq and Syria and to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism, and reaffirmed that those responsible for terrorist acts, violations of international humanitarian law or violations or abuses of human rights must be held accountable. ... UN Security Council calls for eradicating ISIL safe havens in Syria and Iraq  [Media Release - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Bombs will 'absolutely not' beat ISIL: Ex-MI6 official [Al Jazeera - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Premiers across the country have indicated how many Syrian refugees their provinces will commit to taking in, and the total exceeds the federal government's goal of 25,000, Immigration Minister John McCallum said Friday. ... [CBC - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

‏@MSF_Sea [21/11/15]:   There are ~1200 #people waiting to cross the #Idomeni border. Some have been waiting in the open for 3 days!

 

 

 

 

 

 

@SantiPalacios [21/11/15]:  A man hugs his children on the Greek island of Lesbos shortly after crossing the Aegean sea from the Turkey's coast

 

 

 

 

Costa Ricans help Cuban migrants with temporary shelter [Local 10 - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

21 killed in China coal mine fire [The Hindu - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Voicing strong concern over the deportation of two Chinese activists by the Thai Government and their risk of being tortured and ill-treated by the authorities once sent back to China, the United Nations today urged Thailand to stop deporting individuals while calling on China to ensure its human rights obligation to those extradited. ... [UN Media Release - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

Australia's isolationist and exceptionalist political, media and human rights establishment want refugees languishing in South East Asia to fuck off and die.

 

 

 

Blah blah blah fart fart blurt:  Shorten [ABC - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

... In tackling large flows and processing their claims for protection and refugee status, criminal networks must be brought to justice. The demand for their services must be curbed by providing shorter and better-managed transits, and more safe and legal paths such as family reunification, student visas, humanitarian visas and private sponsorships, he added. ... Ban warns of ‘misplaced suspicions’ of Muslim refugees, migrants after terror attacks - UN Media Release - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Stay where you are and accept your fate:  Obama visits Malaysian refugee centre to handpick a miniscule number of refugees and check on how US subversion of UN Refugee Convention is progressing in South East Asia [The Olympian - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 

US Envoy on US Refugee, Migration Policy in Southeast Asia, UNHCR and IOM press conference fobs off regional concerns about Myanmar human rights abuses and refugee exodus [3/6/15]:

 

... A/S RICHARD: Well thank you for your question. I did meet with Australian colleagues at the May 29th meeting in Bangkok including the Ambassador for People Smuggling -- or Against People Smuggling, I guess. The United States takes a different approach off our shores to people coming toward us in boats.

You know our Coast Guard intercepts the boats and then conducts interviews on its decks to find out if the people, if the boat people in the Caribbean have a credible fear of persecution or not.

And if it is judged that they are economic migrants they’re returned to places from which they’ve come.

But if it’s judged that they may have a case for asylum then they are not returned and that they get follow-on interviews and they may end up being moved as refugees to a new country. So the numbers we’re talking about in the Caribbean are quite small, but this, with this approach of ensuring that people get a chance to express their case is a part of what the US is doing that I think is needed throughout the region. I think that’s mostly on that issue. ...

 

 

 

Guardian [3/6/15]:

 

... Goledzinowski [Australia’s ambassador for people smuggling issues, Andrew Goledzinowski] said resettlement was raised during the Bangkok meeting on 29 May.

“All who spoke on resettlement said that this was not a durable solution for the Rohingya problem and that it would constitute a pull factor,” he told a Senate estimates committee on Wednesday.

“The UNHCR was the most articulate on this point.”

He engaged in bilateral meetings with representatives from some of the other 16 countries in attendance, and is adamant that at least one will seek further briefings on adopting Australia’s key asylum seeker measures.

“We also were able to talk a little bit about our own experiences during operation sovereign borders where we’ve been very successful in disrupting people trafficking and smuggling networks,” Goledzinowski said.

 

 

 

Yahoo [1/6/15]:

 

... Anne Richard, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for population, migration and refugees, said resettling all Rohingya refugees in the United States would entice others to leave their homeland.

"The answer to the issue is peace and stability and citizenship for the Rohingyas in Rakhine state, and that is the solution," she said at the end of a three-day visit to Malaysia. ...

 

 

 

In the opposition’s first post-victory statement on the fate of persecuted Rohingya Muslims, a senior National League for Democracy official has said helping the group will not be a priority when the party takes power next year.

Dismissing the stateless ethnic minority as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Win Htein told the New York Times they should be “returned” there. ... [Coconuts Yangon - 19/11/15]

 

 

 

BG Group and Woodside to start offshore exploration in Rakhine Basin [Myanmar Times - 19/11/15]

 

 

 

 

Which country on this map of  South East Asia is a supposedly a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention?

 

 

 

Channel News Asia [20/11/15]:

 

 

Malaysia is home to more than 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered with the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR.

More than 90 per cent of them come from Myanmar, of which ethnic Rohingya Muslims account for more than 50,000.

Among them is Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani from Myanmar's Rakhine state, who arrived in Malaysia in the 1990s and has never left.

He now leads a non-government organisation advocating for the rights of the Rohingya Muslims.

A number of them continue to arrive in Malaysia, the 45-year-old said. Although no smugglers' boats have been sighted in the Andaman Sea during the past few months, Rohingya Muslims are being smuggled from detention centres in neighbouring Indonesia by local traffickers, he said.

"It's still ongoing. Malaysia has freedom. Refugees can survive. But those living in Indonesia's Aceh, they live in refugee camps and cannot go out; no freedom," Zafar said.

About 90 Rohingyas were arrested by Malaysia's maritime enforcement agency in recent days for trying to slip into the country, he claimed.

Following the incident, UNHCR representative to Malaysia Michael Towle called on the Malaysian government to do more to protect refugees, while curbing the scourge of human trafficking.

"We have no doubt that smugglers and traffickers are plotting and planning other entry points into the region for new trade," he said. "It's important for governments to have a system in place."

"There is a lot more still that needs to be done," he added, suggesting the government should put in place mechanisms for rescue at sea and disembarkation.

"It needs to be dealt with with close cooperation. No state can do it on their own."

...

 

 

 

Southeast Asia: Deadly Journeys - The Refugee and Trafficking Crisis in Southeast Asia [Amnesty International – 20/10/15]:


In May 2015 three boats carrying 1,800 women, men and children landed in Aceh, Indonesia. Most of the passengers were Muslim Rohingya, a persecuted religious and ethnic minority from Myanmar. All those who arrived had endured weeks or months at sea, in overcrowded boats controlled by ruthless traffickers or abusive people-smugglers.

The report includes testimonies from the Rohingya on the shocking conditions and human rights abuses they suffered on the boats for weeks or sometimes months on end, including killings and beatings while they were held hostage for ransom.

...

Southeast Asia’s sailing season began as this report was being finalized in October 2015, after the monsoon ended. Traffickers and smugglers will undoubtedly resume their trade and grave human rights abuses will again be perpetrated on the seas of Southeast Asia.

Amnesty International is calling for urgent action to address Southeast Asia’s refugee and trafficking crisis. Governments in the region – in particular Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand – must cooperate to put in place effective measures to combat human trafficking and protect people from human rights abuses by traffickers and smugglers.

And while states must investigate and bring to justice in fair trials those involved in trafficking, governments must also ensure that law enforcement measures do not endanger lives at sea, or trap people in Myanmar and Bangladesh without any means of escape.

An essential component of any law enforcement effort against those involved in human trafficking in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea must be the implementation of coordinated search and rescueoperations, coupled with safe and predictable disembarkation procedures.

It is imperative that states in Southeast Asia learn from the May 2015 crisis in order to avert another human rights disaster at sea.

The international community must provide technical assistance with maritime search and rescue, as well as funding to ensure the humane reception of recently disembarked people and to help refugees and host populations meet their basic needs.

 

 

 

Jakarta Post [20/11/15]:


Following concerns that the increasing number of refugees and asylum seekers stranded throughout the archipelago en route to Australia could undermine security, Indonesia has opened up the possibility of offering Australia an island as a temporary camp to shelter the migrants.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Panjaitan told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that Indonesia’s kind offer, however, would come with strict requirements, ranging from financing to limiting the period of use of the island.

“We can discuss the possibility of allocating an island [for the refugees]. But Australia is required to entirely finance it,” Luhut said at his private residence in South Jakarta.

According to Luhut, the proposal was not without precedent as Indonesia once had a similar camp on Galang Island near Batam in Riau Islands province that accommodated around 170,000 Vietnamese during the determination of their resettlement in the US, Australia and Europe between 1979 and 1996.

“The discussion about the island should also include limiting the period of the concession. We don’t want to repeat the same mistake we made with Galang, where the period of use was just too long,” Luhut said.

Jakarta’s motivation for the offer was that the many asylum seekers stranded in backwater provinces of Aceh, East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara had the potential to create conflict with local residents who are already living in extreme poverty.

“The asylum seekers there can live sufficiently because of the UNHCR [UN High Commissioner for Refugees] aid. But the people living nearby are left without financial help. This has created envy that may someday become a problem,” said Luhut.

“There are also security concerns related to potential terrorism. For example, many Rohingya asylum seekers [an ethnic group from Myanmar] taking shelter in Aceh have been reported missing,” he said.

According to the UNHCR, there were 7,666 asylum seekers and 5,739 refugees in Indonesia as of September. All of them paid large amounts to Indonesian handlers to be transported by boat from Indonesia to Australia, only to be stranded in Indonesia or turned back by the Australian Navy.

Between 2012 and 2013 more than 18,000 people without visas arrived in Australia by sea, compared to just 7,300 between 2011 and 2012, according to Australian government statistics.

Special advisor for legal affairs at the Office of Presidential Chief of Staff Lambock V. Nahattands told the Post that the island proposal should be meticulously planned and would need Australia’s guarantee that they would be quickly accepted by third countries.

“If we agree to put them in a special area, there should be a guarantee from Australia that they will not be there indefinitely,” said Nahattands, a veteran bureaucrat with experience in dealing with resettlement claims for asylum seekers in Galang.

Luhut’s offer to Australia came after his visit to Canberra early this week as a follow up to attempts by Jakarta and Canberra to reinvigorate diplomatic ties after new Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in Jakarta last week.

“Talks about the island are still preliminary. A delegation of Australian officials is slated to be in Jakarta in late December to further discuss the issue,” said Luhut.

Asylum seeker issues are prominent in Australia, with the country sending many to be resettled in neighboring Papua New Guinea (PNG) where the camps have been reported to be very inadequate.

As a sign of good faith for future relations, Luhut also demanded Australia end its tow-back policy in which Australian patrol vessels intercept migrant boats and tow them back to Indonesia.

“I told them that such actions are wrong and against humanitarian principles. They are still unsure of how to respond, but they are hoping relations between the two countries will be in at an all time high,” he said.

...

 

 

 

A lawmaker has emphatically opposed an idea put forward by Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan to provide an island to accommodate refugees heading to Australia.

Mahfudz Siddiq, head of House of Representatives Commission 1 overseeing foreign and security affairs, said on Friday that the idea would create a new problem for Indonesia.

"Offering an island as a temporary shelter for migrants would not solve the issues in Australia and instead cause problems for Indonesia," he said as quoted by state news agency Antara.

...

Located strategically in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is affected by refugees entering its waters to get through to Australia.

Thousands of refugees have been reported as stranded in the archipelago after their boats capsized or were sent back by the Australian Navy.

There are 7,666 asylum seekers and 5,739 refugees in Indonesia according to data from the Indonesia's office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). ... [Jakarta Post - 20/11/15]


 

 

 

 

via Iwi n AusLabour MP Kelvin Davis speaks with Peina Clark, one of the 12 deported Kiwis from Christmas Island, who says his whanau are all in Australia including his terminally ill mother. [VIDEO - One News TVNZ - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

 

About 370 workers fainted at Cambodian factories in the past two days, possibly because of pesticide spraying on nearby rice fields, officials said on Friday.

The workers were employed at seven different factories inside the 7NG Special Economic Zone, 25 kilometres north of Phnom Penh, said Chiev Bunrith, a spokesman for the government's National Social Security Fund, which oversees workers' welfare. ... [Bangkok Post - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

 


… Who wants uranium to spare? I don't …


 

 

 

Yanis Varoufakis: Australia is a ‘plaything’ of world economic forces it cannot control [Guardian - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

Where is the boat of refugees the Australian navy towed away from Christmas Island yesterday?

 

We have some asylum seekers, but that’s pretty much stopped.

We have stopped the boats with our policies, which are regarded as cruel by many people.

But I have to say again, our policy on border protection is harsh, but it has been absolutely demonstrated that it is better than any other alternative.

 

 

Israel and Australia: A conversation with Turnbull [Jewish Journal - 25/8/15]

 

 

The PM with @AustralianArmy, @Aus_AirForce & @Australian_Navy personnel yesterday at Robertson Barracks

 

Image:  ‏@Comd_1st_Bde [21/11/15]

 


 

 

Indonesian teen Ali Yasmin a step closer to having people smuggling conviction overturned [ABC - 20/11/15]:

An Indonesian teenager who was wrongly imprisoned in Australia as a child has won a year-long battle for the right to appeal his people smuggling conviction.

Ali Yasmin was jailed in 2010 for people smuggling offences after a boat he was a crew member on was intercepted off Ashmore Reef by Australian authorities.

Yesterday, Attorney-General George Brandis wrote to lawyers for Mr Yasmin and advised them that he was referring the case to the Western Australian Court of Appeal.

Mr Yasmin's case is considered a test case for 14 other Indonesians who were released in 2012 by then attorney-general Nicola Roxon due to doubts about their age.

If the Court of Appeal finds in Mr Yasmin's favour and overturns his conviction, it could open the Federal Government up to a raft of compensation claims.

After his arrest in 2012, the Department of Immigration found that Mr Yasmin was a child, but this was later overruled by the Australia Federal Police (AFP) who used a now discredited wrist x-ray to determine that Mr Yasmin was an adult.

He was sentenced to five years in one of Western Australia's toughest adult prisons despite an Indonesian birth certificate and family registration document putting his age as 13 at the time of his arrest.

These documents were never tendered as part of Mr Yasmin's defence.

The decision to release Mr Yasmin in 2012 was made following extensive media coverage of his case.

In July last year, lawyers for Mr Yasmin requested that the Attorney-General refer their client's case back to the Western Australian Court of Appeal.

After not receiving a response they took the case to the Federal Court in an attempt to force Mr Brandis to make a decision.

Yesterday, Mr Brandis acknowledged that the doubt about the reliability of the wrist x-ray to determine Mr Yasmin's age raised an issue that should be dealt with by the Western Australian Court of Appeal.

Lawyer Sam Tierney said his client was pleased with Mr Brandis's decision.

"Mr Yasmin is delighted that the Attorney-General has decided to refer his case to the Court of Appeal in Western Australia so that the circumstances of his earlier case can be examined by the court," he said.

A date for the case to be heard by the Western Australian Court of Appeal has not been set.




Save our mates! Pleas for Fremantle family ignored [Herald Online Journal - 20/11/15]:

 

 

The Turnbull government will on Monday deport a single mother and her three children to a region of Nigeria targeted by the ISIS-aligned Boko Haram terror group.

Australians are advised the region is too dangerous to visit, but the immigration department has determined it is safe enough to send back highly educated Jane Ekeng, a practising Christian, and her children.

Ms Ekeng has lived in Freo for seven years on a student visa, completing a masters of business at Notre Dame University.

In that time, Nigeria has suffered a bloody six-year insurgency at the hands of Boko Haram, which gained notoriety after last year kidnapping 300 schoolgirls from Chibok, which is 300km from Ms Ekeng’s home town Abuja — closer than Albany is to Perth. A month ago Abuja was rocked by explosions blamed on Boko Haram.

Ms Ekeng is terrified about returning to the region with her two daughters and young son.

“As Christians, my children and I are in danger,” she tells the Herald.

“There have been many instances of targeted bombings of churches and gatherings of worshippers, and kidnapping of women and children.”

She says the situation is worse than most people realise: with no press freedom, many incidents aren’t reported: “It was only because of social media that the government was forced to act after the schoolgirls were kidnapped,” she says of the Chibok incident.

The deteriorating situation back home led Ms Ekeng to apply for a protection visa, which was rejected. An appeal last May to then-assistant immigration and border protection minister Michaelia Cash, a WA senator, fell on deaf ears.

Now, students from Fremantle primary school have organised a last-gasp petition urging immigration minister Peter Dutton not to deport their schoolmates and their mum.

The petition includes emotional pleas from 49 students, many having their first crack at a signature.

Their friends’ uncertain futures weighs heavily upon them.

“It makes me deeply worried that one of my best friends could be soon returning to an unsafe country, something that I hope will never ever happen,” wrote Eve Arendts of best mate Esther (11).

“This is their home, it always has been and it always will be.”

“Daniel is our honestest person in class as we’d like him to stay,” says Yolande.Apart from his honesty, Daniel (9) is also one of his class’s brightest: he was offered a position in a gifted students’ program for next year, but won’t even get a chance to see out this semester. The government is determined to put the family on a plane on Monday.

School principal Hayden O’Mara asked that the children at least be allowed to finish the school year, but again the department wouldn’t budge.

The pair’s older sister Cecy sat her last ATAR exam on Monday. She took out her high school’s English award and has been provisionally accepted to study law at UWA, but is understandably pessimistic about her future: “I could still do a law degree but it will not be recognised outside Nigeria, and even in Nigeria I think there is not much opportunity for me,” she told the Herald.

Fremantle refugee network advocate Leonie Lundy says because of the family’s time in Fremantle, it is likely to be viewed as rich by Nigerians, even though the four will be homeless when they arrive.

Ms Lundy says their time here will make them prime targets for extortionists.

She says the family has much to offer Australia if allowed to stay. Ms Ekeng has a job awaiting her in a rural hospital, but under her student visa rules she’s not even allowed to reply to the offer.

Ms Lundy says rural hospitals struggle to attract staff, so it doesn’t make sense to kick out a perfect candidate who is ready to move to the country and make a contribution.

Immigration said it’d get back with a response.


 

 

 

Faux debate about Australian government's "12,000 non Muslim Syrian refugees who don't come by boat" PR stunt continues [West Australian - 21/11/15]





Tragic farce of anti-refugee threats: US was no sanctuary for Syrians in the first place [The Intercept – 21/11/15]

 

 

 

 

CNN punished its own journalist for fulfilling a core duty of journalism [The Intercept - 21/11/15]

 

 

 

... We picked this fight, and like a drunk in a bar it would come back to us. And it has.  John Martinkus: ‘What my captors wanted to know’ [The Saturday Paper – 21/11/15]

 

 

 

An Australian journalist who was kidnapped and freed by Iraqi militants drew fierce criticism yesterday for suggesting that the executions of British and US hostages were understandable. ... [Taipei Times -22/10/04]

 

 

 

A U.S. air strike that targeted an Islamic State checkpoint in Iraq in March likely killed four civilians, one of whom may have been a child, the U.S. military said on Friday in a rare statement acknowledging the death of civilians.

 ...

The killings in March occurred when a U.S. warplane attacked an Islamic State checkpoint that had been "thoroughly reviewed and validated" as a target, according to an investigative report released by the U.S. military. ... [Reuters - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

A Palestinian poet and leading member of Saudi Arabia’s nascent contemporary art scene has been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam. ... [Guardian - 20/11/15]

 

 

 

21 November 2015

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