Syrian Army on verge of lifting siege imposed by ISIS on Deir Ezzor Airbase [AMN - 22/1/17]



A new round of talks between the Syrian government and opposition fighters was held earlier today to discuss a final settlement in Wadi Barada, west of the capital. ... [AMN - 22/1/17]



Delegations of Russia, Turkey, Iran arrive in Astana for Syria talks [TASS - 21/1/17]



A bomb blast struck the Rakban camp for displaced people in Syria near the border with Jordan on Saturday, causing injuries and deaths, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor.

The camp is home to displaced civilians and to rebel groups that fight both President Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) armed group, and was targeted by bombings last year.

Jordan's official Petra news agency, citing a military source, confirmed that an explosion went off inside the camp. ... [Al Jazeera - 21/1/17]



Secret 1983 CIA intelligence report suggested US should encourage Saddam Hussein to attack Syria to secure oil pipeline to Mediterranean and Gulf [Daily Mail - 20/1/17]



United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 22/1/17]



In three days of operations that began Jan. 18, coalition forces struck 90 watercraft and three barges on the Tigris River in Mosul, Iraq, U.S. Central Command officials reported today. ... [US Department of Defense - 21/1/17]



‏@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [22/1/17]:


Nineveh: News agencies: Two US raids have mistakenly shelled the government forces in Arabi neighborhood north of Mosul, further details about losses unknown.


News agencies: UNAMI calls on Abadi government to investigate torture and murder of persons by the government forces in Mosul.


A person was killed and 4 were wounded as an IED exploded in Sina'i neighborhood in Taji district north of Baghdad.


A person was killed and 5 were wounded as an IED exploded in Babil Mo'dham area in the middle of Baghdad.


A person was wounded as a blast occurred near a checkpoint in Filesteen Street area east of Baghdad.


Diyala: Militias have abducted 3 persons in Ma'mil area east of Ba'quba.



 Iraqi authorities announced on Saturday discovering a mass grave containing bodies of 89 victims of Camp Speicher massacre that were executed by the Islamic State, after capturing the city of Tikrit in June 2014. ... [ - 21/1/17]



‏@FronterasFiltro [21/1/17]:  Se busca en aguas del Estrecho patera con 10 migrantes subsaharianos, salieron de madrugada cerca de la costa de Ceuta. ...  



How to stop the rising tide of death in Mediterranean [MSF - 18/1/17]:


...  International Efforts by the European Union (EU) to prevent loss of life at sea through strengthened border control, increased militarisation and a focus on disrupting smuggling networks has only resulted in more people drowning not fewer.

Unscrupulous smuggling networks have been quick to adapt their way of operating, and the crossing by sea has become even deadlier.

Training the Libyan coastguard, in spite of their chequered human rights record, to intercept people at sea and return them to Libya isn't the answer either.

People who are returned to Libya face arbitrary detention in unsanitary and inhumane conditions for prolonged periods of time with no way to challenge the lawfulness of their detention, virtually no access to the outside world, ill-treatment and a lack of access to medical care.

Any solution to stop people dying in the Mediterranean on such a huge scale must include offering people a feasible alternative.

The EU needs to take urgent action to provide safe and legal channels for people to seek asylum, and needs to create legal migration pathways that make wider use of legal entry schemes.

Things such as family reunification, humanitarian visas, simplified visa requirements, resettlement and relocation packages.

People looking for work or seeking safety in Europe would then be able to do so legally rather than having to turn to smugglers.

Those with legitimate asylum claims or opportunities to work should be able to simply board a plane rather than having to undertake long and dangerous journeys or risk their lives at sea.

Until a comprehensive solution is put in place, the mass drownings in the Mediterranean will continue.



 ‏@AJ_Omarr [22/1/17]:  #Removing fence of #Rohingya in northern #Maungdaw by military and police on 21 Jan 2017 ...



Myanmar Army destroyed Rohingya village YaeKhatChaung KwaSone (BorGozibil) in Maungdaw [Arakan Times - 21/1/17]



Myanmar's Rohingya genocide: Why won't ASEAN act? [Global Village Space/The Conversation - 21/1/17]



The Ministry of Electricity and Energy has said the exploration process for about 37 new offshore oil and gas fields found along Myanmar’s Rakhine coast will be started this month. ... [ELEVEN - 14/1/17]



Jaffna citizens demand end to illegal Sinhala settlements [Tamil Guardian - 21/1/17]:


Jaffna citizens have demanded an end to illegal settlements of Sinhalese people in the district.

The illegal appropriation of lands to create Sinhala settlement villages and army camps must cease, concluded a meeting of the Jaffna co-ordinating committee on Thursday.

The meeting’s attendants particularly condemned the building of houses in Navatkuli for 53 Sinhalese people.

The committee warned that citizens would engage in disruptive action during presidential and government visits to Jaffna if Sinhala settlements and army landgrabs continued.



A jury in Vancouver is expected to begin deliberations on Thursday in the case of four men accused of smuggling hundreds of Tamil migrants into Canada.

Justice William Ehrcke of the Supreme Court of British Columbia has finished summarizing the evidence presented during the three-month trial. ... [CBC - 18/1/17]



Lon Nol was a delusional leader who sobbed during a meeting with an American general while desperately requesting assistance in fending off the communist insurgency that would eventually result in the Khmer Rouge overthrowing him, according to declassified U.S. intelligence files. ... [Cambodia Daily - 20/1/17]



Commercial surrogacy agency New Life Global Network has severed ties with Dutch intended parents Johan and Pieter* after the Post reported on their experience with a Cambodian surrogate mother.

New Life claims the couple broke their contract’s confidentiality clause by passing reporters information about their correspondence with the agency. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 20/1/1]



Detention of Okinawa anti-US base activist sparks cries of political oppression [Japan Today - 22/1/17]



Police in Vietnam arrested a dissident on Saturday for posting anti-state material on the internet, as part of an ongoing crackdown on critics of the Southeast Asian country's Communist rulers.

Tran Thi Nga, 39, was arrested in northern province Ha Nam, the province's police said on their website, adding that she had been "using the internet to spread some propaganda videos and writings that are against the government of the Social Republic of Vietnam."

Several local dissidents and bloggers showed support for Nga in posts on their Facebook accounts after her arrest. ... [Reuters - 22/1/17]



At least 36 people were killed and 50 injured on Saturday night when nine coaches of a passenger train derailed in eastern India, in the latest disaster to hit the vast and accident-prone state railways, police said.

The Hirakhand express train from Jagdalpur to Bhubaneswar derailed at around 11:20 pm near Kuneri station, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, around 30 km (18 miles) outside the town of Rayagada. ... [Reuters - 22/1/17]



Families of MH370 victims to lobby Malaysian Transport Minister during his visit to Australia [Reuters - 22/1/17]



Dead miner pulled from under landslide in Peru, six others missing [Reuters - 20/1/17]



Mining major BHP Billiton and joint venture partner Vale have reached a preliminary agreement to settle a $47.5 billion civil claim with Brazil’s federal prosecutors, according to BHP.


As a part of the initial agreement, Samarco and its shareholders are to provide security of $680 million (2.2 billion reals) to support social and environmental remediation programs.

The enterprises are expected to settle billions of dollars in compensation claims by June 30. ... [RT - 19/1/17]



New Brazil prison uprising leaves one dead, five injured [Reuters – 19/1/17]



Ecuador indigenous leaders win right to fight Chevron for $12 billion [teleSUR - 21/1/17]



Secret CIA documents show the US had plans to either give the Falkland Islands to Argentina and repatriate the islanders to Scotland or allow them become Argentine citizens because the spy agency thought the UK would lose the 1982 war.  ... [RT - 20/1/17]



‏@wikileaks [121/1/17]:  Top ten whistleblowers in history



“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”


― Albert Einstein



How to convince someone when facts fail:  Why worldview threats undermine evidence [Scientific American - 1/1/17]



Man who dived into water off South Australia while being chased by police found dead [Nine MSN - 22/1/17]



And once again police "hit out" at a non-existent no pursuit policy, even though they were actually conducting a pursuit, prior to, and during, the Bourke Street killings [ABC - 21/1/17]



And once again the political and media establishment sieze on what they perceive as another opportunity to further crack down on rights, rather than demonstrate leadership and engage in much needed reflection [ABC - 22/1/17]



Baby boy fifth person to die after Bourke Street Mall attack [Nine MSN – 22/1/17]:


A three-month-old baby boy has died in hospital after a car drove into pedestrians in Melbourne’s CBD on Friday, bringing the death toll to five.

Police confirmed the boy's death late yesterday, after Victorian Police Commissioner Graham Ashton earlier warned the toll could rise.

A 10-year-old identified as Thalia Hakin, a 25-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman died at the scene just after the alleged attack about 1.30pm Friday, and a 33-year-old man died in hospital that night.

Thalia's nine-year-old sister Maggie and mother Naomi were among dozens of people who were injured and taken to hospital.

Yesterday, police said 37 people had been treated in hospital, and four of them remained in critical conditions. ...



It was reported overnight that the man who killed five people and injured dozens more with his car in Melbourne’s CBD on Friday had been on the run following a violent altercation over his brother’s sexuality.

Dimitrious “Jimmy” Gargasoulas, 26, allegedly stabbed his younger brother Angelo, who is believed to be in his early twenties, after an argument erupted about his brother’s sexuality.

Speaking to Channel 7 News, Gargasoulas’ clearly emotional mother, Emily, said she witnessed the fight, which allegedly left Angelo fighting for his life with stab wounds to the head and chest.

“Jimmy keeps saying to me, I’m going to kill all gays and poofters and lesbians,” Ms Gargasoulas said. ... [Same Same - 21/1/17]



Girlfriend of accused Bourke Street driver recalls last words [The Age - 22/1/17]:


... "I remember the last words that he told me," she said.

"He goes, 'I'm gonna go to the city and I will run a lot of people down'.

"He was saying something about the comets is coming or it's like the end of the world and saying he is the saviour or he's God - all this crappy stuff." ...



Five-and-a-half hours before horror unfolded on Bourke Street, the man accused of driving the car that fatally ploughed into pedestrians appeared on television.

Channel Nine reporter Neary Ty was on Raleigh Street in Windsor to report on a stabbing that left a man in a critical condition. ... [The Age - 21/1/17]



Man shot by police, Surfers Paradise [Nine MSN - 22/1/17]:


A man has been shot by police on the Gold Coast, reportedly during a scuffle with officers who caught him trying to break into a car.

The man is being treated for non-life threatening injuries at the Gold Coast University Hospital. 

Police were called to reports of man acting suspiciously on Ferny Avenue in Surfers Paradise about 1.30am today.

The man was shot in the legs after he allegedly shot at police first, 9NEWS understands.

The Ethical Standards Command is overseeing the investigation into the shooting.

Senior police will hold a press conference at Surfers Paradise shortly. 



If we think you look shifty expect to be singled out for harassment and intimidation - and don't flinch - we might shoot you: Queensland Police [ABC - 24/9/14]:


... Commissioner Ian Stewart said his officers would be nervous after last night's shooting and it was his duty to protect them, as well as the public.

"You will see officers regularly carrying their firearms more often than you would have seen in the past," he told 612 ABC Brisbane.

"It means when they pull people up or speak to people, they are probably going to ask people to submit to pat-down searches much more regularly.

"Our police are going to be noticeably alert and request people to be very compliant with their dealings with a lower tolerance to policing.

"Any little thing might be a key to how someone is about to react in a potentially bad way and our police will be on guard for those signs." ...



An inquest is to be held into the deaths of five people shot by Queensland Police officers.

The state coroner announced a joint inquest will be held into the deaths of five men shot between August 2013 and November last year.

The inquest will examine circumstances surrounding the deaths of Anthony Young, Shaun Kumeroa, Laval Zimmer, Edward Logan and Troy Foster. ... [ABC - 28/5/15]

Counter-terrorism law changes unnecessary, say top criminal lawyers: Changes to threshold from belief to suspicion ‘would allow police to be a little more trigger-happy’ [Guardian - 24/9/14]



Leading scholar on US-Russia relations addresses the claim being trumpeted by politicians and media on both sides of the political spectrum that Russia is now the "number one" threat to the United States.

Given the proxy wars in Syria and Ukraine, Dr. Cohen tells host Abby Martin that the real alarming danger today is "a new, multi-front Cuban missile crisis." ... [teleSUR - 19/1/17]



Obama’s hidden role in worsening climate change [Popular Resistance - 21/1/17]:


... Obama owns a long pattern of feel-good rhetoric and empty promises followed with no delivery.

While many progressives got angry at his hypocrisy, many still were willing to turn the other cheek.

This helps explain why we don’t know that Obama, who says he recognizes the threat to humanity posed by climate change, still invested at least $34 billion to promote fossil fuel projects in other countries.

That is three times as much as George W Bush spent in his two terms, almost twice that of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush and Bill Clinton put together.

Obama financed 70 foreign fossil fuel projects.

When completed they will release 164 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year – about the same output as the 95 currently operating coal-fired power plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma.

He financed two natural gas plants on an island in the Great Barrier Reef, as well as two of the largest coalmines on the planet.


In calling out Obama on his criminal record against the planet we must also call out our left-liberal and environmentalist friends who helped downplay it.

And this struggle takes new form today in this broad anti-Trump coalition, which left-liberals will try to use to herald in a new Obama in 2020.



An Open Letter to rhe J20 protesters [Mint Press News – 20/1/17]:


... Millions of Americans voted for Donald Trump. Are many of them racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, or otherwise bigoted? Perhaps.

But shouldn’t you be trying to win these people away from these views that you consider to be problematic?

Do you think you are going to win them over by just shouting “racist!” and “bigot” at them? Not everyone has the same opportunities.

Not all Americans get to attend expensive universities, take courses in race and gender studies, learn to confront their inner prejudices, and become educated progressives.

A lot of working class people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, frankly don’t know what you mean when you call them racist or transphobic.

Shouldn’t you be trying to change their views with clear, precise arguments, not hateful, condescending vitriol? ...



As everyone watches the inauguration, violence returns to Standing Rock [The Anti Media - 20/1/17]



... During remarks to about 400 CIA officials, Trump denied that he had a feud with the intelligence community, saying it was “exactly the opposite.”

He again blamed the media for creating that impression, despite the fact that he made numerous public statements critical of intelligence officials.

“There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and CIA than Donald Trump,” he said.

“There’s nobody.” ... [PBS - 21/1/17]



@wikileaks [21/1/17]:  Gloria Steinem, co-Chair of #WomensMarch against Trump, admitted to being a CIA agent ...



2015 case of woman imprisoned in "dry cell" at Maribyrnong again highlights Labor and the Greens ongoing support for Australia's immigration detention torture policy [SBS - 17/1/17]:


 A Melbourne immigration detention centre may have illegally held a female detainee in a so-called "dry cell" for hours on end in an incident that could be considered unconstitutional.

A dry cell is monitored with surveillance cameras, but does not contain sinks, toilets or flowing water.

They are commonly used in prison systems across Australia.

The alleged incident occurred in late September 2015 at the Maribyrnong immigration detention centre when Serco officers kept a woman under observation for several hours until she handed over a syringe and prescription medicine used to treat opioid dependence.

Secret legal advice documents obtained by AAP show the Australian Government Solicitor warned the immigration department in December 2015 the use of dry cells in detention centres was not lawful.

The department had sought retrospective advice in mid-November.


Shayne Neumann told AAP the incident was "astonishing" and it was of very little comfort the department sought legal advice afterwards.

Former Tasmanian corrections minister turned Greens senator Nick McKim told AAP the incident bolstered arguments that Australia should open up its immigration detention centres to independent overseas inspectors as part of an optional protocol in the UN convention against torture.




22 January 2017