The Afghan national security forces killed at least 45 militants including 9 militants affiliated with the Islamic State Of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the militants were killed in the latest clearance operations jointly conducted by the Afghan army and security personnel from the other security institutions. ... [Khaama - 22/3/16]

 

 

Nationwide ‘Operation Shafaq’ has been launched [Pajhwok - 22/3/16]:

 

... At least 1,200 soldiers and 800 sergeants were graduated on Tuesday from the KMTC, Gen. Shaheem said.

Addressing the graduates, the army chief said they enjoyed political, social and international support and had have a large number of combat aircrafts.

He also said the international community had pledged financial and technical assistance to the Afghan forces till 2020.

KMTC Commander Brig. Gen. Aminullah Patyani said the newly graduated soldiers were ready to serve in every part of the country.

The graduates completed two and a half months training, he added.

He told the graduates that their success lied in treating people and colleagues nicely. ...

 

 

 

 

See if you can find the word "sorry" in this report --->  US Commander in Afghanistan apologises for MSF hospital attack  [AP - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

 

Gunmen have attacked the European Union military training mission’s headquarters in the Malian capital, Bamako, in what appeared to be the latest in a string of attacks on Western interests in the region.

Armed forces killed at least one man. It was not immediately known how many people had launched the assault. ... [Guardian - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

 

11 killed in Saudi aerial attacks on Yemen's Jawf Province [Press TV - 21/3/16]

 

 

 

 

Kenyan troops killed 34 al Shabaab militants in two separate incidents on Saturday and Sunday in Somalia and two of its own soldiers were killed in an ambush, a military spokesman said. ... [Reuters - 20/3/16]

 

 

 

Bombs continue raining down upon Syria and Iraq

 

 

 

US Department of Defense [21/3/16]:

 

 

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

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

Strikes in Syria

Attack aircraft conducted four strikes in Syria:

-- Near Ayn Isa, a strike destroyed an ISIL mortar position.

-- Near Kobani, a strike destroyed an ISIL excavator.

-- Near Manbij, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun position and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mara, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

Strikes in Iraq

Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted seven strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Hit, a strike produced inconclusive results.

-- Near Kisik, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL headquarters and destroyed an ISIL mortar position and two ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Ramadi, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.

-- Near Sinjar, a strike destroyed three ISIL supply caches.

...

 

 

 

 

UNHCR redefines role in Greece as EU-Turkey deal comes into effect [Media Release - 22/3/16]:

 

 

... UNHCR has till now been supporting the authorities in the so-called "hotspots" on the Greek islands, where refugees and migrants were received, assisted, and registered. Under the new provisions, these sites have now become detention facilities.

Accordingly, and in line with our policy on opposing mandatory detention, we have suspended some of our activities at all closed centres on the islands. This includes provision of transport to and from these sites.

However, UNHCR will maintain a presence to carry out protection monitoring to ensure that refugee and human rights standards are upheld, and to provide information on the rights and procedures to seek asylum. ...

 

 

 

 

 

@pmarsupia [22/3/16]:  Huyeron del horror. Un mes en el barro. Cientos de críos enfermos. Se mueren poco a poco. Ya no aguantan más

 

 

 

 

‏@Faloulah [22/3/16]:  Verified report that a man set himself on fire this morning in #Idomeni #refugeesGR @d_tosidis

 

 

 

 

Bali Process meeting: Human rights of refugees must be the priority [Amnesty USA – 21/3/16]

 

 

 

 

 

Bali Process: Australia's anti-refugee policies matter [Jakarta Globe - 21/3/16]:

 

 

Around 13,600 refugees and asylum seekers currently live in various parts of Indonesia, according to UNHCR data, and several hundred people continue to arrive each month. No immediate solution that would solve the plight of these people is in sight, but that could change in Bali this week, where representatives of 45 countries will get together for the sixth Bali Process ministerial conference.

"Traditionally Indonesia has been seen as a transit country, it wasn't where refugees had anticipated, or hoped, they would end up." Thomas Vargas, UNHCR representative in Indonesia, told the Jakarta Globe in a telephone interview.

Vargas says most of the arrivals are Afghan asylum seekers who hope they will eventually be resettled in Australia, where previous such programs have allowed for large Afghan communities to flourish.

"The overwhelming majority want to go to Australia," he says.

"There is a large Afghan community in Australia, they're established there."

The majority of the asylum seekers arriving in Indonesia are Hazara Afghans, but there are also Tamils, Somalis, Iraqis, Iranians and Rohingya from Myanmar. Most indeed consider the archipelago nation just one stop in their journey toward resettlement in Australia.

However, since the Australian government cut its resettlement programs — effectively barring the UN Refugee Agency from submitting any new cases registered in Indonesia since July 2014 — asylum seekers and refugees have found themselves stranded in Indonesia.

Since the cessation of settlement programs in Australia the burden of processing new arrivals in Indonesia, and finding a safe place for them, is straining organizations that were already struggling to deal with the influx.

"We're trying our best to provide the most vulnerable refugees with assistance," Vargas says, "but we unfortunately have a very limited budget given the terrible crisis that we are seeing right now globally, with the refugee situation."

UNHCR works with various partners in Indonesia to ensure asylum seekers and refugees are taken care of. One of those partnerships is with Church World Service (CWS), an organization that operates two shelters housing unaccompanied asylum seeker and refugee children.

CWS program manager Dino Satria told the Globe that without these shelters the children would be homeless and at risk of exploitation and abuse. And Australia's policies matter much, he adds.

"They [Australian immigration policies] impact us because the refugees need to stay longer in Indonesia and they have limited resources, and we have limited resources. There will be more and more vulnerable refugees that we need to help," he said.

There are currently around 1,000 unaccompanied children and CWS can only support around 10 percent, says Dino. "The others are still out there, still vulnerable."

As well as providing shelter, education and sport activities, CWS provides counseling to young asylum seekers.

"Some of them [asylum seekers and refugees] have difficulties coping. They're worried about their family back home," says Dino.

"If they're still asylum seekers and they haven't been processed, it can take a while, some of them feel very worried and anxious."

Echoing concern for the mental health of asylum seekers and refugees stranded in Indonesia is Kobra Moradi, a young Hazara refugee and activist from Melbourne, Australia, who was completing a two-month internship at the Cisarua Refugee Leaning Center in Bogor earlier this year.

"Of course it effects their mental health," she told the Globe outside a recreation center where the CRLC had organized a friendly futsal match for teachers, students, community members and a group of visiting Australian interns.

"They come in search of recognition. To be recognized as human beings. When they come here and that recognition isn't given to them, of course it breaks them."

Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, and anyone seeking to pass through the country without proper documentation is considered illegal and has no right to work or study.

Many asylum seekers arrive with money enough to survive for a short time but once their funds run out they are forced to request assistance from organizations or hand themselves over to Indonesian authorities to be detained.

For some, being housed in overcrowded and underfacilitated Indonesian detention centers is less frightening than trying to survive on the streets.

"They don't have the right to work, to study [In Indonesia]. They have nothing," says Kobra.

"Families struggle financially, they cannot eat. Mentally it is imprisoning, it eats people from the inside. It eats their enthusiasm. But they still have hope they will leave one day."

Kobra believes it is a lack of recognition from the UNHCR and the time it takes to be processed that is weighing the heaviest on asylum seekers in Indonesia.

"There are many Hazara refugees waiting at the doorsteps of the UNHCR, they are sleeping on the doorsteps of the UNHCR. The UNHCR is like their God. Something they believe in. They come here in hope that they will be recognized," she explains.

"If the UNHCR doesn't recognize them then who else will recognize their existence?"

As well as cutting resettlement programs the Australian government has adopted tough maritime policies that see asylum-seeker boats intercepted in Australian waters and pushed away from Australia's shores. If their boats are badly damaged, or inoperable, passengers are transferred to emergency vessels before being towed back out to sea, often back to Indonesia.

Previously passengers were moved to mandatory detention in offshore facilities.

The controversial "Stop the Boats" policy has been heavily criticized by civil society groups in Australia and elsewhere, while Australian authorities have been accused of abuse and secretly paying smugglers thousands of dollars to turn their boat back to Indonesia.

UNHCR says that Australia's policy of pushing boats back into harm's way, and essentially assisting ruthless smugglers, is unacceptable.

"From UNHCR's point of view any state that intercepts a boat in international waters, or in their own territorial waters, becomes responsible for the safety of the passengers on that boat, including refugees and asylum seekers," country representative Vargas says.

"We urge states to bring people to safety, to the nearest port of disembarkation. Not to turn them away into the open waters again, where they could be subjected to who knows what atrocities."

UNHCR is hoping to use the Bali Process conference on Wednesday to advocate for a better approach to the issue.

Forty-five countries along with UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and other observer countries are set to convene in Bali.

The conference aims to boost the collective efforts of Bali Process members to address people smuggling, human trafficking and irregular migration challenges and respond to emerging issues surrounding asylum seekers and refugees.

The conference is voluntary and directed and coordinated by Indonesia and Australia, its founders, as well as New Zealand, Thailand, UNHCR and the IOM.

Vargas says it is a great opportunity to discuss Australia's current policies.

"We had proposed a regional cooperation framework to get states around the table to discuss these types of situations and to come to an agreement on how boats can be first rescued and then brought to safety in a way where states can share the responsibility, not shift the responsibility to other countries," he says.

"We are advocating for burden sharing among states and I think there is a real opportunity to revisit this and for there to be some kind of declaration among the ministers in the Bali Process about how to respond to these types of situations in a way where the states do share the responsibilities."



 

 

Shame --->  "Community Radio" program conflates protest on Nauru with Australian Strategic Policy Institute/ALP propaganda criminalising the seeking of asylum [AUDIO - The Wire - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

Day 3 of refugee protests on Nauru continue being ignored by Australia's human rights establishment [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 22/3/16]

 

 

@mpwoodhead [22/3/16]:   This is how Dutton is spending your $3 billion on #Nauru ...

 

 

 

Conditions and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees at the regional processing centres in the Republic of Nauru and Papua New Guinea [Australian Senate Inquiry]

 

 

 

A vital and significant fight for ALL Australian people ... for humanity, justice and peace.  Michelle Bui from Refugee Rights Action Network WA reads statement from Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani who is currently imprisoned on Manus Island.  [VIDEO - Green Left Weekly - 20/3/16]

 

 

 

 

Former interrogator tells of ‘smashing’ detainees in Khmer Rouge Tribunal testimony [Phnom Penh Post - 22/3/16]:

 

A former radio communications worker and interrogator at the Au Kanseng security centre was questioned at length by prosecutors on internal meetings and “re-education” techniques at the Khmer Rouge tribunal yesterday.

Dressed in a striped white shirt and oval glasses, the anonymous witness gave his testimony via video link in the current Case 002/02 against former Khmer Rouge leaders Noun Chea and Khieu Samphan.

The witness – who was only identified as Witness 2-TCW-900 – detailed how he took notes during interrogations at the prison, where he estimated hundreds of people were killed between 1977 and 1978 while he was stationed there.

Although he said he could not recall the precise number of those who perished at the “re-education centre”, he said only a handful – about 10 – died of illnesses such as malaria or dysentery, while the vast majority of the deceased were “smashed”. ...

 

 

 

ASX Chief resigns in the wake of an investigation into a possible $200,000 bribe [Cambodia Daily - 22/3/16]:

 

... ASX chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper was the CEO of Tabcorp when the Cambodian firm allegedly received the money in 2010. In a statement on Monday, the ASX said Mr. Kupper’s resignation was effective immediately. ...

 

 

 

PNG:  40 homes buried, food gardens destroyed in Porgera landslide [The National - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

 

 

 

A motion for a vote of no-confidence against the National Government was filed today by the Opposition.

The motion is sponsored by the Deputy Opposition Leader Sam Basil, and seconded by the country’s first Prime Minister Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare. ... [PNG Loop - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

China said on Monday agreements like the one reached last week by the United States and the Philippines allowing for a U.S. military presence at five Philippine bases raised questions about militarization in the South China Sea. ... [Yahoo - 21/3/16]

 

 

 

Malaysia, Australia urge "freedom of movement" in South China Sea [GMA - 22/3/16]:

 

... Freedom of navigation and flight over the South China Sea is important to the region and also to Australia's relationship with China, Australian Defense Minister  Marise Payne said after meeting with her Malaysian counterpart on Monday. ...

 

 

 

Australia’s next-generation jet fighter has been labelled a “jackass of all trades and masterful of none”.

Air Power Australia, an independent military and policy thinktank, is dismissive of the plan to acquire 72 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighters from the US.

“Blue sky marketing” was overshadowing big problems with the aircraft, the group’s head, Peter Goon, told the Canberra hearing of a Senate inquiry investigating the acquisition on Tuesday.

“It has all the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme,” he said. ... [Guardian - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

As thousands of people rallied peacefully in front of the Australian embassy in Dili on 22 March, the organizers of the protest issued two statements, one to Australia and one to Timor-Leste.  ... [RiseUpNet]

 

 

 

... When President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited Jakarta afterwards, President Suharto of Indonesia told them that Indonesian forces planned to invade East Timor.

“We understand and will not press you on the issue,” Ford told him.

Since the Indonesians were using Americans arms specifically provided for defensive purposes only, Kissinger warned that this could cause legal difficulties with the US Congress.

“It depends on how we construe it, whether it is self-defence or is a foreign operation,” he said.

“It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly.”

The Indonesians wasted no time. Next day before Ford and Kissinger reached Hawaii, Indonesia invaded East Timor.

An estimated 200,000 Timorese people died as a result.  ... US foreign policy under Henry Kissinger cost thousands of lives [Irish Examiner - 16/3/16]

 

 

 

Castro demands return of Guantánamo and an end to the US trade embargo during Obama visit [Guardian - 22/3/16]:

 

... Despite emotional scenes of reconciliation that earlier saw the Star Spangled Banner played to spine-tingling effect by a Cuban band in Revolution Square, the two leaders made clear that rapprochement had only come so far.

“There are profound differences between our countries that will not go away,” said Castro as he turned the tables on the question of human rights and criticised the US for its failures to ensure universal health care and equal pay for women.

“In our view, civil, economic, social and cultural rights are indivisible, interdependent and universal,” he added.

“We find it inconceivable that a government does not defend and secure the right to healthcare, equal pay and the rights of children. We oppose political double standards in the approach to human rights.”

...

 

 

 

Former President Fidel Castro, 88, said today in a public letter that he “does not trust US policy,” but supports the approach taken by his brother Raul, the current president, reported dpa news.

“I do not trust the US policy nor have I exchanged a word with them, without this meaning a rejection of a peaceful solution of conflicts and dangers of war,” said Fidel Castro in his first statement since Washington and Havana announced in mid-December that they would resume diplomatic relations.

“The president of Cuba has taken the appropriate steps according to his prerogatives and powers granted by the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba,” said Fidel Castro about the agreement reached between his brother Raul and US President Barack Obama.

“We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all peoples of the world, including those of our political opponents,” he said in the letter read this evening on state television. ... [Havana Times - 26/1/15]

 

 

 

Puerto Rico takes restructuring law to US Supreme Court [Reuters - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

A federal watchdog has concluded that the Pentagon inspector general’s office may have improperly destroyed evidence during the high-profile leak prosecution of former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake. ... [McClatchyDC - 21/3/16]

 

 

 

New Zealand's spy agencies have "open slather" access to Kiwis' personal information through government agencies as well as private companies including banks.

That's the view of Sir Michael Cullen, one of the two people who carried out the recent review of the Security Intelligence Service and Government Communications Security Bureau. ... [RNZI - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

Will Murdoch favourite Gary "trusted" Baildon fix the health hazard in the ponds on McIntosh Island?

 

 

Surfers Paradise [22/3/16]

 

 

 

WA organic farmer must pay $804,000 in court costs after losing GM legal battle [Guardian - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

‏@AntonyGreenABC [22/3/16]:  Better late than never. Brisbane City Council and Qld Referendum website now running ...

 

 

 

Electronic ballot-scanning trial holds up council election results across Queensland [ABC - 22/3/16]:

 

 

The ECQ said the ballot-scanning technology had been developed by two private sector companies over about six months.

Mr Tiernan said while the technology had been successfully tested on Noosa ballot papers from the 2012 election, other issues on election night — when thousands of election watchers were blocked from accessing the commission's results page — had been the result of dated software.

...

 

 

 

Another huge sulphuric acid spill in North Queensland [Brisbane Times - 22/3/16]:

 

A highway in northwest Queensland remains closed where a truck rolled and spilled sulphuric acid.

The Flinders Highway at Maxwelton, near Richmond, is expected to be shut for most of Tuesday as authorities clean up the hazardous material.

The truck was carrying three tanks of sulphuric acid when it rolled on the highway on Monday afternoon.

One of the tanks leaked, prompting authorities to establish a 10km exclusion zone.

...

 

 

 

Agricultural  lime is being used to raise the pH levels in a dam exposed to sulphuric acid that leaked after a train derailment. 

The Garomna property stock watering dam owned by grazier Nigel Simmons was exposed to some of the 31,500 litres of sulphuric acid that leaked from the train that derailed 20 kilometres east of Julia Creek on December 27.

It caused the dam’s pH levels to fall to 2. 

The sulphuric acid belonged to fertiliser company Incitec Pivot, which owns an acid plant in Mount Isa and the Phosphate Hill site in the Cloncurry shire. 

A company spokeperson said the neutralisation should be completed by Friday.  ... [North West Star - 25/1/16]

 

 

 

Freight train derailment: Mount Isa rail line reopens after sulphuric acid spill - Queensland Greens M.I.A. [ABC - 13/1/16]

 

 

 

Thanks for numbering every box and putting the LNP last!:  Queensland government renews contract for monopoly, outsourced rail freight provider, immediately following Julia Creek derailment [Media Release - 31/12/15]

 

 

 

The derailment of a fertiliser train travelling to the Port of Townsville caused the Townsville railway line to be closed for three days.

Rail, Train and Bus Union Northern District organiser Les Moffitt said the loaded Aurizon train and six wagons derailed near Warrigal about 6.15am on August 10.

“It appears that an axle broke on one of the wagons, which caused the derailment, resulting in a considerable amount of fertiliser product spilling onto the ground,” Mr Moffitt said.

Mr Moffitt said the derailment could have been due to a “rollingstock failure”.

A Queensland Rail restructure had caused hundreds of job losses along the 1032-kilometre track between Townsville to Mount Isa.

Aurizon’s Rollingstock servicing depot in Hughenden and the South Yard Workshops in Townsville have also been closed. Cloncurry Rollingstock servicing depot trade staff has also been reduced. ... [North West Star - 17/8/14]

 

 

 

Profit is Aurizon's "key priority" [Brisbane Times - 18/8/14]

 

 

 

Aurobindo Pharma receives final approval for Dexmedetomidine Hydrochloride Injection [Business Standard - 18/3/16]

 

 

 

Critically ill patients in intensive care commonly become delirious and agitated during treatment, causing them to pull out breathing tubes and interfere with other essential medical devices.

Now a study led by The University of Queensland has shown that patient delirium and agitation can be reduced by administering a little-used drug known as dexmedetomidine.

The study involved 15 hospitals across Australia and New Zealand and was led by UQ’s Professor Michael Reade, who is Australian Defence Force Chair of Military Medicine and Surgery, and a member of the Burns, Trauma and Critical Care Research Centre.

Professor Reade said the trial of dexmedetomidine showed promising results in the intensive care setting by helping patients to remain calm and reducing the time spent deeply sedated with breathing tubes inserted (a practice called mechanical ventilation).

...

The clinical trial was partly funded by Hospira, the company that manufactures dexmedetomidine. ... [UQ News - 16/3/16]

 

 

 

US escalates battle to keep Guantánamo force-feeding tapes hidden [The Intercept - 22/1/16]

 

 

 

 

Patients with heart failure, peripheral artery disease or stroke could benefit from a new stem-cell based treatment, following an agreement between The University of Queensland and US-based start-up company AngioStem Inc.

The agreement will give AngioStem intellectual property rights relating to UQ research which has found a method for extracting large quantities of specialised stem cells from the placenta.

The UQ Centre for Clinical Research’s Associate Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani said it was not possible to isolate placental stem cells in sufficient quantities for use in treatments prior to this research. ... [UQ News - 16/3/16]

 



Most Queensland politicians oppose reproductive rights [Brisbane Times – 21/3/16]:

 

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters began a campaign last year to find where the 55th Parliament sat on the inclusion of abortion within the criminal code in Queensland, following reports women were travelling interstate to access the procedure.

From the 89 letters she sent out more than once, eight returned a response in favour of removing the procedure from the criminal code, where it has sat since the 1800s. Another four were against it, while six were unclear.

The rest did not respond. ...

 

 

 

"Loophole"? Or evidence people will use public transport if it is free - or affordable? [ABC - 21/3/16]:

 

The New South Wales Government has closed a loophole in the public transport card system by cracking down on short trips that earn Sydney's "Opal running" commuters cheap weekly travel.

Thousands of people have been spending their Mondays walking, running, cycling, scooting and rollerblading between stations that are close together, and tapping on and off.

By doing this, they have been able to quickly reach the eight trips needed to earn free travel for the rest of the week at a cost of just $18.

...

 

 

 

... Wildlife advocate group Save Fraser Island Dingoes Incorporated said the Easter period on Fraser Island was concerning for the wildlife.

Spokeswoman Cheryl Bryant said there were incidents in 2015 that could often lead to the destruction of a dingo, which could have grave consequences.

"Regardless of who instigated the incident, whether it was the tourist or the dingo, it's the dingo that ends up being destroyed and that's a concern," Ms Bryant said.

"Even the death of one dingo could be catastrophic because perhaps that was a dominant dingo, and that could affect the breeding population."

Ms Bryant urged tourists to be mindful of the dingoes.

"If you're going over there, just be aware that the wildlife was over there before you were and just respect that." [ABC - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

Around 100 north-coast environment activists converged on the Coffs Harbour office of the NSW Forestry Corporation (NSWFC) this morning, using International Forests Day to highlight the proposed intensification of logging in NSW public native forests. ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 21/3/16]

 

 


Investigators from the state Department of Agriculture confirmed, in effect, what beekeepers have been saying for years: Even when used according to law, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world are acutely toxic to honeybees under routine circumstances.

In the first test of a landmark environmental law, Minnesota has compensated two beekeepers whose hives were severely damaged last spring by toxic dust that drifted off the fields of a neighbor planting corn.

Investigators from the state Department of Agriculture confirmed, in effect, what beekeepers have been saying for years: Even when used according to law, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world are acutely toxic to honeybees under routine circumstances.

Even more importantly, said state Sen. Rick Hansen, the finding marks a precedent in the ongoing national fight over the controversial group of insecticides called neonicotinoids, which have been implicated in the decline of bees and other wild pollinating insects. ... [Star Tribune - 20/3/16]

 

 



Why I won’t be voting for Hillary in November [Counterpunch – 21/3/16]:

 

... My point is, with Hillary Clinton, we know what we’re getting — a corrupt war-mongering, duplicitous neoliberal Wall Street shill posing as a progressive. With Trump, we get a narcissistic businessman posing as a fascist. Neither one as president would actually be what they are pretending to be during the campaign.

I’m the first to admit they’re both unsavory human beings, and I won’t vote for either of them, but as far as those who would say that by not voting for Clinton, I’m helping to elect Trump, my reply is this: I know what Clinton will do as president, and that prospect is so frightening that I cannot in good conscience support her.

If Trump were to win, we don’t know what he’d do, but it would probably not be to start another war, and certainly not one against Russia or China. I won’t vote for him, because what he is saying on the stump is reprehensible, but I’d feel better with him in the White House than with Hillary there.

...

 



Clinton campaign boosted by more rumors and dishonest attacks against Sanders [Shadowproof – 19/3/16]:

 

The most pernicious dishonest attack of the campaign is the one the Clinton campaign has needed to keep their candidate from slipping in the polls.

It is the attack that Sanders is an unelectable candidate, who could not beat a Republican presidential nominee in the general election.

The campaign explicitly argues Sanders would never be able to beat Donald Trump. The establishment media, for the most part, willingly goes along with this narrative provided to them by the Clinton campaign.

Early in September, Clinton and her network of surrogates and super PACs planted this argument that he was not electable. There never has been empirical evidence to support this perception.

...

 

 

 

‏@wikileaks [21/3/16]:  Hillary Clinton's #Libya "Tick Tock" details how she 'led' the destruction ...



 

 

Beware, lest ye mistake the shadow for the substance. - Aesop  Valentino's Ghost: How US Foreign Policy in the Middle East drives Islamophobia at home. ...

 

 

 

 

... Watch the butcher shine his knives ... And this town is full of battered wives ... ---> A woman has been arrested after shots were fired during an alleged domestic dispute on the Gold Coast on Tuesday.

Initial information suggests that around 11.15am a 37-year-old man attended a Riverview Road home in Nerang where he was involved in an argument with a 51-year-old female resident.

During the argument the woman produced a gun and fired shots.

She then fled from the scene, however was arrested by police a short time later on Springbrook Road, Mudgeeraba.

The man and woman are known to each other.

Investigations are continuing.  [MYGC - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

Four arrested after Burleigh Waters tavern holdup [MYGC - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

Queensland police officer suspended over DV charge [Brisbane Times - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

A NSW police officer accused of spitting alcohol in the face of Queensland cop on the Gold Coast has had the charges against him dismissed.

Detective Sergeant David Stewart Fairclough was facing two counts of assaulting and obstructing police after allegedly spitting at the Queensland officer during the Gold Coast V8 Supercars round in October last year.

On Tuesday, the charges against Fairclough were dropped at the Southport Magistrates Court with the prosecution offering no evidence. [Brisbane Times - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

Harrowing triple-zero call by Sydney Lindt Cafe siege victim played at inquest [Nine MSN - 22/3/16]:

 

CCTV footage of gunman Man Haron Monis approaching the Lindt Café and manager Tori Johnson’s subsequent triple-zero call have been played at an official inquest into the Martin Place siege.

The footage – made available to the public for the first time – shows Monis walking through a busy Martin Place wearing an unremarkable backpack on the morning of December 15, 2014.

The same backpack is believed to have contained a sawn-off shotgun and knife, which were then used to threaten Mr Johnson into calling triple-zero.

Mr Johnson’s harrowing call was also played at the inquest.

The café manager can be heard trying to explain to an operator his location, before insisting on reading Monis’ handwritten note.

“I need - I need to finish reading this message … sorry I have a gun in front of me,” Mr Johnson said.

“Australia is under attack by Islamic State. There are three bombs in three different locations: Martin Place, Circular Quay and George Street.

"Police should not come too close to me or other brothers otherwise they will explode the bombs. Some hostages have been taken.”

The second triple-zero by a Lindt Café customer unable to gain access to the premises was also played, followed by more CCTV footage of the first police officer to attend the scene creeping forward along a side wall prior to calling for backup.

Counsel for Mr Johnson's family had previously asked that the triple-zero call not be played to the public.

Gabrielle Bashir SC told the hearing today that "grief and emotions" of the families of the victims had not subsided, and that they should be protected from further pain.

However counsel assisting, Jeremy Gormly SC, said the evidentiary significance of the calls were of the highest order, adding that it was during the calls that Monis announced himself to the world.

 Monis took a total of 18 people hostage in what would later develop into a 17-hour standoff.

Both Mr Johnson and lawyer Katrina Dawson lost their lives during the siege.

Monis was killed after tactical police stormed the cafe in the early hours of December 16.

 There has been some suggestion that Monis may have had an accomplice.

 Police have been able to find no evidence he took a train, bus or taxi into the CBD and cannot rule out the possibility someone drove him into the city.

The inquest will run for around eight weeks, during which it will hear from both the hostages and police who entered the cafe to end the siege.

Coroner Michael Barnes is expected to hand down his findings later in the year.

 

 

 

Lindt cafe gunman hoped to debate PM on live radio [ABC - 21/3/16]:

 

... TORI JOHNSON: Three locations should be evacuated, Martin Place and channel 7, Circular Quay and George Street. Police should not come both for me or other brothers; otherwise they will explode the bombs. Some hostages have been taken.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The operator asked him to repeat the locations and confirm where he was.

OPERATOR: I'm just confirming where you are now?

TORI JOHNSON: Yeah it's Lindt Chocolate Cafe.

OPERATOR: Right. TORI JOHNSON: That's where I am.

OPERATOR: Okay, just stay on the line with me please.

TORI JOHNSON: Yep - sorry there's more message I have to read to you as well.

OPERATOR: Alright well you'll need to hang on a second.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: When the operator came back on the line, Johnson insisted on reading his script.

TORI JOHNSON: I need, I need to finish reading this.

OPERATOR: Yes, I understand that just hang on a moment.

TORI JOHNSON: Sorry I have a gun in front of me.

OPERATOR: Okay.

OPERATOR: Yeah. So Australia is under attack by Islamic State. There are three bombs in three different locations; Martin Place, Circular Quay and George Street.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The script suggested the Prime Minister could stop the bombs from being detonated if he contacted Man Monis or his accomplices.

TORI JOHNSON: The plan is to request Tony Abbott to call them or me and to have a debate while it is broadcast live on ABC National Radio.

...

 



Man and girl arrested in Sydney face charges of financing terrorism [Guardian – 22/3/16]

 

 

 

Media's racist post-Moomba rampage [Green Left Weekly - 17/3/16]

 

 

 

A homeless shelter for teenagers in far north Queensland has had to close its doors due to a lack of funding.

Harald's House in Cairns would accommodate up to six teenagers at a time, sometimes for years, providing them with a home, while they finished their school studies.

However, founder Dr Harald Falge, who has received an Order of Australia Medal for his work, said poor health and a lack of funding to run the charity had seen it close down. ...  [ABC - 22/3/16]

 

 

 

 

 

... Senior Constable Burgess testified that Sergeant Rick Bond - who has since quit the force - told her Ms Dhu was a junkie who was faking illness.

She said Sergeant Bond was frustrated and she wanted to appease him because "his word was law" and he was known to "verbally attack" people who questioned him.

The inquest heard when the officer came to take Ms Dhu to the shower, she complained of a numb leg so Senior Constable Burgess suggested she go to hospital, which made Sergeant Bond angry.

Senior Constable Burgess pulled Ms Dhu's wrist to sit her up, but Ms Dhu felt heavier than expected, so the officer had to let go and Ms Dhu hit her head.  ...  Ms Dhu inquest: Dying woman shown no compassion; branded 'junkie' by police sergeant [ABC -21/3/16]

 

 

 

22 March 2016

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