United States continue bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 23/8/16]



On a smuggler’s boat from Turkey two years ago, 19-year-old Rawan watched the passengers start to panic as a Greek coast guard vessel approached them head on, circling twice.

Rawan heard two gunshots ring out from the Greek patrol. Fearing arrest, the driver of Rawan’s boat, a Turkish fisherman, turned the vehicle around to flee back to Turkey.

Then Rawan heard more shots.

When the bullet hit her in the lower back, at first she felt nothing.

Then, Rawan says, it felt like fire.

Rawan’s husband had made it to Germany a year earlier; both were fleeing their home in Damascus, Syria.

Rawan and 12 other Syrians were headed for the Greek island of Chios on a small fiberglass boat, much faster than the inflatable dinghies that many refugees use for the 5-mile crossing.

Before the shots, Rawan heard “stop” blare over a loudspeaker on the coast guard vessel.

She and four others were in the forward compartment of the boat, and more people were sitting in the back near the outboard engine.

Rawan’s father-in-law, Adnan Akil, was also shot in the lower back, and Amjad A., another Syrian refugee who asked that only his first name and last initial be used, was shot in the shoulder. ... [The Intercept - 23/8/16]



‏@PROACTIVA_SERV [23/8/16]:  211 vidas en cubierta,100 bajo el casco de barca ruinosa.Todo empezó con un "We're here to help" Y ya están a salvo.  



‏@guardiacostiera [23/8/16]:  #SAR CP327 #GuardiaCostiera Gallipoli soccorre 45 migranti a bordo di una barca a vela, 65 miglia a sud di Crotone  



Day 157 refugee protests, Nauru



Image: ‏@InsurrectNews [22/8/16]



Behrouz Boochani [23/8/16]:


Unfortunately the full bench of PNG Supreme Court did not consider our orders for the closure and release of the people on Manus.

That means there will be another delay until there is a new hearing.

The full bench ended the inquiry of the single judge and also discharged any orders that had been made by the Chief Justice.

The court however, did repeat its ruling that both the PNG and Australian governments are responsible for following the court order that the Manus Island detention centre must be closed.

However, it has now ruled that there will have to be another full bench court hearing to consider the specific orders we sought for the immediate closure of Manus and for the return to Australia of all those who wish to go.

Ben Lomai will now apply to the full court for a “summary judgement” - a court hearing that will consider the specific orders to (i) close Manus detention; (ii) the return of people to Australia; (iii) for PNG to seek ‘third countries’ for those who do not wish to go to Australia; (iv) for compensation for the breach of human rights.

Ben will make the application tomorrow or Wednesday. We should know the date for the next hearing after Wednesday.



There is no reason why Senator Whish-Wilson couldn't have mentioned Mefloquine use on prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and Manus Island in his press release [23/8/16]



SBS [5/5/14]:


Asylum seekers on Manus Island are being given a type of anti-malaria medication that detention centre staff have been warned not to take because of serious side effects.
Centre staff were warned not to take Mefloquine, also known as Lariam, because of adverse health effects.
Salvation Army worker Simon Taylor says in a submission to a Senate inquiry that he is aware asylum seekers have been given the drug despite the warnings to staff. ...



Stop pretending mefloquine was used safely on soldiers: former top Canadian drug bureaucrat [Edmonton Journal - 7/2/16]



Antimalaria drugs used in "an experimental program in interrogation and torture" of detainees at Guantanamo [Kevin Gosztola  - 5/4/15]



Mass administration of the antimalarial drug mefloquine to Guantanamo detainees: a critical analysis, Remington L. Nevin Department of Preventive Medicine, Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital, Ft. Polk, LA, USA [2012]:


... One possibility is that the use of mefloquine was simply erroneously directed by senior US military medical officials overly confident of the drug’s safety and unfamiliar with its appropriate use, in an apparent foreshadowing of its later, broader misprescribing among US military personnel (Nevin 2010).

Another possibility, which is deeply troubling to consider, is that the decision to administer the drug was informed and motivated at least in part by knowledge of the drug’s adverse neuropsychiatric effects and the presumed plausible deniability of claims of misuse in the context of its seemingly legitimate clinical or public health indication. ...



Within hours of the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement on Thursday that it would phase out its use of privately operated federal prisons, the stocks of two of the largest private corrections companies plummeted by 40 percent.

While the publicly traded companies, The GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, took a hit, the multibillion-dollar industry remains largely intact—in no small part because of the numerous contracts it maintains with the Department of Homeland Security.

Despite countless complaints and known abuses, for the tens of thousands of immigrants housed in privately run detention centers or subject to electronic monitoring facilitated by these companies, the scourge of privatization is far from over. ... [Take Part - 19/8/16]



Tamil and Muslim students attacked at Peradeniya University [Tamil Guardian - 23/8/16]



An innocent Rohingya drowned and died in a nearby lake in Thay Chaung (Guwalia Del) Akyab, on his way home from Beda on 20 August, 2016.

The victim is identified to be Hashim, 43 who was a fish seller striving livelihood for his wife and children, including a disabled child by living in a concentration camp.

On 20 August, while Hashim was was coming back to his home  buying fish from Beda by a small boat, he accidentally  felt down in the breeding lake and disappeared.  

After a day, his corpse was found near sandy shore at 11:30 pm.

Due to this tragedy, Hashim’s  family is unable to survive as  he was the only wage earner of the family and none of his children is old enough to earn.

This is not the first tragedy in this lake, even at the beginning of August, 4 Rohingya people died due to drowning boats there.

People are compelled to  move by this way as it’s the only easy way left for the Rohingyas to travel  from Thay Chaung  to Beda in search of livelihood.

Restriction of movement is another genocidal tool which is strongly imposed on Rohingyas.

Moreover authorities are labeling these types of murders as accidental deaths, where no one can be accounted even these are happening in the period of  democratic government of  Aung San Suu Kyi. [RVISION TV - 23/8/16]



Korea-Myanmar venture to build 500-acre garment zone [Myanmar Times - 22/8/16]



Rana Plaza tragedy: Bangladesh puts 18 on trial [Al Jazeera - 23/8/16]



US to deploy F-35 fighters in western Japan next year [Japan Times - 23/8/16]



Sea Shepherd won’t obstruct Japanese whalers under US settlement but Australian branch defiant [Japan Times - 23/8/16]




The commander of I Corps and about 400 personnel from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., are heading to the Korean peninsula to take part in U.S.-South Korean war games that kicked off this week. ... [Stars and Stripes - 22/8/16]



Rights activists have slammed the [Indonesian] government's draft amendment of the Criminal Code (KUHP), which still retains articles banning communism in the country, saying that the regulation is irrelevant in the present day.

The National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Roichatul Aswidah said Article 219 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that anyone who goes against the law by advocating communism can be sentenced to a maximum seven years' imprisonment, could be misused especially since the details were vague in explaining what actions constituted going "against the law". ... [Jakarta Post - 23/8/16]





During the UNHCR visit to Nauru, refugees were told to expect to remain on the island for "another ten years".

Immediately after they conveyed this message to the refugees, Omid Masoumali covered himself in flammable liquid and set himself alight shouting at the delegation:

"We're sick and exhausted! You've destroyed our lives! Did you come just to gape at our misery? We lead miserable lives! You've been torturing us for three years!"



Day 148 refugee protests, Nauru ‏@racvictoria [14/8/16]




Danish politicians seek to join Australian politicians, media and UNHCR in provoking refugees imprisoned in human zoo [Guardian - 23/8/16]:


A parliamentary delegation from Denmark will visit the Pacific island of Nauru and hopes to gain rare access to Australia’s offshore detention centre to consider whether such controversial immigration policies could be adopted in Europe.

On Saturday a cross-party group of Danish politicians will visit Nauru and are seeking access to inspect the detention centre, according to reports by Danish radio station 24syv.


It is unclear how the delegation has been granted access to the detention centre on Nauru or whether it has occurred with the consent of the Australian or Nauruan governments.

Comment has been sought regarding the circumstances of their access. ...




... When Pacific Standard reached out to Nauru Ambassador Judith Cefkin for her thoughts on the refugee camp conditions, she sent back only a boilerplate response: “We encourage all countries to work with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees to find durable solutions for refugees and asylum seekers.” ... Nauru: A ‘Human Dumping Ground’, Julie Morse [Pacific Standard - 12/4/16]



USAID Coastal Community Adaptation Project [18/8/15]:   Last week, US Ambassador Judith Cefkin, accompanied by Abraham Simpson, CEO of the Nauru Utilities Corporation, and Elcoga Gadabu, Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment, visited the site of a proposed USAID-funded water storage facility ...



US Ambassador Cefkin with the Republic of Nauru media team [17/8/15]



How We Closed the Guantanamo HIV Camp: The Intersection of Politics and Litigation, Michael Ratner



Why don't you ask Gareth "Responsibility to Protect" Evans why Australia imprisons and tortures refugees Katharine Murphy? ---> Former foreign minister Gareth Evans says it's sensible for Australia to begin an international dialogue about revamping the United Nations Refugee Convention. ... [Nine MSN - 18/7/13]



... But the routine detention of asylum seekers arriving without visas and the construction of remote detention centres to house them followed the landing of a boat carrying 26 people at Pender Bay near Broome in November 1989.

It was the first boat to carry asylum seekers to Australian territory since 1981 and its arrival marked the beginning of a second wave of boatpeople landing on Australia shores. (The first wave lasted from 1976 to 1981. It was made up of about 2000 refugees arriving in small groups who were fleeing Communism in Indochina after the end of the Vietnam War. They were not detained on arrival.)

There were many Cambodians aboard the Pender Bay boat and subsequent vessels and their arrival came at a sensitive time for the Labor government of Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Hawke’s high-profile foreign minister Gareth Evans was deeply involved in crafting a peace process for Cambodia, which involved the repatriation of 300,000 Cambodian refugees from camps along the Thai border.

The federal government feared that confidence in the plan could be undermined if Cambodians in Australia were found to be refugees or if their personal stories were allowed to become public.

Hawke was quick to declare categorically that the Cambodians were not ‘political’ but ‘economic’ refugees.

He said he would not allow Cambodian asylum seekers to ‘jump the queue’ of Australia’s orderly migration program .

The label ‘queue jumper’ has been used to denigrate asylum seekers arriving by boat ever since. ... Australia's sledgehammer, Peter Mares [APO - 25/2/2004]



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.






... Andrew Goledzinowski is a career diplomat with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and head of its International Organisations Branch.

He has served on the personal staff of two Foreign Ministers - Gareth Evans and Alexander Downer.

From 2000-2002 Mr Goledzinowski worked as Chief of Staff to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.

From 2003-2004, he was deployed to Iraq where he served under Paul Bremer as a senior official of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

He was then seconded for a further nine months to the World Bank as its senior adviser in Baghdad. ...



... If we do not also hold our politicians accountable for their collusion in such tragedies, there will be little to stop them from doing so again.


[AlterNet - 5/4/12]:


I have rarely ever come face to face – only inches in fact – with such anger. Certainly not at an academic conference. And certainly not from such a prominent figure: chancellor of Australian National University, former attorney-general and foreign minister, former head of the International Crisis Group, and one of the world’s most prominent global thinkers.

Yet here I was with Gareth Evans, cursing at me, ripping my badge off, and threatening to punch me in the face.

What prompted his outburst was my raising the issue of his support for the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia during its savage repression in the occupied island nation of East Timor. Since the March 17 conference at the University of Melbourne – at which I, like Evans, was a plenary speaker – was about the first anniversary of the Arab revolts, the organizers came to his defense by insisting that I had raised an issue that was off-topic. In reality, it was very relevant.

Gareth Evans is perhaps best known internationally as the world’s principal intellectual architect and proponent of the doctrine of the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P), which calls for Western military intervention in crisis areas to prevent massacres of civilians.

He was particularly outspoken in his support for what he referred to as “the overwhelming moral case” for the controversial NATO military intervention in Libya, which went well beyond the original mandate to protect civilians to effectively become the air force of the rebel coalition.

Evans has insisted that his advocacy for the intervention was unrelated to oil or to Gaddafi’s traditional hostility to Western interest, but out of purely humanitarian concern.

At the time Evans began advocating for foreign intervention in Libya, less than 300 civilians had been killed by Gaddafi’s forces. However, as foreign minister, Evans supported close security cooperation with the Indonesian military during its brutal occupation of East Timor, in which over 200,000 civilians died. Furthermore, Evans denied, downplayed and covered up for a number of Indonesian atrocities and, during this time in office, was the only foreign minister in the world to formally recognize Indonesian sovereignty over that illegally occupied territory. ...



LNP and ALP reiterate unity ticket on torture and refugee concentration camps during partisan gabfest hour [ABC - 23/8/16]



For those people who follow the changes of Manus prison, Oscar, Mike, Delta and Fox are familiar names -- four prisons in the heart of a bigger prison that has accommodated nearly 1000 male refugees for more than three years. ... [Huffington Post - 23/8/16]



"This is our war and it is shameful:" Journalist Andrew Cockburn on the US role in the war in Yemen [Democracy Now - 22/8/16]



Saudi pilots have launched yet another airstrike on a school in the Yemeni province of Ta’izz, with no information immediately available on possible casualties.

According to Yemen’s al-Masirah television, the air raid hit the al-Rawd school in the district of Dabab in western Ta’izz early on Monday. ... [Albawaba - 22/8/16]



US says 100 troops deployed to Afghanistan [USA Today - 22/8/16]



In Maryland, Baltimore County police say they will continue to withhold the names of the officers involved in the August 1 shooting of Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old African-American mother shot by police in her apartment after an hours-long standoff.

The officer who shot Gaines has been assigned to administrative duties.

There is body camera footage of the standoff prior to the shooting, but police claim there is no footage of the shooting itself.

Gaines live-streamed the beginning of the standoff on Facebook, before Facebook responded to a police request to shut down Gaines’s account.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and activists have both questioned official police accounts of the shooting. ... [Democracy Now - 22/8/16]



Israel shells Syria after stray mortar crosses into its territory [RT - 22/8/16]



It is rare for a succinct foreign policy platform paper to so fully reflect a candidate’s thinking process.

The State Department email of Hillary Clinton, available on WikiLeaks, lays out the Democrat front-runner’s strategy as an architect of US intervention in Syria, shows the flawed reasoning that beget the scheme, and perhaps most importantly is totally blind to the huge problems that the war ultimately led to.

As with so many US wars in the Middle East, it all starts with Israel, and then-Secretary of State Clinton saw the US imposing regime change in Syria as primarily about benefiting Israel and spiting Iran, a position that closely mirrors several Israeli officials on the matter. ... [Mint Press News - 20/3/16]



Judge orders State Department to review 14,900 new Clinton emails [Reuters - 22/8/16]



Syria’s permanent envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said on Monday that the Syrian, Russian air force didn’t target al-Qaterji neighborhood in Aleppo and “you have to search about the real criminal.”

Al-Jaafari said at a UN Security council session that the first and last responsible for the civilians’’ suffering in Syria are the governments that falsely claimed they are friends of the Syrians. ... [SANA - 22/8/16]




23 August 2016