Day 19 of peaceful protest Nauru ... ‏@elahe_zivardar [23/2/17]



Rally for asylum seekers to be held in Lismore this Saturday [Tweed Shire Echo - 23/2/17]:


A rally and walk for human rights and asylum seekers will be held in Lismore on Saturday.

Organised by Lismore Amnesty International and the North Coast peace group Remembering and Healing, the walk will take place through the central business district.

Anyone wanting to take part should be at the Lismore Transit Centre at 10.30am.

The rally and walk are being held to honour the deaths in custody of people seeking asylum that have been held at Manus Island and Nauru detention centres.

Organisers said they were hoping for a big turnout to press home the message that the situation for asylum seekers in off-shore detention centres needed to be resolved.

‘To keep these people in limbo is a total disgrace and against all decency as it is against Australia’s obigations towards the global community,’ RaH coordinator Sabina Beltruweit said.

‘It is high time to stop the brutalising of vulnerable people who have fled terrible conditions and are asking for our help. ...



Loghman Sawari is now stateless thanks to the UNHCR [ABC- 23/2/17]



Empty space requiring URGENT academic analysis of Australia's anti-refugee policy filled with utter bullshit ---> Explainer: how Australia decides who is a genuine refugee Explainer: how Australia decides who is a genuine refugee [The Conversation - 23/2/17]



Another weaselly NGO refuses to demand that the region protect - and offer sanctuary to - Rohingya refugees [ - 23/2/17]



Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) says the decision to prosecute a teenage refugee for not having valid documentation on him is against the law.

Executive director Sevan Doraisamy said the decision to charge a 15-year-old Rohingya boy for not possessing valid travel documents “marks another low” in the persecution of refugees in Malaysia.

“This prosecution would give a further impact on the teenager’s development and growth because he was held in detention for over two months,” he told reporters at the High Court here.

Sevan said this after attending the hearing of the Rohingya teenager, who wants the charge against him quashed. ... [Free Malaysia Today - 23/2/17]



‏@nslwin [22/2/17]:  MPs at Rakhine State Parliament will propose a bill to confiscate lands from non-citizens [#Rohingya] and give them to citizens [#Rakhine].



Myanmar authorities seize Rohingya-owned farm lands [Rohingya Vision - 22/2/17]



‏@TamilGuardian [23/2/17]:  ... protest for the disappeared in Kilinochchi continues for the 4th day ...



Malaysian woman found guilty of screening the documentary 'No fire zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka' [Free Malaysia Today - 21/2/17]



The UN-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal’s investigating judges yesterday took the unprecedented step of dismissing the case against former Khmer Rouge cadre Im Chaem, a move that was welcomed by her defence team but lamented by victims of the brutal regime.

Judges yesterday found Chaem was “neither a senior leader”, nor one of those “most responsible” for the crimes committed under the Khmer Rouge, and was therefore outside of the court’s jurisdiction. ... [Phnom Penh Post - 23/2/17]



‏@NoDAPL_ [23/2/17]:  Getting word the BIA were arresting folks inside the casino last night . Made APTN reporter @DennisWardNews delete photo of arrests #NoDAPL



‏@NoDAPL_  [23/2/17]:  Mic's intrepid reporter Jack Smith IV was arrested last night covering the Dakota Access Pipeline protests ...  



‏@NoDAPL_ [22/2/17]:  Nine arrested today at #NoDAPL #StandingRock  



'No mass roundups' of migrants in US, Homeland Security chief tells news conference in Guatemala [Yahoo - 22/2/17]:


... Kelly said that Trump's executive order meant a boost in the number of US border patrol officers and the construction of a "physical barrier" -- the wall Trump has repeatedly vowed to have built along the entire border with Mexico.

The Department of Homeland Security was therefore now working on "the expansion of expedited removal operations, prioritizing criminal prosecutions for immigration offenses committed at the border, and empowering state and local enforcement agencies to assist in enforcing immigration laws," Kelly said.

He offered "sincere advice" to any Guatemalans thinking of paying people smugglers to try to get them illegally into the United States "to not do it."

The journey was very dangerous, "and the very, very considerable money you will have to pay the 'coyotes' (people smugglers) will be lost because we are picking up, that is to say reinforcing, our turnback efforts on the border."

He added that, "by law, we are required to return irregular migrants to their home country."

Kelly did not address US plans to have deported Central Americans sent to Mexico -- something Mexico has signaled it may not accept.

On Thursday, Kelly and Trump's secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, were to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. ...



Trump administration plans to invoke state secrets in case against psychologists behind CIA torture program [Shadowproof - 22/2/17]:


President Donald Trump’s administration informed a federal court that it plans to invoke the state secrets privilege to prevent two CIA witnesses from testifying on the role of psychologists in developing and administering the CIA torture program.

One of the witnesses is Gina Haspel, who was appointed CIA deputy director.

Haspel briefly ran a “black site” in Thailand, where Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were both waterboarded.

She also played a key role in the destruction of videotapes that contained evidence of torture against Zubaydah and Nashiri. ...



... Australia is condemned in the report for its justice system failing Indigenous people, particularly children who are detained at 24 times the rate of non-Indigenous children.

It is also criticised for its continued abuse of people seeking safety and the warehousing of vulnerable people in offshore detention, as well as the failure to legislate for marriage equality. ...  Amnesty's State of the World’s Human Rights report 2016-2017 [22/2/17]



Aboriginal family claims the NT government ‘did not follow protocol’ while Yolngu politician alleges they ‘broke their own law’. ... [NITV - 22/2/17]



Australian Jewish community protest against Israel & Netanyahu's visit in Bondi Junction, Sydney. ...



Image: ‏@miniestmini [22/2/17]



‏@miniestmini [23/2/17]:  ... Protest in Sydney against Israel and Netanyahu's visit to Australia.



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Washington reaffirmed one thing in terms of U.S./Israeli relations: that not much will change in the United States’ massive one-sided support for Israel, says Palestinian author and activist Ramzy Baroud. ... [Consortium News - 22/2/17]



‏@davpope [20/2/17]:  Trump gave the game away, but Auspol clings to the fiction ...



Israeli forces shoot at fishermen, enter Gaza border area [Maan - 23/2/17]



Longest-serving Palestinian prisoner resentenced to life in prison plus 18 years [Maan - 22/2/17]



Israeli forces detained a Palestinian youth on Wednesday at the al-Jib Israeli military checkpoint northwest of Jerusalem in the seam zone of the occupied West Bank, due to a post he published on his personal Facebook page.

The youth was identified by locals as Laith Barakat. However, his exact age remained unknown as of Wednesday.

According to locals, Israeli forces stopped Barakat at the checkpoint. After providing his ID card to Israeli soldiers, he was detained and transferred to an unidentified location. ... [Maan - 22/2/17]



An Iraqi ex-soldier on Wednesday appeared before a Berlin court charged with war crimes.

Rami K. is accused of posing for photographs with the decapitated heads of two fighters from the so-called "Islamic State" (IS), before sharing the images online.

The 28-year-old came to Germany seeking refuge in 2015, the same year hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Syrians and others did the same. He lived in the capital before being arrested last August.

The photos are believed to have been taken in March of 2015, while he was fighting in the Iraqi army against IS near the town of Tikrit, north of Baghdad.

K. has defended himself before the court, saying he was ordered by his superiors to pose with the heads.

He told judges, via an interpreter, that "had I disobeyed the order, the punishment would have been execution."

Judges were showed the image of the accused in uniform with his arms outstretched, holding a head by the hair in each hand. ... [Deutsche Welle - 22/2/17]



Russia says responsibility for providing assistance to refugees should be borne by instigators of destabilisation [TASS - 22/2/17]:


Russia is opposed to the concept of sharing responsibility for the fate of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday following meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed in detail the situation of refugees and migrants in the world and prospects for cooperation between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Russia.

Grandi praised steps on providing assistance to refugees from southeastern Ukraine and residents of the Donbass regions made by Russia and humanitarian efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.

"The Russian side again noted that that the concept of sharing responsibility for the fate of refugees, which is, in fact, an attempt to shift the burden on to someone else, is counter-productive," the ministry said.

"It emphasized that the responsibility for providing assistance to refugees and displaced individuals should be borne by those who instigated destabilization in the vast region of the Middle East and North Africa meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. Conflicts provoked from the outside have become a major cause of large-scale displacement of people in the world." ...



Syrian Army advances in Daraa City after launching counter-assault [AMN - 23/2/17]



One citizen was killed and a child was injured when terrorists of Jabhat al-Nusra opened fire on the Military Hospital and al-Mazraa village on the western outskirts of Homs city. ... [SANA - 22/2/17]



13 injured due to ISIS assault with shells on Deir Ezzor city [SANA - 22/2/17]



1,500 displaced persons return to Hama’s Helfaya, 45 persons fleeing ISIS in Raqqa arrive in the province [SANA - 22/2/17]



Defense Secretary James Mattis hasn’t finalized his recommendations for the ISIS war, and doesn’t expect to do so until the end of the month, but Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel seems pretty sure that he’s like more troops to command in Syria, and that could mean a significant expansion of US ground troops in Syria.


Much of this appears to be centered on the desire for the US to capture the ISIS capital city of Raqqa, and their announced offensive against Raqqa began months ago, with Kurdish YPG forces leading the way, and hasn’t resulted in much territory changing hands. ... [ - 22/2/17]



U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday he did not expect an immediate breakthrough when Syria peace talks restart on Thursday but wanted productive talks that relaunch the process towards a political solution to end the six-year war. ... [Reuters - 22/2/17]



McCain makes secret trip to Syria to meet with US troops [Yahoo - 22/2/17]



@JulianAssange [22/2/17]:  CIA plan to overthrow Syria by provoking sectarian tensions (1986) ...



‏@MuckRock [21/2/17]:  These are the journalists that comprised the #CIA's private press pool ...



Media Watch: Fake News, war, false flags, and Michael Flynn [Australians for Reconciliation in Syria - 15/2/17]:


... Media Watch’s report on ‘fake news’ avoids a bigger issue, which is that impartiality, fearless investigative journalism and rigorous analysis are increasingly absent from mainstream media reporting and commentary.  

In regard to Syria, bias towards a US-led war against multi-faith Syria seems to dominate the ABC, and that bias often makes no moral or rational sense.  

For example, ABC’s foreign correspondent Sophie McNeill presents a pro-‘revolution’ bias in her reporting on Syria, yet the ideology of the Islamist ‘revolution’ she favors is not examined, nor are the foreign clerics who recruit insurgents and suicide bombers.  

The impact this ‘revolution’ has on the lives of members of the general public in Syria, people from every faith background, is generally ignored by her and her fellow ABC ME correspondent Matt Brown. ...



The “White Helmets” go to Hollywood [Dissident Voice - 21/2/17]



... The bravado displayed by the White Helmets under Syrian government and Russian bombardment has captivated some of the most influential observers of the Syrian conflict.

Among the group’s biggest boosters is Sophie McNeill, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent who was among the first reporters to publish the now-famous photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh being extracted from the rubble of an Eastern Aleppo apartment building.

On her Twitter account, McNeill urged readers to donate money to the White Helmets and expressed her hope that the group wins the Nobel Prize.

(McNeill did not respond to questions sent to her publicly listed email.)


Back in November 2014, Tim Dixon, the managing director of Purpose Europe, a former adviser to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and an original Syria Campaign board member, issued a report detailing how his firm’s “White Helmets campaign uses compelling storytelling to mobilize public support.”

Dixon wrote: “Purpose believed their story had the power to inspire empathy and action in the wider public, and launched the White Helmets campaign in August as part of an ongoing effort to build support for the protection of civilians.” ... [Alternet - 2/10/16]



Trump wants to defeat ISIS by using policies that gave rise to it [TRNN - 22/2/17]:


... SHARMINI PERIES: Sabah, let's start off with your response to the comment newly-inaugurated President Trump made at CIA headquarters in January, and how that was received in Iraq.

[Professor] SABAH ALNASSERI: Well, first, such a public statement addressed to the supporter of Mr. Trump to suggest that the Iraqis should cover the costs for the war and occupation of Iraq, as if the Iraqis invited the United States to make the war with Iraq.

And the second thing, which is bizarre, because Mr. Trump knows very well, that Iraqi oil is controlled by US and other multinational corporations who steal the right to oil under legal and illegal terms and sometimes against the will of the government in Iraq.

Now, how it was received in Iraq. There are two things, actually, not one. The first one is the question of the ban of the seven majority-Muslim Arab countries, and one of the, of course, is Iraq. So the Iraqis, especially ... were outraged and some of them submitted a petition to introduce a similar measure to ban US citizens from entering Iraq.

And General Mattis, when he was in Baghdad, he assured the Iraqi MPs and the Iraqi government that Iraqis who collaborate with the US army, that means who collaborate with the occupation, they will be allowed to enter Iraq, as if he somehow...

SHARMINI PERIES: ...he's going to be standing at the border or entry points to the United States to facilitate that.

SABAH ALNASSERI: Yeah. I think he's doing them a favor. So, he actually made the problem worse. The second issue, of course, the question of oil. When President Trump claimed that the Iraqis should pay for the US war and occupation and the US should control the oil, or steal the oil.

The Iraqi population, much more than the Iraqi Parliament, were outraged. Because they saw what happens to the Iraqi oil industry, how it was destroyed by the United States and how all the contents went to US or other multinational operations, and that the Iraqi population haven't seen anything from these funds, from the oil income.

If we look at the healthcare, education, employment, et cetera. So, General Mattis has - or had, actually - a very difficult mission in Iraq. Before we start talking about what Mattis is doing in Iraq and how he was received, one shouldn't forget the code name of Mr. Mattis is "Mad Dog". And this Mad Dog came from the massacre under his command that was committed by the US army, and especially the Marines, in 2004 in Fallujah and Haditha.

So, actually, General Mattis should be sued for war crimes. He and the Marines under his command, whom he also helped to get them off the hook not to be sued for war crimes when they were under investigation, and so on, in Iraq. ...



Police, army forces storm Mosul airport, military camp [ - 23/2/17]



Eyewitnesses in Erbil Province revealed that Turkish warplanes attacked the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Kandil Mountains, north of the province. ...  [ - 22/2/17]



‏@vicentmontagud [21/2/17]:  El estado de destrucción de los templos cristianos es sobrecogedor. El Daesh voló este campanario con explosivos. #MosulOffensive  



United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [CENTCOM - 22/2/17]



... The U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Life Cycle Management Command ordered the vehicles for delivery to Iraqi forces in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. ... [CENTCOM - 22/2/17]



U.S. forces were shot at and returned fire in the Albu Saif area in southern Mosul.

The number of wounded, if any, was not released.

Currently, the town and the nearby airport are the focus of attention for security forces. ... [ - 22/2/17]



‏@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [22/2/17]: 


"3"persons including a woman were killed and another was wounded as the air force mistakenly shelled Shatt road in Tarmiya district north of Baghdad.


Baghdad: "4" persons were either killed or wounded as an IED exploded in Bakriya area west of Baghdad.



Over 600 migrants rescued from Mediterranean, taken to Sicily [EURO News - 22/2/17]



@Refugees_Gr [22/2/17]:  Arrival of 145 #refugeesgr today at #Chios island #Greece #refugeesgr #antireport Among them, many women & children ...



@AlbaFerrs [22/2/17]:  Pequeños refugiados yendo a las escuelas primarias 13ª y 33ª. El pequeño país de gran corazón



Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has ended a controversial partnership with federal immigration authorities that trained a team of county deputies to determine the immigration status of jailed suspects and hold those selected for deportation. ... [Houston Chronicle - 21/2/17]



Cristina remembers the first time her ankle monitor talked at her.

It spoke in Spanish.

From the surveillance device affixed to her ankle with a rubber medical grade strap came a man’s voice.

“The monitor said, ‘you need to report to the ICE official,’” she tells Inverse through a translator, referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“I called the ICE office and said, ‘I’m in court, they scheduled two meetings for the same time.’”

Cristina, who asked to have her last name withheld, was in the middle of an immigration hearing in San Antonio, Texas during this unsettling episode, back in May 2016.

She worried it could hurt her case, even though the disruption wasn’t her fault.

Her attorney, Julie Sparks, remembers the incident well.

“I was very upset. It was very unnerving, very disturbing,” Sparks says.

“She was just about to start her testimony and I felt they were just harassing her.” ... [Inverse - 20/2/17]



‏@JulianAssange [22/2/17]:  Ecuador's tough outgoing president @MashiRafael accuses possible president Lasso of 'selling out' my asylum to US



@JulianAssange [21/2/17]:  Why you should care about the crazed DC extradition of @KimDotCom [also Kim Snowden & I have the same US prosecutor] ...



Man who murdered Reza Barati escapes prison, again; Australian G4S accomplices still at large down under [The National - 23/2/17]:


... Acting Manus provincial police commander Senior Inspector David Yapu said yesterday Joshua Kaluvia, 23, of Muliagani village in Kove, West New Britain, escaped from the Lorengau jail on Saturday.

Kaluvia was charged with wilful murder of asylum seeker, Reza Barati at Manus Regional Processing Centre at Lombrum.

He was convicted by the National Court last year and sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment with hard labour.

“This is the second time Kaluvia has escaped from CS Lorengau,” Yapu said.

He said Kaluvia was considered high-risk and could be dangerous to the community.

“I appeal to the community in Manus to assist and provide information of his whereabouts to police so that he can be arrested before he does anything harmful to the community.” ...



A secret "deal" is NO deal. ---> Julie "protected and unaccountable" Bishop does breakfast show circuit as phoney Obama-Australia refugee "deal" narrative implodes [Nine MSN - 23/2/17]



WAITING ... WAITING ... WAITING ... WAITING...  ---> US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman renews call for declassification of phoney Obama-Australia refugee "deal" [Senator Chuck Grassley Media Release - 2/2/17]



23 February 2017