Several Yemeni fishermen killed in Saudi air strikes [Reuters - 24/10/15]
Citing the disastrous humanitarian consequences of the crisis in Yemen, the United Nations special envoy on the situation told the Security Council today that the ongoing violence has left the country “bleeding and its cities collapsing,” and he added that peace talks are the only way to restore the hope of Yemeni people “after all the suffering…crisis they have been victims of.”
In his briefing to the Council, UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the ongoing fighting has levied a heavy toll on Yemen’s civilian population, which has been left with no access to even the basic necessities for survival. .... [UN Media Release - 23/10/15]
Afghanistan: Clash erupts in Khamab district two days after it was "cleared of militants" [Khaama - 24/10/15]
At least 47 insurgents, including five commanders, were killed and Taliban pushed back from parts of southern Helmand province, officials said on Saturday.
The militants suffered the fatalities in joint operations by Afghan and NATO forces, which come amidst intensified insurgent attacks around Lashkargah, the provincial capital.
Lt. Col. Mohammad Rassoul Zazai, the 215th Maiwand Corps spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News Afghan Special Forces launched ground offensives in Babaji, Charbagh and Khudai Rahim areas.
The overnight ground operations were supported by airstrikes, Zazai said, adding notorious Taliban commanders Mullah Kamil, Abdul Rahman, Mullah Hidayatullah, Qari Gulalai and Hashemi were among the dead. ... [Pajhwok - 24/10/15]
Suicide bomber kills three in Nigeria's Maiduguri [Naharnet - 24/10/15]
The most senior United Nations relief official today urged the international community to increase their support for the humanitarian response in Cameroon, which is hosting more than 310,000 people who have fled conflicts in neighbouring Central African Republic and Nigeria. ... [UN Media Release - 23/10/15]
80 civilians killed in South Sudan county in October [Daily Star - 24/10/15]
Two United Nations experts on the human rights of migrants today called on the European Union to open regular and safe channels for migrants, saying “attempting to seal borders and the over-emphasis on the securitisation of borders is not going to reduce irregular migration in the long run.” ... [UN Media Release - 23/10/15]
The Lebanese navy Friday intercepted an overloaded boat carrying 36 migrants off the southern coast of Sarafand, the military announced in a statement . .
A patrol boat intercepted the dinghy at 3:30 a.m., two miles (3.2 kilometers) off the Sarafand seaport , the statement said.
It added that the small boat, which has a maximum carrying capacity of 10 people, was destined for Turkey.
The statement reported that the Army launched an investigation after the boat and the migrants were returned to the Lebanese shore.
Among the migrants were 14 Palestinians from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, 21 Palestinians from various refugee camps in Lebanon and one Lebanese citizen.
Army Intelligence later arrested five people in the southern city of Sidon, who are directly involved in the smuggling operation. ... [Ya Libnan - 23/10/15]
The United Nations said Saturday it had mistakenly sent hundreds of boxes of expired biscuits to besieged civilians in rebel-held areas near Damascus as part of a relief convoy earlier this month.
A total of 320 out of 650 boxes of high energy biscuits sent to Zabadani and Madaya on Oct. 18 had expired a month earlier. ... [Daily Star - 24/10/15]
Devastating flooding affects 25,000 Sahrawi refugees in Tindouf camps [UNHCR Media Release - 23/10/15]
@vicentmontagud [24/10/15]: Imposible no recordar imágenes de la II Guerra Mundial. También son refugiados. También es Europa. Eslovenia, ahora
@vicentmontagud [24/10/15]: Han pasado la noche al raso con temperaturas cercanas a los 0 grados. No hay mantas para todos. Encienden hogueras.
An EU initiative to screen and fingerprint all migrants and refugees arriving in Italy and Greece is creating chaos, particularly on the island of Lesvos where the new system is causing further delays in registering new arrivals and thousands of people have been queueing in the open for days. ... [IRIN - 23/10/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
... You're waiting by the hotdog stand
In the onion air
As the ball flies through the park ...
'Life Between The Wars', Al Stewart 
US Department of Defense [23/10/1]:
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.
Airstrike in Syria
Remotely piloted aircraft conducted a strike near Mar’a, which destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL mortar tube.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter, and bomber aircraft conducted 15 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Kisik, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Makhmur, a strike destroyed two ISIL weapons caches.
-- Near Mosul, four strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, suppressed ISIL mortar fire, and destroyed five ISIL heavy machine guns, five ISIL fighting positions, and an ISIL tactical vehicle.
-- Near Ramadi, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, four ISIL heavy machine guns, three ISIL mobility obstacles, two ISIL roadside bomb clusters, two ISIL mortar positions, an ISIL building, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL bomb and an ISIL anti-tank guided missile system.
-- Near Sinjar, three strikes destroyed 15 ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL command and control nodes.
-- Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck two separate ISIL bomb-making facilities.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
Moscow is ready to coordinate its activities in Syria with the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday.
“We are ready for such a profound coordination,” Lavrov said in an interview with Sergey Brilev on Vesti v Subbotu (Saturday News) show.
Lavrov also stressed that Russia was ready to provide aerial support to Syrian moderate opposition.
“We are ready to include the patriotic opposition, including the so-called Free Syrian Army, to provide it with aerial support, although we were declined information on where, according to US data, terrorists are located, and where is the patriotic opposition,” Lavrov added. ... [Sputnik News - 24/10/15]
Renas Lelikan: Australian trapped in Iraq refugee camp returns home, released by police
An Australian man who spent the past nine months trapped in an Iraqi refugee camp under threat from Islamic State (IS) militants has arrived back in Australia and was released by police after being held for almost 12 hours.
Renas Lelikan arrived in Melbourne shortly after 7:00am AEDT on a flight from Dubai, and was held by the Australian Federal Police for questioning at the airport before being released later Saturday evening.
Mr Lelikan told the ABC it felt good to be home after being under the threat of IS.
"It wasn't easy living under the threat of the IS terrorists," he said.
"The whole world knows what they do. [But] you can't just look at yourself being freed because there are thousands of people that still live there under the threat of Daesh terrorists."
Mr Lelikan was due to return to Australia a fortnight ago but a mix-up with his Iraqi travel documents delayed his travel plans.
In August, the ABC revealed that he had been refused a passport by DFAT over concerns about his alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The ABC understands that Mr Lelikan was granted a temporary travel document by DFAT which allowed him to return to Australia.
He said he was not a threat to the Australian people.
"I am not [a threat]," he said. "My whole life I have never felt sorry [for what I did]. It was right.
"I never did anything against our Australian Government. Wherever I went I did my job as a journalist."
His lawyer Jessie Smith said she was relieved her client was safe in Australia.
"It's an enormous relief that Renas has arrived safe in Australia," she said.
"It has been a nine-month process, under constant threat and rocket fire from Islamic State. We are grateful to DFAT and partner agencies who facilitated his passage home."
A small group of well-wishers are waiting to greet Mr Lelikan.
"We are very happy, he will more secure and safe in Australia," said Mahmut Kahraman from the Kurdish Association of Victoria.
"He is a Kurdish journalist and it shouldn't have taken this long, but we appreciate that the Australian Government have let him come back to his own country."
Mr Lelikan first contacted the Australian embassy in Baghdad in January, asking for a replacement passport to allow him to return to Australia.
His original Australian passport had been held in France after he was convicted of being associated with the PKK — a militant Kurdish group that is banned in France and Australia.
He fled France shortly after his conviction using the passport of a relative.
It is understood Mr Lelikan is not subject to any extradition request from France and the sole penalty for his leaving the country before the expiration of his sentence is a five-year ban from entering France.
Mr Lelikan was eventually told that his passport application was being processed, but he was then sent a lengthy questionnaire from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
In August his passport application was refused on national security grounds, but last month he was granted a temporary travel document.
US patrols to provoke Beijing in disputed South China Sea [Reuters – 24/10/15]
Maldives Vice President arrested in investigation of explosion targeting President
Channel News Asia [24/10/15]:
Maldives Vice President Ahmed Adheeb was arrested on Saturday in a probe over a speedboat explosion targeting President Abdulla Yameen, a police official told Reuters.
Yameen was unhurt in the Sept. 28 blast in his presidential boat Finifenmaa while he was returning from Saudi Arabia after the haj pilgrimage.
"We have arrested the vice president in relation to the Finifenmaa incident," a police media official told Reuters.
"He is now in police custody in Dhoonidhoo detention centre."
Home minister Umar Naseer in his twitter feed said the charge against the vice president was "high treason".
A series of blasts targeting Shiite Muslims in Dhaka killed at least one person and wounded dozens more early on Saturday as they gathered for a procession in the old part of the Bangladesh capital to mark the holy day of Ashura, police said. ... [Channel News Asia - 24/10/15]
New Zealand: Police obtained Hager data without court order
Police obtained detailed bank information about the journalist Nicky Hager without any court order while they were preparing to raid his house, court records show.
The search last October was part of a police investigation into the hacking of blogger Cameron Slater's computer.
Information from Mr Slater's computer was published in Mr Hager's book Dirty Politics.
Mr Hager challenged the legality of the search in a High Court hearing earlier this year.
The court has not yet released its decision, but court files released to the news website Scoop and published today show that police requested detailed information about Mr Hager from a range of organisations, without any court orders.
Those included Spark, Vodafone, Jetstar, Air New Zealand, TradeMe and "16 bank contacts".
The documents reveal that most of the organisations declined the request.
However, Westpac handed over detailed information, including bank statements.
The police can use a production order from the courts to force organisations to provide private information, if they have reasonable grounds to believe a crime has been committed, and if the documents would provide them with evidence of that crime.
In an affidavit, one of the police investigators, Detective Inspector Dave Lynch, said the request was to "ascertain any travel movements that may have been able to be linked to [Mr Hager] as well as assessing whether or not he was generating income from the proceeds of the book that could be considered for proceeds of crime action".
In a further affidavit, he said the request was also to work out whether Mr Hager had paid for any of the information from Mr Slater's computer.
However, in submissions to the court, Mr Hager's lawyers said the police request was unreasonable.
"The suggestion that the bank records might disclose payments to the source or otherwise disclose some other yet undetected offence was nothing more than speculation."
The police also lacked any reasonable grounds to believe that Mr Hager had even committed an offence, his lawyers said.
"This was done without obtaining any production orders and in circumstances where production orders would not have been available."
Imagine if Australia had an opposition
Detainees isolated and desperate [New Zealand Labour Party – 24/10/15]:
New Zealanders in Australia’s remote Christmas Island Detention Centre have spoken about the trauma of being locked up thousands of miles away from their families in a facility designed to house people considered to be a terrorism threat.
Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis gained access to some of the 40 New Zealanders being detained while appealing against their deportations yesterday.
He says the five hour visit was highly emotional: “We were able to hear about all the alleged human rights violations and assess their health and well-being.
“They’re angry, hungry, traumatised and so desperate to return to their homes in Australia they are even considering rioting.
“These New Zealand born Australians are not murderers or rapists. They have served their time yet Australian authorities are treating them as though they are a terrorism threat.
“The stories of the eight detainees we met were all consistent. They hate the isolation, the lack of family contact, and the lack of contact with legal support.
“None of them want to take up John Key’s proposal to return to New Zealand to settle their visa applications. They think it’s a trick designed to prevent them from returning to their families and jobs in Australia.
He said he was grateful to Australia Border Force superintendent Maritime Operations WA, Mark Wilson, who allowed the five hour visit.
“We were drug tested on arrival, then escorted into an airless visit room where the detainees were brought in two at a time for 30 minute visits.
“We weren’t allowed to film or record their stories so we sat and yarned, laughed and cried about their plight.
“We also took a box of chocolates for Ricardo Young who turns 30 today, and whose family asked us to take him a cake after we met them in Sydney. However such is the ridiculousness of the rules the authorities couldn’t decide if he was allowed the chocolates.
“These people are not terrorist threats and they don’t deserve to be locked up thousands of kilometres away from their families,” Kelvin Davis said.
We do not accept the relentless, regressive and expunged narratives.
And we are not going to shut up.
... Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go ...
'Beware of Darkness', George Harrison 
My amazing wife @VanessaJDodd talking (without notice or prep) at @racvictoria #refugees rally in Melbourne.
Image: @JoelRDodd [24/10/15]
#rran protest to #bringbackabyan #freetherefugees [Perth]
Sit-in to #bringbackabyan #freetherefugees ...
Suvendrini Pereira reads Ravi's poem ...
@rranwa [23/10/15]: banner drop by @rranwa at our speak out tonight calling on #Auspol to #bringbackAbyan
If medical service providers or detention centre operators are negligent, Australian taxpayers are exposed to claims for damages. [The Age - 23/10/15]:
... If we accept the veracity of this information, it shows the Commonwealth failed to exercise an appropriate level of care for Abyan.
This is a young woman who has suffered trauma – she has been accepted as a refugee from war-torn Somalia. She is pregnant in the most awful of circumstances, and English is not her first language. To simply give her access to nursing staff and a GP is well below what a woman in her position is entitled to as a patient.
But it gets worse. Abyan is sent back to Nauru, still pregnant, and finds a journalist from The Australian newspaper wanting to interview her.
Surely the Commonwealth would understand that to fail to protect Abyan from further mental health deterioration and exposure to the media is not just morally but legally wrong.
The treatment of Abyan is symptomatic of the Australian government's cavalier attitude to its legal duty of care to asylum seekers. ...
To Return Nazanin to Nauru is like putting
band aids on victims of domestic violence
Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites Media Release [23/10/15]:
RAPBS has heard that Nazanin, the 23 year-old raped on Nauru, will be moved to the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre on Monday.
Usually this is the preparation for removal. Abyan, pregnant as a result of rape, was returned to Nauru last week.
She remains in an utterly precarious situation.
Arezo, sexually assaulted while under medical care, was returned in June.
Arezo. Abyan. And many others. We cannot let Nazanin be next.
Nazinin’s entire family has been subjected to cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment and driven to the point of multiple suicide attempts.
Dr Helen Driscoll has warned of the “impending demise” of the entire family.
RAPBS calls on all doctors to refuse to return traumatized detainees to the conditions which are the cause of their trauma.
“One of the profound treatment needs when somebody is traumatised is to reverse what occurred during the trauma. That is, there needs to be safety, there needs to be not isolation, there needs to be connectedness, warmth and - and dignity.” Dr Helen Driscoll
These are not the conditions to which Nazanin will be returned.
Please help keep Nazanin in Australia.
Reunite her with her family.
NO REFOULEMENT TO CONDITIONS TANTAMOUNT TO TORTURE.
The Age [24/10/15]:
... If the opposition, any opposition, has used the word "please" when pressing the government for information in question time, I, for one, am struggling to recall it.
Marles called her an asylum seeker, when in fact she is a refugee who has been found to have a genuine fear of persecution if returned to Somalia.
He neglected to mention she was single, with a complicated medical history, and that she maintains the pregnancy is the result of being raped on July 18 after her release from detention on Nauru.
His question was open-ended, rather than focused on why it had taken so long to bring the woman to Australia after she requested an abortion (which is unlawful on Nauru), and why she was returned on a charter flight after just five days, at significant cost.
No wonder Dutton began his response by thanking Marles very much for the question, and "very much for the way he framed the question as well". ...
Is the Australian government's bullying and harassment of refugees deliberately provoking suicide? ---> The death of Khodayar Amini [The Saturday Paper - 24/10/15]
What is Brodie’s Law?
Victoria’s anti-bullying legislation, known as Brodie’s Law, commenced in June 2011 and made serious bullying a crime punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
Brodie’s Law was introduced after the tragic suicide of a young woman, Brodie Panlock, who was subjected to relentless bullying in her workplace.
Brodie’s Law makes serious bullying a criminal offence by extending the application of the stalking provisions in the Crimes Act 1958 to include behaviour that involves serious bullying.
The offence of stalking, and therefore conduct that amounts to serious bullying, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Indonesia: Ubud festival banned from discussing 1965 massacre
Jakarta Post [23/10/15]:
The annual Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) has been forced to cancel a series of panel discussions on the 1965 Communist repression in Indonesia following scrutiny from local authorities, the festival director said on Friday.
Founder and director of the UWRF Janet DeNeefe said in a statement published on the festival's website that she was disappointed about the cancellation of the three sessions dedicated to the victims of 1965 bloody massacre.
As well as the panel discussion, also cancelled were a screening of Joshua Oppenheimer's film The Look of Silence and an art exhibition and book launch titled The Act of Living.
"The team has worked extremely hard over the past few weeks to try and ensure that these programs would go ahead. It’s extremely disappointing and saddening that after all our efforts, and those of our panelists and partners, we are unable to host these sessions without jeopardizing the rest of the festival," she said in statement on Friday.
The announcement was made after extensive negotiations with local authorities.
She said that the festival had a mission to create a platform for people to discuss various issues that have a great impact on many people, such as the 1965 tragedy.
"We chose to dedicate a proportion of the program to enriching our understanding of this, through themes of reconciliation and remembrance," she added, saying that the sessions would create discussions to help those whose lives were severely affected.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 communist purge, during which it is believed that up to 1 million people were killed, from 1965 to 1966.
The 12th festival will run from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, with the grand theme of "17,000 Islands of Imagination".
This will be the first time the UWRF has had panel sessions come under scrutiny from local authorities, including the government, police and military.
The festival, director DeNeefe said, will continue to promote freedom of literary, artistic and creative expression.
"We sincerely hope that the festival will continue to create open space for constructive conversation in the years to come," she said.
Hanna Nabila, national media coordinator for the UWRF, said that the organizers had explained that the discussion will be about victims of the tragedy.
"We don't get into the political side, actually. But, maybe it is still too sensitive, so we didn't get authorization for several programs," she told thejakartapost.com.
Even though authorities did not make explicit threats, Hanna said the organizer would follow through and cancel the necessary sessions.
"We worry that if we don't obey them, unwanted things may occur," she said.
Gianyar Police chief Adj. Sr. Cmr. Farman admitted that the authorities had banned certain sessions at the UWRF relating to the 1965 massacre.
"This is for the benefit of the people. The spirit of the festival is not to discuss things that would just open old wounds," he said.
Farman claimed that the authorities only gave the organizer permission to hold a festival of writers and readers, not film screenings.
"The movie did not even pass the censorship requirements," he said referring to Oppenheimer's movie.
He warned the organizers to follow through and cancel the sessions, saying that if they didn’t the police would forcefully stop the festival.
PNG police to reinvestigate Hanuabada shootings eyewitness statements
PNG Loop [23/10/15]:
The eye witness statements that were collected in the previous Hanuabada shooting investigations will be redone by police investigators.
Acting Director of Crimes Moses Ibsagi said his team of investigators will need to go over all the statements and see what new leads that they can follow.
He said that despite the one month time frame given, he is confident that arrests will be made soon.
Meantime, Ibsagi also told PNG Loop that while all the bullet heads taken have been tested against all weapons submitted in for tests, no matches have been found.
Now the only established fact is that the bullet came from a police issued fire arm but the actual gun and the police officer that shot the gun has yet to be identified.
Ibsagi says that they will need to go back to all the officers on duty logs from that day and interview all commanders or officers in the cars that were assigned in that area.
He explained that in that way this will account for all the personnel and the weapons that were signed against the names of the police officer that was in the various cars that were on sight at HB during the incident.
Business as usual as Australia continues ignoring human rights abuses in West Papua [RNZI - 23/10/15]:
Australia's new Prime Minister has indicated that his government will prioritise economic interests over support to reinscribe West Papua on the UN list of territories to be decolonised.
The sign came via a letter from Malcolm Turnbull in response to correspondence by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
The ULMWP petitioned Mr Turnbull to bring serious attention about Indonesia's Papua region at the United Nations and for support for a Solomon Islands push for West Papuan de-colonisation to be considered.
The prime minister's reply doesn't mention West Papua, but asserts that "to succeed in a rapidly expanding global market and to remain a high wage, generous social welfare net first world economy, we need to be more agile, creative, productive and innovative".
The ULMWP ambassador for Australia and Pacific countries, Amatus Douw, says it's hard to get Canberra to change its stand, given its economic interests in Indonesia.
"He explained that he's only concerned about Australia's economic prosperity, that's what he's saying in that letter. And I know how many Australian companies are operating in West Papua, including Rio Tinto which is one of the biggest shareholder companies from Australia (in Freeport McMoran's Papua operations), and also the other mining companies operating in West Papua as well."
Mr Douw says it is encouraging that the ULMWP has a dialogue with Canberra and will continue to advocate on the matter.
He says numerous parties in Australia's political spectrum do support the West Papuan self-determination bid.
He points out that Papuans made a great effort to help Australia stave off its enemies in New Guinea during World War II, and that Canberra has a moral obligation to help West Papuans.
The relationship between Australians and West Papuans, he says, requires commitment into the future.
Turkey finds 244 protesters guilty in Gezi Park trial, sentences them to 14 months jail [Ahram – 23/10/15]
There will be no increase in university tuition fees for 2016, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
"We have agreed that there should be a zero increase," Zuma said in a televised address.
His address comes after a meeting with student leaders and university officials following a nationwide protest against increased fees.
Thousands of students had travelled from around Pretoria and Johannesburg to attend the demonstration, which gradually degenerated into violent scenes at a fence erected on the south lawn separating the students from the Union Buildings. ... [News 24 - 23/10/15]
Wouldn't you do anything you could to escape?
Northern Territory police have recaptured two of three teenagers who escaped youth detention near Alice Springs on Thursday night.
A 15-year-old and two 16-year-olds allegedly assaulted a guard and stole his keys at the facility, before scaling a fence.
Watch Commander Darrell Kerr said the teenagers were arrested on Friday night after a public tip-off.
"They've been conveyed back to the Alice Springs police station to the watch house where they've been charged with a number of offences in relation to their escape," Commander Kerr said.
He said the charges related to escaping custody and the alleged assault, and a bail application would be made to a magistrate on Saturday.
Police are urging the public to report any information as to the whereabouts of 15-year-old Bennett Briscoe.
NT’s youth justice practices risk breaching human rights [Human Rights Law Centre – 11/6/15]
University of WA professor Robert Cunningham and environmental consultant Catherine Atoms are claiming unspecified damages over an incident in which they were shot with a Taser gun and detained by uniformed police.
Dr Cunningham and Ms Atoms allege their treatment by three officers attached to the Fremantle police station constituted battery and assault, breaches of duty of care, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution in the Magistrate’s Court.
The couple were cleared in 2010 of charges of obstructing a public officer, which came after an incident outside the Esplanade Hotel early on November 2, 2008.
They had been celebrating Dr Cunningham’s birthday when they stopped to help a stranger who had fallen into bushes by the road. ... [West Australian - 24/10/15]
14-year-old girl charged with robbery, Helensvale [QPS Media - 22/10/15]:
Detectives from the Gold Coast Child Protection and Investigation Unit have arrested a 14-year-old Kingston girl in relation to a robbery with violence at Sir John Overell Drive, Helensvale.
Police will allege that on Monday the girl assaulted a 15-year-old girl before stealing some shoes and a mobile phone.
The victim suffered minor lacerations to her face and did not require medical attention.
The 14-year-old girl was arrested and charged with one count of robbery with violence and will be dealt with under the provisions of the Youth Justices Act.
New Zealand politician visits Kiwis incarcerated in Australia's concentration camp on Christmas Island
Why would NZ support Australia's bid to join the UN Human Rights council when they're treating Kiwis like terrorists? says @NgatiBird
They're not terrorists. They're just blokes. Seen scarier fullas peeling spuds and opening kina out the back of my marae, says @NgatiBird
It's a violation of human rights exasperated by the tyranny of distance, says @NgatiBird after 5 hour visit inside Christmas Island DC.
Labour MP Kelvin Davis joins Larry Williams to discuss his experience with trying to meet the Kiwi detainees on Christmas Island. He has been there for the past week. ... [AUDIO - News Talk ZB - 23/10/15]
Phnom Penh Post [22/10/15]:
With the deadline looming for hundreds of Montagnard asylum seekers in Cambodia to return “voluntarily” to the site of their alleged persecution or be forced back across the border, a group who have spent months living in the shadows this week spoke out about their life in limbo and fears of impending abuse.
In a safe-house on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, four of the Vietnamese asylum seekers knelt on the floor of a dingy room where they recalled the beatings and arrests they say drove them into Cambodia.
Three of them arrived seven months ago, crossing the well-trodden path over the border into Ratanakkiri province’s vast forests with eight other asylum seekers.
The fourth arrived in July in a group of 13, crossing into Svay Rieng province. Like hundreds of others, they then travelled down to the capital in hopes that the United Nations would be able to help.
They are now sharing a house with 35 other asylum seekers, including 10 young children. Between three and five people are crammed into each bedroom, they said.
With the government refusing to register their claims and threatening to deport them if they haven’t returned to Vietnam by February 6, they have little to do but wait to be forced back home, where they say abuse is inevitable.
Life in a city that doesn’t want them has proved solitary, with the group rarely venturing outside for fear of arrest.
ABC correspondent in Rangoon suddenly interested in the jade trade
Rakhine extremists try to attack Rohingyas in Aung Mingalar Quarter, Sittwe [Rohingya Blogger - 23/10/15]
Fears of an imminent massacre continues to loom over Rohingyas in Kyauktaw township as Rakhine leaders perpetuate rumours claiming the Muslims have killed two Buddhists in the area.
Armed Rakhine gangs kept up their presence around many Muslim neighbourhoods in the area threatening the Rohingyas with attacks.
Meanwhile police entered villages and made a list of Rohingyas alleging they were involved in the murder and disappearance of two Rakhine men.
The Rohingyas listed by the police are the ones who are more vocal for the rights of the community and are involved in humanitarian work. ... [Burma Times - 22/10/15]
Total E&P Myanmar announced last week that it had bought a 40 percent interest in offshore block A-6.
The block is located in the Rakhine Basin off Myanmar’s western coast in the Bay of Bengal, and was formerly 50-50 owned by Myanmar Petroleum Resources Limited (MPRL) and Australia’s Woodside Petroleum. ... [Myanmar Times - 22/10/15]
US drone strikes kill 16 near Pak-Afghan border [Times of India - 23/10/15]
Local officials said on Friday said that some foreign troops and personnel from the Afghan special police unit have reached Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, and adjacent areas to contain the insurgency.
Taliban militants have been waging attacks on security posts in neighborhoods of Lashkargah over the past few days.
Helmand police spokesman Shah Mohammad Ashna told Pajhwok Afghan News that Taliban militants had decreased their attacks in Lashkargah and its adjacent areas including nearby Nad Ali district since last night.
He said operations were underway in Baba Jee area of Lashkargah, Nad Ali and Greshk districts and the forces had advanced while the insurgents had lost courage to put up resistance.
Ashna said 10 US military tanks and some personnel reached Lashkargah from neighbouring Kandahar province last night. The American troops would call in air support and conduct operations when needed, he said. ... [Pajhwok - 23/10/15]
The dead body of Ghormach district police chief has been found along with 12 other policemen, local officials in Faryab province said Friday.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Abdul Majeed Glimbafi and the 12 police officers have been ascertained so far as there are conflicting reports regarding the incident. ... [Khaama - 23/10/15]
Suicide bomber kills 16 at procession for Shi'ite holiday in Pakistan [Reuters - 23/10/15]
Mosque blasts kill 55 in NE Nigeria [Yahoo - 23/10/15]
... In 2010, IBM employees delivered a talk at IBM’s Analytics Solution Center in Washington, D.C., titled “An Introduction to Edge Methods: Business Analytics and Optimization for Intelligence.” The audience was “the Defense and Intelligence communities,” and IBM’s goal was to explain to them how the company could help them with “managing large volumes of data” to derive “invaluable” insights. Among its already-existing governmental customers, IBM explained, was the ISR Task Force. ... Drones, IBM, and the big data of death [The Intercept - 23/10/15]
Egyptian police officer killed by explosive device in North Sinai [Ahram - 23/10/15]
Two Egyptian policemen and two civilians were wounded on Friday morning while attempting to defuse an explosive device at Al-Remaia Square near the pyramids in Giza governorate, Egypt's Ministry of Interior announced in the late afternoon. ... [Ahram - 23/10/15]
Shelling kills 5 at Libya rally against UN peace deal: Medics [Ahram - 23/10/15]
Ignoring US destabilization of Libya, GOP Benghazi Hearing asks Clinton all the wrong questions [Democracy Now - 23/10/15]:
… AMY GOODMAN: The Obama administration has been criticized for its handling of the aftermath of the Benghazi attack. The White House initially said the consulate was attacked by protesters denouncing a short American film insulting the Prophet Muhammad. But it later turned out the attack was carried out by well-armed militants. The militants first attacked the diplomatic mission, then a secret CIA annex. Republicans say Clinton ignored pre-attack warnings and mishandled its aftermath. While previous reports have been scathing over security failures and have led to firings at the State Department, none have accused Clinton or other top officials of wrongdoing.
Well, joining us for more is Melvin Goodman, former CIA and State Department analyst, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and director of the Center’s National Security Project. His latest book, National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Mel Goodman. Can you start off by talking about the significance of the hearing yesterday, what was learned, what wasn’t learned, and what you think are the key questions to be asked that may have never been asked formally by any of these committees?
MELVIN GOODMAN: Thank you, Amy. What was learned was irrelevant. What was relevant wasn’t discussed. And it was those areas that concern me. Why was the CIA operating a base out of Benghazi? Why was the State Department operating a transitional mission facility, a TMF—it wasn’t a consulate—in Benghazi? Why was Ambassador Stevens, who was aware of the security situation, in Benghazi in the first place? So, none of these questions have been asked.
And remember, when the plane flew these survivors out of Benghazi to get them back to Tripoli, for every State Department official on that plane, there were five or six CIA employees. And my sources tell me that the CIA was there to buy back weapons that we had given to Gaddafi in the first place. So the question all of this begs—and this is where Hillary Clinton’s remarks did concern me—is that we created a disaster in Libya. It was the decision to conduct regime change, the decision to go after Gaddafi, which eventually led to his death. And remember, Hillary Clinton welcomed that news with the words "We came, we saw, he died."
Now, there is a link to what Putin is doing in Syria, because, remember, we had to tell the Russians that we had very limited objectives, a very limited mission in Benghazi, so that they would not veto the U.N. resolution. And then, essentially, Putin finds out that our mission really was to go after Gaddafi, creating this instability, this discontinuity, this chaos in Libya.
So what really needs to be discussed is, what is the role of military power in the making of foreign policy? Why does Hillary Clinton think that Libya is not a disaster? And why was Hillary Clinton pushing for the military role in Libya in the first place? These are important issues.
24 October 2015