Queensland independent MP Billy Gordon will not face charges relating to alleged domestic violence owing to insufficient evidence, police have said. ... [ABC - 25/9/15]
"I saw the gun pointing at me and I thought I had to put my head on the ground," he said.
Five Palm Islanders who were children during the raids have described having guns pointed at them.
Nine MSN [24/9/15]:
Hours after witnessing their father being shot with a taser gun, Lex Wotton's traumatised children were ordered to sit down by a detective.
"What did your father do?" Detective Sergeant Darren Robinson asked after conducting an early morning raid on their home.
Mr Wotton's partner, Cecilia Wotton, gave the evidence at a groundbreaking trial to determine whether alleged police failures after the 2004 death of Mulrunji Doomadgee on the Palm Island watchhouse floor were racially discriminatory.
She cried as she described Det Sgt Robinson shining a light in her eyes and forcefully telling her to get on the ground during a raid involving masked and heavily armed police.
He returned to the house in the afternoon and asked the children, one of whom allegedly had a gun pointed at her head during the raids, "do you know what he (their father) did?"
"I said 'I don't think you should be asking him the question'," Ms Wotton told the court.
Mr Wotton spent 20 months in jail for inciting the riots that led to the local police station and home of Mulrunji's arresting officer being burnt to the ground.
Ms Wotton said she cried when she saw her partner's face on the news and as he told her to prepare for his arrest the night before the raids.
The court heard that Detective Robinson returned to the house twice after trying to talk to the children.
The first time he tried to get Ms Wotton to go to counselling and the second time she ignored him.
Among the allegations outlined by the class action, launched by Mr Wotton on behalf of Palm Islanders, is that the post-riot raids and arrests without warrants were excessive and would not have happened in any other Queensland community that was not predominantly aboriginal.
Earlier in the day, the court heard from Chevez Morton, who was nine when he saw police officers get out of his commandeered school bus and come towards his house.
He was ordered to put his face on the ground but was reluctant because he was lying near mud.
"I saw the gun pointing at me and I thought I had to put my head on the ground," he said.
Five Palm Islanders who were children during the raids have described having guns pointed at them.
Each has denied suggestions from lawyers for the state of Queensland that police were holding the guns in front of them rather than intentionally pointing them at the children.
Det Sgt Robinson was a friend of Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley who dealt with Mulrunji before he died and was later cleared of his manslaughter.
The trial will continue at a special court set up at a Palm Island school on Friday.
Hebron teen laid to rest as witness refutes Israeli account of killing [Maan - 23/9/15]
3200 Palestinians have been detained by the Israeli authorities since the beginning of the year, the Palestinian Prisoners' Center for Studies (PPCS) said on Wednesday in a press statement.
PPCS asserted that administrative detention has become a strategy consistently employed by the Israeli authorities.
While arrests have been made across all Palestinian areas including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, around a third of the detainees were arrested in Jerusalem. ... [Ahram - 23/9/15]
Afghanistan: Paktika deputy police chief among 4 injured in bomb blast [Pajhwok - 23/9/15]
Afghanistan's Civil Aviation Authority said on Tuesday that the Afghan government has completely taken over air traffic control operations from NATO. ... [TOLO News - 23/9/15]
More than 300 killed in Saudi Hajj stampede [Al Jazeera - 24/9/15]
A suicide bomber struck a mosque in Yemen's capital on Thursday in an attack targeting Shiite worshipers that killed at least 25 people and wounded dozens during holiday prayers, medics and witnesses said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Sanaa has been shaken by a string of bombings by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in recent months targeting Shiites. ... [Naharnet - 24/9/15]
David Cameron faces a legal challenge over the decision to target Islamic State terrorists in Syria despite parliament refusing approval for airstrikes.
The UK prime minister revealed earlier this month that an RAF drone had killed two Britons in an attack near the city of Raqqa, describing the action as an “act of self defence”.
Green party MP Caroline Lucas and peer Jenny Jones have joined forces with human rights charity Reprieve to take the first step towards a judicial review.
In a pre-action letter to the defence secretary and attorney general, lawyers for the politicians argue that the government has either failed to formulate a “targeted killing policy” or failed to publish it.
Both positions are illegal under domestic and international law, the letter says. ... [Guardian - 24/9/15]
Syrian government forces used newly arrived Russian warplanes to bomb ISIS fighters in Aleppo province in northern Syria, a monitor said on Thursday, in an attempt to break a siege on a nearby air base. ... [Daily Star - 24/9/15]
Turkish jets strike Kurdish targets in the southeast [Ahram - 24/9/15]
German Defense Ministry says its top military officer in Iraq passes away [US News - 23/9/15]
From Abu Ghraib To Black Lives Matter: Meet the NYPD's most notorious anti-activist cop [Gothamist - 23/9/15]
Parents of 43 Mexican students who disappeared last year began a 43-hour hunger strike on Wednesday, a day before meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto ahead of the case's anniversary. ... [Yahoo - 24/9/15
US border patrol agent indicted in fatal shooting of teen on Mexican border [Guardian - 24/9/15]
A young man believed to be from Africa has been hit by a freight train and killed near the Channel tunnel entrance in Calais, French officials have confirmed.
The incident took place at around 2am on Thursday, local authorities said, adding that the victim was thought to be from Eritrea or Sudan. He is thought to have been possibly aged under 18. ... [Guardian - 24/9/15]
Austria says it has sent over 5,000 migrants back to other EU countries [Reuters - 24/9/15]
About 1,200 migrants and refugees arrived on the Greek island of Lesbos on Thursday in under an hour, in the second day of a sharp rise in arrivals from Turkey.
Twenty-four boats, each carrying about 50 people, arrived from Turkey on one Lesbos beach within 45 minutes and more were on the way, a Reuters photographer on the scene said.
The majority were young Afghan men and some families. ... [Ahram - 24/9/15]
EU chief: Close the doors and windows as millions more migrants are coming [Telegraph - 24/9/15]
European Union leaders have pledged another €1bn (£700m, $1.1bn) to help UN agencies support Syrian refugees in the Middle East, as part of renewed efforts to tackle the EU's migrant crisis.
More help will be extended to Syria's neighbours, where millions have fled since the country's conflict began.
The leaders also agreed on strengthening EU external borders. ... [BBC - 24/9/15]
Search and rescue charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) will in the coming weeks set sail to South East Asia to expand its life-saving mission to another region of the world currently facing large scale refugee movements by sea. ... [Media Release - 23/9/15
MSF ceases operations on Phoenix rescue ship [Media
Release – 23/9/15]:
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was informed that MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) has decided to stop its current search and rescue operation on the Mediterranean Sea.
As a result, MSF will no longer provide emergency medical assistance and post-rescue care on board the MY Phoenix as it has done since 2 May.
Despite the end of MSF’s work on board the MY Phoenix, MSF remains committed to assisting people in the central Mediterranean with its two MSF operated search and rescue vessels, the Dignity I and Bourbon Argos.
MSF is also assisting migrants and refugees across Europe as well as in countries affected by conflict and humanitarian crises including Syria, Turkey, Ethiopia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
“There is still the need for sustained, proactive and dedicated search and rescue vessels," said Will Turner, MSF Emergency Coordinator on board the MY Phoenix.
"So far this year more than 2,800 people have drowned whilst seeking a life in Europe. As long as conflicts lead to mass displacements, which in turn overwhelm neighbouring countries, people in need of safe haven will reach out to Europe.
"In the absence of safe and legal ways for them to arrive, people will continue to risk their lives, and die, at sea,” added Will.
In almost five months of operations, the six-person MSF team on board the MY Phoenix has cared for 6,985 people rescued from unseaworthy wooden and rubber boats.
Fleeing places like Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, Gambia and Libya, those rescued have told horrific stories of their countries of origin, their journey and their harrowing time in Libya.
They have been treated by MSF for a range of conditions ranging from mild dehydration and hypothermia to kidney failure and gunshot wounds.
Since operations began on 2 May, MSF teams on board of the MY Phoenix, Bourbon Argos and Dignity I have assisted some 16,113 people on the Mediterranean Sea.
@guardiacostiera [23/9/15]: #NaveDattilo e 2 motovedette classe 300 della #GuardiaCostiera soccorrono un barcone a est di Crotone. Salvati 282 #migranti
Australian media issue another reminder that refugees are not human and are not welcome in Australia: ... "Asylum seekers thinking about getting on boats should realise nothing has changed," Mr Getchell [IOM Indonesia] said. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 24/9/15] Cover up of Australia's human rights atrocities continues.
They want slaves: Myanmar launches Thilawa industrial zone [Bangkok Post – 23/9/15]
Myanmar has released its final list of candidates for the upcoming general election, with more than 6,000 people running for positions in the national parliament and regional legislatures.
However, at least 75 independent or opposition party candidates have been disqualified, many because of the citizenship status of their parents.
Among them are about 15 of 18 candidates from the Democracy and Human Rights Party, a Muslim majority party whose candidates tried to run in the Rakhine state constituencies.
A Rohingya member of parliament who was disqualified from running for re-election last week told a U.S. congressional hearing that Myanmar is stripping Muslims and other minorities of their rights in the democratic process. ... [VOA - 22/9/15]
Voyage of the Damned: Rohingya refugee exiled by Australia and the IOM from Nauru to Cambodia still awaiting return to Myanmar
Phnom Penh Post [23/9/15]:
A Rohingya refugee who has chosen to leave Cambodia rather than stay as part of a controversial resettlement deal with Australia will have to wait at least another 20 days to return to Myanmar, a government official said yesterday.
Interior Ministry spokesman General Khieu Sopheak said Cambodian authorities had arranged an exit visa for the refugee but had been told by Myanmar authorities that the necessary paperwork was still being processed.
“He’s waiting for the passport or travel documents from Myanmar,” Sopheak said.
“The paperwork is in Yangon.… 10 days ago they said at least one month.”
Earlier this month, Second Secretary at the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs Moe Htet Kyaw confirmed that the refugee, one of four to arrive under the deal in June, had requested through the embassy on August 7 to return home.
The revelation came amid reports the A$40 million ($28 million) deal to settle refugees held by Australia on the island of Nauru was in jeopardy after only four arrivals.
However, the Cambodian government has since revealed four more volunteers, including another Rohingya, who they will soon interview.
Starting from last year, thousands of Muslim Rohingyas in Buddhist-majority Myanmar have fled the country – where they are denied citizenship – in a bid to escape pervasive discrimination.
Speaking yesterday, Ian Rintoul, spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition, said that without very specific arrangements, the repatriation did not appear something that could work in practice.
The Myanmar Embassy did not respond yesterday.
Voyage of the St. Louis [United States Holocaust Memorial Museum]
Turner Classic Movies:
Based on a chilling real-life incident from the early days of World War II, Voyage of the Damned (1976) told the dramatic story of a shipload of European Jews expelled from Hitler's Germany who sailed across the Atlantic in 1939 in a quest to gain asylum in Havana, Cuba, and eventually the United States.
What they found when they arrived was a shocking and ultimately deadly slap-in-the-face that still reverberates today, nearly seventy years later.
The ship was the SS St. Louis, out of Hamburg, and the voyage was actually a Nazi-crafted ruse straight from the warped mind of propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
The Nazis knew that the U.S. would be reluctant to offer sanctuary to the passengers, therefore the Nazi policy of persecution would be validated and the world would accept their heinous treatment of Germany's Jewish citizens. ...
"People smugglers" aren't "back in action" because Turnbull feigned "concern" for a few hours.
The Australian political and media establishment are vicious, anti refugee racists.
This news article from the Singaporean media doesn't mention "people smugglers" at all -----> Indonesia arrests 18 migrants bound for Australia [Channel News Asia - 24/9/15]
What Australia is doing to repel refugees is hidden in plain sight - and we are committing crimes against humanity.
New Zealand government refers refugees to Australia [RNZI - 13/6/15]:
The Government has told 65 asylum seekers wanting to live in New Zealand to contact United Nations officials in Australia.
The people, from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, say they were heading for New Zealand when they were shipwrecked on an Indonesian reef earlier this month.
In a letter seen by Radio New Zealand, the group made a plea to the Government for asylum, saying it is unsafe for them to return home.
A written reply from the office of the Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, said while New Zealand accepted 750 refugees annually, it could not pick and choose.
It said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra was responsible for inquires dealing with New Zealand and suggested the group approach that office. [The UNHCR Canberra have said nothing - as is their usual response to regional refugee issues - and the media have not asked them about the refugees' predicament.]
A UN representative in Indonesia said they met with the group, 52 of whom were registered as refugees.
... Nazmul Hassan, who identifies himself as one of the 65 in a Kupang detention centre, said they just wanted a peaceful life.
"We leave our country because of some problems and political violence and [too many problems]."
"We are really in trouble now, and under pressure now."
Mr Hassan said they were all confined to one room at the centre in West Timor. He said the group was mentally and physically exhausted. ... [RNZI - 7/6/15]
Sydney Morning Herald [2/6/15]:
... Fishermen spotted two boats floating near Landuti island in the West Rote district, 500 kilometres north-east of the Australian coast, on Sunday.
"They looked exhausted," Rote police chief Hidayat said.
"One female passenger is pregnant – we took her immediately to the hospital but she is ok now."
Mr Hidayat said the migrants told him they had been caught by Australian customs on May 26, who sunk their boat.
They were put in two blue and white boats, and sent back into Indonesian waters. ...
The head of the department that oversees the Australian Border Force is initiating potentially costly legal proceedings at taxpayers’ expense in a bid to keep secret a single document about the federal government’s asylum seeker turnback operations, despite some of the material being publicly available. ... [Guardian - 2/9/15]
... I was asked to assist in processing 150 Tamil asylum seekers into the RPC 3. These Tamil asylum seekers were transferred during the night from Australia with no knowledge after being held at sea for an extensive period of time.
The asylum seekers spoke of being roughly handled by staff in Australia, pushed onto planes and sent to Nauru without their knowledge.
Immigration in Australia had attempted to separate families onto planes and this caused upset as they didn’t know where they would be going.
Some Men arrived to RPC1 with no shirts or shoes on, women had no bras on and were wearing oversized clothing and some children had no pants and no underwear on.
When asked what had happened the asylum seekers stated they were in the middle of doing their washing after being held on the boat for so long. Whilst they were doing washing they were forced onto the plane and all their belongings were left behind.
Men stated that their shirts were ripped off their backs and women’s bras were broken when they were man handled to get onto the plane to Nauru. They stated they were scared as they didn’t know where they were going and Australian staff were separating families.
They spoke of trauma from being on the boat where the Australian Navy separated the men women and children, splitting families up. Children were sick on the boat and medical care wasn’t provided.
Only allowed one hour outside their room on the boat per day.
Items being destroyed by Australian Navy
I worked with a family from boat id starting with SGN who stated that all their possessions were destroyed by the Australian Navy on the water. They were transferred to a the Navy boat and were told to leave their belongings behind and they would be transferred later.
The family discussed that once everyone was transferred to the Navy boat the Navy lit the boat with all their belongings on fire.
The family discussed their sadness watching all their life belongings sink to the bottom of the ocean. These belongings included money, passports, photos and clothing.
Tamil asylum seekers not illegally detained at sea: High Court [SBS - 28/1/15]
A leading authority on refugee law - Professor James Hathaway - is currently in Australia. The media are ignoring him.
Refugee Crisis: Australia deliberately punishes asylum seekers who manage to get here by keeping them separated from their families.
Whether or not they donate their organs is irrelevant.
This case is one of millions worldwide.
We need to get serious about adhering to the UN Refugee Convention - not playing favourites.
Begging fascists for consideration (on the basis of medical sacrifice) is a capitulation to the limited parameters of the Australian political, media and human rights establishment's anti human refugee narrative. [SBS - 24/9/15]:
Rishve Sivalingham died in hospital after being found collapsed in the front yard of his home in Sydney, bleeding and struggling to breathe.
The cause of death has yet to be officially determined, but friends say he was still recovering from a serious head injury from a work accident in December.
The 29-year-old was kept on life support at Westmead Hospital while medical staff contacted his wife in India.
She gave consent to donate her husband’s heart, lungs, liver, kidney, eyes and musculoskeletal tissue – all of which will be used for transplants.
Mr Sivalingham’s wife, Subashini, and two young daughters are in an Indian refugee camp.
Her brother, Thiyakan Palaniyandi, who lives in Sydney, said she is struggling to cope with her husband’s death.
“Both the children are continuously crying – they want to see their father,” he said.
With the help of the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC), the 26-year-old is now calling on the Australian government to resettle his sister and her daughters on compassionate grounds.
He said it is what his brother-in-law would have wanted.
“He was hoping to get the children down to Australia, because in India they can't afford education and have no citizenship,” he said.
“We haven't had these things, but at least the children could have an education and a better life here.”
Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said the case for resettlement is strong, considering that Mr Sivalingham's organs were given to help Australians.
“The fact that so many of his organs are going to assist Australian citizens and people in Australian society is one of those things you see so often I think in the asylum seeker and refugee community,” Mr Rintoul said.
“The generosity, their willingness even in the saddest of situations, to want to contribute, to make a better life not just for themselves but where they hope will be their home country.
“I think it's a very good reason to reciprocate the generosity that's actually happened in this situation.”
Mr Sivalingham - a Tamil asylum seeker - had been in Australia for two-and-a-half years on a bridging visa.
A spokesperson for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the department would “assess any application from the family if one is received”.
Tamil villagers protest against Sri Lankan military High Security Zone [Tamil Guardian - 23/9/15]
The Australian political and media establishment are trying to deny us the right to help refugees ----> ... “I have just been floating around in the water and then they found me and brought me here.” ... [VIDEO - UNHCR - 22/9/15]
"People smuggling attempt" is the language of white supremacy. [ABC - 24/9/15]:
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has reasserted the Government's border protection policy after an asylum seeker boat attempted to reach Australia yesterday.
The small wooden boat, carrying 18 passengers and three crew, ran into rough weather off the south coast of West Java and those on board were brought to shore by local fishermen.
Peter Dutton Mr Dutton warned that people smugglers were trying to take advantage of the change of leadership to Malcolm Turnbull but he said the Government's policies had not changed.
Mr Dutton reiterated today that while the Government wants to get people out of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, they will never settle in Australia.
"They [refugees who try to reach Australia by boat] need to hear the very clear message, as well that yes, we want to make sure that they can get out of Nauru, but, not to come to Australia and that's the clear message that the PM gave yesterday," Mr Dutton said. <------ i.e. The Australia government will incarcerate, torment, torture, rape, abuse and kill refugees until they agree to return to the place they fled.
ABC updates story AGAIN with the usual anti refugee rhetoric to further dehumanise people seeking asylum ----> People smugglers charge asylum seekers on failed voyage from Indonesia just $630 fare [23/9/15]
First version of curious ABC refugee boat story - published around midnight:
More than a dozen asylum seekers attempting to get to Australia from Indonesia have been placed in immigration detention in Sukabumi after they were forced to call for help when their boat ran into bad weather.
The head of Indonesia's People Smuggling Taskforce, Budi Santoso, confirmed there were 21 people on board, including asylum seekers from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
The group was trying to reach Christmas Island, but were struck by large waves and were forced to ask for help to return to shore.
It is understood fishermen off Cianjur in West Java discovered the boat on Wednesday.
Those registered as asylum seekers or refugees by the UNHCR are likely to be freed, but those without papers would face indefinite detention. <---- No source, no evidence. Just the usual reminder from the ABC that boat refugees must be punished.
The Boat Arrival
People were asking how they could provide assistance, and who to talk to offer any help they could.
Sign says: Help us get to New Zealand ... and who can blame them? [ABC - 9/4/13]
A ramshackle fishing boat carrying 66 suspected asylum seekers from Sri Lanka has arrived in Australia - carrying passengers holding a sign saying "We want to go to New Zealand".
The overcrowded wooden fishing vessel carrying men, women and children was spotted off the coast of Geraldton, about 400km north of Perth in Western Australia. ... [NZ Herald - 10/4/13]
Jason Smith, Everything Geraldton [9/4/13]:
"Quick, get down to the foreshore! There's an asylum seeker boat here."
I started to jog down from the centre of town after a friend dropped her sandwich in disbelief as to what she was seeing, then quickly rang whoever she knew might be near by.
The boat had gotten within a few metres of the shore, as though they were heading for a casual coffee from Skeetas, before a customs boat encircled them and guided them back out a little.
Still only a stones throw from the shore, we took some photos and I quickly uploaded them to Everything Geraldton, Facebook and Twitter.
Within moments the story went viral as of course it would. Comments were rather mixed. Some people were simply gob smacked, others upset that a boat could make it this close to the shore. But for the most part, people were compassionate and understanding... that some people had travelled a long way under harsh conditions risking their lives. They must have been leaving something not very pleasant to risk such a journey and the least we could do is treat them like fellow human beings.
People were asking how they could provide assistance, and who to talk to offer any help they could. The desire of Geraldton locals to be hospitable to these people was touching.
The boat was towed into the port. Onlookers started to flock down to the port and at one point the car park was gridlocked. No one hung around for a long time, as the idea of being a gawker didn't sit too well with anyone. But it was such a strange thing to have happen in our city, that people really wanted to see it for themselves.
There were indeed a lot of people on board for the size of vessel it was, and the boat did not look in great condition. Children and adults sat atop the roof of the boat, probably greatly relieved to see land at long last after their massive journey.
Eventually the people were able to disembark, and they will now likely start the long journey of applying for asylum in our country.
The media from Perth began to arrive. Helicopters and hire cars and cameras everywhere. Geraldton began to "trend" on twitter, and Politicians from all camps were working out what to say to respond to the inevitable onslaught of media enquiry, posturing in order to capitalise on the situation.
The fact that a boat had made it all the way to the mainland was a rarity. The fact that it had made it as far south as Geraldton was incredible.
Others will claim to speak for the people of Geraldton, putting words in our mouths telling the world we now feel unsafe. But standing there on the beach with a boat full of strangers just a few metres away did not feel dangerous. It certainly felt a lot safer than walking through many Geraldton locations at night.
As details emerged, it became believed that the people were from Sri Lanka, were aiming for New Zealand, were between 66 and 72 in number and had been at sea 44 odd days.
Nine MSN [11/4/13]:
Sri Lanka's high commissioner to Australia said on Wednesday that his country would welcome asylum seeker boats turned around by Australian authorities.
Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe's comments came after the arrival in the West Australian port of Geraldton on Tuesday of a fishing boat carrying 66 suspected asylum seekers, thought to be from Sri Lanka, who are currently being questioned in Australia.
The message to such people was very clear, Mr Clare said.
"If you're coming from Sri Lanka and you're not a refugee you'll get flown back home," he told the Seven Network.
Mr Clare said the government had already flown about 1000 people back to Sri Lanka in the last few months and was continuing to work with Sri Lankan authorities.
This had reduced the number of unauthorised arrivals, he said.
"The prospect of drowning hasn't put people off but the risk of being flown home in a couple of days has stopped people," Mr Clare said.
Admiral Samarasinghe says he expects the 66 people from the latest arrival to be sent back to Sri Lanka and denies there are widespread cases of human rights abuse there.
Meanwhile, Mr Clare says initial inquiries about why the boat took the route it did suggested it wanted to get to New Zealand, and not the Australian mainland.
Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor denied asylum seekers sent back to Sri Lanka were being arrested upon arrival.
When asked by ABC radio whether Sri Lankans returned to their homeland by the Australian government were arrested on arrival, Mr O'Connor said: "That's not true".
"We will always fulfil our obligations under the law," he said.
"People who are making wild claims about matters should provide evidence."
Australia was a "very generous nation" that maintained 20,000 places under its humanitarian program for genuine asylum seekers.
The federal government would not use those places for people who did not need protection because that would mean those who did need assistance missed out, he said.
… As the questions were thrown over to the media… we asked out first question to Dutton:
BuzzFeed News: “Can we ask you about the boatload of asylum seekers that are currently off the coast of Dampier in WA, does it exist? And if you’re going to say “on water matters” as the reason why you won’t, why don’t you think the Australian public deserve an explanation of what’s going on, off the coast?”
Dutton: “Just a bit of context here. We know that 50,000 people arrived when Labor was in government, 1,200 people tragically lost their lives at sea. We’ve been able to stop the boats since we’ve been in government…” (continues to waffle for several more minutes).
BuzzFeed: “If there is a boat do you not concede that ‘stop the boats’ is not a line you could use, as a successfully policy proposition?”
Dutton: “So the point that I’m making is that we make comment in relation to operational matters when it’s appropriate to do so. I’m not going to put lives of our personnel at risk. I’m not going to put the lives of people who try to come to Australia by boat at risk…”
BuzzFeed: “What’s going to happen with those Vietnamese asylum seekers though? Are they going to be taken to Nauru? Or are they going to be sent back to Vietnam? Or Indonesia? Where are they going to be sent to?”
Dutton: “…The other point that I would make is that we settle 13,500 refugees a year through the humanitarian program which makes us one of the most generous countries in the world and I think people need to recognize that and be reminded by it. Because we welcome people who come here the right way but we don’t want to see people smugglers back in business. Now we turn back boats where it’s safe to do so. We have good bilateral relations with countries including Vietnam and elsewhere, where if it’s safe to do so, we’ve met our international obligations and we don’t owe people protection, those people will go back to their country of origin. People who seek an economc outcome are not true refugees and just because someone is on a boat doesn’t mean someone is a refugee. People understandably would seek a better life for their kids if they’re on a low income in a country somewhere within our region, but we settle people through the right way and we settle them in record numbers. That number of 13,750 rose to 18,750 within a couple of years.” [Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014]
BuzzFeed: “How can the government with a straight face say that you’ve stopped the boats when there are actually boats arriving, you just won’t talk about them?”
Dutton: “Well if there are other questions I’m willing to come back to you…”
BuzzFeed: “Why won’t you answer that question though?”
Dutton: “I’m happy to come back to that but there are others who might have questions.”
BuzzFeed: “It doesn’t seem like there are any other questions.”
Dutton: “Are there any other questions?”
There were other questions, to be fair. Dutton was clearly pissed off. After several more questions… we tried again:
BuzzFeed: “Do you think that Australian taxpayers deserve an explanation about the Vietnamese asylum seekers that are off the coast of WA?”
Dutton: “If there are any other questions, I’ll take those and I’m happy to come back to you.”
Dutton was leaning on this tactic of giving other reporters a chance. Again, a few other questions were asked. But we went back there:
BuzzFeed: “What’s going to happen to the Vietnamese asylum seekers that are currently off the coast of WA?”
Dutton: “Well I don’t have any comment to make when it comes to operational matters. But the long standing obligation of the Australian government, is that if we owe protection to somebody we’ll meet our international obligations in affording that person protection. If people are here because they’re seeking a better life then they’re not true refugees. They’re economic refugees, then they won’t be coming to our country. I’ve been very clear that screening takes place, if people need to be afforded protection, they’ll be afforded that protection. If it is deemed they are not to be afforded that protection then we will make arrangements to return them back to their country of origin. That is the way that the law has operated for a long period of time and nothing changes today or into the future.”
Maybe by talking about “economic refugees” he was actually speaking about those on board the boat. Worth having another ask:
BuzzFeed: “Are they economic refugees, the Vietnamese asylum seekers?
Dutton: “I don’t have any comment to make in relation to that.”
That was it. Press conference over. After repeated questions we were no clearer about the existence of the asylum seeker boat or where it was being towed by the Australian navy.
The ignored persecution of the Rohingya of Myanmar [Chicago Monitor - 20/8/15]:
... The most daunting component of surviving as a Rohingya is not limited simply within the borders of Myanmar, however, international attention about the plight has only recently grown because regional nations, such as Thailand and Malaysia, simply do not know how to respond to the massive numbers of Rohingya seeking refuge on their land.
As thousands of Rohingya enter the Andaman Sea hoping to escape the treacherous conditions in the Rakhine state back home, Myanmar’s regional neighbors refuse to accept the “boat people.”
Not only are the ships essentially stuck at sea with neither Myanmar or its neighboring countries willing to accept them, but the conditions in which Rohingya are lured onto the boats are equally as unnerving.
Rohingya are essentially promised a safe trip across the sea by traffickers who then kidnap the men, women, and children, and smuggle them for both sex and slave trafficking purposes…left to starve eventually.
Human Rights Watch reports that mass graves of Rohingya Muslims have been found in both Malaysia and Thailand in what have been called abandoned trafficking camps.
This raises the question if there is any country that will accept and be livable for the Rohingya. ...
The global refugee crisis: Can we ignore it much longer? Katherine Tan [Foreign Policy Association - 17/8/15]:
... These circumstances make a compelling case for developed countries to offer long-term resettlement to the Rohingya.
However, Australia, one of the Asian-Pacific region’s wealthiest countries, has categorically refused to resettle any Rohingya, despite urging from the UNHCR.
“Australia will do absolutely nothing that gives any encouragement to anyone to think that they can get on a boat, that they can work with people smugglers to start a new life,” said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Abbott’s callous statement ignores the fact that most Rohingya aren’t voluntary migrants, but victims of ethnic cleansing fleeing a state that has branded them pariahs. India and China, regional giants that share borders with Myanmar, also remain on the sidelines, despite holding significant sway with Myanmar’s government.
The international community has resettled refugees en masse before, most notably after the Indochina Wars of the mid-1970s, when the United States, Australia, Canada, and others resettled more than 3 million refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
With such a precedent, one must ask why states are failing to act decisively now. Indeed, they may soon have little choice. Even if humanitarian motives aren’t enough to compel action, these crises’ destabilizing effects may well prove difficult to ignore.
More than 10,000 Rohingya refugees are living in India where authorities are working hard to portray them as a security threat [Economic Times 22/7/15]
IOM (with "special "psychological and physical treatments") assists in forced deportation of Bangladeshi refugees captured by Myanmar navy [bdnews24.com - 22/7/15]
... "The Rohingya are a dirty, thieving people who steal from the Burmese. They should be sent back where they came from," a local businessman says, using the familiar vocabulary of racial xenophobia heard everywhere. ... Lost Myanmar Empire Is Stage for Modern Violence [National Geographic – 26/6/15]
The slow genocide against the Rohingya, Archbishop Desmond Tutu [Newsweek - 29/5/15]
Forgotten plight of asylum seekers and refugees in Indonesia [Hazara Asylum Seekers - 16/8/15]:
These photos are from Balikpapan detention centre (in Indonesia) where more than 285 people, reportedly Hazaras and mostly refugees have staged protest against manhandling and their mistreatment.
Sources in the centre are reporting that a critically ill refugee had not been allowed to be attended by doctor.
When his fellow refugees insisted for his treatment, the staff at the said hospital resorted to severely beating them.
Asylum seekers and refugees have now staged hunger strike and are seeking UNHCR and IOM's attention to their deteriorating situation, but even after four days, to no avail.
No one from UNHCR or IOM has yet visited them.
Reports of torture and abuse in Indonesian detention centres are not surprising neither new. In February 2012, a young Hazara aged 16, Taqi, was severely beaten to death by Indonesian guards.
Due to lack of interest from Indonesia's mainstream media and Australian media's limited attention to only asylum seekers and refugees living in and around Jakarta, plight of an overwhelming number of asylum seekers and refugees detained in remote detention centres across Indonesia remains unreported.
Here is Human Rights Watch's report on Indonesian detention centres ...
The Nauru government says the suspended opposition MP Roland Kun is being investigated for his alleged drunken role in an historic fatal accident.
In a statement it says Mr Kun was allegedly drunk behind the wheel of a car that killed a motorcyclist in 1991.
The Justice Minister David Adeang says the government had kept the investigation confidential to protect the privacy of the victim's family but it has decided to go public following the family's push for justice and a signed affidavit from a witness in the vehicle. ... [RNZI - 24/9/15]
... 7:30 [Report] didn’t actually air the allegations Adeang claims it did. The program did, however, point out the following facts: when the Justice Minister’s wife burned to death on her own front lawn no evidence was collected from the scene, and the police said they were too scared of Adeang to investigate.
Oh, and the nation’s coroner was kicked off the island by Adeang before he could investigate. ... [New Matilda - 27/6/15]
I'm signing because right now is the opportunity to change the way we are treating these people who are seeking refuge.
We have said 'yes' to taking 12,000 refugees, we can say 'yes' to the people who have been in these centres in Nauru and Manus, and to all other centres we have scattered around.
We can put the cost of these places into positive action of assisting all of these people (human beings) to re-settle in Australia.
We can do this.
Open letter to the Prime Minister and Opposition from nearly 5,000 Australian women
Politicians who incarcerate refugees and allow them to be tortured and raped do not care about domestic violence.
You could immediately fund shelters/refuges, counselling, financial and legal support, and work on resolving the root causes (eg inequality, societal glorification of war and the bullying of the weak, domination and aggression, misogyny, objectification etc.)
Fascists use domestic violence as an excuse to further undermine the rule of law by removing rights.
Law Enforcement Today [16/9/13]:
... But GPS monitoring doesn’t work for everyone. The device won’t stop an offender who’s determined to harm an ex-lover, especially if he (or she) is willing to risk a return to jail.
The safe zones (which, paradoxically, are not always shared with the defendant) sometimes decrease victims’ security, since a defendant can work the GPS system to discover where a victim is living or a child has been hidden.
And, in an ironic twist, the technology can increase a victim’s anxiety. When a defendant cooperates fully with the program, the warning system may be silent for weeks at a time. That silence can be unnerving, victims say.
How can they be sure the technology is still functioning?
Most seriously, some GPS programs are run by officials who have a dismissive attitude towards domestic violence and view GPS monitoring primarily as a substitute for jail.
The DOJ study included interviews with officials who cynically believe most victims will eventually recant—and that many of them are secretly meeting their alleged attackers outside the safe zones. Those officials say that there’s no reason to set up notification systems to warn victims that a safe zone has been violated.
Those officials sometimes employ a kind of tunnel vision when a defendant violates a safe-zone boundary. Officials may accept a defendant’s excuse without checking his or her story—and without notifying the victim about the violation and subsequent danger.
In one case, a defendant claimed that his job delivering mail required him to enter a safe zone repeatedly.
No one checked to see if he was really working for the post office. And in several jurisdictions, no one notified victims that the defendants they feared had been released from the GPS program. The victims continued to believe they were protected by a warning system that had been terminated without their knowledge.
Clearly GPS monitoring isn’t the perfect solution to domestic violence. Still, the DOJ study (and subsequent data) show that victims are much safer when their alleged attackers enter a GPS program.
And—surprisingly—many defendants were grateful for the program because it provided the incentive and accountability they needed to restructure their lives. Because they could no longer fill their empty hours with harassment and abuse, they had to find new ways to use their time. Forbidden to enter safe zones to return to old hangouts, and aware that their whereabouts were constantly monitored, some defendants enrolled in school or entered treatment programs.
Many defendants mentioned a program supervisor who provided valuable counseling and encouragement.
Some also said that GPS monitoring provided objective, unarguable proof that they were indeed honoring their pretrial agreement. Victims could not lie about unauthorized visits or harassing behavior.
But a number of defendants also complained that GPS monitoring violated the “innocent until proven guilty” principle that is supposed to be the cornerstone of American justice. Program participation is usually limited to defendants awaiting trial, and the DOJ study showed that almost half of all GPS clients’ cases were dismissed, suggesting that enrollment guidelines may need to be revisited and revised.
Some problems center on the technology. Devices can lose contact with the signal in some locations, such as rural areas and workspaces deep inside large buildings. Batteries need frequent recharging, and electronic noises from devices can create awkward moments and raise uncomfortable questions at school, work, and social situations. Clearly the devices and monitoring technology need improvements.
Despite the negative factors, the evidence in favor of GPS monitoring is impressive. Perhaps the most valuable input was provided by criminal justice professionals who work with defendants and victims. When used properly, GPS monitoring can have an unexpected benefit: Victims protected by the program are more likely to appear in court and testify, according to the DOJ study. The accountability built into a GPS program reassures victims that the criminal justice system is committed to helping them. As a result, they’re more likely to cooperate with prosecutors.
Still, officials warn, GPS devices are not a one-size-fits-all solution to domestic violence.
“Mismatching”—hooking up defendants who don’t belong in a GPS program—sets up defendants for failure and strains caseloads. For example, a first-time offender might need an anger-management class rather than a GPS program. And officials must be careful not to be lulled into overconfidence. All victims should be taught how to make and carry out a safety plan, and they may also need to learn how to keep children and pets safe.
GPS monitoring has proven its effectiveness, and its usefulness can be expected to grow as the technology improves. We can expect to see more jurisdictions adopting GPS technology soon.
Ankle-monitoring faces budget, privacy concerns [Yale Daily News - 13/9/13]
Sex offender policies: Considering unanticipated consequences of GPS sex offender monitoring
Katharine Mieszkowski , Salon [19/12/2006]:
It's not every Election Day that voters can cast a ballot to banish thousands of people to the hinterlands, but Californians did just that last month, and eagerly so. Seventy percent voted to ban registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, effectively outlawing them from many residential areas in the state.
Known as "Jessica's Law," after a 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped from her home, sexually abused and murdered by a registered sex offender, the California proposition swept in a myriad of punitive changes. The crackdown on residency applies to all registered sex offenders, including those convicted of a misdemeanor, such as indecent exposure. Most notably, felony sex offenders will now be tracked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via GPS (global positioning system), even after they're out of prison and off parole. The state senator and advocates behind the proposition call the GPS devices a necessary and vital tool to control sexual criminals.
The California measure makes no distinction between habitual offenders at high risk of striking again, worth having their every move tracked electronically once they're out of prison, and the felons who have served their time and present no apparent threat to public safety in the eyes of the court. Just put a GPS device on all of them, voters said, forever. Now, the state's government and the courts are puzzling out how to bring the voters' sweeping mandate to life.
The broad California measure is symptomatic of a national tide of fear about sexual predators lurking in the bushes by the playground, at the mall, just on the other side of the elementary school fence, and skulking about on MySpace. A sort of boogeyman come to life, sex predators even have their own gotcha TV reality show masquerading as a news program, Dateline's "To Catch a Predator." Every state in the nation now has a sex offender registry, tracking where offenders live. But Virginia, for one, is taking the fight to cyberspace, considering legislation to have offenders register their e-mail addresses and instant-messenger handles, so the Internet can be cleaned up, too.
But as states rush to impose harsher penalties on sex criminals, critics -- legal and criminal analysts, and even some victims of sex crimes themselves -- state that the punitive new laws violate civil liberties and are ineffective. And while a technological fix like fastening GPS devices to former felons may make the public feel safer, it will do little to protect the children who are the victims of most sex crimes. ...
... Critics say that beyond the legal issues, the draconian new laws, and in particular the GPS ankle bracelets, will have little impact on preventing crimes against children, who are the victims of most sex crimes. Two-thirds of the victims of sex crimes are under age 18, and 58 percent of those underage victims were under age 12, according to the Department of Justice. Yet the majority of those victims aren't preyed on by strangers but know their attacker.
Pamela D. Schultz, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, is skeptical that broad application of GPS technology will do anything to prevent crimes like the one she suffered as a girl, which was committed by a neighbor. Now an associate professor of communications at Alfred University, a private school in western New York, she is the author of "Not Monsters: Analyzing the Stories of Child Molesters." Schultz is also a mother of two, who has a daughter in the second grade and a 21-month-old son. Regarding the new California laws, she says, "I think it's another example of feel-good legislation to get communities to feel that actual action is being taken to stem the problem. GPS monitoring and residency requirements are not going to do anything with the vast majority of offenders. They're just not."
As the state of California's own sex offender registry Web site attests, 90 percent of child victims know their attacker. And almost half the time that person is a family member. "The vast majority of offenders abuse kids who they know," says Schultz. "They have close relationships with the children and the children's families."
Niki Delson, a social worker who is the spokesperson for the California Coalition on Sexual Offending, which opposed the California proposition, says that GPS monitoring will serve no purpose in most of these cases. "The problem with using GPS for people who committed incest is you can't establish a zone which would make a child safe," says Delson. In fact, many sex offenders continue to be acquainted with their actual victims after the crimes occurred, according to Coombs of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "That person doesn't stop being a father or a brother, and in many cases, is brought back to the family. GPS doesn't fix that," he says.
In fact, many sex crimes, notably those committed by family members or acquaintances, go unreported. Schultz fears that residency requirements and GPS tracking will have the unintended consequence of making victims of these crimes less likely to turn an attacker over to authorities. "When the bulk of abuse happens within families and close relationships, there is going to be less of a tendency to report those crimes," she says. "If something happens inside your family, and you report that, it's going to be plastered all over the place. Not only is the offender under public scrutiny, so are the families of the victims." For these types of offenses, adding GPS monitoring and strict residency requirements into the mix adds "another level of pressure into silence."
Schultz would rather see the tens of millions of dollars California is about to spend monitoring felony sex offenders be poured into counseling for victims of sex crimes and into programs for offenders that aim to prevent recidivism.
"As a society we need to become less hysterical and more informed about sexual abuse," she says in an e-mail. "When we demonize the offenders, we're pretty much feeding the crime. We further isolate and alienate the offenders, which is a precipitating factor in many offenders' impulses to act out. We're so focused on the minority of offenders who seem to fit our skewed perceptions of what sexual abuse and sexual abusers should be, we fail to recognize that the crime actually occurs closer to home.
UK Government still paying G4S and Serco millions for tagging despite ban [Guardian - 5/6/15]
Controversial security giants G4S and Serco are to lose contracts tagging criminals for the Ministry of Justice, following an overcharging scandal.
However, the companies will continue to be paid public money for key roles in the Scottish justice system, including electronic monitoring and running Kilmarnock prison.
G4S also remains a leading contender for lucrative contracts with Police Scotland during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, despite failing to provide enough security personnel for last year’s London Olympics and having to be bailed out by the Army and police. ... [Scotsman - 13/12/13]
Husband of missing SA woman starts social media campaign
Nine MSN [23/9/15]:
A South Australian man has started a social media campaign to help locate his wife, who disappeared on Monday afternoon.
Mother-of-four Sophie Stanley, 30, was last seen at Port Noarlunga, south of Adelaide.
Yesterday her husband Jason Stanley uploaded a photo of his wife and detailed the circumstances around her disappearance in a Facebook post, which has since been shared almost 15,000 times.
“My wife Sophie Stanley has been missing since 5pm yesterday,” he wrote.
“She has left her 4 children and hasn’t been heard from since 7.30pm.
“If anyone has seen her or knows where she could be please let me know or contact the police. Please share as much as possible.”
There are concerns for Mrs Stanley’s welfare and police said she suffers from a medical condition.
Police said Mrs Stanley might be driving a silver 2000 Holden Astra sedan with the South Australian registration number S161AMK.
Investigators said she might be in the Glengowrie area, and urged anyone who sees her or her car to call the Police Assistance Line immediately on 131 444.
Stepfather to be charged with murder of 12-year-old girl at Aberglasslyn [Sydney Morning Herald - 23/9/15]
Two teenage boys charged with animal cruelty after torturing two lambs: police [Sydney Morning Herald - 23/9/15]
A Queensland police officer facing an assault charge has been suspended from official duty.
The 29-year-old senior constable from the state's south-eastern region [Gold Coast] was stood down on March 2 and officially suspended on Thursday.
He's due to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on October 14. [West Australian - 24/9/15]
A veteran police officer who was respected at work but was yesterday fined $10,000 for assaulting his wife has been described by a magistrate as someone with a "Jekyll and Hyde" persona.
Det-Sgt Nigel Mark Beverly was fined in Perth Magistrate's Court for repeatedly punching his estranged wife Sgt Tanya Beverly at their Carine home in February.
The couple's two young daughters were in earshot at the time of the assault. ... [West Australian - 23/9/15]
A Melbourne woman is fighting for her life after a motorcycle knocked her down and raced away. … [Nine MSN – 23/9/15]
Cyclist hit by car, Kwinana Beach [West Australian – 23/9/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Benaraby [QPS Media - 24/9/15]
Death investigation, Moore Park Beach (Bundaberg)
QPS Media [23/9/15]:
Bundaberg police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a man at Bundaberg this afternoon.
Preliminary information indicates officers were called to a Sylvan Drive, Moore Park Beach address around 4.40pm where they located a 46-year-old Silkstone man unconscious and without a pulse.
Police performed CPR before the man was transported to Bundaberg Base Hospital where he passed away this evening.
Preliminary investigations indicate that two men – aged 46 and 57 – attended the residence and spoke with a 31-year-old man.
It is believed a dispute, followed by a physical disturbance occurred over property.
Detectives continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and the injuries sustained by the man.
Police are awaiting the results of a post mortem examination to help determine the man’s cause of death.
The 31-year-old Moore Park Beach man left the residence prior to police arrival.
All three men were known to each other.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Sexual assault charges, St Lucia
QPS Media [23/9/15]:
A 19-year-old Fairfield man has been charged with sexual assault offences after two women were sexually assaulted in two separate incidents.
Police will allege that about 6:30am yesterday an 18-year-old woman was sexually assaulted as she started work at a Campbell Street coffee shop in St Lucia.
The woman was assaulted after the man followed her into the premises before it was open, and then left on foot after she phoned her employer.
In a separate incident at a Brisbane hospital, police will allege that about 12pm yesterday, a 25-year-old woman employee at the hospital was sexually assaulted.
The 19-year-old Fairfield man has been charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of enter premises and commit indictable offence.
He will appear in Brisbane Magistrate Court this afternoon.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Attempted armed robbery, Currimundi [QPS Media - 24/9/15]
Feel safe Queensland?
QPS Media [23/9/15]:
A 17-year-old boy has been charged with multiple graffiti offences following the execution of a search warrant at an Ashgrove address.
Detectives from the Graffiti Taskforce executed the search warrant at an Ashgrove address where they allegedly discovered evidence of graffiti offences committed across Brisbane.
A 17-year-old Ashgrove boy has been charged with 160 counts of wilful damage – graffiti and is expected to appear at the Brisbane Magistrates Court on October 14.
Investigations are continuing.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Minister for Education Joy Burch held discussions with the director-general of ACT Education to determine which findings from an inquiry into the boy in cage affair would be released to the public.
The admission has led shadow education spokesman Steve Doszpot to question the independence of the inquiry, which Ms Burch has vigorously defended.
When responding to questions from the opposition on Wednesday, Ms Burch would not detail which matters had been excluded from public release, but said all findings had been accepted by the principal of the school. ... [Canberra Times - 23/9/15]
One in five privately-owned companies with revenue in excess of $100 million paid no tax last year, the Australian Tax Office has revealed.
The figure emerged as the Turnbull government pushes ahead with plans to exempt private companies from new regulations forcing them to publicly disclose their annual tax contribution.
But a campaign by private business, supported by some Coalition MPs, convinced the government that disclosure would increase the risk of targeted kidnappings of company owners.
Fairfax Media revealed in June that the government had not asked for or received any security advice to confirm such a kidnap threat is real.
University of NSW financial disclosure expert, accounting lecturer Jeffrey Knapp, has called the decision "the stupidest excuse for non-disclosure I've ever heard". ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 23/9/15]
Glencore's Zambian unit plans to cut more than 3,800 jobs: government sources [Channel News Asia – 23/9/15]
Dozens of workers have been evacuated from a Canning Vale factory after reports of an explosion at about 2.30pm today.
Emergency Services are at metal manufacturer West Australian Specialty Alloys (WASA) on Vulcan Avenue, where the incident occurred.
The blaze was brought under control at 3.40pm and firefighters are now mopping up.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services district officer Clint Kuchel said the explosion would have been felt through the whole factory. ... [West Australian - 23/9/15]
Islamic State: ADF Twitter account used to fight propaganda sending nonsense Arabic tweets, expert says [ABC – 23/9/15]
Detective "incandescent" at Sun picture of suspect [Byline - 23/9/15]
24 September 2015