At the NSA, Edward Snowden could access surveillance feeds of villages all over the world being terrorised by US drones.

THAT's a death cult.

 

 


In Brisbane, you can see Laura Poitras' Academy Award winning documentary 'Citizen Four' at Dendy Portside.

 

 

 

 

Northrop Grumman advertisement, Australian Financial Review [7/8/13]

 

Can we stop pretending 10 rednecks in Penrith are determining Australian government refugee policy now?:   ... Northrop Grumman's proven maritime unmanned aircraft systems can reach any part of the world within hours, offering cost-effective surveillance - whether it's helping Australia monitor and protect its vast coast and surrounding oceans, or responding to issues of border security and natural disasters.

 

 

 

Global Hawk arrives at Avalon for first airshow appearance [Australian Aviation - 23/2/15]:



Global Hawk Arrival 2A remotely piloted RQ-4 Global Hawk operated by the US Air Force (USAF) landed at Avalon Airport on Saturday evening ahead of the Australian International Airshow 2015, marking the first time the high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft has flown into a civilian airport to be viewed by the general public.

“This is significant on a number of fronts,” stated Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown.

“It is the first time a military unmanned aerial system has been in civil airspace with a civil air traffic control service in Australia, and the first time a military UAS has landed at a civil airport.”

Back in March last year, the Australian government committed to acquiring Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, which is based on the Global Hawk, subject to the successful completion of the US Navy’s development program. Consequently, there is a great degree of interest in this opportunity to observe the RQ-4 up close.

“The close coordination required to bring the Global Hawk to Australia will pay great dividends in the future,” said Colonel Art Primas, who is playing the role of US ‘air boss’ at Avalon.

“Creating standardised procedures will enable us to work together much more effectively and efficiently during whatever missions future requirements dictate.”

Noted Ian Irving, chief executive for Northrop Grumman Australia, “This is the first time that a Global Hawk has flown into an international airshow. This really speaks to the maturity and reliability of the system. As the Royal Australian Air Force seeks to procure the MQ-4C Triton UAS, a variant based on Global Hawk, they will be able to use the system’s capabilities to transform the way they conduct maritime surveillance missions.”


 

 

 

 

... In his expert evidence on behalf of the two, security analyst Dr Tom Clonan said that 2.25 million US troops have passed through Shannon since 2002 making it the largest invading force to have ever passed through Ireland. ... [The Journal - 24/2/15]

  

 

 

How a Snowdenista Kept the NSA Leaker Hidden in a Moscow Airport [VOGUE - 19/2/15]:

 

... Harrison says that she and Snowden disembarked in Moscow and went to check in for their next flight, which is when they learned of his canceled passport.

Citing “security reasons,” she won’t provide specific details about where they stayed during the days that ensued, saying only that they shared a single, windowless room, did their laundry in the sink, watched movies on their laptops, and quickly grew tired of airport food.

“If I have to ever eat another Burger King meal, I’ll die,” she says. The intimacy of the situation may have been uncomfortable, but it was also deliberate.

“If anything untoward happened to him, I was there as a witness,” Harrison says, adding that WikiLeaks, with its ability to reach a vast global audience, served as a form of protection. “We would have made sure that the world knew.”

She claims to have wandered the airport terminals freely, despite the roving media. “For girls, it’s a bit easier to fit in,” she tells me, saying that putting her curly hair into a bun served as enough of a disguise.

Harrison describes having a collegial friendship with Snowden. What pains her most are the accusations that he betrayed his country. Both she and Snowden have said that he was approached by Russian intelligence agents during their time at Sheremetyevo, but that he turned them away.

“The last thing in the world he is,” Harrison says, “is a traitor and a spy.”

She jokingly describes how Snowden quoted the U.S. Constitution so often in their conversations about the NSA’s overreaching programs that it ultimately grew annoying. “It got to the point where I was like, ‘All right, all right, the Constitution!’ ”

More seriously she adds, “He’s the strongest patriot of any American I’ve ever met.”

...

 

 

 


 

A mosque has been torched in the West Bank, with suspects leaving Hebrew graffiti at the site.  ... [Al Jazeera - 25/2/15]




Israeli Forces Shoot Dead 19-Year-Old Palestinian in Bethlehem [Al Akhbar - 24/2/15]




US Orders PA, PLO to Pay $650 Million for Decade-Old Attacks [Al Akhbar – 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

... You send situations

I don't want again

I'm finding my own way now

Without you there ...

 

 

'No Lies', Noiseworks [1986]

 

 

 

 

 

Theresienstadt 2015: As refugees on Nauru protest, Australian media protect the Immigration Minister and regurgitate government propaganda re involvement of women and children in an "asylum seeker open centre program".

 

 

Refugee Rights Action Network WA [24/2/15]:

 

All refugees living in the Nauruan community have began a protest today by not going to work or school and this will continue for the foreseeable future. ...

This is in response to the unfair back flip by the Australian Government on their own policy late last year when they allowed Asylum seekers who had arrived after 19th of July into Australia (But only if they were currently on Christmas Island and had not yet been transferred to Nauru or Manus).

What makes this even more unfair is that many of the refugees allowed into Australia arrived on the same boats as those now on Nauru.

The protest is also in response to refugees being persecuted and not being safe in Nauru.

 

 

 

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

… Theresienstadt served an important propaganda function for the Germans. The publicly stated purpose for the deportation of the Jews from Germany was their "resettlement to the east," where they would be compelled to perform forced labor. Since it seemed implausible that elderly Jews could be used for forced labor, the Nazis used the Theresienstadt ghetto to hide the nature of the deportations.

In Nazi propaganda, Theresienstadt was cynically described as a "spa town" where elderly German Jews could "retire" in safety. The deportations to Theresienstadt were, however, part of the Nazi strategy of deception. The ghetto was in reality a collection center for deportations to ghettos and killing centers in Nazi-occupied eastern Europe.

Succumbing to pressure following the deportation of Danish Jews to Theresienstadt, the Germans permitted the International Red Cross to visit in June 1944. It was all an elaborate hoax. The Germans intensified deportations from the ghetto shortly before the visit, and the ghetto itself was "beautified." Gardens were planted, houses painted, and barracks renovated. The Nazis staged social and cultural events for the visiting dignitaries. Once the visit was over, the Germans resumed deportations from Theresienstadt, which did not end until October 1944.

...

 

 

Portfolio Budget Statements in support of the 2014-15 Budget for the Immigration and Border Protection portfolio:

 

Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance

$762,000 ---> IOM

Initiatives to address the situation of displaced persons and promote sustainable returns - $700,000

Refugee and humanitarian passage, associated costs and related services - $18,966,000

$4,817,000 - offshore biometric program expansions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imaginary Fran Kelly to Peter Dutton: Minister, what do you make of this: "I got a call saying now they're shooting us"?  [Australia's 'beautiful prison' in Papua New Guinea - BBC - 18/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

After NZ media does journalism confirming the latest invasion of Iraq, Australian "opposition" parties talk Gillian Triggs, childcare and Nannas berries

 

 

 

Australian families will be happy to hear that Kate Ellis MP "commends" and "looks forward to working with" human rights abuser, liar and future defendant at the ICC, Scott Morrison (set to be tickled under the chin by the media at the National Press Club today).

 

 

United States, "allies" continue bombing Syria and Iraq [Centcom - 24/2/15]:

 

On Feb. 23, U.S. and Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using attack, fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 16 airstrikes.

Separately, U.S. and Coalition military forces conducted five airstrikes in Iraq, using attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.

All strikes took place between 8 a.m., Feb. 23, and 8 a.m., Feb. 24, local time.

The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:

Syria

* Near Al Hasakah, 10 airstrikes struck nine ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL vehicles.

* Near Kobani, six airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit, three ISIL tactical units, two ISIL fighting positions and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL checkpoint and an ISIL vehicle.

Iraq

* Near Al Asad, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL IED location.

* Near Fallujah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun.

* Near Hit in Al Anbar Province, an airstrike stuck an ISIL tactical unit.

As a correction to yesterday's airstrike press release, the following strikes took place between 8a.m., Feb. 22, and 8 a.m., Feb. 23, local time.

These airstrikes were inadvertently omitted from yesterday's release.

* Near Al Asad, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

* Near Al Hasakah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.

...

 

New Zealand's Iraq deployment condemned by opposition [RNZI - 24/2/15]:

 

New Zealand will send a deployment of about 140 soldiers to Iraq, to help train Iraqi security forces, Prime Minister John Key announced this afternoon.

The deployment will start in May and be for a maximum of two years.

The training troops will be based in Taji, about 30km north of Baghdad, and will work alongside Australian Defence Force personnel.

However Mr Key said they would not be part of a badged ANZAC force and the New Zealand Government would remain in control of any operational decisions.

...

 

The Labour Party said the Government had to answer what New Zealand personnel would be able to achieve, that others had not been able to, after several years and billions of dollars.

Leader Andrew Little said the party opposed the deployment to Iraq.

Mr Little told Parliament the Iraqi Army was demoralised and riven with corruption, and had been for 10 years.

He said New Zealand could not fix the Iraqi Army, saying it was disorganised, broken, treacherous and corrupt.

New Zealand could help to build a functioning government, that could be assisted by advice from this country and help with reconstruction.

He said New Zealand had a reputation as an honest broker, as shown by its success in securing a seat on the UN Security Council, and it should show leadership on this issue by helping create a true nation state in Iraq.

Mr Little also said that New Zealand was exposing its soldiers to even greater risk if they were sent to Iraq without adequate legal protections.

The Green Party also opposed the deployment, saying the Government lacked a mandate from the New Zealand Parliament and the public.

Co-leader Russel Norman told Parliament the Prime Minister had refused to put the vote to the House because he knew the public was reluctant to enter another bloody conflict, and that he would not have the numbers to win a vote.

He also accused the Government of pandering to the United States, and abandoning any pretence of independent foreign policy, saying Mr Key was "acting like the Governor of the 51st state".

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters told Parliament it was an affront to New Zealand's democracy that Mr Key made the decision to go to Iraq without the stamp of approval from Parliament.

Mr Peters called for the Government to trust in the people's institution of Parliament, like other countries had, when they made the decision to commit troops.

Mr Peters told the House that without the opportunity to have a vote the National Party backbench was now cannon fodder for an executive that was making unilateral decisions on everyone else's behalf.

Political allies of the National Party also expressed their opposition to the deployment.

Only ACT with its one MP has committed its support.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said that sending soldiers to train Iraqi troops was effectively sending them to war.

He said any military involvement from New Zealand would be regarded as an act of war by Islamic State (IS).

Mr Flavell said New Zealanders should be under no illusion that this country was raising its head above the parapet and therefore increasing the risk of becoming a target for IS attacks.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said the issue was not whether New Zealand should do anything, but what it could do to help those suffering under the yoke of oppression, and to combat Islamic State.

He said history showed that external intervention in the Middle East inevitably ended in failure, and an ingrained and increasing sense of bitterness, that resulted in the creation of groups like IS.

...


 

 

@IraqiSMCEn  - Iraqi Spring Media Center [VIDEO - 24/2/15]:  Anbar: The war planes have targeted a school in Garma district.... .




IraqiNews.com [24/2/15]: About (19) persons were either killed or wounded due to two explosions to the southeast of Baghdad. …




IraqiNews.com [24/2/15]: An explosion hit in Diyala bridge area of southeastern Baghdad killing 5 persons and injuring 12 others on Tuesday. ...

 

 

 

 

House of Representatives Hansard [24/2/15]:



Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (14:33): My question is to the Minister for Defence.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

Mr Burke interjecting—

The SPEAKER: I would not advise the Manager of Opposition Business to be too smart, but he has the call.

Mr Burke: The question went specifically to whether or not ministers would be remaining ministers.

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order. He will resume his seat. The member for Solomon has the call.

Mrs GRIGGS: My question is to the Minister for Defence.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting—

The SPEAKER: And the member for Isaacs will desist or leave, the choice is his.

Mrs GRIGGS: Will the minister please update the House on the activities of our troops currently serving in Iraq?

Mr ANDREWS (Menzies—Minister for Defence) (14:34): I thank the member for Solomon for her question and also thank her for the commendable job she does in representing the people of Darwin in this parliament, which includes some 5,000 military personnel. On that note, there are very significant military bases in the electorate of Solomon and in Darwin. I congratulate her also on recently being appointed as the chair of the coalition's backbench policy committee on Defence and veterans' affairs.

The first priority of a national government is the safety and security of the people of Australia. As the Foreign Minister pointed out earlier—

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr ANDREWS: Obviously the safety and security of the people of Australia is a joke to the people across there. This government takes the safety and security of the people of Australia as its first priority. As the Foreign Minister pointed out earlier in question time today, our Defence and security agencies are aware of more than 90 Australians involved in terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. We know that there are some 140 additional people here in Australia actively supporting those terrorist activities and groups. So our contribution to degrading and disrupting the activities of the Daesh death cult in the Middle East is significant and continuing.

That involves six FA-18 Super Hornet aircraft, a KC-30 refuelling aircraft and an E-7 Wedgetail aircraft involved in intelligence gathering and other activities, flying combat missions and air strikes. Indeed, there have now been some 500 sorties flown over Iraq, more than 200 weapons have been used to strike the targets of Daesh fighters and their logistic hubs. So that is a significant contribution that our Defence Forces are making in the Middle East. In addition to that, there are some 200 special forces involved in training and mentoring members of the Iraqi security forces.

Today, the New Zealand government made a welcome commitment to deploy more than 100 defence personnel to help increase the capacity of the Iraqi forces, and I congratulate Prime Minister Key and Defence Minister Brownlee on that. We must remember why we are there. It is the executions, the crucifixions, the depravity and the brutality of Daesh that is a serious threat not just to peace-loving people in the Middle East, but to peace-loving people all over the world. The Australian government and our Defence forces remain steadfastly committed to supporting the Iraqi people in what we are doing in the Middle East.


 

 

 

 

 

Cameron commits troops and ‘non-lethal aid’ to Ukraine [RT - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

RT [24/2/15]:

 

While the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine were meeting in Paris to talk about the Eastern Ukraine peace settlement, it was revealed that the Ukrainian president has struck a deal on arms supplies from the UAE.

The four ministers agreed on the need for the ceasefire to be respected, as well as on the need to extend the OSCE mission in Eastern Ukraine, reinforcing it with more funding, personnel and equipment. ...

 

 

 

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation [23/2/15]:

 

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address at the Security Council open debate on “Maintaining International Peace and Security: reflect on history, reaffirm the strong commitment to the purpose and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” New York, February 23, 2015


Thank you, Mr Chairman,

I’d like to begin by expressing gratitude to the Foreign Minister of China, Mr Wang Yi, for organising this open debate. Its agenda is very significant: ahead of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, it allows us to critically assess international relations and discuss ways to overcome accumulated systemic problems.

The UN Charter, which was the result of the great victory over Nazism, has been and is the cornerstone of the system of international relations. The goals, principles and rules sealed in the charter are a vital source of international law, the basis of the code of conduct on the international stage and the foundation of the ever growing agglomeration of international treaties and agreements. Of course, the UN is not an ideal organisation. But as Dag Hammarskjöld said, “The United Nations was not created in order to bring us to heaven, but in order to save us from hell.”

For the first time, the UN Charter formulated principles for creating an operating mechanism for governing the world by coordinating the positions of the leading nations. In other words, it formulated the key elements of a polycentric world order. For the first four decades since its establishment, the UN operated under conditions of harsh bipolar confrontation. However, the end of the Cold War lifted the objective obstacles to the UN Security Council becoming an effective format for synthesizing the collective will of the international community.

Unfortunately, the path towards this goal turned out to be much more difficult and serpentine than we imagined 25 years ago. We have seen numerous violations of the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, including the independence and sovereign equality of nations, non-interference in their internal affairs and peaceful settlement of disputes. I am referring to the bombing of Serbia, the occupation of Iraq under a patently false pretext the consequences of which remain a heavy burden on the Iraqi people, as well as gross manipulation of the UN Security Council mandate that resulted in destruction and chaos in Libya.

All of these are the consequences of attempts to claim domination in global affairs and control everyone everywhere, and the unilateral use of military force in the pursuit of selfish interests. These actions contradict the underlying UN principles and the objective trend for the decentralisation of the global economic and political power.

In the pursuit of the illusory goal of global domination, they are using a wide range of unsavoury methods, such as heavy pressure on sovereign states and attempts to force political, economic and ideological solutions and standards on them. For those who “misbehave” they have a technology for inspiring internal unrest and promoting regime change. An example of this is the open encouragement of an unconstitutional state coup in Ukraine last year.

Consistent attempts are being made to turn the Security Council into an office to rubberstamp the decisions of the “leader,” and when these attempts fail, they try to remove the UN Security Council from developing a policy on its key competence: the maintenance of international peace and security. At the same time, they completely disregard the latest examples of the unilateral use of military force, which pushed the Middle East and North Africa into instability and chaos, largely creating a breeding ground for the growth of extremism.

Under the UN Charter, only the Security Council has the power to take enforcement measures against states. Unilateral restrictions and attempts at the exterritorial use of national legislation are elements of an obsolete bloc mentality that can only generate confrontation in international affairs and complicate the joint search for solutions to arising problems.

The international climate is seriously worsened by information wars through the use of global media, the internet and social media. I am convinced that freedom of speech and expression must not be used to justify manipulation with information, brainwashing and subversive activities against other states’ institutions and policies, or to foment religious strife.

Now is the time to answer one question: Do we really want the UN Security Council to be an effective and influential instrument for maintaining international peace and security, or are we willing to allow it to become a platform for propagandised confrontation and exclude the Security Council from the search for vital international solutions. If the latter is true, it will inevitably have a negative impact on other international and regional formats, further reducing the opportunities for finding solutions to current issues.

We believe that we must immediately take resolute action to rid ourselves of double standards in global politics, to restore the UN Security Council’s role as the leading agency for coordinating collective approaches based on respect for cultural and civilisational diversity in the world, and for democratising international relations.

Everyone must accept the fact that people have the right to independently choose their future without foreign interference in their internal affairs. In this connection, I suggest that we consider reaffirming and strengthening the relevant provisions of the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the UN Charter. The focus should be on the unacceptability of supporting the unconstitutional change of government. We must agree to use the UN Charter for joint risk management within increasingly complex international relations. In the early 1990s, the UN Secretariat prepared a handbook on the peaceful settlement of disputes between states. Maybe we need to update this handbook so that it incorporates the experience we have accumulated since its adoption.

Positive results are only assured when the Security Council members work together to find solutions that can help them coordinate their positions. It is on this basis that we addressed the key issues of chemical disarmament in Syria and laid out measures to resist foreign terrorists. The other day the UN Security Council adopted, at Russia’s initiative, Resolution 2199 designed to prevent terrorist groups from benefiting from trade in oil. Another recent example is the deployment of new peacekeeping missions in Mali and the Central African Republic. We now plan to directly address another painful issue in Africa, the terrorist threat coming from Boko Haram. We hope the special high-level group created by the UN Secretary-General will provide recommendations on increasing the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping efforts.

In general, it would do us good to review global challenges and threats which can only be resisted collectively. One of the key priorities on this list is the threat of terrorism and extremism, which has grown to an unprecedented scale, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, and which has been spreading into Southern Africa, Asia and Europe. Unilateral actions have no future, as we have seen. This problem must be addressed within the framework of the UN. We are against decentralising counterterrorism efforts and forcing the international community to accept action plans that are developed in a non-participatory format.

I hope that we will use this open debate to seriously discuss the future of the United Nations as a vital mechanism for regulating international relations.



 

 

 

WHO GIVES A FUCK ABOUT BRANDIS AND TRIGGS.

CLOSE THE REFUGEE DEATH CAMPS.

 

 

Teenager treated for injuries after jumping off first-floor balcony at an Australian refugee concentration camp in Darwin [ABC - 24/2/15]:

 

 

 

 

Refugee Rights Action Network WA [24/2/15]:


The father of the young girl mentioned in this report has been in touch with RRAN a few days ago. We sought immediate assistance from lawyers and advocates in Darwin.

Dad tells us she remains in hospital with spinal injuries after throwing herself off the roof of a building in a Darwin based detention centre..

It is imperative this young woman is NOT returned to Nauru where it is alleged she suffered sexual assault from a guard.

Nauru has no child protection legislation and the reported incidents of sexual assault likely represent a small proportion of the real number.

Recall that staff, such as staff from Save the Children, are punished for reporting assaults and inappropriate encounters with children by other staff members.

RRAN notes that despite there being a number of "reports" of sexual assault of children on Nauru there has been not one single person actually charged with offenses against children.

 

 

 

 

Stock standard corruption that goes hand in hand with fascism and human rights abuses [Australian Financial Review - 24/2/15]

 

... At the club the men also spent $1640 on four bottles of single-malt scotch whisky. This bill was later halved due to tips paid to the female escorts, which were individually selected from a line up by the men. ...

 

 

 

 

 

... So we are moving to a lighthouse, you and I

While seas drown sailors, we'll be locked up safe and dry ...

 

'The Lighthouse Song', Josh Pyke [2008]

 

 

 

 

Caloundra lighthouses

 

 

China Shipping Line heads out

From Kings Beach, Caloundra

 

 

Petition signed by 2,732 Australian catholics to end offshore detention, mandatory detention of children lodged in House of Representatives

 

 

House of Representatives Hansard [23/2/15]:

 

 

Treatment of Asylum Seekers

To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives

This petition of Australian Catholics committed to ending policies relating to asylum and migration that conflict with the Church's Social Teaching draws to the attention of the House:

The statement of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference of May 2014 which declares that the human dignity and basic human rights of asylum seekers in Australia today are being 'seriously violated' and that current asylum seeker policies amount to 'institutionalised cruelty'.

We therefore ask the House to:

 

develop asylum seeker policy and Legislation which is consistent with the principles and values of Catholic Social Teaching, specifically:

 

ending offshore detention;

completely ending the mandatory detention of children;

facilitating the right of asylum seekers to be part of our community, especially in allowing their right to work in Australia;

favouring the integration of people seeking asylum into our community by finding a place where they can live in peace and safety;

respecting the human dignity and human rights of asylum seekers, regardless of their citizenship, visa status or mode of arrival; and

fast-tracking the processing time of asylum seekers' protection claims.

 

from 2,732 citizens

 

 

 

Australian Prime Minister accused of releasing misinformation and jeopardising criminal proceedings

 



ABC [24/2/15]:


Lawyers for a Sydney man charged after high-profile counter-terrorism raids in Sydney have accused Prime Minister Tony Abbott of providing misleading information to the public about the case.

Omarjan Azari, 22, was arrested after raids involving 800 police officers in Sydney and Brisbane in September.

He was accused of conspiring to prepare for a terrorist act — namely, to kill a random member of the public — and of making funds available to the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

His application for bail was refused today after a magistrate found his lawyers failed to establish there were exceptional circumstances to warrant his release.

During the hearing, Azari's barrister Steven Boland accused Mr Abbott of an "unprecedented intrusion" in the case.

He took particular exception to Mr Abbott's comments at the time that all that was needed to commit a terrorist attack was an iPhone, a victim and a knife.

He also raised concerns about the Mr Abbott's suggestion that an attack would have occurred within days.

Mr Boland said it was "an unprecedented intrusion by the Prime Minister into the criminal process".

"Mr Abbott has provided misinformation, deliberately or otherwise," he added.

Mr Boland said the Prime Minister's actions gave rise "to the significant possibility of a successful stay application", which would prevent the court from proceeding with the matter.

The defence also argued the crown case relied on a telephone call made by Australian IS figure Mohammad Ali Baryalei.

"Unless they can point to an overt act [by Azari], the indictment is defective," Mr Boland said.

...

 

 

 

 

"It [my protest] was an opportunity to express solidarity with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden ... and I think I achieved that," he said.

 

 

Brisbane Times [24/2/15]:

 

A Queensland activist who was arrested for entering the G20 security zone during last year's forum has escaped punishment.

Ciaron O'Reilly, 54, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to entering a secure area while a prohibited person during the leaders' summit last November.

He was arrested near the forum venue at South Bank on November 15, despite having been served with a prohibited person's notice two days earlier.

O'Reilly's lawyer, Terry Fisher, said the seasoned political activist had wanted to speak to US President Barack Obama about the ongoing persecution of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

"My client is effectively following in the footsteps of Ghandi, Your Honour," Mr Fisher told Brisbane Chief Magistrate Ray Rinaudo.

"His actions are of a non-violent disposition."

O'Reilly once served 13 months in prison in the US for his involvement in disabling a B-52 bomber during the Gulf War.

His latest arrest landed him two nights in the Brisbane watch house.

He is the only person to be convicted under laws that were enacted especially for the leaders' summit.

Magistrate Rinaudo ruled the two nights in custody was enough punishment and convicted O'Reilly without penalising him further.

Outside court, the activist said the G20 ban had been an affront to his civil liberties, but the magistrate's decision was "reasonable".

"It [my protest] was an opportunity to express solidarity with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden ... and I think I achieved that," he said.

 

 

 

New Zealanders protest ANZ pinkwashing



RNZI [24/2/15]:



A gay rights protest group has claimed responsibility for vandalising an Auckland police station and two ANZ bank branches overnight.

The group Queers Against Injustice last week also vandalised an ANZ ATM which had been decorated with rhinestones, rainbow patterns, and colourful paint for Auckland's Pride Parade.

This was one of four 'GayTM' machines around Auckland and Wellington commissioned in New Zealand as part of the bank's diversity programme, said ANZ chief financial officer and Pride Network executive sponsor Antonia Watson.

The protest group has accused ANZ of 'pinkwashing': when businesses and institutions use the gay rights movement to distract from other unethical behaviour.

The chair of ANZ's Pride Network, Craig Bonnington, says the bank isn't trying to cash in on the gay rights movement.

"I think it's disappointing, from my perspective, knowing all that work that's gone on.

"We've been running the network now for eight years and there's a lot of good, genuine work that goes on, and it is all run by the staff, and I think that's why they are so gutted about it."

Craig Bonnington says he would be happy to meet Queers Against Injustice members to discuss their concerns.

ANZ's Mt Eden and Ponsonby branches and the Ponsonby police station have all been covered in pink paint.

Demonstrators at Saturday's parade clashed with policemen after breaking through the barriers to the route with a banner that read 'No Pride in Prisons.'

This was the first time in the event's history that a police contingent had marched in uniform as part of the parade.

An ANZ spokesperson said the bank is speaking to the police about the vandalism, and will temporarily increase security at the branches that were targeted.

 

 

 

 

 

Assault charges, Southport

 

QPS Media [23/2/15]:

 

 Police have charged a man following the assault of two people in Southport this morning.

Police will allege that at around 11.20am, they were called to a Marine Parade business following reports that a man had seriously assaulted a woman and then assaulted a man who came to her aid.

It will further be alleged the man ran from the premises upon arrival of police but was apprehended a short distance away.

A 35-year-old Japanese National has been charged with sexual assault while armed, assault occasioning bodily harm, wilful damage, unlawful possession of a Category D/H/R weapon and possession of a knife in a public place.

He is scheduled to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court tomorrow.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Police have established a crime scene after the body of a man was found in the rear yard of a block of units in Winton Lane, Ballina, this morning.  ... [Tweed Shire Echo - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

Detectives are investigating the attempted armed robbery of a convenience store at Southport overnight.

Around 9.20pm a man entered the Scarborough Street business armed with a knife and made demands for money from the male store employee. ... [MYGC - 24/2/15]

 

 

Attempted armed robbery, Redland Bay [QPS Media - 24/2/15]

 

Armed robbery charge, Urangan [QPS Media - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Southport workers are in the middle of a 24 hour stop work, in a bid to secure different pay and work conditions.

 Hymix staff have only been back at work for a week after being locked out for three days earlier this month. ... [MYGC - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Three people are trapped in a car [It was reported on ABC radio that the vehicle was a troop carrier] that crashed down an embankment and knocked out power to nearly 1,500 customers on the Gold Coast.

There were five people in the car when it veered off the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road at Clagiraba. ... [Yahoo - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

Fatal traffic crash, Kumbia

 

QPS Media [23/2/15]:

 

Police are investigating following a fatal traffic crash that occurred near Kumbia.  

Around 9.30 this morning, a truck and a car that were travelling along the Bunya Highway collided head on.  

The driver of the car was pronounced deceased at the scene.  

The driver of the truck and three occupants were all taken to Kingaroy Hospital with minor injuries.  

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating.

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.

 

 

 

 

Serious traffic crash, New England Highway [QPS Media - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold Coast in grip of Ross River epidemic  [Yahoo - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Some residents affected by Cyclone Marcia may not have power restored for another week, the head of Ergon has warned.  ... [Yahoo - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot weather hazards follow Tropical Cyclone Marcia [Queensland Health - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

Why doesn't the ABC just interview someone from the Ponds Institute?

 

Dr Jennifer Marohasy

 

Will the Queensland media ever be accountable for the damage that they do?

 

The Looting Lie [Generation Progress - 16/1/10]

 

 

 

Sunshine Coast Daily [23/2/15]:

 

The sisters of two of the teenage boys feared drowned in floodwaters on Saturday have come out in social media to set the record straight.

Zoey Fisher and Kyy Klapproth took to the Sunshine Coast Daily's Facebook yesterday to explain reports their brothers were hanging for life on to trees in floodwaters in Beerwah were incorrect.

The boys had been reported missing about noon and by 2pm, firefighters, police, State Emergency Service volunteers and the boys' friends and families had mobilised and a concerted search effort involving boats and a helicopter was well under way.

Moments later, news reached the congregation that all three were safe.

"The boys were walking (not playing) across the flooded water to get to their friend's house and they did that successfully," Ms Fisher said.

"Besides walking against a strong current, there was no struggle.

"Someone must have witnessed them enter the water initially and assumed they were in trouble so they filed the report."

Ms Fisher said the boys had been unaware a search had begun as they were at a friend's place and did not have their mobile phones.

"Once they knew they were considered missing, they rushed straight back to the search to set things straight," she said.

"There have been people who saw the boys enter and exit the water, but because everyone else wants some attention they have relayed little stories."

Ms Fisher said they were thankful for the SES, ambulance and police officers who came to help.

Ms Klapproth said those who reported the boys should have pulled over at first to see what was actually going on.

...

 


Mixed messages to Queensland citizenry: "If it's flooded, forget it"?

 

Sunshine Coast Daily [24/2/15]:

 

Excuses from defendants who said they were flooded in and unable to attend court did not wash with Magistrate M. Baldwin yesterday.

Several notes to the court from absentees were regarded suspect, especially ones that claimed the Bruce Hwy was cut by floodwater.

 The Magistrate said she knew roads had been reopened early enough.

As a result, arrest warrants were issued.

 

 

 

Pumicestone Passage

From Golden Beach, Caloundra [24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

Tiny turtles survive early tempest [Sunshine Coast Daily - 23/2/15]:

 

More than 400 tiny turtle hatchlings had a rougher than usual introduction to life when they emerged from their nests in the midst of Tropical Cyclone Marcia's fury.

Under the watchful eye of TurtleCare volunteers, every single one of the hatchlings made it safely through the barrelling rain and into the choppy waves on their way to the East Australian Current.

A dozen turtle nests were relocated across the region early last week, moving the precious eggs into the second dunal areas away from the king tides and the possibility of erosion.

Sunshine Coast Council conservation officer Kate Winter said six nests were relocated between Caloundra and Buddina.

"We have had no reports of any nests being lost, which is pretty remarkable," she said.

"We had at least 40 volunteers on the beaches throughout the whole weekend at different times of the day when it was safe. We also had two emergences and every single one of the turtles from both nests made it safely into the water."

Coolum District Coast Care relocated six nests at Castaway Beach, South Peregian and Yaroomba.

Turtle Care volunteer Sherida Holford said their team of "amazing beach walkers" had ensured each nest was monitored during the wild weather.

"The day before the storm hit, we had an emergency and when we dug out the nest on Thursday, we found 169 hatchlings had made their way into the water," she said.

"Our volunteers were out in horrible conditions."

 

 

 

 

Sunshine Coast Daily [23/2/15]:

 

A woman in her 50s was airlifted by the RACQ careflight Rescue helicopter after a quad bike collision west of Maryborough.

It is believed the woman was a passenger on a quad bike that was rear ended by another at Teebar late Saturday.

The woman was treated at the scene and then flown to Bundaberg Base Hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

... More than 450mm of pounding rain has stirred the foundations of many Coast roads and the pothole problem is expected to get worse.

Sunshine Coast Council has encouraged residents to report any potholes to allow crews to start repairs sooner rather than later. ... [Sunshine Coast Daily - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

Sunshine Coast Daily [24/2/15]:

 

A driver escaped a potentially serious situation when his truck carrying eight gas cylinders rolled on a hinterland [Maleny-Montville] road yesterday afternoon. ...

 

 

 

 

 

“We are being coordinated by the Rome Rescue Coordination Center and they have the legal obligation to not only coordinate rescue, but also to coordinate disembarkation,” explains Migrant Offshore Aid Station director Brigadier Martin Xuereb.

 

[An American millionaire works to rescue migrants off the coast of Italy - PRI - 23/2/15]

 



Stop people from suffering and dying at our borders - EU migration policies are putting lives at risk [Amnesty Petition]:

 

 

Every year millions of people around the world are forced from their homes by conflict, persecution and poverty. Only a small proportion of these seek sanctuary and a better life in the European Union. But EU countries are increasingly determined to keep them out. In the last few years they have been busy building fences, real and invisible, that have raised the stakes for those still desperate enough to risk the journey.

Every year hundreds of people die trying to reach Europe’s shores. Countless others are violently pushed back at Europe’s borders or trapped in neighbouring countries that do not respect their rights.

But there are life-saving alternatives.

We are calling on EU leaders to stop the spiraling human cost of the fortress they are building.

Ask EU leaders to protect lives and rights along Europe’s borders. What do we want EU leaders to do?

• Strengthen search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas through a joint effort involving all EU member states

• Provide more safe and legal routes to Europe for those fleeing conflict and persecution so they are not forced to take dangerous journeys in the first place; and ensure they have access to international protection when they reach Europe’s borders

• Stop cooperating with countries with poor human rights records to restrict migration flows into the European Union

 

 

 

United States, "allies" continue bombing Syria and Iraq

 

Centcom [23/2/15]:

On Feb. 22, U.S. and Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using attack, fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 18 airstrikes.

Separately, U.S. and Coalition military forces conducted seven airstrikes in Iraq, using attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.

All strikes took place between 8 a.m., Feb. 22, and 8 a.m., Feb. 23, local time.

The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:

Syria

•Near Al Hasakah, 11 airstrikes struck ten ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL bunker and an ISIL fighting position.

•Near Dayr az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL crude oil collection point.

•Near Kobani, six airstrikes struck an ISIL large tactical unit, four ISIL tactical units, an ISIL fighting position and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions.

Iraq

•Near Al Asad, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, an ISIL fighting position and destroyed an ISIL checkpoint and an ISIL fighting position.

•Near Ar Rutbah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

•Near Kirkuk, an airstrike stuck an ISIL tactical unit.

•Near Mosul, an airstrike struck an ISIL checkpoint.

•Near Tal Afar, an airstrike destroyed four ISIL armored vehicles.

Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.

...

 

 

@IraqiSMCEn – Iraqi Spring Media Center [23/2/15]:

 

Nineveh: International coalition aircraft shelled by 8 missiles Muhandiseen neighbourhood in the left side of Mosul today dawn , and losses resulted unknown.......

 

 

Anbar: The aircraft has shelled Garma water filtering station to cut water in the area resulted in severe damaging of the station and wounding of two workers .........

 

 

 

 

The Prime Minister says any intelligence gathered by New Zealand in Iraq would not be used specifically to direct airstrikes, only to protect New Zealand military personnel on the ground.  ... [RNZI - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

Swedish journalist freed after weeklong captivity in Syria [Daily Star - 23/2/15]:

 

A Swedish journalist has been freed from captivity in Syria after a weeklong detention by Syrian government forces, local media reported Sunday.

Joakim Medin, a 30-year-old freelance reporter, told the Expressen newspaper that he was seized at a road block along with his Kurdish interpreter Sabri Omar while working in the Kurdish-majority town of Qamishli on the border with Turkey. Both were reportedly freed late Saturday night.

“I was taken by the regime,” Medin told the newspaper.

Swedish Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Ulla Jacobson confirmed Medin’s release but could not provide further details.

“He is free, we have been in touch with him,” she told AFP.

Medin told Expressen he was not subjected to violence but was interrogated and held in solitary confinement in a tiny cold dark cell “full of dirt and blood.”

“I was there to report on the situation and hadn’t entered the country the official way via the Syrian government,” he said, adding that Syrian soldiers questioned him about his links to the Kurds, Turkey and Israel.

Medin has worked for Swedish media in Kurdish areas of Syria since 2014, including the border town of Ain al-Arab, which was overrun by militants from ISIS and liberated by Kurdish forces last month after more than four months of fighting.

In December he was arrested by Turkish border guards and interrogated for illegally entering the country from Ain al-Arab.

According to Expressen, a Kurdish group – the Democratic Union Party – negotiated for the release of the Swede and his interpreter with Syrian forces in return for Syrian soldiers captured by Kurdish fighters.






Verdict expected in trial of 25 Egyptian activists, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah [Ahram – 22/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

... The Coalition Government, with sheepish support from Labour, is directly targeting Islam and Muslims under the pretext of fighting violence. It is notable that all the examples of prosecutions, incidents and groups used in the National Security Statement were of Muslims. No mention of the planned violent acts by non-Muslims like the Pullenvale case. No mention of “hate preachers” like the Australian Defence League. No mention of “extreme ideology” like that of various Zionist groups. No mention of “foreign fighters” who travel to train and fight with the IDF. ...  [Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia - 24/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Palmer United will stop cuts to higher education

 

PUP Media Release [23/2/15]:

 

Palmer United Senator for Queensland and Leader of Palmer United in the Senate, Glenn Lazarus, today reaffirmed his opposition to the Abbott Government’s higher education deregulation measures.

“The Abbott Government has already tried to introduce higher education deregulation measures without success,” Senator Glenn Lazarus said.

“Australia said no, but because the Abbott Government doesn’t listen, they are trying again.

“The measures are not about education reform, they are about budget cuts and nothing more.

“Despite the Abbott Government’s spin, expensive advertising campaigns and constant attempts to tweak the reforms to make them more palatable, no one is being fooled.

“The measures are designed to do nothing more than give the Abbott Government the freedom to slash funding to the sector which will force universities to meet operating expenses by increasing the cost of degrees.

“I have consulted with universities, students, student body groups and other sector stakeholders across Queensland and other areas of Australia and the feedback is unanimous. The sector needs increased investment by the federal Government, not further cuts.

“I urge other cross-benchers not be manipulated or misguided by the Abbott Government into thinking the reforms are worth supporting, because they are not.

“The reforms will only give the federal Government the ‘green light’ to significantly cut funding to the higher education sector.

“Any short-term benefits or enticements offered by the Abbott Government to pass the reforms will very quickly be eroded by the long term negative and harmful impacts of deregulation.

“Today I visited the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland.

“The institute is impressive and has been responsible for major scientific discoveries since its establishment in 2003.

“Australia is already falling behind the world in the sphere of research. Funding cuts to the sector will further harm university based research centres including the Queensland Brain Institute.

“Today, I met with the President of the University of Queensland Union, Kathryn Cramp. Ms Cramp has outlined the reasons why the University of Queensland Union does not want deregulation. These reasons include increased cost of degrees, increased debt among young people, reduced investment in university based research and reduced participation in the higher education sector by everyday Australians.”

“We oppose these changes because universities must substantially increase fees to recover funding the Government wants to cut,” Ms Cramp said.

“Many students already live below the poverty line and could now be saddled with even higher levels of debt.

“These changes would also undermine the current merit based system where students with equal scores can access education of equal quality. If two students have the same OP, one may be forced to enrol at a lower quality university because they cannot afford the fees if these changes succeed. Voting to support students means we are keeping the Australian tertiary education system fair.”

“I agree with Ms Cramp and I applaud the University of Queensland Union for standing up for the rights and needs of students,” Senator Lazarus said.

“Palmer United is firmly opposed to the Abbott Government’s deregulation measures and all Australians can rely on Palmer United to stand firm on this.

“We have stopped the Abbott Government once and we will do whatever it takes to stop them again.

“As a country, we need to be building our capacity to innovate, create, invent and lead. Educating our people will support our nation to achieve this.

“We need to invest in being a smart country.

“Every Australian needs and deserves access to quality education.”



 

 

Economist James Galbraith recently spent a week with Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. He shares with Fortune what he learned while looking at the nation’s fiscal crisis from the inside. ... [Fortune - 20/2/15]

 

 

 

 

Ex-President #Nasheed beaten, dragged to court. ...

Image: @FocusNewsIndia [23/2/15]

 

 

  

The Hindu [22/2/15]:

 

 

Just days after he appealed to India to intervene in the ongoing crackdown on cases of alleged treason and terrorism by the Maldives government of President Yameen, former President Mohammad Nasheed was arrested in Male.

A PTI report said he was taken into custody on Sunday under anti-terrorism laws for allegedly ordering the arrest of a senior judge in 2012 that triggered violence in the Indian Ocean island nation.

...

 

 

 

 

 

Why isn't Australia's "journalist union" (MEAA) pushing for journalists to have access to Manus and Nauru?

 

 

 

BBC journalist travels to Manus Island, Australian media continues blackout.

Manus: Dying for a Better Life [AUDIO - ENGLISH - 19/215]: Australia is one of the most popular destinations for asylum seekers escaping their home countries. But Australia doesn’t want them. Asylum seekers dreaming of a life in Australia are being banished to camps in Papua New Guinea. Fariba Sahraei presents. via  Carramore.com

 

BBC Persian [VIDEO - 19/2/15]

 

Australia's 'beautiful prison' in Papua New Guinea [BBC - 18/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refugee resettlement is only possible with UNHCR oversight.

The ABC continues lying to protect the Australian government and its human rights atrocities.

 

 

International Organisation for Migration facilitates multimillion dollar arrangement to traffic and exile Australia's refugees to Cambodia  [ABC - 23/2/15]

 

 

Why can't the ABC interview the IOM spokesman Joe Lowry about what his organisation is up to on Manus Island?  ---> IOM vultures prey on jailed Manus asylum seekers [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 6/2/15]



Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had hunger striking refugees on Manus Island (who were calling for the UN) beaten and "arrested".

Over to you Leigh Sales ...

 

 

...  crickets ...

 

 

 

Queenslanders Peter Dutton and Leigh Sales displaying their racialist credentials on 7.30 Reportland [ABC - 23/2/15]




 

 

Court injunction has delayed Afghan deportation scheduled for tomorrow from Perth until 23 March

 

"tweeted" by @rac_sydney - Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [23/2/15]

 

 

Don’t deport to Afghanistan – fourth Hazara asylum seeker at risk [Refugee Action Coaltion, Sydney - 23/2/15]





Another protester joins Villawood roof-top protest [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 23/2/15]:



A second detainee has joined the roof-top protest at the Villawood Detention Centre.

The protest which began before 9.00am this morning (Monday 23 February) is over the move by the Immigration Department to forcibly transfer a Chinese couple from Villawood to Darwin, yesterday (Sunday 22 February).

The couple have been in detention around 14 months and the woman is now eight months pregnant.

The couple had refused to be transferred, but after separating the couple and hand-cuffing her husband, the woman was tricked into going to the Villawood property section, where she too was seized. The couple was then taken to the domestic airport.

Detainees at Villawood were told that the woman had collapsed at the airport and had been taken to hospital late yesterday. They were told that the couple would be brought to Villawood, but the couple has not been returned to Villawood.

The protesters have offered to come down if Serco or Immigration will make a call to the couple to determine their whereabouts.

So far Serco negotiators have refused to make the call, or to bring Immigration representatives to the protesters.

It seems almost certain, that Immigration has reneged on its undertaking that the couple would be brought to Villawood and has gone ahead and transferred the couple to Darwin.

The forced transfer seems to be part of the Immigration department attempt to consolidate detention in the Wickham Point detention centre.

The forced transfers have also been an element of the on-going hunger strikes in the Darwin detention centre.

Asylum seekers have been re-detained and transferred from various parts of Australia to Darwin, separating them from partners, community and legal support.

“The welfare of the asylum seekers is the very last consideration of the Immigration Department,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“It makes no sense to arbitrarily transfer asylum seekers to more remote detention centres. But it is particularly cruel to transfer a woman so close to giving birth from friends and community support in Sydney. As far as the Immigration department is concerned asylum seekers are nothing but numbers to shifted between detention centres at their convenience.”



 

 

In Australia's House of Representatives today [23/2/15] the ALP and Coalition furiously agreed to support the Enhancing Online Safety "take away the internet from the children" bill

 

@SenJJMadigan: what is the current average time of detention for babies and children on Nauru? Question taken on notice. #estimates

 

"tweeted" by @shanebazzi [23/2/15]

 

 


 

Irony -----> 800th anniversary of Magna Carta Celebrations during "Enlighten 2015" at Australia's Parliament House this week.

 

 

 

CITIZENFOUR wins Oscar for Best Documentary [Courage Foundation Media Release - 22/2/15]:


The Courage Foundation is delighted that CITIZENFOUR has been awarded the Oscar for the Best Documentary Feature of 2014.

The film shows that after journalists left Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, awaiting the United States’ charges and extradition request, Snowden relied on WikiLeaks to secure him asylum.

As Laura Poitras’ film depicts, Snowden is now safe, living comfortably with his girlfriend in Moscow, but the film demonstrates the dangerous gap in protections for whistleblowers.

WikiLeaks’ rescue – and the need it demonstrated – was the inception of Courage, devoted to providing protections, defence and safety nets for whistleblowers in the highest-risk situations, when others can’t or won’t help.

Courage, which hosts Edward Snowden’s only official defence fund, is establishing international networks ready to provide future Snowdens with logistical and legal help, in addition to assisting journalistic sources at risk before the investigation stage. But we need your help.

Fighting legal battles against the most powerful governments in the world is expensive, yet essential.

Courage’s Acting Director Sarah Harrison said: “Governments are ramping up their efforts to persecute those who expose the truth, and we must do the same if we’re going to keep our truth-tellers safe. Donate to Courage to ensure we are there when we are needed most.”

Donate to Courage today to contribute to the frontline of defence for future Snowdens: https://couragefound.org/donate

Further information: https://couragefound.org



Video of Laura Poitras accepting the Oscar for Best Documentary



 

#ShutDownManus #NOTHINGlikeAUSTRALIA  ...

 

Image‏: @ozmigr4refugees [18/2/15]

 

 

 

Australia: free the refugees - London solidarity vigil:



On 2 March, the British-Australia Society and the Australian High Commission will host a reception at Australia House to send off the new British High Commissioner to Australia.

While invited guests are celebrating, we will be holding a peaceful vigil outside the event to bring attention to the plight of asylum seekers trapped in Australia's network of prison camps.

Join us at 5.30pm outside the Australia House entrance to send a clear message to diplomatic representatives of both the Australian and UK Governments:



- Stop the war on refugees and asylum seekers

- Shut down the Manus and Nauru camps

- End mandatory detention

 

 

Please bring candles and signs.



Under the policy of 'mandatory detention', the Australian government imprisons asylum seekers who arrive to Australia by boat, including thousands in the offshore prison camps of Manus Island (PNG) and Nauru.

They are held indefinitely in horrendous conditions, described by the UN Committee Against Torture as amounting to 'cruel, inhuman, and unlawful' punishment.

Several refugees have already died and scores more have been seriously injured at the hands of local police and detention centre guards and as a result of the poor medical facilities available on the islands.

Last month, 600+ asylum seekers on Manus Island were involved in a large hunger strike protest against the Australian government's plans to force them to permanently settle in PNG - one of the poorest nations in the Asia Pacific.

The strikers were intimidated and beaten by security guards.

The Australian government has continued to cover up these events.

Australians living overseas are standing together with our host communities to offer solidarity and support to the thousands of refugees imprisoned by the Australian government.

We will not stand idly while Australia continues to violate human rights and to inflict cruel punishment on some of the world's most vulnerable people.

To all who continue to suffer inside these detention centres, we send our solidarity and compassion for their struggle.

This action is part of global activities organised by Australians and Allies Overseas Against Mandatory Detention.

...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Destruction of shops caused by Iraqi government bombing of Fallujah [VIDEO - Iraqi Spring Media Center - 22/2/15]

 

 

 

IraqiNews.com [22/2/15]:

 

 12 citizens were killed or injured when a car bomb exploded in Baya’a area of southwestern Baghdad. ...


 



The Cabinet will decide today whether New Zealand will send a deployment of about 100 troops on a training mission to Iraq, to assist in the US-led coalition's fight against Islamic State.

While a deployment looks almost inevitable, there is very limited political support for it, even among National's allies. ...  [RNZI - 23/2/15]

 

 

 

... The decision, due to be announced today or tommorrow, will then be taken to Parliament for a debate only.

Mr Key told Morning Report it did not need to go to a vote as the proposal was for training forces not combat troops. ... [RNZI - 23/2/15]

 

 

 

 

Iraq’s defense minister criticized the U.S. Sunday for declaring a timeframe for an offensive to recapture ISIS’ northern stronghold of Mosul, saying military commanders should not show their hand to the enemy.

Khaled al-Obeidi said the timing of the Mosul assault was for Iraq to decide, and that a U.S. Central Command official who predicted the attack was likely to take place in April or May had no knowledge of the issue. ... [Daily Star - 23/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

Arnhem Land TC Lam urgent supplies needed

 

7,000 Yolngu are still waiting on emergency assistance:

… We are three separate individuals who saw the need for immediate action funding without any affiliation. All of this money goes directly to the people affected. We all live in Arnhem Land, we each work full-time for Indigenous organisations. We thank you for taking the time to visit this OzCrowd campaign and for donating your money to those in need.

All of the money raised will be spent on buying vital survival supplies, that will be distributed equally and fairly to the four communities affected; Galiwin’ku, Gapiwuyak, Ramingining and Milingimbi.

...

 

 

 

 

Hundreds of Palestinians were evacuated from their homes Sunday morning after Israeli authorities opened a number of dams near the border, flooding the Gaza Valley in the wake of a recent severe winter storm. ... [Al Akhbar - 22/2/15]

 

 

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to stop security coordination with Israel if the country continues to withhold millions of dollars of Palestinian tax revenue.  ... [Al Jazeera - 22/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 



... If it is to be an offence to oppose government policy, let this be said plainly. Let the prime minister be clear that his liberal democracy has come full circle and now no one can oppose the ideology or policy of the state. ...

 

Uthman Badar [The Guardian - 23/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

 

@CiaronOReilly: ... fronting Brisbane Magistrates Court Tues Feb 24th for #Assange #Manning #Snowden solidarity at G20

 

 

“Free Julian Assange! Free Chelsea Manning!” (Free Speech!) Ciaron O’Reilly arrested at G20 in Brisbane

 

 

 

 

I am more willing to risk imprisonment, or any other negative outcome, than I am willing to risk the curtailment of my intellectual freedom and that of those around me.

 

Edward Snowden

 

 

 

@citizenfour: Could you say the same?

 

  

 

Citizen Four:  Now in theaters in Austria, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and the United States. Opening in Australia, Portugal, and New Zealand on 12 February 2015, and in France on 4 March 2015. Coming soon to cinemas in other countries and to your television screen and digital platforms.

 

Brisbane: Dendy Portside

 

 

 

No surprise that politicians who were silent about the bashing and "arrest" of hunger striking Manus refugees are silent about Abbott's introduction of a police state.

 

 

 

Manless Pieface reminds Australia - via obsequious media - that he'd be worse, and that there is no opposition to this fascist shit. ---> ‏@ABCNews24 [23/2/15]: Bill Shorten: We can't wait for at-risk individuals to develop into high-level threats. ...

 

 

Greens and Palmer Party silent.  Terrified of opposing increased surveillance state and fascism?

 

 

Senator Leyonhjelm is the only political voice against tyranny????? [ABC - 23/2/15]:

 

 

... DAVID LEYONHJELM: Ben Franklin said back in the 18th century those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

PETA DONALD: From the crossbenches, Senator David Leyonhjelm doesn't like the sound of what's coming and believes he has allies within Government ranks.

DAVID LEYONHJELM: Giving up our liberty in order to protect us from those who want to take our liberty basically means the terrorists win. And, you know, there are plenty in the Liberal side of things who would share that view but the problem with party discipline is that they are unable to say it. ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victorian government formally begins family violence royal commission [The Age - 22/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

When my ex-husband Greg threatened to kill me it was suggested he take home some leaflets about how to curb his behaviour and that he could benefit from participating in some sort of violent offenders program.

 

 

 

Sydney Morning Herald [22/2/15]:

 

Victims will not be surprised to hear that domestic violence offenders are being treated more leniently than other offenders.

This has long been a feeling they have held and this important study now proves it.

It is proof that domestic violence isn't seen as a serious crime. It is proof that it is overlooked and it is misunderstood.

Violence towards a woman by an intimate partner or a member of their family has to taken equally as seriously as if the act was done by someone randomly on the street.

And as we advocate to change decades of ignorance towards family violence we do so with a court system that is full of magistrates and judges who hold the same ignorant prejudices.

If you are going to give lenient sentences for domestic violence, what does that say to the victim?

I've spoken socially to some magistrates and judges who give the impression they are reticent to hand down harsher penalties for domestic violence because they fear it might put the woman at greater risk.

They fear a heavy penalty will only further anger the perpetrator. But this soft approach is not necessarily what the victim wants.

I do not believe that prison is always the answer but there always has to be a firm response – one that is fitting of the crime.

When my ex-husband Greg threatened to kill me it was suggested he take home some leaflets about how to curb his behaviour and that he could benefit from participating in some sort of violent offenders program.

But no one actually followed up to check if he had attended these programs. And no one actually checked to see if he had changed.

I'm a great advocate for intervention but firm action must be taken right from the first instance of domestic violence in a relationship.

Intervention programs should be mandated but then we must also make sure that an offender's behaviour has actually changed when these are completed.

We also need all courts across Australia to make domestic violence data, like that used in this study, public.

That way we can clearly see if we are beginning to treat domestic violence as seriously as we should.


Rosie Batty has become a campaigner against family violence after her son, Luke, was murdered by his father on a cricket oval in Melbourne last February. Ms Batty is the current Australian of the Year.

 

 

 





Fear mongering about refugees being ‘terrorists’ is a populist tactic to draw Europe into a conflict that it has in fact never left, writes Jonathan Whittall, Head of Humanitarian Analysis at Médecins Sans Frontières. [23/2/15]


 

 

 



...  The Prime Minister said that we have given "the benefit of the doubt at our borders".  This is simply not true. Immigration legislation describes asylum seekers who come by boat as "unauthorised maritime arrivals". None will settle in Australia: they are turned away or detained, and released to their country of origin or Papua New Guinea. The Prime Minister of PNG, where about a thousand asylum-seekers are incarcerated, has stated that most asylum seekers are "just trying to have economic opportunities," and many Australians repeat this accusation. ...

 

Damon Young

[When the benefit of the doubt is in order - Sydney Morning Herald - 22/2/15]

 

 

 

A government that is getting away with exiling refugees to island death camps will not stop there.

 

Victims of Greek Purges Seek Island Prison Memorial [LA Times – 6/6/1999]:

 

… Still, a decade after Makronisos was declared a historical monument, little has been done to preserve the place where an estimated 50,000 people were imprisoned between 1947 and 1953.

Those suspected of communist sympathies were confined in six to eight camps on the island, about 30 miles southeast of Athens. Women were segregated in one camp, and teenage prisoners had their own. There also was a traditional prison where some soldiers were kept.

About eight miles long and a mile wide, Makronisos is a short boat ride from the mainland. But strong currents made it dangerous for prisoners to attempt escape.

Hundreds reportedly died as a result of brutality and illness. Former inmates speak of severe beatings, being dunked in the sea until nearly drowned, and intense pressure to denounce communism.

"They made cages of barbed wire like this," said former inmate Dimitris Mouratidis, pointing to a large, tangled bale of rusting wire. "You couldn't stand up in them. Like cages for animals."

About 250 reserve army officers who persistently refused to sign anti-communist declarations were taken to a sunbaked gully, where they lived in tents surrounded by barbed wire, survivors say. Stavros Avdoulos, now 81, spent more than two years in the gully, which was known as "the wire."

"Life here was unbearable, and yet it became our home," Avdoulos said.

The civil war was characterized by atrocities on both sides. But Makronisos is one of the few tangible reminders of the political persecution that continued long after the war. It was only in 1989 that the government finally destroyed files kept on Greeks considered "a threat to the state."

...

 

 

 

A Greek leftist holds two red flags as he walks toward a memorial erected at the site of a former prison camp on the Greek island of Makronisos on May 25, 2008, where over 100,000 suspected Communists were incarcerated from 1947-1957 in one of the darkest chapters of modern Greek modern history. The prison camp is in ruins, but hundreds of former inmates come to the island every year to pay homage to Communist comrades who were tortured and died there, many by execution. - AFP PHOTO / Aris Messinis / Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

Only the Australian media would take this Eichmannesque rubbish seriously and not hold these maniacs to account ---->  THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MP - NATIONAL SECURITY STATEMENT - AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE HEADQUARTERS, CANBERRA   [23/2/15]

 

 

 

Tony Abbott and the Australian media.

 

 

 

 

Australian media take Abbott, Baird (Shorten supported) rubberstamp, foregone conclusion "review" to take away what remains of the rule of law seriously.

It IS NOT an official inquiry and should be laughed out of town.

 

 

The media in Australia take the league judiciary more seriously than the actual court system.

Dangerous fucking gumbies.

 

The Conversation [17/12/14]:

 

... The federal-state review is to be handled by the newly arrived secretary of the Prime Minister’s department, Michael Thawley, and the secretary of the NSW Premier’s Department, Blair Comley (who took up his state position after being sacked by the Abbott government).

...

 

 

 

 

"Mr Abbott will say" <----- Since when did this become acceptable reporting? [Prime Minister to simplify terror warnings and appoint counter-terrorism coordinator as part of a new anti-extremism strategy - ABC - 22/2/15]

 

 

 


Danny Kaye -- The King's New Clothes

 




Iraq: ISIS blows oldest mosque in Anbar



IraqiNews.com [22/2/15]:

 

A security source in Anbar province said on Saturday that ISIS elements blew up the oldest mosques in the province west of Ramadi.

The source said in an interview for IraqiNews.com, “This afternoon, elements of the ISIS organization emplanted explosive devices in the vicinity of al-Farouq Mosque in Jaba area, which belong to Baghdadi district (90 km west of Ramadi), and detonated it using a remote control, which led to the collapse of the whole mosque.”

The source, who requested anonymity, added “Al-Farouq Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Anbar province. It was built in the era of Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab.”


 

@IraqiSMCEn  - Iraqi Spring Media Center [22/2/15]:

 

Anbar: International coalition aircrafts have shelled many areas in Baghdadi nahiya west of Anbar......

 

 

Syria: Turkish incursion is 'flagrant aggression'

 

 

Al Jazeera [22/2/15]:

The Syrian government has said that Turkey informed Syria ahead of a major overnight military incursion but did not await Syrian agreement to the action, Reuters news agency reported.

Turkish soldiers guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah in Syria were successfully evacuated to Turkey in the military operation early on Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu said the remains of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, would be moved to a different area of Syria which has been brought under Turkish military control.

Syrian State TV described the incursion as "flagrant agression".

"Turkey goes beyond supporting ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist gangs to launch a blatant aggression on Syrian territory," state-run Sana news said, referring to the alternate name of ISIL.

The Turkish military said in a statement that there had been no clashes during the operation, the first such ground incursion by Turkish troops into Syria, but that one soldier had been killed in an accident.

"Unfortunately we had one casualty and this was not as a result of a clash but due to an accident that happened at the beginning of the operation," Davutoglu said at a news conference in Ankara on Sunday.

The soldiers brought the remains of Suleyman Shah and some relics back to Turkey.

The new planned site for the tomb, which is closer to the border, is under control of Turkish army. The replacement of the tomb will take place later, Davutoglu said.

...


 

Iran envoy in Libyan capital 'targeted' in bomb attack


Al Jazeera [22/1/5]:


A device exploded at the gate of the Iranian ambassador's residence in the Libyan capital Tripoli, a Libyan security official said.

"Nobody was hurt," the official said on Sunday.

The residence lies in a central district of Tripoli.

 



Israel announces purchase of additional next-generation, US-made F-35 fighter jets

 

 

Star Tribune [22/2/15]:

 

 

Israel says it will purchase 14 additional next-generation F-35 fighter jets for approximately $3 billion.

Israel's defense ministry said Sunday the deal adds to the fleet of 19 U.S-made jets it already purchased in 2010. The recent signing with Lockheed Martin Corp. includes an option for 17 more in the future.

The first such planes are to arrive in Israel in late 2016.

The F-35 is the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program, with an estimated cost of nearly $400 billion. The program aims to replace a wide range of existing aircraft for the U.S. and several partner countries.

Israel plans for the stealth jet, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, to replace its fleet of F-16 warplanes and maintain its aerial dominance in the region.

 

 




Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has dispatched his brother and atomic chief to Geneva to try to overcome hurdles in high-profile nuclear talks with the United States and five other major powers, official Iranian media reported on Saturday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on his way to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif that Washington wanted an agreement by the deadline of June 30.

U.S. and Iranian officials began a new round of talks in Geneva on Friday, seeking to end a 12-year standoff over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, suspected by the West of harboring military aims - a charge Tehran consistently denies.  ... [Reuters - 21/2/15]



 



The Indian leader of the U.N.'s expert panel on climate change has pulled out of a key meeting in Nairobi while pledging to cooperate with New Delhi police investigating allegations of sexual harassment.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said its chairman, R.K. Pachauri, would skip next week's plenary session in the Kenyan capital "because of issues demanding his attention in India."

While the organization refused to elaborate, Pachauri is being investigated after a 29-year-old woman accused him of sexually harassing her while they worked together at the New Delhi lobbying and research organization he heads, The Energy Resources Institute.

The 75-year-old Pachauri said he was "committed to provide all assistance and cooperation to the authorities in their ongoing investigations," according to a statement issued Saturday night.

... [Jakarta Post - 22/2/15]

 



Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry [Guardian - 22/2/15]:

A prominent academic and climate change denier’s work was funded almost entirely by the energy industry, receiving more than $1.2m from companies, lobby groups and oil billionaires over more than a decade, newly released documents show.

Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, received a total of $1.25m from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and a foundation run by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, the documents obtained by Greenpeace through freedom of information filings show.

According to the documents, the biggest single funder was Southern Company, one of the country’s biggest electricity providers that relies heavily on coal.

...

 

 

 

Preventing the Keystone XL pipeline has become a rallying point for the environmental movement, which has won over President Obama who has said he will veto efforts by Congress to force an approval.

However, one pol who has been curiously silent on the issue is presumptive 2016 Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.

A look at many of the major donors to the Clinton Foundation may just offer an explanation. ... [Alternet - 20/2/15]

 

 

 

 

Seven Bodies Retrieved after Pakistan Coal Mine Collapse

 

Naharnet [22/2/15]:

 

 

Rescue workers on Sunday retrieved the bodies of seven people killed in a coal mine collapse in Southwest Pakistan, an official said.

The mine in insurgency-torn Baluchistan province, which is rich in gas, oil and mineral deposits, collapsed on Thursday burying the miners.

A rescue worker was killed during the search operation when he was buried under rubble. His body was retrieved on Thursday.

"A section of the coal mine caved in on Thursday and seven miners were buried in the rubble. A rescue worker also died during the search operation," local government official Shahzeb Kakar told Agence France Presse.

Kakar said that arrangements were being made to return the bodies to the victims' families.

Pakistani mines are notorious for poor safety standards and bad ventilation.

Last month a gas explosion killed eight coal miners in the same district.

At least 43 workers were killed in March 2011 when explosions triggered a collapse in a coal mine in Baluchistan.



 

 

Nearly 12,000 evacuated in Dominican Republic amid flooding [Ynet – 21/2/15]

 

 

Reports of shelling in northern Myanmar



Al Jazeera [21/2/15]:

More shelling have been reported in northern Myanmar, as government troops battle with armed rebels, who are demanding greater autonomy for ethnic Chinese in the region, which borders China.

Several artillery fire were heard in the Kokang region of Shan State throughtout Saturday, according to Al Jazeera's Adrian Brown, who is reporting from across the border in the Chinese city of Nansan.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, but our correspondent quoted a Chinese reporter as saying that he saw "20 bodies of men and women lying in one street" in Laukkai, a town in Myanmar.

...

 



Fresh Nuclear Leak Detected at Fukushima Plant

Naharnet [22/2/15]:

Sensors at the Fukushima nuclear plant have detected a fresh leak of highly radioactive water to the sea, the plant's operator announced Sunday, highlighting difficulties in decommissioning the crippled plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said the sensors, which were rigged to a gutter that pours rain and ground water at the Fukushima Daiichi plant to a nearby bay, detected contamination levels up to 70 times greater than the already-high radioactive status seen at the plant campus.

TEPCO said its emergency inspections of tanks storing nuclear waste water did not find any additional abnormalities, but the firm said it shut the gutter to prevent radioactive water from going into the Pacific Ocean.

The higher-than-normal levels of contamination were detected at around 10 am (0100 GMT), with sensors showing radiation levels 50 to 70 times greater than usual, TEPCO said.

Though contamination levels have steadily fallen throughout the day, the same sensors were still showing contamination levels about 10 to 20 times more than usual, a company spokesman said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the original spike of the contamination and its gradual fall, he added.

"With emergency surveys of the plant and monitoring of other sensors, we have no reason to believe tanks storing radioactive waste water have leaked," he told Agence France Presse.

"We have shut the gutter (from pouring water to the bay). We are currently monitoring the sensors at the gutter and seeing the trend," he said.

The latest incident, one of several that have plagued the plant in recent months, reflects the difficulty in controlling and decommissioning the plant, which went through meltdowns and explosions after being battered by a giant tsunami in March 2011, sparking the world's worst nuclear disaster in a generation.

TEPCO has not been able to effectively deal with an increasing amount of contaminated water, used to cool the crippled reactors and molten fuels inside them and kept in large storage tanks on the plant's vast campus.

Adding to TEPCO's headaches has been the persistent flow of groundwater from nearby mountains travelling under the contaminated plant before washing to the Pacific Ocean.

The International Atomic Energy Agency recently said TEPCO has made "significant progress" in cleaning up the plant, but suggested that Japan should consider ways to discharge treated waste water into the sea as a relatively safer way to deal with the radioactive water crisis.

 

 

As many as 2,800 inmates to be moved from Texas prison


Yahoo [21/2/15]:

 

 

As many as 2,800 federal prisoners will be moved to other institutions after inmates seized control of part of a prison in South Texas, causing damage that made the facility "uninhabitable," an official said Saturday.

Ed Ross, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, said the inmates who had taken control are "now compliant" but that negotiations were ongoing Saturday in an effort for staff to "regain complete control" of Willacy County Correctional Center.

"The situation is not resolved, though we're moving toward a peaceful resolution," FBI spokesman Erik Vasys said Saturday evening.

It wasn't immediately clear what progress had been made through the negotiations, but Sheriff Larry Spence said there were no hostages involved in the standoff and only minor injuries reported. Spence said the inmates "have pipes they can use as weapons."

Management & Training Corp., the private contractor that operates the center for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, said about 2,000 inmates became disruptive Friday because they're upset with medical services and refused to perform work duties.

MTC spokesman Issa Arnita said in a statement that prisons officials have begun moving the inmates and that the process would continue into next week.

Arnita said prison administrators met with inmates Friday to address their concerns but that the prisoners "breached" their housing units and reached the recreation yard. The Valley Morning Star reports fires were set inside three of the prison's 10 housing units.

Authorities say about 800 to 900 other inmates are not participating in the disturbance. The inmates being held at the facility, which is in far South Texas more than 200 miles south of San Antonio, are described as "low-level" offenders who are primarily immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

"Correctional officers used non-lethal force, tear gas, to attempt to control the unruly offenders," Arnita said in the statement.

No inmate breached two perimeter security fences, and there's no danger to the public, he said.

The large Kevlar tents that make up the facility were described in a 2014 report by the American Civil Liberties Union as not "only foul, cramped and depressing, but also overcrowded."

The report said that inmates reported that their medical concerns were often ignored by staff and that corners were often cut when it came to health care.

Brian McGiverin, a prisoners' rights attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said that he was not surprised inadequate medical care could ignite a riot. He said medical care is grossly underfunded in prisons, especially in ones run by private contractors.

"It's pretty abysmal with regard to modern standards how people should be treated, pretty much anywhere you go," he said.




Afghanistan: Several Daikundi media outlets cease to exist

Pajhwok [22/2/15]:


No daily paper is actively publishing in Daikundi as majority of the print media active for over a decade has stopped functioning because of multiple reasons, activists allege.

Freedom of expression has been one of the main achievements of the Afghan government over the last 13 years.

There were 17 government and private weekly and monthly papers in Daikundi which gradually vanished in the recent years.

The first monthly paper “Daikundi View” was launched by the youth of the province that lasted four years. Because of lack of budget the paper stopped publications.

Weak governance, censorship, lack of cooperation by the local officials, insufficient budget, and load shedding caused the papers shut down.

“Light shadow” was another monthly paper that stopped working since one and half years. Mohammad Reja former editor-in-chief of the paper said any governor appointed to the province were not cooperative with them.

He told Pajhwok Afghan News that Information and Culture Department did not have the vision and ability for helping the local media to prosper.

Mohammad Reja said every time the journalists wanted to get information from the officials they made excuses. “This is the worst kind of restrictions that the officials are committing against the press”

Parliament last year passed access to information law in six chapters and 32 articles which was also ratified by the president. Based on this law all governmental departments must provide the required information to the media.

The draft of the law took three years to be prepared by the ministry of information and culture with the help of journalists and civil society members.

Several journalists’ associations welcomed the law and called it a major step towards providing better and accurate information to public.

Najia, women’s rights activists, said the publications did not have anything on women’s issues and only had their own political agenda. She also accused the women’s affairs department for not having any publications for women despite having a lot of funds.

Hamid Wafaee, a journalist, said judicial organs were not cooperative with them. For instance, he said, a woman claimed that a justice department’s employee asked for her daughter’s marriage in return of resolving her problems over land.

“I tried to follow the issue and talk to the officials. They did not cooperate and said they had sent the case to the court. When I enquired with the court the judge told it is none of my business and did not provide any information,” he continued.

Earlier, also media people had complained that governor, police chief, and information and culture department was pressurizing media for censorship.

Journalists complain these measures would cause media outlets and local radios to stop functioning. Residents also said that governance in the province was weak and corruption was rampant. But local officials believed things were improving.

Khuda Bakhsh Seerat, acting director of information and culture department, acknowledged that a number of media outlets in the province had been limited but said: “It was not a source of concern.”

He added the main reason that some newspapers had ceased publications were lack of budget. Even the monthly newspapers like “Environment”, “Daikundi Youth” and “Daikundi” that were being printed by his department stopped their publications because the ministry of information and culture could not fund them, he added.

However, only recently a new weekly newspaper “Nili Voice” has started publication discussing issues from politics to socio-cultural issues.

Editor-in-chief of the weekly Mohammad Qasim Ataee said he was printing the weekly from his own money. He said for the long-run it was necessary for such publications to be supported.

Private radio “Aftab” has also been shut down since last month. Hanif Rezaee head of the radio said that restrictions by the local departments have made him stop broadcastings.

Two private radios of Nasim and Daikundi and national radio, radio liberty, and voice of America are the radios that still air programmes in the province.

Sayed Anwar Shahab said one of the reasons the media outlets were shutting down was because they started work without strong incentives only thinking they could earn money out of it.

Rahmatullah Sharifi a civil society activist in Daikundi said they depend on the projects without having proper plans for themselves. That is why they lose audience and finance.





Kunduz clash leaves, policeman, 5 rebels dead [Pajhwok – 22/2/15]


 

 

News UK, the publisher of The Times and The Sun, has launched an internal investigation after two members of its commercial department took their own lives within weeks of one another amid fears that staff are being put under unreasonable pressure to hit targets. 

...

Meanwhile the The Guardian newspaper was also facing questions over its relationship with advertisers after allegations that it changed a news article amid concerns about offending computer giant, Apple.

... [Telegraph - 20/2/15]

 

 



Ferry with 100 passengers sinks in Bangladesh

 

 

 

Jakarta Post [22/2/15]:

 

 

A river ferry carrying about 100 passengers capsized and sank in central Bangladesh on Sunday and a rescue operation was underway, an official said.

The ferry was reportedly hit by a cargo vessel at the Daulatdia-Paturia crossing on the Padma River on Sunday afternoon, said fire department official Shahzadi Begum.

It was not immediately clear how many people survived or are missing. The site is 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of the capital, Dhaka.

Begum said rescue teams were deployed and many passing boats were helping in the operation.

Inspector Zihad Mia, who is overseeing the rescue, told The Associated Press by phone that the ferry was submerged at a depth of up to 20 feet (6 meters).

"We have not recovered any dead body, and we don't have a clear picture about how many were exactly in the ferry when it sank," he said. "But I think many have survived."

He said divers would soon be deployed to determine the exact position of the ferry.

"We are trying to gather details from the survivors," he said.

The Padma is one of the largest rivers in the delta nation, which is crisscrossed by more than 130 rivers.

Overcrowding and poor safety standards are often blamed for ferry disasters in the impoverished South Asian nation.

Last August, a ferry with a capacity of 85 passengers was found to be carrying more than 200 when it capsized also on the Padma near Dhaka, leaving with more than 100 people dead or missing. The owner was arrested after weeks in hiding on charges of culpable homicide, unauthorized operation and overloading.

 

 

 

Wow! Just like crawly bumlick CIA backed Australian unions

 

Channel News Asia [22/2/15]:


Two Hong Kong delegates to China's parliament are pushing to implement mainland security laws months after pro-democracy protesters shut down major parts of the Chinese-controlled city, broadcaster RTHK said on Sunday.

The last time Hong Kong tried to pass national security legislation was in 2003 when half a million people took to the streets, a key lawmaker withdrew his support and the government was forced to withdraw its proposal.

Stanley Ng, chairman of the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions, said his proposal was triggered by the so-called "Occupy Central" protests, Hong Kong's failure to pass its own national security laws and its lack of laws addressing foreign intervention and secession.

A second Hong Kong delegate to China's National People's Congress, Peter Wong, said he supported the proposal, RTHK said.

Hong Kong, a vibrant former British colony, returned to China in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that gives it more autonomy and freedom than the mainland and a goal of universal suffrage.

But Beijing's refusal to grant a fully democratic election for the city's leader in 2017 infuriated pro-democracy activists and politicians, prompting the Occupy protests.

Government officials have repeatedly accused foreign forces of instigating the unrest.

The annual NPC meeting is scheduled to begin in Beijing in March.

 



Three women, child hurt after car mounts footpath at Belmore in Sydney

 

ABC [22/2/15]:

Three women and a child have been taken to hospital after being hit by a car which mounted a footpath in at Belmore Sydney's south west.

An ambulance that was heading to the scene of the accident struck a brick wall, causing a crash that then involved three other cars at Condell Park.

The child, aged between two and three years old, suffered head injuries and is in a serious condition.

A pram the infant was sitting in was left mangled on the footpath.

Two women are in a serious but stable condition and one is still considered serious.

All four were taken to St George Hospital.

Police are questioning the 50-year-old driver of the car.

Several people involved in the second crash, including the paramedics, suffered minor injuries.

One person was trapped in a car for a short time before being released and taken to hospital.

Emergency services are on site and drivers are being asked to avoid the area.

 

 

 

 

UK: Woman's hair set on fire at McDonald's in alleged racist attack

 

Independent [22/2/15]:

 

A woman’s hair was allegedly set on fire in a racist attack at a McDonald’s restaurant.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday morning between 2.05am and 2.30am in Canterbury, Kent. Police are now investigating the matter.

Witnesses claimed that the attack was racially motivated; however Kent Police could not confirm or deny this.

It is believed that the victim was waiting for a friend who was getting food when her hair was reportedly set alight.

An anonymous post on a university-related Facebook page said: “To the disgusting person in McDonald’s tonight who set my friend’s hair on fire simply because she is not white. You are disgusting and a disgrace to the human race.

“The fact you targeted her is disgusting, and that you left like a wimp without owning up to your criminal act makes you even more despicable. We have reported you to the police and we appeal to anyone who was there this evening to come forth with their reports/evidence.

“I cannot believe that in this day and age there are still people who are as racially discriminative and backwards thinking as you. Big loving to my girl who did not deserve this unjust act this evening, and I know others who were witness to this will agree.”

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “We are investigating a suspected assault at the McDonald’s restaurant in St George’s Street, Canterbury, in which it was reported that a woman’s hair was set on fire. The alleged incident took place between 2.05am and 2.30am on Friday 20 February.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting crime reference ZY/5093/15.”

 



Ring of peace forms outside Oslo synagogue

 

 

SBS [22/2/15]:

 

More than 1000 people have formed a "ring of peace" outside Oslo's main synagogue at the initiative of a group of young Muslims.

The event in the Norwegian capital follows a series of attacks against Jews in Europe, including the terror attacks in Paris in January and in neighbouring Denmark last week.

One of the organisers of Saturday's event in Oslo, Hajrah Arshad said the gathering shows "that Islam is about love and unity".

"We want to demonstrate that Jews and Muslims do not hate each other," co-organiser Zeeshan Abdullah told the crowd, standing in a half-circle before the white synagogue.

"We do not want individuals to define what Islam is for the rest of us."

"There are many more peace-mongers than warmongers," he added.

Norway's Chief Rabbi Michael Melchior sang the traditional Jewish end of Sabbath song outside the synagogue before the large crowd holding hands.

Co-organiser Hassan Raja said it was the first time he heard the song.

Ervin Kohn, head of Oslo's Jewish community, called the gathering in sub-zero temperatures "unique".

...

 

 

 

 

... I have more respect for a man who lets me know where he stands, even if he’s wrong, than the one comes up like an angel and is nothing but a devil. ...

 

Malcolm X.

Oxford Union Debate, Dec. 3 1964

 

 

 

 

 

If the Australian government were serious about opposing the execution of Australians it would recall our Ambassador.

 

 

‏@DubesAustralia - Dr David Engel - Australia's Charge d’Affaires to Indonesia [20/2/15]:  Aust Ambassador Designate Paul Grigson visited Al-Azhar Mosque Jakarta today to meet with mosque officials.

 

 

 

Indonesia has recalled its new ambassador to Brazil after the South American country stopped him taking part in a credentials ceremony following the execution of a Brazilian national for drugs trafficking.  ... [Reuters - 21/2/15]

 

 

 

Guardian [20/1/15]:

 

Brazil and the Netherlands have recalled their ambassadors from Indonesia and expressed fury after Jakarta defied their pleas and executed two of their citizens along with four other drug offenders.

The other convicts to face a firing squad were from Vietnam, Malawi, Nigeria and Indonesia. The six were the first people executed under new President Joko Widodo.

Indonesia has tough anti-drugs laws and Widodo, who took office in October, has disappointed rights activists by voicing support for capital punishment despite his image as a reformist.

He defended the executions, saying drugs ruin lives.

A spokesman for the Brazilian president, Dilma Roussef, said she was “distressed and outraged” after Indonesia ignored her last-ditch pleas and put to death Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, who was convicted of smuggling cocaine into Indonesia in 2004.

“Using the death penalty, which is increasingly rejected by the international community, seriously affects relations between our countries,” the spokesman said in a statement on Sunday.

...



 

 

Soggier than usual!

Coombabah Wetlands, Gold Coast [22/2/15]

 

 

 

 

Stopping the boats is a lie and Dutton is lying, again. Blaydin Point immigration detention centre was built as an accommodation village for INPEX workers.

 

 

 

He keeps getting away with his lies because Australian media outlets refuse to hold him to account.   --->  Darwin immigration detention centre closes due to 'success in stopping boats' [ABC - 22/2/15]

 

New Matilda [28/8/13]:

 

... Blaydin Point was constructed as part of the Ichthys LNG project, which will be the one of the world’s largest gas hubs when it becomes operational. Blaydin is a relatively nice facility; it’s colourful and allows freedom of movement within the centre. At present 590 asylum seekers are living there, including 221 children.

...

 

 

 

INPEX Given Green Light For Northern Territory Onshore Exploration Acreage [Media Release - 13/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

@Cameragimp: The people of #Milingimbi so happy to have ABC news turn up just hours after #CycloneLam

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Truss Deputy Prime Minister [22/2/15]:

 

The Australian Government will provide the Disaster Recovery Payment to eligible residents of the Fitzroy region affected by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

Those eligible for the payment, who have lost or had significant damage to their homes, or suffered injury as a result of the disaster, can access a one-off payment of $1000 per adult and $400 for each child.

Claims can be made online at www.humanservices.gov.au or by calling the Commonwealth Government Information Hotline on 180 22 66 from 8am to 5pm local time, Monday to Friday.

Completed claim forms can also be lodged in person at a Commonwealth Government Department of Human Services service centre.

 

...

 

NDRRA assistance is also being made available in the local government areas of Banana, Livingstone and Rockhampton.

Individuals and families impacted by the cyclone can access immediate relief payments of $180 per adult and up to $900 per family.

Advice and assistance in applying should now be available at the recovery centres in Rockhampton and Yeppoon or by calling 1800 173 349.

 

 



No help yet for town first hit by Marcia [ABC - 22/2/15]:

 

 

... Byfield, north of Yeppoon, was the first town to be hit when Cyclone Marcia crossed the coast on Friday.

The main road into Byfield had been decimated, with trees stripped bare and vegetation debris strewn on the road, making it inaccessible by vehicles for many kilometres.

However, Byfield locals said the worst part three days on from the cyclone was that there had been no help or contact from the authorities.

The town of about 500 residents remained largely cut off from the outside world, with no power, water, phones or other communication, with people having to walk for several kilometres to get in and out.

Jean and Warren O'Leary own a luxury rainforest ranch at Byfield.

She said her business had 10 weddings booked for this year, with one in two weeks, and that they would have to build up the business from scratch again.

"We've promoted the rainforest and it was absolutely pristine - we've got weddings booked this year, and we just don't know what's going to happen," she said.

"I'd get up every morning and it used to be a dream - we'd walk outside and it was just a magical place.

"I just walk out now and just see the destruction, and it's just like a bomb's hit the place."

She said a lot of Byfield locals were disappointed there had been no contact or help from authorities, despite the town being the first to be hit.

"The community's been fabulous - they've helped each other," she said.

"We couldn't get out of our property until yesterday afternoon because there were trees across the driveway and we couldn't get across the front gate - we can get into town now."

...

 

 

 

"Assistance" available for Rockhampton, Livingstone and Banana Shire residents affected by TC Marcia

 

 

Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for Multicultural Affairs Media Release [22/2/15]:

 

The Queensland Government is committed to providing both immediate and ongoing support to those who have been directly affected by a natural disaster.

Immediate Hardship Assistance and support services are now available to residents directly affected by Tropical Cyclone Marcia who live in the local government areas of Rockhampton, Livingstone and Banana.

Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman said people in need in affected areas should ring the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 for information or to arrange any assistance they might require.

...

 

 

 

 

Safety warning for residents in cyclone-affected areas [Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy and Water Supply Media Release - 22/2/15]

 

 

 

 

The central Queensland town of Biloela is in the grip of the worst flood in many years, with an unknown number of homes and businesses flooded.

 ...

The efforts of emergency authorities have been hampered by communication problems, with mobile, landline and internet services working only intermittently, including at the shire's Disaster Co-ordination Centre.

"Sometimes you'll get a call, sometimes you won't. We've had a couple of people actually walk in here, and tell us about the situation because they couldn't get through to us," Mr Carige [Banana Shire Mayor Ron Carige] said.

"In this day and age, you wonder what the hell's going on."  [Yahoo - 22/2/15]

 

 

 

Electricity restoration to Rockhampton region like a jigsaw puzzle [Morning Bulletin - 22/2/15]

 

 

Cyclone Marcia: Rockhampton locals queue hours for fuel, with power out indefinitely [ABC - 22/2/15]

 

 

ABC [22/2/15]:

 

Gympie in south-east Queensland has been cut off by rising floodwaters following heavy rain from ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

Police say the Mary River has risen quicker than expected and some businesses in low-lying areas are being slowly inundated.

Marcia was downgraded to a tropical low on Saturday after cutting a path of destruction through central Queensland, but the state's south-east remains on flood watch.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has responded to more than 6,000 requests for help in Queensland since Marcia crossed the coast as a category five cyclone on Friday.

Low-lying businesses in Gympie were evacuated on Saturday. Authorities said earlier in the day no homes were at risk of flooding.

The flood level is expected to peak on Sunday afternoon.

...

 

 

Some services postponed at Gympie Hospital [Gympie Times - 22/2/15]

 

 

 

 

High profile footballers duck draconian VLAD Laws for alleged drug charges.

 

"tweeted" by @pwellingtonmp - Peter Wellington, Nicklin MP [22/2/15]

 

 

Karmichael Hunt's arrest sparks debate over a national sports integrity unit [The Age - 21/2/15]

 

 

 

 

Queensland police don't shoot Gladstone man. Deploy taser several times then charge him with "serious assault police".

 

QPS Media [22/2/15]:

 

 

A 46-year-old Gladstone man is due to appear in the Gladstone Magistrates Court tomorrow charged with going armed so as to cause fear after police received several calls about a man armed with an axe making threats at Gladstone last night.

Police will allege they were confronted by a man armed with an axe standing in the middle of Sandpiper Avenue around 7.40pm.

The man immediately approached officers, wielding the axe and threatening them.

The man refused requests to disarm and a taser was deployed.

The barbs lodged in the man’s clothing, failing to halt him and he continued towards police, threatening them.

A taser was deployed again this time resulting in the man falling to the ground.

However moments later he began to rise and police were forced to struggle with him before being able to subdue and handcuff him.

The man remains in custody and will appear in court tomorrow where he also faces three counts of serious assault police and one count of contravene a direction.

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.



PNG: Correction on Hanuabada Village police shooting story


PNG Loop [22/2/15]:

PNG Loop published a report yesterday about a proposed meeting between the Prime Minister and local leaders over the fatal shootings at Hanuabada Village recently.

That report was mistaken.

The meeting was to be held for the Hanuabada leaders and Motu Koita Way Forward executives to announce the response.

The Loop article yesterday said it was not certain if the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill would be present personally to respond to the petition that was handed in two weeks ago.

PNG Loop is now aware that there was no indication that the Prime Minister would attend yesterday’s meeting to make a response at this time.

PNG Loop wishes to apologise to the Prime Minister and the MKTWF for the error which resulted from a news gathering misunderstanding.

 

 

 

The grandson of prominent Port Moresby businessman and senior resident, Dadi Toka, has just succumbed to his wounds at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

The 29 year old was one of two injured when capital police invaded Hanuabada today and fired shots into a crowd at a market place.  ... [PNG Loop - 23/1/15]


PNG Police Commissioner assures villagers an investigation will be conducted into shooting death [PNG Loop - 23/1/15]

 

 

 

Concerning number of police shootings in Queensland, civil libertarians say [ABC – 24/11/14]

 

Premier and Minister for Police and Community Safety Media Release [15/5/13]:

 

Queensland police will have the opportunity to serve in Papua New Guinea under an agreement between the country’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Premier Campbell Newman.

Mr Newman announced that up to 150 Queensland Police Officers will help to improve the policing operations and protocols in the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC).

...

 

 

[Queensland] Police Union president Ian Leavers has come out in defence of officers who are forced to shoot when faced with a violent offender to protect themselves and the community.  

In the latest issue of the Police Journal QPU magazine, Mr Leavers used his president's page to address the controversial year marred with fatal shootings in volatile situations. ... [Sunshine Coast Daily - 28/1/15]

 

 

 

Police investigate head-on crash at Walkerston

 

Daily Mercury [22/2/15]:

 

 

Police are investigating a serious, two-vehicle traffic crash that occurred in Walkerston yesterday afternoon.

Around 5.25pm, two vehicles collided at the intersection of Stockroute Road and Walkerston-Homebush Road which resulted in one car catching fire.

All three occupants of the car exited the vehicle before it caught on fire and are believed to have sustained minor injuries.

The male driver and sole occupant of the second vehicle was transported to the Mackay Base Hospital with serious head injuries.

Investigations into the cause of the crash are continuing.

...

 

 

Gregory Developmental Road (Charters Towers) temporarily closed following tanker roll over

 

 

QPS Media [21/2/15]:

 

 

Police wish to advise the Gregory Developmental Road between Charters Towers and Clermont will be shut tomorrow morning at 5.30am.

At approximately 5.15 last night, the final tanker trailer of a truck carrying chemicals, rolled on the highway.

The tanker is not leaking however the highway will be closed for several hours to allow officers from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to decant and transfer the chemical from the tanker.

All other tankers and the truck remained upright during the incident and have since been removed.

Noone was injured.

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.

 

 

 

Unlawful wounding, Aurukun

 

QPS Media [22/2/15]:

 

Police investigating the alleged assault of a woman at Aurukun yesterday have charged a man with unlawful wounding and contravening a domestic violence order.

Police will allege a 30-year-old local woman was stabbed once in the head at a Kor Street address around 2.30pm.

The woman sought medical treatment at a local clinic for a deep laceration to her temple area.

A 33-year-old local man is currently in police custody and is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court tomorrow, Monday February 23.

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.

 

 

Unlawful wounding charges, Surfers Paradise

 

QPS Media [22/2/15]:

 

Police have charged a 22-year-old woman after an alleged altercation in Surfers Paradise early this morning.

Around 1am two 20-year-old men attended the Surfers Paradise police station to report an alleged altercation that occurred inside an Orchid Avenue establishment.

It is alleged that a woman struck one of the men in the face with a bottle.

When his friend came to assist, the woman allegedly struck the second man in the mouth with a bottle.

The first man received lacerations to his forehead and the second man received a minor injury to his mouth.

Both men, one from Burleigh Waters and the other from Elanora received medical treatment for their injuries.

Police will further allege the woman resisted arrest and spat on a female police officer.

The 22-year-old Currumbin Waters woman has been charged with two counts of wounding in a public place while adversely affected by alcohol and one count each of serious assault police and obstruct police.

She is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates court tomorrow. 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.

 

 

Assault charges, Cairns

 

QPS Media [22/2/15]:

 

A man has been charged with two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm and one count of common assault following three separate incidents in Cairns last night.

It will be alleged around 11pm a man punched another man in the side of the head on Abbott Street, causing him to fall and strike his head on the ground, knocking him unconscious.

An 18-year-old man from Edmonton, was taken to the Cairns Base Hospital for treatment, where he remains with serious head injuries.

A 20-year-old Edmonton man was located by police in a nearby nightclub soon after and subsequently arrested and charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.

He is expected to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court tomorrow.

The 20-year-old was charged with common assault in relation to two separate alleged assaults occurring in the Cairns CBD overnight, involving two different men.

They were both treated for minor injuries.

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, Karalee

 

QPS Media [22/2/15]:

 

Police are investigating reports of an attempted armed robbery at a service station on Junction Road in Karalee.

Initial investigations suggest that just before 9am a man entered the service station armed with a firearm.

When police arrived the man allegedly dropped the weapon and fled the scene on foot.

A cordon was established near the Warrego Highway where police conducted a search of the area which failed to locate the man.

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.

 

 

 

 

Iraq Body Count: Saturday 21 February: 67 killed.

 

 

 

 

Like unflushable turds: Brandis and former Australian Prime Minister bob up at Obama's "extremism summit"

 

 

White House Countering Violent Extremism Summit [Attorney-General Media Release - 18/2/15]

 

 

Foreign Policy [19/2/15]:

 

Despite bitter differences over the fate of Syria and Ukraine, the United States and Russia still agree on one thing: the need to confront violent Islamic extremists from North Africa to the Middle East. But forging a coordinated strategy for combating the scourge has been complicated by the deteriorating state of relations between the Cold War superpowers.

With foreign dignitaries gathered in Washington for President Barack Obama’s conference on extremism, Russia’s U.N. envoy, Vitaly Churkin, denounced what he perceived as the latest American slights against Russia. He accused the United States of failing to seek Moscow and other capitals’ views on the event’s agenda, and said it snubbed Russia’s close allies, including Serbia, which was not invited to the conference.

“The United States believes in its exceptionalism and it has to say at every corner that the United States is going to lead,” Churkin said. “Fine, I’m prepared to listen to those statements if they want to position themselves this way.… What the hell.”

“The United States believes in its exceptionalism and it has to say at every corner that the United States is going to lead,” Churkin said. “Fine, I’m prepared to listen to those statements if they want to position themselves this way.… What the hell.”

He added: “But they should not proceed from this premise in their relations with Russia and China, really, because they should take advantage of our willingness to cooperate.”

The Russian diplomat also offered a not-so-subtle warning that Russia’s cooperation on matters of vital importance to Washington, like the Iranian nuclear negotiations, should not be taken for granted. “Russia is a very responsible member” of the international community, said Churkin, noting that Moscow had worked very hard to have the Iranian nuclear talks succeed. “It would not take much for Russia to do some mischief in those talks, to make agreement even more difficult.”

Speaking Wednesday night on a panel on the state of U.S.-Russian relations at the Harvard Club in midtown Manhattan, Churkin predicted that the American conference would dissolve into a “mess.” His remarks at the panel discussion — which was moderated by former Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, and included Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, and former German economy and defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg — underscored the strength of official Russian resentment against the United States.

...

 

 

 

The OSCE monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine has finally arrived in the town of Debaltsevo, after a local militia provided guarantees of security. At the same time Kiev and rebels in Lugansk gave independent reports of prisoner swaps. ... [RT - 21/2/15]

 

 

 

The United States and its European allies are in talks about harsher sanctions against Moscow, while U.S. President Barack Obama will evaluate next steps in dealing with the conflict in eastern Ukraine in coming days, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday.  ... [Reuters - 21/2/15]

 

 

 

Imaginary assignment for Peter Greste: How many journalists are currently (or have been) detained in Australia's offshore and onshore immigration concentration camps?

 

 

Lost in a black hole after ASIO branded refugee a threat [Sydney Morning Herald - 21/2/15]:

 

 

... "I was genuine to the government in the interviews," Ragav says of his asylum application, in English and with the help of a translator.

He tells me how he worked as a cameraman for a media organisation supportive of the Tamil Tigers in regions under Sri Lankan army control.

He says how he came to have a profile as a contact for local and international media about university student resistance, having his camera equipped smashed, until eventually in 2006 a "military intelligence officer" warned him to leave the country.

Fearing an "accident" he flew to Malaysia and joined UN camps in the country. But denied work rights or a future, he paid $16,500 – almost three times the going rate he later discovered – for an October 2009 passage to Australia.

He provided documents, he says, and after 18 months on Christmas Island, was sent to a camp in far north Queensland [Scherger], where after another year he was told ASIO had made an adverse finding.

He was moved to Melbourne in 2012 in the months before an April 2013 hunger strike among the more than two dozen refugees held with negative findings.

"We did that hunger strike not to hurt the Australian people or government," Ragav says. "If there was inconvenience, I apologise."

But as much as a cry for help, he says, the aim of the protest was to bond desperate group together rather than sit alone in their rooms crying – and for some, attempt to end their lives.

...

 

 

 

 

Australia's 'beautiful prison' in Papua New Guinea, Fariba Sahraei [VIDEO – BBC – 18/2/15]:

 

... "Imagine a large and real cage in the most isolated island, surrounded by ocean and jungle and tall coconut trees," says Omid, a 25-year-old Iranian.

"No doubt our prison is the most beautiful prison in the world."

Omid is not exaggerating. Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), is small and rugged, covered in thick jungle, and the coastline is stunning.

It's home to around 50,000 islanders - but also to about 1,000 detained asylum seekers who never wanted to be here and are mostly desperate to get out and go anywhere except back where they came from.

Until mid-2013, Omid was a journalist in Iran. He fled the country under the threat of arrest, paying traffickers a small fortune to take him to Australia.

Like many asylum seekers setting off from Indonesia, Omid headed for Christmas Island, a tiny Australian territory much closer than the mainland.

Despite reaching Australian borders, he was relocated to an overcrowded detention centre on Manus Island, where he has been stuck for the last 18 months.

...

 

 

 

 

UQ Law School Twilight Seminar Series - Maritime Powers Act 2013 and Refugees: Where Next?:

 

Presenters: Professor Nick Gaskell, Associate Professor Peter Billings & Dr Michael White

Venue: Sir Samuel Griffith Room, 1-W341, Forgan Smith Building

Time: Wed, 25 February : 5:45 pm - 6:45 pm

Contact: Craig Forrest, ph: (334) 69027, email: c.forrest@law.uq.edu.au

In CPCF v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2015] HCA 1, the High Court of Australia handed down its much anticipated decision regarding the alleged false imprisonment of 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers on board an Australian border protection vessel at sea, having been taken on board as the Indian flagged vessel on which the asylum seekers were on was rendered unseaworthy.

The case concerned the interception (in the contiguous zone off Christmas Island) of the asylum seekers by Australian authorities and the legality of their subsequent detention for over three weeks while they were taken towards India - a country in which they had no right or permission to re-enter - pursuant to a decision of the National Security Committee of Cabinet.

The matter raised novel and complex, intersecting, issues of constitutional law, administrative law, maritime law and international (human rights) law.

As part of its ongoing Twilight Seminar series, the Marine and Shipping Law Unit has joined with the Centre for Public, International and Comparative Law to convene a panel that will address a number of issues raised in CPCF (and recent legislative amendments to the Maritime Powers Act) including; the scope of non-statutory executive power of the Commonwealth relating to coercive action (detention and expulsion) at sea, the meaning and administration of particular maritime powers directed to countering migration offences (including people smuggling), and the commensurability of maritime powers permitting interdiction and expulsion with Australia's international law obligations relating to non-refoulement.

Further Details: All welcome - no RSVP required

 

 

 

 

 

... The decision has no bearing on the lawfulness or otherwise under international law of Australia's interception, detention and removal of asylum seekers.

Australia's international law obligations have not disappeared, but current policy leaves us wide open to breaches. ...  Professor Jane McAdam [Our obligations still apply despite High Court win - Sydney Morning Herald - 30/1/15]

 

 

 

 

New York Times [20/2/15]:

 

A federal judge in Washington has ordered the Obama administration to stop its practice of detaining most women and children who were caught crossing the border illegally whether or not they had applied for asylum in the United States.

The ruling on Friday, by Judge James E. Boasberg of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, invalidates a central piece of the administration’s strategy to curb illegal immigration across the Southwest border.

During the influx of migrants last summer, the Department of Homeland Security started holding most women who came with their children in detention centers in Texas and New Mexico, to discourage others in their home countries from embarking on an illegal passage to the United States.

The women and children were detained even after they had asked for asylum and passed the initial test to prove their cases, showing they had credible fears of facing persecution if they were sent home. Their petitions for release were routinely denied.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson said the detention policy was devised to send a clear message to families in Central America, where most of the migrants were from: “If you come, it is likely you will be detained and sent back.”

A class-action lawsuit seeking to overturn the policy was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the immigration clinic at the University of Texas law school.

In issuing a preliminary injunction, Judge Boasberg barred the administration from detaining migrants solely “for the purpose of deterring future immigration.”

He ordered immigration authorities to consider each asylum case to determine if the migrants would present risks to public safety if they were released while their cases moved through the courts. Many of the women said they were fleeing severe criminal violence at home.

...

 

 

 

 

 

 

scruples [noun]:  A feeling of doubt or hesitation with regard to the morality or propriety of a course of action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

...  I am in need of an operation on my left knee, my right elbow and my back, and my teeth keep getting pulled because I couldn't brush them for 5½ years. ...

 

David Hicks

[Sydney Morning Herald - 19/2/15]



 

 

 

... The photo Millantz gave me shows him (on the left) posing with a lieutenant while a third man is seen grasping a large wooden board. He said the third man is an Iraqi detainee forced to hold up the board. Millantz and the soldier are smiling broadly, while the prisoner’s face shows a pained expression – his white shirt appears to be drenched in sweat. Reveal has blocked the detainee’s eyes in this image to protect his identity, because he is the alleged victim and because his identity could not be confirmed.

Millantz wrote on the back of the photo that the detainee was “holding that board for 45 minutes,” and later told me that the prisoner’s wrist eventually broke from the exertion. Millantz had sent Hutton the photos with a letter, dated Dec. 20, 2003. In that letter, he further described how he and his unit “tortured the shit out of some prisoners.”

...  [Reveal News - 14/2/15]

 

 

 

 

 

"They were padlocked behind gates and [within] the first five minutes [of my arrival] the asylum seekers started shaking the fence and started calling for help ...

It was totally degrading and humiliating. ... The stench of faeces, it's unbearably hot - and you've got mosquitoes. ...

 

Nicole Judge, support worker on Manus for four months in 2013

 

 [Australia's 'beautiful prison' in Papua New Guinea - BBC - 18/2/15]

 

 

 



 

Dentistry at Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island  [Manus: Dying for a Better Life - AUDIO - ENGLISH - 19/215]:

 

I finally got rid of my damn tooth pain. R* helps me.

He had been a soldier in prison.

He got a cable from the fence then heated it up until it got red hot.

He first stuck it in on my tooth and then put a lit cigarette into the hole.

He had learned that in Iran's prisons.

 

 

New York Times [3/3/13]:

 

Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.

What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.

...

As early as 1933, at the start of Hitler’s reign, the Third Reich established about 110 camps specifically designed to imprison some 10,000 political opponents and others, the researchers found.

As Germany invaded and began occupying European neighbors, the use of camps and ghettos was expanded to confine and sometimes kill not only Jews but also homosexuals, Gypsies, Poles, Russians and many other ethnic groups in Eastern Europe.

 The camps and ghettos varied enormously in their mission, organization and size, depending on the Nazis’ needs, the researchers have found.

...

In Berlin alone, researchers have documented some 3,000 camps and so-called Jew houses, while Hamburg held 1,300 sites.

Dr. Dean, a co-researcher, said the findings left no doubt in his mind that many German citizens, despite the frequent claims of ignorance after the war, must have known about the widespread existence of the Nazi camps at the time.

“You literally could not go anywhere in Germany without running into forced labor camps, P.O.W. camps, concentration camps,” he said.

“They were everywhere.”

 

 

Australian immigration detention facilities

Detention and Refugee Statistics [Asylum Seeker Resource Centre]

 

How will you feel about your superannuation portfolio when the ICC,  a truth and justice commission or legal action forces all shareholders to tour Australia's concentration camps?

 

 

HESTA (the health sector superannuation fund) is at present a substantial shareholder in Transfield Services, the company that runs the Australian detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island (PNG). ... [xBorder Operational Matters - 23/1/15]

 

Members’ Letter to UniSuper [xBorder Operational Matters - 22/9/14]

 

 

 

... There was no picnic behind the barbed wire ...

German citizens forced to visit concentration camps after liberation in Germany during World War II [VIDEO - Critical Past]:

German people compelled by Allied forces to visit and view liberated concentration camps in Germany during World War II. ...

 

 

 

 

 

22 February 2015

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