"Truth is scarcely to be heard but by those from whom it can serve no interest to conceal it."
Are the hunger striking refugees, who Australia's Immigration Minister had beaten and thrown into a crowded prison cell, still alive?
Updated ABC report from Manus Island [ABC – 25/1/15] <---- The harrowing video is reminiscent of events in Egypt a few years ago (as well as other human rights atrocities).
@Moataz_ELgaml: Military coup crimes in #Egypt Abu Zaabal prison massacre 18-8-2013 ...
... What had happened was soon blamed on the prisoners. Police officials said the 37 died shortly before they were due to be handed over to the warders at Abu Zaabal prison, just north-east of Cairo. According to their narrative, the prisoners kidnapped a policeman who opened the door to let them out, prompting his colleagues to fire tear gas inside the truck to subdue them. State media outlets went further, claiming that Muslim Brotherhood gunmen had attacked the van to try to free those inside, and the prisoners died in the ensuing clashes. ...
[Guardian - 25/1/15]:
Two asylum seekers were returned to Nauru and two to Manus Island.
Guardian Australia has had the removal confirmed by separate sources, but multiple calls over several days to the office of immigration minister Peter Dutton have not been returned.
It is understood at least one detainee was able to alert advocates on Friday that he had been called for an impromptu meeting with his case officer – roundly considered a signal that he will be put on a flight that night and sent to the offshore facilities, often with no opportunity to contact legal representatives.
The forced removals have occurred several times over recent months according to advocates.
Guardian Australia was told a man returned to Papua New Guinea two weeks ago had a medical condition which meant he could require immediate emergency care at some point. It’s not known if he has been returned to the Manus Island facility or is being housed in Port Moresby.
At least 15 more Iranian detainees inside Darwin’s Wickham Point detention centre have embarked on hunger strike protests in the last two weeks. They have all been refused refugee status but cannot be sent back as Iran will not accept involuntary returns.
“The only choice left to him is to go back voluntarily and he’s steadfastly refused to do that for the same reasons as [Martin],” Lawrence said of one 28-year-old detainee he had spoken with.
Calls to Dutton’s office about the hunger-striking detainees have also gone unanswered.
What are crimes against humanity?
The power of journalism.
It is possible that the mere presence of an ABC journalist on Manus Island meant there were no further attacks on refugees after 18 February 2014
ABC, AM [19/2/14]:
CHRIS ULHMANN: It's been a quiet night on Manus Island, according to the Government, after days of protest at the immigration detention centre culminated in a riot on Monday where 77 were injured and one person died. Our Papua New Guinea correspondent Liam Cochrane is on Manus Island.
Liam, the Government is saying that it was quiet on Manus Island last night, but have you spoken to anyone who witnessed what went on the night before?
LIAM COCHRANE: I have spoken to someone who witnessed the events of Monday night, the most serious violence.
What was described in terms of the responsibility for the violence was that it was mostly the G4S, the Papua New Guinean G4S guards who were at times backed up by the PNG mobile squad.
At times the Papua New Guinean G4S guards withdrew from the compound, from the detention centre and the area where the fighting was taking place and the PNG mobile squad came in and at times fired some shots.
The other thing that was said was that the head injuries sustained by the man who died came from a rock that was thrown from outside of the detention centre; it's not clear whether that, who threw the rock. There were security guards, there were police and there may have been locals around but it's not clear where that rock came from.
CHRIS ULHMANN: How hard is it trying to get a picture of what's going on there? What are the restrictions when it comes to reporting anything from the centre?
LIAM COCHRANE: It's been very difficult to get access and to get reliable information from on the ground here. Getting to the centre has become impossible. It's always impossible to get into the centre but to get anywhere near it has become more difficult.
G4S guards have stepped up their security of the naval base which extends several hundred metres away from the detention centre itself.
Yesterday I tried to speak to the head of the hospital here. He was instructed by G4S, Australian G4S security guards not to speak to the media. And we haven't been able to get on to the governor who is back on the island and it's been very difficult to get information.
CHRIS ULHMANN: Well one wonders what a G4S guard would by way of jurisdiction over telling a doctor what to do in Papua New Guinea, but leaving that aside, what are locals telling you about what they think about this centre?
LIAM COCHRANE: The locals I spoke to are quiet concerned about what's going on. Obviously it was a serious escalation in violence. There is some sympathy for the plight of the detainees. They understand the frustration and the uncertainty of what's happening to them. I think there is also some concern about where this is going as far as continued violence and how it will be handled.
CHRIS ULHMANN: Papua New Guinea correspondent Liam Cochrane on Manus Island.
New Matilda [19/2/14]:
... A local source told New Matilda on Tuesday night that detainees were “fucking terrified” on Monday afternoon, before the most serious violence erupted, after being threatened by Papua New Guinean G4S guards who would “come past and say they’re going to get us tonight”.
“All day Monday the [detainees] were saying, ‘get us out of here, we’re afraid. The PNG guards have been making faces at us, telling us they’re going to come back’,” the source said. “They said that as soon as it got dark, the locals were going to come for them — and that is exactly what happened.” ...
What has happened between last February and now?:
UNHCR concerned about the Manus Island disturbance [Media Release - 18/2/14]
Death on Manus Island prompts UN call for ensuring protection of asylum-seekers [Media Release - 18/2/14]
Call for it again Amnesty: ... "We call on the government to end the cruel and unlawful policy of offshore detention, and close the Manus Island detention centre" ... [Media Release - 18/2/15]
Who is advising the refugees? The IOM? If so, why are they unaccountable to the Australian taxpayer?
@shanebazzi [25/1/15] Refugee says they have not been given any timeframe for resettlement in PNG.
@shanebazzi [25/1/15] Photos from the East Lorengau refugee transit centre
Australian Greens, Palmer United Party, Human Rights Commisson: Your response to last night's ABC News report from PNG?
Close the Camps: Clive Palmer [Media Release - 20/8/14]
PUP NT candidates visit with Christmas Island administrator Jon Stanhope. Getting the facts.
Image: @PalmerUtdParty [18/8/13]
Sunshine Coast Daily [19/8/13]:
As Jeremy Davey looked out over the Indian Ocean in front of Christmas Island's Golden Bosun Tavern, he did not have to imagine the desperation of the 48 asylum seekers who struggled and drowned just off the rocks on December 15, 2010.
The 37-year-old former Kawana junior rugby league player and Kawana SLSC member has looked deep into the eyes of despair many times in his border protection role with the Australian Navy.
Now a federal election candidate with the Palmer United Party, Mr Davey joined a fact-finding visit to Christmas Island.
He said it was not hard for him to remember his first encounter with a refugee boat carrying 270 people off Broome.
Dangled over the side of his craft, held around the ankles by crew mates, he reached down to the foundering boat to pluck women and kids from the deck.
"I was small and light, so it was me who was held over the side and grabbing hold of people,'' he said.
"They cling to you like you are their saviour. There is desperation in their eyes but also trust.''
Davey, who joined the Navy as an 18 year-old after finishing school at Kawana High, resigned earlier this year after 18 years service principally in border protection roles based in Cairns and Darwin.
Last weekend's visit, the first by any political party this campaign despite the prominence of the asylum seeker issue, is one of many Mr Davey has made to Christmas Island.
His decision to nominate as the PUP candidate for Moreton, Queensland's most marginal seat, was driven in part by his concern about border protection policy being shaped as a political response to a "misinformed" public.
Mr Davey said the positions of both Labor and the Coalition may be populist responses to some sectors of the electorate, but lack a strategic, outcome-driven focus, were ridiculously expensive and put Australian service men and women at risk.
The Palmer United Party policy calls for asylum seekers to be allowed to fly directly to Australia without visas as long as they carried identity papers or a passport.
Those assessed to have valid claims would be allowed to stay. Those who do not would be returned.
It's a policy the party says is more humane, cheaper, would destroy the people smuggler business model and was in line with common practice.
Mr Davey is concerned at the impact of present policy on his former colleagues.
"The boarding teams are good guys and girls,'' he said. "They are receiving physical injuries doing a job they shouldn't have to do. Many are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They're pulling decomposing bodies from the sea.''
Mr Davey comes from a family of Nationals voters but feels the merger with the Liberals in Queensland has cost politics a voice.
"When the Katter United Party formed it had good ideas around primary production,'' he said. "But it's been taken over by rednecks and homophobia.''
He says Palmer candidates needed to be brave to put its refugee policy to voters who had every right to be angry at the profiteering of people smugglers.
However he said their victims were all real people and most genuine in their claims.
With two children, he is married to Wendy, who continues to pursue her own naval career.
PNG: Motuans likely to mount united front
PNG Loop [25/1/15]:
A likely alliance by Motuan villages against recent alleged police killings has blocked off all access to the villages, including the InterOil refinery and LNG plant sites outside of Port Moresby.
This afternoon a meeting was conducted by village leaders and executives and it is understood an alliance has been formed between Hanuabada, Tatana and Baruni villages to close off all access roads.
A local from Hanuabada told PNG Loop this afternoon that craters have been dug out of the roads to stop trucks engaged with the activities of InterOil and the LNG plant site from passing through.
Other issues discussed during the meeting included a proposed peaceful protest march to the Royal PNG Constabulary headquarters at Konedobu.
Afghanistan: 2 dead dead, as many wounded in Kabul explosion
At least two people were killed and as many wounded in a morning rush-hour bomb blast in the capital Kabul on Sunday, an official said.
Gen. Ayub Salangi, acting interior minister, said the blast resulted from explosives placed in a truck in the Qasaba area of the 15th police district.
The driver of the truck was killed along with a companion and two other people injured in the blast, he added, without giving further details.
Earlier, eyewitness Bilal told Pajhwok Afghan News a policeman and two civilians were wounded in the blast. He said the explosives were detonated in Qasaba area ring road.
As usual, the Taliban claimed responsibility, with their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claiming heavy casualties inflicted on foreign forces.
Vast protests against Charlie Hebdo in Farah and Zabul provinces [Khaama – 25/1/15]
... The Entente powers are unwilling to relinquish the right to tut-tut their colonial peasantry. Simultaneously they cannot risk diluting their predisposition to war and disease, for big defense and pharmaceutical contracts depend on it. Immigration is a carrot dangled to these world-weary, a ticket to the promised land of plenty, free of strife and strain. ... S. Mubashir Noor [Charlie Hebdo and The Old World Order - Khaama - 25/1/15]
Palestinians march against Charlie Hebdo cartoon [Maan – 24/1/15]
UN accuses Israel of illegally razing homes of 77 Palestinians
The United Nations has accused Israel of illegally demolishing the homes of 77 Palestinians, mostly children, this week in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
"In the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement issued Friday evening.
"Some of the demolished structures were provided by the international community to support vulnerable families.
"Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel's obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately," said OCHA.
The demolitions took place in East Jerusalem and the districts of Ramallah, Jericho, and Hebron, it added.
OCHA said that during 2014 Israel carried out a record number of demolitions in east Jerusalem and a zone of the West Bank under full Israeli control known as Area C.
Israel tracked Iranian general via cellphone [Daily Star - 25/1/15]
UN: Over 1.5 mn displaced in Ukraine, Kiev prevents aid delivery to east
More than 1.5 million civilians have been forced to leave their homes due to the conflict in south-eastern Ukraine, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest report.
“Renewed fighting in the east of the country has resulted in additional displacement, civilian loss of life, destruction of infrastructure, all resulting in increasing humanitarian needs,” the report said.
As of January 21, 921,640 people were classified as internally displaced persons and another 600,000 fled as refugees to neighboring countries, mostly Russia.
Moreover, Kiev restrictions on access to the eastern regions “have produced new difficulties for the established supply schemes for state target programs and humanitarian aid delivery.”
OCHA states that at least 5,086 people were killed and 10,948 injured between mid-April 2014 to January 21, 2015, citing the office of OHCHR and WHO.
At least 262 of the dead, including seven children, were killed between January 13 and 21, the report added.
Suspected Boko Haram militants attack major Nigeria northern city
Suspected Boko Haram militants began attacking Nigeria's major northeastern city of Maiduguri just after midnight on Sunday, military, government and local sources said.
At around 9 am (0300 ET) on Sunday, a Reuters witness said shelling could be heard and that military helicopters were circling the city.
The militants began the attack at the edge of the city in the Njimtilo area. The city is the capital of Borno state and would be a major prize for the insurgents who are trying to carve out an Islamic state.
Berlin mulls Saudi, Australian weapons deals: reports
Deutsche Welle [25/1/15]:
Germany has decided to cease exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia because of ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.
But Germany's weapons industry stands recoup some losses with a consignment of submarines to Australia.
Germany's national security council, a government body headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and made up of ministers from seven ministries, has decided to halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia due to "instability in the region," the mass-market Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday, adding that the information has not been officially confirmed.
According to the newspaper, orders of weapons from Saudi Arabia have either been "rejected, pure and simple" or deferred until further notice.
The kingdom is "one of the most important clients of Germany's arms industry," the newspaper said, noting that it paid German weapons manufacturers 360 million euros ($400 million) in 2013.
But the government has decided "the situation in the region is too unstable to ship there."
A survey conducted by Bild found that 78 percent of Germans support Berlin stopping arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia and 60 percent believe Germany should break off trade ties with the country all together due to human rights violations.
Saudi Arabia is home to the holiest sites in Islam, and thus plays a key role as spiritual leader for Sunni Muslims and as a mediator in the region. Its importance was clear on Saturday, when world leaders, including former German President Christian Wulff, converged on Riyadh to give their condolences for the death of King Abdullah.
However, the kingdom has come under fire from human rights groups for its harsh stance on religious minorities and the rights of women, as well as its draconian legal system.
The news comes amidst speculation that the arms industry will not be suffering too long, however, because Germany could make 14 billion euros off a potential sale of Class 216 submarines to Australia.
Der Spiegel news magazine reported that the German bid, which faced stiff competition from Japan, is likely to be chosen over the Asian nation, partly because of Japan's continued tensions with China.
When Chancellor Angela Merkel told Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the last G20 summit in Brisbane that a delivery from Germany would be seen as politically neutral, Abbott is said to have responded: "You're right about that."
Class 216 submarines are still in the testing stages, and should be the most modern conventional submarines in the world, Der Spiegel reported. They will be able to stay submerged for four weeks at a time. Australia's decision about which bid to expect will come in the next few months.
Protester Killed As Egypt Marks Fourth Anniversary of Uprising
Al Akhbar [25/1/15]:
A bomb wounded two Egyptian policemen in Cairo on Sunday, officials said, as security forces moved quickly to disperse small protests on the anniversary of the popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The blast, which targeted policemen stationed outside a sports club in Cairo's Heliopolis area, came one day after a socialist activist was killed as security forces dispersed a protest in downtown Cairo on Saturday.
After two major upheavals in four years and surges in violence across the country, many Egyptians still feel their efforts to establish a democratic leadership have been to no avail.
On Sunday, supporters of deposed President Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood gathered near Tahrir Square and held up photographs of him, a Reuters witness said. Security forces rounded them up.
State news agency MENA said 22 armored vehicles were parked around Tahrir Square and roads to the square were sealed off.
In Cairo's Ramses Square, forces used teargas to disperse a protest, officials said.
Moreover, security forces were also dispatched to Rabaa Square in northeast Cairo, where hundreds of Mursi supporters were killed in August 2013, one month after the army toppled him.
Police have warned they would confront protests "decisively,” however, several protests erupted this week in Cairo and Egypt's second city Alexandria.
A female protester was shot dead on Saturday near Cairo's Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the revolt that ended Mubarak's 30 years of rule.
Shaima al-Sabbagh, who friends said was 34 and the mother of a five-year-old boy, died of birdshot wounds, a health ministry spokesman said.
Queensland election: bikie Russell Wattie stands in Maryborough LNP seat
He and the president of Hells Angels Queensland, Mark Nelms, met the then opposition leader, now the health minister, Lawrence Springborg, at parliament in November 2009 to lobby against the former Bligh government’s criminal organisation laws.
A prominent bikie whose gang was declared a criminal organisation by the Liberal National party government, despite it being defunct, is standing in the Queensland election.
Russell “Camel” Wattie, who successfully lobbied the then-opposition LNP against criminal organisation laws for bikies before the party’s dramatic about-turn on the issue, is running as an independent in the marginal seat of Maryborough.
Wattie, who was vice-president of the Wangaratta Liberal party branch in Victoria in his youth before being jailed for drug trafficking in Amsterdam, said he was “an accidental politician” with real life experience “that unfortunately in today’s climate of career politicians is sadly lacking in our leaders”.
Wattie, who in recent years has been a public advocate for bikie gangs as spokesman for the United Motorcycle Council, is up against the LNP’s Anne Maddern, who won the seat by just 0.3% over another local independent, a former pastor and Christian songwriter, Chris Foley.
Wattie, who last month criticised as “propaganda” mistaken reports that his former outlaw motorcycle club, the Outcasts, was broken up by the LNP’s bikie laws, said if elected he would work to achieve a bill of rights “to protect Queenslanders from governments who may choose to overrule them”.
Wattie ran for the federal Senate in 2007 but now enters the fray with outlaw motorcycle gangs – and the LNP’s campaign to legislate them out of existence – having become a bona fide election issue.
“Someone’s got to throw the cat among the pigeons,” Wattie told Guardian Australia.
Wattie criticised the government’s designation of 26 bikie clubs as declared criminal organisations – including the Outcasts, 14 months after they had dissolved – as overreach with “no judicial process whatsoever”.
He accused the government of cherry-picking crime statistics from different regions around the state to justify its law and order crackdown.
Wattie also urged the architect of the legislative crackdown, the attorney general, Jarrod Bleijie, to “man up” after a report Bleijie had received death threats from bikies.
He said it was “quite possible” that Bleijie had been on the receiving end of abuse that he took as death threats.
“Many people make hollow threats,” Wattie said. “I’ve been threatened. We’ve all been threatened at some point in our life, Jarrod – man up.”
The Newman Government’s anti-bikie laws [Palmer United Party Media Release – 30/1/15]:
Below is a transcript of a speech given by the Hon Justice JA Dowsett of the Federal Court of Australia to graduating students at the QUT Faculty of Law’s graduation ceremony on Monday 9 December, 2013.
We would like to draw your attention to the portion of Justice Dowsett’s address which is highlighted in bold type. These words from Justice Dowsett illustrate superbly the inherent danger of Premier Campbell Newman’s so-called anti-bikie laws, which we believe are an attack on our fundamental right of freedom of association.
Fiji PM apologetic over Suva water problems
Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has apologised for the recent water problems and pollution in the Suva area, saying much of the infrastructure around the capital dates back to colonial times.
A broken pipe saw millions of litres of raw sewage poured into the Samabula River last month and infected the waterways and the waterfront around Suva.
An environmental emergency was declared nearly a month ago after the pipe burst in early December.
Speaking at a function of the Water Authority of Fiji on Friday, Mr Bainimarama said it was heartbreaking to see the disruption to the lives of people living around the affected foreshore.
He says the Water Authority has seen its budget increase to 128 million US dollars this year to address the problem.
He also says as of next month, households earning less than 15,000 US dollars a year will 250 litres of water a day for free.
BBG’s Andrew Lack ‘should be fired from his job’ – WikiLeaks spokesperson
Comparing RT to a terrorist organization is “absurd” and “shameful” for a person in a position like BBG’s Andrew Lack, WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson told RT, adding that its “understandable” given how WikiLeaks was treated.
Hrafnsson was referring to comments made earlier this week by the CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Andy Lack.
RT: Are Andy Lack's statements justified? Should RT be mentioned alongside jihadists and murderers?
Kristim Hrafnsson: It’s shameful that a person in this position should make this connection in the same sentence. It is absolutely absurd but quite understandable if you look at the other instances where people and organizations who are committed to investigative journalism have been treated. Don’t forget that WikiLeaks for example, a publishing organization, has been called a terrorist organization by US officials; let’s not forget that the spouse of a journalist Glenn Greenwald was detained at Heathrow Airport by the British Police on the basis of the terrorism act; let’s not forget that many US journalists have been under threat for being taken to court with references to similar legal mechanisms, so we are seeing a danger here in our world, where those in power are ready to use terrorism laws to silence journalists and media organizations.
RT: What has been your experience of RT and its coverage of Julian Assange's story and WikiLeaks?
KH: In my experience RT has been a good news source when it comes to matters that are concerning WikiLeaks and what WikiLeaks has published, for example, the very important chapters of the so-called international free trade agreements, the TTP in the Pacific and TESA agreement between the majority of Western countries. There have been many good examples of many good reporting.
RT: Even the US State Dep backed away from Lack's words - so, is this a situation where the left hand doesn't know what the right one's doing?
KH: In my opinion of course this man should be fired from his job, for this comment, which is absolutely absurd. And it’s within the role of the administration to reappoint and reposition him, as I understand it. So of course they cannot simply deny this comment it’s the responsibility of these people.
RT: How does comparing RT’s journalists to IS terrorists fall in line with the ideas of free speech, so valued by Washington?
KH: The value of free speech in Washington doesn’t seem to go very far. In theory in the United States of course there is a very strong protection of freedom of speech, and for the work of journalist, even in a point in the constitution it has a mechanism defending journalists and media organizations, but more and more over that last few years there’s been a very serious trend in the direction where journalists are under attack and attacked, being intimidated, being threatened and of course totally in contrast with the official story. The official narrative of the United States being the bastion of free speech and quality protected journalism.
RT: Some American officials accuse RT of being one-sided. Do you feel the coverage you see in the U.S and beyond always gives both sides?
KH: No certainly not and you only have to look at some of the major news organizations in the US and let’s not forget for example that a large portion of the US population gets all its news and view to the outside world through news organizations like Fox News, which obviously is not balanced in any way. As a journalist myself for a few decades I will say that in our media environment we should always be prepared and evaluate a possible bias in any reporting and that applies to all media organizations including RT. Usually as a consumer of news, to get a clear picture you will go to various media organizations to try to get a balanced picture of the state of affairs though various sources. That’s what every consumer of the media these days should keep in mind.
New Zealand: Girl dies after being crushed by quad bike
A six-year-old girl from the Hutt Valley died this afternoon when the quad bike she was riding fell on her after she hit a fence.
She was attending the Jayden Kilmister memorial ride when the accident happened about 2pm today.
Police said she could not be revived and died at the scene.
The serious crash unit investigated the accident and the death has been referred to the coroner.
The event was to honour avid trail-bike rider, Jayden Kilmister, who died in 2009 when he was blown off a ute on a farm.
An early report said the girl was riding a trail bike.
Police discover the bodies of a man and a woman in a Perth backyard
A man and woman have been found dead in the backyard of a Dianella home, in Perth's northern suburbs.
Police found the bodies of the pair, aged in their 50s, after receiving a call at midday.
The major crime squad is at the home.
Police are expected to remain at the scene throughout the night.
Speak for the refugees, NOT Bill Shorten
... "TO AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. STOP TORTURING US. IF YOU THINK WE DON'T DESERVE AUS. THEN HAND OVER ALL OF US TO THE UN. WE DON'T WANT YOUR HELP!" ... [CNN - 21/1/15]
Speak for me. #refugees #Manus image by crowcries
Image: @creativecatjk [20/1/15]
source told me that the 2 refugees who moved from #Manus to East Lorengau transit centre on Wed requested to come back. Request was denied.
Source says the 2 refugees were told that @DIBPAustralia is no longer responsible for them and they won’t see them again. #Manus
Source says @DIBPAustralia told the refugees that whatever they are requesting will now have to be put to PNG staff or police. #Manus
Manus Island protests: Asylum seekers to reportedly be sent to Port Moresby jail [ABC – 25/1/15]
Staff at the Manus Island detention centre are reportedly preparing to transfer a group of asylum seekers to a prison complex in Port Moresby after days of protest at the centre.
The men are considered leaders of recent protests at the Australian-run immigration centre, but it is not clear if the men have been charged or how many will be sent to the capital.
Local media has reported 14 men will be sent to Bomana prison in Port Moresby.
Earlier this week more than 40 men were detained by guards at the detention centre's Delta compound, ending a three-day blockade.
The ABC has obtained a video reportedly sent from inside the prison.
Asylum seekers said the cuts and bruises seen in the images were from police and guards beating them.
The claims come despite statements from the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments saying the force used to restrain so-called agitators was "minimal".
More asylum seekers are being held in police cells nearby.
It is not clear if any of these men have been charged with a crime under PNG law.
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said enforcement of PNG laws was a matter for the PNG government.
Meanwhile, at least six refugees have been transferred to a transit facility near the main town in Manus Island awaiting resettlement.
Three Iranians, two Pakistanis and an Afghan man have moved to the East Lorengau transit facility.
They leave behind protests at the detention centre.
More refugees are expected to arrive at the transit facility where they will learn the local language Tok Pisin, and wait for an employment opportunity that will allow them to resettle elsewhere in PNG.
If this is the same video,"technical difficulties- i.e. it shows atrocities which could provoke public outcry - prevented the ABC from broadcasting it during their 7PM bulletin last night (and probably tonight), on ABC News 24, or uploading it to the ABC website.
The British media were able to upload the video last Friday [23/1/15]
"We are 58 people, they beat the shit out of all of us" #Manus via @shanebazzi
1,000s of Australians still watch the news on free to air television networks. 778,000 watched ABC news last night (888,000 watched 9 news and 758,000 watched 7 news). [TV Tonight - 24/1/15]
Boston Vigil in solidarity with Manus Island detainees:
This candle light vigil outside the ‘Australia Day Boston Dinner’ calls attention to the Australia’s government treatment of asylum seekers at its off-shore detention facility on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. The vigil stands in solidarity with the approximately 900 asylum seekers on Manus Island on a large-scale hunger strike in protest of Australian and PNG government plans to permanently settle refugees in PNG. The hunger strike began on the 13 January and there have been numerous self-harm and suicide attempts as part of the protests with asylum seekers sewing their lips together, swallowing razer blades and ingesting detergent.
In a letter to the Australia people asylum seekers on Manus Island write:...
‘We can tell you today this is enough, 18 months of suffering here. You claim humanity and justice, but there is none of this here. We want to ask what kind of case takes more than 18 months to resolve? We are not toys for you to play with and not animals to imprison us here. We can say that when we woke up today, we are resolved to die here in order to bring back our dignity and our freedom.’
The vigil calls on the Australia government to close the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre.
Since the center reopened in 2012, there have been significant tensions rising between local communities and detainees. These tensions, combined with ongoing issues with detention center management and detainee mistreatment, promulgated large protests and center unrest. On 17 February 2014, 70 asylum seekers were injured, some seriously, and Reza Berati, a 23 year old Iranian asylum seekers was killed in violent clashes at the Centre. An Australian Parliament Senate Committee Report found that this violence was ‘eminently foreseeable’ and that the Australian government had ‘failed in its duty’ to protect asylum seekers under its control. It also recommended that the Australian government acknowledge and accept responsibility for human rights violations arising from the incident. The Committee also recommended that the Australian Government facilitate appropriate access to the detention center for UN representatives, lawyers, journalists, and the Australian Human Rights Commission. There is an ongoing media blackout at the detention center.
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [25/1/15]:
Solidarity with Manus asylum seekers spreads around the Globe
As the mass hunger strike involving around 800 people on Manus Island enters its 12th day, solidarity with the asylum seekers is spreading around the globe.
Protests have already taken place in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Perth and New York. In coming days there will be protests in Boston, Berlin, Brussels, and Cambridge.
Fatal traffic crash, Eight Mile Plains
QPS Media [25/1/15]:
Investigations are continuing into the cause of a single vehicle crash at Eight Mile Plains this morning that claimed a man’s life.
Initial investigations indicate the crash occurred around 5.30am on Miles Platting Road near the South East Freeway overpass with the vehicle crashing into a guard rail and an overpass barrier.
The driver, and sole occupant, died at the scene.
Miles Platting Road was closed between Logan Road and the onramp to the Gateway Motorway while investigators examined the scene. The road has since reopened.
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.
Boy, 11, dies after being run over by grandfather driving tractor in NSW
Nine MSN [25/1/15]:
An 11-year-old boy has died after he was crushed under a tractor driven by his grandfather in NSW’s Hunter region.
Emergency services were called to the farm in Swan Bay, in the Port Stephens area, around 12.30pm (AEDT) today.
The boy died at the scene.
Wounding charge, Labrador
QPS Media [25/1/15]:
A man has been charged following an incident at Labrador overnight which left a second man with head injuries.
It will be alleged around 12.30am an altercation occurred between two men at a Marine Parade licenced premises during which one man struck the other whilst holding a glass in his hand.
The victim, a 30-year-old Runaway Bay man, received a laceration to his head and was taken to the Gold Coast University Hospital.
A 25-year-old Coomera man has been charged with wounding and is expected to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on Monday (January 26).
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.
2 killed, 6 wounded in Omaha shooting
Argus Leader [24/1/15]:
Two women were shot to death and six people were wounded early Saturday at a house party in Omaha, authorities said.
The police department issued a news release about the shootings at the small tan house in the city's northeast, but it didn't say whether it had any suspects and didn't identify any of those who were shot.
The department said the officers responded to a report of gunfire at the home shortly before 2 a.m. and found several people who were wounded and two women in their 20s who were dead at the scene.
Three of the wounded were taken by ambulance to Nebraska-Medicine-University of Nebraska Medical Center.
One is in critical condition and the other two are in serious condition, police said. Three others were driven to the hospital in someone's vehicle. Their conditions weren't released.
Execution-style death of great grandmother in her Sydney home baffles police and family members [Sydney Morning Herald – 25/1/15]
Pollution level 'hazardous' in Delhi for Obama visit
Zee News [24/1/15]:
A study conducted at six places US President Barack Obama is slated to visit has found that air pollution levels are three times more than Indian safety standards and nine times than the WHO limit.
The study was conducted yesterday by NGO Greenpeace India at six locations, including Raj Ghat and Hyderabad House. It revealed that the air quality was "unhealthy and hazardous".
"The organisation followed US President Obama's route and used an air-monitoring device called-PDR 1500 to track the pollution levels.
"We wanted to find out how much pollution US President Obama is expected to breathe. Our data and readings are quite shocking. Despite the wet weather, the real-time, instant exposure levels were found to be poor and unhealthy," a statement from the NGO said.
It said, "Greenpeace India monitors the PM2.5 levels in Central Delhi and finds peak pollution levels to be three times the Indian safety limits, nine times that of the WHO's and 2.5 times the average levels in Beijing."
The maximum level of PM2.5 was 264 micrograms/cubic metre at Janpath while at Hyderabad House it was 239 micrograms/ cubic meter, the study said.
At Rajghat, it was 229 micrograms/cubic meter.
The NGO also said that Delhi residents have been breathing extremely poor air this winter with PM2.5 averages peaking at 320 micrograms/cubic meter, which is six times the Indian safety limits and 14 times that of the WHO's.
Particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are called fine particles as they are so small they can be detected only with an electron microscope.
PM2.5 has been recognised as a major health hazard all around the world resulting in a wide range of illnesses including cancer. Its impacts are felt most on the respiratory, reproductive and cardiac systems leading to an increased rate of mortality.
"The precautionary measures being taken by the US government to ensure the safety of their president is a clear indication of how unacceptable the pollution levels in Delhi are," said Aishwaraya Madineni, Greenpeace India campaigner.
She said that although US President Obama will soon be returning home the people of Delhi will be left to breathe the same toxic air.
Commenting on the levels on the entire winter season here, Madineni said,"Delhi's air quality was at its worst this winter with heavy episodes of smog leading to PM2.5 averages soaring at 320 micrograms/cubic meter.
"This is extremely dangerous. There is an urgent need to curb the air pollution levels in the city and I hope the Indian Government recognises and accepts the need to act now in order to protect and safe-guard the health of its own citizens," said Madinen.
The NGO said that Indian government's "ambient air-quality standards" are several times lower than that of the WHO's and the annual averages set by Beijing.
Noting that consistent and increasing trend in Delhi's air pollution levels is a cause of concern and a serious health hazard, the NGO called for immediate step to put in place stringent actions that will result in improved air quality in the city.
Exxon fined $1 million for 2011 Montana oil spill [Spokesman – 24/1/15]
Pakistan: Electricity supply restoration underway after major blackout hits country [Dawn.com - 24/1/15]
Papuan Governor Disapproves of Freeport’s Smelter Plan Outside Province [Jakarta Globe – 23/1/15]
All beaches on the Gold Coast are open today! What a ripper Sunday. Stay between flags ...
Take care driving around GC. Water still over some roads & pot holes have formed after wild weather ...
@dominiqueloudon - journalist, Channel 9 [25/1/15]
United States, "allies" continue boming Iraq and Syria [Centcom - 24/1/15]:
On Jan. 23, U.S. and Coalition military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria, using attack, bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct 13 airstrikes.
Separately, U.S. and Coalition military forces conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq, using attack, bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.
All strikes took place between 8 a.m., Jan. 23, and 8 a.m., Jan. 24, local time.
The following is a summary of the strikes conducted since the last press release:
* Near Kobani, 12 airstrikes struck eight ISIL tactical units and a large ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL building, and eight ISIL fighting positions.
* Near Al Hasakah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL mobile oil drilling rig.
* Near Al Qaim, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL weapons production facility.
* Near Mosul, five airstrikes struck two large ISIL units, an ISIL choke point, an ISIL culvert, and four ISIL roads, and destroyed an ISIL culvert and an ISIL vehicle.
* Near Ramadi, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
* Near Tal Afar, five airstrikes struck a large ISIL unit, two ISIL tactical units, an ISIL cantonment area, and an ISIL vehicle, and destroyed an ISIL building, six ISIL vehicles, an ISIL bunker, two ISIL shipping containers, and two ISIL checkpoints.
* Near Erbil, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL shipping container, two ISIL vehicles, and three ISIL earth moving vehicles.
Airstrike assessments are based on initial reports. All aircraft returned to base safely.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [24/1/15]:
Anbar: American unmanned plane has shelled funeral meeting of Zaidan Khalaf Aswad Assafi killing 12 -year -old boy called Mohamad Arif Najim Al-Mara'awi in zankora..............
Anbar: The civilian homes in Fallujah were shown after the random and intended bombing of government's army [VIDEO - 23/1/15]
Anbar: Dozens of civilians have been killed and wounded in mortars shelling of government's army in Ta'ameem....... [23/1/15]
Ba'aquba Hospital has stopped receiving civilians as it has received wounded elements of militias injured in the current battles....... [23/1/15]
US troops heading to Middle East to train Syria rebels [Al Jazeera - 24/1/15]
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday called for the immediate release of a Japanese journalist held by Islamic State after a video surfaced claiming that a fellow Japanese captive had been executed. ... [Reuters - 24/1/15]
US seeking to speed up delivery of jets to Lebanese army [Naharnet - 24/1/15]
The Afghan Air Force is expecting to receive additional MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters from United States by the end of this year. … [Khaama – 23/1/15]
Spain said Friday it was starting negotiations with Washington to host a permanent U.S. Marines intervention force for deployment on missions to Africa. ... [Naharnet - 23/1/15]
The United States has halted some counter-terrorism operations against al Qaeda militants in Yemen following a takeover of the country by Iran-backed Houthi rebels, U.S. officials said on Friday. ... [Reuters - 24/1/15]
Israeli Settler Runs Over Palestinian Child as Clashes Hit East Jerusalem
[Al Akhbar - 24/1/15]
Bomb Wounds Four Egyptian Policemen, Civilian [Naharnet – 24/1/15]
Judicial officials in Egypt say an appeals court has ordered a retrial in an internationally criticized mass trial, overturning 37 death sentences. ... [Daily Star - 24/1/15]
... 'We have thereby drifted into a cycle of silence, where lack of media coverage creates a sense of complacency in both public opinion and political debate.' ... [Media Lens - 22/2/15]
Bias Towards Power *Is* Corporate Media ‘Objectivity’ [Media Lens - 17/2/14]:
… Canadian media critic Joe Emersberger has received unfair accusations of a 'hectoring, self-righteous, fundamentalist and insulting tone' when challenging journalists. Emersberger's thoughtful response to such charges is worth repeating:
'First, there is always a tradeoff between honesty and civility. If you honestly describe the horrific outcomes that the corporate media produces, then offending some journalists, including the ones you least care to offend, is inevitable. Nevertheless, I think describing the outcomes honestly should be the priority even if it puts off some decent journalists.'
'Second, I do not believe that most corporate journalists are below average in their intelligence or in their capacity to empathize with others. Top-down organizations hire and promote people who make certain assumptions about the world. Even the assumption an internal dissident might make ("I can contribute something positive by working within these constraints, and resigning will do no good at all") is still a very necessary assumption. There are rotten people in all walks of life, but I don't think such people are necessarily a majority within rotten institutions.'
Emersberger's astute observations remind us that 'good people' working for corporations do not, and cannot, change the fundamentally destructive and psychopathic nature of corporations. ('The Corporation', 2003). The danger of becoming assimilated within a skewed value system that rewards obedient behaviour towards corporate priorities is immense. Barry Eisler warns aspiring journalists how the process works:
'Probably the first compromise will take the form of a rationalization. You'll be pressured to do something you know isn't quite right. But you'll be scared not to do it -- if you don't, you'll alienate someone powerful, your career will suffer a setback, your ambitious goals will suddenly seem farther away. At this point, your lesser self, driven by fear, greed, status-seeking, and other selfish emotions, will offer up a rationalization, and your greater self will grasp at it eagerly.'
As the journalist's career develops:
'Do you find yourself identifying more with the public figures you're supposed to hold to account than with the readers and viewers you're supposed to serve?'
By this point journalists are consumed, and thus constrained, by the need to maintain 'access' to the centres of power as 'reliable' sources of news and comment, as Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky so powerfully explained in their propaganda model of the media ('Manufacturing Consent', 1988). The political editors and high-profile correspondents of the major news media fall into this category.
Mourning fathers call for justice [PNG Loop – 24/1/15]
Second road accident for G4S trucks at 9-Mile [PNG Loop – 24/1/15]
13th day of Manus hunger strike: Silence from Australia's political, media and human rights establishment indicates they MUST think "beating the shit" out of hunger striking refugees (who plead for the United Nations), and disappearing them into dungeons across PNG is acceptable
What's worse - Abbott, Morrison and Dutton's abuse of refugees, or "Sussex Street" directing what refugee advocates and the human rights establishment can say about the situation on Manus Island?
The Saturday Paper [27/9/14]:
... [Melissa] Parke plays a different role, as Labor navigates an awkward environment in which its options for criticising the government are circumscribed by its desire to be part of Team Australia.
She provides an alibi for Labor to avoid a loss of votes to the Greens as it joins the government in backing tougher terror laws and military action in the Middle East and continues to offer bipartisan support for offshore processing of asylum seekers. Some Coalition MPs argue Bernardi plays a similar role in placating those Liberal supporters who were disappointed that Abbott abandoned the 18C changes.
As Labor leader Bill Shorten stresses that he is “working very well together” with Abbott on national security, it doesn’t hurt to have at least one opposition MP putting an alternative view. It’s a fine line, though, as left-wing Labor senator Sue Lines discovered late last month when Shorten rebuked her for accusing the government of using the threat of terrorism to deflect attention from the budget.
Back in May when Parke and Burke first raised their intention to pursue a caucus motion on ending offshore detention, there was frustration among Labor MPs at the timing, distracting as it did from the backlash to the budget. The motion was destined to fail.
Some also feared that, by reopening the debate, Parke was risking exposing Labor to attack over whether it was strong enough to manage the electorally sensitive issue.
But Parke is not a loose cannon and her recent statements have been carefully worded. Even dissent in modern Labor is often tightly scripted. Although Dastyari’s remarks on refugee policy earlier this year were reported as pitting him against Shorten, his speech had in fact been vetted by the party’s leadership.
Take aim, fire at will: Australian hypocrisy on a high pedestal [Jakarta Post - 24/1/15]:
The Australian media is engaged in a surreal form of hypocrisy by criticizing the execution of those convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia. Canberra’s exceptionalism stands out as it puts its double standards with respect to human lives and dignity on a high pedestal, problematizing the death penalty only when Australians are put before the firing squad.
First, Indonesian state treatment of convicted drug traffickers differs only slightly from Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. Asylum seekers desperately trying to seek refuge in Australia and convicted drug traffickers vacationing in Bali are similar “abject bodies”: individuals that the sovereign state does not want and plans to effectively and efficiently dispose of.
In a nutshell, the only difference between Indonesian and Australian treatment of “abject bodies” lies merely in each country’s preferred legal methods and the distance considered comfortable and acceptable by its public.
Indonesia provides open and accessible trials, opportunities for appeal, sympathetic media coverage, rehabilitation programs and a chance at being granted presidential clemency.
On the other hand, Australia seemingly prefers secretive on-the-spot extra-judicial actions, better known as “on-sea-matters” that the Abbott government refuses to comment on.
Furthermore, Indonesia prefers openly using its own firing squad, having solid legal justification and being fully accountable for the lives it takes.
Meanwhile, Australia prefers the outsourcing and subcontracting of their deeds to private companies and offshoring them to distant locations that are conveniently out of sight and out of the mind of its public, such as Manus Island, Nauru and Cambodia.
In July 2014, the forced return of Australian-bound refugees to Sri Lanka also indicated that Canberra is content with practices bordering on “forced disappearance” of civilians at sea while effectively breaching international legal principles of non-refoulement, the UN Refugee Convention and UN Convention against Torture.
Asylum seekers, sometimes including children, in Australian detention facilities have undergone hunger strikes, sewn their lips shut, inflicted self-harm and attempted suicide, swallowed razorblades and even burned themselves to death in protest at the “Australian solution”.
Currently, 700 asylum seekers are on hunger strike in Manus Island. Two asylum seekers from the camp, Reza Barati and Hamid Kehazaei, have already died but not a single asylum seeker has been successfully resettled to date. This makes the facility more of a death camp than a resettlement camp.
Second, insistence on saving individual Australians misses the bigger picture which should be the abolition of the death penalty and upholding human dignity in Indonesia, Australia and beyond. When former president Yudhoyono left his presidency, he controversially granted Schapelle Corby parole.
His act of conceited generosity fostered Australian exceptionalism, giving the impression that the death penalty is avoidable by turning convicted Australians into media darlings, concluding backroom negotiations, having your appeal heard by the president and finding legal loopholes that Australians can exploit.
Before concerned Australians can start seeing the bigger picture and join ranks with like-minded liberals and reformists in Indonesia, Australian parents will continue to worry about their youth vacationing in Bali, knowing that once caught experimenting with recreational drugs, their loved ones might be sent to the firing squad.
Third, implying that executions will affect bilateral relations to the disadvantage of Indonesia is ridiculous. Former Australian prime minister John Howard and opposition leader Simon Crean were not opposed to the execution of convicted terrorists Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Imam Samudra in 2008 and Canberra, through its counterterrorism aid, had actually subsidized the bullets used to execute them.
Australian media coverage of their executions was surprisingly detailed and even savored many of its graphic moments. Australia’s main ally, the United States, enforces the death penalty in the majority of its states and one of Canberra’s largest trading partners and paymaster, China, performs one of the highest numbers of executions worldwide and has only stopped harvesting organs from executed prisoners this year. If anything, Australian hypocrisy and exceptionalism risks worsening its public image in Indonesia as a neighbor that not only disrespects international law and Indonesia’s borders, but now also Indonesian law and legal corridors.
Australian government appeals are neither heroic nor heartfelt; Canberra is merely trying to save their own “subject bodies” from the firing squad, while slowly disposing of “abject bodies” it does not want through inhumane detention camps or returning them to foreign regimes that will probably finish the job for them. Indonesia paying “blood money” to save the “subject bodies” of Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia from beheading is no less hypocritical as these efforts are done against the backdrop of killing off “abject bodies” that were once warmly received as guests in Bali.
Australia and Indonesia betray human rights and violate human dignity alike by abusing the criminalized and illegal “abject bodies” in surprisingly similar ways, differing only in their preferred legal methods and comfortable distance acceptable to their respective publics.
All lives matter greatly, not just Australian ones. Any debate that does not start from these fundamental premises of equality of human life and dignity is not worth visiting and is a waste of the Indonesian public’s valuable attention and time.
The writer is executive director for the Marthinus Academy in Jakarta.
Will the death penalty in PNG applied to refugees who engage in peaceful protest? [EMTV - 23/1/15]:
... Toward the end of last year, the National Executive Council endorsed the setting up of the inter-agency committee to ensure the implementation of the death penalty.
Included in guidelines proposed by this committee were the methods of execution.
Confirmed methods to be used, include hanging; the administering of anaesthetics, followed by lethal injection; medical death through anaesthetics and deprivation of oxygen; firing squad; and electrocution.
... A high-ranking ministry official said that political reasons were behind the decision to exclude Australia from the new visa policy.
“Giving free visas to Australians may bring more detriment than benefit. Besides, Bali would still be their favorite destination anyway. I don’t think a visa on arrival fee of around US$35 would be a burden for any Australian tourist,” the official said. ... [Jakarta Post -24/1/15]
You could not kill them, if you met them: Bali Nine families' plea to Indonesia [WA Today – 24/1/15]:
Families of the two Australians facing imminent execution in Indonesia have urged the country's president to visit Kerobokan prison, saying no-one could allow their killing if they saw the remarkable work the duo have done inside the penitentiary.
In an emotion-charged interview on Saturday, the relatives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran revealed their devastation upon hearing Indonesia's President Joko Widodo had rejected their clemency bids. ...
25 January 2015