Palm Island trial finishes hearing from witnesses
Nine MSN [25/9/15]:
A groundbreaking racial discrimination trial on Queensland's Palm Island has finished hearing from witnesses.
The class action, brought by once-jailed riot-inciter Lex Wotton on behalf of Palm Islanders, claims alleged police failures after the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee were racially discriminatory and wouldn't have happened in a Queensland community that wasn't predominantly Aboriginal.
Mr Wotton's wife Cecilia took the stand for just a few minutes on Friday before her testimony was stopped.
The trial moves to Townsville next week.
Townsville, Charters Towers and Palm Island chosen as neoliberal NDIS outsourcing trial sites [ABC - 25/9/15]
A man accused of verbally abusing a Muslim woman at a Logan shopping centre may be charged under Queensland's anti-discrimination laws.
He's already facing charges of public nuisance and wilful exposure after allegedly hurling abuse at the 35-year-old woman, who was sitting in a car, and creating a disturbance at the Waterford West retail complex.
The man, 46, is due to appear in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on October 13 and detectives are investigating whether he can be charged under the anti-discrimination act. [Yahoo - 25/9/15]
A 51-year-old male Sergeant from Brisbane Region has today been stood down from official duty with the Queensland Police Service.
The officer is subject of a disciplinary investigation concerning allegations he used excessive force.
In keeping with our commitment to high standards of behaviour, transparency and accountability, we have undertaken to inform the public when an officer faces serious allegations of misconduct.
This does not mean that the allegations against the officers have been substantiated. [QPS Media - 25/9/15]
Israel's security cabinet on Thursday broadened the rules under which stone-throwers can be targeted by live fire, a statement from the prime minister's office said.
"The security cabinet has decided to authorise police to use live ammunition against people throwing stones and Molotov cocktails when the life of a third person is threatened and no longer only when the police officer is threatened," said the statement. [Ahram - 24/9/15]
Palestinian shot by Israeli forces last week dies from injuries [Maan - 24/9/15]
The United Nations should investigate violations of international humanitarian law committed by all sides in Yemen's civil war, Amnesty International said on Friday, six months after the start of a Saudi-led military campaign against Houthi forces.
More than 4,500 people have been killed in Yemen since March, according to U.N. figures, when Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim Arab states launched a military campaign to drive back Houthi forces and restore a government which fled abroad. ... [Reuters - 25/9/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [24/9/15]:
Yesterday, U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Today, officials reported details of the Sept. 23 strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Fighter, bomber, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted four airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, two airstrikes struck separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL motorcycle.
-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Mar’a, an airstrike destroyed one ISIL towed artillery piece.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, fighter-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 16 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the Iraqi government:
-- Near Huwayjah, an airstrike destroyed 16 ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Habbaniyah, an airstrike destroyed two ISIL anti-air artillery pieces.
-- Near Kirkuk, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
-- Near Mosul, six airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicle bomb-making facilities, an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL cache, an ISIL bunker, and suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL light machine gun, and two ISIL mortar positions.
-- Near Ramadi, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed two ISIL buildings, an ISIL excavator, and three ISIL mobility obstacles.
-- Near Sinjar, three airstrikes struck separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed and ISIL light machine gun and six ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Tal Afar, one airstrike suppressed ISIL mortar fire.
Officials also announced a previously unreported Sept. 10 airstrike near Tal Afar, Iraq, which struck an ISIL tactical unit and resulted in a destroyed vehicle and the death of a senior ISIL leader.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [25/9/15]: Anbar: Two civilians were killed as the alliance air force shelled the civilian homes in Ramadi......................
Iraqi security and medical officials say at least seven people have lost their lives and more than a dozen sustained injuries in a spate of bomb attacks in and around the country’s violence-plagued capital.
A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a civilian was killed and seven others wounded when a roadside bomb went off in Baghdad’s western neighborhood of al-Shu'ala on Thursday evening, Arabic-language al-Baghdadia satellite television network reported. ... [Press TV - 25/9/15]
The Defense Department says there are false reports coming out of Syria about defections among personnel in the Syrian train-and-equip program.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said the false reports have been sourced to Twitter from people claiming to be from the al-Nusra front and saying train-and-equip personnel have turned over weapons or defected. ... [US Department of Defense - 23/9/15]
Six dead in attack on DR Congo army base [Naharnet - 25/9/15]
Hundreds of protesters have blocked a major trading checkpoint between India and Nepal, cutting off vital supplies to the landlocked Himalayan nation as anger deepened over the country's new constitution.
The protesters, who belong to the Madhesi community, said on Friday that they were angry about plans to divide the country into seven federal provinces under the charter adopted last Sunday. ... [Al Jazeera - 25/9/15]
Top UN relief official alarmed as aid agencies ordered to leave Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine [Media Release - 24/9/15]
Russia’s 39th humanitarian aid convoy for residents of Ukraine’s crisis-hit southeast (Donbass) has departed for Ukraine, a spokesperson of the Russian Emergencies Ministry said early on Thursday. ... [Sputnik News - 24/9/15]
... "Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade." ... Pope's speech to US Congress [CNY - 24/9/15]
Addressing Congress, Pope urges US to end hostility toward immigrants [Reuters - 25/9/15]:
... To underscore his message of helping the poor, Francis went straight from the U.S. Capitol in his small black Fiat to have lunch with homeless people, telling them there was no justification for homelessness.
The White House said on Thursday that it would send up to $45 million in defense services, including military training, to support African countries in their efforts to defeat the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. ... [Yahoo - 24/9/15]
Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks reveals US ties to Israel's military industry [VIDEO - The New School - 23/9/15]
Lake Chad – new violence, new displacement [UNHCR Media Release - 24/9/15]:
... Chadians, Cameroonians and citizens of the Republic of Niger have themselves been made homeless in large numbers by a combination of insurgent attacks spreading out from Nigeria, and the response to those attacks from the armies of the four nations bordering Lake Chad.
In Nigeria alone, there are now as many as 2.15 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs). The UNHCR's previous working figure of 1.4 million IDPs was revised upwards in early September after monitors were deployed across Nigeria to gather more accurate data.
In addition, the total number of people who have been made homeless by the Boko Haram-linked crisis across the four nations of the Lake Chad region is now over 2.5 million.
This total includes the following IDPs: Nigeria – 2,150,451; Niger – 50,000; Cameroon – 81,693; Chad 68,434.
The total number of refugees in Niger, Cameroon and Chad is 172,690.
The new phenomenon taking hold around Lake Chad goes something like this:
The insurgents terrify the population on the islands, or around the edges of the Lake.
Then the armies tell the people to leave certain locations, for their own safety, so the insurgents can be dealt with without civilians getting in the way.
These "evacuations" began earlier this year when the army of Niger Republic emptied the Lake Chad islands that are part of its territory of people.
"The islands belonging to Niger are now almost completely free of civilians", said a senior UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, official familiar with the terrain; "there's hardly anyone left there at all".
Something similar happened in Cameroon – although, because Cameroon doesn't have many islands on the Lake, it took place on the mainland, near the water.
Stateless in Liberia [UNHCR Media Release - 25/9/15]
Delaware police shoot and kill man in wheelchair [TIME - 24/9/15]
Sri Lanka likely to dodge international war crime investigation [Channel News Asia - 25/9/15]
Nationalist Finnish protesters throw stones at bus carrying refugees [Guardian - 25/9/15]
The European Union will use warships to catch and arrest human traffickers in international waters as part of a military operation aimed at curbing the flow of refugees into Europe, the bloc's foreign affairs chief has said.
"The political decision has been taken, the assets are ready," Federica Mogherini said on Thursday at the headquarters of the European Union's military operation in Rome.
Gerry Simpson, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch's refugee programme, described the operation as "lawful but misguided". "EU officials are misguided when they treat smugglers and traffickers as the root of the refugee problem," he told Al Jazeera.
"The roots of the problem are the violence in their home countries, as well as the conditions in the first countries where they take refuge - Egypt, Libya, Turkey [and] Sudan."
"Instead of wasting tax payers money on tackling smugglers who will always find a way to bring their clients to Europe, officials should pressure or support those first countries of asylum properly protect and help refugees," Simpson said. [Al Jazeera - 25/9/15]
@MSF_Sea [25/9/15]: These #refugees wait to charge their phones in Belgrade. They're anxious to check on their families at home in #Syria
@MSF_Sea [24/9/15]: Last night, ~2,000 people, aged from infancy to old age, slept outside on the border between #Serbia and #Croatia
Over 1,000 people wait for buses at Bapska border crossing between Croatia and Serbia [UNHCR Media Release - 23/9/15]
... “Smugglers” are not the problem, it’s the people they “smuggle” that are. Or perhaps we should turn that around and admit that in fact it’s the European leaders who are the problem. It’s they who lack any courage or vision, or even a basic understanding of what is going on. ... [The Automatic Earth - 23/9/15]
... Sateh initially refused to even attend court. Guardian Australia has obtained video of him being forcibly led to a police four-wheel-drive to be taken to court.
He calls out to fellow asylum seekers in the detention centre as he is led away. ... [Guardian - 25/9/15]
Trial of pair accused of killing Reza Barati at Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island adjourned, main witness fears for life
The trial of two Papua New Guinea men accused of killing an Iranian asylum seeker on Manus Island has been adjourned because the main witness says his life is in danger.
Witness Benham Satah told the PNG National Court he had been threatened since giving a statement about seeing his roommate Reza Barati killed in a disturbance at the centre on February 17, 2014.
PNG men Joshua Kaluvia and Louie Efi are charged with wilful murder over Barati's death, both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
But Mr Satah told the court the men were not the only ones involved, and that others responsible were still working at the Australian-run regional processing centre.
"I am a target for them because I became a witness," he said.
"There was not just the two locals, there was expats as well.
"I have to go back to the compound and my life will be in danger."
Mr Satah, who is also an Iranian asylum seeker, told the court he needed protection if he was to testify against Kaluvia and Efi.
"I've already been threatened many times before," he said.
The attackers have been described by witnesses as a group of men, largely security personnel working for the company G4S.
Police told the court they have been unable to get two of those men, two expatriate workers, back to PNG, despite witness reports involving them in the attack.
Kaluvia and Efi were both workers at the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island at the time of the attack.
Kaluvia, who was a Salvation Army worker at the detention centre, is alleged to have hit Barati in the head with a stick.
Efi, who worked as a security guard, is alleged to have dropped a rock on Barati's head.
Text messages key to case against accused, court told Medical evidence presented in court said Barati died from a severe brain injury, a result of being hit in the head several times with severe force.
Police gave evidence that they had seized the phone records of Kaluvia and said the text messages give a partial admission to the crime.
The trial has been adjourned while prosecutors, police and detention centre staff discuss how to provide protection for Mr Satah.
... An urgent petition to the UN special rapporteurs on human rights, seen by Guardian Australia, was lodged overnight by refugee advocates.
It describes multiple reports from staff and detainees who say the men were taken to Chauka.
It urges the special rapporteurs intervene and raise the matter with the Australian government.
The France-based International Federation for Human Rights has also been contacted.
Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said “there needs to be urgent discussions about possible third country resettlement”.
“The asylum seekers are asking for the UNHCR to be involved with resettlement discussions. The ball is in the minister’s court. He can keep pretending that the protests aren’t happening or he can act to prevent the unfolding disaster.”
Sydney Morning Herald [4/9/14]:
... Several weeks ago, two of the asylum seekers who were housed in Mike compound had never heard of Chauka.
One of them was an eyewitness to the murder of Reza Barati during the night of violence that engulfed the centre in February.
All that changed when they voiced their opposition to changes to the detention centre policy covering phone and internet access, insisting the changes made it almost impossible to talk to family members in the Middle East.
In a graphic account subsequently posted on Facebook, the Iranian who witnessed Barati's murder said he had been taken to Chauka, fed bread and water for three days and made to sleep on the muddy ground. ...
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee Recommendations re "Incident at the Manus Island Detention Centre from 16 February to 18 February 2014" [December 2014]:
Events of the night of 17 February
5.49 Correspondence between G4S and the department indicates that on the night of 17 February, the PNG police force present at the centre was 46 officers, comprising 36 mobile squad members and ten dog squad members (with four dogs).
It is the committee's view that, by giving the impression that events primarily occurred outside the centre, and that PNG police were not involved in the violence that occurred in the centre, the Minister sought to unfairly apportion blame to the asylum seekers themselves for the violence that was done to them on the night of 17 February 2014.
The Minister was clearly selective in the facts he chose to use in his initial statements on the incident, and should have more quickly acknowledged that the violence occurred inside the centre.
The Minister also failed to correct his initial statements with regards to the involvement of PNG police, despite clear evidence from quite soon after the events that they had entered the centre and been involved in the violence that occurred.
At the very least, the Minister should have exercised greater care while events were still unclear before apportioning blame.
8.26 The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure an adequate and effective investigation into the criminal assaults perpetrated against individuals detained at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre during the events of 16 to 18 February 2014, including by assisting the Papua New Guinea authorities in any ongoing investigations and facilitating the taking of witness testimony from individuals present at the incident who are now in Australian territory.
8.35 The committee recommends that the Australian Government acknowledge its responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of individuals detained at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre.
8.39 The committee recommends that, in accordance with the right to an effective remedy and right to health in international human rights law, the Australian Government:
• acknowledge and take responsibility for violations of human rights in relation to the incident at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre from 16 to 18 February 2014; and
• provide compensation to those who have suffered human rights violations, including to Mr Reza Barati's family and to asylum seekers who were injured during the incident.
8.40 The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure that all asylum seekers injured in the violence at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre from 16 to 18 February 2014 receive adequate professional assistance, including medical treatment, full rehabilitation and mental health services, as well as independent legal advice.
8.49 The committee recommends that, in the interests of transparency and accountability, the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea take measures to facilitate appropriate access to the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre, including:
• allowing United Nations representatives full access to the centre and transferees;
• permitting qualified lawyers, including lawyers certified to practice in Australia, access to the centre in order to meet with transferees and provide legal assistance;
• allowing the Australian Human Rights Commission to regularly inspect the centre and meet with centre staff and transferees; and
• permitting journalists to visit the centre and speak freely with centre staff and transferees.
8.52 The committee recommends that Transfield Services and the Australian Government ensure that service provider staff employed at the Manus Island Regional Processing Centre be provided with sufficient workplace training to perform their roles, in line with the standards applicable to employees working in detention environments in Australia, and accounting for the particular difficulties associated with working in remote conditions.
1.8 On account of the committee's inability to make a site visit to the centre under its own powers, the committee sought the support and assistance of the Commonwealth Government to do so.
On 28 April 2014, the committee wrote to the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, as well as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, seeking the government's approval and assistance.
1.9 The committee did not receive any response.
4.70 In specific evidence about actual incidents of encouragement to return home, a former employee of Playfair suggested that staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were 'speaking to transferees, trying to convince them of the benefits of returning home'.
4.71 In contrast, government representatives re-confirmed their view that any returns from Manus Island RPC were strictly voluntary. For example Lieutenant General Campbell stated that '[i]t is really important to note these are voluntary returns'.
4.72 In terms of the number of returns from the Manus Island RPC, the department provided information that:
As at 1 August 2014, 203 transferees have been voluntarily returned from an Offshore Processing Centre (OPC) and 174 transferees from the Manus OPC since 18 February 2014 with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
6.57 Other evidence presented to the committee contested the claim that no individuals involved in assaults on asylum seekers were now employed at the centre.
Humanitarian Research Partners (HRP) contended that 'at least two of the alleged 17 February assailants are now back working in the centre and terrifying their victims by their mere presence'.
Mr Ben Pynt, Director of Human Rights Advocacy at HRP, told the committee that asylum seekers at the centre had reported to him on multiple occasions that perpetrators were still working at the centre.
Mr Pynt expanded:
[The transferees] do not feel that they are being adequately protected by the guards that are employed at the centre. In fact, they feel threatened by a number of the guards at the centre. I know of one story that chilled me to the bone. An asylum seeker contacted me shortly after he had been to medical. He was in Mike compound. From Mike compound you get in the back of a ute and they take you through to IHMS, because you are not meant to walk through. He got into the ute, screamed, and got out of the ute, because the person driving the ute was one of the people who attacked him. This is happening all the time. The mental harm that is created simply by having the attackers remain at the centre is unbelievable and unconscionable.
Miss Judge [who worked on Manus Island] continued:
The attacks on asylum seekers [in February 2014] were not unpredictable and unforeseen. The attacks were not due to asylum seekers insulting PNG nationals in February or asylum seekers feeling discontent with their processing time frames. The attacks were due to the entire system. The attacks were due to the lack of due care for asylum seekers' safety and wellbeing, the acceptance by staff that PNG was just a dangerous place and that there was nothing we could do to change that. With reports going unheard and incidents being covered up, with no-one really to report to and the threat of danger being from outside, I am unsure of how anyone can guarantee the asylum seekers' safety. Regardless of how high fences are built around the centre, how many CCTV cameras are installed or how many extra guards are employed, I do not believe anything can change the fact that the key threat to the asylum seekers safety is, in fact, simply being detained on Manus Island.
Another reminder from the political and media establishment that
refugees are not human and not welcome in Australia [Canberra
Times - 25/9/15]:
The federal government's claim that it "stopped the boats" has been called into doubt by analysis showing asylum seeker arrivals slowed dramatically after the former Labor government toughened its border stance, suggesting the Coalition "vastly overrated" its contribution.
The analysis, by former Immigration Department chief John Menadue and Australian National University migration expert Peter Hughes, shows the drop-off began immediately after former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced in mid 2013 that asylum seekers who arrived on unauthorised boats would never be resettled in Australia. ...
If the current upswing in Australian media anti refugee propaganda wasn't so insulting to our intelligence, it'd be laughable.
An interesting Masters Thesis tracing the roots of the Australian political and media establishment's "stop the boats" lies:
The Political Origins and Development of Australia’s People Smuggling Legislation: Evil Smugglers or Extreme Rhetoric? Jack H Smit - Edith Cowan University Social Justice Research Centre School of Psychology and Social Science 
I don't wish us to be likened to the people of Germany who did nothing about the treatment of the Jews in the 30s.
Open letter to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader from over 5,000 Australian women
One advantage Sawari and the others in the transit centre have over the 900 asylum seekers still in detention is that they have a voice. During my stay on Manus, I attempted to speak with a group of detainees who were allowed out on an "excursion" to a secluded harbour near the airport.
I approached once they were out of the mini-bus and shook the hands of an Iranian and a Sudanese before a stocky guard with the empathy of a robot delivered an ultimatum.
"Talk to him and the excursion over," he barked. "Your choice!" I retreated.
Cootamundra Herald [25/9/15]:
When Loghman Sawari became the first refugee to attempt suicide after being released from the detention centre on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island, the reaction was as swift as it was brutal.
The teenager was transferred not in an ambulance, but in the back of the 10-seat vehicle of the island's police commissioner, and not to the hospital, but to the local lock-up, where he spent 24 hours in a small cell with about 20 locals.
His enduring memory is the mosquitoes, especially the one that bit him deep inside his right ear. The locals left him alone.
When he arrived back at the guarded transit centre that has been his home for the past five months, he was warned he would face a much longer stretch in jail if he tried to take his life again.
For the first few months of his captivity in Papua New Guinea, Sawari was an aberration: the boy in a detention centre that is supposed to be exclusively for single men.
He was 17 when he arrived in Papua New Guinea in August of 2013, one month after the then Labor government decided to remove children and family groups from the detention centre.
He has the letter from Australian immigration officials confirming his age and telling him he would be "treated as a minor for the purposes of accommodation, placement and other purposes".
He remained in isolation until his 18th birthday, when he was told he would be staying. The smug expression on the face of the official who conveyed this news is etched in his memory.
Now he is a contradiction: a certified refugee who tried to take his life after finally being given the recognition asylum seekers crave, the status that differentiates those found to be owed protection and the opportunity to rebuild shattered lives from the rest. It isn't supposed to work that way.
What compelled the 19-year-old to turn a towel into a makeshift noose, attach it to a rafter outside his room and step from a chair to oblivion is hardly a mystery. His bottom lip trembles uncontrollably as he tries to explain that anger, despair and an all-consuming sense of hopelessness propelled him.
Anger at the local immigration officer who, he says, incited him to go ahead when, out of frustration, Sawari told the officer he planned to kill himself. With calculated indifference, he says the officer replied that he was free now to do whatever he liked.
Despair that the prospect of seeing the mother he misses desperately is as distant now at it was when he was first taken to Manus against his will from Christmas Island. He has been told he will have to wait eight years to either travel to see his mother or sponsor her to join him.
"If I wait for eight years, maybe my mum die. Maybe I die. This is not good."
And hopelessness, because each day passes so slowly he says it feels like a year. Tablet-induced sleep offers the only respite, except when it leads to the recurring nightmare that terrifies him, where five menacing dogs stand before him, and the biggest one is jet black and demands money he doesn't have.
The story The Manus Island refugees for whom suicide is another side of paradise first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald. [Then it was tossed down the memory hole.]
NZ detainee in 'punishment cell' before Christmas Island move [RNZI - 25/9/15]:
A New Zealander detained on Christmas Island believes up to 50 New Zealanders are being held in the island's detention centre.
More and more New Zealanders are being sent to the Christmas Island centre under a policy that allows Australia to revoke visas for convicted criminals.
There have been suggestions up to 75 New Zealanders and Pacific Islanders are being held on the island, but Australian authorities refuse to discuss numbers.
Aucklander Andrew Teakaraanga, who was in a Sydney prison for manufacturing ecstasy, said a group of 20 from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands were moved from a Sydney immigration detention centre yesterday, under the guise of meeting immigration officials.
But he said they were then put in solitary confinement and moved to Christmas Island.
"The boys weren't coming back because normally you go and come back to the wings and then when I went down there, the way they were doing it they were just surrounding you with big blokes, telling you that you're going to Christmas Island and then they're locking you straight into a segregation cell which is like, it was like a punishment cell.
"It seems like they're getting rid of all of the Kiwis and all the big boys, you know islanders," he said.
Mr Teakaraanga said other inmates were intimidated.
"Some of them, they ran into them [into their cells] at three in the morning ...they had helmets on and shields and they make you lie on the ground, put your handcuffs on and they tell you you're going the next day to Christmas Island."
He said he lost property in the move. Mr Teakaraanga said his lawyer tried everything legally to get him off the plane but it was fruitless.
Another detainee, Otago-born Jason Wereta, said he was given no reason for being flown to Christmas Island in April this year.
Mr Wereta, who is being held on Christmas Island for driving offenses and assault, said his case had shocked an Australian judge.
Mr Wereta, who had lived in Australia for 17 years, said the sudden move meant he did not get to see his wife and children, who lived on the Gold Coast and had been planning to visit him.
"They're telling us nothing here, I've been here for six months. When I first came to Christmas Island they told me do two or three months of good behaviour then we'll send you back to the mainland. They take us from our families ...for what reason, you know they want us to stuff up, they want us to sign the dotted line to go home back to New Zealand. I said 'no I'm fighting for my kids, I have property here, I have children here, I have my wife here, I have my dad and my brothers and sisters here, why would I want to fly home to go to New Zealand."
He had an appeal in the mainland courts; the judge had said she was unhappy at him being isolated on the island and he should not have been sent there.
Christmas Island detainee numbers almost triple in five months, despite Government's promise to scale back [ABC - 24/9/15]
7-Eleven workers paid franchisee owners up to $70k for visa, inquiry told [ABC - 24/9/15]
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [25/9/15]:
Action this evening, please support.
Did you know our club takes sponsorship money from one of the primary contractors in the refugee detention industry?
Decmil is a construction company that so far has won Commonwealth contracts worth at least $446m for undertaking works for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
Decmil have chosen to sponsor our club as a way of painting itself as ‘good corporate citizen’.
We call on the Fremantle Football Club to reject further sponsorship from Decmil Group, a company that holds some of the largest contracts associated with the Australian mandatory detention system.
See link for further campaign info: http://dropkickdecmil.net/
CLOSE DOWN MANUS DETENTION CAMP [RISE]:
RISE supports the call for JUSTICE and FREEDOM by our communities in Manus Island detention camp.
2. Bring the asylum seekers in Manus onshore to Australia
3. Process their claims fairly & humanely in the community
RISE condemns the dire situation faced by asylum seekers in the Manus Island asylum seeker internment camp created by the Australian government, outsourcing and dumping its responsibilities to a less wealthy country like Papua New Guinea.
The re-opening of this camp in 2012 by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard and immigration minister Chris Bowen has resulted in two asylum seeker deaths. Yet Australia continues to keep it open and a private Australian company Transfield Services is being paid 1.22 billion dollars to run this camp.
At present there are approximately 1050 asylum seekers refouled by the Australian government to Manus Island, indefinitely detained and blocked from resettlement in Australia.
There are 50 million displaced refugees around the world. Many are languishing without proper protection in interim camps. Australia’s discriminatory, human rights violating “offshore” processing system for asylum seekers who arrive by boat adds tally to the interim camps and keeps refugees in isolation. Deterrence measures may lower the number of asylum seekers in Australia, but it is not a just and arguably illegal in the context of international refugee and human rights law and also humanitarian solution for people trying to cross borders by boat, or any other form of transport, desperately seeking a place where they can be safe.
We urgently request the public to resist Australia’s xenophobic government policies by demanding greater transparency, fairness and humanity in the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees who are human beings seeking protection from persecution and #ShutDownManus and including other detention centres offshore and onshore.
To lobby for international action, please email your concerns:
1. UNHCR Geneva http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4a324fcc6.html
2. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: infoDesk@ohchr.org , email@example.com
3. UN New York http://www.un.org/en/contactus/
For our international supporters – please contact the Australian embassy
You can also contact your member in the House of Representatives and ask them to take action. Find your member http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members
RISE: Refugee Survivors and Ex-detainees
Unisuper Divest [22/9/15]:
A few problems with the No Business in Abuse campaign:
1. The campaign pledge - which calls on you to sign it - contains no demand as such to oppose, close *definitively and forever* Australia's detention camps, both onshore and off-shore;
2. The implicit aim of the campaign is to make the business of mandatory detention of asylum-seekers 'nicer' = free of abuse;
3. The campaign is about making business 'ethical', rather than challenging the very underpinnings of the detention complex;
4. The 'campaign' - if one can call it such - consists solely of signing pledges and petitions. Please, show me an example when that has ever worked in influencing government policy. Direct action, anyone?
As some of us who have visited detention centres know well, detention per se IS abuse. Irrespective of the conditions in centres, or how 'nice' they seem, detention is detrimental to asylum-seekers' physical and mental health, and is, in and of itself, a system that is premised on the idea that human rights abuses are *justified* when one's state borders are dealing with 'illegals'.
In other words, there is nothing in the No Business in Abuse campaign that challenges the premise behind 'Operation Sovereign Borders'.
In fact, that the campaign fails to do so - is precisely the reason why it reinforces the current government policy.
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014
ACT announces it will play along with the federal government's cruel PR stunt by resettling 250 handpicked, non-muslim Syrian refugees - who didn't come by boat [ABC - 25/9/15]
Newcastle bishops play along with federal government's cruel PR stunt by working on a joint strategy to welcome handpicked, non-muslim Syrian refugees - who didn't come by boat [ABC - 25/9/15]
'We suffer the same as them': the trauma and despair of Syrians imprisoned on Nauru [Guardian – 25/9/15]
Syrians who came to Australia by boat plead for humanitarian intake inclusion [ABC - 24/9/15]
Pair accused of killing Reza Barati at Australia's refugee death camp on Manus Island appear in court
Two men accused of killing Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati have appeared in court in Papua New Guinea.
Joshua Kaluvia and Louie Efi were both workers at the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island.
The PNG National Court has heard the two attacked Barati during a "commotion" at [brutal attack on] the centre on February 17, 2014.
Kaluvia, who was a Salvation Army worker at the detention centre, is alleged to have hit Barati in the head with a stick.
Efi, who worked as a security guard, is alleged to have dropped a rock on Barati's head.
The court has heard Efi and Kaluvia were part of a group of men who attacked Barati that night.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to charges of wilful murder.
The murder case has twice been delayed because of a lack of legal representation for one of the suspects.
Court security tightened for Logan bookseller's thought crime hearing
Brisbane Times [25/9/15]:
Security has been tightened at a Brisbane court where a man is facing a committal hearing on terrorism-related charges.
Visitors to Omar Succarieh's hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court are being checked by security guards outside the court room, in addition to the building's usual front-entrance screening process.
The 32-year-old is charged with making funds available to the Jabhat al-Nusra group, facilitating arrangements for Logan resident Agim Kruezi's passage to Syria, and causing money to be given to Mr Kruezi in preparation for an offence against the Crimes (Foreign Incursion and Recruitment Act).
He and Mr Kruezi have been behind bars since their arrest last September in a series of counter-terrorism raids in Brisbane and Logan. [Directly following a Murdoch Press beatup.]
Mr Succarieh appeared relaxed in court, smiling and chatting with his lawyer and also with a security guard before the hearing began.
Just one witness has been scheduled to appear - Middle East expert Rodger Shanahan from the [Frank] Lowy Institute think tank.
A report by Dr Shanahan forms part of the Commonwealth case against Mr Succarieh. During cross examination defence lawyer Saul Holt, QC, questioned Dr Shanahan's qualifications, and his sources for several assertions in the report.
Mr Kruezi has not yet faced a committal hearing.
He is charged with twice committing preparatory acts for terrorism, committing a preparatory acts for incursion, recruiting people to join hostile activities against foreign governments and unlawful possession of weapons and explosives.
In sworn statements police have previously alleged Mr Succarieh transferred sums of cash to his brother in Syria.
It was alleged he was caught on tape disparaging Australia and identifying as a Jabhat al-Nusra member.
Lawyers for two men facing terrorism-related charges have criticised police for taking too long to provide evidence against their clients, who remain in custody in Queensland. ... [SBS - 19/12/14]
A lawyer for one of three Queensland men charged with terrorism offences has accused police of withholding evidence and using the G20 Summit to drag out his client's pre-trial imprisonment. ... [Daily Mercury - 17/10/14]
Brisbane Times [23/1/15]:
Court documents have revealed how an undercover police officer infiltrated a Logan Islamic bookstore community, gaining the trust of three members who were later charged with terrorism offences.
The Australian Federal Police agent known as UCO317656 met Omar Succarieh, Agim Kruezi and Robert Louis Maestracci in June 2014 at the iQraa Islamic Centre, according to material filed in the Brisbane Supreme Court this week.
iQraa, which was run by Mr Succarieh, was raided on September 10 last year by AFP anti-terrorism police. [Following a Murdoch beatup.]
FBI informant exposes sting operation targeting innocent Americans in new
"(T)ERROR" documentary [Democracy Now – 20/4/15]:
… AMY GOODMAN: They were apartment neighbors.
LYRIC R. CABRAL [Directors of (T)ERROR]: They weren’t neighbors. Tarik actually didn’t live in the brownstone, but he frequently played music gigs in Harlem, and so he would stop by a lot, just because it was a—you know, the FBI had engineered this environment so that it was comfortable for him, so that he would have a place that was available late at night after he would get off of a gig. And so, ultimately, Saeed used this child support need that Tarik had—he owed about $70,000—and said, "Well, you know, if you use your martial arts service in service of 'al-Qaeda,'" quote-unquote, "we can get you $70,000. I can get your passport back."
AMY GOODMAN: So, Stephen Downs, explain ultimately what happened to Tarik, what he was charged with.
STEPHEN DOWNS [Attorney]: Well, he was charged with material support for terrorism, for essentially, I suppose, nothing more than, in a kind of a scripted plot—or not a scripted plot, but a scripted play by the FBI, he took some sort of an oath to al-Qaeda that he would treat al-Qaeda soldiers if they were injured somehow, or would train them in martial arts. And I think the request was: Would you train al-Qaeda soldiers? And he said, "I’ll train anybody. I’m a martial arts instructor." And that was essentially the—for what he was convicted of. ...
Al Jazeera Investigates - Informants [VIDEO – 20/7/14]:
Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit takes you inside the shadowy world of FBI informants and counterterrorism sting operations. Following the 9/11 attacks, the FBI set about to recruit a network of more than 15,000 informants.
Al Jazeera's investigative film tells the stories of three paid FBI informants who posed as Muslims as they searched for people interested in joining violent plots concocted by the FBI.
Lock the Gate demands changes to the Water Act to protect farmers facing coal and CSG
Lock The Gate Media Release [23/9/15]:
After years of frustration over the failure by successive Queensland Governments to protect farmers losing their groundwater due to coal and gas mining, Lock the Gate Alliance today launched its Model Make Good Agreement Template for consultation at the Water Summit being held in Dalby by Senator Glenn Lazarus.
"The depletion of groundwater by coal and gas companies is occurring at an alarming rate, adding to the stress and economic hardship already being experienced by many Queensland farmers due to drought," said Paul Winn, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance.
“CSG companies are not taking their Make Good obligations under the Water Act seriously and there are fears the State Government is set to soon renege on its election promises to restore water licensing requirements for coal miners."
Make Good obligations under Chapter 3 of the Water Act 2000 oblige Gas and Petroleum Leaseholders to negotiate Make Good Agreements with landholders whose groundwater risks being impacted by gas drilling and “make good” on the water lost through alternative water access or compensation.
Conditions on coal mines and Land Court decisions frequently impose similar Make Good requirements on coal miners.
“Make Good obligations were the trade-off for farmers who risk losing access to groundwater due to CSG extraction. But the Agreements we've seen to date literally hang farmers out to dry,” he said.
"None of them provide adequate alternatives for licenced water users who lose groundwater, leaving many with no option but to throw the dice and take CSG companies to the Land Court to try and salvage their livelihoods.
"The Palaszczuk Government looks set to nod along behind Campbell Newman in backing coal and CSG over Queensland farmers and water supplies. We want to change that.
"We hope that this Make Good Agreement Template can be used by Queensland farmers to get a better deal from CSG companies and force the Palaszczuk Government to amend Part 3 of the Water Act so that farmers get a fair go in negotiations.
"The government needs to deliver on its pre-election promises to prevent coal miners from being given the right to an unlimited take of groundwater, and should also act to impose strict Make Good obligations on coal companies impacting on farm businesses across the state."
The Hopeland Community Sustainability Group says ‘compensation’ to farmers for putting up with coal seam gas on their property is totally inadequate.
The group’s spokesperson, Shay Dougall commented on the GasFields Commission Queensland annual report, released yesterday. The report stated about 2200 landholders were compensated $200 million over five years through conduct and compensation agreements (CCA) for having CSG infrastructure on the property.
Mrs Dougall said that meant landholders were receiving about $18,000 a year. ... [Lock The Gate Media Release - 23/9/15]
LNG production ramps-up on in Gladstone [Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Media Release – 24/9/15]
Great Barrier Reef In Danger [Greenpeace - 7/3/12]
Exxon confirmed global warming consensus in 1982 with in-house climate models [Inside Climate News - 22/9/15]
Two international companies have brokered a deal worth $28 million for a cattle property in southern Queensland.
The deal follows another sale in southern Queensland of a property called 'Lighthouse' near Roma, it was a 33,000 hectare place and it sold for $14 million around a fortnight ago. [ABC - 22/9/15]
Armed robbery investigation, Paradise Point / Parkwood
QPS Media [25/9/15]:
Detectives are investigating after police received a complaint from a 50-year-old woman advising that she had been assaulted and robbed at Paradise Point earlier today.
The woman told police she was driving along Parkwood Boulevard, Parkwood around midday when she pulled over to the side of the road.
An unknown man jumped into the front passenger seat of her car and demanded she drive him around.
The woman complied, driving around before stopping at Paradise Point.
The man threatened her with a knife and demanded cash and jewellery before stabbing her in the leg and stealing her rings.
He then ran from the scene.
The Parkwood woman drove to a nearby residence and contacted police.
She was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital with two small wounds to her leg. Police 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.
Attempted armed robbery, Kelvin Grove [QPS Media - 24/9/15]
Armed robbery, Zillmere [QPS Media - 24/9/15]
Armed robbery charges, Maryborough [QPS Media - 24/9/15]
Update, incident, Bowen Hills [QPS Media - 25/9/15]:
Police have peacefully resolved the incident that occurred in Bowen Hills overnight, where a man was making threats and claiming to be armed.
Around 9.30pm last night a man contacted police claiming to be armed at an address in Jeays Street.
Police attended the residence and established a cordon around it. Negotiators spoke with the man during the evening, and he was taken into police custody at around 6.30am without incident.
Another man who was within the residence left voluntarily before 6am.
He has been transported to the Royal Brisbane Hospital for assessment. 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.
A man has been arrested over the disappearance of Melbourne woman Simone Quinlan.
Police searched a house on Killarney Drive in Melton at 2.30pm on Thursday and arrested a 34-year-old man.
Ms Quinlan, 33-year-old mother of two, was last seen leaving a service station around 11pm on August 24. [Nine MSN - 24/9/15]
Public hearing sought for Ballarat police officers
Nine MSN [24/9/15]:
Victoria's anti-corruption watchdog is pushing for public questioning of two police officers as it investigates whether the Ballarat police station has a culture of using excessive force.
The two officers do not want to give evidence at a public hearing, fearing it will hang over their careers and could prejudice any trial against them.
Their lawyer, Christopher Boyce SC, told the Court of Appeal on Thursday that any public questioning by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) could impinge on their right to silence and right not to testify against themselves.
He also argued that despite their testimony not being admissible in a criminal trial, media reporting of the hearing could prejudice potential jurors.
The male and female officers, who cannot be named and have not been charged, were stood down amid claims they kicked and stomped on a mentally ill woman who was arrested for public drunkenness.
It is also alleged the woman was not given a blanket even though she was wet after showering to wash away capsicum spray, and that she had only toilet water to drink because of a broken tap.
IBAC summonsed the officers in April and it is examining several complaints that police used excessive force at Ballarat station over a five-year period.
Counsel acting on behalf of IBAC Ted Woodward said the duo needed to be questioned publicly because it was an exceptional case.
He said there had been a higher incidence of excessive force complaints at Ballarat compared with other police stations in the state.
"There may be a cultural problem at the Ballarat Police Station," Mr Woodward told the court.
"(IBAC) is seeking to identify to what extent these particular applicants were part of the problem or if they were a symptom of that problem."
Justice David Beach, Justice Phillip Priest and Justice Stephen Kaye, who are presiding over the matter, reserved their judgment.
Lawyer accuses police of 'unlawful home invasion', illegal detention of woman [Canberra Times – 24/9/15]
Man fights for life after “citizen’s arrest”, North Perth [West Australian – 24/9/15]
Narrabundah Jindalee Aged Care Residence nursing staff did not check pulse of man found dead in dementia ward [Canberra Times – 24/9/15]
Emergency crews rush to M1 after car flips at Yatala [MYGC - 25/9/15]
Murdoch's News International began police bribery inquiry into Sun [Byline - 24/9/15]
West Australian [25/9/15]:
A woman has been charged after allegedly trying to blackmail Queensland MP Billy Gordon.
The 50-year-old has been charged with one count of extortion and will front the Cairns Magistrates Court on October 9.
It's understood the charge relates to an image she received via text message from the Cook MP, who was cleared of domestic violence allegations on Thursday.
Gavin King. Former Murdoch editor. Never held to account during his single term as an MP.
Gavin King [27/3/15]: BREAKING: Billy Gordon MP under investigation for alleged domestic violence. Exclusive story on Cairns Now and Channel 9 Brisbane: http://www.cairnsnow.com.au/MP-admits-abuse-and-violence.19.0.html
... Annastacia Palaszczuk says Mr Gordon must seriously consider whether he has a future in parliament, while Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg says he must go to allow a byelection that has the potential to change the government.
Mr Gordon accused both leaders, and independent Speaker Peter Wellington, of leading an unprincipled campaign to force him out of parliament, but he vowed to take his time in deciding what to do.
"The premier, the opposition leader and speaker do not have the power to remove me and I think it's quite unethical that they are trying to do that," he told the Western Cape Bulletin.
"They can't offer inducements or intimidate me."
Mr Gordon said he would cooperate with a police investigation into his former partner's claims of violence, but added: "I categorically deny any allegations of violence."
He said other allegations made by his former partner relating to tax avoidance and failure to pay child support were not "black and white".
"I'm not some kind of deadbeat dad," he said.
Mr Gordon has apologised to the premier and the Labor party for failing to disclose parts of his criminal history but is now also pointing the finger at Labor's selection processes.
"I should have been more open but I went through all the procedures they asked of me," the MP said.
Mr Wellington, who along with the premier initially called on Mr Gordon to leave parliament, on Tuesday said none of the domestic violence claims constituted a legal requirement for Mr Gordon to quit.
... This experience resonates with some Indigenous men in particular, including Gregory O’Neill, a 60-year-old former carpenter who says he is barred from getting a blue card to do volunteer yard work because of an offence he committed in the 1970s.
“They’re still dragging me through the mud, and now they’re hunting Billy down,” says O’Neill, who once lived next door to Gordon’s father, Lesley, in Mareeba.
O’Neill, who remembers Gordon as “a quiet and respectable young lad”, says the MP should be given the chance to continue in office.
Floyd Bing, another Aboriginal man struggling to find work in Mareeba, in Gordon’s electorate, agrees.
“Billy come good, you know?,” he says.
“In all the tribes up here in far north Queensland, there’s always going to be one who will rise up and talk for us.
“You won’t get that from white people or any other people who don’t know our needs and the roots of our issues. But Billy been there, seen it all.”
McLucas, Gordon’s former employer, says the embattled MP should have told her and the Labor party about his juvenile history.
If Gordon had been upfront about it, she says, it would have been an opportunity to show “how a young man with a difficult history found the right path”.
But had Gordon told her of the domestic violence claims, she would have ruled out any political career for him.
“He can’t be a public figure with allegations of domestic violence,” she says.
"I just rang his phone"
Western Cape Bulletin [1/4/15]:
EXCLUSIVE: In today's paper, Member for Cook Billy Gordon tells editor Matt Nicholls that he denies allegations of violence against former partners and will not quit parliament in the short term. Is going to cooperate with the police investigation and spend time to consider his future.
Interview between ABC Far North Queensland and Western Cape Bulletin editor Matt Nicholls [AUDIO - 1/4/15]
25 September 2015