Bombs continue raining down upon Syria and Iraq
US Department of Defense [25/3/16]:
U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Strikes in Syria
Attack aircraft conducted two strikes in Syria:
-- Near Hawl, a strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Mar’a, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
Strikes in Iraq
Attack and fighter aircraft conducted 11 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL tunnel entrances.
-- Near Haditha, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL staging areas.
-- Near Hit, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL rocket rail.
-- Near Mosul, a strike destroyed two ISIL assembly areas.
-- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL mortar positions, an ISIL supply cache, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL fighting position, and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar position and two ISIL assembly areas and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Tal Afar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Waleed, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [26/3/16]:
Nineveh: The coalition air force shelled the suburbs of Mosul today before dawn ,further details unknown..............
Anbar: Press sources: A'ien Al-Asad Base has been put on the state of alert after 10 of ISIL members crept into the base killing 18 and wounding 16 elements of the government army according to initial outcome..............
Babel: News agencies:News reported that militias have exploded Usama Bin Zaid Masjid in Iskandariya ......
Baghdad: A roadside bomb exploded in Abu Ghreib district west of Baghdad today morning killing a person and wounding 8......
Iraqis step up protests against corrupt elite as senior political figures flee Baghdad's Green Zone [Independent - 25/3/16]
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford: More US troops may be needed in Iraq [US Department of Defense - 25/3/16]
Nine Iranians who sewed their mouths shut in protest at the demolition of the "Jungle" migrant camp in the northern French port of Calais ended their hunger strike on Friday.
The men had been on hunger strike since March 2, shortly after French authorities began demolishing the southern half of the camp.
Their lawyer, Orsane Broissin, read a statement before the nine frail-looking men left to have their stitches removed and receive treatment from aid workers.
"We have decided to end our hunger strike... out of respect for those who wished for us to do so, who are worried about our well-being, as well as to show our confidence in the intentions of the state to protect us and improve the living conditions of residents in the northern zone of the camp," the lawyer read. ... [Yahoo - 26/3/16]
1Ángel d Lesbos.Fue al puerto,repartió galletas a los niños.1abuelita adorable ...
Image: @ncbbcn [23/3/16]
@ncbbcn [25/3/16]: ACNUR MIENTE.Cárcel de Moria,dias después de anunciar q no entraría.La dl chaleco azul ...
@MSF_Sea [25/3/16]: ... The first bus is being filled at #Idomeni. It seems #people are headed to a different camp.
@MSF_Sea [25/3/16]: “There is no problem if I die here. I was almost dead in #Afghanistan anyway. I've come here for a future."
Buses sent to Idomeni camp to transfer refugees [Ekathimerini - 25/3/16]
Greek government to submit Bill for implementation of the EU-Turkey Deal [Greek Reporter - 24/3/16]:
The Greek government will table in parliament on March 30 a draft bill that will address issues relating the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, the head of Greece’s coordinating body for the management of the refugee crisis said on Thursday.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting of Government Refugee and Migration Policy Council chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Giorgos Kyritsis said ministers discussed all the issues arising from the EU-Turkey deal and more general problems concerning the management of the refugee crisis.
He said that, starting next week, the government will also intensify efforts to relieve the situation at the makeshift camp of Idomeni by providing means of transport to refugees and migrants to be transferred to accommodation centers.
He said that similar initiatives could be taken to resolve the problems in Piraeus.
“The logic is that all non-organized structures like Idomeni and Piraeus must seize to exist. Now we’re making efforts towards both directions, but the government believes that the issue of Idomeni is a priority,” he said.
“Soon after, that is in the next week, we’ll start [similar] efforts will also start in Piraeus.”
Asked how the government will accommodate 14,000 people who are stuck in idomeni considering centers nearby are already filled to capacity, Kyritsis said the government can quickly make more than 2,000 positions available in existing centers and that more spots will be freed as of Monday.
Responding to a question whether any EU officials have arrived to staff asylum services, Kyritsis said they are expected to arrive by March 28, but that nobody has arrived yet.
Asked to whether Greece plans to adopt any legislative directives proclaiming Turkey as a safe third country, he referred to a comment by government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili who had said that “the Greek side doesn’t find it necessary to legislate on this.”
Kyritsis also announced that the government is preparing 30,000 more spots in the next six months, adding that the locations are “more or less delimited,” but noted that any announcements cannot be made by him because the issue is still being discussed with local authorities.
Responding to a critical comment on the hotspots being turned into detention centers, Kyritsis said they are not detention centers but “closed centers, in the sense that refugees must be under some restrictions and be available to Greek authorities.”
“The mentality is not to imprison people,” he added.
Dutch policemen on Lesvos to assist returns to Turkey, 2300 EU-staff for asylum procedures …absent [Keep Talking Greece - 25/3/16]
@guardiacostiera [24/3/16]: CP292 #GuardiaCostiera salva 14 #migranti a bordo di un gommone. Tutti uomini, di origine afghana e pachistana
Blackwater’s founder under investigation for money laundering, ties to Chinese Intel, and brokering mercenary services [The Intercept - 24/3/16]:
... The Libyan proposal, reviewed by The Intercept, was code-named Operation Lima. It offered the Libyans an array of military equipment and services — including weaponized vehicles, helicopters, boats, and surveillance airplanes — to help stabilize eastern Libya.
The ground force, according to a person involved with the plan, would consist of a troop of former Australian special operations commandos.
Given the instability of the government and Prince’s inability to navigate complex Libyan factions to vet potential partners, he had trouble finding the right power brokers to help sell the proposal.
By May 2015, Prince had rebranded himself and claimed a legitimate public reputation as FSG’s chairman. Without the approval of FSG’s management, he returned to Libya offering a freshly repackaged proposal, according to a person involved with the plan. Rather than a counterinsurgency force, Prince proposed a similar set of equipment and services, but with a new justification: The mercenaries would be there to engage in border security.
Your province is known internationally for hosting an Australian refugee concentration camp. That will not lead to women's empowerment, it's fascism. [PNG Loop - 26/3/16]:
Twenty-five women in Manus have completed a three-day workshop on business development, funded by Australia through the Provincial and Local-Level Governance Program in partnership with the Manus Provincial Government.
The women participated in the Beginners Entrepreneurship Workshops aimed to improve skills in sales, marketing, business planning, savings and loans and human resource management.
The traveling salesman President in Cuba [Counterpunch - 25/3/16]
Nauru protests continue
The ALP's red,
The LNP's blue.
Let's not forget,
Who re-opened Nauru.
Refugee Rights Action Network WA [25/3/16]:
For the sixth day in a row, asylum seekers have protested at the gates of the family compound, RPC 3.
Good Friday marks 1000 days in detention for some of the asylum seekers; detained 1000 days and still no refugee determination.
Women, men and children gathered at the gates chanting, "Save us from this hell," and "Three years in detention, shame on you; shame on you." ...
RNZI [AUDIO - 25/3/16]:
... For the past week asylum seekers, including children, have been protesting their continued incarceration on the remote island.
The campaign co-ordinator for Melbourne's Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Pamela Curr, has reflected back on the thousand days and told Don Wiseman the Australian scheme has been an absolute disaster for all parties.
PAMELA CURR: After 1000 days there is still 144 people including 49 children locked up in the camp - well they say it is an open camp, but they are searched both leaving and going into the camp; they have no money, they are only allowed to take two bottles of water and a packet of sandwiches when they leave the camp. So it is ensure that they starve them so they have to return. It is a disaster. It is for the people in the camp and also for those who have been so-called resettled in the community. They are dotted around the island in de-mountable housing in isolated locations where they are not safe.
We have seen countless women sexually harassed, raped. Women have been brought to Australia to have abortions following rape. This is known by our politicians on both sides. The situation for single, adult women on Nauru is simply appalling. They have no protection from the police. Not one Nauruan has been investigated or charged for an offence against a non-Nauruan. We have seen the judiciary in Nauru dismantled, the police - AFP commissioner not allowed to return, the New Zealand government has rightfully withdrawn funding from the Nauru system because of the corruption and the lack of transparency.
It is also bad for the local people. They have got no rights to dissent, they have no opposition, they are about to have elections which are expected to be corrupt and fixed. This is an appalling situation for a wealthy country, a wealthy, stable nation like Australia to exploit a former colony in this way.
DON WISEMAN: Australia as well is due to go to elections. Do you think there could be any change there or is there just going to be more of the same if there is a change of government?
PC: Well the outcome of the Australian elections is anybody's guess at this stage. There is a lot of disquiet with our politics in Australia but unfortunately that disquiet is not really based on the refugee policies. There is a third of Australians absolutely opposed to our current policy, a third of Australians sitting in the middle don't know what to think, and a third of Australians support the government in any harsh measures that they take.
DW: That third of Australians that support it, support it because of the rhetoric around ensuring no lives are lost at sea, but there doesn't seem to be and never has been much concern about the state of health or the lives of the people who are incarcerated.
PC: That is very much the case. We have seen a number of deaths by suicide and illness and in Manus Island by direct attack from locals, so lives have been lost in our camps, both in Australia and Manus. So far Nauru has been lucky but we have seen people assaulted brutally on Nauru. They are down here in our hospitals, receiving care for attacks on Nauru. This is a very poor situation in the Pacific. We look to New Zealand for some leadership in this area because the leadership is lacking in this country. We are treating our neighbours very badly. We are just ordering them around, throwing money at them, and getting them to do things that incur the wrath of the international community. It is not a good way to set up peaceful co-operative relationships in our region.
St Therese Torquay #LetThemStay nothing else to say!
Image: @crrosehodge - Rose Hodge, Mayor of the Surf Coast Shire Council [25/3/16]
Welcome to you and God bless you [Writing Through Fences - 25/3/16]:
Sunday 2016 – Manus Island
I would like to tell you about my visit to church. I went church for the first time in my life. It was a great visit. One of my Irani friends told me about it.
‘Let’s go for church,’ he said.
I said, ‘I am Muslim. I am not on the list’.
He said to me, ‘Doesn’t matter that you are not on the list. I will tell them’.
He is my friend.
We went to the church by bus. The church program had started when we reached there. The Transfield (Broadspectrum) gave us two kina to give a donation to the church. There were religious songs. The priest said welcome to the refugees. They met with us. The local people were very happy to see us. They had a very good response. At the end of the program, the priest priest shook hands with us.
The priest told us, ‘I saw you for the first time. Welcome to you and God bless you’. I said, ‘Thank you. God bless you too’.
There were a lot of local children and women in the church. I really like the children. We shake hands with the children and local people. They have very good response. The Transfield gave us two tickets water bottle. We distributed these to the local people. It was fun in my life.
Thanks for everyone to support and respect us.
I had a very good experience.
This story - along with other Australian media coverage of last week's Bali Process meeting - is BULLSHIT ---> Australia signs landmark regional agreement to tackle people smuggling [Guardian – 24/3/16]
The Bali Process has condemned 1,000s of refugees in our region to indefinite detention, refoulement and genocide ---> UNHCR leadership pins hopes on democracy in Myanmar and "repatriation" - calls on Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia to sign refugee convention, while turning a blind eye to Australia's human rights atrocities [23/3/16]
... However, since the Australian government cut its resettlement programs — effectively barring the UN Refugee Agency from submitting any new cases registered in Indonesia since July 2014 — asylum seekers and refugees have found themselves stranded in Indonesia.
Since the cessation of settlement programs in Australia the burden of processing new arrivals in Indonesia, and finding a safe place for them, is straining organizations that were already struggling to deal with the influx.
"We're trying our best to provide the most vulnerable refugees with assistance," Vargas says, "but we unfortunately have a very limited budget given the terrible crisis that we are seeing right now globally, with the refugee situation."
... UNHCR says that Australia's policy of pushing boats back into harm's way, and essentially assisting ruthless smugglers, is unacceptable.
"From UNHCR's point of view any state that intercepts a boat in international waters, or in their own territorial waters, becomes responsible for the safety of the passengers on that boat, including refugees and asylum seekers," country representative Vargas says. ... [Jakarta Globe - 21/3/16]
Indonesian Foreign Minsister urges cooperation to expedite processing of asylum seekers and refugees [ANTARA - 23/3/16]
The Greens, Australian NGOs and human rights groups said nothing. Our Voices summary report highlights overwhelming support for a refugee quota increase [Amnesty New Zealand - 22/3/16:
... The report is being released ahead of two crucial international meetings on refugee protection - the Sixth Bali Process Ministerial Conference in Bali tomorrow (23 March), and a high-level meeting convened by the UN Refugee Agency on 30 March which will look into sharing responsibility for the refugee crisis.
“New Zealand has a key role to play in refugee protection, but currently we can’t attend these meetings on the world stage with any integrity when we aren’t sharing the responsibility here in New Zealand,” said Grant Bayldon.
Bali Process meeting: Human rights of refugees must be the priority [Amnesty USA – 21/3/16]
What happened to their expectation? ---> Approximately 12 of every 1,000 people who embark on Bay of Bengal do not survive the journey - UNHCR calls for safer alternatives [Media Release - 23/2/16]:
... The toll also includes those killed in a fight over diminishing supplies on a boat that had been prevented from landing on two occasions. Some of these deaths could have been prevented with prompt disembarkation.
Elsewhere in the region, based on media reports, 263 people on nine boats tried to reach Australia and New Zealand in 2015. Departing from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam, these boats carrying passengers from Bangladesh, India, Iraq, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam were ultimately prevented from reaching Australia by Australian and Indonesian authorities.
UNHCR believes that unless the root causes of displacement are addressed, people will continue risking their lives on smugglers' boats to seek safety and stability elsewhere.
In 2015 governments in the region indicated an intention to tackle this regional challenge through a number of high-level meetings. There remains an urgent need for affected States to take concrete action to coordinate procedures for rescue at sea, predictable places to disembark passengers safely, as well as adequate reception and screening systems on arrival.
People who fled their homes and cannot return due to an absence of protection should be granted temporary refuge and have access to basic rights and services while longer-term solutions are sought.
To minimize deaths at sea, safe and legal channels including labour migration and family reunification programs must be opened up for people leaving difficult conditions at home. UNHCR hopes that labour migration arrangements could also be put in place for the Rohingya already in labour-importing countries, enabling them to contribute to the economies of their host and home countries.
Next month's Bali Process Ministerial Meeting will be a timely opportunity to make progress on these issues. ... [In fact, they went backwards.]
... It’s been more than two years since I arrived in Indonesia. And more than 10 months ago I was officially accepted as a refugee — and all I can do is continue to wait.
Once a week I go to the U.N.H.C.R. office to check on my case, and I’m told politely to wait more. ...
New York Times [21/8/15]:
... Everything seemed O.K. — until the storm hit. Winds, rain and waves pounded our weak wooden boat. A vessel full of people who had escaped terror at home found that once again our lives were on the line.
We screamed and cried. Someone deep inside the crowd shouted in Farsi, asking if anyone could speak English. I yelled out that I could, and I was hustled forward to the bridge. The captain had already called for help. I was handed a satellite phone. Seconds later I was talking with someone from Australian search and rescue.
“Hello. Can you hear me? Hello? ... We are asylum-seekers in distress on a boat. Our boat is broken and we will drown!”
Rescue: “Could you read me your G.P.S. location?”
I didn’t know how to do that. I had never used a satellite phone before, but I was guided by a voice in my other ear.
Rescue: “What do you wish us to do for you?”
“We are in a real bad situation, sir. We will drown. Our boat is broken. We are nearly 100 people on board. Could you please rescue us?”
Rescue: “What do you wish we do for you?”
“We wish to be rescued, sir! I repeat, sir, we wish to be rescued!”
We stayed low in the boat, helpless, counting every second. They’d said 15 to 25 minutes. Seventeen hours passed. It appeared that the Australians didn’t believe our plea for help.
In desperation, I called an Australian journalist I knew in Jakarta to ask if he could alert the Indonesian authorities.
Nine hours later, a warning bell heralded the arrival of Indonesian search and rescue. We were given first-aid and water. It felt like a miraculous act of kindness. ...
Naqsh Murtaza is a former television news presenter writing a book about his experiences as an asylum seeker.
... give ear o my good people, my law
incline your ears to the words of my mouth
save me for the trouble
i sink in deep mire i am weary of my crying
mine eyes fail while
i wait for my freedom ...
Ravi [on Nauru - 2013]
From Hell to Hell
The best way to deal with all the emotions, Shanmuganathan Nagaveeran [Garland - Issue #1]
... Printing his books and travel expenses, however, have proved more costly than anticipated.
The demand for his books is high and he is constantly receiving requests for copies, however having sold out a month ago, many opportunities to spread his work further have been missed.
In light of the funding issues that Ravi has experienced, we've decided to crowdfund the cost of printing 1000 books. This will allow Ravi's insightful and haunting poetry to reach 1000 more people.
Amplifying the voices of those who have firsthand experience of the detention regime is critical to generating greater awareness, understanding and ultimately social change. ... ['From Hell to Hell' book printing]
The Australian media is as proud of its anti-refugee propaganda as our government is of their anti-refugee policies
... The Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers and the Rwandan genocide did not start with the slayings.
It started with the dehumanization of a specific group of persons. ...
UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng [Media Release - 9/12/14]
Australian government funds $6million anti-refugee propaganda film [Brisbane Times - 26/3/16]
... In past interviews Tierney has not shied away from using the term 'propaganda' to describe her previous projects, which include the anti-terrorist police show aired in Afghanistan called Eagle Four largely funded by the US embassy in Kabul. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 10/4/15]
Culture Street [25/3/14]:
Where do you live now?
I’m living in Sydney but will be traveling this year for a number of new TV projects with my production company, Put It Out There Pictures.
We are currently developing a television series for Papua New Guinea with ABC International Development, which is very exciting because there has never been a home-grown drama serial produced in PNG. ...
Telikom signs onto new TV drama series, paving the way for a new television production industry [Business Advantage PNG - 24/6/14]:
...‘The ABC has paid for all the of the development costs,’ says Muffy Potter.
‘We [Put It Out There Pictures and the ABC] are partners on this series and they’ve been incredibly supportive in getting the series financed.’
The US State Department has also given the producers a grant to develop digital media associated with the series. ...
Working with Burma’s national broadcaster as it transitions to a public service role. [ABC International Development]
In May 2015, Australia's national broadcaster promoted the Myanmar regime as thousands fled persecution and genocide. [ABC, Media Report - 18/5/15]:
After more than half a century of military rule, Myanmar is transitioning to democracy and a free press is slowly emerging from the old system of threats and censorship.
Andrew Dodd reports on the media landscape in the South East Asian nation. ...
Cordell Jigsaw's Go Back To Where You Come From: Masquerading as reality television designed to progress debate, it actually did the opposite i.e. mocking the victims, humiliating a minority of ignorant racists (while also amplifying their views and presenting them as a significant cohort in the Australian community), cementing the Overton Window and maintaining the status quo.
It also helped fill a void by crowding out actual journalism.
... A prophylactic theme is emphasised, suggesting that the producers are somehow interested in preventing deaths by stifling the exercise of rights to asylum.
Such institutionally accepted imbecility is the hallmark of many a propaganda unit – eventually, the producers begin to believe their own faithful messages. ...
Using propaganda to scare refugees, Binoy Kampmark [Counterpunch - 13/4/15]
‘Fearless’ filming at Fleet Base East [Navy Daily - 13/7/14]:
Headlines were created when Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Clearance Diver Able Seaman Paul De Gelder was attacked by a shark in Sydney Harbour in 2009, and the story of his survival, recovery and return to Navy service captured the attention of people around Australia, and around the world.
Able Seaman De Gelder continues to serve as diver in the Navy Reserve, but has also found a new calling as the host of the unscripted series ‘Fearless’, produced by Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder (CJZ) Productions.
Border Security: Australia’s Frontline
"reality" television program is propaganda - shock!
[Guardian - 22/9/15]:
... The show has been running for 10 years but the first deed was signed in 2010 under Labor.
The deeds are re-signed each year. Guardian Australia understands the national communications team for the then department of immigration and citizenship was generally the division involved in assessing footage.
A spokesman for the immigration department stressed the department had overall responsibility for the show and little had changed in the past 10 years. But he said operational experts – which Guardian Australia understands are now part of the border force – are involved in clearing the footage.
Smugglers' Paradise [ABC - Four Corners - May 2012]
Julius Streicher: Biography [United States Holocaust Memorial Museum]
... Julius Streicher was not a member of the military and did not take part in planning the Holocaust, or the invasion of other nations. Yet his pivotal role in inciting the extermination of Jews was significant enough, in the prosecutors' judgment, to include him in the indictment of Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal – which sat in Nuremberg, where Streicher had once been an unchallenged authority.
Most of the evidence against Streicher came from his numerous speeches and articles over the years.
In essence, prosecutors contended that Streicher's articles and speeches were so incendiary that he was an accessory to murder, and therefore as culpable as those who actually ordered the mass extermination of Jews (such as Hans Frank and Ernst Kaltenbrunner). They further argued that he kept them up when he was well aware Jews were being slaughtered.
He was acquitted of crimes against peace, but found guilty of crimes against humanity, and sentenced to death on 1 October 1946. The judgment against him read, in part:
"... For his 25 years of speaking, writing and preaching hatred of the Jews, Streicher was widely known as 'Jew-Baiter Number One.' In his speeches and articles, week after week, month after month, he infected the German mind with the virus of anti-Semitism, and incited the German people to active persecution. ... Streicher's incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitutes persecution on political and racial grounds in connection with war crimes, as defined by the Charter, and constitutes a crime against humanity.”
... Red, white, blue's in the skies, summer's in the air and baby, heaven's in your eyes ...
'National Anthem' Lana Del Rey 
A Korean-American man detained in North Korea has confessed to stealing military secrets and plotting subversion with South Koreans, the North's official news agency and foreign media reported on Friday.
North Korea, which has been criticized for its human rights record, has in the past used detained Americans to extract high-profile visits from the United States, with which it has no formal diplomatic relations.
Kim Dong Chul, who has previously said he was a naturalized American citizen and was arrested in North Korea in October, admitted to committing "unpardonable espionage" under the direction of the U.S. and South Korean governments and deeply apologized for his crimes, the North's KCNA news agency said. ... [Reuters - 25/3/16]
The true story of the Pentagon spies who posed as Christian missionaries to surveil North Korea [Democracy Now - 25/3/16]
IPSO orders Murdoch phone hacking scum rag to print statement that British Muslims story was misleading [Guardian - 26/3/16]
@SunApology [23/3/16]: The Sun misleading the public over the junior doctors' strike. Reminder: they've already had to apologise for this
Bernie Sanders put a bird on it at Portland rally [VIDEO - The Oregonian - 25/3/16]
You know there's lots of trouble in the world
You know about the danger
There's trouble up ahead ...
'We gotta be strong', Warumpi Band 
Fascists and racist, war mongering, neocon apologists - I do not accept your "Easter Message" [Huffington Post - 25/3/16]
26 March 2016