Australia's Guantanamos in the Pacific become untenable
Sydney Morning Herald [27/8/15]:
Some of Australia's top fund managers may get guided tours of asylum-seeker detention centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island under a plan by Transfield Services to assure industry superannuation funds that it is not committing human rights abuses.
Transfield expects the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to renew a $2.2 billion contract providing operational, maintenance and welfare support services for detention centres on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and Nauru within the next few weeks before its current contract expires on October 31.
Chief executive Graeme Hunt said he hoped the new contract would allow Transfield to be "transparent to the maximum extent possible" so it could show investors it was meeting its social and governance obligations.
Rachel Ball, director of advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said the company had obligations under the United Nations' Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to respect international human rights standards.
"The company cannot evade responsibility simply because the violations are sanctioned by the Australian Government," Ms Ball said.
Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, said Transfield had become hostage to "rights abusing" policies by the Australian government policies and should have done more due diligence before accepting the detention centre contracts.
... Data released under freedom of information laws to the Australian Lawyers Alliance shows serious incidents uncovered by the damning Moss review, and others detailed to a Senate inquiry, were not reported to Comcare, the nation's work safety regulator.
By law, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection must report a death, serious injury, illness or dangerous incident arising from the conduct of a detention centre's operations.
The Comcare spokesman said inspectors had visited detention centres, including those offshore, and "made a number of recommendations to [the department] to improve their work health and safety practices", and inspections of the department's workplaces had not uncovered breaches. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 27/8/15]
Woman allegedly raped in Manus detention centre accuses Transfield of cover-up [Guardian – 27/8/15]:
... The provincial police commander, Alex N’Drasal, has previously demanded the men be returned to the island to face questioning pending charges.
In Manus, N’Drasal tells Guardian Australia the events of the night of 15 July were “still under investigation” but he has been ordered by the police commissioner not to “disseminate any information”.
A senior police source in Port Moresby says the gag order came, ultimately, from “someone in Australia”.
The police officer, who is familiar with the facts of the case, says: “The commissioner wants these people to come back to face charges and to face trial. He is not happy that these people were just taken out of PNG, as though this country’s laws don’t matter.”
PNG: Major investigations including Hanuabada killings on – Baki [PNG Loop - 27/8/15]:
All major police investigations have resumed including the double killings by police of two Hanuabada men and the death of a Tatana youth also by police.
Commissioner Gary Baki gave the assurance today brushing aside rumors that the removal of ACP Crimes, Thomas Eluh would stall investigations.
“I do not want people to think that the issue of Eluh being taken out of the office will impede on these cases.”
“The only role that he plays is he has an over-ridding responsibility to ensure that investigations are properly conducted,” Baki adds.
Baki said Eluh was not a lead investigator in the cases which means his transfer or subsequent suspension should not interfere with investigations.
He is confident with the new ACP Crimes Victor Isouve.
5 PM 28 August
Musgrave Park, Brisbane
School communities and other #FreeMojgan supporters are gathering together to speak out about young people being held in Immigration Detention and advocating for Mojgan Shamsalipoor in particular to be granted a partner visa and be free.
Mojgan is a Year 12 student at Yeronga State High School - a few months away from attaining her Queensland Certificate of Education.
Mojgan is legally married to an Australian permanent resident, yet she was forcibly removed from Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation on Friday 7 August and transferred to Immigration Detention in Darwin.
... Mr Dutton told the media on Friday that he would look at the case after meeting with Gosford Anglican priest Rod Bower, and receiving a letter from Mr Jafari and teachers at Yeronga High School where Ms Shamsalipoor was about to sit for the Higher School Certificate.
Father Bower said he pleaded with Mr Dutton to take on the case ‘‘personally and urgently’’ because deportation under the circumstances Ms Shamsalipoor faced represented a human rights abuse.
‘‘Here’s an intelligent young woman, married to a wonderful young man who’s keen to contribute to society, and we tear them apart and put her in detention,’’ Father Bower said.
‘‘It’s a human rights abuse. I hope the minister will take that on. He indicated that he was willing to have a look at it.’’
Mr Dutton spoke at an invitation-only community forum in Gosford organised by Liberal Robertson MP Lucy Wicks, and had only brief contact with a group of asylum seeker supporters who walked from Gosford Anglican Church to the Central Coast Leagues Club where the community forum was held.
Father Bower spoke to a rally outside the church where asylum seeker supporters had planted a sea of hearts.
Ms Smith was refused entry to the community forum and said her repeated attempts to raise the case of Ms Shamsalipoor with Mr Dutton’s office had been unsuccessful.
... The Minister's office is yet to confirm Mr Dutton is taking any action.
Another student — removed from Brisbane's Milpera State High School and transferred to Darwin at the same time as Ms Shamsalipoor — also asked for the Minister's personal intervention.
Faeze Albohamdan wrote to Mr Dutton, saying she had attempted suicide because of the separation from her wider family in Brisbane. ... [ABC - 27/8/15
Japan's national bar association join opposition to controversial security bills
Japan Today [27/8/15]:
Japan’s national bar association on Wednesday threw its weight behind growing opposition to controversial security bills that could pave the way for Japanese troops to engage in combat for the first time since the end of World War II.
Hundreds of demonstrators, including some members of the 36,000-strong Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), took part in a Tokyo rally with academics and citizens groups calling for the government to scrap the legislation—in the final stages of working its way through parliament.
Under the proposed new rules, pacifist Japan’s Self-Defense Forces would have the option of going into battle to protect allies even if there was no direct threat to Japan or its people.
“The constitution couldn’t work as a constitution” if the bills took effect, JFBA chairman Susumu Murakoshi told a news conference ahead of the rain-soaked demonstration.
Murakoshi called the swelling number of lawyers and academics opposed to the bills “unprecedented”.
Lawyers typically avoid taking part in large scale rallies.
The proposed legislation passed through the powerful lower house of parliament last month and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition aims to win final approval in the upper house by the end of September.
Abe and his supporters say the changes are necessary for Japan to deal with the world around it, but the push is deeply unpopular among the general public.
Many legal scholars have said the changes are unconstitutional and critics say they will drag Japan into American wars in far-flung parts of the globe.
A constitution imposed by a post-war U.S. occupation force barred Japan’s military from combat except in self-defense.
Launch of The Changi Book [Australian War Memorial - 18/8/15]
Chilcot Inquiry: Sir John expected to be examined in court after failing to provide publication date
Sir John Chilcot’s management of the Iraq Inquiry faces being examined in a court of law after he failed to provide British families of military personnel killed in the 2003 war with a clear and immediate publication date.
Demands for a judicial review in the High Court are now expected to be lodged by lawyers representing the families. If granted, there would be an examination of how key witnesses have been allowed an allegedly excessive amount of time to put their side of critical conclusions reached by the inquiry.
The families, angry at year-on-year delays for the £10 million inquiry report, warned Sir John on August 13 that he had a fortnight to announce a delivery date.
Sir John issued a formal statement today - the day the deadline expired - which expressed his understanding of the “anguish of families of those who lost their lives in the conflict”. He repeated assurances that when the response process – known as Maxwellisation - was complete, “the Prime Minister, and thus Parliament and the public” will then be provided with “ a timetable for the publication of our work. “
Although sending a private letter to the families, which claimed to have answered concerns they have raised, Sir John did not bow to demands to fast-track the end of Maxwellisation process. He also gave no date for publication.
Sir John denied those criticised had been given an open-ended timescale, adding there had been no special negotiations, and that response process was essential to the fairness, accuracy and completeness of his report.
He confirmed a report in The Independent last week based on conversations with inquiry sources, that government documents not been submitted to the inquiry during its early stages, had opened up “new issues”.
However his assurance the last Maxwellisation letters are expected to be returned to the inquiry “shortly”, falls well short of the firm guarantee the families wanted.
Lawyers representing the families believe Sir John’s handling of the inquiry was “unlawful”. They are likely to argue that he misapplied the inquiry’s own legal rules, claiming witnesses should have been given only one, not multiple opportunities to reply to criticism.
Sir John’s formal statement comes after weeks of sustained media attacks on the inquiry panel.
They have been pilloried as work-shy retirees, largely incapable of delivering an authoritative report.
Last week The Independent reported that sources close to the inquiry were angry at the panel being called “bumbling incompetents”, calling the attacks, much of it alleged to have come from within the Whitehall establishment, as “nasty hachet jobs” intended to discredit the inquiry.
Sources claimed that with Maxwellisation letters now circulating within governmental legal circles, any early forecast that Chilcot would go easy on political and military individuals and institutions, had now vanished.
A spokeswoman for the inquiry last night confirmed that no timetable had been set by Sir John, and that this would only happen when the inquiry panel had completed the task given to them in 2009 by the then prime minister, Gordon Brown.
Sir John’s statement said the mandate set by Mr Brown was without precedent, and that the final report would be “rigourous, accurate and firmly based on evidence we have assembled.”
He repeated assurances that inquiry panel - comprising the military historian, Sir Lawrence Freedman, Sir Roderic Lyne, the former UK ambassador in Moscow, and Baroness Prashar, a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights – were “independent and impartial”. One of the panel, the historian Sir Martin Gilbert, died earlier this year.
Lawyers representing the families said they expected to make a formal response in due course.
Chinese police arrest 12 suspects in Tianjin blasts
Channel News Asia [27/8/15]:
Chinese police have arrested 12 people suspected of involvement in this month's massive explosions in the city of Tianjin that killed 139 people and devastated the port area, the state-run Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.
Among those arrested were the chairman, vice-chairman and three deputy general managers of the logistics company that had been storing the chemicals that blew up, the agency said, quoting police. It did not say who the rest were.
The news comes a day after China sacked the head of its work safety regulator for suspected corruption.
Schlumberger to buy oilfield gear maker Cameron in $14.8 billion deal [Reuters – 26/8/15]
Wonder what happened in Queensland Supreme Court today? Bit too newsy?
IBM tries to dodge damages claims [The Register - 25/8/15]
IBM is attempting to fend off a potentially colossal damages claim in the Australian State of Queensland.
The dispute started in 2007 when IBM bid AU$6million for a payroll project at the State's Department of Health. The project blew out beyond the billion-dollar mark but didn't deliver: the Department's thousands of staff were overpaid, underpaid, or sometimes not paid at all. Those paid more than they were due have been forced to repay the State. Some are still being overpaid to this day, despite extensive remediation to the SAP-based payroll (SAP is held to be blameless in the affair).
A commission of inquiry found that IBM committed ”ethical transgressions” to win the deal. But by the time the inquiry's report landed, Queensland's government decided to put the matter behind it and settled with IBM. The commission’s report explained why, detailing plenty of mistakes by the State government and criticising a very scanty project brief that was was held likely to result in a difficult project.
Come 2012, however, a newly-elected government decided to pursue IBM through the courts in order to recoup some cash. Even though Queensland's government has since changed again, the new regime has continued the case which this week landed in the Supreme Court.
The case kicked off today and reportedly saw IBM argue that the 2010 settlement included an agreement not to pursue further litigation and that in any case it was government incompetence that saw the project blow out so badly. The State is counter-arguing that the settlement did not preclude further legal action.
Four days have been set down for the case and it will likely take a few more weeks for a judgement to emerge. If Queensland wins, plenty more court days will be needed to settle the matter. The State's not saying how much it is after, but a previous statement of claim was for a billion dollars (US$710m or £450m. ®
US court rejects appeal of apartheid lawsuits against Ford, IBM [Reuters - 27/7/15]:
Victims of apartheid in South Africa cannot pursue lawsuits seeking to hold Ford Motor Co and IBM Corp liable for conducting business that helped perpetuate the practice decades ago, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said black South Africans did not show that Ford and International Business Machines Corp engaged in enough wrongdoing in the United States from the 1970s to early 1990s to justify lawsuits over their alleged roles in killings, torture and other human rights abuses.
Ford was accused of providing military vehicles for South African security forces and sharing information about anti-apartheid and union activists.
IBM was accused of providing technology and training to perpetuate racial separation and the "denationalization" of black South Africans.
The plaintiffs sued 13 years ago under the Alien Tort Statute, a 1789 law that lets non-U.S. citizens seek damages in U.S. courts for human rights abuses abroad.
But the U.S. Supreme Court significantly narrowed the reach of that law in April 2013, leading a reluctant U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in August 2014 to dismiss the plaintiffs' case.
Upholding that dismissal, Circuit Judge José Cabranes wrote for a 3-0 appeals court panel that Ford could not be held directly responsible for alleged improper actions by its South African unit.
He also found no showing that "by developing hardware and software to collect innocuous population data," IBM purposefully contributed to apartheid-era abuses.
"Knowledge of or complicity in the perpetration of a crime under the law of nations (customary international law) - absent evidence that a defendant purposefully facilitated the commission of that crime - is insufficient to establish a claim of aiding and abetting liability under the ATS," Cabranes wrote.
Diane Sammons, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Ford's U.S. conduct justified liability and called it "astounding" that IBM's conduct was not deemed purposeful.
"We certainly will consider an appeal to the Supreme Court," she said.
In a statement, Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said it remains committed to expanding in South Africa, after 91 years of manufacturing there.
IBM, based in Armonk, New York, did not respond to requests for comment.
Dozens of companies were previously dismissed from the litigation, including most recently Germany's Daimler AG and Rheinmetall AG in December 2013.
Apartheid ended in 1994 when South Africa held its first all-race elections, bringing Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress to power.
Is there a place where white people are more committed to faux race blindness than South Africa? Sisonke Msimang [Africa's Country - 9/4/15]
Man arrested following police pursuit, Adelaide [West Australian – 27/8/15]
Two arrested following police pursuits, Ballajura and Hamilton Hill [West Australia – 27/8/15]:
... About 2.30am another car failed to stop for police at the intersection of Hamilton Road and Rockingham Road.
The car subsequently crashed into a parked vehicle and the driver allegedly tried to run from the scene.
The driver injured himself while trying to jump a fence and was arrested.
St John Ambulance looked over the driver but it is understood he sustained minor injuries and was taken into police custody.
Teenagers savaged by police dog following police pursuit, Dongara [West Australian – 27/8/15]
A civil action against the State and a police officer who was paralysed during a brawl outside a Joondalup pub has been dismissed.
Robert McLeod and his sons Barry and Scott were involved in the 2008 incident in which Senior Constable Matt Butcher was hit by a flying head-butt that left him permanently paralysed.
The Mcleods were later cleared of assaulting police during a brawl but in 2011 Robert sought unspecified damages for serious injuries that he claims he suffered as a result of being "wrongfully" tasered by Sen. Const. Butcher.
Police Union president George Tilbury said they were pleased to announce the civil action had been dismissed by consent in the Perth District Court yesterday.
"No deals were done and there has been no settlement," he said. … [West Australian - 27/8/15]
Australia's protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister continues getting away with feeble explanation of refoulement
Australia’s Vietnamese community has told SBS that at least one of the asylum seekers among the most recent group was jailed after coming back.
The group of 46 asylum seekers were detained at sea by Australian authorities for a month, before being returned to Vietnam in July.
Concerns had previously been raised for the group, but Peter Dutton said the Australian government had sought assurances from its Vietnamese counterparts for the safety of asylum seekers before sending them back.
Speaking to Vietnamese community leaders in Revesby on Thursday, Mr Dutton said he was not aware of any arrests.
“I’m not aware of anybody being incarcerated but I would expect - as you would expect from the Australian government, as the Indonesian government does - they would interview people to determine who’s the mastermind behind the venture,” he said.
“As you would expect, that would happen from most countries where the boat venture originated from and that’s the sovereign right of governments to conduct those investigations. But the Australian Government sought assurances from the Vietnamese Government in relation to the treatment of those people on their return.”
The government’s border control came under scrutiny last month, when a suspected asylum seeker vessel came within 140km of Western Australia’s north coats.
Concerns over the detention and questioning of asylum seekers on the high seas has also come under fire last year, when lawyers took the Department of Immigration to the High Court after holding more than 150 people travelling from India.
Dozens killed as Somali Al-Shabab ambush troops: government [Daily Star - 27/8/15]
The suspected gunman in the shooting deaths of two television journalists in Virginia on Wednesday had sued a TV station where he worked in Florida, alleging discrimination because he was black.
Vester Flanagan, 41, was called a "monkey" by a producer, he said in a lawsuit filed in federal court against a Tallahassee station, WTWC, in 2000. He also said a supervisor at the station called black people lazy. ... [Ahram - 26/8/15]
Police officer shot, Mayor's sister killed, two others stabbed in Sunset, Louisiana [NBC - 26/8/15]
Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), the United States' top seller of guns and ammunition, said on Wednesday it would stop selling the AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles because of sluggish demand and focus instead on "hunting and sportsman firearms." ... [Reuters - 26/8/15]
Family of Lakewood man killed by sheriff's deputies releases video of shooting [LA Times - 25/8/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [26/8/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have 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.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Remotely piloted aircraft conducted two airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Ayn Isa, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Kobani, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, bomber, fighter, fighter-attack and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with the government of Iraq:
-- Near Beiji, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and terrain features denying ISIL a tactical advantage.
-- Near Fallujah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL mortar resupply vehicle.
-- Near Mosul, three airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units.
-- Near Ramadi, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL buildings and an ISIL mortar system.
-- Near Sinjar, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and an ISIL mortar firing position and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL anti-aircraft artillery piece.
-- Near Tuz, seven airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, multiple ISIL fighting positions and terrain features denying ISIL a tactical advantage and destroyed 12 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL weapons cache.
... In the northern city of Aleppo, where fighting has crippled the main pumping station for months at a time, UNICEF has recorded 18 deliberate water cuts this year alone.
Taps in some communities were left dry for up to 17 days in a row – and for over a month in some areas of the city.
With no water at home, children often take on the task of collecting water from street standpipes and collection points.
One UNICEF engineer tells of a little girl he met who had stood in line for hours to fill two small water containers, only to realize that they were too heavy for her to carry.
“She just burst into tears,” he recalled. ... [UN Media Release - 26/8/15]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [26/8/15]:
Baghdad: News agencies/security source : Two persons were killed and 6 wounded as a roadside bomb exploded near shops in Ghazaliya area west of Baghdad today evening ............
Anbar - Government forces and Hashd militias indiscriminately shell civilian homes along highway [VIDEO - 24/8/15]
Five people were killed and 20 wounded Wednesday when rebel rocket fire hit a petrol station in a government-held part of Syria's central Homs city, state news agency SANA said. ... [Naharnet - 26/8/15]
"British hacker for Islamic State" killed in US drone strike in Syria [Yahoo - 26/8/15]
US drone strike kills "five Qaeda suspects" in Yemen [Ahram - 27/8/15]
Three dead in Saudi air strikes in Yemeni capital [Reuters - 26/8/15]
Afghanistan: 3 members of one family killed in US drone strike in Nangarhar Province [Press TV - 26/8/15]
Men wearing Afghan military uniforms shot dead two NATO soldiers in the country's south Wednesday, the coalition said, the first insider attack on foreign troops since the Taliban's bitter power transition. ... [Ahram - 26/8/15
The Israel Air Force attacked a Hamas site in the Gaza Strip early morning on Thursday, after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip earlier exploded in Israeli territory, causing no damage. ... [Haaretz - 27/8/15
Palestinian rivals agree to ceasefire in Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp [Naharnet - 26/8/15]
52 people died today because they had no safe and legal route. How many more until Europe's deadly policies change?
"tweeted" by @MSF_Sea [26/8/15]
@moas_eu [27/8/15]: UPDATED:415 #refugees from +1000 saved yesterday are currently on board the Phoenix. Heading to #Taranto to disembark
Two separate incidents off Libyan coast leave 47 refugees dead [Malta Today - 26/8/15]:
Some 30 bodies were recovered from the hull of a boat that was carrying some 400 people 30 miles north of Libya by the crew of the Swedish coastguard Poseidon, according to Migrant Report.
They were found close to the engine and are believed to have died from fume inhalation and asphyxia.
Earlier in the day 17 individuals drowned after their boat capsised some five miles north of the Libyan coastal town of Zuwara on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Zuwara coastguard which spotted and saved 20 people, men and women and recovered three bodies.
But the survivors, mostly from Nigeria and Ghana, said they were travelling in a group of about 40 when they boat overturned in bad weather some four hours after the boat left.
The coastguard started the rescue at 4am and continue with the search into the afternoon but nobody else was spotted.
There are currently eight rescue operations taking place, involving more than 2,000 people in what looks like another challenging day for rescuers.
While the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and Medicines Sans Frontieres were assisting the Swedish vessel Poseidon, another boat appeared on the horizon carrying at least 700 more people.
The operation is ongoing.
Greek coast guard rescues hundreds of refugees [Yahoo -26/8/15]:
Greece's coast guard says it has rescued hundreds of refugees and migrants in operations off the coasts of eastern Aegean islands, as a wave of people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa toward Europe continues unabated.
The coast guard said Wednesday it had rescued 578 people in 15 incidents at sea near the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning.
THIS IS A DENIAL OF JUSTICE.
WHY ARE AUSTRALIA'S SUPPOSED ALTERNATIVE LEADERS, HUMAN RIGHTS CHAMPIONS AND LEGAL EXPERTS SILENT?
WHY IS THE AUSTRALIAN MEDIA ENGAGING IN A BLACKOUT?
Strategic Partnership Framework with @IOM_news Director General William Lacy
Image: @PeterDutton_MP [28/4/15]
Yesterday #asylumseeker on #Manus Oscar compound was told to volunteer to return to Iran or he would be forcibly deported.
He is on anti depressants being mentally unwell for several months. Under duress he signed with IOM to return to Iran
He was visibly distressed for the rest of yesterday and guards asked him if he wanted to go to IHMS last night. He refused.
he returned to Iran today. Two previous deportations were forced. #PNG court resumes today. #Manus
PNG ignores Supreme Court injunction in attempt to forcibly deport third Iranian asylum seeker [Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney - 27/8/15]:
A third Iranian asylum seeker has been taken from his compound on Manus Island and is threatened with forced removal to Iran as early as this morning.
Two other Iranian asylum seekers were removed in the week of the 13 August.
All the removals have been carried out in defiance of legal action in PNG’s Supreme Court.
The 34-year-old man threatened with removal today, is one of the applicants named in a Supreme Court interim injunction issued on 25 August that prevents the removal of 26 specific individuals, until the court reconvenes today, 27 August.
“The attempt to remove the Iranian may well put the PNG immigration authorities in contempt of court. It is clearly an attempt to pre-empt the constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“PNG and Australian immigration authorities are stepping up efforts to intimidate people into signing to return to their home countries.”
The going rate for Iranians agreeing to return to their country is $10,000 but offers of $15,000 are routine.
The Supreme Court will consider the injunction and the PNG government’s action at a hearing this morning in Port Moresby.
PNG immigration officials have already been referred to police for their action in ‘perverting the course of justice’ by removing on 13 August, the first of the Iranians, who was an applicant in the Supreme Court constitutional challenge.
The attempted removal comes at the same time as the visit of senior Transfield and Border Protection officers to the Manus detention centre.
A team of five – two Transfield management and three Border Force officials – have met with community and compound leaders yesterday.
Complaints about staff behaviour, food, accommodation and communications have already been put to the officials by the detainees.
“We are treated like criminals, not asylum seekers,” one Manus asylum seeker told the Refugee Action Coalition.
“We have complained so often that the food is out of its use-by date and food often has flies and insects in it.”
The high-level Border Force visit also comes following a bizarre display of traditional Manus dancers taken into the detention compounds on 25 August.
On that afternoon, without any announcement, traditional armed dancers performed inside each compound.
“We believe they were warning us,” said one of the asylum seekers, “They want to pressure us to go back.”
International Organsation for Migration officers who have the contract for arranging ‘voluntary’ removals came into the compounds following the dancers – but found no-one willing to sign to back.
Video of the dancers in the compound is available on request.
... Justice Nicholas Kirriwom ordered the interim injunction against all deportations before the case resumes in the Supreme Court on Thursday.
The two men returned to Iran, both of whom still had their Iranian passports, were forced to surrender their documents in Tehran. They have been told they must report to police. Other conditions or possible sanctions are unknown.
It’s unclear how the men were taken back to, and accepted by, Tehran.
Ben Lomai, a lawyer who brought the application before the court on Tuesday, told Guardian Australia in Port Moresby the injunction was a “positive first step”.
“It is good to get some indication from the court and it is important the rights of these asylum seekers are being recognised and protected.”
Lomai, who is acting for more than 300 asylum seekers held in the Australian-run centre on Manus, is challenging their detention on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
The PNG constitution guarantees “liberty of the person”, “right to freedom of movement” and “freedom from inhuman treatment”, as well as the right to access PNG courts and have access to a lawyer.
Lomai argues asylum seekers have been denied these fundamental rights and that the state is required to release the men back to their first port of entry, Australia.
He will argue PNG is also liable to pay compensation to them.
Residents celebrate Manus Day [PNG Loop - 26/8/15]
Portfolio Budget Statements in support of the 2014-15 Budget for the Immigration and Border Protection portfolio:
Refugee and Humanitarian Assistance
$762,000 ---> IOM
Initiatives to address the situation of displaced persons and promote sustainable returns - $700,000
Refugee and humanitarian passage, associated costs and related services - $18,966,000
$4,817,000 - offshore biometric program expansions
US Embassy in Port Moresby awards two new grants totalling US$1 million to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) [11/12/14]:
... “There is perhaps no greater threat to human dignity, and no greater attack on basic freedom, than the evil of human trafficking,” said U.S. Ambassador North, “these two grants will empower the people of the South Pacific by providing populations at risk of being trafficked with access to information and justice.” ...
Lawyers representing Manus refugees threatened with deportation in secretive, unjust process return to court today
Lawyers representing asylum seekers whose bids for refugee status have been rejected on Manus Island will return to court today seeking a permanent injunction on deportation.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a temporary injunction on deporting asylum seekers after two Iranians whose bid for refugee status had been rejected were forcibly removed from the country last week.
The lawyer representing more than 300 asylum seekers, Ben Lomai, says his clients are challenging the constitutionality of their detention, and shouldn't be deported while their case is before the courts.
He says he wants a permanent injunction until the challenge is resolved.
"I'll put to the court that all of the asylum seekers, 300 of which are already part of the court and they've already filed proceedings in court to enforce their constitutional rights. They have a case to be heard here and they should not be deported back to their countries of origin."
Transfield profits drop as shareholders sell over torture, rape and child abuse at Australia's refugee concentration camps [Guardian - 27/8/15]
Rohingya detained for attempting to escape: Rangoon Police
The Irrawaddy [26/8/15]:
Police in Rangoon Division’s Hmawbi Township have detained 10 Rohingya Muslims and the driver of the vehicle in which they were found riding, according to local law enforcement.
A police officer in Hmawbi Township told The Irrawaddy that local authorities were holding the internal migrants, but he declined to provide specifics of the case over the phone.
Citing a police source, a BBC Burmese radio report on Wednesday said each of the Rohingya paid a 1.2 million kyats (US$940) bribe to the Burma Army in order to smuggle them to Rangoon from two camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Arakan State’s Sittwe Township.
The 10 men and women were part of a larger group of 29 Rohingya, according to The Voice daily, with two other vehicles having thus far evaded authorities.
The Rohingya minority in Arakan State are subject to severe restrictions on movement, and more than 100,000 remain in IDP camps after deadly violence in 2012 between Arakanese Buddhists and Muslims drove them from their homes.
Monsoon storms have wreaked havoc on Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya [Al Jazeera - 26/8/15]:
... Chris Lewa from The Arakan Project, an NGO that supports the Rohingya, said little or no assistance has been given to villagers from either the government or international agencies.
"Relief assistance should urgently be provided to the most needy and affected in a non-discriminatory manner," said Lewa, who is based in Bangkok.
"Longer term recovery assistance is also needed as paddy fields have been flooded and the harvest will be poor. With an already restricted access to means of livelihood, the recent floods will worsen the already dire humanitarian situation of the Rohingya."
Horrible old fascist propagandist tweets about the Great Barrier Reef
Sputnik News [27/8/15]:
Billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch on Tuesday said the Great Barrier Reef, which has been marred by climate change, pollution, and other human-made threats, looks "as good as it did 50 years ago."
Murdoch made the comment in a series of tweets.
The comments quickly drew rebuke from environmental authorities, including Bill Snape, senior counsel to the Center for Biological Diversity, who told Common Dreams:
"Anything Rupert Murdoch says in this area, you have to remember you are talking about a man with no scientific training who is a rampant political ideologue. Anyone who takes him half-seriously is a fool."
Leanne Minshull, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace International, told the Independent:
"The Great Barrier Reef is most certainly under threat and we look forward to advising Rupert Murdoch on his next visit to the optician."
Larissa Waters, deputy co-leader of Australia's Greens party, also called out Murdoch:
Your naked eye needs glasses. And scientific training
Must make for some interesting dinner table discussions! ------> ... Conscious her life is about to be taken over by the demands of politics, Ms Waters opted instead to spend time with her journalist partner, Brendan O'Malley, and their two-year-old daughter, Lana, recharging her batteries before she takes her seat in the Senate next month. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 12/6/11]
Ipswich runs out of coal, city council declares itself "mining free" [Lock The Gate Media Release - 26/8/15]
Private dinners, lavish parties and shoulder rubbing. How coal giant Adani charmed Australia's political elite [Guardian – 21/8/15]:
... In October 2010, Queensland’s then Premier Anna Bligh travelled to India on a trade mission to promote the state’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games and “strengthen Queensland’s position as an ally and destination for future trade and investment in the eyes of the Indian market and nation leaders”.
A report tabled to the Queensland Parliament shows that Bligh’s first official meeting with Indian figures was with Adani, where the company’s owner Gautam Adani and his international development executive Harsh Mishra got to quiz the Premier about policies relating to rail lines, underground coal gasification and support for mining in the Galilee Basin.
Bligh also “agreed to attend the opening” of Adani’s offices in Brisbane later that month and extended an invitation for Adani to meet with its co-ordinator general when they were next in Brisbane.
After Campbell Newman won power for the Liberal National Party in Queensland, he led a trade mission to India too.
While there, Newman joined former Labor Resources Minister Martin Ferguson and a 76-strong business delegation for a tour of an Adani port and a power plant, reportedly getting there on a private jet.
The report on the trade mission, tabled to Parliament, shows that Mr Adani then hosted a lavish reception at his home for the entire delegation.
Judging by one freelance photographer’s images, the event was quite an affair with much handshaking all-round.
The event was part of “OzFest” – Australia’s “largest cultural festival” for which Adani was a “platinum sponsor”
In 2013, the Queensland Governent was again in India for a trade mission led by then Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney and, again, the Adani company was on hand.
Seeney’s delegation travelled with Adani executive Harsh Mishra to visit an Adani-owned port and power station before Seeney had a private lunch with the company.
Later that same day, Seeney met with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi (now the Indian Prime Minister) and… Gautum Adani.
Eight persons were killed and more than 100 injured as a statewide shutdown in Gujarat called by the Patidar Arakshan Andolan Samiti, seeking reservation for the Patel community, turned violent on Wednesday, officials said. ... [Tribune - 26/8/15]
Arundhati Roy in Chicago on Modi and the Hindu Nationalists [VIDEO - March 18, 2013]
From 'The Chequebook & The Cruise-Missile: Conversations with Arundhati Roy by David Barsamian' [Harper Perennial, 2004]:
In March 2002, a pogrom was carried out against the Muslim population of Gujarat. You've written an essay on this entitled "Democracy: who Is She When She Is at Home." What happened in Gujarat?
In February 2002, the BJP was gearing up for elections in Uttar Pradesh. They had trundled out their favourite campaign issue, the building of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. Communal tension was at a fever pitch. People were traveling to Ayodhya by train to participate in the building of the temple. At the time, Gujarat was the only major state in India to have a BJP government. It had for some time been the laboratory in which Hindu fascism had been conducting an elaborate experiment. In late February, a train carrying belligerent VHP and Bajrang Dal activists was stopped by a mob outside the Godhra station. A whole compartment of the train was set on fire and fifty-eight people were burnt alive.
Nobody really knew who was responsible for the carnage. Within hours, a meticulously planned pogrom was unleashed against the Muslim community. About two thousand Muslims were killed. One hundred and fifty thousand were driven from their homes. Women were publicly gang-raped. Parents were bludgeoned to death in front of their children. The leaders of the mob had computer-generated lists marking out Muslim-owned shops, homes, and businesses, which were burned to the ground. Muslim places of worship were desecrated. The mob was equipped with trucks loaded with thousands of gas cylinders that had been hoarded weeks in advance. The police did not merely protect the mob, but provided covering fire. Within months, Gujarat's Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, announced proudly that he wanted to have early elections. He believed that the pogrom would win him Hindu hearts.
Media and authorities still trying to portray Christian fundamentalist violence directed at traditional culture as "sorcery related attacks" [PNG Loop - 27/8/15]
A two-page paid advertisement in print media on Repentance, or National Day of Prayer this Wednesday, August 26 has come under scrutiny by the Papua New Guinea Council of Churches.
The advert stated that during repentance day, an offering called the Aliyah will be collected and given officially to the Jewish people by the government of Papua New Guinea.
It also quotes bible verses showing support for idols, and why they should be brought forward to be burnt.
The Aliyah offering as defined in the advert is the return of Jews to Israel from whatever nation around the world they have been scattered. ... [EMTV - 24/8/15]
... At the moment, more than 20% of the approximately eight million citizens of Papua New Guinea are born-again believers. But this does not give the full picture of the spiritual landscape of the nation. About 80% call themselves Christians and in this country it means you have turned away from idols to the living God – the God of the Bible! So as a people, they have now gone from paganism to being a God-fearing nation in just a few short generations. ... [International Christian Assembly Jerusalem - 23/3/15]
Twenty activists protesting an international pipeline expansion project were arrested outside Secretary of State John Kerry’s residence in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
They were part of a group of about 100 demonstrators organized by the youth environmental group Midwest Unrest.
The protesters were calling on Kerry to block Enbridge Energy from expanding its Alberta Clipper oil sands pipeline, which runs from Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. ... [Huffington Post - 25/8/15]
Cambodian bloggers face punitive action for Facebook
Phnom Penh Post [25/8/15]:
Cambodia's young internet users are thinking twice before discussing politics online, say prominent bloggers, after the third case of government punitive action sparked by Facebook comments within a month.
On Saturday, student Kong Raiya, 25, was charged over a Facebook post linked to him for comments published on August 7 calling for a “colour revolution”.
According to Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Seang Sok, Raiya faces charges relating to incitement to commit a crime and, if found guilty, could spend up to two years in prison.
His arrest on Thursday came less than a week after opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour was seized by police for a Facebook post presenting a “fake” Vietnam Cambodia border treaty.
That case – labelled “treasonous” by Prime Minister Hun Sen – followed the July suspension of opposition lawmaker Um Sam An from parliament over remarks made on Facebook “insulting” National Assembly President Heng Samrin.
Speaking yesterday, Ou Ritthy, founder of political discussion group Politikoffee, said his members were troubled by Raiya’s arrest and, amid government pressure on activism, were self-censoring for fear of repercussions.
“Many Politikoffee members are worried about their online political comments, and we are hesitating and thinking twice with what we are going to say even though we are a moderate group and strongly against a revolution as the means to bring about change,” Ritthy said.
“Self-censorship has become the case before publishing any political opinions, because we are not sure about the government’s interpretation and perception towards our opinions.”
Phnom Penh-based blogger Tharum Bun said it appeared the government was sending a clear signal about online dissent.
“This arrest sends a clear message to Cambodian Facebook users to be really, really careful about what they’re saying online.”
In a recent study, the Cambodian Centre for Independent Media found that although 63 per cent of Cambodian internet users feel “very” or “somewhat” free to share their thoughts online, 88 per cent would not feel so if authorities began monitoring the net.
Although a draft cybercrime law was shelved in December amid heavy criticism of its leaked draft, CCIM executive director Pa Nguon Teang said the recent arrests showed the government can still use “broad interpretations” of existing laws, such as incitement or defamation, to stifle online expression.
With the youth vote expected to make a major impact at the 2018 election, Teang predicted such cases to rise, pointing to the government’s 2014 announcement of “cyber war” teams to monitor the web and plans to install surveillance equipment directly into Cambodia’s ISPs.
“Unfortunately, this trend of arrests and punishments for online free expression is likely to increase in the run-up to the next national elections as the ruling party looks to solidify its control over the national dialogue,” Teang said.
However, speaking yesterday, Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sous Yara said the government did not curtail freedom of expression, but noted people needed to respect the rule of law.
He also said the ruling party was working to improve its own use of social media to reach the grassroots.
“We cannot just manage our information through the traditional media; we have to upgrade our knowledge to the modern social media.”
Khmer Rouge Tribunal vows to press on with trials after Ieng Thirith’s death
[RFA - 24/8/15]
WikiLeaks attorneys oppose diplomatic retaliation by UK against Ecuador
Attorneys for WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and other staff members of the media organization have condemned the United Kingdom’s diplomatic protest against Ecuador for continuing to provide Assange asylum.
“We are deeply troubled by the reported diplomatic protest made by the United Kingdom against Ecuador for granting asylum to Assange and by the continued menacing police presence outside the Embassy of Ecuador in London,” lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) declared.
The UK, according to CCR, has “previously threatened to storm the Ecuadorean Embassy and arrest Assange, in clear violation of the Vienna Convention’s protection of the inviolability of sovereign embassy properties.”
Attorneys described asylum as a “humanitarian act,” which the United Nations General Assembly has “unanimously declared” as an act other countries should never construe as unfriendly. Yet, the U.S., U.K., and Sweden have protested and threatened diplomatic consequences against Ecuador.
“We call on the British government to explicitly and immediately confirm that it will honor its international and diplomatic commitments,” CCR demanded.
Go back to Washington Gillard
… The only conclusion I can draw is that Gillard sold out Australia’s queer community as part of a back room deal for political power.
The only thing that makes sense to me is that Gillard is personally in debt to Farrell and de Bruyn and relies on their continuing support to shore up her increasingly shaky hold on the prime ministership.
How secular is a nation in which the prime minister is held captive to fundamentalist Catholic dogma?
How democratic is this country when two men appear to control the prime minister’s stance on an issue which is so central to notions of justice, equality and human rights?
What does it say about the strength of our prime minister’s personal ethics if, in exchange for political power, she agreed to act as a ventriloquist’s dummy for religious zealots whose views represent neither her own beliefs nor those of the majority of her party? ...
Police raid CFMEU in search of evidence of bribery and blackmail [Canberra Times – 26/8/15]
Judgement in Melbourne Fertility Control Clinic case highlights need for safe access zones
Human Rights Law Centre [2/8/15]:
A Melbourne abortion clinic is looking to Spring Street to create safe access zones after the Supreme Court of Victoria this morning found that whilst the Melbourne City Council had made mistakes in the way it dealt with the clinic, it would not be compelled to take action to prevent women being harassed and intimidated as they entered the clinic.
The Human Rights Law Centre’s director of advocacy and research, Emily Howie, said whilst the decision was a partial win and should lead to some improvements on the ground, more work was required to find a broad-based and lasting solution.
“Whilst in a number of ways this is a partial win for our client, it obviously does not provide an adequate solution. This case focused on one clinic, but what we need now is a clear law to ensure that all Victorian women can access health services without being harassed or intimidated. It’s time for the Government to introduce safe access zones for abortion clinics across Victoria,” said Ms Howie.
The Fertility Control Clinic’s Psychologist, Dr Susie Allanson, said intimidation and harassment was an everyday reality for the clinic’s staff and patients.
“It shouldn’t take a court case to ensure women can safely access our services. It’s clear from this decision that more is needed. We need clear laws that protect a woman’s right to access medical services and I strongly believe that safe access zones are the most sensible way to ensure that,” said Dr Allanson.
A proposed law was introduced last week by cross-bench member Fiona Patten MLC which would create zones around reproductive health services in which people would be prohibited from harassing, intimidating or impeding people entering the clinic, as well as communicating with or recording those people.
The clinic and its legal team are encouraged that the judge made some important findings today in its favour. In particular, the judge noted that the Council made a mistake in the way it dealt with this complaint and that asking the Clinic to resolve the issue by private means, such as requesting assistance from the Victorian Police, is not appropriate.
In addition the judge found that the behaviour of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants outside the Clinic potentially constituted a nuisance. However, it’s ultimately disappointing that the judge decided not to compel the Council to act in this particular instance.
Katie Robertson, associate at Maurice Blackburn, said the clinic had been subject to years of bullying and harassment by anti-abortionists who were deliberately preventing women from safely accessing health services and the decision highlights the need for urgent law reform to ensure women can access all health services safely and free from harassment.
“This decision goes some way in addressing the problem but its impact will be limited unless it’s followed up with practical action from the Victorian Government to stand up for women’s rights,” said Ms Robertson.
In 2013 Tasmania introduced access zones around clinics in which terminations are conducted. Similar zones also exist in the United States and Canada. The ACT government has also released an exposure draft of a bill to create patient privacy zones that support women’s rights to access health services privately and free from intimidating conduct.
“Safe access zones are an easy and sensible solution. They are about respecting the privacy and dignity of women accessing terminations. UN human rights bodies as well as courts in the US and Canada have all found that sensible measures to ensure safe access to women’s health services do not excessively limit the right to freedom of expression and assembly,” said Ms Howie.
The judgment of Justice McDonald of the Supreme Court will available here shortly.
The case has been run with the generous assistance of Peter Hanks QC, Kristen Walker QC, Therese McCarthy and Claire Harris, who also provided their services pro-bono.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss:
Minister for Small Business Kate Jones and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) are committed to addressing the significant regulatory burden facing Queensland small businesses. ... [Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Media Release - 26/8/15]
The Palaszczuk Government has offered its health practitioners and dental officers a 2.5 per cent pay rise and an extension of professional development entitlements as part of a new pay deal. ... [Queensland Health Minister Media Release - 26/8/15]
Under 5’s targeted in $1.5 Million Vaccination Drive [Queensland Health Minister Media Release - 26/8/15]
Queensland medicinal marijuana trial to cost $3m [Yahoo - 26/8/15]
Full house expected for Nimbin medical cannabis workshop [Tweed Shire Echo - 26/8/15]
Israeli researchers are leading the world in highlighting the medical benefits of marijuana.
That was the message from journalist Helen Kapalos who spoke last Sunday night at an event on the topic hosted by Magen David Adom and the Zionist Council of Victoria. ... [Australian Jewish News - 29//15]
NSW to consider compulsory castration [West Australian – 26/8/15]
The use of “chemical castration” has been seen by many as an answer to the public fear of paedophiles, reignited by the recent trial of Brett Cowan for the murder of Daniel Morcombe. The idea is that giving anti-androgenic drugs to stop the production of sex hormones will prevent perpetrators from being able to act on inappropriate sexual desires.
Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australian courts can mandate the use of chemical castration – the administration of drugs to reduce sex drive and the capacity for sexual arousal – for “dangerous sex offenders” on release from prison. In Victoria, anti-androgen treatment can be made a condition of parole by the Parole Board.
Similar chemical castration laws are also in place in nine US states and in the European Union, including the Czech Republic, which has the most draconian system.
But chemical castration isn’t the answer to keeping children safe from sexual offenders. Not only as its efficacy has been overstated, forcing people to take this medication breaches their human rights. ... [The Conversation - 22/4/14]
Falls most common cause of injury—with numbers rising
Institute of Health and Welfare Media Release [26/8/15]:
More Australians are being hospitalised for injuries, with falls both the leading cause of injury hospitalisation and the type of injury that has increased the most in recent years, according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia 1999-00 to 2012-13, looks at injuries that required hospitalisation from 1 July 1999 to 30 June 2013.
The yearly number of cases rose from about 327,000 to 447,000 during this period.
'Our report found that the rate of hospitalised injury increased by an average of 1% per year from 1999-00 to 2012-13,' said AIHW spokesperson Professor James Harrison.
'The injury rate was about 1,700 per 100,000 people at the beginning of the period, but had risen to almost 1,900 by the end.'
The most common causes of injury in 2012-13 were falls (40%) and transport crashes (12%).
During that year over 170,000 people were hospitalised as a result of a fall. Over half the cases were people aged over 65 years, and most people hospitalised for a fall injury in this age group were women.
'Transport crash injuries were more common in males (about 36,880) than females (17,730), and rates were highest for the 15-24 age group,' Professor Harrison said.
Injuries due to falls increased 2% per year and intentional self-harm injuries increased 0.4%.
Hospitalisations due to poisoning by pharmaceuticals, and other substances, both decreased by 4% per year, and drowning decreased by 1%.
Overall, injuries were more common among males than females (250,440 cases compared to 196,233 cases). Numbers and rates of injuries were higher for males than females for all age groups to 60-64, with the largest difference seen in the age group 15-24.
'However, above the age of 64 years, this reversed, with injury rates higher among women than men,' Professor Harrison said.
The average length of stay in hospital as a result of injury was 4 days-equating to more than 1.7 million days in 2012-13. Length of stay in hospital increased with age to an average of 7 days for people aged 65 and over.
'About 16% of injury cases were considered a high threat to life, and this increased to 29% for people aged 65 and over.'
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
Kambah pensioner John Peers has been in hospitals from one side of the world to the other since he was paralysed in a freak accident in a London hotel more than a year ago.
Now, despite being a public patient, he is being forced by the Canberra Hospital to pay a daily rate for his care – which will leave him with just $30 a week to live on. ... [Canberra Times - 25/8/15]
Cairns murder case adjourned pending completion of mental health report
A woman accused of killing eight children in a far north Queensland home has had her case adjourned pending the completion of a mental health report.
Raina Mersane Ina Thaiday, 38, was charged with eight counts of murder after the four girls and four boys, aged between two and 14 years, were found dead in the Cairns suburb of Manoora in December.
She was mother to seven of the victims and an aunt of the eighth.
The Cairns Magistrates Court on Wednesday heard lawyers were still waiting for a mental health report and didn't know when it would be completed.
Magistrate Robert Spencer adjourned the case, which is expected to be moved to the Mental Health Court, until November 25.
Thaiday was remanded in custody.
Body of missing three-year-old found in Johnstone River in far north Queensland
Police say a body, understood to be that of three-year-old Jamal Little, has been found in the Johnstone River in Innisfail in far north Queensland.
The boy went missing in far north Queensland on Tuesday afternoon.
He was last seen playing on the banks of the Johnstone River at Innisfail, about an hour south of Cairns.
Jamal was with a group of children when he disappeared some time between 3:30pm and 4:00pm on Tuesday.
The boy had recently moved to Innisfail with his family.
Inspector Brian Cannon said water police had told them they had found a child's body about 6:15pm.
"We've retrieved the body of a juvenile child in the river ... and at this stage I've spoken to the parents of the missing person," he said.
"[The parents have] asked that I convey to everyone involved - the SES, police, members of the public - people who have just come up and said kind things to them, their sincere appreciation of the efforts of everyone that has been involved in this very sad and very tragic event."
Inspector Cannon said earlier today that the boy could not swim.
Extra police from Brisbane had been sent to the area to help search for him.
Man stabbed at Wynnum State School on Brisbane's bayside in front of children, parents [ABC – 26/8/15]
Man accused of stabbing friend to death told police he lost temper, court hears [ABC – 26/8/15]
Weapons located, Mudgeeraba
QPS Media [27/8/15]:
Police have charged a man with weapons offences after a search warrant at Mudgeeraba yesterday.
Around 2.30am yesterday police executed a search warrant at a Franklin Drive address where they allegedly located drugs, two firearms, ammunition, knives and items of police property.
A 61-year-old Mudgeerba man was charged yesterday afternoon with two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon.
The man has this morning also been charged with four counts of possessing/acquiring restricted items, a further four counts of unlawful possession of weapons, two counts each of receiving tainted property, stealing, possessing dangerous drugs, possess utensils or pipes etc that had been used, and one count of offence in relation to unauthorized and prohibited explosives (ammunition).
He is expected to appear at the Southport Magistrates Court today.
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.
Second arrest over shooting incident – Surfers Paradise [QPS Media - 27/8/15]
Weapons Applications Online (WAO) was launched by the Queensland Police Service to give individuals and businesses the option to complete, submit and pay for their licence and permit to acquire (a weapon) (PTA) applications 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ... [QPS Media - 24/8/15]
Emergency situation at Kelvin Grove revoked
QPS Media [26/8/15]:
An emergency situation that was declared earlier this morning has been revoked in Kelvin Grove.
A man made threats and a declaration was made at 3.42am under the Public Safety Preservation Act and was revoked at 4.45am following a search of a unit complex.
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.
Burglary charges, Booval
QPS Media [27/8/15]:
Detectives have charged two people following an alleged burglary on South Station Road in Booval early this morning.
At around 1:47am an unmarked police car allegedly observed a vehicle on Bergin Road in Booval which was believed to have been involved in a burglary earlier in the night.
It will be alleged when officers activated their lights and sirens the vehicle failed to stop, resulting in a short pursuit.
The vehicle came to a stop on Vivian Hancock Drive and two people were taken into custody.
A 37-year-old man of no fixed address has been charged with enter premises and commit an indictable offence.
A 39-year-old woman from Goodna has been charged with one count each of enter premises and commit an indictable offence and failure to stop a motor vehicle.
They are both due to appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court today.
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.
Robbery – Broadbeach [QPS Media - 27/8/15]
Serious assault charge, East Brisbane [QPS Media - 26/8/15]
Armed robbery, Maroochydore [QPS Media - 27/8/15]
Suspicious fire charges, Ipswich [QPS Media - 26/8/15]
An alleged Hells Angels bikie, who is already in custody over a drug trafficking ring, has been slapped with 31 more charges by Queensland's corruption watchdog. ... [Yahoo - 27/8/15]
The alleged Queensland president of the Mongols bikie gang has been granted bail on drugs charges. ... [Yahoo - 26/8/15]
Boston police chief denies officer choked suspect [Boston Globe - 26/8/15]
Hip-Hop legend Boots Riley on #BlackLivesMatter and how his cousin was accused of shooting a police officer [Democracy Now - 25/8/15]:
… BOOTS RILEY: Yeah. So, a cop stopped my cousin, early morning in December 2012. For what, we don’t know, because somehow they lost the records of why he was stopped. And the cop started assaulting my cousin, verbally told him, "I’m going to kill you," started to pull out his gun and shot himself while he was pulling out his gun.
AMY GOODMAN: The police officer shot his own self, himself?
BOOTS RILEY: The police officer shot himself in the leg while he pulled out his own gun. And this is actually somewhat common. And my cousin took the gun from the officer, helped him get out of the car so he could get away. And he had to take the gun because, as we’ve seen from Walter Scott, he could have been shot while he was getting away. And he didn’t want to be there while the police got there, because we wouldn’t have been talking about this story right now. And so, he ran away. He turned himself in three hours later.
He was accused of shooting the cop, accused of assaulting the cop and accused of robbing the gun from the cop, as if it was just a robbery. As we know, he took the gun so that he wouldn’t be shot. All the physical evidence, all the witnesses that the state brought to trial—this went to trial—they all corroborated my cousin’s story. But I think the DA thought that just the simple fact that there was a black man that didn’t let a cop—this was a black cop—but didn’t let a cop shoot him, they thought that the jury would be incensed and find him guilty anyway, even though all the physical evidence and witnesses backed up my cousin’s side of the story. So he was found not guilty of everything but common law robbery. And the reason that they found him guilty of common law robbery had to do with the judge’s instructions. The judge didn’t allow the jury to think about him taking the gun as self-defense.
President Barack Obama’s administration would rather subject a gravely ill Guantanamo Bay prisoner to continuous abusive force-feedings, which amount to torture, than support his release from the military prison because he is sick.
Tariq Ba Odah, a Yemeni prisoner and resident of Saudi Arabia, has been on hunger strike for more than eight years at the military prison. He has been confined in “solitary conditions” for 13 years, despite the fact that Obama’s own review task force—comprised of officials from the top US security agencies—cleared Odah for release in 2009. His body can no longer endure the effects of nasal tube feedings, and he weighs about 74 pounds.
In June, his lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) launched a legal push for Odah’s release because the US has an “obligation to release seriously wounded and sick prisoners” under the “laws of war,” particularly the Third Geneva Convention.
The government opposes [PDF] the push by CCR and claims it is Odah’s fault that he is suffering from potentially fatal health complications because he went on hunger strike against the medical advice of personnel at the prison. ... [Shadow Proof - 25/8/15]
27 August 2015