Indonesian MP calls for Australia to abandon refugee push-back policy - so why hasn't the UNHCR responded to Amnesty's report?
... Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has also rejected Amnesty International’s report.
“Our Australian officials operate in accordance with domestic Australian law and in accordance with our international obligations,” she told reporters in Melbourne. ... [Huffington Post - 29/10/15]
Brisbane Times [29/10/15]:
... Charles Honoris, a member of the Indonesian House of Representatives, also renewed calls for Australia to abandon its controversial boat push-back policy and said he hoped the Australian government would be more transparent under the new Prime Minister.
"Foreign Minister Retno [Marsudi] has demanded an explanation on the June incident but got no response," said Mr Honoris, a member of Mr Joko's Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP).
"The Foreign Minister must demand it again, especially after the release of the Amnesty International report. The Indonesian government must send a strong protest to the Australian government so that it will not recur in the future."
"Now there is a new prime minister in Australia we hope the government will be transparent in this particular case. They have to explain what happened and I think it is time for them to abandon the boat push-back policy. I am sure the payment to boat crews – if the Amnesty International report is accurate – is something that is even against Australian law, let alone international law."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that "all of our agencies operate within the law and they operate within the law keeping our borders secure".
He would not be drawn on whether to establish a new inquiry into the matter, saying the government was satisfied its agencies were operating legally.
"We have got a very important role to ensure that we stop people smuggling. People smuggling is a very, very serious crime."
General Endang Sunjaya, the police chief of Nusa Tenggara Timur province who oversaw the investigation ... said Australian officials put the lives of asylum seekers in danger.
He also told Fairfax Media that Australia put Indonesia in a disadvantaged position because it now had to assist and process "abundant numbers of illegal immigrants".
General Endang said Australian officials had paid the captain and crew and then returned the asylum seekers in boats that lacked adequate navigational systems and fuel.
"They were turned back with less than minimal safety," he said.
"It endangered the people and as they approached Landu Island they were stranded and ran out of fuel and food supplies. This is [something that Australia] needs to be fully aware of – it put the illegal immigrants in danger. Australia and Indonesia need to sit down and thoroughly discuss these issues to ensure no country is put at a disadvantage."
International law experts said that more than the current Senate inquiry was needed to deal with the allegations domestically.
Sydney University international law Professor Ben Saul backed the report's recommendation for a royal commission, saying the inquiry did not have the power to deal with classified evidence without prejudicing security operations.
"At least you'd get an independent quasi-judicial scrutiny of what's going on," he said.
"It could say this is legitimate or make recommendations against the practice but at the moment that can't happen because a parliamentary inquiry is limited to scrutinising technical matters of the regime without fundamentally questioning the policy premises."
New Zealand government refers refugees to Australia [RNZI - 13/6/15]:
The Government has told 65 asylum seekers wanting to live in New Zealand to contact United Nations officials in Australia.
The people, from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, say they were heading for New Zealand when they were shipwrecked on an Indonesian reef earlier this month.
In a letter seen by Radio New Zealand, the group made a plea to the Government for asylum, saying it is unsafe for them to return home.
A written reply from the office of the Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, said while New Zealand accepted 750 refugees annually, it could not pick and choose.
It said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Canberra was responsible for inquires dealing with New Zealand and suggested the group approach that office. [The UNHCR Canberra have said nothing - as is their usual response to regional refugee issues - and the media have not asked them about the refugees' predicament.]
A UN representative in Indonesia said they met with the group, 52 of whom were registered as refugees.
... Nazmul Hassan, who identifies himself as one of the 65 in a Kupang detention centre, said they just wanted a peaceful life.
"We leave our country because of some problems and political violence and [too many problems]."
"We are really in trouble now, and under pressure now."
Mr Hassan said they were all confined to one room at the centre in West Timor. He said the group was mentally and physically exhausted. ... [RNZI - 7/6/15]
Sydney Morning Herald [2/6/15]:
... Fishermen spotted two boats floating near Landuti island in the West Rote district, 500 kilometres north-east of the Australian coast, on Sunday.
"They looked exhausted," Rote police chief Hidayat said.
"One female passenger is pregnant – we took her immediately to the hospital but she is ok now."
Mr Hidayat said the migrants told him they had been caught by Australian customs on May 26, who sunk their boat.
They were put in two blue and white boats, and sent back into Indonesian waters. ...
@NaqshMurtaza [23/10/15]: Refugees in Indonesian Detention Camp of Pontianak asking @UNHCR & @IOM_Indonesia to hear their voices.
Sydney Morning Herald [16/10/15]:
A group of 120 refugees stuck in Pekanbaru, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, have gone on a hunger strike to protest their frustration over delays to their resettlement in a third country.
Ahmad Zaki, a Hazara refugee from Pakistan, said the refugees wanted the UN refugee agency to come to Pekanbaru to discuss their resettlement cases and open an office in the Sumatran city.
"We are waiting for our resettlement process from more than one year," Mr Zaki said. "I want to go to Australia or any other country."
The men, who are from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Myanmar, have been found to be genuine refugees by the UNHCR. Their accommodation, medical care and a living stipend is paid for by the International Organisation of Migration.
"We tried to contact UNHCR many times. They make excuses every time. They reached other cities every two to three months regularly," Mr Zaki said.
About 13,000 asylum seekers and refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Indonesia.
Many found to be genuine refugees remain stranded in the archipelago while the UNHCR tries to find a third country in which to resettle them.
In an interview with Fairfax Media last week, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Indonesia was not a destination country for refugees.
"So we hope that countries like Australia could take more. But of course I understand the domestic situation," she said. "Shared responsibility, shared burden is very important. I leave it to the UNCHR to have a discussion with destination countries that belong to the Convention [relating to the Status of Refugees]."
Australia stopped accepting UNHCR refugees in October 2014.
More on the Australian government's relentless pursuit and punishment of a family after the ABC broadcast of "Smugglers' Paradise" anti refugee propaganda [Canberra Times - 29/10/15]:
... Ms Abas, originally from Iraq, arrived on a boat from Indonesia in 2009 with other family members. They were taken to Christmas Island then granted protection in Australia.
Her father, known as Captain Emad, arrived in Australia in 2010. He fled two years later, after ABC's Four Corners program alleged he was running a people-smuggling racket from Canberra.
The case cast a spotlight on his family, and the Department of Immigration determined Ms Abas, who was 19 when arriving in Australia, had falsified information on her visa application, including the reason why she needed protection.
In a letter to Ms Abas, the veracity of which the department did not dispute, Mr Morrison wrote that she had been living in Malaysia for many years, rather than in Iraq where she claimed to have suffered persecution, and should not have been granted a protection visa.
He said there was no evidence she was under duress from her father when applying for a visa.
"Notwithstanding that the best interests of the dependent children would be served by a decision not to cancel the mother's visa, this is outweighed by the seriousness of the non-compliance," Mr Morrison wrote.
Ms Abas was taken into detention in January, and lives in residential-style housing. Her Australian citizen husband suffers medical problems and depression after an accident and cannot care for the children, forcing them to live with their mother at Villawood indefinitely.
Ms Abas' husband visits the family in detention and she is 21 weeks pregnant. She is also severely depressed and fears for the future of her unborn baby and young daughters.
When Crabb breaks bread with the Morrisons and Macklins of the world she helps further marginalise the people being punished by their policies, writes Amy McQuire. ... [New Matilda - 29/10/15]
ABC News website down with ‘technical outage’ [Mumbrella - 29/10/15]:
... 6.55pm update: The ABC issued a statement saying: “At around 1130 (AEST) today, technical problems triggered an outage of the ABC News website (abc.net.au/news) and the ABC RN website (abc.net.au/rn). The sites’ web servers locked, which has prevented any content from being uploaded. Technical teams are working to fix the problem so that the sites are operational again later this evening.”
... The ABC reported Mr Habib as saying he had been detained for questioning by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
A spokesman for ASIO told AAP: "We don't comment on individuals." ... Mamdouh Habib detained in Turkey [Nine MSN - 29/10/15]
Kiwi detained in Australia while partner dies alone [RNZI - 29/10/15]
Kyle Canty says blacks are ‘being exterminated at an alarming rate’ and that he’ll only be safe north of the border.
It has been nearly two months since he crossed the border into Canada, fleeing the discrimination and state violence plaguing his home country.
In seeking refugee status before Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board in Vancouver, Kyle Lydell Canty argued that belongs to a vulnerable minority that is “being exterminated at an alarming rate” in his homeland.
Canty was referring to the United States and police brutality. ... [The Daily Beast - 28/10/15]
2nd Palestinian killed in Hebron after alleged stabbing attack [Maan - 29/10/15]
The administration of Al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem said Thursday it refused to hand over medical files to Israeli forces belonging to Palestinians treated after recent clashes that have erupted in the city. ... [Maan - 29/10/15]
Israeli authorities have demolished a Bedouin village in the Negev region in the country's south for the 90th time since 2010.
Accompanied by heavily armed police officers, officials showed up in Araqib on Wednesday morning and bulldozers rolled through the remaining homes, according to local media. ... [Al Jazeera - 28/10/15]
Afghanistan: Landmine explosion kills four policemen in Paktia [Khaama - 29/10/15]
A number of national and international children's rights organizations on Wednesday called for help and further aid to the situation of children affected by the recent earthquake in Afghanistan. ... [TOLO News - 28/10/15]
Weeks before President Obama ordered the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011, four administration lawyers developed rationales intended to overcome any legal obstacles — and made it all but inevitable that Navy SEALs would kill the fugitive Qaeda leader, not capture him.
Stretching sparse precedents, the lawyers worked in intense secrecy. Fearing leaks, the White House would not let them consult aides or even the administration’s top lawyer, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. They did their own research, wrote memos on highly secure laptops and traded drafts hand-delivered by trusted couriers. ... [New York Times - 28/10/15]
Over 1,000 militant backups arrive in Yemen’s Aden to fight Ansarullah [Press TV - 29/10/15]
Yemen: Saudi-led air strikes to end as attention turns to talks [Euro News - 28/10/15]:
Saudi-led military operations in Yemen are nearing their end with the focus now turning to political talks.
That was the message from the foreign ministers of both Saudi Arabia and Britain which has given technical support to the Saudi-led op.
The Arab coalition has been bombing Houthi rebels and their allies since last March. Riyadh says the Houthi rebels have clearly committed to carrying out a UN resolution to withdraw from key cities.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair said in a joint press conference with Britian’s Philip Hammond: “We also see the gains that have been made on the ground. Most of the Yemen’s territory that was captured by the rebels has now been recaptured by the government forces.”
The Arab military operation has been fought to return exiled president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hardi to power.
It has killed at least 5,600 people, more than half of them civilians and contributed to a major humanitarian crisis.
In the latest incident the UN has blamed Saudi air strikes for the destruction of a hospital operated by the international charity Doctors without Borders – Riyadh is calling for an investigation.
Saudi carries out 141st execution this year [Naharnet - 29/10/15]
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi awarded Sakharov human rights prize [BBC - 29/10/15]
Rebels in South Sudan detain 16 UN peacekeepers on barges [Daily Star - 29/10/15]
The death toll from the downing over the Mediterranean of a helicopter belonging to Libya's Tripoli-based government has risen to 18, a naval officer said Wednesday.
Lieutenant Rabii Mohamad said 13 bodies were retrieved after the aircraft was shot down Tuesday near Al-Maya, west of the capital, and five more Wednesday morning. ... [Ahram - 28/10/15]
Kremlin warns NATO buildup on Russian border threatens global security [Sputnik News - 29/10/15]
Baghdad flooded as heavy rain in Iraq continues [The National - 29/10/15]
The Iraqi government never asked for and does not need any US involvement in ground operations against Islamic State terrorists.
The eye-opening statement came only a day after the Pentagon promised its partner more ground support if it was required.
“This is an Iraqi affair and the government did not ask the US Department of Defense to be involved in direct operations,” spokesman Sa'ad al-Hadithi told NBC News.
“We have enough soldiers on the ground.”
Hadithi made it clear that any involvement of US forces that stretches beyond their “train and advise” mission must be cleared with Baghdad – as mandated under international law. ... [RT - 29/10/15
Chilcot Inquiry will be published in 'June or July 2016' [Independent - 29/10/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq - Syria gets a reprieve
US Department of Defense [28/10/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in 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 Iraq
Attack, bomber and fighter aircraft conducted 14 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions and two ISIL light machine guns.
-- Near Samarra, one strike destroyed four ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Sinjar, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units, destroyed 11 ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Tal Afar, four strikes destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL weapons storage area, an ISIL logistical facility and an ISIL staging area.
The coalition fighting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq has conducted 7,712 airstrikes since operations began, the majority in Iraq, an Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman said today.
Army Col. Steve Warren, speaking via teleconference from Baghdad, told reporters at the Pentagon that 5,032 of those airstrikes were in Iraq, while 2,680 were in Syria. ... [US Department of Defense - 28/10/15]
IS has access to chemical warfare agents production — Russian Foreign Ministry [TASS - 29/10/15]
The Russian Air Force carried out 70 sorties in the past 24 hours targeting 120 terrorist targets in Idleb, Homs, Aleppo, Damascus Countryside, and Lattakia’s northern countryside, a military source told SANA on Wednesday. ... [SANA - 28/10/15]
Kurdish Peshmerga commanders addressed a meeting of the European Union’s parliament in Strasbourg, France on Wednesday, and urged Europeans to provide Peshmerga with needed ammunition and weapons to fight the Islamic State.
“We are fighting [ISIS] on behalf of the international community and civilization. We do not understand why we are not getting enough ammunition,” Sirwan Barzani, the Peshmerga commander of the Gwer-Makhmur front, told the members of the European parliament.
The Peshmerga commanders told the EU MPs that ISIS’ use of chemical weapons presented a major challenge that required assistance.
Despite ISIS’ threat of using chemical weapons, the Peshmerga have received only 1,000 gas masks, Barzani said. ... [RUDAW - 28/10/15]
Swedish authorities were called on Wednesday to remove a group of refugees who have refused to get off a bus after being taken to a village three days ago, saying it was “too cold” and isolated.
“There are 14 people inside and around the buses who don’t want to move into the [asylum] centre,” Migration Agency spokeswoman Maria Lofgren told AFP.
They were part of a group of 60 Syrians and Iraqis brought by bus on Sunday to Limedsforsen, close to the Norwegian border, to a village of wooden chalets where they were to stay while their asylum claims were assessed.
“The bus company has called the Swedish Enforcement Authority,” Lofgren said. The authority acts as bailiffs during evictions. “We have asked for them to be evicted,” said the head of the Westin Buss transport company, Kenneth Johansson.
The group refusing to get off the bus have complained about being in a forest dozens of kilometres from the nearest town, and many of them have demanded to be taken to a big city, or even to Germany. ... [Guardian - 29/10/15]
The Greek coastguard rescued 242 migrants when their wooden boat sank north of the island of Lesbos on Wednesday, but at least three drowned, including two small boys, authorities said. ... [Reuters - 28/10/15]
@MSF_Sea [28/10/15]: #Migrant and #refugee deaths at sea are 100% preventable yet bad #EU policy focusing on deterrence continues to kill ...
Burma’s million-strong Rohingya population faces final stages of genocide, says report [TIME - 28/10/15]:
... “Many Rohingya tell us that their options are to stay in Rakhine state and face death or flee the country,” Smith says.
“Many of them know that attempting to flee the country is in itself life-threatening, and they’re willing to take those risks because the situation in Rakhine state is as bad as it is.”
The previous exodus, which reached its height this June, was not only enabled and encouraged but also enforced by government authorities, interviews conducted by Al-Jazeera for its new documentary Genocide Agenda reveal.
“They said, ‘You are Muslim and you are not allowed to live in Rakhine state. Get on the boat and flee wherever you want,’” an elderly Rohingya man says, recounting the presence of members of Burma’s security forces, army and police who forced them into the vessels. When his elder brother tried to resist, Rakhine Buddhists hacked him to death with a sword on the spot, he tells al-Jazeera before breaking down in tears. ...
Australian Embassy in Myanmar [29/10/15]:
Job opportunity: Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (AAPTIP) Country Program Coordinator – Myanmar.
For further details about applying for this position, please go to http://www.cardno.com/en-au/Careers/Pages/2144945.aspx
Wall of Grief and Remembering
Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites [29/10/15]:
Reza, a 26 year old asylum seeker form Iran, hanged himself in Brisbane yesterday.
These lines are taken from the account of his close friend who had vainly attempted to alert the police to Reza’s desperate plight.
He was scared to stay here.
He was scared and thinking that people would get him if he stay here.
He thought that he must escape from this area as police and people were chasing him.
He got to Brisbane and he stayed in the street until morning.
7am he called me and said:
“I am tired. Always police and people follow me.
I want to kill myself.
Tell my family”
“Immigration have said that Reza’s family must pay for the return of his body.”
RAPBS is building a wall of grief and remembering in which we mark the many, many lost lives of those caught in the lethal toils of our refugee policy.
Some of their names are Khodayar Amini, Leo Seemanpillai, Habib Wahedy, Shannaz Kayani. And so many more.
Our lethal refugee policy does not only operate through the black sites of offshore detention, but through other lines of demarcation, through technologies of isolation, abandonment and exclusion, such as the TPV. And it operates through compromised systems of ‘care’ which compound rather than alleviate suffering.
These are the casualties of Australia’s war on refugees. But their stories are not forgotten. Their names and faces remain in our minds; the traces of their lost and broken bodies hover in the air. We taste them as grit and ashes in our mouths.
"Walk Together" and help the fascist, anti refugee ALP rehabilitate its PR problem
Image: @prehumax [29/6/15]
All aboard the bipartisan ship [Overland - 11/8/15]:
... And yet, Welcome to Australia director Brad Chilcott has publicly supported a policy of turn-backs in breach of the principle of non-refoulement.
In advance of the ALP conference, which he attended as a delegate for the increasingly inappropriately named left faction of the party, Chilcott called for the ALP to ‘neutralise’ a divisive debate by ‘closing the ocean route to Australia’.
This, from the leader of an organisation that takes its motto from the national anthem: ‘For those who’ve come across the seas.’ ...
Where is the justice?
... I was a Staff Sergeant in the South African Police during and after the Apartheid era and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have never witnessed the injustice and ill-treatment of human beings that I witnessed at Bravo Camp, RPC Nauru. ...
Not one Australian journalist went to Nauru to report on the 2013 riot trials.
Image: Displaced Peoples Organisation Limited via @CSerow [23/8/13]
... I soon noticed that the most vague witness statements were written by security personnel within a few days of the riot.
The more incriminating statements were dated up to four months after the event.
I asked myself “How can anyone remember in such detail and with such clarity months after the event when the statements written only days after the evidence were so vague?”.
As a seasoned investigator I suspected fabrication and collaboration of evidence.
After making a few unofficial enquiries I learned that officers present at the riot were told to implicate more suspects as someone was to be made responsible for the riot.
It was then that the Bravo Camp detainees were randomly pointed out by officers.
Most claim they had had previous run-ins with the witnesses and believed thats why they were singled out. ...
... Immigration Minister Tony Burke says those responsible will be subject to the criminal laws of Nauru and could face severe penalties.
He has hinted that he could cancel or refuse a visa for those involved in the riots on the grounds of character.
"And now I can't prejudge that test before individual applications come to me, if I do it simply creates a legal problem with the possible overturning of my decision," he said.
"But I don't think it would take much guessing for people to work out how incidences like what we've seen overnight in Nauru reflect on character."
Salvos staff condemn Nauru’s Cruel and degrading conditions [Pro Bono Australia – 24/7/13]:
... “We have worked alongside these asylum seekers since the opening of the NRPC when the men were first housed in tents. Brought them pedestal fans when the temperature within their tents soared to over 50 degrees. Used buckets to empty rivers of rainwater when the same temporary accommodation flooded during the wet season.
“We comforted men who were brought to Nauru in handcuffs by the Australian government under false pretences. We watched their numerous peaceful protests against the uncertainty of their future. We saw the scars of self-harm, and suicide attempts. We tried to motivate the hundreds of men on hunger strike to eat again.”
In an explosive SBS Dateline interview with whistleblower, Rod St George, a former senior detention manager on Manus Island said: “I have never seen human beings so destitute, so helpless, and so hopeless before. I took the position with every intent of making the place a safer environment but it proved quite rapidly to be an impossibility. In Australia, the facility couldn't serve as a dog kennel. The owners would be jailed.”
“We have good reason to believe that those asylum seekers arrested and detained in Nauruan jail will not be provided with legal representation. It is likely that a large number of those men arrested in the riot did not in fact act criminally. As such we advocate for everyone to be treated as innocent until proven guilty in a court.
This is especially pertinent given the comments of Minister Tony Burke already stating that visas may not be granted to those men arrested.
Each time an asylum seeker complains about their human rights or about the conditions in the centre, they are offered an appointment with IOM to discuss voluntary return.
Nauru Senate Inquiry Public Hearing [20/8/15]:
... Senator HANSON-YOUNG: In relation to the issue of zipping, can you explain to the committee how you know about that? You have described it in quite a bit of detail. Did you see that occur yourself?
Mr Nichols: I did not actually see the action occur but I have had numerous conversations with people known to me with regard to it: that members of the ERT had secured asylum seekers to their beds with zip ties, cable ties, and thrown them into the air. This occurred after the riots. Personally, I believe it to be retribution.
Senator JOHNSTON: My last question, Mr Nichols—and I do thank you for your cooperation seriously; it is obviously not easy revisiting these things. What was the building where you saw the person wet and coughing up water?
Mr Nichols: This is a tent in Bravo compound.
Senator JOHNSTON: A tent—
Mr Nichols: Yes.
Senator JOHNSTON: in Bravo compound. Whereabouts in Bravo compound?
Mr Nichols: The actual compound is comprised solely of tents.
Senator JOHNSTON: Does this tent have an identification?
Mr Nichols: It would be tent 11.
Senator JOHNSTON: Tent 11. So you saw someone wet and coughing up water coming out of tent 11?
Mr Nichols: That is correct. …
Nauru Senate Inquiry - Supplementary Submission [Mr Jon Nicholls No. 95.1]:
... Despite what one may find on the internet, at no time has Mr Nichols suggested waterboarding etc was part of some organised intelligence gathering for whomever - he says it occurred in a modern day 'Lord of of the Flies' - 'Stanford Experiment' type situation - the guilty parties did it for mere enjoyment and human nature is what it is.
There is no protection on Nauru from this behaviour because there is no Rule of Law, just arbitrary, crude and evil behaviour. ...
“Free the Children; Free Everyone; Close Manus and Nauru; End Offshore processing.”
RAC-Vic recently posted an Open Letter on the renewed push by the Greens and GetUp’s ‘No Business In Abuse’ to remove children from detention.
We share RAC-Vic’s concerns at the reductive call for the removal of only children from detention.
The call for “children out” is a backward step in the campaign to close the detention industry down.
We do not see it as pragmatic but as a recurrent attempt, over the span of more than two decades, by pro-detention groups to obscure their own practical support for and links to the detention industry, and as a means to limit the movements for freedom and against the camps.
Implicit in the call to remove only children from detention is an assumption that children are “innocent” and therefore that adults (without children) deserve to be detained.
There is nothing pragmatic about supporting these racist arguments for detention.
There is nothing “tactical” about peddling racist assumptions while imagining that this might serve to lessen or be a challenge to that racism.
GetUp’s various positions are therefore inexplicable as part of a strategy to close the detention industry down. If this were indeed the aim, the approach is tactically incompetent, conveys no information about the financial and corporate arrangements in the detention industry, and is so contradictory, ambiguous and without legal significance that any detention industry contractor could, for instance, agree to sign GetUp’s ‘pledge’.
Given the successes of the boycott and divestment campaign, we are particularly concerned with GetUp’s attempts to derail that momentum by aligning it with the reductive call for ‘children out’ and a ‘corporate code of conduct.’
This is merely their latest effort at astro-turfing .
Here are the previous and ongoing boycott and divestment campaigns: DivestFromDetention.com
To be clear, GetUp’s NBIA are in no position to assure companies that divestment and boycott campaigns will cease if those companies engage in the window-dressing that NBIA have offered them.
xBorder has never supported detention  – every reason for detention is ultimately an argument for institutionalised racism.
We have some asylum seekers, but that’s pretty much stopped. We have stopped the boats with our policies, which are regarded as cruel by many people. But I have to say again, our policy on border protection is harsh, but it has been absolutely demonstrated that it is better than any other alternative.
Israel and Australia: A conversation with Turnbull [Jewish Journal - 25/8/15]
Did Australia's protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister mislead parliament? [Guardian - 29/10/15]:
The immigration department failed to act on three requests from senior medical staff on Nauru to move the pregnant refugee Abyan to Australia when she sought a termination. ...
Protected and unaccountable Immigration Minister cannot confirm if anti refugee propagandist was assisted with Nauru visa [ABC - 29/10/15]
What are crimes against humanity?
International Criminal Court:
“Crimes against humanity” include any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
murder; extermination; enslavement; deportation or forcible transfer of population; imprisonment; torture; rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds; enforced disappearance of persons; the crime of apartheid; other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.
"Paying people smugglers" is a refugee dehumanising, anti-intellectual ALP talking point that deflects the real issue.
Australians want to know when our government is going to adhere to the spirit of the UN Refugee Convention, and stop treating refugees inhumanely - whether through bribes, using military force to repel boats, or incarcerating them in concentration camps.
The Indonesians are waiting for an explanation on the bribe paid to a refugee boat crew.
... "We recognise that our border protection policy is tough ... many would see it as harsh, but it has been proven to be the only way to stop those deaths at sea and to ensure that our sovereignty and our borders are safe," Mr Turnbull told parliament on Monday. ...
To précis Turnbull: We stopped the boats [Nine MSN - 12/10/15]
Amnesty report confirms Australian officials paid boat crews to return refugees to Indonesia [Amnesty - 29/10/15]:
Our new report, By Hook or By Crook: Australia's Abuse of Asylum Seekers at Sea, reveals damning evidence of Australian officials paying boat crews to return people seeking asylum to Indonesia and abusive treatment of the women, men and children on board.
Shortly after being elected, the Australian Government created Operation Sovereign Borders; a vast set of laws, policies and public projects designed to manage our borders.
They claimed that, in order to tackle criminal networks in our region and protect the lives of people seeking asylum in Australia, they needed to operate in secret. We were asked to trust the government to do the right thing.
However, our report reveals evidence that, in May 2015, Australian officials working as part of Operation Sovereign Borders paid USD 32,000 to six crew who had been taking 65 people seeking asylum to New Zealand and told them to take the people to Indonesia instead. The Australians also provided maps showing the crew where to land in Indonesia.
Our report also documents another case of possible payment by Australian officials to a boat crew to take people to Indonesia in July 2015.
This case, unlike the May 2015 incident, has not received widespread media coverage. Yet, public officials again appear to have directed the crew of a boat to take people to Rote Island in Indonesia.
Passengers on the boat told Amnesty International they were intercepted by the Australian Navy and Border Force on 25 July, and then put onto a new boat on 1 August. By this time the boat crew had two new bags the passengers had not seen before. When the passengers became suspicious and threatened to open the bags the Australians repeatedly told them not to. Given the reported events of May 2015, this raises legitimate suspicions that the bags contained money.
When challenged, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott claimed that Operation Sovereign Border officials at all times "have acted within the law".
Amnesty International’s research suggests this is not the case.
Amnesty International is calling on new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to initiate a Royal Commission into Operation Sovereign Borders, to investigate and report these allegations of criminal and unlawful acts committed by public officials.
Only a Royal Commission, with the power to assess all the evidence, will uncover all the facts.
Why aren't the Greens calling for a Royal Commission, rather than busily conflating refugees with people smugglers? The Amnesty report says nothing about "paying people smugglers".
And in all the racist, exceptionalist sound and fury not one Australian media outlet has considered the welfare of the 65 refouled refugees - still detained in Indonesia. [Times of Malta - VIDEO - 13/6/15]
“People-smugglers’ business-model” – Watch for concern-trolls. #OnWaterGate [15/6/15]:
... Secondly, anti-“people-smuggling” campaigns are exercises in concern-trolling. They manipulate genuine concerns for those who are exploited into practical support for measures that are directed against those same people. There is no way to distinguish between those who steer the boats and those who travel on them, but the sleight of hand is important because it transfers the explicitly racist demonisation of asylum seekers to “people-smugglers,” and politicians can pretend they’re not whipping up a racist frenzy, while in practice the consequences are much the same. ...
Protected and unaccountable Turnbull not taking questions about Amnesty's report as he discusses "good" boats in Tasmania? [Nine MSN - 29/10/15]
Interception-at-sea: Illegal as currently practiced – Hirsi and Others v. Italy [Strasbourg Observers - 1/3/12]
@wikileaks [28/10/15]: Sri-Lanka war-crimes commission cites WikiLeaks cables 57 times in final report ...
Colombo Telegraph [22/10/15]:
Full text of the Maxwell Paranagama Commission Report, officially known as the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Into Complaints of Abductions and Disappearances tabled in parliament on Tuesday. ...
Kiwi Alcatraz detainees left to rot
New Zealanders on Christmas Island are being left to rot in a cesspit of misery, according to Labour MP Kelvin Davis.
Mr Davis met eight detainees during a visit to Australia's immigration detention centre on the island.
"They've basically almost given up hope - the feeling of despair is palpable, so really they're just rotting away in a cesspit of misery."
The centre houses non-citizens, including 72 New Zealanders, who have served more than a year in jail and who are liable for deportation under tougher visa laws Australia enacted last year.
Mr Davis wrote to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying the centre breached the human rights of New Zealand detainees, all of whom felt desperate and hopeless.
He said he had asked to visit a ninth inmate but was refused, and he believed that was because the man had been injured in an assault by prison guards.
Mr Davis has previously described the conditions as terrible, and said the inmates did not receive enough food and that medical attention was inadequate.
Multiple people injured in shooting at Washington Square Mall, Indianapolis [WTHR - 29/10/15]:
Indianapolis Metro Police officers say "multiple" people were injured in a shooting inside Washington Square Mall on the Indianapolis east side.
It's happening at 10202 E. Washington St.
Two to three people were struck.
Their conditions are unknown.
A high-tech U.S. military blimp designed to detect a missile attack came loose on Wednesday and wreaked havoc as it floated from Maryland into Pennsylvania, dragging more than a mile of cable and knocking out power to thousands.
The U.S. military scrambled two armed F-16 fighter jets to keep watch as the massive blimp traveled into civilian airspace after coming untethered from its base at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a U.S. Army facility 40 miles northeast of Baltimore. ... [Reuters - 28/10/15]
The U.S. Senate approved a controversial cybersecurity bill on Tuesday, despite opposition from major tech companies and privacy advocates who fear it will lead to more of citizens' private information going to the U.S. government.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) (S.754) passed by a vote of 74-21 after a day of debate. It needed 60 votes to pass.
The bill seeks to encourage greater sharing of information between private companies and the government on cybersecurity threats and issues. ... [Computerworld - 28/10/15]
At least three dead after apartment building collapses in Egypt's Alexandria [Ahram – 28/10/15]
Danielle Miller: Man charged with murder of Brisbane mother appears in court [ABC - 29/10/15]
A manhunt is underway in Mackay, in north Queensland, for a man wanted for murder.
Police launched a large-scale search early yesterday morning and found two of three people wanted over the murder of Tyrone Michael Baynton, 29.
He was stabbed at died at his North Mackay Unit earlier this month. ... [ABC - 29/10/15]
Police have honed in on a small area of the Gold Coast Hinterland as they continue to search for clues in the disappearance of local woman, Linda Sidon. ... [MYGC - 29/10/15]
... Christopher Charles Koani, 31, is on trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court charged with murdering his girlfriend of six months Natalie Leaney, 26, at their Logan unit on March 10, 2013.
He pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter at the start of the trial on Wednesday. ... [Yahoo - 28/10/15]
Karlie Pearce-Stevenson: Daniel James Holdom faces court charged with murder [ABC - 29/10/15]
Murder charge over 1982 Elizabeth Dixon cold case [Sydney Morning Herald - 29/10/15]
There has been yet another house fire just north of the Gold Coast, as a Smoke Alarm Inquiry continues.
The blaze engulfed a two storey brick home at Kingston at 6:45pm on Wednesday night.
It took crews 30 minutes to bring the fire on Aquarius Drive under control. ... [MYGC - 29/10/15]
Man charged with murder of 11-year-old Wangaratta girl [Nine MSN - 28/10/15]
The father of a baby girl killed by her mother in Victoria says he should have been informed of the woman's mental health state before it was too late.
The mother was referred to a psychologist before she killed the girl and seriously injured the baby's twin sister in 2012, but did not go, the Victorian Coroners Court has been told.
The babies' father says he wasn't told about the referral, by his then-wife or any health professionals, and would have sought help for the family if he knew there were problems. ... [Nine MSN - 28/10/15]
Alan Jones sued over Queensland flood claims
Nine MSN [28/10/15]:
Radio broadcaster Alan Jones is being sued for defamation over claims he made against a prominent Queensland businessman and his family over their involvement in the deadly 2011 Grantham flood.
Denis Wagner lodged defamation proceedings against Mr Jones and 2GB's licensee Harbour Radio Pty Ltd in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Mr Wagner says he and his family had endured sustained attacks for years from Mr Jones, particularly over false claims that his family was responsible for devastating flooding that claimed 12 lives in the southeast Queensland in January 2011.
He said his family and its company Wagners were also unfairly targeted during the construction and operation of its Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba.
"The outcome of proceedings will hopefully in some way go toward correcting the false and defamatory statements about the 2011 Grantham flood tragedy and the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport that have caused significant damage to the reputation of our family, the operation of the airport and our wider business interests," Mr Wagner said in a statement.
The Grantham Floods Commission of Inquiry's final report handed down earlier this month found a quarry owned by Wagners during the flood did not contribute to the disaster, despite Mr Jones and some residents claiming otherwise.
When handing down his report, Commissioner Walter Sofronoff said he felt Mr Wagner was "viciously blamed by some elements of the media".
Mr Sofronoff described the disaster as an "act of God" that couldn't have been avoided.
Comment is being sought from Mr Jones.
Boy fights for life after becoming trapped under bus, Wavell Heights
[Nine MSN - 29/10/15]:
A young boy is fighting for life in hospital after becoming trapped under a bus while riding his bike in Brisbane's north.
Police said the boy was riding his bike at about 7.05pm when he collided with a bus at the intersection of Hamilton Road and Spence Street in Wavell Heights.
The boy was trapped under the bus for a short time before being freed and taken to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Police said the Forensic Crash Unit is investigating the incident.
Anyone who witnessed the collision is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Reducing car speed limits in residential areas and allowing cyclists on footpaths are among strategies being developed to make bike riding safer in WA. ... [West Australian - 29/10/15]
Fatal traffic crash, Alexandra Headland [QPS Media - 29/10/15]
Four people have been taken to hospital after their car veered off the road and hit a tree on the Gold Coast this afternoon.
Paramedics rushed to the scene on Hirono Court at Parkwood just after 1.30pm, following reports a car had hit a tree.
The occupants were trapped and had to be freed.
Four people were transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital, one in a serious condition. [MYGC - 28/10/15]
Warrego Highway lanes closed after truck crash at Ipswich [Brisbane Times - 28/10/15]
Truck drivers to pay for $450m Logan Motorway upgrade [Yahoo - 28/10/15]
Off-duty police officer arrested in Goulburn for failing to submit to breath test [Canberra Times - 29/10/15]
A further four people have been charged as part of Operation North Crewel, an operation that shut down a drug trafficking operation on Brisbane’s southside. ... [QPS Media - 29/10/15]
Arrest for firearms and steroids, Pacific Pines and Canungra [QPS Media - 28/10/15]
Taskforce Maxima arrests – weapons and drugs, Worongary [QPS Media - 28/10/15]
Burglary and evade police incident, North Rockhampton [QPS Media - 28/10/15]
New Zealand: Police at fault in 60% of police car crashes [RNZI – 29/10/15]
Feel safe Queensland? [QPS Media - 28/10/15]:
Runaway Bay VIP’s [Volunteers In Policing] used the new James Frizelle sponsored Crime Prevention vehicle today, at Paradise Point.
Paradise Point Vet, John Rigley, and Veterinary Nurse, Lisa were photographed signing up ‘Molly’ and Bella’ to the Dogs on Patrol program which is a new crime prevention initiative, involving dog owners and their pets.
John is the first Vet in Queensland to be actively promoting the Dogs on Patrol program, by offering to sign up dogs to the program, when they visit his practice.
We are grateful to John and his staff for their active participation in promoting this program.
The initiative involves placing a disc onto the dog’s collar which can be swiped by the owners’ mobile phone.
If the owner is out walking their dog and happen to witness an incident, that is a non-urgent police matter, their mobile will automatically connect them with the 131 444 Policelink number, so they can report what they have seen.
If the matter is an urgent or life threatening matter, the public are still urged to call Triple Zero.
For dog owners on the southern end of the coast, who wish to participate in the program, please contact Senior Constable Tracey Bailey at the District Crime Prevention Unit at Broadbeach police station on 5581 2840.
Now THIS is useful ----> Free Disaster Survival Forum [QPS Media - 28/10/15]
... Chinchilla residents reported ankle-deep hail and rivers of ice in their backyards and streets during a freak `supercell' storm on Wednesday afternoon.
Six patients were evacuated from Chinchilla Hospital as a precaution after rooms were inundated with water from broken windows.
Around 3300 homes in Chinchilla and surrounding areas lost power for about seven hours.
Electricity has returned to the majority of the township, although 100 homes remain with power, mostly in outlying areas. ... [Yahoo - 29/10/15]
A Hong Kong developer and his mining company have been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars over environmental damage in Cape York.
Magistrate Anthony Gett on Wednesday fined Dianne Mining $250,000 for the damage caused by leaks at a dormant copper mine southwest of Cooktown. ... [Yahoo - 28/10/15]
QRC using media spin and dodgy figures in deceitful response to George Bender's death
Lock The Gate Media Release [28/10/15]:
The Queensland Resources Council is using spin and dodgy figures to try to rewrite history regarding the CSG industry’s treatment of Chinchilla farmer, George Bender and many others in this state, say George’s family and his local community group.
George’s wife, Pam said she was furious that the QRC’s chief executive, Michael Roche had tried to ‘gloss over’ the treatment of the family over 10 years by all coal seam gas companies and the underground coal gasification (UCG) company, Linc Energy.
“CSG industries hounded and bullied George for 10 years,” she said.
“The State Government ignored our pleas for help and it’s disgraceful that the Premier still hasn’t agreed to meet us.
“We need to make sure that George’s death was not in vain and that the Premier will do something now to make sure other desperate farmers and landholders are helped before it’s too late for them too.”
Spokesperson for the Hopeland Sustainability Community Group, Shay Dougall said the people of Queensland and Australia are finally hearing what the Bender family and others dealing with CSG mining had had to endure for many years.
“The CSG industry, QRC and the State Government have all ignored us and used us as collateral damage,” Mrs Dougall said.
“The CSG industry is trashing people’s lives, farmland, water and health and it’s got to stop right now.
“People must have the right to say ‘no’ to mining on Queensland’s precious farmland.”
Mrs Dougall said many people of the Western Downs had:
•Been threatened with Land Court action
•Been forced to deal with foreign companies whose profits go overseas
•Been offered ‘make good agreements’ only after they have lost their water bores
•Suffered health problems due to stress, dangerous air emissions, noise and light pollution
•Lost clean drinking water and bore water for stock
•Lost precious farmland and many former locals to CSG
The Australia Institute’s Mark Ogge disputed the QRC’s figures saying:
"The gas industry is a tiny employer in Queensland, as it is everywhere else in Australia.
"According to the Office of the Chief Economist of Australia, based on figures supplied by the gas industry itself, with the end of the LNG construction boom the gas industry in Queensland will employ around 3000 people, less than one fifth of one per cent of the Queensland workforce.
"Many of these are not new jobs as the gas industry tends to poach skilled workers from other industries rather than training people itself.
“Unlike other Queensland industries, the gas industry spends very little in the state economy. For example, the giant LNG terminals at Gladstone were designed in Houston New Deli and Shanghai and built in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, and floated over to Australia.
"This is an industry that likes to quote big numbers, but most of that income flows straight overseas."
The Knitting Nannas Against Gas staged protests in support of George Bender in Brisbane today. Photos available on request.
Chevron case turns once again in favour of Ecuadorean victims [teleSUR – 27/10/15]
Queensland: Electoral (Redistribution Commission) and Another Act Amendment Bill fails to pass
Queensland Parliament Hansard [28/10/15]:
Mr GORDON (Cook—Ind) (10.12 pm): I rise tonight to speak to the bill. As a First Nations person, as an Indigenous Australian, I know firsthand what it is like to be marginalised and disenfranchised and have my voice drowned out by the majority. This is the hardest thing I have had to vote on since my time in the parliament, but I rise to oppose the bill before the House. In opposing the bill I acknowledge that the proponents of the bill have been well motivated in their endeavours to improve representation to rural and remote regions of the state. As the member for Cook I think it is fair to say that my electorate is the most remote electorate in the state. I am well aware of the disadvantages my constituents suffer as a result of the tyranny of distance. I am also aware, as their elected member, that my ability to provide representation to my constituents is made more difficult by our remoteness. So I oppose this bill not because I am not attracted to changes that help constituents access their local representatives, or the local member’s capacity to better serve and represent them, I oppose the bill because I believe the methods the bill seeks to use to address the problem are fundamentally flawed.
The way to address the problem of representation for remote regions is not to have more members of parliament, and it is certainly not to have a greater weightage as proposed in the bill, the way to improve the capacity of a member to service a remote region is to improve electoral resources and to increase electoral staff. These are the matters I would like to see addressed to improve a member’s capacity to service remote electorates—not more politicians and certainly not a move back to a gerrymander.
I am a great believer in democracy. While democracy comes in a variety of forms, I firmly subscribe to the basic principle of one vote, one value. This underpins the concept of equality of all citizens in our society. It delivers true democracy in an uncorrupted form. As such, I oppose weightage. Weightage is undemocratic. Queensland has had heavily weighted electorates in the past. Under the National Party governments of former premier Bjelke-Petersen we had the infamously politically corrupt gerrymander that led to shameless corruption at the highest level in our state. Commissioner Tony Fitzgerald determined that there was a nexus between electoral corruption and official corruption. Nobody wants to see a return to that. For that reason I reject extra weightage as proposed in this bill. While stating that, I acknowledge that the weightage proposed in this bill is not of the same order as existed in the former gerrymandered Queensland electoral system, but it is the thin edge of the wedge. The interesting thing was that when we had these heavily weighted electorates in Queensland they did not deliver better representation to constituents. They corrupted the electoral system and did not deliver good service.
The current Queensland electoral system arose
out of the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission established out of the
Fitzgerald inquiry of 1987-89. Their recommendations were accepted by Premier
Goss lock, stock and barrel. The resultant Queensland electoral system is widely
viewed as a system of high integrity that has served the state well for a
quarter of a century. While no system is perfect and periodic review is good
practice, the process leading to this bill coming before us tonight did not, in
my view, provide for thorough enough consideration. Much wider public discussion
should have been undertaken on such an important matter as amending the
Electoral Act. This is bad practice, especially when applied to such an
important matter as the Electoral Act that underpins our entire democratic
system. For the reasons stated, I call on this House to join with me and reject
The Honourable Tom F Shepherdson has passed away.
Mount Isa District police officers will conduct a training exercise in Mount Isa’s Buchanan Park complex on Wednesday.
The exercise will run from 8am to 4pm and is closed to the public.
Police participating in the exercise will carry training weapons which contain simunition rounds (similar to paint rounds) and are incapable of firing real ammunition.
However, occasional loud noises or bangs may be heard by people in the vicinity of Buchanan Park. ... [North West Star - 27/10/15]
Gay dad not welcome at Mandurah Christian school [Mandurah Mail - 28/10/15]
29 October 2015