Refoulement: We are doing everything we can to encourage them [refugees who tried to reach Australia by boat] to return from where they came.
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull [Nine MSN - 23/9/15]
Main witness fears for life in trial of accused killers of Reza Barati [Cook Islands News - 28/9/15]:
... PNG men Joshua Kaluvia and Louie Efi are charged with wilful murder over Barati’s death, both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
But Satah told the court the men were not the only ones involved, and that others responsible were still working at the Australian-run regional processing centre.
“I am a target for them because I became a witness,” he said.
“There was not just the two locals, there was expats as well.
“I have to go back to the compound and my life will be in danger.”
Satah, who is also an Iranian asylum seeker, told the court he needed protection if he was to testify against Kaluvia and Efi.
“I’ve already been threatened many times before,” he said.
The attackers have been described by witnesses as a group of men, largely security personnel working for the company G4S.
Police told the court they have been unable to get two of those men, two expatriate workers, back to PNG, despite witness reports involving them in the attack. ...
'I'm pretty sure he said shoot that guy': Nauru guard [VIDEO - ABC - 13/8/15]
Australian guards jest about shooting refugee ‘c*nts’ and ‘f*ckers’ on Nauru [RT - 14/8/15]
Moonlighting Australian soldiers use Manus Island and Nauru refugee concentration camps as recreational facilities ----> ... A former employee for Transfield subcontractor Wilson Security told Guardian Australia the guards’ online posts provided a glimpse of the mindset of ex-defence force personnel who “frequently referred to asylum seekers in their care as ‘the enemy’”. ... [Guardian - 14/4/15]
Perth man hears neighbour assaulted by her partner, waits five hours for police
WA Today [29/9/15]:
A resident of Perth's southeastern suburbs waited five hours for police after making an emergency call as his female neighbour was assaulted by her partner.
Jeff* contacted Radio 6PR and WAtoday.com.au to relate an experience that left him shaken, worried about his neighbour and with his trust in not only WA Police, but also his fellow Perth residents, sorely tested.
The situation resulted in an admission of fault from police, who said the situation was "not acceptable."
"On Sunday afternoon I heard a woman screaming and glass smashing, and someone being pushed around," Jeff said.
Jeff popped his head over the fence and shouted a question about what was going on.
"Everything went really quiet," he said.
"I was concerned for the lady next door so I rang triple zero. I then waited around in the backyard for any movement or noise."
He said he managed to make contact with the woman and their exchange ended in him looking her in the eye, and telling her that "everything would be OK".
He then called triple zero again to give them further information and tell them he believed she was in danger. He was again told police would be there shortly.
In the end he made three triple zero calls and further calls to the main police number - 131 444 - and it took five hours for a police response.
Jeff said the police had now been in contact with him and had been "embarrassed and apologetic".
He had been told the case was closed. He had not seen the woman again and he had been unable to find out if she was all right.
WA Police acting assistant commissioner Brad Sorrell told Radio 6PR the incident had not reflected normal police standards and he apologised for the delay.
He confirmed police had received a call on Sunday reporting the incident and had sent a car within 10 minutes, but it had to be diverted to another incident in which a mother was threatening to harm herself and her child.
He said other occurrences had conspired to delay police on an extremely busy day in the southeast district, including five simultaneous domestic incidents, two robberies and a sudden death.
That being said, there there were processes in place in which the district control centre could have called in the state control centre to see if it was possible to shift in resources from another district under less pressure.
Assistant commissioner Sorrell said he was investigating further to find out why this had not occurred.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
Attempted murder charge for Perth father accused of setting daughter alight [ABC - 29/9/15]
Western Australian Police could obtain covert search warrants on people suspected of "advocating terrorism" under expanded powers proposed by the State Government.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said strengthened anti-terrorism powers were necessary as a result of the heightened risk in WA posed by groups such as Islamic State, or Daesh, which she warned had brought the threat closer to home.
The proposed laws, introduced to State Parliament by Mrs Harvey, would recognise suspected membership of a terrorist organisation and suspicion of advocating terrorism as grounds under which police could apply for a covert search warrant.
Proposed changes to legislation would also allow police to apply for covert search warrants on cars, boats and planes, instead of just specific properties or locations.
The legislation would also extend existing powers, due to expire in December, until 2025.
None of those provisions have been used since their introduction in 2005.
WA Police Acting Commissioner Gary Dreibergs was quizzed extensively on what behaviour would fall under "advocating terrorism".
They are powers that are entrusted to the police to use when you have very serious matters, where you absolutely must respond quickly. ... [ABC - 24/9/15]
Police chase death: Policy breached before fatal Glen Forrest motorbike crash [ABC – 1/9/15]
Protestors to sue soldiers after being stripped naked, assaulted, threatened with rape [New Matilda - 29/9/15]:
Three men from a peace activist group in Melbourne have this morning taken the first steps in what’s likely to be a landmark legal action.
Three men who say they were stripped naked, assaulted, dragged along the ground, had bags placed over their heads and threatened with rape and drowning during an anti-war protest in Victoria have today launched legal proceedings to compel the government to release the identities of the soldiers involved.
The pro bono legal action was launched in Melbourne this morning by Maurice Blackburn lawyers, the firm active in representing asylum seekers on Nauru, and which scored a major victory for Traditional Owners last year in fending off a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory.
In October last year, Sam Quinlan, Greg Rolles and David Sprigg - part of a group of peace activists known as the Swan Island Peace Convergence - swam to the Swan Island military base from Queenscliff to stage a peaceful protest against Australia’s involvement in foreign wars.
Soon after arriving on the island, the men were confronted by a number of unidentified defence personnel.
The protestor’s lawyer, Maurice Blackburn principal Jacob Varghese said the three men clearly stated they were non-violent protestors, however they were “thrown to the ground and dragged, had bags put over their heads and were stripped naked. One was threatened with rape and another with drowning”.
The proceedings were filed in the Victorian Supreme Court to force the Australian Defence Force and the Commonwealth to provide the names of the officers involved in the incident, after the ADF refused repeated requests for access to the information.
Mr Varghese said the identity of one was provided, and when the other identities are discovered the men intend to sue for assault and battery.
“These men are peaceful protestors who were prepared to accept the lawful consequences of their actions, but they did not deserve this violent assault on their dignity,” Mr Varghese said.
“The protestors experienced brutal, degrading and humiliating treatment at the hands of Defence Force personnel. This kind of behaviour cannot go unanswered.”
In a written statement, Sam Quinlan said his group had been shocked by the actions of the military personnel.
“It was very clear that we were there as non-violent peace activists. The officers’ response to our peaceful protest was excessively violent and completely unwarranted.”
Greg Rolles said the protestors had decided to take legal action to make sure the officers involved were held to account for their behaviour.
“If this is how these officers treat Australian citizens on Australian soil, what’s happening to people in other parts of the world that we don’t know about?”
Gold Coast Airport crash accused case delayed [Yahoo - 29/9/15]
A lawyer representing the man who allegedly crashed a car into Gold Coast's domestic airport says he hasn't seen all the evidence against his client.
Daniel Cassidy didn't appear at Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday when his matter was briefly mentioned.
The former Navy serviceman is facing eight charges including armed robbery, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and dangerous operation of a vehicle after allegedly crashing a stolen car into the entrance of the Gold Coast domestic airport in July.
Cassidy is accused of carjacking a vehicle from the Gold Coast suburb of Miami on July 25.
He then allegedly tried to steal another car from a rental car business at the airport before finally driving up onto a footpath outside the terminal and crashing into a guardrail.
During Tuesday's mention, solicitor Dave Carlin told the court he had received an incomplete brief of evidence with several witness statements missing.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan ordered the
prosecution provide the missing statements by October 13 and adjourned the
matter for a committal mention on October 27.
Police hunt arsonist who firebombed cars in Geelong [Nine MSN - 29/9/15]:
Victoria Police are hunting the man, who torched the parked blood transport vehicles in an unprovoked attack about 3am last Thursday.
CCTV footage shows the cars igniting as the man runs away.
Detectives have not yet identified a suspect or a motive.
“At this stage we're unable to determine the male's motive. It appears to be opportunistic and a brazen crime committed by this male,” Detective Senior Constable Kylie Kellas said.
“[I’ve] spoken and made inquiries with the pathology clinic, they’re unable to provide me an indication about who this person might be and any reason why this has occurred to them.”
The attack happened in Geelong, about 75km south-west of Melbourne.
Both vehicles were written off due to the fire damage.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Discovery of body in dam near Tennant Creek 'suspicious', NT police say [ABC - 29/9/15]
WA cycling coach accused of indecent assault while massaging teenage girls [ABC – 29/9/15]
An alleged stalker cop rented an apartment 100 metres from the home of a woman known to him, was constantly seen running past her home and would park opposite her lounge room window, a court has been told.
Constable Daniel Luke Smith, 32, has been charged with stalking the woman for more than a year after they met in January 2013 ... [The Age - 29/9/15]
An expert review panel formed after a Canberra school placed a boy with autism in a cage has been given an extension for its report on responses to students with challenging behaviour. ...[Canberra Times - 29/9/15]
US Embassy in Suva concerned about violence against women [February 2015]: Join the "It's On Us" campaign to stop violence against women by taking the pledge at ItsOnUs.org. ...
What about the refugee women on Nauru Ambassador Cefkin?
Refugees subjected to death threats on Nauru: ABC 7.30 Report you have a responsibility to follow up
Refugee Action Coalition, Sydney [29/9/15]:
There have been increased threats against refugees on Nauru this morning, following the broadcast of the ABC’s 7.30 program on Monday night highlighting recent alleged incidents of rape on the island.
This morning, Tuesday 29 September, one Somali refugee was approached and threatened by two local men who told her, “We will kill you. We know you. Do not make stories.”
Others have reported increased abuse and threatening gestures.
There are also reports that two refugees have been sacked from their jobs this morning because of the ABC program.
The ABC program 7.30 on sexual assault allegations on Nauru has lifted the lid on the scale of abuse women are suffering on Nauru. Urgent action is needed in both cases highlighted by the program.
In one case, the Australian government, Border Force and IHMS, the medical provider on Nauru IHMS has ignored the request for a termination by a 23 year-old Somali woman who became pregnant after a sexual assault. She is now 10 weeks pregnant.
“The need for action by the government to meet her request grows more urgent by the day,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “Despite her requesting a termination for weeks, the woman is now 10 weeks pregnant.
“It is simply unbelievable that health authorities have not acted sooner. She is in a fragile state, yet those who have a duty of care are recklessly playing with her mental and physical health.”
The woman known as “Najma” by the ABC’s 7.30, also should be brought to Australia immediately.
“Najma lives in daily terror,” said Ian Rintoul.
“Like other refugee women in the community on Nauru, she is completely vulnerable. Many of the refugee houses are remote; have no lighting and no security. Like so many others, the perpetrators of her assault remain at large. Their houses are not secure; the door locks can be, and often are, slipped with a knife blade, leaving them exposed to assault and theft.
“Many of the Somali women refugees on Nauru have been found to be refugees because they have been victims of sexual abuse.
“Najma was held captive by a rebel Somali group in 2004 and 2005 and was sexually assaulted and abused over those two years and her suffering didn’t stop then. Rather than finding protection on Nauru, Najma is facing the same kind of persecution she faced in Somalia.
“The government has been aware of the shocking rate of sexual abuse on Nauru for a long time. One Iranian rape victim was kept on Nauru from May until August before finally being brought to Australia. She is still waiting for her family to join her.
“The Australian government has created a living hell for Najma and others on Nauru. Nauru is not safe, and must be closed.
“Malcolm Turnbull has made concern about domestic violence a hallmark of the new government. The violence against women on Nauru is as bad as the domestic violence in Australia. It is violence that the government is ultimately responsible for.
“The Prime Minister has the power to immediately to end the violence against the refugee women on Nauru. The only question is, ’Will he?’”
‘Living well,’ not
capitalism, key to sustainability and social justice, Bolivia tells UN Assembly
UN Media Release [28/9/15]:
Decrying capitalism and the predatory polices of multinational corporations, the President of Bolivia, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly today, called for all countries to reject the imperialist models that lead to poverty and inequality and to take up the philosophy of ‘living well’ – the key to sustainable development and social justice.
Evo Morales said it was important to carry out a deep examination of political, economic, social and cultural transformations over the 70 years of the life of the United Nations.
It was clear that wars and invasions had continued during that time, as oligarchs fought to keep power and wealth in the hands of a few to the detriment of the many.
Indeed, while speakers today in the Assembly had said they sought peace, what was true is that there could be no peace without social justice.
Some of those same speakers pursued capitalism, which was a failed model that had ultimately sparked a raft of crises – humanitarian, economic and environmental.
Some governments claimed to be spending billions of dollars to save Mother Earth, but they were really spending those billions on military aims which would ultimately lead to the destruction of the planet.
“We are convinced that capitalism is not the solution for humanity,” said President Morales, stressing that the principle of “living well” – living in solidarity and complimentarity, at one with Mother Earth – is the key for humanity.
This is the exact opposite of capitalism, he said, adding that “living well” also ensured that basic services and natural resources belonged to all people, not private companies.
“This is how we freed ourselves economically,” he declared.
He went on to say that his Government was shouldering its responsibilities to save Mother Earth, and to that end, all countries, especially in the lead-up to the Paris climate conference, must shoulder their responsibilities.
Bolivia was hosting a conference of social movements from 10-12 October to show the world that some were not following policies of the North American empire.
This empire, which claimed to be democratic, was actually being governed by big business, not the people.
“The only way to end poverty and all the other serious problems facing humankind is to do away with capitalism,” said President Morales, stressing that globalization should be for all people. The exploitation of human beings and pillaging of natural resources must end, as should wars aimed at securing access to those resources, he said.
Washington closely advised Greece during bailout talks [Keep Talking Greece – 28/9/15]
Athens Stock Exchange: “Black Monday” for Greek Banks, losses at 15.86% [Keep Talking Greece - 28/9/15]
The fate of the CBC could be decided at a trade table far away from Canada even as this country is caught up in a tight election race. The government is sending Trade Minister Ed Fast to Atlanta on Wednesday for the latest round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.
As the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) noted last month, WikiLeaks has revealed that the CBC could be on the table at those talks.
The Conservative government has not released any detailed information, but the U.S. has been clear on its objectives: Anything it considers State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) – which many believe includes the CBC – is up for negotiation: "We are also pursuing pioneering rules to ensure that private sector businesses and workers are able to compete on fair terms with SOEs, especially when such SOEs receive significant government backing to engage in commercial activity."
Canadian governments used to demand protections for cultural activities in trade pacts that sought to open up Canadian activities to foreign investors.
There is such a provision to protect Canadian culture in NAFTA, negotiated in 1993. We have no information about whether this protection is being discussed as part TPP talks. ... [Newswire - 28/9/15]
Two killed as protests over vast mine in Peru turn deadly [Naharnet – 29/9/15]
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa highlights the unfair reality of climate change [teleSUR – 28/9/15]
In his first-ever address to the United Nations General Debate, Cuban President Raúl Castro noted the warming of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba before promising to reintroduce an annual resolution calling for an end to the long-standing US embargo on the island nation.
“To the 188 governments and peoples that have sponsored our just demand, here and in other international and regional forums, I reaffirm the eternal appreciation of the Cuban people and government for your continued support,” he said.
Full normalization of relations will only be achieved, President Castro declared, with an end to the embargo, the cessation of “subversion and destabilization programs,” compensation for “human and economic damages,” and the return of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which Cuba considers to be illegally occupied by the United States. ... [UN Media Release - 28/9/15]
Indonesian death toll in Saudi Arabia increases to 46 [Jakarta Post - 29/9/15]
Indonesian officials are criticizing Saudi Arabia's response to the hajj disaster in Mina, saying authorities in the kingdom prevented their diplomats from seeing initial data and blocked their immediate access to the dead. ... [Daily Star - 29/9/15]
Intelexit motivates and helps spies leave intelligence services
Intelexit, which claims to be the "the world’s first exit program for the intelligence community," has been launched today.
It says it "speaks to employees who are unsatisfied in their jobs, due to moral conflicts, and encourages them to consider termination of employment as an act of personal strength and a contribution to democracy."
To help them do so, Intelexit provides counseling, alternative career advice, and planning to help with the resignation itself.
The Intelexit website includes a video featuring the NSA whistleblower, Thomas Drake, security and privacy expert, Bruce Schneier, and Walter Eichner, a former Stasi employee, as well as further information about the organisation and its aims.
Initially, those working at three major intelligence services will be targeted: the NSA, GCHQ and Germany's BND, although the hope is that the scheme could be extended to other countries.
Today, lorries with billboards have been circling GCHQ and NSA buildings to make employees aware of the organisation, and brochures are being handed out at GCHQ and BND.
Tomorrow, Intelexit says it will begin making phone calls and sending faxes directly to the offices of these agencies.
Intelexit, which has the catchline "Be smart. Exit intelligence now," was set up by the Berlin-based Peng!, "a collective of smart and silly people producing creative political stunts and enriching campaigns with subversion, humour and civil disobedience," working with local activists.
One of them, Jérémie Zimmermann, explained in an email to Ars how the project had grown out of off-the-record conversation with men and women currently working in the intelligence services.
It's a nice idea, but will it actually achieve anything?
"They would enter these services with a genuine will of serving the general interest and defending values such as their country's constitution, their fellow citizens freedoms, democracy at large, etc... and would end up in some grayish office doing exactly the opposite, with mass surveillance, drone strikes etc. This cognitive dissonance creates a situation of moral despair."
Intelexit was created to help them escape from that situation with the least damage to themselves and their families.
In an interview with the German blog netzpolitik.org, a spokesperson for Intelexit emphasised that it would help intelligence agents leave services whether or not they wanted to become whistleblowers, since that was a personal matter for the individual concerned.
However, it seems likely that Intelexit will make it easier for whistleblowers to step forward, and follows in the footsteps of the Snowden Treaty, launched last week, which calls for them to be offered greater protection.
In addition, the Intelexit organisers say that they hope that their exit programme will "break down the structures of secret services and force reform," much as Edward Snowden's leaks have already begun to do.
Lebanese journalist fined 10,000 euros in Hariri case [Ahram – 28/9/15]
Prime Minister David Cameron is facing calls to rethink his opposition to reparations for colonialism and slavery ahead of a visit to Jamaica.
A prominent Jamaican academic called on the United Kingdom to pay slavery reparations Monday, ahead of Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to the island nation. ... [teleSUR - 29/9/15]
"Don't you come looking for help if (your partner) bash you or rape you," Ms Barry recalled Detective Robinson saying.
Nine MSN [29/9/15]:
A detective told a Palm Island woman not to ask police for help if her partner raped or bashed her after riots 11 years ago, a court has heard.
Jucinta Barry told a Federal Court trial the comments - made by Detective Sergeant Darren Robinson to her daughter - were omitted from a three-minute police recording played in court on Tuesday.
"Don't you come looking for help if (your partner) bash you or rape you," Ms Barry recalled Detective Robinson saying.
"I said `mate, you can't say that to her'."
Ms Barry said Det Sgt Robinson then looked down at the recording device and went "paler than he (already) was" after making the comments.
The trial will determine whether alleged police failures after the 2004 death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee and subsequent riots were racially discriminatory.
Ms Barry denied suggestions from the Counsel for the State of Queensland Steven Forrest that she was wrong about parts of the conversation with Det Sgt Robinson being omitted.
Complaints in the class action - launched by once-jailed riot-inciter Lex Wotton on behalf of Palm Islanders - include that the declaration of an emergency, subsequent raids and warrants without arrests were excessive.
Ms Barry says she was pushed with a gun to her chest during the raids, which occurred while her six-year-old grandson was at home.
She previously told the court police would not allow her to go to the toilet and she had to urinate at the bathroom door.
Ms Barry said she paid for a door broken by police out of her rent.
The trial continues.
Nine MSN [29/9/15]:
A man in a paddy wagon screamed "Let me out otherwise I'm going to ... wind up dead", as Palm Islanders marched on the police station three days after a high-profile death in custody, a court has heard.
Lex Wotton, who was jailed for inciting riots a week after Mulrunji Doomadgee's death, told a Federal Court trial that arresting officer Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley arrived in a car with other officers as the crowd of up to 200 reached the station.
"Let me out otherwise I'll be the next one," Mr Wotton recalled a local man yelling from the paddy wagon.
"I'm going to wind up dead."
The court heard on Tuesday that the crowd had been meeting down the road when a girl said they should go to the police station.
Mr Wotton said he asked Sen Sgt Hurley to explain how Mulrunji had died.
The court heard the officer agreed, stood before the locals and asked: "What, isn't two years of service enough for you people?"
Mr Wotton said a woman told him members of the local justice group heard cries from the watchhouse on the day Mulrunji died.
He said the council passed a motion to send a letter asking government officials, including then-Premier Peter Beattie, to come to the island.
None came until after the police station and Sen Sgt Hurley's home had been burnt to the ground in rioting four days after the first public meeting.
Justice Debbie Mortimer will decide whether Queensland state should pay compensation and damages to the community, which has also asked for an apology.
The trial continues in Townsville.
The wife of Palm Island man Lex Wotton has told the Federal Court she had mental health concerns for her and her children after police raids on Palm Island in 2004. ... [NITV/SBS - 28/9/15]
Venezuelan President Maduro meets with black leaders in Harlem [teleSUR - 28/9/15]
Israeli private agents kidnap East-Jerusalem teen [PNN - 28/9/15]
Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat expressed great disappointment in U.S. President Barack Obama for completely ignoring the Palestinian issue during his speech at the UN General Assembly on Monday.
"Does President Obama think that he can fight terror and defeat ISIS and achieve peace and stability in the Middle East by continually ignoring the occupation and Israeli settlements in the West Bank and continued aggression against the al-Aqsa Mosque?" asked Erekat, the secretary general of the PLO executive committee, on Monday. ... [Haaretz - 28/9/15]
Israeli authorities on Monday delivered notices to Palestinian farmers informing them of plans to remove 140 olive trees from the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan in Salfit district in the occupied West Bank, the farmers told Ma'an.
They said that the trees are located in the al-Safar area of the town, which Israeli officials consider a nature reserve. ... [Maan - 28/9/15]
Five children hurt in bomb blast in southeast Turkey [Ahram - 28/9/15]
The U.S. military says it launched an airstrike on the city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan early Tuesday, after it was captured by the Taliban the previous day.
U.S. Army Col. Brian Tribus, spokesman for the U.S. and NATO missions in Afghanistan, said the strike was carried out "in order to eliminate a threat to the force." ... [USA Today - 29/9/15]
Afghanistan: Heavy clashes in Kundoz as security forces trying to retake the city from Taliban [Khaama - 29/9/15]
Amnesty International has called on all parties to the Kunduz battle to ensure civilians are protected in accordance with international law.
In a statement issued late Monday night following 16 hours of heavy fighting in Kunduz city, Amnesty International said: "The Taliban and Afghan security forces must ensure that civilians are protected in accordance with international law and that nobody is targeted in reprisals against their work." ... [TOLO News - 28/9/15]
Senior UN official alarmed at upsurge in human rights abuses in Burundi [Media Release - 28/9/15]
Renewed violence between Muslim and Christian communities in the Central African Republic has killed at least 36 people and wounded at least 80 more, according to hospital workers.
Sporadic gunfire could be heard in the capital, Bangui, on Monday, with journalists also citing multiple reports of widespread looting in the city, suggesting that tensions that began on Saturday had yet to subside.
On Sunday, Doctors without Borders (MSF) said in a statement that their teams working in the city's Mpoko camp, Castor hospital and Hopital General had been pressed to activate mass-casualty plans to cope with an influx of the injured.
Protesters alleged that UN and French forces did little to intervene in Saturday's violence and called for the sidelined Central African army, the FACA, to assume responsibility for security. ... [Al Jazeera - 28/9/15]
Death toll from Saudi airstrikes at a Yemen wedding party reaches 38, officials say [US News - 28/9/15]
... “People were fleeing their homes as the helicopters pursued,” a village resident who called himself Khaled told Reuters.
“They committed a massacre for no reason,” he said. ... [Middle East Eye - 28/9/15]
The mysterious assassinations of Syria's Daraa [Middle East Eye - 28/9/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [28/9/15]:
Yesterday, U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Remotely piloted and fighter aircraft conducted three airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Abu Kamal, an airstrike struck an ISIL training area.
-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike resulted in inconclusive results.
-- Near Mar’a, an airstrike suppressed an ISIL mortar system.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, fighter-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 20 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the government of Iraq:
-- Near Huwayjah, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL checkpoint and an ISIL bunker.
-- Near Beiji, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building and two ISIL caches.
-- Near Habbaniyah, two airstrikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL weapons cache, and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Kirkuk, three airstrikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.
-- Near Mosul, three airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL tunnel, and an ISIL heavy machine gun.
-- Near Ramadi, four airstrikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building, four ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL boats, an ISIL home-made explosive cache, and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.
-- Near Tal Afar, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [28/9/15]:
Anbar: 3 civilians were killed and 8 wounded as the air force targeted them at Albu Shajal crossing point north of Fallujah........
Anbar: 38 civilians were killed as the government's forces and Hashd militias shelled the civilian homes in Kubeisa nahiya by launchers ............................
Baghdad: "An employee at Mayoralty in Baghdad was killed as a roadside bomb attached to his car exploded while passing through Jame'a neighbourhood west of Baghdad",news agencies reported ..........
... As the president spoke to the U.N. General Assembly, the White House released a memo he signed pledging more support to United Nations Peace Operations.
In the memo, the president said he will “strongly consider” providing military, police and civilian personnel to support or participate in U.N. peace operations.
There are caveats. The direct personnel support would happen only if the need is in a capability in which the United States has specialized expertise and only if U.S. personnel provide the potential to improve substantially the overall effectiveness of the U.N. mission. The deployment cannot adversely impact current or projected U.S. operations elsewhere.
The president would not relinquish command of any U.S. forces deployed to peacekeeping operations, the memo says, but it notes that as commander in chief, he has the authority to place U.S. forces under the operational control of a foreign commander when doing so serves U.S. national security interests. ... [US Department of Defense - 28/9/15]
Agents find 150 Central American migrants crammed in US border-bound truck in Mexico [Japan Times - 29/9/15]:
Mexican immigration agents say they have rescued 150 migrants who were packed into the freight compartment of a truck without adequate water.
The migrants are mainly from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
They told investigators they paid smugglers between $1,750 and $3,000 to be taken to the U.S. border.
The National Immigration Institute said Monday the migrants had been in the truck for 14 hours without being given food or water.
The institute said some of the migrants were almost losing consciousness.
Four suspected Mexican migrant traffickers were detained when the truck was stopped in the north-central state of Zacatecas.
Central American migrants have had to find new routes to the U.S. border since Mexico began raiding a freight train they used to ride.
Over 1,000 migrants rescued off Libya’s coast in 11 operations [Hindustan Times - 29/9/15]
@MSF_Sea [28/9/15]: The #Dignity1 has rescued 2 more rubber boats & now has 373 people including 62 women and 10 kids on board
Myanmar Buddhist hardliners force subdued Eid al-Adha festivities for Muslims [UCA News - 28/9/15]
Mediterranean search and rescue charity takes mission to Southeast Asia [Mashable - 23/9/15]
... Myanmar has a total of 51 offshore blocks, 13 of which are open. There are another 18 blocks already being explored, while the production sharing contracts were recently signed for the 20 blocks tendered in 2013. U Than Tun listed a number of companies, including Daewoo, Ophir, Unocal, Shell, Woodside, PTTEP, Petronas, Canadian Foresight Group and Eni, as preparing for offshore seismic surveys in 2015-16. ... [Myanmar Times - 14/9/15]
A blight on Australia's rapidly declining standing on human rights. Politicians give a damn about refugee drownings, I don't think so. The architects of this debacle deserved to be tried before the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity.
Open letter to the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader signed by over 17,500 Australian women
Open letter to Malcolm Turnbull on cancelled visit of UN Special Rapporteur [UNSW - 28/9/15]
His arrest began an ordeal that would last for nearly two years, including three months at the notorious Abu Ghraib detention facility, where Rashid says he was subjected to torture by guards.
This included, CCR says, being “beaten with wooden sticks, sexually abused, subjected to mock execution, and being forced to watch as conspirators raped a female detainee.”
The Intercept [29/9/15]:
A United Nations official, legal scholars, and human rights activists are expected to file friend-of-the-court briefs today supporting a lawsuit in which four Iraqi men allege military contractor CACI International orchestrated their torture at Abu Ghraib.
The amicus briefs will include one by Alberto Mora, former Navy General Counsel during the Bush era and a longtime opponent of that administration’s torture policies. Directed at the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the briefs support reviving a case dismissed by a Virginia district court this past June.
The case dates to 2008, when lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights filed suit on behalf of the four men, alleging that CACI employees ordered soldiers to “ soften up” detainees for interrogations.
“These men suffered unconscionable mistreatment and torture as a result of the actions of CACI contractors,” says Baher Azmy, one of the attorneys litigating the case.
“They are shattered still from he treatment they suffered, and they wish to continue to fight to obtain some legal redress for the suffering they have endured.”
CACI did not respond to requests for comment. ...
... Rivers gettin' dirty
Wind is gettin' bad
War and hate is killin' up
The only earth we had
But the world all stopped to watch
On a July afternoon
Watched a man named Armstrong
Walk upon the moon
'Armstrong', written by John Stewart and a hit for Reg Lindsay in 1971
1 in 10 held in Australian immigration detention centres are Kiwis
Almost one in 10 people now being held in Australian detention centres is a New Zealand citizen, the second largest nationality being detained.
An Australian lawyers' group said the number of New Zealanders being locked up and deported could eventually run into the thousands.
The latest figures, for the end of August, showed New Zealanders account for 9.1 percent of those in detention, second only to Iranian visa-holders and asylum-seekers.
Altogether, 184 New Zealanders are being detained.
Eighty have already been deported since new laws came into force in Australia last year.
Australian Lawyers Alliance national president Greg Barns said immigration officials could eventually round up many of the 5,000 New Zealanders who have served more than 12 months in Australian jails.
He said 1,500 New Zealanders were currently imprisoned, but many of those deported or facing deportation completed their sentences a long time ago.
"They've moved on with their lives - they've become very, very good members of the community, they have strong ties to Australia and in fact they have no ties to New Zealand.
"Australia's suddenly turning around on a whim and saying, 'well, despite all of that, we're going to kick you out and back to New Zealand'."
Mr Barns said it was bizarre that Christmas Island was being used to detain New Zealand immigrants (There are 75 New Zealand and Pacific Islanders, according to detainees Radio NZ has spoken to).
"It was previously used for asylum seekers who were seeking to come to Australia, and that was why it was established. There's no rhyme or reason as to why you'd use the most remote immigration facility in Australia."
He said New Zealand was the hardest hit of any country under the new policy and deportees had no right of appeal.
He said the suspected suicide of a New-Zealand-born man being held in a high-security prison pending deportation had brought the issue into the Australian media spotlight.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Ministry and consulates were receiving a small number of enquiries each week about New Zealanders held in detention in Australia.
But it has declined to say whether it was providing consular support to citizens in Australia who face deportation back to New Zealand, citing privacy reasons.
The ministry said most New Zealanders in Australia did not seek consular assistance because they already had well-established support networks or employed legal assistance.
Murray McCully met with Julie Bishop in New York to discuss the case of Junior Togatuki, and the broader issue of some New Zealanders with criminal records being detained and potentially deported.
New Zealand-born Togatuki, 23, moved to Australia with his family when he was four years old.
Although his prison sentence ended in August, he was kept in a high-security New South Wales prison awaiting deportation after his visa was revoked.
He died in the prison two weeks ago, with authorities saying he committed suicide.
His sister, Jean Togatuki, said he had no memory of New Zealand.
He had written to Australia's immigration minister Peter Dutton begging to be allowed to stay in Australia. ... [RNZI - 29/9/15]
Reports two students shot in West Papua
A West Papuan human rights campaigner says a 17-year-old high school student was shot dead on Monday in Timika in the Indonesian province.
Australia-based Paula Makabory says another student was badly wounded when the two students were pursued by security forces.
She says the police were pursuing them because their fathers are said to be members of the rebel organisation, the Free West Papua movement, the OPM.
Ms Makabory says a major hunt involving dozens of security personnel was mounted to find the students, who were traced to a house.
"The boys got scared. They ran out. That is when one of the boys got shot by the police and the other one also got shot. The one, named Caleb Bagau, 17 years old, died in the crime scene. The other one, named Efrando, 17 years old, in critical condition."
She says this comes after similar killings of two West Papuan men in the same area a month ago.
Ms Makabory says a proposed Pacific Islands Forum fact finding mission to the region must go ahead, despite Indonesian opposition.
"That these things happen mean that Indonesia cannot close or isolate West Papua and kill the young people there, to kill the generations there. No, this cannot be done. I mean Australia and New Zealand should wake up to see what happened to West Papuan human rights."
Chief Migration Officer says he's tightening control on foreigners entering and working in PNG [The National - 29/9/15]:
... Meanwhile, he denied a claim that a racket was being operated by public servants at the Jackson International Airport to help expatriates stay in the country after their passports had been stamped at the departure counter.
A citizen, who asked not to be identified, had written three months ago to Rabura and Customs warning them of what he alleged was happening.
The letter said: “The expatiates get their boarding passes and have their passports stamped at the boarding counter.
“But they do not board the planes to travel to their countries.
“They remain in the country and change their passports and work permits and get re-employed.”
The man sent the letter on May 18 with a list of suspects to Rabura and PNG Customs Commissioner Ray Paul.
Rabura said he had not received the letter but he issued a warning after receiving data identifying over-stayers, their countries of origin, the types of visa and their sponsors.
“I have issued a warning to companies employing foreigners who have entered the country on business and tourist visas, including the Asia Pacific Economical Corporation Business travel card,” he said.
Jema Lawyers have filed an application at the National Court for a judicial review after two of its overseas lawyers were banned early this month from entering the country.
Greg Egan and Terry Lambert have been banned from entering the country by Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura since September 8.
On that day Mr Rabura sent a letter to all international operating airlines and all PNG provincial borders and ports that there was an indefinite ban being imposed on Egan and Lambert.
Egan is an Australian citizen who has been practising in PNG since 1988 while Lambert has been acting as a junior counsel to Egan.
Both counsels have been briefed out by Jema Lawyers and have been appearing in a number of matters including the warrant of arrest against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.
They have been representing the Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim and Detective Chief Superintendent and Director of National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate Matthew Damaru and his deputy director Timothy Gitua.
Egan filed a notice of motion on Friday (September 25) and this will be heard on a later date. [PNG Loop - 29/9/15]
"AMBER Alert" is not good governance or policing - it's crime control theatre.
Queensland has become the first state to launch an official Amber Alert system to help find children missing in suspicious circumstances. … [Nine MSN – 28/9/15]
Child Abduction, AMBER Alert, and Crime Control Theatre, Timothy Griffin and Monica K. Miller [Sage Journals - Criminal Justice Review - June 2008]:
Intense interest in disturbing child abductions by the mass media, public safety organizations, and the public has helped sustain a socially constructed mythology and sporadic “moral panic” about the presumed pervasiveness of this threat to children.
The result has often been reactionary “memorial” legislation enacted in response to sensational cases.
A recent example is the America's Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert system, which is designed to interrupt serious child kidnappings in progress by soliciting citizen tips to help officials quickly rescue victims.
Drawing on available empirical evidence and theoretical considerations, the authors contend that AMBER Alert has not achieved and probably cannot achieve the ambitious goals that inspired its creation.
In fact, AMBER Alert is arguably an example of what could be called crime control theater.
It is a socially constructed “solution” to a socially constructed problem, enabling public officials to symbolically address an essentially intractable threat.
Despite laudable intentions, AMBER Alert exemplifies how crime control theater can create unintended problems, such as public backlash when the theatrical policy fails and a distorted public discourse about the nature of crime.
Considerations for the future of AMBER Alert in particular, and the concept of crime control theater in general, are discussed.
One man alone was responsible for Luke Batty's murder and that was his mentally ill father Greg Anderson.
Victoria's Coroner Ian Gray has found that failings and delayed responses in the justice system and health department allowed Anderson to subject his son and wife Rosie Batty to years of abuse and irrational behaviour.
There were missed opportunities to intervene before the 11-year-old was killed at cricket practice on February 12, 2014, Judge Gray said on Monday.
But when it came to blame, Judge Gray was clear: "Mr Anderson and Mr Anderson alone was responsible for Luke's death."
"I conclude, based on the evidence, that Luke's death was not reasonably foreseeable by any entity or person, including Ms Batty.
"No one person or agency could have reasonably been expected to foresee Mr Anderson would be that rare perpetrator and Luke that rare victim of a violent event." ... [Yahoo - 28/9/15]
Support the brave Rosie Batty and all victims of domestic violence - boycott Murdoch's News Ltd.! [Brisbane Times - 2/4/14]
There are no signs of foul play in the deaths of an elderly couple found in a home in the centre of Adelaide, police say. ... [Yahoo - 28/9/15]
Armed robbery, Maroochydore [QPS Media - 29/9/15]
Attempted armed robbery, Nundah [QPS Media - 29/9/15]
A Gold Coast man accused of supplying drugs to inmates at a correctional facility has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
Antony Tei pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court this morning to three counts of supplying a dangerous drug.
The 56-year-old is alleged to have supplied the drug buprenorphine to an inmate at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.
Tei had been on parole for serious fraud and drug offences at the time.
He has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment with parole eligibility after four months. [MYGC - 28/9/15]
... The Lane Cove resident was sentenced in the Downing Centre Local Court on Monday but avoided a conviction and jail time.
Munro, who was of prior good character, was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond. ... Former ODPP solicitor Lisa Munro avoids jail time for cocaine possession [Sydney Mornng Herald - 29/9/15]
Boy burnt in Rockhampton house fire [Brisbane Times - 29/9/15]
Serious crashes, Runaway Bay and Nerang; tree fall, Palm Beach [MYGC - 29/9/15]
Training dogs to attack human beings is not good policing - it is fascism - as is relentlessly promoting savagery as a family friendly event.
Healthy and happy: Police Dog Maui underwent preventative surgery [QPS Media - 15/9/15]
Gold Coast Dogs on Patrol Induction Day – Paw Enforcement [QPS Media - 28/9/15]:
... Please bring your family and friends along to this event and don’t forget your adored four legged friend.
There are competitions to be won, demonstrations to watch (QPS Dog Squad) and stalls to visit.
Once you sign up to Dogs on Patrol, your dog will receive a dog tag and a Certificate of Induction.
Watch your dog become the envy of all other dogs, as they transform into a confident, proud, self-assured canine, as they prance around the park displaying their new bling. ...
Queensland police dog calender fetishises violence, channels US militarism
A US Soldier in a flak jacket appears to be using both hands to restrain a dog facing an Iraqi detainee in the Abu Ghraib prison. [Antiwar.com - 17/2/06]
QPS Media [7/8/15]:
Meet the 39 dogs of the Queensland Police Dog Squad calendar. They range in colour, breed, locations, type of work and personalities. Read all about them.
To purchase the calendar visit www.qphra.com
... "He smelled pretty bad, so I put him in the tub and gave him his toy to chew on," Serella said.
"He just had this sad ‘why are you doing this’ look on his face." ... Face of defense: From puppy to police dog [US Department of Defense - 7/8/15]
China-based conglomerate Forise Holdings has paid tribute to Gold Coast City Council and its Mayor and planning staff following the approval today of Forise’s development application for a $1.2 billion beachfront super tower on the site of the former Iluka building in central Surfers Paradise. ... [MYGC - 28/9/15]
Iluka, Surfers Paradise 
According to a 1997 guide prepared for the National Trust (and re-printed in 2000 by the Gold Coast City Council):
Iluka appears to have been conceived and promoted as an early 'resort' and contains, in addition to the usual apartments and swimming pool, saunas, gymnasium and laundromat and a restaurant and bar in a separate wing at podium level.
Units are single fronted with living rooms to the north served by balconies within the frame, and bedrooms toward the rear of the building. The internal shaft dictates a complicated plan in which one, two and three bedroom units occur at each level. 'Internal' bedrooms were ventilated by windows to the access corridor.
The tallest building in its day it was soon surpassed (by one level) by The Chateau.
3 Trickett Street, Surfers Paradise. Constructed 1971. Architects Buchan Laird & Bawden, Melbourne. Storeys 17
Man planned flight to Syria: Victorian court
Nine MSN [28/9/15]:
A Melbourne man accused of attempting to join the conflict in Syria used four different phones to have conversations about "a big job" and "a big surgery" just days before attempting to fly to Turkey, a court has heard.
Amin Mohamed, 25, of Sunshine West, is standing trial in the Victorian Supreme Court on three charges relating to an alleged bid to enter Syria in September 2013.
Crown prosecutors told the jury they would hear several recorded phone conversations in which Mohamed discusses travelling to "Isabella" for "a big surgery", which the crown alleges was code employed in a bid to avoid detection by authorities.
Prosecutor Lesley Taylor said there was evidence Mohamed had no intention of returning to Australia after flying to Turkey, as he had quit his job just two weeks after receiving a promotion, and had sold his car.
She said he told his employer he was resigning because his mother was terminally ill and he was taking her back to her home country to die.
But he later told authorities he was travelling to a Turkey en route to Denmark where he was to meet his fiancee.
He made reference to two or three fellow travellers, calling them "doctors" or "soccer players", she said.
Recorded phone conversations that will be played during the trial include discussions Mohamed had with others about altering their appearance to look like tourists, Ms Taylor told the court on Monday.
"They had a pre-planned story to give to authorities if questioned," she said.
Mohamed had a flight booked from Brisbane to Istanbul on September 19, 2013, but was prevented from leaving the country after his passport was cancelled.
Mohamed has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempting to enter a foreign state to engage in hostile activities.
He is accused of applying for a New Zealand passport, booking a flight to Istanbul and accepting contact details of a man named Omar all with the intention of entering Syria via the southern Turkish province of Hatay.
Defence barrister Julian McMahon said much of what was alleged about his client applying for a passport and booking a flight to Turkey was not in dispute, but asked them to consider what the evidence revealed about Mohamed's intent to engage in hostile activities in Syria.
"Don't pre-judge," Mr McMahon told the jury.
"You don't have all the evidence."
The trial continues before Justice Lex Lasry.
Angelina Jolie is a Hollywood actress.
Around 3% of ovarian cancer cases occur in women with a family history of ovarian cancer
Image: @Disney [7/6/14]
What are the drawbacks of genetic testing? [American Cancer Society]
Ovarian cancer risk factors [Cancer Research UK]:
Risk factors for ovarian cancer are discussed here. Find out more about the definitions and evidence for this data. ...
Angelina Jolie’s faulty gene: newspaper coverage of a celebrity’s preventive bilateral mastectomy in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom - Kalina Kamenova, PhD, Amir Reshef, MBA and Timothy Caulﬁeld, LLM, FRSC [Academia – July 2014]:
This study investigates the portrayal of Angelina Jolie’s preventive bilateral mastectomy in the news media. Content analysis of print news was conducted to identify major frames used in press coverage, the overall tone of discussions, how journalists report broader questions about testing and hereditary breast/ovarian cancer, and whether they raise concerns about the impact of celebrities on patients’ choices and public opinion.
The Factiva database was used to collect publications on Jolie’s preventive mastectomy in elite newspapers in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The data set consisted of 103 newspaper articles published in the ﬁrst month of media coverage.
The results show that although the press discussed key issues surrounding predictive genetic testing and preventive options for women at high risk of hereditary breast/ovarian cancer, important medical information about the rarity of Jolie’s condition was not communicated to the public.
The results highlight the media’s overwhelmingly positive slant toward Jolie’s mastectomy, while overlooking the relative rarity of her situation, the challenges of “celebrity medicine,” and how celebrities inﬂuence people’s medical decisions.
Future research is required to investigate whether the media hype has inﬂuenced demand and use of testing and preventive mastectomies.
$25 million for corporatised eugenics research is NOT funding healthcare [Queensland Government Media Release - 22/9/15]
Vladimir Putin's 2015 Address to the United Nations
Putin to UN: Export of so-called democratic revolutions continues globally [RT - 28/9/15]
... Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned about dangers of playing games with terrorists in his speech at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
He said that some countries tried to use terrorists for achieving their own goals in the hope of "dealing with them or ,in other words, liquidating them later."
"To those who do so I would like to say: dear Sirs, no doubt, you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they are in no way primitive. They are just as clever as you are and you never know who is manipulating whom. The recent data on arms transfer to this most "moderate" opposition is the best proof of it.
"We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but "fire-hazardous". This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions. Especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries," Putin said.
"Under these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud-spoken declarations about an international terrorist threat and keep turning a blind eye to the channels of financial support for terrorists, including drug trafficking, illegal trade in oil and weapons or attempts to manipulate and harness extremist groups for achieving one’s own political goals," Putin said. ... [TASS - 28/9/15]
International contact group on Syria may hold talks in October [Sputnik News - 28/9/15]
President Obama UN Speech [Politico - 28/9/15]:
... As President of the United States, I am mindful of the dangers that we face; they cross my desk every morning. I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known, and I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary.
We know that ISIL -- which emerged out of the chaos of Iraq and Syria -- depends on perpetual war to survive. But we also know that they gain adherents because of a poisonous ideology. So part of our job, together, is to work to reject such extremism that infects too many of our young people. Part of that effort must be a continued rejection by Muslims of those who distort Islam to preach intolerance and promote violence, and it must also a rejection by non-Muslims of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror.
I believe that capitalism has been the greatest creator of wealth and opportunity that the world has ever known.
We can promote growth through trade that meets a higher standard. And that’s what we’re doing through the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- a trade agreement that encompasses nearly 40 percent of the global economy; an agreement that will open markets, while protecting the rights of workers and protecting the environment that enables development to be sustained.
I believe a government that suppresses peaceful dissent is not showing strength; it is showing weakness and it is showing fear. ...
Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy [Guardian - 30/12/12]
US court hears challenge to $5.7 billion Visa, MasterCard settlement [Reuters - 28/9/15]
Putin: All countries should respect Ukraine’s sovereignty
[RT - 27/9/15]:
The sovereignty of all states, including Ukraine, should be respected, Russian President Vladimir Putin told CBS’s ‘60 Minutes,’ stressing that he knows “for sure” that the US was involved in the ouster of President Yanukovich in 2014.
Speaking to veteran journalist Charlie Rose, Putin said that Russia respects the sovereignty of Ukraine, adding that “at no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing the legitimate government.”
He added that Moscow “would like other countries to respect the sovereignty of other states, including Ukraine. Respecting the sovereignty means preventing coups, unconstitutional actions and illegitimate overthrowing of the legitimate government.”
It is “absolutely unacceptable” to address issues through unconstitutional means, he said referring to the coup in Ukraine in February 2014.
“Our partners in the United States are not trying to hide the fact that they supported those opposed to President Yanukovich,” he said.
Putin added that he “knows for sure” that the US had in some way helped oust Viktor Yanukovich. Moscow knows “who had meetings and worked with people who overthrew” the ex-president, as well as “when and where they did it,” he said.
“We know the ways the assistance was provided, we know how much they paid them, we know which territories and countries hosted trainings and how it was done, we know who the instructors were. We know everything. Well, actually, our US partners are not keeping it a secret,” he said.
Since the start of the Ukrainian conflict the West has cited a “Russian threat” as an excuse to justify increased military spending in Eastern European NATO countries and provide a reason for US troops to be stationed in Europe.
The presence of Russian troops on Russia’s territory near the border with Ukraine has been used to argue that Russian troops are involved in the Ukrainian conflict.
However, Putin has repeatedly stated that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine.
“The US tactical nuclear weapons are in Europe, let us not forget this,” he said.
“Does it mean that the US has occupied Germany or that the US never stopped the occupation after World War II and only transformed the occupation troops into the NATO forces? And if we keep our troops on our territory on the border with some state, you see it is a crime?”
The US, more than any other country, has used its foreign policy in its internal “political struggle,” he said.
“An election campaign will soon start in the United States. They always play either the Russian card or any other,” he explained.
Protestors gather a year to the day pro-democracy rallies began in Hong Kong
Channel News Asia [28/9/15]:
Yellow umbrellas and makeshift tents were back in central Hong Kong on Monday as protesters gathered a year to the day since huge pro-democracy rallies brought parts of the city to a standstill.
But with crowds numbering just a few hundred, the turnout was a reflection of the movement's loss of momentum after failing to push Beijing into allowing fully free leadership elections.
At the height of the 2014 protests, which lasted for more than two months, tens of thousands regularly gathered to demand political reform. Yet despite the unprecedented rallies which garnered extensive coverage across the world, protesters were unable to force change.
Frustrated activists now say they need to regroup and come up with new strategies, conceding that changing the minds of Beijing and the Hong Kong government is currently a hopeless task.
Around 500 protesters gathered at the former main rally site in the financial district of Admiralty on Monday afternoon, jeering police who warned them not to block roads.
Rows of yellow umbrellas - symbol of the pro-democracy movement - several tents and a huge banner reading "I Want Universal Suffrage", lined the pavements. The major highway through Admiralty was the focal point for the pro-democracy camp during the protests, when thousands of tents sprawled across the road.
Protest leaders on Monday encouraged the crowd to fight on. "The authorities will still be against us, but that doesn't mean we will give up," said student leader Lester Shum.
Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai called 2014 "one of the most important years in Hong Kong history". "The Umbrella Movement ... was just the beginning for Hongkongers in their quest for democracy," he said.
Some protesters expressed their anger at the lack of progress. "We have not achieved universal suffrage," a woman in her 30s, who gave her name as Lam, told AFP. "Society is not geared to helping Hongkongers."
Lam had brought her young son to the gathering. "He knows that what we are doing is to avoid a fake election," she said.
Others relaxed in the sun and browsed stalls of Umbrella Movement memorabilia.
One couple posed for pre-wedding photos, the bride-to-be in a strapless white wedding dress with a construction helmet - often worn by protesters during the rallies.
Pro-independence parties in Spain's Catalonia region have won an absolute majority in regional elections.
The main separatist alliance and a smaller nationalist party won 72 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament.
However, the pro-independence parties fell just short of getting 50% of the vote, winning 1.9 million out of 4 million ballots cast.
The separatists say the victory gives them a clear mandate to form an independent Catalan state. ... [BBC - 28/9/15]
Shell stops Arctic activity after 'disappointing' tests
Royal Dutch Shell has stopped Arctic oil and gas exploration off the coast of Alaska after "disappointing" results from a key well in the Chukchi Sea.
In a surprise announcement, the company said it would end exploration off Alaska "for the foreseeable future".
Shell said it did not find sufficient amounts of oil and gas in the Burger J well to warrant further exploration.
The company has spent about $7bn (£4.5bn) on Arctic offshore development in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
"Shell continues to see important exploration potential in the basin, and the area is likely to ultimately be of strategic importance to Alaska and the US," said Marvin Odum, president of Shell USA.
"However, this is a clearly disappointing exploration outcome for this part of the basin."
Germany sentences two Rwandan Hutu rebels to
prison over DR Congo massacres
France 24 [28/9/15]
A German court on Monday sentenced two Rwandan rebel leaders to long jail terms for masterminding massacres in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo from their homes in Germany.
Ignace Murwanashyaka, head of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), received 13 years in prison, while his deputy Straton Musoni was given eight years, judge Juergen Hettich told the court after a landmark trial that lasted more than four years.
"This is not a political trial, but a criminal trial of a significant scale," the judge said.
The verdict however fell short of prosecutors' demands that Murwanashyaka be jailed for life with no conditional release after 15 years as is usual practice under Germany's legal system, and that Musoni serve 12 years.
The two Rwandans, who have lived in Germany for more than 20 years, were accused of a litany of war crimes committed between January 2008 and their arrest in Germany in November 2009.
At the opening of the case, federal prosecutor Christian Ritscher said Murwanashyaka ordered more than 200 killings and "large numbers" of rapes by his militias, had them use civilians as human shields and sent child soldiers into battle in eastern DR Congo.
The FDLR was formed in 1994 by ethnic Hutus, including perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, who fled to neighbouring DR Congo after President Paul Kagame took power.
It is today still sowing terror in resource-rich DR Congo, despite repeated efforts by UN troops and Congolese forces to stamp out the violence.
The trial against the two men had been hailed as a breakthrough by the United Nations after repeated calls by the Security Council to bring FDLR commanders living abroad to justice.
The first person to be charged with the war crime of destroying religious or historical monuments as part of an Islamist campaign against idolatry was transferred from West Africa to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague at the weekend to await arraignment. ... [Irish Times - 27/9/15]
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said foreign judges will not be involved in a probe on violations of international humanitarian law committed during the armed conflict as Sri Lanka’s constitution would not allow it. ... [Tamil Guardian - 27/9/15]
@fryan [27/9/15]: Scene from Laura Poitras new doco 'Asylum'. @wikileaks founder Assange fixes up a disguise before going on the run.
... Field of Vision will launch at the 53rd Annual New York Film Festival on Sept. 27 with Poitras’ “Asylum,” a short-form series tracking WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he publishes diplomatic cables and seeks asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy. ... [Variety - 9/9/15]
Peter Greste calls on Australia to end secrecy over offshore asylum detention centres [Democracy Now 28/9/15]:
… AMY GOODMAN: Our guest for the hour is Peter Greste, Al Jazeera journalist, known around the world because he was one of three Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt. He was in prison for 400 days. He is here in New York seeking a pardon from the Egyptian president, el-Sisi, who is at the U.N. General Assembly. Whether he gets that, we’ll see. His two other colleagues, while held longer than he was, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, by a number of weeks, they were pardoned last week along with 100 others in Egypt.
I wanted to ask you about coverage of prisons and also of refugees. And you’ve reported all over the world. You won a major award covering Somalia, for example. You are the son of an asylum seeker in Australia?
PETER GRESTE: Yeah, of a refugee. My father is Latvian. His family fled Latvia when the Russians annexed the Baltic states, back during World War II—excuse me—and they came out to Australia as refugees in the wake of World War II. So, you know, in a way, of course, everybody, apart from the Aborigines in Australia, are migrants of some sort, whether they’re refugees or migrants seeking a better life. Everybody has come to Australia, I think, in much the same case—same way that they’ve come here, at some point, to this country.
AMY GOODMAN: And you criticized the former prime minister of Australia, Tony Abbott.
PETER GRESTE: Yes. Well, I’ve—it was interesting. This was at the National Press Club, where somebody gave a speech—
AMY GOODMAN: In Australia.
PETER GRESTE: In Australia, yes, the National Press Club in Canberra. And, in fact, we had Julie Bishop, our foreign minister, sitting in the audience, and someone asked me about coverage of the refugee detention center in Nauru, an island to the north of Australia where asylum seekers are being held. And I made the point that—
AMY GOODMAN: So they keep them on islands in the South Pacific.
PETER GRESTE: That’s right, they keep them on islands away from the press. The press have been refused, have been denied access to those areas. And I felt very, very strongly about this, that this is not—we’re not been denied access on national security grounds. It’s impossible, I think, to justify denying access to journalists to those detention centers, because in a democracy the government acts in our name, the government works for us, as voters, as taxpayers. And so, unless there is a very clear, very specific reason for denying us access on national security grounds—and I simply can’t see why there would be in the case of asylum seekers—then we need to know what’s being done in our name. The only reason we can think of is that those detention centers might actually be embarrassing to the Australian government. Well, frankly, that’s not good enough. In a democracy, we need to understand what’s being done.
AMY GOODMAN: They either put them in detention centers or turn them away, the boats.
PETER GRESTE: That’s right, exactly. And anybody who tries to get into Australia by boat is automatically placed in those detention centers and either sent back to their country of origin or resettled in third countries. They will not be allowed into Australia. It’s a very controversial policy. The government—the government of Tony Abbott has insisted that it’s the only practical approach to stopping the boats. They say that this is for the safety of those—of the asylum seekers themselves, because they argue that in fact by stopping the movement of refugees, they’re effectively shutting down the people smugglers, which are—who are responsible for so many deaths at sea. Whether or not that’s actually saving lives is a debatable question. Whether this is the best way of doing that is something that is a debate that I think is still ongoing. And one of the key elements to that debate is whether it’s appropriate to keep those asylum seekers on those islands in those detention centers, in conditions that, frankly, we know are quite severe, but we really haven’t been able to examine properly because the press simply isn’t allowed access.
29 September 2015