United States continues bombing everyone, especially in Iraq and Syria [US Department of Defense - 30/10/16]



‏@IFRC_MENA [30/10/16]:  #RedCrescent: Number of people displaced since onset of #Mosul operations hits 3,000.



The bodies of 16 migrants have washed up on shore at the western Libyan city of Zuwara, a Red Crescent spokesman said on Sunday.

Al-Khamis al-Bosaifi said the bodies, which were recovered on Saturday, were all men who appeared to be from sub-Saharan Africa.

"The bodies are decomposed and we have no idea when they drowned," he said. ... [Reuters - 30/10/16]



Car blast kills four in central Benghazi [Reuters – 30/10/16]:


A car exploded late on Saturday in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi killing four people and wounding at least 14, security and medical officials said.

Among those killed in the attack in the city's central Keesh district was Mohamed Bugaighis, who headed an anti-corruption body, the officials said.

Bugaighis was also a supporter of the Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar, which has been waging a two-year military campaign against Islamists and other opponents in Benghazi.



Senator Hanson-Young asked Attorney-General George Brandis about the 8,000 stranded Rohingya refugees in the Straits of Malacca.  His answer: "Thanks to this government, it isn't Australia's problem anymore". [Senate - May 2015]





... We also told the Australian delegation that since the conference did not formally discuss the Rohingyas - originally slated to be the key point of the conference - that the AHG [Ad Hoc Group] mechanism should be pursued quickly to address this pressing issue.

Bringing Burma to the table was a major accomplishment, we acknowledged; however, we cannot wait for Burma to change its policy before discussing the Rohingya crisis. This can be discussed without Burma.

Foreign Minister Steven Smith later approached us privately to assure us that Australia would press for the AHG mechanism to "be invoked soon to deal with the Rohingyas."

Australia announced at the conference its contribution of AD300,000 to care for the Rohingyas in Aceh. IOM said the Dutch are promising a similar donation, perhaps conditional upon a U.S. donation. ...



Rohingya demonstration in Washington, DC, 1 November 2016 [Rohingya Blogger]



Myanmar military continues operations against Rohingya  [RVision TV - 30/10/16]



‏@nslwin [30/10/16]:  #USheyKya village was raided by #Myanmar Army on Oct 29. Looted valuable things, destroyed household things, tore pages of #Quran. #Rohingya




No to torture, no to fear - refugees are welcome here!



 The crowd calls 'Shame!' as Stanhope calls out federal policy as a race to the bottom. ...  [Canberra]


Image: @erinnish [30/10/16]



@erinnish [30/10/16]:  Massive crowd in #CBR Stanhope reminds us it was an ALP government sent the 4Corners kids to Nauru. ...



South China Morning Post [30/10/16]:


Abbas Alaboudi has stopped painting as the pain of spending more than two years on Nauru has broken his spirit.

He is one of the 755 refugees held indefinitely on the island that has become Australia’s offshore dumping ground in its deterrence of asylum seekers.

“There’s no life or future here,” Alaboudi told This Week in Asia from his room outside the detention centre where 442 of his fellow refugees are housed.

“We are merely breathing so we don’t die on the sea.”


For Alaboudi, a visual artist and plasterer by trade, the political wrangling has become too much and he has retreated to a more solitary existence, preferring to spend time by himself for fear of violence from the local population on the island.


“When we see immigration minister Peter Dutton on television it distresses us. We are tired of waiting and we are going insane. The madness is eating us alive,” Alaboudi said.

The Iraqi asylum seeker, 27, left Baghdad in July 2013.

He cites threats from terrorist groups as motivating the decision, but does not want to name them out of fear for his family’s safety.

He travelled to the United Arab Emirates then to Indonesia and from there boarded a small boat with his cousin, 42, after paying a smuggler who promised them safety in Australia more than A$15,000 (HK$89,000).

After four days in the ocean, severely dehydrated and unsure of their fate, they were intercepted by an Australian naval boat.

“The smuggler told me there would be no problems but I did not know that the migration policies had been toughened,” said Alaboudi.

Alaboudi’s risky journey had coincided with the run-up to a hotly contested election, during which Kevin Rudd, the former Labour prime minister, had negotiated a deal with Nauru and Papua New Guinea to process all asylum seekers in offshore centres.

Alaboudi spent eight months on Christmas Island, describing his experience as “a prison in all senses of the term”.

He said detainees faced restricted movement, physical abuse by guards and negligence from companies contracted to operate the detention centre.


Australia struck a A$55 million deal with Cambodia to resettle refugees but so far only one refugee, from the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, has remained in the country.

Alaboudi was offered a similar choice, which he rebuffed.

“Immigration officials told me repeatedly to go to Cambodia or to go back to Iraq. The overall message is that you’re not going to Australia and they do it to break your spirit”.

With the political turmoil in Syria and Iraq continuing, Australia agreed to accept 12,000 refugees from both countries to its humanitarian programme in September last year but Alaboudi is not eligible.

Demonstrators in Australia held paintings by Alaboudi in August this year during nationwide protests urging the government to end offshore detention of refugees.

Alaboudi was heartened by this use of his canvases, which depict the conditions faced by refugees, such as a child behind bars and a portrait of Omid Masoumali, an Iranian who burnt himself alive on Nauru in May.

“I want to live like any normal person,” said Alaboudi.

“Life here is absurd and abnormal.” ...



Who took Nauru refugees' protest sign to Perth, and why?



Day 24 of protests by #refugees at the Australian govt's refugee camp on #Nauru. #RefugeeStruggle #CloseTheCamps [Image:  ‏@InsurrectNews - 12/4/16]




Honestly we are hopeless in #Nauru n #Manus but #Australian_people our hope From vigil in #Perth @NewbyNewbys  ... ‏@SuchNigel [27/10/16]


… We remember Omid and all those who have been killed by Australia's border policies. We call on the government to bring all those incarcerated in our pacific black sites back to Australia. [Refugee Rights Action Network WA - 30/4/16]



'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]



Brown reports on more instances of misconduct in the US prison system [Free Barrett Brown - 26/10/16]:


... But for the first two weeks he was being held, Hassan didn’t get any of his property, even his legal work; a SHU property officer by the name of Gamble even taunted him about it, on two occasions cheerfully bringing property to other SHU inmates, and at one point loudly remarking while standing in Hassan’s corridor about how he’d enjoyed “killing a couple of Muslims over in Iraq.”

After a series of complaints, Gamble was replaced as property officer and Hassan finally got his property.

Gamble continues to work at the prison. ...




... The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace,

You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace,

Hate your next door neighbour, but don't forget to say grace ...



'Eve of Destruction' is a protest song written by P. F. Sloan in mid-1964. Several artists have recorded it, but the best-known recording was by Barry McGuire. ... [Wikipedia]




The United States Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Catherine Ebert-Gray spent two days in Enga visiting  schools and other establishments formerly run by US Missionaries. ... [EMTV - 30/10/16]



Thousands of citizens took to the streets in downtown Seoul on Saturday, demanding President Park Geun-hye step down, in protest of an ongoing influence-peddling scandal surrounding her confidante.

Groups, including the country's largest umbrella labor union, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, which had been at odds with the president on a host of issues in the past, jointly held a candlelight rally in Cheonggye Stream Square.

About 20,000 took part in the demonstration, according to the organizers, although the police put the number closer at 9,000, with 8,000 officers mobilized to deal with contingencies. 

Police and politicians have been casting watchful eyes on the rally as it was the first mass movement after the president apologized in a nationally televised address over allegations raised against her confidante, Choi Soon-sil. 

In the apology delivered Tuesday, Park admitted to the leak of dozens of presidential speeches to Choi before they were made public, acknowledging her ties. ... [Korea Herald - 30/10/16]



Japan, China, South Korea trade chiefs pledge to promote free trade talks [Japan Today - 30/10/16]



Shocked and saddened that M Ravi is barred from legal practice [Online Citizen – 28/10/16]



‏@OHCHRAsia [28/10/16]:   We are concerned by disproportionate sanction by #Singapore Appeal Court on #Humanrights lawyer #Ravi who barred from practicing for 2 years



Chinese ships are no longer at the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea and Philippine boats can resume fishing, the Philippine defence minister said on Friday, calling the Chinese departure a "welcome development". ... [Reuters - 28/10/16]



Philippine Mayor among 10 killed in shootout as drug war enters new phase [Reuters – 28/10/16]



... I often feel a certain sadness about the way my own country – with all its resources and opportunities – seems locked into such an unnecessary, dangerous obsequious role in the world.

If the ‘pivot’ proceeds, Australia could find itself fighting, yet again, a great power’s war. ... “Confronting China”  [ICH - 28/10/16]



... Academic people, writer people, artist people. Those people that they can make change and put pressure on the government.

Why are they silent?


Behrouz Boochani - political prisoner of the Australian government, Manus Island [RNZI - 15/10/16]



Last week, in partnership with the Australian and New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts, we hosted a special conversation event with one of Australia’s greatest authors, Thomas Keneally, and British arts and culture journalist Mark Lawson. ... [Australian High Commission in the United Kingdom · - June 2016]



Australia Unlimited.




“Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. When independent-thinking people (and here I do not include the corporate media) begin to rally under flags, when writers, painters, musicians, film makers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the “Nation,” it’s time for all of us to sit up and worry.”


 ― Arundhati Roy




Chilling silence surrounds Myanmar military operation against Rohingya [Bangkok Post - 30/10/16]



Impact of Myanmar's ongoing military operation in the Rakhine on Woodside's exploration activities "a bit too newsy" for Australian journalists? [Middle East Eye - 11/11/15]:


... US, British, Australian and European oil majors have been awarded contracts by the junta, including BG Group and Ophir (UK); Shell (UK-Netherlands); Statoil (Norway); Chevron and Conoco Phillips (US); Woodside (Australia); Eni (Italy) and Total (France).

Many of these contracts - particularly those involving Chevron, Ophir, Woodside, and Eni - are production-sharing initiatives in the Rakhine basin, just off the coast of the Rakhine state where local Rohingya Muslims face the prospect of extinction. ...



Abbott's sister Christine Forster becomes Woodside spinner [Australian Financial Review - 5/10/16]:


... Forster's appointment comes as the streets of Woodside's hometown of Perth hum with talk that former Saturday Paper journo (and one-time scribe for this esteemed organ) Sophie Morris has also joined the mining company. ...



‏@Aungaungsittwe [30/10/16]:  #Genocidal operation against #Muslims by #Myanmar gov extended everywhere in #Burma, every Mosque is being raided by authority show danger



@JamilaHanan [30/10/16]:  Current attacks on the #Rohingya are in #Maungdaw, #Rathedaung and #Buthidaung. Meanwhile in #Sittwe they are forced to live like this.



@nslwin [30/10/16]:  4 #Rohingya Imams from #Rathedaung #LowerNangYar Village were beaten and extorted 200,000 Kyat by #Myanmar Army Officer on Oct 26th evening



@1shahoo [30/10/16]:  For #Rohingya IDP camp is nothing but a one big prison where it's boundaries are guarded with armed militaries. ...



Failed attempt to save fleeing Rohingya family [The Stateless - 29/10/16]



Until ALL those who support torture, exile and boat turnbacks i.e. LNP, ALP, academics, media, business, unions, NGOs and partisan "advocates" are opposed - Australia's war on refugees will continue.


And until the policy ends, we are all prisoners.


... So you look into the land and it will tell you a story

Story 'bout a journey ended long ago


Listen to the motion of the wind in the mountains

Maybe you can hear them talking like I do

"...they're gonna betray you, they're gonna forget you  - are you gonna let them take you over that way ? "


'Great Southern Land', Icehouse [1982]



It was great to meet with @RefugeesChief Filippo Grandi in Geneva today  [Image: ‏@PeterDutton_MP - 29/3/16]



During the UNHCR's April visit to Nauru, refugees were told to expect to remain on the island for "another ten years".



Australia stopped accepting refugees in July 2014.



Labor will be supporting this legislation because it is our policy.:  "Opposition" Leader, Bill Shorten speaking on the Migration Amendment (Regional Processing Arrangements) Bill 2015  [House of Representatives Hansard - 24/6/15]



ABC [4/2/16]:


The Coalition and Labor have joined forces to vote down a motion to grant amnesty to almost 270 asylum seekers currently in Australia.

The 267 people, including 37 babies, are facing the prospect of being sent to Nauru in the wake of yesterday's High Court judgement which upheld offshore immigration detention.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young today moved a motion in the Senate, asking for the Federal Government to allow the asylum seekers to remain onshore.

In full, the motion read: "the Senate calls on the Turnbull Government to grant amnesty to the 267 men, women and children in Australia as part of the M68 High Court challenge, and allow them to stay." ...




... Dr Dudley said health professionals working in the detention regime were "lending credibility to abuses", whether deliberately or inadvertently. ... [Brisbane Times - 18/2/16]




Mr Tim WATTS (Gellibrand) (19:40) [House of Representatives Hansard - 25/11/15]:


... We also committed to practical, compassionate measures that will work in the short term—continuing the combination of offshore processing and regional resettlement together with the policy of turning back boats that has stopped the flow of vessels arriving on our shores. ...



@ABCNews24 [29/9/15]:   Plibersek: People coming to Australia by boat should not expect to be accepted into our refugee & humanitarian intake ...



Human Rights Overboard:  A rebuttal to the latest iteration of the Brennan, Costello, Manne and Menadue "solution".



All aboard the bipartisan ship [Overland - 11/8/15]:


... 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.’

Writing in The Australian, Save the Children Australia CEO Paul Ronalds makes a more reluctant argument for the same conclusion: that organisations supporting refugees should embrace the opportunity for bipartisan consensus by abandoning active support for the principle of non-refoulement:


Although we may not like turnbacks, it is clear the policy is here to stay. Now we and other advocates for the rights of asylum-seekers must look beyond this aspect of the policy and concentrate our efforts on implementing a genuine regional framework, which we have long called for.  ...


As NGOs have taken on major government contracts for refugee and asylum-seeker services, such as the $19m contract Save the Children currently holds with the detention facilities on Nauru, these organisations have become structurally invested in maintaining government control over asylum seekers.

But liberal humanitarians are more deeply invested in government control over asylum seekers than can be explained by any direct financial benefit.

They may disagree with right-wing conservatives on how many refugees should be accepted, or the details of how those who are turned away should be treated, but they share the premise stated by John Howard during the Tampa crisis: ‘We will decide who comes here and the manner in which they come.’  ...



A gentle reminder: unions are part of the detention industry [xBorder - 22/7/15]



Australian Operation Sovereign Borders personnel told asylum seekers:  Fuck your mothers ... fuck your family ... [ABC- 22/7/14]




 Mountz: image showing #Australia's onshore and offshore #detention sites ... Image:  ‏@AudraLMitchell [12/11/15]



Professor Alison Mountz, of Harvard University, Wilfrid Laurier University and the Balsillie School of International Affairs, responds to and challenges the crisis narratives unfolding in the media as she discusses political struggles over the erosion of asylum taking place globally. This talk explores shifting geographies of migration and border enforcement in major transit sites where migrants and asylum seekers seek entry and protection. The talk dwells in islands and enforcement archipelagos, offshore sites where struggles over entry and exclusion transpire and where the infrastructure of border enforcement and detention are growing. ... [VIDEO - Centre for International Governance Innovation - 12/11/15]




30 October 2016