United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [1/12/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
A remotely piloted aircraft conducted an airstrike near Al Hawl, which struck an ISIL tactical unit.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 13 airstrikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:
-- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Habbaniyah, a strike destroyed an ISIL building.
-- Near Makhmur, a strike denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Ramadi, five strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL command and control nodes, an ISIL staging area, and an ISIL weapons cache, damaged two ISIL command and control nodes, two ISIL buildings, and denied ISIL access to terrain.
-- Near Sinjar, three strikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions.
-- Near Qaim, a strike struck an ISIL vehicle bomb facility.
-- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike struck inoperable Coalition equipment denying ISIL access in support of Coalition operations.
Turkey’s leadership, including President Erdogan and his family, is involved in illegal oil trade with Islamic State militants, says the Russian Defense Ministry, stressing that Turkey is the final destination for oil smuggled from Syria and Iraq.
The Russian Defense Ministry held a major briefing on new findings concerning IS funding in Moscow on Wednesday.
According to Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, Russia is aware of three main oil smuggling routes to Turkey. ... [RT - 2/12/15]
Russia'a airstrikes cause twofold decline in IS oil production in Syria — general [TASS - 2/12/15]
An air strike on a water treatment plant in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo last Thursday cut water supplies to some 3.5 million people, and while pumping has been partly restored, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is warning that 1.4 million still have interruptions in their supply. ... [UN Media Release - 1/12/15]
@IraqiSMCEn - Iraqi Spring Media Center [1/12/15]: Anbar: News agencies reported that the government's army has shelled Julan neighbourhood in Fallujah killing a child and wounding her mother.....
Nearly 500 Iraqi civilians were killed in Iraq last month in a “vicious circle of violence,” ranging from acts of terrorism to armed conflict, as the total number of Iraqi casualties rose to more than 2,100, according to the UN Assistance Mission in the crisis-gripped country. ... [UN Media Release - 1/12/15]
Slovakia filed a lawsuit at the European Court of Justice on Wednesday against a European Union decision to redistribute 120,000 asylum seekers among member countries, the first legal challenge to a measure that has divided the bloc. ... [Reuters - 2/12/15]
@MSF_Sea [2/12/15]: "I left my family 6 weeks ago. It’s hard to remember it feels like so long ago". Hassan is 16 and stuck at #Idomeni
Flow of refugee and migrant children into Greece doubles, UN agencies report [UN Media Release - 1/12/15]
Sweden: 14,000 illegal migrants disappear after receiving deporation orders [The Local - 27/11/15]
The UN Refugee Agency has welcomed an announcement by the Royal Thai Government that more than 18,000 stateless people have been granted nationality in Thailand in the last three years.
The move marks an important further step in the global campaign to end statelessness by 2024 and brings the number of stateless people in Thailand to 443,862 – once the government's database is updated. ... [UNHCR Media Release - 1/12/15]
Even if they achieve their cynical, creepy "free the children" PR stunt, what do the Greens, human rights do gooders, pollsters and media enablers think someone like Turnbull will do with the refugee children when they are "released"?
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]
Who am I?
Happy and cheerful with my family one day
With tears and screams I was taken away
Put into an Aboriginal children's home
Who was I to turn to? Where was I to go?
The sisters were nice and looked after us
Until the sad day my friends were put on the bus
The bus took them away from me because they were too dark
They were sent to be slaves, because our skin leaves a mark
I was so lonely and so sad
Just because of our skin colour we are judged as bad
Then my day came to leave Bomaderry
To turn white and to be put in a white family
As I got on the train I couldn't stop crying
Why did the matron make me leave? Why am I still going?
As I got off the train I felt like everyone was watching
Watching the dark girl that was approaching
Now I lived in Sydney with my white family
Why do I have to be white? Why can' t I be me?
To white people I am introduced as the coloured child
Why do people act like that? It's like I've been pulled out of the wild.
On Australia Day I am going to fight
Against the government for our Aboriginal rights
Fight to be with my real family and fight to be free
For I am an Aboriginal and proud to be me
Poem by Kate Hughes, Fauconbridge, NSW [Stolen
Generations stories - Creative Spirits]
Rohingya — the Palestinians of Asia [Gulf News – 1/12/15]:
... Few are paying much heed to the Israeli-Myanmarese connection, which was sustained even during the time that the Myanmarese junta was deservingly shunned for crippling democracy and crushing the opposition. But the fact is that the new democratic elections were merely designed to validate the generals — for it fully reserved their power — while presenting an illusion of democracy to enable the economic exploitation of Myanmar for its many natural treasures.
The sweeping, although predictable victory for the National League for Democracy (NLD), under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, is unlikely to change the scenario much as far as the dominance of the military goes. Even if the revered democracy icon has, in fact, some serious influence over the country’s affairs, she has proven spineless in defending the rights of the Rohingya and other persecuted minorities, including Christians. Her deafening silence has prompted the Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, more than once to urge her to take a stance in defence of the Rohingya. Yet, she has failed to do so.
But this is not simply a matter of intellectual exercise. The consequences of this silence are truly dire. Writing in the Ecologist, Nafeez Ahmad cited alarming new findings. A study conducted last October by the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) at Queen Mary University in London “found that the Rohingya face ‘the final stages of a genocidal process’”.
“Leaked government documents show that plans to inflict ‘mass annihilation’ have been prepared at the highest levels,” he wrote.
Not only did the elections disempower and further alienate the Rohingya, but it has also empowered political groups that have openly sought the ‘mass annihilation’ of the defenceless minority community. They include the Arakan National Party (ANP), which has incited and enacted violent pogroms against the Rohingya for years.
The question is then, why is there all this excitement about Myanmarese democracy? The answer is rather simple: The rivalry between China and the United States, and their respective allies, has reached a point where the massive amount of untapped wealth of oil and natural gas in Myanmar can no longer be ignored.
The US, United Kingdom and other countries are salivating at the limitless potential of economic opportunities in that country, estimated at “3.2 billion barrels of oil and 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves”. According to a UK government report under the theme, a ‘hotspot for exploration,” Myanmar’s “unproven resources may be vastly greater”.
BG Group and Woodside to start offshore exploration [Myanmar Times - 19/11/15]
PT Freeport Indonesia president director Maroef Sjamsoeddin decided to record a conversation with House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto and oil and gas businessman Muhammad Riza Chalid after becoming suspicious about the planned subject of discussion, according to a minister.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said said on Wednesday that it was Maroef himself who had decided to record the meeting, his third with Setya and Riza. ... [Jakarta Post - 2/12/15]
An arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday for an assistant of opposition leader Sam Rainsy who helps run his popular Facebook page and is allegedly responsible for producing the video in which now-jailed Senator Hong Sok Hour presents a forged treaty.
In August, Mr. Sok Hour was ordered jailed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who complained of suffering a bout of insomnia after watching a video of the senator presenting a doctored treaty purporting to show a deal with Vietnam to dissolve the eastern border.
Mr. Rainsy, who is in self-imposed exile to avoid a warrant issued for his arrest last month, has been summoned to court on Friday for questioning over the video on provisional charges of being an accomplice to forgery and incitement.
Yet Mr. Rainsy has noted that he was not in Cambodia at the time the video was posted and says that it was his Facebook team that posted —and then deleted—it.
Tuesday’s arrest warrant targets Sathya Sambath, one of the main members of his Facebook team. ... [Cambodia Daily - 2/12/15]
Chennai floods: Once again, social media is helping Indians while the government flounders [Quartz - 2/12/15]
Parasite blamed for fish deaths in Sihanoukville [Phnom Penh Post - 2/12/15]
The Department of Fisheries believes a water quality issue is the likely cause of the deaths of hundreds of fish in Cockburn Sound, as reports of more dead snapper and blowfish surface.
Fisheries said on Wednesday a new haul of dead fish was reported on both sides of the Garden Island Causeway and near the Point Peron boat ramp. ... [WA Today - 2/12/15]
Hundreds of whales found dead in Chile [Tico Tmes – 1/12/15]
Tokyo Electric Power Co has agreed to make a payment to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a dairy farmer who committed suicide after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, the family’s lawyers said.
The settlement was reached at the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday. The exact sum was not disclosed, though the family had been seeking around 128 million yen in damages. ... [Japan Today - 2/12/15]
Brisbane woman Anthea Mari's accused murderer confided to a friend that he'd killed someone hours after allegedly ending the mother of four's life, a court has heard. ... [Yahoo - 2/12/15]
... Kayle McElwee, 29, is facing a string of drug and driving charges, including supplying a dangerous drug.
He is understood to be dating Cairns Constable Cristina Cidade who was suspended from official duties earlier in the week.
The 33-year-old policewoman, who is a former star of police show Recruits, is accused of failing to resolve a conflict of interest and accessing confidential information on a police computer system.
Cairns Magistrate Trevor Black on Wednesday moved most of McElwee's charges to the Brisbane Magistrates Court where they will be heard on December 16.
Two charges of possessing dangerous drugs were adjourned to Mareeba for January 4. [Yahoo - 2/12/15]
Queensland's anti rights laws target bikie groups with no local members, government review finds [ABC - 2/12/15]
Detectives from Taskforce Maxima, State Crime Command executed a search warrant at a residence on Marine Parade, Southport early this morning allegedly locating dangerous drugs.
The search resulted in the seizure of methylamphetmines (ICE), steroids, other restricted drugs, drug paraphernalia, a baton and suspected stolen number plates.
A 27-year -old Southport man, a patched member of the Nomads OMCG, was charged with three counts of the possession of dangerous drugs and one count each of possession of restricted drugs, possessing property suspected of being used in a crime and possession of a restricted item (baton).
A 27-year-old Southport woman, was also charged with two counts of possession of dangerous drugs, and one count each of possession of restricted drugs, possessing property suspected of being used in a crime, possession of a drug utensil, disobeying a lawful order, possession of a restricted item (baton), possession of tainted property (number plates suspected of being stolen) and breach of bail.
Both are due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court on December 3. ... [QPS Media - 2/12/15]
Drug crop seizure, Beachmere [QPS Media - 2/12/15]
Queensland government uses domestic violence as an excuse to expand racist welfare quarantining which will exacerbate punishment of victims [Yahoo - 2/12/15]
Soldier charged with public nuisance after running around Rochedale in camo gear, carrying replica semi automatic [ABC - 2/12/15]
... Rochedale High School, Redeemer Lutheran College and Rochedale Early Learning Centre were all sent into lockdown while police hunted the man.
Staff at the nursery ushered 75 babies and toddlers into locked rooms with the blinds pulled and urged the children to stay silent while the man was found.
"We stayed in lockdown for about 45 minutes until the police had checked the building and told us it was safe," director Debbie Hines told AAP.
"Parents had got the word on Facebook and I was getting lots of phone calls. "They were obviously worried and upset but we were able to inform them that their children were safe."
After questioning the 26-year-old at Mt Gravatt, police issued him with a notice to appear at the Holland Park Magistrates Court on December 9 on one count of public nuisance. [Yahoo - 2/11/15]
Super Hornets flyover South East Queensland as part of "training mission" [ABC - 2/12/15]
A man and a women have been charged following investigations into allegations of female genital mutilation of two girls, aged nine and 12, south of Brisbane. ... [ABC - 2/12/15]
A Swedish tourist has suffered a suspected spinal injury after being thrown onto rocks while swimming in the surf at Fraser Island.
The 22-year-old man was airlifted by helicopter to Hervey Bay Hospital after being injured by a rogue wave at Champagne Pools around 11am on Wednesday. [Yahoo - 2/12/15]
KAP begins historical week for Queensland [My Sunshine Coast - 2/12/15]:
KAP are set to make history in Queensland parliament this week with the possibility of passing of two private members bills and taking significant steps forward with the biofuel industry.
With only seven private members bills passing since the formation of Queensland Parliament the Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Bill and the Electoral (Improving Representation) and Another Act Amendment Bill 2015 could change the face of state politics.
KAP State leader and member for Mt Isa Rob Katter said KAP has the potential to make up for ground lost by rural and regional Queensland in the coming days.
“I hope its clear KAP will always fight for the very people we promised to fight for,” Mr Katter said.
“We are persevering to address the imbalance in the markets and in representation – we are here to stay.”
Mr Katter said the significance of minor parties serving as a middle ground cannot be overstated.
“This week strikes at the heart of how a good political system can work when a minor party can contribute to the ideas that come into the House,” Mr Katter said.
A Queensland prison officer who was sacked for leaking information to Mt Isa MP Robbie Katter has had an appeal against her dismissal rejected.
Belinda Johnson, who had been a Queensland Corrective Services employee since October 1998, was accused of making "inappropriate and excessive" use of departmental informational and communication resources and was sacked in April last year. ... [Brisbane Times - 2/12/15]
A man who has spent 13 years in the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was arrested partly in a case of mistaken identity, US officials conceded Tuesday.
Officials admitted that Mustafa al-Aziz al-Shamiri, 37, was a low-level Islamist foot soldier and not an al-Qaida courier and trainer as previously thought, during a Guantanamo hearing.
Wearing a beard and voluminous white T-shirt, and accompanied by a linguist and two personal representatives, the Yemeni appeared before a panel assessing whether he can be released. ... [Guardian - 2/12/15]
Crying on a remote island.
Where is the PNG Debate on Manus Island? [the garamut - 17/8/12]
Behrouz Boochani [2/12/15]:
I know a man who did not talk with his small daughter, son and wife for 29 months.
HIs family live on a dry land on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. I talked with him in Manus Prison when they took us during the hunger strike and put us in that dirty jail.
He was crying and when I put my hands on his shoulder and asked him why he was crying, he looked at me and said: ‘I am not crying for myself. My heart is heavy for my small daughter and son’.
Red Cross were here and they wanted to help him. Two months after prison I saw that man. He came to me, so happy and kissed my shoulder. I wondered why. I did not know him and asked myself why this man kissed my shoulder. He said: ‘My brother, today I am happy because I talked with my small daughter and so I kiss your shoulder because of that dark night when you put your kind hands on my broken shoulder’.
Red Cross had sent a man from Kabul to their village and he could talk with his family. Several times I have seen him after that at medical and several times he has come to me and kissed my shoulder. I wonder and ask a question of my hands. ‘What was in you? Which kind power was in you that this man kissed your shoulder?’
Any time I ask that question from myself and my hands my heart answers with a feeling of huge pain. My heart answers me: ‘You are a stupid man. How can you not know that the source of all those kisses is from me and how is it that you don’t know that heart and humanity - that love, has the biggest power in the world?’
I know another man who cries in the toilets and behind the tall coconut trees on a dark night.
He is from Sri Lanka. I know he hides his tears from me and other people. He is always crying for his small beautiful daughter who is working hard to protect her sick mother - a small girl who each morning wakes up with the smell of flowers. She kisses her mother and goes to the busy street, into the cars and trucks and sells the flowers to drivers. She is a beautiful poor girl who sells fresh flowers to people and lovers who make each other happy with her flowers.
I learn from this small daughter how I can distribute love to city people who are in the poorest position. I learn from that small angel how a small girl can be a powerful father and mother to her father and mother.
I am sure that girl has a beautiful warm dream in her heart and keeps it to share with her father who is crying in a prison on a remote island.
I know a lot of men in Manus prison who are crying to their angels like that Sri Lankan man. I know a lot of men in Manus prison who keep their dreams in their hearts. I know a lot of men in Manus prison who are crying and their shoulders and hearts are broken.
Only a father knows how hard it is to see your family in the poorest position without being able to help them or even kiss them or clean their tears.
I know a lot of men are crying in the darkest nights on a remote island hiding their tears.
They know a man must be strong in a hard place.
You go sister -----> ... Broadspectrum regularly uses social media to scout out likely troublemakers ahead of other public events, Ms Smith-Gander revealed.
"Likewise I gave a speech at the University of Western Australia and there were activists in that room and the same thing. The attendance list had been washed against the Facebook page and a security person was positioned to identify that person when they came in," she said. ...
[The Age - 2/12/15]
Free the Children NAURU [27/11/15]:
25.11.15 Connect told to refugees in Nauru : "we have new accommodation for you" when I went there I didn't have room
I lied on the street and Nauru police arected (arrested) me and 3 strong Nauruian men with force pushed me in the police car and they kept me in the jail, still I don't have room for live.
please help me just I need a room for live.
I asked Australian connect worker (her name is (deleted) and they left me alone and Nauru police arested me and they kept me in ...the jail and they left my belongs in the street, I need your help please. still I dont have any place for live.
I am not alone,we are 4 single ladies.
This morning 27.11.15 a protest started at RPC3 one man (Name deleted) climbed to the top of a crane
He was protesting about having another interview with Australian immigration because he has had many interview and he still doesn't know about his refugee statue .
he has a message to world : ( WORLD ,KIDS IN NAURU NEED YOUR HELP )
Sole parent Lisa Le faces deportation – with or without two-year-old son [Sydney Morning Herald – 2/12/15]
Tasmanian fights deportation to New Zealand [2/12/15]:
A former Rebels bikie boss jailed for trafficking methamphetamine is fighting an order to deport him to New Zealand once he's served his sentence.
Lawyers for Colin David Picard, 69, on Wednesday told the Federal Court their client was not given the opportunity of a fair hearing before a decision was made to deny his application to stop his mandatory deportation.
They say the former Tasmanian Rebels outlaw gang president and Launceston chapter boss, who is serving an 18-month prison sentence, has just one significant criminal conviction and should have been given a right of reply.
Picard is one of more than 200 bikies, drug traffickers and sex offenders whose visa's were cancelled after an amendment to a section of the Migration Act gave then immigration minister Peter Dutton more powers to turf out people on "character" grounds.
The hearing, in Melbourne, continues.
The High Court has ruled that Nauru's Australian bank accounts are immune from repaying 1.3 billion yen sought by a US hedge fund. ... [SBS - 2/12/15]
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key's lawyers in court over defamation suit [RNZI – 2/12/15]
Artists fill Paris with 600 fake ads to protest corporate sponsorship of climate conference [Bored Panda - 30/11/15]
UN DÉTOURNEMENT MASSIF DE LA PUBLICITÉ DANS PARIS DÉNONCE LA MAINMISE DES NÉGOCIATIONS SUR LE CLIMAT PAR LES MULTINATIONALES [Brandalism - 29/11/15]
Democracy Now [1/12/15]:
... Outside the COP21 facilities, protests continued to be banned across France. French President François Hollande has condemned the protests over the weekend, calling it "scandalous" that they would protest at the Place de la Republique, even though Democracy Now! original video footage shows the police, not the protesters, were the ones to trample on the flowers and candles commemorating the November 13 attacks.
François Hollande: "This is why these protests are not authorized. We knew there would be troublemakers, who by the way have nothing to do with climate activists, or those who want the conference to succeed, and who are there only to create problems. That’s why there were put under house arrest. And it’s doubly unfortunate, I’d even say scandalous, Place de la Republique, where there are all these flowers and also candles placed in memory of those who were killed by the bullets of terrorists."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has confirmed police have raided more than 2,000 homes since France declared a three-month state of emergency following the attacks on November 13.
Brazil sues BHP, Vale for $A7 billion [Nine MSN - 1/12/15]:
Brazil has filed a lawsuit against Australia's BHP Billiton and its own Vale SA for 20 billion Brazilian reais ($A7.18 billion) to clean up what it says is its worst environmental disaster, caused by the collapse of a tailings dam.
The governments of Brazil and those of two states hit by the damburst are suing iron ore operator Samarco and its co-owners, the world's largest miner BHP and the biggest iron ore miner Vale.
Earlier on Monday, President Dilma Rousseff blamed the disaster on the "irresponsible action of a company" in a speech to the COP21 climate change summit in Paris.
"We are severely punishing those responsible for this tragedy," she said.
While they are going to court, Brazilian authorities are looking for a settlement similar to the $US20.8 billion agreement reached by the US government with oil firm BP following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
However, in a civil lawsuit brought by business owners and others, a judge in 2014 ruled that BP was primarily responsible for the spill and had to pay up to $US18 billion in penalties on top of the previous payments made.
The November 5 damburst in Minas Gerais, Brazil's main mining state, unleashed 60 million cubic metres of mud and mine waste that demolished a nearby village, killed at least 13 people and polluted a major river valley, killing fish and reaching the Atlantic Ocean.
Farmers, Traditional Owners, demand right to say "no" to mining: COAG meeting [Lock The Gate - 2/12/15]
Photos from anti-war protest earlier this evening in London. 4000 protesters at least #DontBombSyria #PLPSayNoToWar
Image: @jasonppritchard [1/12/15]
Stop the War demonstrators descend on London in march ahead of MPs' air strike vote [Evening Standard - 1/12/15]
Student leaders statement calling on MPs to vote against bombing Syria [Stop The War Collective UK - 1/12/15]
Papuan shot dead at Flag Day ceremony [RNZI - 2/12/15]:
A West Papua independence activist says scores of people have been arrested and one person shot dead by Indonesian police in Papua yesterday for commemorating its independence day.
Thousands of people across the world took part in demonstrations to mark the anniversary of the region's declaration of independence in 1961, when the Morning Star flag was first raised.
When Indonesia took control of the region two years later, it banned the flag.
Benny Wenda says he's had reports many people were arrested, beaten and intimidated across West Papua for marking the day.
"In Serui, a person was shot dead by Indonesian police and two are critical. And some of the members also beat them up. The reports are still coming. And in Nabire a few days before about 32 people were arrested, just preparing for celebrations before 1 December."
The United States said on Tuesday it was deploying a new force of special operations troops to Iraq to conduct raids against Islamic State there and in neighboring Syria, a ratcheting up of Washington's campaign against the group that was quickly rejected by Iraq's government.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the deployment of such a force was not acceptable without Iraq's approval, raising questions over how closely Washington coordinated the plan with Baghdad. Powerful Shi'ite Muslim armed groups pledged to fight any new deployment of U.S. forces to the country. ... [Reuters - 1/12/15]
The Ukrainian army has shelled the outskirts of Donetsk on Tuesday morning, a source in the Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) told Donetsk News Agency. ... [TASS - 1/12/15]
Privatise the profits, socialise the losses - and when you get exposed, pretend you're fixing it ----> Government freezes payments to private colleges [Canberra Times – 1/12/15]
Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Bill 2015
Why is Australian democracy in crisis? Because the ability of truthtellers to function in our society is being suffocated [WA Today - 28/11/15]:
I drove my Mercedes to the Centrelink office recently to register for the dole.
Old prejudices die hard – in my Depression era parents' day, such an action of desperation might qualify me for the title of "dole bludger".
With two Oscar nominations and five AFI awards under my belt, plus good health, you'd think I'd still be of some use to my society.
With no superannuation and no savings beyond $2000 after 40 years of making cutting-edge documentaries, the 16-year-old Mercedes acquired three years ago for $6000 was the last vestige of grandeur I could afford.
In the past three years, without funding, I've gone to Iraq and filmed the genesis of Islamic State before it got to this crisis point.
Our Brand Is Crisis : A film about US political consulting firm Carville-Greenberg, who "help" countries with their democracy issues.
ABC wait until absolutely certain tyrannical citizenship stripping laws a done deal before reporting on them.
Peter Greste still MIA.
Senate Hansard [1/12/15]:
Senator LEYONHJELM (New South Wales) (20:04): I rise to oppose passage of the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2015. This is the fifth major piece of national security legislation from this government. I have opposed them all, not because I discount the importance of national security but because, in every case, they have eroded the rights and freedoms of Australians. As the saying goes, 'those who trade essential liberty for a little temporary safety end up with neither.' The core problem with this bill is that it allows the executive to exercise judicial power when the minister revokes an individual's citizenship. That is a violation of the doctrine of separation of powers. It also applies retrospectively. Thus, I plan to move two amendments that would make the bill better.
This bill came into existence at 5:34 last evening, when the government, in cahoots with Labor, added 14 pages to the previous version of its own bill. Now, those of us who have never seen it before—crossbench and Greens senators—are required to vote on it. This is profoundly undemocratic. Between us, we represent just under one-third of the Australian electorate. It is also a blatant repudiation of the Senate's role as a house of review.
I think it is useful to remind the Senate of what has gone before in this national security area. All prior national security legislation was also passed with unseemly haste, including some significant aspects that were passed without the opportunity for senators to quiz the minister about the legislation in a committee stage. And there is still no crossbench or Greens representation on the parliamentary committee which reviewed each bill.
The first tranche of national security legislation, National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014, passed with Labor's support on 25 September last year. What may have been a drafting error in one of the sections dealing with special intelligence operations opened a loophole that sanctioned torture. In short, ASIO officers participating in a special intelligence operation—something defined by ASIO itself, without external review—were to receive immunity from prosecution for all offences save the most serious ones.
It became clear that the intention was to protect officers from prosecution in the event that they joined a proscribed terrorist organisation or had to commit an offence to prove their bona fides. However, no-one, including the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security and the shadow Attorney-General, realised the same provision provided cover for acts that amount to torture—the sort of torture that does not leave marks. At that point I deployed the 'nuclear option' and threatened to refuse to cooperate with the government in any way but the most limited. It was sufficient to ensure the bill was amended, although I was treated to a great deal of condescension in the process.
As passed, the bill introduced a significant number of nasties, among them expansion of the control order and preventative detention order regimes, and section 35P, which allows imprisonment for 10 years for intentional or reckless disclosure of an ASIO special intelligence operation. Section 35P also provides no public interest defence. Regrettably, the press only took an interest once it was enacted. I also opposed the bill in part because the Attorney-General failed to show how ASIO's existing powers were insufficient for them to do their jobs. They already had extensive powers.
The second tranche of national security legislation was the so-called foreign fighters bill, which passed the Senate on 29 October last year. It, too, attacked freedom of speech and of the press. The bill introduced a penalty of two years imprisonment for unauthorised disclosure of a delayed notification search warrant. Once again, there is no public interest defence. The provision seems calculated to remove the AFP from any and all journalistic scrutiny.
The bill also introduced an offence of 'advocating terrorism', punishable by a term of five years. It goes far beyond 'incitement to violence' at common law. The new offence requires only that the speaker is 'reckless' as to whether what is said causes terrorism. Incitement, at common law, has always required the element of intent. The new offence also takes in the 'promotion' of violence—a term broad enough to capture a general statement endorsing revolutionary violence in a third country. This is again different from incitement, which has always required that words ought to operate directly on the intended audience. Minister Brandis complained that the problem with incitement is that it is difficult to prove. This seems to be rather the point. It is meant to be difficult to prove because, if it were easy to prove, the authorities would be able to lock people up for things they say pretty much willy-nilly.
Also worthy of note is that organisations can be 'proscribed', or listed as terrorist organisations, on the basis of 'advocating terrorism'. Once again the definition of 'advocacy' employed is considerably broader than that captured by 'incitement' at common law. The consequences of listing are severe, and there is a real danger that community organisations run by amateurs may finish up being listed based on only a few members' views.
The third tranche of national security legislation, the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014, expanded the control orders and preventative detention orders regime, a regime that had already been expanded in the first tranche of legislation. These regimes are obnoxious because they are contrary to the basic principle that people should not be deprived of their liberty without a finding of guilt. Both impose significant constraints on an individual's liberty—including imprisonment, in the case of preventative detention orders—for the purpose of preventing terrorist acts. Alarmingly, the preventative detention order regime requires surveillance of the entirety of an individual's telecommunications activities, including—as Nick Hanna discovered when he represented one of the men arrested in the September 2014 counter-terrorism raids in Sydney—discussions between a solicitor and his client.
The fourth tranche of legislation was the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014. It is the one mandating that ISPs retain everyone's metadata for two years. In my view, it is the most illiberal of all five pieces of national security legislation. It applies to everyone indiscriminately, treating us all as presumptive criminals. Everyone has something to hide, and something to fear, from mandatory data retention. It is one thing to require monitoring of certain individuals where there is reasonable cause. But the idea that the government needs to store everyone's metadata without cause, including my 85-year-old mother's, should not be countenanced. Data retention will do nothing to save us from terrorists. Paedophiles are already canny enough to use the 'darknet' and avoid it. Instead, data retention places the entire population under surveillance, no matter who they are or how blameless their lives.
So I come to the bill before the Senate today. It provides for two ways for citizenship to be revoked: by 'conduct' and by 'conviction'. In the 1948 Citizenship Act, there was only one 'conduct' based ground for revocation—service in the armed forces of a country at war with Australia. This bill adds more, including service in and to terrorist organisations, travel overseas to fight with terrorist organisations, and financial aid and assistance to terrorist organisations, of which the Kurdistan Workers' Party is listed as one.
'Conduct' based revocation is considered to be 'automatic' but is still brought about by executive government with no need for judicial involvement. This bypassing of the judiciary was not a concern when a person's conduct was as clear-cut as donning an enemy's uniform and engaging in battle directly against the Australian Defence Force. But, under this bill, a bureaucrat will make fine distinctions about what you were doing and who you were doing it with and will not need to bother about what your intentions were. The 1948 act did not provide for revocation of citizenship based on conviction. This legislation provides for citizenship to be revoked once a conviction has been secured for a number of offences. Such revocation of citizenship is nevertheless an executive act, done by the minister. It is not done by a court.
The bill nonetheless seeks to make revocation of citizenship self-executing. The minister is deemed not to be the decision maker. His role is reduced to that of administrative functionary. He merely issues a notice after citizenship has been renounced by the person to whom the notice is issued. The notice, we are assured, does not have any judicial effect. I am a businessman, not a constitutional lawyer. Maybe this verbal sleight of hand will win the day in the High Court; I do not know, but tinkering with the inner workings of the doctrine of the separation of powers is not something that should be pushed through with such haste. I note that I received a copy of the Attorney-General's letters to shadow Attorney-General Dreyfus outlining the Solicitor-General's advice at 7.28 pm last night. The Solicitor-General's advice itself has still not been made public.
In addition to a minister exercising power that should properly be exercised by a court, this Bill assumes there will always be a war on terror. It will therefore remain law forever unless amended now or repealed one day in the future. Just as with the previous four bills, that is not desirable. To that end, the amendments I will move at the committee stage will apply a sunset clause of 10 years to the bill. Sunset clauses allow draconian laws to automatically expire at a set date—unless a future parliament decides otherwise. They are not an ideal solution. As others have said, if laws were well-drafted in the first place, sunset clauses would not be necessary. I propose sunsetting the bill because I refuse to accept the suggestion that there will always be a war on terror. We will not always be at war with Eurasia.
The bill also provides for the retrospective application of the criminal law. Although this retrospectivity is limited and applies only to a small number of persons who will attract little public sympathy, it is contrary to the rule of law and to fundamental principles of the common law. Australians considering their conduct now should be able to weigh up the consequences based on the law as it stands now. The fact that I need to point out such a basic tenet is of great concern. Retrospective action is not necessary, as the government already has a suite of powers to ensure that people who have served their sentences for terrorist offences are monitored. As such, I will move amendments to ensure that no part of the legislation applies retrospectively. We can do better than destroy our liberties in the name of securing ourselves against an illiberal enemy.
Finally, I wish to say a few words on citizenship as a concept. I do not happen to believe our fundamental rights flow from citizenship—of Australia or any other country. I think our rights flow from being human and are inherent. However, for better or for worse, we live in a world where legal rights often are contingent on citizenship. If citizenship is to be revoked, it should be revoked by a court in all but the most straightforward circumstances, such as when a person lines up against the Australian Defence Force in battle.
Inevitably, this bill creates two tiers of citizen: people who can have their Australian citizenship revoked and people who cannot. The answer, 'Well, some people have another one' does not really cut it. People have dual citizenship thanks to immigration, not because they bought their other citizenship in a shop.
Terrorism can be beaten without our losing our rights as free people. Just as I opposed the previous national security legislation on those grounds, I also oppose this bill.
… Always, there will be the intoxication of power. Always at every moment there will be the thrill of victory. The sensation of trampling on an enemy who's helpless.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face...forever.
The moral to be drawn from this dangerous, nightmare situation is a simple one.
Don't let it happen. It depends on you.
From the 2003 Television docudrama: George Orwell - A Life in Pictures
Brisbane "police state" Times pretends the tipping over of a table at a Broadbeach tapas bar was a "vicious brawl", and that the ALP is going to repeal the draconian anti rights laws. Gold Coast Mayor promotes brand fascism [2/12/15]:
... Speaking at the Gold Coast City Council meeting at Surfers Paradise on Tuesday, Cr Tate said it would be a mistake to take the pressure off bikie gangs.
"As far as going light on criminal gangs go, we want to keep the foot on their throat," Cr Tate said. ...
The federal circuit court has confirmed the first control order in more than eight years.
It follows agreement by the Australian federal police to a series of amendments to the order, making the restrictions it imposes more flexible.
Control orders are controversial anti-terrorism powers that allow a person to have strict conditions placed on their movement and association, but require a much lower standard of proof than criminal offences.
The year-long control order against Ahmad Saiyer Naizmand was confirmed on Monday by Judge Rolf Driver.
The changes will allow Naizmand to use a phone and have internet access on a device specified by the AFP.
It also lifts restrictions on which mosque he can attend. ... [Guardian - 2/12/15]
A driver has been charged with running over a Queensland father and leaving him to die on the roadside.
Bruce Mitchell, 43, was walking home from a pizza shop at Oakey, west of Toowoomba, on Sunday night when he was struck.
A pedestrian found his body early on Monday morning.
A 28-year-old man handed himself in to Toowoomba police on Tuesday and he's been charged with failing to obtain medical aid for an injured person and showing callous disregard for their needs. ... [Brisbane Times - 2/12/15]
Police have charged a 36-year-old man with murder following investigations into a fatal traffic incident on the Pacific Motorway on-ramp at Eight Mile Plains this afternoon.
Police will allege around 3:15pm the man assaulted another man causing him to fall onto the road way and into the path of a truck travelling on the motorway.
A 50-year-old Munruben man was pronounced deceased at the scene.
A 36-year-old Yarrabilba man has been charged with murder and is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow, December 2.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day. [QPS Media - 1/12/15]
Manslaughter and cruelty charges: Suspicious death, Rockhampton [QPS Media - 1/12/15]:
Detectives from Rockhampton Child Protection and Investigation Unit and State Crime Command, Child Trauma Task Force have charged two people following the death of an infant boy at North Rockhampton in May 2013.
A 31-year-old West Gladstone man has been charged with one count each of manslaughter and cruelty to children.
A 22-year-old West Gladstone woman has also been charged with cruelty to children.
Both are due to appear in Gladstone Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Shooting incident, Maryborough [QPS Media - 2/12/15]
Unlawful wounding, Charters Towers [QPS Media - 2/12/15]
Burglary with violence, Coominya [QPS Media - 2/12/15]
Armed robbery charges, Coopers Plains [QPS Media - 2/12/15]
Detectives are appealing for public assistance as they attempt to locate a man who may be able to assist their inquiries following two incidents that occurred in Kirwan yesterday, involving the discharge of a firearm. ... [QPS Media - 1/12/15]
Locals urged to stay indoors after Townsville metal yard fire [Nine MSN - 2/12/15]:
Locals have been urged to avoid the South Townsville area and to close all windows and doors after a huge fire at a commercial property that acrid black smoke into the air.
Queensland police issued the warning early this morning, hours after the fire at an industrial property housing plastic and scrap metal rubbish was put out by fire crews.
Emergency services were originally called to the Hubert Street building at around 5.20pm (AEST) yesterday afternoon.
The property housed a large amount of plastic and scrap metal rubbish, which created thick plumes of black smoke.
The public is urged to avoid the area and close all windows and doors as a precaution.
Assault charges, Manoora [QPS Media - 2/12/15]:
Police have charged a 19-year-old man following an incident on Mulligan Street in Manoora overnight.
Police attended a Mulligan Street address at around 9:00pm last night following reports of an altercation.
Upon arrival, it will be alleged officers were confronted at the front of the residence by a man who was armed with a knife.
Three officers drew their service firearms and directed the man to drop the knife.
The man complied with police and was taken into custody.
A 19-year-old Parramatta Park man has been charged with one count each of enter dwelling with intent, assault occasioning bodily harm and wilful damage, two counts each of assault and contravention of a domestic violence order and three counts of serious assault police.
He is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court today.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Chicago mayor fires police chief in wake of video release [Yahoo - 1/12/15]:
... The silent Chicago video shows McDonald walking down the middle of a four-lane street. He appears to veer away from two officers as they emerge from a vehicle, drawing their guns.
Van Dyke opens fire from close range and continues firing after McDonald crumples to the ground.
Police have said McDonald was carrying a knife, and an autopsy revealed that he had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has said the 3-inch blade recovered from the scene had been folded into the handle. ...
The Alabama Justice Project has obtained documents that reveal a Dothan Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigation was covered up by the district attorney. A group of up to a dozen police officers on a specialized narcotics team were found to have planted drugs and weapons on young black men for years.
They were supervised at the time by Lt. Steve Parrish, current Dothan Police Chief, and Sgt. Andy Hughes, current Director of Homeland Security for the State of Alabama. All of the officers reportedly were members of a Neoconfederate organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center labels “racial extremists.”
The group has advocated for blacks to return to Africa, published that the civil rights movement is really a Jewish conspiracy, and that blacks have lower IQ’s.
Both Parrish and Hughes held leadership positions in the group and are pictured above holding a confederate battle flag at one of the club’s secret meetings. ... [Henry County Report - 1/12/15]
Saudi Arabia: 50 people, including activists, slated for mass execution [Democracy Now - 1/12/15]:
Amnesty International is warning that, in Saudi Arabia, fifty people including pro-democracy activists and a prominent Palestinian poet are facing an imminent mass execution. Among those facing execution is Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was arrested at the age of 17 and convicted of encouraging protests during the Arab Spring.
Al-Nimr is the nephew of a prominent cleric who has also received a death sentence following pro-democracy protests. In October, Ali al-Nimr’s mother, Nusra al-Ahmed, condemned her son’s sentence in an interview with the Guardian.
Nusra al-Ahmed: "No sane human being would rule against a child of 17 years old using such a sentence. And why? He didn’t shed any blood. He didn’t steal any property. No one could accept a ruling that is so savage. It’s savage, disgusting. A judge should be in the position of a father. He should be more merciful than the attorney general."
Also facing execution in Saudi Arabia is Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, a member of the arts collective “Edge of Arabia.”
He has been sentenced to death on charges of "apostasy" for making allegedly blasphemous statements during a discussion group and in a book of his poetry.
2 December 2015